« הקודםהמשך »
made members of Christ's mystical body, the church, whereof he is the head, and wherein they profess 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.
Q. Does 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 measure entitled to all those privileges that are derived from Christ our head; but yet we can never be made effectually partakers of them, except we perform those conditions upon which those great blessings 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 lusts of the flesh; we must subject our understandings to the obedience of faith, and keep God's holy will and 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 spiritual relation.
Q. What are the great privileges that result 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 assistance of God's blessed spirit, and the influences of his grace, to enable us to work out our salvation. The benefit of Christ's intercession 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 inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, a crown of glory that fadeth not away. For though all mankind are in the hands of God's unlimited
goodness, yet his covenanted mercies are the peculiar lot and portion of Christians, the members of Christ's mystical body.
THE PRAYERS, FOR THE BENEFIT OF CHRIST'S DEATH. I BESEECH thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into my heart, that, as I have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion I may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAISE FOR THE INCARNATION. I DESIRE, O Lord, to bless and praise thy infinite goodness, which took compassion upon 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 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
FOR IMITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN. GRANT, O Lord, by the assistance of thy grace, that I may most heartily comply with those great things which thou hast done and designed for my salvation ; teach me readily to obey thee as the angels do in heaven : give me purity and piety, prudence and modesty, those virtues which made the Blessed Virgin so highly favoured: that my employment may be always
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.
A MOVEABLE FEAST.
Q. What Festival does the church this day observe ?
A. The great Festival of the anniversary commemoration of our Saviour's resurrection.
Q. How ancient is the observation of this Festival ?
A. As ancient as the very times of the Apostles, as is clear to those that are conversant in the affairs of the primitive church.
Q. What was the state of the controversy about keeping of Easter?
A. The Asiatic churches kept their Easter upon the same day the Jews observed their passover, viz. the
fourteenth day of their first month, chiefly answering our March; and this they did upon what day of the week soever it fell. The other churches, especially those of the West, kept Easter upon the Lord's day following the Jewish passover. These latter pleaded Apostolical tradition; the Asiatics, the practice of the Apostles themselves.
Q. When was this controversy determined ?
A. In the great æcumenical council of Nice, assembled by the emperor Constantine; wherein it was ordained, that Easter should be kept upon one and the same day throughout the world, not according to the custom of the Jews, but upon the Lord's day.
Q. What are we Christians obliged to believe concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
A. That the eternal Son of God, who was crucified and died for our sins, did not long continue in the state of death; but on the third day, by his infinite power, did revive and raise himself, by re-uniting the same soul to the same body which was buried, and so rose the
Q. What proof is there of our Saviour's resurrection from the dead?
A. The testimony of sufficient and credible witnesses which is the only evidence a matter of fact is capable of receiving
Q. What testimony have we of our Saviour's resurrection?
A. The pious women, who thought with sweet spices to have anointed him dead, found him alive. The Apostles, who conversed with him frequently after his resurrection, were satisfied he had a real body, by his
eating and drinking with them. St. Thomas did not believe till he had searched the holes that the nails had made in his hands, and thrust his hands into his side. The rest of the disciples testify the same, to whom he also appeared, even to five hundred brethren at once. After that, he was seen of James, appeared to St. Stephen at his martyrdom, and to St. Paul at his conversion."
Q. It is plain the witnesses were thoroughly informed in the matter of fact; how does it appear they were faithful in relating it?
A. They being plain illiterate persons, it is unlikely they should be skilled in the art of deceiving; besides, the doctrine they taught forbad all falsehood upon pain of damnation; so that the sealing the truth of this fact with their blood is a sufficient evidence of their sincerity.
Q. The testimony of an adversary is of great force ; do his enemies any way confirm this truth?
A. Those soldiers that watched at the sepulchre, and pretended to keep his body from the hands of the Apostles; they which felt the earth trembling under them; and saw the countenance of an angel like lightning, and his raiment white as snow; they, who upon this sight did shake and became as dead men,' while he whom they kept, became alive; even some of these came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done."
Q. Is there any farther testimony in this case than that of men?
A. Yes, the angels bare evidence to the truth of it. One came and rolled back the stone from the door,
• John xxi. 13. Acts ix. 5.
di Cor. xv.
6, 7. Acts vii. 55. Mat. xxviii. 3, 4.