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that Purpose was endowed with great Excellencies : And the rather because she maintained so lively a Sense of her own Unworthiness to receive so great an Honour, and when she was advanced to be the Mother of the World's Saviour, seeks no greater Title than to be stiled Handmaid of the Lord: But not to invocate Luke 14 her ; because we are directed in Scripture to 38. offer up all our Prayers in the Name, and thro' the Mediation of Jesus Christ only ; besides, the Church of God in the three first Ages maketh no Mention of it ; neither are there any Footsteps of that Practice to be found among them.
Q. What may we learn from the Observation of this Festival !
A. To admirę and adore the great Goodness of God manifested in the Incarnation of the Eternal Word; thereby shewing that he thought nothing too great nor too dear to part with for our Sakes; and the wonderful Humility and Condescention of our Saviour, who stooped so low when he undertook the Work of our Redemption. To express great Modesty, and Confusion when we meet with the Praises and Applause of the best Men, from a true Sense of our own Unworthiness, and by Silence and Fear to guard ourselves from Vanity. To endeavour to answer the Design of our Saviour's being made Man, that we might become like unto God, and be made Parcakers of the Divine Nature ; and that Christ might be formed in us, and that we might put on the Lord Jesus Chrift; by making nọ Provision for the Flesh to fulfil the Lust thereof. That as he was pleased to be united to our Nature, so we
may make it the great Care and Business of our Lives to be really and spiritually united to him.
Q. How are Christians united to Chrift?
they are made Members of Christ's myftical Body the Church, whereof he is the Head, and wherein they profefs to believe what he hath revealed, and to perform what he hath commanded, and engage to govern their Lives by that Gospel he hath published to the World. And all the Metaphors in Scripture that describe this Relation, plainly refer to their being Members of the Christian Church. Now this Union is farther maintained by preserving Communion with the Church in Prayers, and in the Sacrament, and by living in a regular Subjection to, and strict Union with our spiritual Governours the Bishops and Presbyters, Christ's Repensentatives here upon Earth.
Q. Dorb this outward and visible Profession convey to us all the Privileges of being Members of Christ
A. By being made Members of the Christian Church, we are in some Meafure entitled to all those Privileges that are derived from Chrift our Head; but yet we can never be made ef- fectually Partakers of them, except we perform those Conditions upon which those great Bler- sings were promised; we must be true to our Baptismal Covenant, we must renounce all Sins, which are the Works of the Devil, and those false and corrupt Maxims which govern the World, and mortify the sinful:Lufts of the Flesh; we must fubject our Understandings to the Obedience of Faith, and keep God's holy
Willand Commandments, and walk in the same all the Days of our Lives, if ever we pretend to be really united to our Saviour, and expect the Benefit of such a fpiritual Relation.
Q. What are the great Privileges that resulo from this Union, from our being living Members of Christ's mystical Body?
A. The gracious Promises of Pardon and Forgiveness of Sin upon our true Repentance, the AMiftance of God's Blessed Spirit, and the Influences of his Grace, to enable us to work out our Salvation. The Benefit of Christ's Interceffion in Heaven, where he is an Advocate for us with the Father. A Share in all those Promises of Care and Protection made to the Church. And to encourage our Perseverance, an Inberitance incorruptible and undefiled, a Crown of Glory tbat faderb not away. For though all Mankind are in the Hands of God's unlimited Goodnefs, yet his covenanted Mercies are the peculiar Lot and Portion of Christians, the Members of Cbrift's myftical Body.
1. Beseech thee, O Lord, pour chy. Grace into for the
my Heart, that, as I have known the İncar Benefit of nation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the Meffage Death
Chrift's of an Angel, so by his Cross and Paffion I may be brought into the Glory of his Resurrection, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
II. Praise for Desire, O Lord, to bless and praise thy inthe Incar:
finite Goodness, which took Compassion upnation.
on Mankind in its greatest Misery ; and hath provided so admirable a Remedy, by sending thy only-begotten Son into the World to recover our corrupt and degenerate Nature ; and by the Purity of his Doctrine, the Example of his Life, and the Sacrifice of his Death, to purchase eternal Happiness for us, and to direct and lead us into the Way to it. All Glory be to our great Redeemer and Saviour; who came down from Heaven, that he might carry us thither, and took human Nature upon him, that we thereby might be made Partakers of a Divine Nature; and humbled himself to Death, even the Death of the Cross, that he might exalt us to Glory and Honour. Unto him that was as upon this Day incarnate, to our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath loved us, and taken our Nature upon him, and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God and his Father, to him be Honour and Praise, Dominion and Power, now and for
III. For Imi- Rant, O Lord, by the Asistance of thy tation of Grace, that I may most heartily comply the blessed with those great Things which thou hast done Virgin. and designed for my Salvation : Teach me readily to obey thee, as the Angels do in Hea
Give me Purity and Piery, Prudence and Modesty, those Virtues which made the blessed Virgin so highly favoured: That my
Employment may be always holy, that my Affections may not be set upon this World ; that, as much as my Condition of Life will bear, I may frequently retire both from the Business and Enjoyments of it: That by Prayer and Meditation I may have my Conversation above : That by believing the Gospel of Christ, I may entertain him in my Heart, and by Obedience to his Laws publish him to the World: That he may dwell in' me for ever, and that I may dwell with him above, in Mansions of Glory to all Eternity. Amen.
CH A P.
HAT Festival doth the Church this
Day observe ? A. The great Festival of the Anniversary Commemoration of our Saviour's Resurrection, which for its Antiquity and Excellency challenges the Precedence of all other Festivals.
Q. How ancient is the Observation of this Festival ?
A. As antient as the very Times of the Apoftles, as is clear to those that are converfant in the Affairs of the Primitive Church. In those purer Times the only Dispute being not about the Thing, but the particular Time when the Festival was to be kept.