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in, or that Company we converse with; that our Guard may be fer in the right Place, where we are moft alarmed with Danger, and where Surprize would be most fatal. For fo great is the Power of Passion and Custom to give fair Colours to very great Disorders, so mischievous is the Complaisance of Friends and Flatterers to fortify these wrong Notions, that except we are very watchful, we shall unavoidably be made a Prey.
Q. How does Watchfulness avoid Dangers ? 1. By making Use of the fittest and properest Means to defeat those Designs of the Enemy of our Salvation, which we have happily discovered. For Temptations must be refifted differently, according to their different kinds. To this End God hath provided several Sorts of Grace, the Use whereof is of great Importance to us. When Temptations flatter our corrupt Nature, our Victory consists in Flight ; when they would discourage us with Difficulties and Dangers, we can never be Conquerors without looking them in the Face, and encountering them with Resolution. Without this Caution, the best Disposition of Mind will hardly perserve us from falling
Q. How does Watchfulness prepare us to encounter Dangers ?
A. By putting on the whole Armour of God, and Eph. vi. fortifying those weak Places in which we are most ". likely to be attacked. If we would not sacrifice our Conscience to establish our Fortune, we must have impressed upon our Minds a strong Belief of another World, where Virtue will prevail more than Riches and Honour. If we would not be overcome by the Pleasures of Sense, we should live under a lively Hope of enjoying those Pleasures which are at God's right Hand for evermore. We should gird Eph. vi. ourselves with Truth, and then no Profit would pre- '4. vail upon us to perjure ourselves, and to be insincere
in our Words and Promises, but we should be firm and steady in all our Actions. We should guard our Minds with Righteousness, and keepa Conscience void of Offence, if ever we intend to overcome the Persecutions and Sufferings we may be exposed to, upon the Account of our Faith. We should put on the Sword of the Spirit, encounter all Temptations with those stronger Motives which the Word of God offers to engage our Obedience, and then they would lose their Force, and appear contemptible.
Q. Whence arises the Necessity of this Duty of Watchfulness?
A. From the Nature of our Condition in this World, which is surrounded with Variety of Temptations, so that there is no Circumstance of Life which is entirely free from some Sort of Assault or other; all our Ways being strewed with Snares, From the Power and Strength of our Adversary, who is Prince of the Air, and wants neither Skill nor Industry to work our Ruin. From our own Frailty and Weakness, whereby we have no Power of ourselves to help ourselves; and from the Danger of our Overthrow, whereby we become liable to the Miseries of a sad Eternity.
For the Perservation ofthe Church from false
The PRAY E R S.
Almighty God, who into the Place of the
Traitor Judas didst chuse thy faithful Servant
Matthias to be of the Number of the twelve Teachers. Apostles ; grant that thy Church, being always
preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true Pastors, through Jesus Cbrif our Lord. Amen.
Strength of so many and great Dangers, that by reason against
Dangers. of the Frailty of my Nature, I cannot always stand upright; grant to me such Strength and Protection, as may support me in all Dangers, and carry me through all Temptations, through fefusChrift. Amen.
GOD, who seeft I have no Power of myself For God's
to help myself; that I am not wise enough for on. my own Direction, not able enough for my own Defence ; let me acknowledge thee in all my Ways, and not lean to my own Understanding. Let thy Light guide me, thy Providence protect me, thy Grace enable me, that I may faithfully discharge all the public and private Duties thou shalt think fit to call me to; that being thus armed with thy Defence, I may be preserved from all Dangers, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. .
Covetthat I enjoy, moderate my Affections to the ousness. Things of this World, that I may not pursue them with an eager and unsatiable Desire. Greediness of Gain tempt me to the least Injustice, either by Fraud or Oppression, but that I may commit myself to thy Providence in the Use of honest and lawful Endeavours, and not torment myself with anxious Care about the Success. Suffer not the. Concerns of this Life to make me negligent in the Concernments of much greater Importance; that while I am supporting a dying Body, I may remember I have an immortalSoul, which infinitely deserves my chiefest Care. And as for those good Things thou haft been pleased to bestow upon me,
teach me to enjoy them as with Temperance, so with Thankfulness and Charity, and readily to part with them rather than forsake thy Truth, or to make Shipwreck of a good Conscience. That being delivered from the covetous Temper of the Traitor Judas, I may escape those Sins which such vile Affections lead to, and that Punishment which he felt, and those deserve; and this I beg for Christ his Sake. Amen.
CHA P. XIV.
The Annunciation of the Blelled Uirgin
Mary, March 25.
blessed Virgin, which the Church this Day celebrates ? Luks i. 230
A. The Declaration which the Angel Gabriel made to the blessed Virgin Mary, that she should be Mother of our Lord Jesus Chrift; that this her Son should be great, and called the Son of the Highest; that the Lord God should give unto him the Throne of his Father David ; that he should reign over the House of Jacob for ever; and that of his Kingdom there should be no End.
Q. What doth this Description made by the Angel
Gabriel refer to? Chap. ix. A. To the Prophecy of Isaiah concerning the
Melias, who foretold, That the Government should be upon his Shoulder, and his Name should be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlafting Father, the Prince of Peace; of the Incrcase ofhis Governmentand Peace there shouldbeno End, upon the Throne of David, and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with Judgment and with Justice, from henceforth even for ever. <
Q. What Q. What is the Importance of the Angel's Description of tbe Messias?
A. That God should settle upon the Mellias a
A. The Salutation made to the blessed Virgin by Luke i. a8. the same Angel in those Words, Hail, thou that art bigbly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blejsed art thou among Women.
Q. What was the Meaning of this Salutation?
A. That the blessed Virgin was most excellently disposed to receive the greateft Honour that ever was done to the Daughters of Men; her Employment being holy and pious, her Body chaste, and her Soul adorned with all Virtues, particularly with Humility, which is in the Sight of God of great Price; for though she was to be the Mother of an universal and everlasting Blessing, which all former Ages had desired, and all future Times should rejoice in; yet she resigns all this Glory to him that gave it her, and declares whence she received it,that no other Name but his might have the Glory:
Q. How did the blessed Virgin receive this Salutation?
À. She was troubled at the Saying of the Angel, Ver- 29. and cast in her Mind what Manner of Salutation it should be ; judging herself unworthy of so great an Honour, and being furprized with the Strangeness of such an Apearance in her Retirement. But when the Angel positively affirmed that she should conceive and bring forth the Mesias, she enquires how that could be, since she knew not a Man.
Q. What is implied in this Answer of the blessed Virgin