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rences raised Matter for spiritual Thoughts; and conformed not only to divine Institutions, but to Johnx.22. human Appointments that tended to promote Religion. That we might learn Humility, this Prince Luke ii. 7. of Glory condescended to the Poverty of a Stable; this Wisdom of the Father became dumb, and was reduced to the Simplicity of an Infant; he spent thirty Years of his Life in Retirement, unknown to the World, and was subject to his Parents. That we might be ready to exercise universal Charity A&s x. 38. to the Bodies and Souls of Men, the whole Course of his Life was employed in doing Good. That we might suppress all ambitious Desires, he refused Mat. iv. & the Offer of the Kingdoms of the World, and the Glory of them; and, when the People would have made him a King, he filently withdrew, and they John vi. knew not where to find him. That we might be it obedient to Government, he paid Tribute, though he 24, 25was free from any such Obligation, and was forced to work a Miracle to perform it. That we might live above the World, he chose to have no Part nor Share in the Poffefsions of it, the Son of Man not Mat. viii. baving where to lay his Head. And though he denied 20. himself in the law ful Pleasures and Satisfactions of Life, yet he was perfectly contentedin his mean Condition. That in all our Sufferings we might be re- Mat. xxvi. Signed to the Will of God, in his bitter Agony he re- 39. nounced the strongest Inclination of Nature, and submitted to the Appointment of his Father. That a Regard to the Judgment of the World might not prevail upon us to transgress the Laws of God, he Phil. ii. 7made bimself of no Reputation ; and, in order to do Good to Mankind, was contented to be esteemed one of the worst of Men; a Magician, an Impostor, Luke xi, a Friend and Companion of Publicans and Sinners, Mat. xi. and a Seducer of the People. That we might re- 19. fist all Temptations to Anger, and preservean Evennefs of Mind under all Provocations, he bore with
Luke xxiii. 34
John xiv. the Dulness and Slowness of his Disciples, both in
their understanding and believing what he plainly John x. 32. taught, and answered the sharpeit Reproaches of
his Enemies with calm Arguments, and modest Silence. That we might practise that difficult Duty af loving our Enemies, he prayed most earnestly for his, even when he felt the most cruel Effects of their Malice, and imputed it to their Ignorance.
Q. What Encouragement halb our Saviour promised, to excite us to the Performance of our Duty ?
A. He offereth Pardon and Forgiveness of what is past, and perfect Reconciliation to God by the Merits of his Death and Passion, provided we return to him by sincere Repentance. He supplieth us with Strength at present to enable us to do our Duty, by enlightening our dark Minds, by exciting our Wills to that which is good, and by railing our Courage under Difficulties and Dangers. He alarms our Fears by the Threatenings of eternal Punishinent in the next Life, and encourages our Hopes by the Promises of everlasting Rewards to the whole Man, both Body and Soul ; which are the most powerful Considerations in the World to take Men off from Sin, and to bring them to Goodness.
Q. What I boughts are proper lo entertain our Minds upon this Festival?
A. Great Admiration of the stupendous Love of God towards Mankind, in sending no less a Person than his own Son, and no less dear to him than his only-begotten Son, out of his mere Grace and Goodness, to accomplish our Salvation, who were Enemies to God by our evil Works. Great Thankfulness to the blessed Jefus, for his wonderful Humility and Coirdefcension, when he undertook the Work of our Redemption. He who lodged in the Bofom of bis Father, came into the World,
and had not where to lay bis Head. He who had Heaven for his Throne, was contented to be born in a Slable, to be laid in a
Munger, io be wrapped in swaddling Clothes. Great Transports of Gratitude; that, for our Sakes, he would be pleased to be made miserable, that we might be made happy; to be poor, that we might be enriched ; to die, that we might live for ever. Great Trust and Confidence in the Mercy of God, who hath Thewed such Tenderness and Compalfion towards us, and done such great Things for our Salvation.
Q. How ought we to express our Thankfulness for ibe Incarnation of our blessed Saviour ?
A. We ought to join with the heavenly Host, and the pious believing Shepherds in Hymns of Praise and Thanksgiving. To comply with the great Design of this wonderful Love, by denying all Tit. ii. 12. Ungodliness and worldly Lufts, and by living soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present World. To propound this Pattern of Love for our own Imitation, and because God hath so loved us, to love one 1 Jolm ivo another; and to stoop to the lowest Offices of Cha-.11. rity for the Relief of our Neighbour. Never to despise the Poor for the Meanness of their Circumstances, since it is what our Saviour chose for our Sakes; but to cherish and affift them as his lively Representatives here upon Earth, especially because all the Kindness we shew to them he reckoneth as done to himself.
Q. How ought we to express our Love to the blefsed Jesus for this wonderful Condescension.
1. By earnestly labouring to please him to the John xiv. utmost of our Power, in a constant Care to keep his '5. Commandments, and endeavouring to pre ail upon others to do the same. By making a daily Progress in Piety and Virtue, that we may be conformed to the Likeness of that beloved Object. By setting a great Value upon all Ways and Opportunities of conversing with him ; in praying and meditating, in hearing his Word, and receive
ing the blessed Tokens of his Love, which he hath
cerned to hear his holy Name blasphemed, than Tit. ii. 13. for any Reproach that can be cast upon ourselves.
By longing for his glorious Appearing, that we
Q. How is the Observation of this Festival abused?
A. When, instead of making it an Instrument of
of our Saviour's Coming into the World, who was
begotten Son, to take our Nature upon him, and as at this Time to be born of a pure Virgin; grant that I, being regenerate and made thy Child by Adoption and Grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, World without End. Amen.
II. For Conformity to
O Son the Design
he might destroy the Works of the Devil, of Chrift's and make us the Sons of God, and Heirs of etercoming
nal Life ; grant, I beseech thee, that having this World. Hope, I may purify myself, even as he is pure ;
that when he shall appear again with Power and
giving for give Thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Al- of our Samighty Everlasting God, because thou didnt give Jesus Christ thy only Son to be born as at this Time for us ; who by the Operation of the Holy Ghost was made very Man of the Substance of the Virgin Mary his Mother, and that without Spot of Sin, to make us clean from all Sin: Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all the Company of Heaven, I laud and magnify thy glorious Name, evermore praising thec, and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, Heaven and Earth are full of thy Glory. Glory be to thee, O Lord most High. Amen.
Peace, Good-will towards Men. I praise lie Incarchce, I bless thee, I worship thee, I glorify thee, nation. I give Thanks unto thee for thy great Glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. O Lord, the only-begotten Son Jesus Chrift,' Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, who wert made Man to take away the Sins of the World, have Mercy upon me, by turning me from my Iniquities : Thou who wait manifested to destroy the Works of the Devil, have Mercy upon me, by enabling me to renounce and forsake them: Thou who art the great Advocate with the Father for penitent Sinners, receive my Prayer. For thou only art holy, thou only art the Lord, thou only, O Christ
, with the