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John xx. 15.
John xx. 26.
with the Heavinefs of the Understanding, and to endeavour with Gentlenefs and Patience to inftil that Knowledge which is neceffary to make Devotion perfect; and that the doing that Will of God, which we know is the beft Qualification to attain greater Degrees of Knowledge; fince we are affured by our Saviour, If any Man will do his Will, he shall know of the Doctrine, whether it be of God.
Q. What Proof did St. Thomas require of our Saviour's Refurrection?
A. The Teftimony of his own Senfes; for though the reft of the Apoftles affured him they had really seen their Mafter alive again, yet he profeffed, except he fhould fee in his Hands the Print of the Nails, and thruft his Hand into his Side, he would not believe. A ftrange Piece of Infidelity, after he had seen our Saviour's Miracles, and had fo long converfed with him, who had frequently afferted, in plain Terms, that he muft rife again the third Day.
Q. How did our Saviour cure this bis Infidelity? A. Compaffionating the Weakness of St. Thomas, and willing to fatisfy the Doubts and Scruples of fincere though ignorant Man; he appeared to his Difciples again, when St. Thomas was with them, and gave him the Satisfaction he defired; who, being quickly convinced of his Error, acknowledged him to be his very Lord and Master, a God omnipotent, thus able to rescue himself from the Powers of Death.
Q. What Reply did our Saviour make to this Profellion of St. Thomas's Faith?
A. That he did well to believe upon this Teftimony of his Senfes; but that it was a more noble and commendable Act of Faith, to acquiefce in a rational Evidence, and to entertain the Doctrines and Relations of the Gospel upon fuch Affurances. of the Truth of Things, as are fit to fatisfy a wife and fober Man, though he did not fee them with his own Eyes.
Q. What Advantage is this Act of St. Thomas's Infidelity to us Chriftians?
A. It confirmeth our Faith in our Saviour's Refurrection, and convinces us beyond all Doubt or Scruple, by the most fenfible Evidence, that the very fame Body of our Lord was raised, in which he fuffered.
Q. Where did St. Thomas preach the Gofpel?
A. The Province allotted to him for the Exercife Eufeb. lib. of his Apoftolical Office was Parthia? he published c. 1. / the glad Tidings of Salvation to the Medes, Perfians, Carmanians, Hyrcani, and Bactrians. Some of the Ancients relate how he met with the Magi; to whose Country they belonged, who brought Prefents to our new-born Saviour; that he baptized feveral of them, and made ufe of them as his Affiftants in propagating the Gofpel; that he paffed through the Afian Ethiopia, and at laft came to the Indies, as is proved by antient Tradition, and feveral Marks ftill preferved among thofe People to this Day.
Q. How are the Chriftians in that Part of India called?
A. The Chriftians which inhabit the more fouth- Brereerly Part of the great Promontory, whofe Bafe lies wood's between the Outlets of the Rivers Indus and Ganges, 20. are called the Chriftians of St. Thomas, becaufe fupposed to be converted by his Preaching. Before the Portuguefe frequented thofe Parts, they were efteemed to be about fifteen or fixteen thoufand Families. They had then no Dependance upon the Bishop of Rome, but denied his Primacy. The Sacrament was administered among them in both Kinds; they celebrated it with Bread feafoned with Salt; and instead of Wine, which their Country afforded not, they made Ufe of the Juice of Raifins, foftened one Night in Water, and then preffed forth. They baptized not their Infants till they were forty Days old, except in Danger of Death. They ufed
not extreme Unction. They had no Images in their Churches, but only the Crofs. And their Priests were excluded from fecond Marriages.
Q. How is it thought St. Thomas fuffered Martyrdom ?
A. Having converted many to the Faith in India, and, among the reft, the Prince of the Country, the Brachmans, perceiving this would spoil their Trade, refolved to put a Stop to his fuccefsful Progrefs, and confpired his Death. And one Day, when our Apostle was retired without the City of Malopur for his private Devotions, they affaulted him with armed Men, first loading him with Darts and Stones, and then one run him through with a Lance.
Q. What became of his Body?
A. It was by his Difciples buried in a Church which he had lately caused to be built in the forementioned City. And though fome fay it was afterwards tranflated to Edeffa, yet the Chriftians in the East conftantly affirm it to have remained in the Place of his Martyrdom.
Q. What may we learn from the Obfervation of this Feftival?
A. That provided our Minds fincerely intend God's Service,and that our Affections are fixed upon him as our chiefeft Good, he will compaffionate 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 practife what we know to be God's Will. That no Dangers fhould difcourage us from adhering to our bleffed Mafter, and that even Death itself fhould not be able to fe parate us from him. That Faith ought to be the prevailing Principle of a Chriftian,under all Events, and in every Condition of human Life; and that, though it is a Degree of Affent inferior to Senfe, yet the Acts of it are much more praife-worthy and commendable:
commendable: Blessed are they which have not feen, John xx. and yet believe.
Q. How is Faith made the prevailing Principle of a Chriftian Life?
A. By governing all our Thoughts, Words, and Actions, with a Regard to another World; and by a firm Persuasion of abfent and invifible Things; as the Belief of a God, and his Providence that orders all Things, and of his invifible Grace, ready at Hand to affift us in all that is good, and to keep us from all Evil: Efpecially when in all our Ways we have a Regard to the Promises of everlasting Life; and the Threatenings of eternal Mifery: Which was the great Principle of the Piety and Virtue of all good Men from the Beginning of the World; as the Apostle to the Hebrews declareth Heb. xi, at large.
Q. Wherein confifleth 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 Certainty and the Concernment of them. We have all the Affiftance of the Truth of them that we are capable of in this Life, from the Dictates of Reafon, and the general Confent of Mankind; befides that, to affure us thefe Reasonings are true, we have a moft credible Revelation of thefe Things in the Gofpel of our Saviour; who gave a fenfible Proof of his divine Miffion in his Refurrection from the Dead. And, as to the Importance of them, every one must own, that the highest Hopes, and the greatest Fears, are fufficient Springs of human Actions; for what can concern us more than eternal Happinefs and eternal Mifery?
Q. What is meant by Faith in Chrift?
A. In general, it is the believing all thofe Things that are declared to us by Christ; and more particularly fome Things that are declared of him. The believing what is faid by him is called Faith in Chrift,
For a firm
as his Authority and Credit is the Ground and Reafon of our Belief. And the believing Things faid of him is called Faith in Chrift, as he himself is the Object of it. And when this Belief fuitably af fecteth us, and we refolve and practise so as may reasonably be expected from Persons under fuch Perfuafions, then it is imputed to us for Righteousness.
Q. What are thofe Properties that fit Faith to produce fuch fuitable Effects?
A. It must be real and unfeigned, against the Pretences of those that use it only as a Difguife to be trusted; or as a mere outside Profeffion, without looking for any farther Reason than to be in the Fashion. It must be hearty and affectionate; not a mere fpeculative Opinion, as of Things wherein we are not much interested; but a moving and influencing Perfuafion, wherewith all the Powers of the Soul are affected. It must be affured and confident ; for a wavering and uncertain Opinion will not accomplish its Work. Men will not run Ventures and bear Loffes on uncertain Hopes, but only on firm and certain Expectations. It must be honest, and accompanied witha good Confcience, implying a Man's Integrity in discharging the Profeffion he makes, and Honesty in performing his Undertaking. It must be refolute, and fully fixed, after all Things are well confidered, fo that when any Hardthips arife, we may not be foon staggered in our Minds.
Lmighty and everlasting God, who, for the more Confirmation of Faith, didft fuffer thy holy Apostle Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son's Refurrection; grant me fo perfectly, and without all Doubt, to believe in thy Son Jefus Chrift, that my Faith in thy Sight may never be reproved. Hear