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dence that orders all Things, and of his invifible
Q. Wherein confifteth the Power of this Prin-
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 Reafon, and the general Confent of Mankind; befides that, to affure us thefe Reafonings are true, we have a moft credible Revelation of thefe Things in the Gospel of our Saviour; who gave a fenfible Proof of his divine Miffion in his Refurrection from the Dead. And, as to the Importance of them, every one muft own, that the highest Hopes, and the greatest Fears, are fufficient Springs of human Actions; for what can concern us more than eternal Happiness and eternal Mifery?
Q. What is meant by Faith in Chrift?
A. In general, it is the believing all thofe Things that are declared to us by Chrift; and more particularly fome Things that are declared of him. The believing what is faid by him is called Faith in Chrift, as his Authority and Credit is the Ground and Reafon of our Belief. And the believing Things faid of him is called Faith in Chrift, as he himfelf is the Object of it. And
And when this Belief fuitably affecteth us, and
Q. What are thofe Properties that fit Faith to
A. It must be real and unfeigned, against the Pretences of thofe that ufe it only as a Difguife to be trufted; or as a mere outfide Profeffion, without looking for any farther Reason than to be in the Fafhion. It must be hearty and affelionate; not a mere fpeculative Opinion, as of Things wherein we are not much interested; but a moving and influencing Perfuafion, wherewith all the Powers of the Soul are affected. It must be affured and confident; for a wavering and uncertain Opinion will not accomplish its Work. Men will not run Ventures and bear Loffes on uncertain Hopes, but only on firm and certain Expectations. It must be honest, and accompanied with a good Confcience, implying a Man's Integrity in difcharging the Profeffion he makes, and Honesty in performing his Undertaking. It must be refolute and fully fixed, after all Things are well confidered, fo that when any Hardships arife, we may not be foon staggered in our Minds.
God, who, for the
more Confirmation of the Faith, didst fuffer thy holy Apoftie Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son's Refurrection; grant me fo 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 Jefus Chrift, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghoft, be all Honour and Glory now and for evermore. Amen,
God, unto For Faith
me the Increase of Faith, Hope, and Cha- and Oberity; and that I may obtain that which thou doft promife, make me bear tily to believe what thou hast revealed, and to love that which thou doft command, through Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ORD of all Power and Might, who art For rethe Author and Giver of all good Things; moving affift me by thy Grace, that I may mortify all the b the inordinate and corrupt Inclinations of my believing. Heart, which oppofe the Belief of thy holy and heavenly Truths. Enable me to conquer my evil Habits, and govern my unruly Paffions, that they may not indifpofe my Mind in embracing that Evidence which fo plentifully accompanieth thy divine Revelations to the Sons of Men. Let not the fcandalous Divifions amongst Chriftians, nor the ill Lives of those that profefs thy holy Religion ever stagger or weaken my Belief of it, fince Love and Peace, and Unity, are Marks of thy true Difciples, and that 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 falfe a Byas upon the Understanding, even in Matters of the greatest Importance,
For an effectual Faith.
and which may prove fo fatal and destructive to my eternal Welfare; that seeing the Reasonablenefs of thofe Things thou haft required to be believed, the Perfection of thofe Duties thou haft enjoined to be practifed, and the Power and Force of thofe Motives upon which both are founded, I may be ftedfast and unmoveable, and at the laft receive the End of my Faith, even the Salvation of my Soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Holy and Eternal God, who hast gracioufly condefcended to eftablish with Chriftians a Covenant of Faith and Obedience, with the Promises of a prefent Supply of Grace and Affiftance, and of a future Reward to crown all thofe that perfevere in thy Service; O let me for ever dwell upon this Rock, that, while I am furrounded with fenfible Things, I may not be fhaken by the Power of them. That no Charms of prefent finful Pleafures may make me forget that Place of Torment to which they confign me. That the Cares of this Life, and the Deceitfulness of Riches, may never make me neglect a Treasure that faileth not, an Inheritance with the Saints in Light. Work in me all thofe godly Affections that may make my Faith effectual to my Salvation. Let the Belief of thy paternal Care over me produce Love, Honour, and dutiful Obedience; the Belief of thy Almighty Power, Reverence and godly Fear; the Belief of thy Righteoufnefs, Holiness in all Manner of Conversation; that Faith being the governing Principle of my Life, it may compofe my Mind under all Events,
by a firm Truft and Confidence in thy wife Providence; and that it may difpel all Solicitude for worldly Supplies, by a fettled Perfuafion, that thou wilt with-hold no good Thing from them that walk uprightly, and that thou art ready to bestow good Things if we perfevere in Prayer and Devotion; that ordering all my Actions with a Regard to another World, I may fo pafs through Things temporal, that I finally lofe not the Things eternal, through Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
The Nativity of our Lozd, 02 the Birth Day of CHRIST, commonly called Chrißmas Day, December 25.
HAT Festival doth the Church celebrate this Day?
A. The Great Festival of the Nativity of our Saviour Jefus Chrift; or the Appearance of God in the Flefh.
Q. What Authority have we for the Obfervation of this Festival?
A. The Practice of the Primitive Church; for. though we have no certain Evidence of the exact Time when it was firft obferved, yet it appeareth plainly, that it was very early received all over the Weft. And the immemorial Obfervation of it is an Argument of its primitive Inftitution.