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Spiritual Persons are equally obliged to pay all Duty
who hast purchased to thyself an universal Ordainers Church, by the precious Blood of thy dear Son; Ordained. mercifully took upon the same, and at this Time so guide and govern the Minds of thy Servants, the Bishops and Pastors of thy Flock, that they may lay Hands suddenly on no Man; bur faithfully and wisely make Choice of fit Persons, to serve thee in the sacred Ministry 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
set forth thy Glory, and set forward the Sala vation of all Men, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
nister in holy Things, may have a great Clergy: Sense of the Dignity and Importance of their may Office; that since they are thy Embassadors, they
discharge may in all their Actions have a due Regard to the their holy Excellency of their Character, and faithfully, die Funktion 3
ligently, and prudently transact those great Affairs thou hast entrusted to their Management: That since they are thy Ministers, they may have always imprinted in their Remembrance, how great a Treasure is committed to their Charge, the Sheep of Christ, which he bought with his Death, and for whom he shed his Blood; that the Church and Congregation whom they serve is the Spouse and Body of Christ: That since they are the Stewards of the Mysteries, they may feed and provide for thy Family, seek thy Sheep that are dispersed abroad, and thy Children which are in the Midst of this naughty World, that they may be saved through Chrift: That since they are Labourers in thy Vineyard, they may never cease, by their Care and Diligence, to bring all such as are committed to their Charge unto that Agreement in Faith and Knowledge of God, and to that Ripeness and Perfectness of Age in Christ, that there may be no Place left for Error in Religion, or for Viciousness of Life. That since their Employment is laborious and difficult, they may constantly pray
for the heavenly Assistance of the Holy Ghost from thee, O Father, by the Mediation of our blessed Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ, that by daily reading and weighing of the Scriptures they may wax riper and itronger in their Ministry, and so fashion their Lives, and those of their Families, after the Rules and Doctrine of Christ, that they may be wholesome and godly Examples for the rest of the Congregation to follow, and be able to give a good Account of their Stewardship at the Tribunal of Christ; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, World, without End. Amen.
THOU great Shepherd, and Bishop of our Taylor?
Souls, most glorious Jesu, bless all holy and for Bireligious Prelates, especially the Bishops of our
shops. Church. O God, let Abundance of thy Grace and Benediction descend upon their Heads, thar by a holy Life, by a true and catholic Belief, by a resolute Confession of thy Name, and by a facherly Care, and great Sedulity, and Watchfulness over their Flock, they may glorify thee our God, the great Lover of Souls, and set forward the Salvation of their People, and of others by their Example, and at last, after a plentiful Conversion of Souls, they may shine like the Stars in Glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
CH A P. IX.
The Uigils. Q. WHAT do you mean by Vigils?
A. Those Fasts which the Church hath thought fit to establith before certain Fistivals, in order to prepare our Minds for a due Observation of the ensuing Solemnity: That so our Joy may not degenerate into Sensuality, nor be expressed by Intemperance, nor evaporate into Lightness and Vanity; but that we may use God's good Creatures with Moderation and Thankfulness, with Bowels of Mercy to those that are in Want, and raise our Souls to such a Relish of spiritual Enjoyments, that it may be our Meat and Drink to do the Will of our heavenly Father. Q. Why are these Fafts called Vigils?
42, XxY. 13.
A. From the Latin Word Vigilia, signifying Watchings: It being the Custom in the Primitive Times to pass great Part of the Night that preceded certain Holy Days in Devotion and religious Exercises; and this even in those Places which they set apart for the public Worship of God. But when these Night Meetings came to be so far abused, that no Care could prevent several Disorders and Irregularities, the Church thought fit to abolish them, and thefe Night Watches were converted into Fasts, still keeping the former Name of Vigils.
Q. What was probably the Original of these Vigils or Night Watches among Christians ?
A. Some are inclined to found this Practice upon
several Texts of Scripture understood literally, Mat. xxiv. where Watching is enjoined as well as Prayer, par
ticularly upon that Conclusion our Saviour draws Märk 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 Luke vi. Saviour's own Example, who continued all Night in Ačs xvi. Prayer alone ; and that of St. Paul and Silas, who
at Midnight prayed and sang Praises unto God. And what Wonder if in this Sense it was practised and recommended by the Christians of the first Age, who generally apprehended, that the End of the World was near at Hand, and that their blessed Master would quickly summon them to appear
before his dreadful Tribunal, and that at Midnight Mat. xxv. the Cry would be made, Bebold the Bridegroom comeib!
The Fervour and pious Zeal of those Times might easily dispose them under such Thoughts, to abridge themselves of Sleep, and to employ Part of the Night in prosecuting the Affairs of their eternal Salvation, that if possible, 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 ibis
World, they would sometimes borrow from the Night for the Exercise of their Devotion; when the others, to gratify their Passions, can dedicate whole Nights to their Business or Pleasure.
Q. Wbat further Account is there of the Original of Vigils ?
A. Others, with greater Probability, have referred the Rise of these Night Watches to the Necessity Christians were under of meeting in the Night and before Day for the Exercise of their Devotions in common, by reason of the Malice and Persecution of their Enemies, who endeavoured their Destruction when they discovered them to be Christians. Thus the Disciples of our Joha xx. Lord were assembled together in the Evening, the 19. Doors being shut for fear of the Jews, when our Saviour appeared to them, and shewed them his Hands and his Side. When St. Peter was delivered out of Prison by an Angel in the Night, he Ads xii. found the Church of Jerusalem assembled in the 1%. House of Mary the Mother of John surnamed Mark, perforining the public Offices of Religion. St. Paul at Troas continued his Speech until Mid Ads. *x. night, and then administered the Sacrament to the 7. and 10. Disciples, who came together to break Bread. In the After-ages, Tertullian confirms the Custom of De Coron. frequenting the Assemblies for religious Worship, and of receiving the Eucharif before_Day : And in the Account Pliny gives to the Emperor con- Lib. X. cerning the Christians, their meeting before Day to fer ula'ad sing Hymns to our Saviour, &c. makes a Part of Uz. lib.ii. it. Now when Persecution ceased, and Chistians Eusebode had the Liberty of performing their Devotions ftant. in a more public Manner, they Itill continued lib. iv. these Night Watches before great Festivals, particu- Orat, in larly that of Easter, as is owned by several of the
Ambrof. Ancients. This Practice was in great Vigour in the Time of St. Jerome, who defended these Vigils