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Q. What instruction should we derive from the observation of this festival ?
A. Since God is an infinite and eternal Spirit, and therefore beyond the comprehension of any finite understanding, we should learn the duty of implicitly receiving whatever he reveals to us concerning his own divine nature, though we may not be able to comprehend it. Without entering into curious and useless speculations concerning the mystery of the Trinity, it should be our business humbly to adore the three persons of the Godhead, as the joint authors of our salvation. We should humbly and gratefully acknowledge the transcendent love of God the Father, in giving for us his only Son; and the wonderful condescension of our blessed Redeemer, the merit of whose suffering was enhanced by the dignity and excellence of his person; and we should gratefully adore the third person of the Godhead, the blessed and eternal Spirit, who governs and sanctifies the Church, and all its faithful members. The doctrine of the Trinity should lead us to the most humble and holy obedience, and inspire us with the highest consolation and triumph; for it reveals God the Father reconciled unto us, through the atone. ment of a divine Redeemer; and it reveals the divine Spirit of grace, by whom we are guided, sanctified, and consoled.
Of the SUNDAYS from TRINITY to ADVENT.
2. What remark do you make concerning the gospels. and epistles for the Sundays from Trinity to Advent ?
A. The design of the Church in that part of the year, from Trinity to Advent, being to instruct us in the duties of the Christian life, such passages out of the Evangelists are selected for the gospels as are calculated to this end; to advance us in the graces and viptues of the Christian life. The admirably illustrated in a Treatise, entitled "The Importance of the Doc. trine of the Holy Trinity asserted," written by Dr. Waterland, who is well. known as one of the most profound and able defenders of this doctrine.. The Rev. William Jones, of Nayland, in his “Catholic Doctrine of the Trinity,” has put the question, whether tlus doctrinc be revealed in Suir: ture, beyond all further controversy.
epistles, (which are taken out of St. Paul's Epistles) tend to the same end.
Q. What is the design of the epistle and gospel for the twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity ?
A. The twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity being considered as a preparation, or forerunner to Advent, an epistle was chosen for it, which clearly foretels the coming of Christ. The collect, epistle, and gospel, are thought so appropriate to this season, that it is directed by a rubric after the gospel, that they shall always be used on the Sunday next before Advent.
ST. BARNABAS the APOSTLE, June 11.
A FESTIVAL. WHAT account do you give of the apostle Barnabas?
A. St. Barnabas was born at Cyprus; and was descended of the tribe of Levi.b His parents, who were rich and pious, sent him to Jerusalem, and committed him to the care of Gamaliel, a great doctor of the law; at whose feet he was brought up together with St. Paul.
Q. What is the design of the epistle and gospel for the day?
A. The epistle gives an account of the character of Barnabas, and his mission to Antioch. And the gospel records Christ's distinguishing love for his apostles (among whom Barnabas was one of the most eminent,) and excites them, from the love of Christ to them, to love one another, and to bring forth fruits worthy of their distinguished privileges.
Q. What were the names of this apostle ?
A. The proper name of this apostle was Joses ; to which the apostles added that of Barnabas, either implying him to be a son of prophecy, eminent for his prophetic gifts ;e or a son of consolation, from his skill in comforting troubled consciences, or from the consolation which he administered to the poor by the sale of his property for their relief.d
Aets iv. 36.
c Acts xi. 24.
d Acts iv. 37.
Q. Did not Barnabas introduce St. Paul into the society of the apostles ?
A. Not long after St. Paul's conversion, Barnabas met him at Jerusalem, and introduced him to the apostles; declaring to them the manner of his conversion, and the signal evidences which he gave of his sincerity at Damascus, by his bold and resolute disputes with the Jews; thus removing from the minds of the apostles all apprehension of the sincerity of St. Paul's conversion.e
Q. What was the first employment of Barnabas in the service of the Church?
1. News from Antioch being brought to the Church at Jerusalem, that many in that city embraced Christianity, St. Barnabas was sent to establish these new converts in the faith. Upon his arrival, he rejoiced to see the great progress which the Gospel had made among them; and finding he required a coadjutor in his labours, he went to Tarsus; where St. Paul then was, and brought him to Antioch; where they laboured together a year in the establishment of the Church.
Q: Where were the followers of Jesus first called Chris. tians ?
A. The followers of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch. They who embraced the faith were styled, at first, disciples or believers, the brethren, men of the Church, or callers upon the name of Christ, or men of that way; or, by their enemies, Nazarenes or Galileans. But they afterwards gloried so much in the name of Christians, that sooner than renounce it, they endured scorn, persecution, torture, and death itself.
Q. What obligations do the name of Christians impose
A. When we took upon us, at baptism, the name of Christian, we solemnly engaged to believe and practise what Christ taught, to imitate his example, to cleave with steadfastness to him, and to renounce all those sinful lusts and passions which are opposed to his holy commands.
Q. Was not St. Barnabas, with St. Paul, employed to relieve the Christians at Judea ?
A. St. Barnabas, with St. Paul, carried a charitable supply from the Christians at Antioch, to relieve the brethren in Judea; who were reduced to great necessities by a severe
e Acts ix. 27.
8 Acts xi. 26.
famine which afflicted the provinces of the Roman empire, and particularly Judea.
Q. Was not St. Barnabas, with St. Paul, solemnly set apart to preach the Gospel to the Gentile world?
A. At the particular command of the Holy Ghost, revealed to the prophets and teachers of the Church at Antioch, St. Barnabas and St. Paul were solemnly set apart, after fasting and prayer, by the ancient ceremony of imposition of hands, to the work to which God had called them to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. Accordingly, after preaching the Gospel at Cyprus, and various places of the Lesser Asia, they, after three years, returned again to Antioch.j
Q. What was the occasion of the dissention between St. Paul and Barnabas?
A. These two apostles having agreed to visit the Churches which they had planted in Asia, St. Barnabas proposed to take his kinsman, Mark, along with them; to which St. Paul refused his consent, because, in their former travels, Mark had consulted too much his own ease and safety, and had left them at Pamphylia. The contention was so sharp be. tween them that they parted. St. Paul, with Silas, went to the Churches of Syria and Cilicia; and St. Barnabas, with Mark, to his own country, Cyprus.k
Q. Did not the providence of God overrule this dissention of the apostles to the benefit of the Church?
A. By this separation of the apostles, their labours were rendered more diffuse, and, of course, more useful to the Church. And it probably tended to bring St. Mark to a sense of his former indifference in the work of the Gospel, and to make him a useful minister of the Church: for we afterwards find St. Paul giving a high testimony of his zeal, " that he was profitable to him for the ministry."? Q. Are there any more particulars known conce
cerning the life of Barnabas?
A. It is uncertain what became of Barnabas after he sepa. rated from St. Paul and went to Cyprus. It is supposed that he suffered martyrdom at Salamis, where it is said he was stoned by the Jews.
Q. What writings did he leave behind him?
A. It was thought that he was the author of an epistle to the Jewish converts, which was of great repute among the primitive Christians, and sometimes used in their Churches,
i acts xi. 30.
j Acts Xiii. 4, &c.
k Acts xy.3.
1 2 Tim. iv. 11.,
but was never admitted into the canon of the Holy Scrip. ture.
Q. What useful instruction does this festival afford ?
A. The self-denying zeal of this apostle, in the propaga. tion of the Gospel, should lead us to seize every opportunity which offers of advancing the interests of true religion. The exalted charity of this apostle in disposing of his property for the good of the Church, should inspire us with the same pious and benevolent zeal. The severe contention which arose between St. Paul and Barnabas may serve to teach us, that as the best of men are fallible, we should take the commands of God as the unerring rules of our conduct. We should endeavour, as far as we can, to avoid all subjects of strife and contention ; and when obliged to enter into controversy, we should conduct it with mildness and moderation.
Q. How should civil differences be managed among Christians ?
A. We ought never to prosecute any civil difference purely from a principle of revenge; we ought to recede from our own right in small matters, rather than to expose ourselves to the evils and temptations of going to law. But when the matter is of such importance as to require our appealing to a legal tribunal, we must be careful not to contract guilt by delaying justice, by any acts of circumvention, or by sug. gesting
false pleas only to obtain time, and to make the suit expensive and vexatious.
Q. How ought religious controversy to be conducted?
A. Religious controversy should be conducted with a single desire to the discovery of truth; without any aim at victory over our opponents, or at reputation for our superior learning and knowledge ; without casting contempt or scorn upon those who oppose us. If they are under the power of error, they are objects of Christian compassion; and by injurious or scornful treatment, we shall only harden them against the truth, and confirm them in their errors. We should never detract from the real worth of our adversaries, or charge them with consequences of their opinions which are unfair, and which they would disclaim. We should never, under pretence of a zeal for God's glory, give vent to our passions; but we should give an account of our faith with that meekness which governs the unreasonable sallies of anger, and with that fear which makes us cautious not to transgress those rules of charity which we are bound to observe toward our neighbour,