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Spiritual Perfons are equally obliged to pay all Duty and Allegiance to their rightful Sovereigns, as well as the meaneft of the Laity. That the Power of the Magiftrate, when moft full and abfolute, does not extend either to use themselves, or communicate to others, thofe fpiritual Powers which Chrift left only to his Apostles and their Succeffors. That we then beft fhew our Efteem of God's Ordinance, and teftify our Value for the Benefits of the Priesthood, then we not only reverence their Perfons, but deoutly attend their spiritual Administrations.
LMIGHTY God our heavenly Father, For the
A who haft purchased to thyfelf an univerfal Ordainers
Church, by the precious Blood of thy dear Son; Ordained. mercifully look upon the fame, and at this Time fo guide and govern the Minds of thy Servants, the Bishops and Paftors of thy Flock, that they may lay Hands fuddenly on no Man; but faithfully and wifely make Choice of fit Perfons, to serve thee in the facred Miniftry of thy Church. And to those who shall be ordained to any holy Function, give thy Grace and heavenly Benediction that both by their Life and Doctrine they may fet forth thy Glory, and fet forward the Salvation of all Men, through Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.
RANT, O Lord, that all those who admi- For the nifter in holy Things, may have a great that they Senfe of the Dignity and Importance of their Office; that fince they are thy Embassadors, they rightly may in all their Actions have a due Regard to the their holy Excellency of their Character, and faithfully, di- Function.
ligently, and prudently tranfact thofe great Affairs thou haft entrufted to their Management: That fince they are thy Minifters, they may have always imprinted in their Remembrance, how great á Treasure is committed to their Charge, the Sheep of Chrift, which he bought with his Death, and for whom he fhed his Blood; that the Church and Congregation whom they ferve is the Spouse and Body of Chrift: That fince they are the Stewards of the Mysteries, they may feed and provide for thy Family, feek thy Sheep that are difperfed abroad, and thy Children which are in the Midft of this naughty World, that they may be faved through Chrift: That fince they are Labourers in thy Vineyard, they may never ceafe, by their Care and Diligence, to bring all fuch as are committed to their Charge unto that Agreement in Faith and Knowledge of God, and to that Ripenefs and Perfectness of Age in Chrift, that there may be no Place left for Error in Religion, or for Vicioufness of Life. That fince their Employment is laborious and difficult, they may conftantly pray for the heavenly Affiftance of the Holy Ghoft from thee, O Father, by the Mediation of our blessed Redeemer and Saviour Jefus Chrift, that by daily reading and weighing of the Scriptures they may wax riper and stronger in their Ministry, and fo fashion their Lives, and those of their Families, after the Rules and Doctrine of Chrift, that they may be wholesome and godly Examples for the reft of the Congregation to follow, and be able to give a good Account of their Stewardship at the Tribunal of Chrift to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, World, without End. Amen.
THOU great Shepherd, and Bishop of our or Souls, moft glorious Jefu, blefs all holy and For Bireligious Prelates, efpecially the Bishops of our shops. Church. O God, let Abundance of thy Grace and Benediction defcend upon their Heads, that by a holy Life, by a true and catholic Belief, by a refolute Confeffion of thy Name, and by a fatherly Care, and great Sedulity and Watchfulness over their Flock, they may glorify thee our God, the great Lover of Souls, and fet forward the Salvation of their People, and of others by their Example, and at laft, after a plentiful Converfion of Souls, they may fhine like the Stars in Glory, through Jefus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
CHA P. IX.
Q. WHAT do you mean by Vigils?
A. Thofe Fafts which the Church hath thought fit to establish before certain Festivals, in order to prepare our Minds for a due Obfervation of the enfuing Solemnity: That so our Joy may not degenerate into Senfuality, nor be expreffed by Intemperance, nor evaporate into Lightness and Vanity; but that we may ufe God's good Creatures with Moderation and Thankfulness, with Bowels of Mercy to thofe that are in Want, and raise our Souls to fuch a Relifh of fpiritual Enjoyments, that it may be our Meat and Drink to do the Will of our heavenly Father.
Q. Why are thefe Fafts called Vigils?
A. From the Latin Word Vigilia, fignifying Watchings: It being the Custom in the Primitive Times to pafs great Part of the Night that preceded certain Holy Days in Devotion and religious Exercifes; and this even in thofe Places which they fet apart for the public Worship of God. But when thefe Night Meetings came to be so far abused, that no Care could prevent feveral Disorders and Irregularities, the Church thought fit to abolish them, and thefe Night Watches were converted into Fafts, ftill keeping the former Name of Vigils.
Q. What was probably the Original of thefe Vigils or Night Watches among Chriftians?
A. Some are inclined to found this Practice upon feveral Texts of Scripture understood literally, Mat. xxiv. where Watching is enjoined as well as Prayer, particularly upon that Conclufion our Saviour draws Mark xiii. from the Parable of the ten Virgins: Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the Day nor the Hour wherein the Son of Man cometh. And further they urge our Saviour's own Example, who continued all Night in Prayer alone; and that of St. Paul and Silas, who at Midnight prayed and fang Praifes unto God. And what Wonder if in this Senfe it was practised and recommended by the Chriftians of the first Age, who generally apprehended, that the End of the World was near at Hand, and that their bleffed Master would quickly fummon them to appear before his dreadful Tribunal, and that at Midnight Mat. xxv. the Cry would be made, Behold the Bridegroom cometh! The Fervour and pious Zeal of those Times might eafily dispose them under fuch Thoughts, to abridge themselves of Sleep, and to employ Part of the Night in profecuting the Affairs of their eternal Salvation, that if poffible, the Coming of the Son of Man might find them actually engaged in the Expectation of it. And were the Children of Light as wife in their Generation as the Children of this
World, they would fometimes borrow from the Night for the Exercise of their Devotion; when the others, to gratify their Paffions, can dedicate whole Nights to their Business or Pleasure.
Q. What further Account is there of the Original of Vigils?
A. Others, with greater Probability, have referred the Rife of thefe Night Watches to the Neceffity Chriftians were, under of meeting in the Night and before Day for the Exercife of their Devotions in common, by reafon of the Malice and Perfecution of their Enemies, who endeavoured their Deftruction when they difcovered them to be Chriftians. Thus the Difciples of our John xx. Lord were affembled together in the Evening, the 19 Doors being fhut for fear of the Jews, when our Saviour appeared to them, and fhewed them his Hands and his Side. When St. Peter was delivered out of Prifon by an Angel in the Night, he Acts xii. found the Church of Jerufalem affembled in the House of Mary the Mother of John furnamed Mark, performing the public Offices of Religion. St. Paul at Troas continued his Speech until Mid- A&s. xx. night, and then administered the Sacrament to the 7. and 10. Difciples, who came together to break Bread. In the After-ages, Tertullian confirms the Cuftom of De Coron. frequenting the Affemblies for religious Worship, and of receiving the Eucharift before Day: And in the Account Pliny gives to the Emperor con- Lib. x. cerning the Chriftians, their meeting before Day to Ter ul. ad fing Hymns to our Saviour, c. makes a Part of Uz. lib. ii. it. Now when Perfecution ceafed, and Chiftians Eufeb. de had the Liberty of performing their Devotions ftant. in a more public Manner, they ftill continued lib. iv. thefe Night Watches before great Festivals, particu- Orat. in larly that of Eafter, as is owned by feveral of the Ambrof. Ancients. This Practice was in great Vigour in the Time of St. Jerome, who defended thefe Vigils