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dence that orders all Things, and of his invisible Grace ready at Hand to assist us in all that is good, and to keep us from all Evil: Especially when in all our Ways we have a Regard to the Promises of everlasting Life, and the Threatenings of eternal Misery : which was the great Principle of the Piety and Virtue of all good Men from the Beginning of the World ; as the Apoftle to the Hebrews declareth at large.
Heb. u. Q. Wherein corisijieth ibe Power of this Principle?
A. In that the Objects of Faith are fitted to work upon our Minds upon the Account of both the Certainty and the Concernment of them. We have all the Affurance of the Truth of them that we are capable of in this Life, from the Dictates of Reason, and the general Consent of Mankind; besides that, to assure us these Reafonings are true, we have a most credible Revelation of these Things in the Gospel of our Saviour; who gave a sensible Proof of his divine Mission in his Resurrection from the Dead. And, as to the Importance of them, every one inust own, that the highest Hopes, and the greatest Fears, are sufficient Springs of human Actions ; for what can concern us more than eternal Happiness and eternal Mifery? Q. What is meant by Faith in Christ?
A. In general, it is the believing all those Things that are declared to us by Christ; and more particularly fome Things that are declared of him. The believing what is said by hirm is called Faith in Chrift, as his Authority and Credit is the Ground and Reason of our Belief. And the believing Things said of him is called Faith in Cbrist, as he himself is the object of it. E 4
And when this Belief suitably affecteth us, and we resolve and practice so as may reasonably be expected from Persons under suih Persuasions, then it is imputed to us for Righteousness.
Q. What are those Properties that fit Faith to produce such suitable Effects ?
A. It must be real and unfeigned, against the Pretences of those that use it only as a Disguise to be trusted; or as a mere outside Profeffion, without looking for any farther Reason than to be in the Fashion. It must be hearty and affectionate ; not a mere speculative Opinion, as of Things wherein we are not much interested; but a moving and influencing Persuasion, wherewith all the Powers of the Soul are affected. It must be asured and confident ; for a wavering and uncertain Opinion will not accomplish its Work. Men will not run Ventures and bear Losies on uncertain Hopes, but only on firm and certain Expectations. It must be bonesl, and accompanied with a good Conscience, implying a Man's Integrity in discharging the Profession he makes, and Honeity in performning his Undertaking, It must be resolute and fully fixed, after all Things are well considered, so that when any Hardships arise, we may not be soon staggered in our Minds.
The P R A Y ER S.
I. For a firm Lmighty and everlasting God, who, for the Faith.
more Confirmation of the Faith, didft fuffer thy holy Apoftie Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son's Resurrection; grant me so perfectly, and
without all Doubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus Christ, that my Faith in thy Sight may never be reproved. Hear me, O Lord, through the fame Jesus Christ, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory now and for evermore. Amen,
II. Lmighty and everlasting God, give unto For Faith me the Increase of Faith, Hope, and Cha- and Obe
dience. rity; and that I may obtain that which thou dost promise, make me heartily to believe what thou haft revealed, and to love that which thou dost command, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
the Author and Giver of all good Things; moving allist me by thy Grace, that I may mortify all
Itacles of the inordinate and corrupt Inclinations of my believing. Heart, which oppose the Belief of thy holy and heavenly Truths. Enable me to conquer my evil Habits, and govern my unruly Passions, that they may not indispose my Mind in embracing that Evidence which so plentifully accompanieth thy divine Revelations to the Sons of Men. Let not the scandalous Divisions amongst Christians, nor the ill Lives of those that profess thy holy Religion ever stagger or weaken my Belief of it, since Love and Peace, and Unity, are Marks of thy true Disciples, and tha thy Wrath is revealed from Heaven against all those that obey not the Gospel of thy Son. Keep my Mind free from all Prejudice, which puts fo false a Byas upon the Understanding, even in Matters of the greatest Importance,
and which may prove so fatal and destructive to
IV. For an
Holy and Eternal God, who hast graeffectual
ciously condescended to establish with Faith.
Christians a Covenant of Faith and Obedience,
and godly Fear; the Belief of thy Righteouf-
that Faith being the governing Principle of my
by a firm Trust and Confidence in thy wise Providence ; and that it may dispel all Solicitude for worldly Supplies, by a settled Persuafion, that thou wilt with-hold no good Thing from them that walk uprightly, and that thou art ready to bestow good Things if we persevere in Prayer and Devotion ; that ordering all my Actions with a Regard to another World, I may fo pass through Things temporal, that I finally lose not the Things eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
CH A P V.
the Birth-Day of CHRIST,
HAT Festival doth the Church cele
brate this Day? A. The Great Festival of the Nativity of our Saviour Jesus Chrift; or the Appearance of God in the Flesh.
Q. What Authority have we for the Observation of this Festival?
A. The Practice of the Primitive Church; for though we have no certain Evidence of the exact Time when it was first observed, yet it appeareth plainly, that it was very early received all over the West. And the immemorial Observation of it is an Argument of its primitive Institution.