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sticks and immediate Attendants; as his Agents and Ambassadors, because he that despiseth them despiseth him that sent them: and the Affront put upon them will be interpreted as done to him from whom they derive their Commission. That it is a Dictate of natural Reason to testify our Reverence to the Deity, and our Affection to Religion, by honouring those who are the chief Ministers of it. That it is the greatest, piece of Presumption imaginable, to pretend to sign and feal Covenants in God's Name, without receiving any Power and Authority from him in order to that Purpose. That the Atiendance at the Altar exempts no Man from the Cognizance of the Civil Powers, but that spiritual Persons are equally obliged to pay all Duty and Allegiance to their rightful Sovereigns, as well as the meanest of the Laity. That the Power of the Magistrate, when most full and absolute, does not extend either to use themselves, or communicate to others those spiritual Powers which Christ left only to his Apostles and their Succeffors. That we then best shew our Etteem of God's Ordinance, and testify our Value for the Benefits of the Priesthood, when we not only reverence their Persons, but devoutly attend their Spiritual Administrations.

The PRAYERS.

I.

A

For the Ordainers haft purchased to thyself an universal and the

Church, by the precious Blood of thy dear Son; Ordained. mercifully look upon the same, and at this time

so

so guide and govern the Minds of thy Servants, the Bishops and Paftors of thy Flock, that they may lay Hands suddenly on no Man ; but faithfully and wisely make Choice of fit Perfons, to serve thee in the sacred Ministry of thy Church.' And to those who shall be ordained to any holy Function, give thy Grace and heavenly Benediction, that both by their Life and Doctrine they may set forth thy Glory, and set forward the Salvation of all Men, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

II.
Y Rant, O Lord, that all those who admini- For the

fter in holy Things, may have a great Sense Clergy, of the Dignity and Importance of their Office ; that they that since they are thy Embassadors, they may in may. all their Actions have a due Regard to the Ex-discharge cellency of their Character, and faithfully, dili-their holy gently, and prudently transact those great Affairs Function. thou haft entrusted to their Management: That since they are thy Ministers, they may have always imprinted in their Remembrance, how great a Treasure is committed to their Charge, the Sheep of Christ, which he bought with his Death, and for whom he shed his Blood ; that the Church and Congregation whom they serve is the Spouse and Body of Christ : That since they are the Stewards of thy Mysteries, they may feed and provide for thy Family, seek thy Sheep that are dispersed abroad, and thy Children which are in the midst of this naughty World, that they may be saved thro' Christ: That Since they are Labourers in the Vineyard, they may never cease by their Care and Diligence to bring all such as are committed to their Charge

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unto

unto that Agreement in Faith and Knowledge of God, and to that Ripeness and Perfectness of Age in Christ, that there may be no Place left for Error in Religion, or for Viciousness of Life. That, since their Employment is laborious and difficult, they may constantly pray for the heavenly Allistance of the Holy Ghost from thee, O Father, by the Mediation of our blessed Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ, that by daily reading and weighing of the Scriptures they may wax riper and stronger in their Ministry, and so fashion their Lives, and those of their Families, after the Rules and Doctrine of Christ, that they may be wholefonie and godly Examples for the rest of the Congregation to follow, and be able to give a good Account of their Stewardship at the Tribunal of Christ; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, World without End. Amen,

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III. Bishop Thou great Shepherd, and Bishop of our Taylor. For

Souls, most glorious Jesu, bless all holy Bishops.

and religious Prelates, especially the Bishops of our Church. O God, let abundance of thy Grace and Benediction descend upon their Heads, that by a holy Life, by a true and catholick Belief, by a resolute Confession of thy Name, and by a fatherly Care, and great Sedulity and Watchfulness over their Flock, they may glorify thee our God, the great Lover of Souls, and set forward the Salvation of their People, and of others by their Example, and at last, after a plentiful Conversion of Scuis, they may shine like the Stars in Glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHA P,

563

CH A P.

IX.

The Wigils.

W

HAT do you mean by Vigils ?

A. Those Fasts which the Church hath thought fit to establish before certain Festivals, in order to prepare our Minds for a due Observation of the ensuing Solemnity: That so our Joy may not degenerate into Sensuality, nor be expressed by Intemperance, nor evaporate into Lightness and Vanity; but that we may use God's good Creatures with Moderation and Thankfulness, with Bowels of Mercy to those that are in want, and raise our Souls to such a Relish of spiritual Enjoyments, that it may be our Meat and Drink to do the Will of our heavenly Father.

Q. Why are these Fasts called Vigils?

À. From the Latin Word Vigiliæ, fignifying Watchings : It being the Custom in the Primitive Times to pass great part of the Night that preceded certain Holy Days in Devotion and religious Exerciles; and this even in those Places which they set apart for the publick Worship of God. But when these Night Meetings came to be so far abused, that no Care could prevent several Diforders and Irregularities, the Church thought fit to abolish them, and these Night Watches were converted into Fasts, still keeping the former Name of Vigils.

Q. What was probably the Original of these
Vigils or Night Watches among Christians ?
A. Some are inclined to found this Practice

O O 2

upon

12.

upon several Texts of Scripture understood li

terally, where Watching is enjoined as well as Mat. 24. Prayer, particularly upon that Conclusion our 42.25.13. Saviour draws from the Parable of the ten VirMark 13. gins : Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the 35. Day nor the Hour wherein the Son of Man cometb.

And farther they urge our Saviour's own ExLuke 6. ample, who continued all Night in Prayer alone ;

and that of St. Paul and Silas, who at Midnight Acts 16.

prayed and sang Praises unto God. And what 75.

wonder if in this Sense it was practiied and recommended by the Christians of the first Age, who generally apprehended that the End of the World was near at hand, and that their blessed Mafter would quickly summon them to appear

before his dreadful Tribunal, and that at MidMat.25.6. night the Cry would be made, Behold the Bride

groom cometh! The Fervour and pious Zeal of those Times might easily dispose them under such Thoughts, to abridge themselves of Sleep, and io employ part of the Night in prosecuting the Affairs of their eternal Salvation, that if possible the Coming of the Son of Mon might find them actually engaged in the Expectation of it. And were the Children of Light as wise in their Generation as the Children of this World, they would sometimes borrow from the Night for the Exercise of their Devotion; when the others, to gratify their Paffions, can dedicate whole Nighis to their Business or Pleasure.

Q. What farther siccount is there of the Original of Vigils ?

A. Others, with greater Probability, have referred the Rise of these Night Watches to the Neceffity Chriftians were under of meeting in the Night and before Day for the Exercise of

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