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me, O Lord, through the same Jesus Chris, to whom, with thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory now and for evermore. Amen.
the Increase of Faith, Hope, and Charity; and that I may obtain that which thou dost promise, make me beartily to believe what thou hast revealed, and to love that which thou dost command, through Jesus Chrift'our Lord.
; me by thy Grace, that I may mortify all the inor- ftacles of dinate and corrupt inclinations of my Heart, which believing. 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 Divifions amongft Chriftians, nor the ill Lives of those that profels thy holy Religion, ever stagger or weaken my Belief of it, fince Love and Peace, and Unity, are Marks of thy true Disciples, and thatthy 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 falle a Bias upon the Understanding, even in Matters of the greatest Importance, and which may prove so fatal and destructive to my cternal Welfare ; that seeing the Reasonableness of thofe 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 unmove
able and at last receive the End of my Faith, even the Salvation of my Soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O Holy and Eternal God who haft graciously
IV. For an effectual
condescended to establish with Chriftians a Faith.
Covenant of Faith and Obedience, with the Promises of a present Supply of Grace and AMstance, 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 linful Pleafures, 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 Righteousness, 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 Con: fidence in thy wife Providence; and that it may dispel all Solicitude for worldly Supplies, by a set-, tled Persuasion, that thou wilt with-hold 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.
The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birth Day
of CHRIST, commonly called Christmas
& WHAT Festival doth the Church celebrate this
Day? 1. The Great Festival of the Nativity of our Saviour Jesus Chrift; or the Appearance of God in the Flesh.
Q. What authority bave 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 Weft. And the immemorial Observation of it is an Argument of its primitive Institution.
Q. But is it not fuperftitious to observe this Festival upon ibe Twenty-fifth of December, 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 Teftimony of St. Chryfoftom is clear for the Tradition Chryfoftor of it. Though if the Day were mistaken, the Tom. 5. Matter of the Mistake being of no greater Mo
P 467. ment than the false Calculation of a Day, will certainly be very pardonable in those who think they are not mistaken. And as long as those, who are fupposed to be in this Error, do perform the Business of the Day with as much Piety and Devotion on a mistaken Day, as they could do on a true one, if they certainly knew it; the Excuse of blameless Ignorance will wash away greater Errors than this of the Day, supposing it were an Error.
Q. What are we to believe concerning the Birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ?
A. That the Virgin Mary, espoused unto Josip! of Nazareth, who, before and after her Espousals
, was a pure and unspotted Virgin, being and continuing in the same Virginity, did, by the immediate Operation of the Holy Ghost, conceive, within her Womb, the only-begotten Son of God; and, after the natural Time of other Women, brought him forth. Whereby the Saviour of the World was born of a Woman, made under the Law, without the least Pretence of any original Corruption, that he might deliver us from the Guilt of Sin. And he was born of a Virgin, of the House and Lineage of David, that he might fit upon his Throne, and rule for evermore.
Q. Was the promised Messias to be born after a miraculous Manner?
A. Yes, the Prophecies of the Old Testament Jer. xxxi. foretold as much, Jeremiah says, The Lord bath ere
ated a new Thing upon the Earıb,a Woman shall compass a Man. The new Creation of a Man is therefore
new, and therefore a Creation, because wrought in II. vii. 14. a Woman only, without a Man. Isaiah, Behold a
Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall cull his
. The original Word was translated a Virgin, by such Interpreters as were fire's themselves, some hundred Years before our Saviour's Birth ; and did not the Signification of the Word, and the frequent Use thereof in Scripture import it, the Wonder of the Sign given by the Lord himself would evince as much. As for that Conceit of the Jerus, that all should be fulfilled in Hezekiah, it is so
manifeftly false, that nothing can make more for Cyril Ilie- the Confirmation of our Faith. This fign was rof, Caiec. given, and this Promise made fome Time in the 2. Kings Reign of Ahoz. Now Ahaz reigned but Sixteen xvi. 2. ch. Tears in Jerusalem; and his Son Hezekiuh, who
succeeded him, was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and therefore born several years
Mat. i. 15.
before Abaz was King, and consequently not now
Q. How doth it appear that ihese Prophecies were
A. His Mother that bore him was a pure Virgin, Luke 1. 34.
Q. What were the Circumslances of our Saviour's
A. He was born at Bethlehem, according to the Prediction of the Prophet Micah; whither Joseph Mic.«. 2. and Mary went in Obedience to the Decree of Au- Luke ii. 4. Euftus, to be taxed, being of the House and Lineage of David; the Providence of God making Cle of this Conjuncture, by verifying a Prophecy, io fignify and publish the Birth of the true Mij fras. The Concourse of People to Bethlehem was so great, that they could find no Accommodation but a Stable; where the blessed Virgin brought farib ber first-born Son, and wrapped bim in swaddling Ver. 7. Clothes, and laid bim in a Manger; doing herself the Offices of a pious and tender Parent, whilst all tbe Angels of God worshipped him.
Q. How was the Birth of our Saviour published 13 ibe World?
Heb. i. 6.