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are fo many powerful Arguments against Sin; add to this the Engagements of the Baptifmal Vow made in their Infancy, and which they fince took upon themselves in Confirmation, and have frequently renewed at the Lord's Table.
Q. What do you mean by the Communion of Saints?
A. That the Saints have in common one God, one Chrift, one Spirit, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptifm, one Hope; and that they communicate with one another in all Duties of Piety and Charity, by mutual Help and Affiftance in Times of Perfecution, by mutual Beneficence and Liberality in Time of Want, and by mutual Participation of one another's Prayers.
What Communion have the Saints here below with the Saints above?
A. Those upon Earth are called Fellow-Citi-Eph.2.19. zens with the Saints, and of the Houshold of God, 3. 15. of the fame Family with thofe in Heaven. We blefs God for them, rejoice at their Bliss, give Thanks for their Labours of Love, and pray that with them we may be Partakers of the heavenly Kingdom. They pray for us, for our Confummation and Blifs, rejoice at our Conversion. But what farther the Saints in Heaven do particularly in Relation to us, or what we ought to perform in Reference to them, is not revealed in Scripture, nor can be concluded from any Principle of Chriftianity.
Q. What Duties refult from the Belief of this Article of our Creed?
A. To walk in the Light, as God is in the Light; there being no Communion with his holy Nature without Sanctity. Humbly and chearfully to acknowledge fo great a Benefit. To ex
prefs an ardent Affection to thofe Saints which live, and a reverent Refpect to those which are now with God. And particularly to direct and enlarge our Charity to thofe who are of the Houfhold of Faith.
Q. What may we learn from the Obfervation of this Festival?
A. The Wisdom and Happiness of being religious. That Heaven deferves the utmost we can do or fuffer to obtain it. That through many Tribulations we must enter into the Kingdom of God. That we ought to honour the Saints, by commemorating their Piety, congratulating their Victories over the World, and rejoicing in their Glory; but chiefly by propounding their Example for our Imitation; to learn of them to be humble and meek, and to fubmit all our Defires to the Will of God; to govern our Senfes by Reason, and our Réafon by the Dictates of Revelation; to take up the Crofs, and resist unto Blood; striving against Sin; that by living as the Saints once did, we may at length inberit thofe Promises, which they by their Faith and Patience in this World, now inherit in the
Q. Wherein confifts the Advantage of propounding the Examples of the bleffed Saints for our Imitation?
A. It convinces us of the Poffibility of performing our Duty, by fhewing us Men, cloathed with Flesh and Blood, that have practifed it; and fo is apt to cure that Sloth and Defpondency, which the Weakness of our Nature is apt to fuggeft to us. It gives us fenfible Evidences of the happy Fruits of a pious Life, which make greater Impreffions than thofe Confequences
fequences which Reafon draws for our Conviction; and hereby difpofes us vigorously to imitate thofe Virtues which fhined in them with fo great a Luftre.
Q. If Examples at fo great a Distance bave fuch a Power; ought we not to exercise great Care, in reference to what Company we daily converfe with?
A. Solomon hath long fince obferved, that he Prov. 13, that walketh with wife Men shall be wife; but 20. that the Companion of Fools fhall be destroyed: Which fufficiently denotes, that if we design any Progress in Piety and Virtue, that Wisdom which Solomon recommends, we must frequent those who are eminent Examples of it; and avoid, as much as is poffible, fuch Fools who make a Mock of Sin. And this Method is com- 14. 9mon to Mankind in all other Cafes; when they aim at Perfections in any particular Skill or Part of Learning, they covet the Converfation of those that are known to excel that way.
Q. Is it poffible in the general Converse of the World to avoid bad Company?
A. It is very difficult for those whofe Bufinefs and Circumstances carry them into a great deal of Company always to avoid that which is bad; and Charity fometimes may oblige good Men to converfe with fuch in order to their Reformation, where there are any probable Hopes of making bad Men better; but however it is very much in every Man's Power to chufe what fort of Company he defigns for his Diversion and Entertainment; a Matter of fuch Importance, that it requires moft ferious Confideration.
For the Imitation of the Saints.
touched without defiling; as bad Company frequented and delighted in, without receiving Damage and contracting Pollution.
The PRAYER S.
Almighty God, who haft knit together thine Elect in one Communion and Fellowship, in the mystical Body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant me Grace fo to follow thy bleffed Saints in all virtuous and godly Living, that I may come to thofe unfpeakable Joys which thou haft prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee, through Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.
for them that love thee, fuch good things as pass Man's Understanding; pour into my Heart fuch Love towards thee, that I, loving thee above al things, may obtain thy Promises, which exceed all that I can defire, through Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
make me fo wife in this
State of Probation and Tryal, as to proample of vide for Eternity, by walking in thofe Paths good Men that conducted thy Bleffed Saints to everlasting departed. Blifs. Keep it for ever in the Purpose of my 'Heart, as it was in theirs, to obey thofe Laws which thou my Maker and Sovereign haft enjoined, and according to which I fhall be one
Day judged. Grant that I may with all poffible Care avoid Sin, the greatest Evil, and the most mischievous to my main Interest; and that I may at any Expence feek thy Favour, which is better than Life: That following thy bleffed Saints in the Meeknefs and Humility of their Minds, in the Mortification of their carnal Appetites, in their entire Submiffion to thy divine Will, in their Charity to the Souls and Bodies of Men, in their Patience under Sufferings, and in their Readiness to take up the Cross; I may attain that Happiness they now poffefs, and inherit those Promises which they are made Partakers of, through the Merits of Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.
OST gracious God, the Author of San-Thankf Etity, and Lover of Unity, whofe Wif-giving for dom hath established an admirable Communion the Perfe between the Members of the fame myftical Bo- of good dy, whereof thy Son Jefus Christ is the Head; Men. I blefs and praife thy Holy Name for all thy Servants departed this Life in thy Faith and Fear. I congratulate their Victories over the World, who overcame themfelves, and led in Triumph their own Paffions. I commemorate with all Thankfulness their heroick Piety, who ferved their Lord in Hunger and Thirst, in Prifon and Chains, on Racks and in Tortures, and who undauntedly encountred Death, armed with the greatest Terror. I rejoice in the Glory and Happiness they are now advanced to, the Greatnefs of which the Heart of Man cannot conceive. Befeeching thee to give me Grace fo to follow their good Examples, in the wife be