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mentioned City. And though some say it was afterwards translated to Edessa, yet the Christians in the East constantly affirm it to have remained in the Place of his Martyrdom?
Q. What may we learn from the Observation of this Festival?
A. That provided our Minds sincerely intend God's Service, and that our Affections are fixed upon him as our chiefest Good, he will compassionate the Weakness of our Understandings, and either pardon our Errors, or deliver us from them. That the best Method to procure divine Light is to practise what we know to be God's Will. That no Dangers should discourage us from adhering to our blessed Master, and that even Death itself should not be able to separate us from him. That Faith ought to be the prevailing Principle of a Christian, under all Events, and in every Condition of Human Life: and that though it is a Degree of Assent inferior to Sense, yet the Acts of it are much more praiseworthy and commendable; Blessed are they which have not seen, and yet belieoe.com Q. How is Faith made the prevailing Principle of
Dini ' a Christian Life?
A. By governing all our Thoughts, Words, and Actions, with a Regard to another World, and by a firm Persuasion of absent and invisible Things; as the Belief of a God, and his Providence that ora ders all Things, and of his invisible Grace, ready at Hand to assist us in all that is good, and to keep us from all Evil: Especially when in all our Ways we have a Regard to the Promises of everlasting Life, and the Threatenings of eternal Misery : Which was the great Principle of the Piety and
Virtue of all good Men from the Beginning of the Heb. xi. World; as the Apostle to the Hebrews declareth at
Q. Wherein consisteth the Power of this Principle?
A. In that the Objects of Faith are fitted to work upon our Minds upon the Account of both the
John XX 29.
Certainty and the Concernment of them. We have all the Assurance of the Truth of them that we are capable of in this Life, from the Dictates of Reason, and the general Consent of Mankind; besides that, to assure us these Reasonings are true, we have a most credible Revelation of these Things in the Gospel of our Saviour; who gave a sensible Proof of his divine Mission in his Resurrection from the Dead. And, as to the Importance of them, every one must own, that the highest Hopes, and the greatest Fears, are sufficient Springs of human Actions: for what can concern us, more than eternal Happiness and eternal Misery?
Q. What is meant by Faith in Christ?
A. In general, it is the believing all those Things that are declared to us by Christ, and more particularly some Things that are declared of him. The believing what is said by him is called Faith in Christ, as his Authority and Credit is the Ground and Reason of our Belief. And the believing Things said of him is called Faith in Christ, as he himself is the Object of it. And when this Belief suitably affecteth us, and we resolve and practise so as may reasonably be expected from Persons under such Persuasions, then it is imputed to us for Righteousness.
Q. What are those Properties that fit Faith to produce such suitable Effects?
A. It must be real and unfeigned, against the Pretences of those that use it only as a Disguise to be trusted; or as a mere outside Profession, without looking for any farther Reason than to be in the Fashion. It must be hearty and affectionate ;, not a mere speculative Opinion, as of Things wherein we are not much interested; but a moving and influencing Persuasion, wherewith all the Powers of the Soul are affected. It must be assured and confident; For a wavering and uncertain Opinion will not accomplish its Work. Men will not run Ventures and bear Losses en uncertain Hopes, but only on firm
and certain Expectations. It must be honest, and ac, companied with a good Conscience, implying a Man's, Integrity in discharging the Profession he makes, and Honesty in performing his Undertaking. It must be resolute, and fully fixed, after all Things are well considered, so that when any Hardships arise, we may not be soon staggered in our Minds.
1. For a firm ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, for the
more Confirmation of the Faith, didst suffer thy holy Apostle Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son's Resurrection ; grant me so perfectly, and without all Doubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus Christ, that my Faith in thy Sight may never be reproved. Hear me, O Lord, through the same Jesus Christ, to whom with thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory now and for evermore. Amen.
II. For Faith ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, give unto and Obe
me the Increase of Faith, Hope, and Charity; and that I may obtain that which thou dost promise, make me heartily to believe what thou hast revealed, and to love that which thou dost command, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
III. For re ORD of all Power and Might, who art the Aumering thor and Giver of all good Things; assist me by stacles of thy Grace, that I may mortify all the inordinate believing
and corrupt Inclinations of my Heart, which oppose the Belief of thy holy and heavenly Truths. Enable me to conquer my evil Habits, and govern my unruly Passions, that they may not indispose my Mind in embracing that Evidence, which so plentifully accompanieth thy divine Revelations to the
Sons of Men. Let not the scandalous Divisions amongst Christians, nor the ill Lives of those that profess thy Holy Religion, ever stagger or weaken my Belief of it, since Love, and Peace, and Unity, are Marks of thy true Disciples, and that thy Wrath is revealed from Heaven against all those that obey not the Gospel of thy Son. Keep my Mind free from all Prejudice, which puts so false a Bias upon the Understanding, even in Matters of the greatest Importance, and which may prove so fatal and destructive to my eternal Welfare; that seeing the
Reasonableness of those Things thou hast required • to be believed, the Perfection of those Duties thou hast enjoined to be practised, and the Power and Force of those Motives upon which both are founded, I may be stedfast and unmoveable, and at last receive the End of my Faith, even the Salvation of my Soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
IV. HOLY and Eternal God, who hast graciously for an efcondescended to establish with Christians a Cove-fectual nant of Faith and Obedience, with the Promises of a present Supply of Grace and Assistance, and of a future Reward to crown all those that persevere in thy Service; O let me for ever dwell upon this Rock, that, while I am surrounded with sensible Things, I may not be shaken by the Power of them. That no Charms of present sinful Pleasures, may make me forget that Place of Torment to which they consign me. That the Cares of this Life, and the Deceitfulness of Riches, may never make me neglect a Treasure that faileth not, an Inheritance with the Saints in Light. Work in me all those godly Affections that may make my Faith effectual to my Salvation. Let the Belief of thy paternal Care over me produce Love, Honour, and dutiful Obedience; the Belief of thy Almighty Power, Reverence and godly Fear; the Belief of thy Righteeusness, Holiness in all manner of Conversation;
that Faith being the governing Principle of my Life, it may compose my Mind under all Events, by a firm Trust and Confidence in thy wise Providence; and that it may dispel all Solicitude for worldly Supplies, by a settled Persuasion, that thou wilt withhold no good Thing from them that walk uprightly; and that thou art ready to bestow good Things, if we persevere in Prayer and Devotion ; that ordering all my Actions with a Regard to another World, I may so pass through Things temporal, that I finally lose not the Things eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
DAY OF CHRIST, COMMONLY CALLED
CHRISTMAS DAY.-DECEMBER 25.
Saviour Jesus Christ; or the Appearance of God in the Flesh.
Q. What Authority have we for the Observation of this Festival:
A. The Practice of the Primitive Church; for though we have no certain Evidence of the exact Time when it was first observed, yet it appeareth plainly, that it was very early received all over the West. And the immemorial Observation of it is an Argument of its primitive Institution.
Q. But is it not superstitious to observe this Festi. val upon the Twenty-fifth of Deceinber, when we cannot be certain that our Saviour was born upon that Day?
A. There is little Reason to doubt but that this
which we now observe is the very Day; the TesChrysost. timony of St. Chrysostom is clear for the Tradition p. 467. of it. Though, if the Day were mistaken, the