« PoprzedniaDalej »
A. The retrenching our temporal Enjoyments, the weaning our Affections from the World, and placing them upon Heaven, and all thofe Things whereby we may obtain the Favour of God. It denotes a ftrict Government of our fenfual Appetites, a total Abstinence from all forbidden Pleasures, and an utter Deteftation of fuch finful Satisfactions; and even when they are lawful, that they be not purfued with Eagernefs and Excefs: And it farther imports a Readinefs of Mind to know our Duty, and what it is God requires from us, and a fincere Difpofition to comply with and obey it.
Q. What should the Beginning of the New Year fuggeft unto us?
A. The great Value of Time, which God hath given us for working out our Salvation; upon the spending whereof depends our Happiness or Mifery to all Eternity; the Confideration whereof should put us upon all thofe Methods whereby we may employ it to the best Advantage.
Q. What makes Time fo very valuable, and why ought we to have fo great a Regard to the Managing of it?
A. Because there is fo little of it at our Difpofal; what is paft is flipt from us; the future is uncertain; the prefent is all we can call our own, which is yet continually fleeting. And though the Seafon of Working is fo very fhort and uncertain, yet we have an Affair of the greateft confequence to fecure, which requires the whole Force and Vigour of our Minds, the Labour and Induftry of all our Days, not to be difpatched with any tolerable Comfort upon a
fick Bed; nor in the Evening of our Lives, when our Strength and our Reafon are departing from us. Befides if we perfift in an obftinate Neglect of all the repeated Tenders of God's Grace, the Things that belong to our Peace may be hid from our Eyes.
Q. How ought we to employ our Time, that it may be improved to the best Advantage.
A. We ought to redeem that which we have mif-spent by lamenting the Follies which have confumed fo precious a Treafure, and by admiring that great Patience and Goodness of God, which fpared us when we deserved Punishment. What we can referve from the Neceffities of Nature, and our worldly Affairs, which thofe Neceffities engage us in, ought to be applied to the nobleft Purposes, the Glory of God, the Good and Salvation of Men. Nay, even the Affairs of this Life may be fanctified, by confidering ourfelves as the Inftruments of Providence, and by faithfully discharging the Duties of our Station with a Regard to another World more than this. And the best Method, in order to this End, is to live by Rule; to affign to all our Actions their proper Season, and fuch a Portion of it only as may be neceffary for them; whereby Time will never lie upon our Hands, nor fting us with Regret when it is past. Men of Eftates and Parts may lay hold on Futurity, by founding Hofpitals and Schools for the Relief and Inftruction of the Poor. All Chriftians may dedicate their whole Lives to God's Service in the Days of their Youth; and may make fuch publick Declarations in Behalf of Religion, that they may put themselves under a Neceffity of living virtuously by cutting off any Retreat to Vanity and Folly.
Mortifica-Amighty God, who madeft thy Bleffed
Son be circumcifed, and obedient to. the Law for Man; grant me the true Circumcifion of the Spirit, that, my Heart and all my Members being mortified from all worldly and carnal Lufts, I may in all things obey thy bleffed Will, through the fame thy Son Jefus Chrift our Lord Amen.
Bleffed Jesus! who by the Purity of thy Life, and the meritorious Sufferings of from the thy Death, haft purchased for us an eternal Inheritance; deliver me by the Power of thy Grace from the greatest Evil, my Sins; and reform and reduce my Heart to the Obedience of thy Laws. Make me carefully to avoid all thofe/Occafions that have formerly betrayed me to Folly, all thofe Practices that heighten my corrupt Inclinations and Paffions, and alienate my Mind from the Love of God. Give me a conftant Supply of Courage and Refolution to refift the Temptations of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil; that, being refcued from the Dominion of my corrupt Affections, by being turned from Darkness to Light, I may be affured thou wilt deliver me from eternal Death and Hell-Torments, which are the Punishments due unto my Tranfgreflions. Grant this through the Virtue of that facred Name thou didft this Day receive; to whom with the Father and the
Holy Ghost be all Honour and Glory, World without end. Amen,
Lmighty God, I adore thy infinite Patience, Fora right which hath not cut me off in the midst of Ufe of my Follies: I magnify thy wonderful Goodnefs Time. which hath fpared me thus long, and indulged me a larger Time of Repentance. Let me no longer abuse that precious Treasure, which thou haft allotted me as a proper Season to work out my own Salvation, and to fecure that Happiness which is great in itself, and infinite in its Duration. Let me bid adieu to all thofe vain Amusements, those trifling Entertainments and cruel Diverfions, which have robbed me of many valuable Hours, and have endangered the Lofs of my immortal Soul. Let me no longer wafte my Time in Ease and Pleafure, in unprofitable Studies, and more unprofitable Converfation; but grant that by Diligence and Honesty in my Calling, by Conftancy and Fervour in my Devotions, by Moderation and Temperance in my Enjoyments, by Juftice and Charity in all my Words and Actions, and by keeping a Confcience void of Offence towards God and Man, I may be able to give a good Account of it in the Day of Judgment; and be accepted in and through the Merits of Jefus Chrift, my only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
The Epiphany, January 6.
HAT Festival doth the Church cele
W brate this Day?
A. The Epiphany, or the Manifestation (as the Word fignifies in the Greek) of our Saviour Jefus Chrift to the Gentiles.
Q. To what Gentiles was our Saviour this Day manifefted?
Mat. 2. 1. A. To the wife Men of the Eaft, called Magi Mayou. in the Greek; who were famous for all Sorts of Porphyr. de Abit. Learning, especially celebrated for their Know1. 4. § 16. ledge and Skill in Aftronomy; and in the East Plat. apud their Priefts and Men of the beft Quality de dicated themselves to these Studies. Tho' fome Authors are of Opinion, that the Greek Word we Lightfoot, tranflate wife Men, is in the Scripture always taVol. I. ken in the worlt Senfe, for Men practising MaP. 435. gical and unlawful Arts; and if it be fo under
ftood, it magnifieth the Power and Grace of Chrift the more, that among the Gentiles Men of fuch a Profeffion fhould be the firft Adorers of the bleffed Jefus.
Q. What other Signification bath the Word Epiphany?
A. It fignifies Chrifl's Appearance in the World, the Nativity of our Saviour; which among the Antients is commonly filed the Appearing fimply, or the Appearing of God. Dr. Ham. And the Feast of the Nativity being celebrated Mat. 2. twelve Days, of which the firft and the laft, according to the Cuitom of the Jews in their