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vanced, as to the Degree of it, even to the laying down our Lives for one another; fo'effectually taught, so mightily encouraged, so very much urged and insisted upon, that it may very well be called a new Commandment; for though it was not altogether unknown to Mankind before, yet it was never taught in this Manner, nor such Stress laid upon it by any other Institution.
Q. What Obligations have we to the Performance of this Duty?
A. The Frame of our Nature disposeth us to it, and our Inclination to Society, in which there can be no Pleasure, no Advantage without mutual Love and Kindness. It is highly acceptable to God, and the best Expression of
our Love towards him, fince our Neighbour is God's Creature and his
Image, and the Object of his Love and Kindness. John xii. 34
It is the particular Command of our blessed Saviour. urged upon his Difciples so earnestly, as if he re
quired nothing else in Comparison of it. It is the Joho xv. proper Badge and Cognizance of the Christian Pro
fesfion, by which the Disciples of Jesus were to be distinguished from the Difciples of any other Institution. And in the first Ages, Christians were so eminent for the Practice of this Virtue, that it became a Proverb among the Heathens, Behold how these Christians love one another. And all this enforced upon us by the Example of the Son of God, whose whole Life and Death was one continued Proof of his Love to Mankind. And he instituted the blessed Sacrament to be a lively Remembrance of that his great Charity, and to be a perpetual Bond of Love and Union among his Followers.
Q. By what Rules ought we to govern our Love to our Neighbour?
A. It ought to be universal, because we defire .cvery body should love us; and the Reasons upon which this Duty is founded, extend it to all Man.
12, 57. Ch. xiii. 35.
kind. It ought to be fincere, fince the Love of
to be solid and substantial, and
bright Beams of Light upon thy Church ; Perleve-
with various Winds of Doctrine, nor to be im- lahtness in
But grant that trusting to thy Holy
Scriptures, as the certain Rule and Guide of
my Faith, and to thy bleffed
Apostles, as the Planters and Propagators of it, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner-Stone, I may rejoice in the Light they afford, and constantly believe those Truths which are there revealed. That I may always adore that Divinity that was incarnate, and worship Jefus, who is God as well as Man. Let ng hereti. cal Interpretations corrupt the Purity of my Faith, nor Pretences to greater Îllumination ever weaken my Stedfastness. Thou didit graciously establish thy Church with the Gospel of thy Evangelist St. John, when pernicious Errors and Herelies were started to corrupt it. Let the same watchful Eye of Providence still be its Guard and Defence; that all Christians constantly adhering to the Doctrine he taught, and firmly believing those divine Myfteries which he plainly made known to the World, may be preserved from all damnable Heresies ; from those fatal and evil Consequences which attend them in this World; and from those Punishments prepared for them in the next. Grant this through the Merits of Jesus Chrift' our Lord. Amen. VI.
, our Neigh
who extendest thy loving Kindness to all Mankind, thy Creatures, the Work of thy Hands, thy Image capable of loving thee, and enjoying thee eternally; suffer me to exclude none, o Lord, from my Charity, who are the Objects of thy Mercy and Tenderness, but let me treat all my Neighbours with that Love and Good-will, which is due to thy Servants and to thy Children. Thou hast required this Mark of our Love to thee: O! let no Temptation expose me to Ingratitude, or make me forfeit thy loving Kindness, which is better than Life itself; but grant that I may assist all my Bre
For the Love of
thren with Prayers and good Wishes where I cannot reach them by actual Services. Make me ready to embrace all Occasions that may administer to their Happiness; by assisting the Needy, protecting the Oppressed, inftructing the Ignorant, reproving the Wicked and Profane. Grant that I may look upon the Defects and Frailties of my Neighbour as if they were my own, that I may conceal them; that making thy Love to me, O blefled Jesus, the Pattern of my Love to them, I may above all Things endeavour to promote their eternal Welfare. Thou thoughtest nothing too dear to part with to rescue me from eternal Misery; Oh! let me think nothing too dear to part with to set forward the everlasting Goodofmy Fellow Christians. They are Members of thy Body, therefore I will cherish them; thou hast redeemed them with an inestimable Price, therefore will I endeavour to recover them from a State of Destruction; that thus adorning thy Holy Gospel, by doing good according to my Power and Capacity, I may at last be received into the Endearments of thy eternal Love, and sing everlasting Praises to the Lamb that was sain, and fitteth upon the Throne. Amen, Annen.
CHA P. VIII.
The Holy Jnnocents. December 28.
this Day? A. The Martyrdom of the Holy Innocents; which is mentioned by Origen as what was by the holy Hom: 3: Fathers, according to the Will of God, commanded to be for ever celebrated in the Church.
Q. In what Sense were they Martyrs ?
idonca extitit ad coro
3. C. 13.
God by their Deaths. It hath been observed, that there are three Sorts of Martyrdoms: The first in Will and Deed; which was the Case of most of the Apostles: The second in Will, but not in Deed; which was the Case of St. John the Evangelist; the Ancients upon this Account giving him the Title of
Martyr, that he yielded his Body to Torments, and Ætas net was willing to die for Christ: The third in Deed, lis ad pug. but not in Will; which was the Case of the Holy In
nocents. It having been the Sense of the Church,
that they died the Death of Martyrs, though inca5.2.1Cypr
. pable of making the Choice; God having lupplied Iren. lib. the Defects of their Will, by his own Acceptation
of the Thing
Q. What was the Occasion of the Death of these Infants ?
A. Herod being alarmed with the Enquiry of the Mat. i. 2. wise Men from the East; andapprehending his own
Kingdom in Danger from bim that was born King of the Jews,endeavours first by crafty Policy to destroy our Saviour under a Pretence of worshipping him ; but the wise Men being warned by God in a Dream, returned into their own Country another Way. This
Disappointment enraged Herod, and put him upon Ver. 16. the Ule of open Force; be sent forth and New all the
Children that were in Bethlehem,and in all the Coasts thereof, from two years old and under, hoping to involve the young King in the cruel Execution, and thereby soon to determine his Reign. This Slaugh
ter of the Beiblemite Children under two Years old, Lib.2. c.4. is mentioned by Macrobius, with a Reflection made
upon Herod on that Occasion by the Emperor Augufius.
Q: How did our blessed Saviour escape this bloody Delign of Herod?
A. God made known to Joseph the wicked PurVer.13. pose of Herod, by the Ministration of an Angel, who ordered him to arise and secure the Holy Child