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Goodness would put thee upon doing fomething for my Sake; why muft thou come thyfelf upon Earth, and be fubject to the Miseries of human Nature, and to the Affronts of an ungrateful World, to bleed and die to redeem me? How unfathomable is thy Grace, and what an unfearchable Depth of Love is this which thou haft opened to us? O! how happy do I think myself in it, and how doth my Heart rejoice at the Remembrance of it! Lord! I love thee dearly; and long to love thee more: Would I had the Heart of the Seraphim, that I might be all over Love, and feel my Soul affected to that Degree, which I defire, and thou infinitely deferveft of me: I wifh no greater Pleasure than to be found perfect in thy Love, and to have thee fo dear to me, that I may contemn all the gilded Vanities and Allurements of this World at the Thoughts of it. O! that thou wouldst fill me, if that might be, with an Affection full and abfolute, like thy own, that fo I might love thee infinitely, as I am beloved by thee. At leaft poffefs me with fuch a Senfe of thy Love, and fuch Thankfulness for all thy Favours, as is fomewhat worthy of thee: Tho' fhould I offer the utmoft Acknowledgements, which the most affected and enlarged Heart can pay, I fhould not give thee the thoufandth Part of what I owe thee. Let all the Angels adore thy glorious Goodness, and all the Sons of Men, fo long as they have a Tongue to fpeak, fet forth thy noble Praife; for thou, O fweetest Jefu, art the Son of the Bleffed, the Joy and Glory of the World, the Lamb of God, the Saviour of Mankind, who waft flain for our Sakes, and art alive again, and fittest now for ever at the
right Hand of Power in the Glory of the Father, that Angels may fubmit to thee, and all the World may worship thee, and praise thy Goodnefs, Power, and Glory, to all Eternity. Amen.
Saint Stephen, December 26.
ė HAT Festival doth the Church celeW
brate this Day?
A. That of the firft Martyr, St. Stephen.
A. The Scripture gives us no particular Notice of either. That he was a few is unqueftionable; he owns this in his Apology to the People; but whether born at Jerufalem, or among the difperfed in the Gentile Provinces, is impoffible to determine. Antiquity reckoneth him, and that probably enough, among the Seventy Difciples; and indeed his admirable Knowledge in the Chriftian Doctrine, and his fingular Ability in proving Jefus to be the Meffias, argue him to have been trained up under our Saviour's immediate Inftitutions for fome confiderable Time.
Q. What Character do the Scriptures give us of St. Stephen? Acts 6. 5.
A. They defcribe him as a Man full of Faith and the Holy Ghost; which imply, that he had great Zeal and Piety, and that he was endowed with extraordinary Measures of that Divine
Non are they Crowned and receive Palms from the son of God whom they have Confessed in the worlt, n Esd. 2. 45. &c.
Spirit that was lately fhed upon the Church, and thereby peculiarly qualified for that Place of Honour and Usefulness he was advanced to.
Q. What Function did St. Stephen exercise in the Church?
A. The Office of a Deacon, which had its Acts 6. Original upon the Murmuring of the Grecians, who were probably Profelytes, Jews by Religion, and Gentiles by Defcent, against the Hebrews, who were Jews both by Religion and Birth; That their Widows were neglected in the Ver. 1. daily Miniftration, when Believers had all Things in common, and were fupplied out of one Treafury: To prevent any Mifmanagement for the future, the Apoftles appointed feven Men of boneft Report, full of the Holy Ghoft and of Wisdom. Ver. 3. to fuperintend the Neceffities of the Poor, to make daily Provifion for their publick Feafts, and to keep and diftribute the Treasure of the Church, of which St. Stephen was one; whereby the Apostles had more Leifure to attend those Affairs that were more immediately ferviceable to the Souls of Men.
Q. Though the Care of the Poor was a main Part of the Deacon's Office, was it the whole?
A. No: For had this been all, the Apostles needed not to have been fo exact in their Choice of Perfons, nor have used fuch folemn Rites of Confecration to ordain them to it. But the ferving Tables implied alfo their Attendance at the Table of the Lord's Supper; for in thofe Days their Agapa, or Love-Feafts, where Rich and Poor fat down together, were at the fame Time with the holy Eucharift, and both admini stered every Day; fo that their Miniftration refpected the one and the other, and thus we