« AnteriorContinuar »
2. When was the festival of Christmas first observed ?
We have no certain evidence of the exact time when it was first observed, yet it appears to have been received very early all over the West.
3. Prove that God gave his only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Him, and to be born of a pure Virgin.
“ God sent forth his Son made of a woman." (Gal. iv. 4.) “ Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa. vii. 14.)
4. Shew that God's people are regenerate.
“ Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. vi. 3, 4.)
5. Shew that we are made bis children by adoption and grace.
“ As many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John i. 12.)
6. By whom do we pray to be daily renewed ?
By the Holy Spirit. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Tit. iii. 5.)
7. With whom does Christ live and reign?
With the Father and the Holy Spirit. 66 The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Rev. xix. 6.).
1. Why do the Collects for St. Stephen's Day, St. John the Evangelist's Day, and the Innocents' Day, follow immediately after Christmas Day?
Because none are thought fitter attendants on Christ's nativity than the blessed Martyrs, who laid down their lives for Him from whose birth they received spiritual life.
2. Why do we observe these days in commemoration of the Martyrs and Saints ?
The first Christians had certain days set apart in commemoration of the death of great heroes of the Christian religion, who sealed their testimony to it with their blood, and which days were termed their birth-days.
3. What was their custom on these days?
They met at the graves of these holy men once a year, to celebrate their virtues, and bless God for the example of their lives and glorious deaths in the cause of Christ.
4. Upon what may this practice have been founded ?
Upon the exhortation of St. Paul : “ Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God.” (Heb. xiii. 7.)
5. What did this custom produce in course of time?
Very great and serious evils. The number of Saints' days and festivals was inconveniently increased, and many names of men, whose lives were neither godly nor eminent, were placed upon the calendar.
6. Did the evil end here?
No; for in after ages prayers were addressed to the dead, and they were petitioned not only to intercede with God in behalf of their fellow-men, but also to bestow such blessings upon them as no man hath it in his power to confer.
7. When was this superstition put an end to?
At the Reformation, when all prayers for and to the dead, and invocation of saints, were done away.
8. What saints' days are retained in our Calendar ?
Those of the Twelve Apostles ; St. John Baptist, and St. Stephen, who was the first martyr for Christ's sake; St. Paul and Barnabas, on account of their extraordinary call; St. Mark and St. Luke, for the service they did Christianity by writing the Gospels; the Holy Innocents, because they were the first that suffered on our Saviour's account, the birth of Christ being to them the occasion of death. The memory of all other pious persons is celebrated together upon the festival of All Saints; and that the people may know what benefit Christians receive from the ministry of angels, the feast of St. Michael and All Angels is for that reason solemnly observed in the Church.
9. Then no superstition is connected with these observances ?
None whatever, The lives and virtues of these saints and Christians are brought before us in the several Collects, Epistles, and Gospels for the day, that we may see the possibility of practising the Christian virtues, and learn from their bright examples to bring forth fruit unto holiness.
10. We do not, then, worship these saints and martyrs ?
Certainly not; we are forbidden to do any such thing. " Then said he" (the angel)," See thou do it not : for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book : worship God.” (Rev. xxii. 9.)
11. Who was St. Stephen ?
He was one of the seven deacons appointed and ordained by the apostles to assist them in their ministration,
12. When was he put to death ?
1. Repeat the Collect for St. STEPHEN's Day. GRANT, O Lord, that, in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed ; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr, Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen. Then shall follow the Collect of the Nativity, which shall be said con
tinually unto New-Year's Eve. 2. In all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of the truth, what should we do?
“ Look unto me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am thy God, and there is none else.” (Isa. xlv. 22.)
3. What shall we be enabled to behold by faith ? The glory that shall be revealed. “I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. viii. 18.)
4. What may we learn from the example of the first martyr, St. Stephen ?
1st. To bless our persecutors. “Bless them which persecute you ; bless, and curse not.” (Rom. xii. 14.)
2ndly. To pray for our murderers. “ He kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” (Acts vii. 60.)
5. Prove that Jesus Christ standeth at the right hand of God to succour all those that suffer for Him.
" He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. vii. 25.)
1. Repeat the Collect for St. JOHN THE EVANGELIST's Day. MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Who was St. John the Evangelist ?
He was by birth a Galilean, the son of Zebedee and Salome. He and his brother James were named by our Saviour “the sons of thunder,” for their great zeal for his honour.
3. What particular proof did Christ give of his love towards St. John ?
When hanging on the cross He committed to him the care of his mother. 6 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” (John xix, 26, 27.) John is called (in John xiii. 23) “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
4. What part of the New Testament was written by John the Evangelist ?
The Gospel according to St. John; the First, Second, and Third Epistles of St. John; and the Revelation of St. John the Divine. 5. How long did he live?
He survived till the time of the Roman emperor Trajan, and died above ninety-nine years of age.
6. What do we beseech the Lord to cast upon his Church?
His bright beams of light. “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” (Isa. Ix. 1.)
7. By what do we pray the Church may be enlightened ?
By the doctrine of the blessed apostle and evangelist St. John. “ Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” (Rev. i. 2.)
8. When the Church is enlightened by Apostolic doctrine, in what will it walk ?
In the light of God's truth. 66 As the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk.” (1 Cor. vii. 17.)
9. Unto what will it at length attain ?
“ The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” (Isa. lx. 19.)
1. Repeat the Collect for the INNOCENTS' Day. O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths; Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. What does the Church commemorate this day?
The slaughter of those innocent children who were cruelly put to death by the tyrant Herod, king of the Jews.
3. When did God ordain strength out of the mouths of babes ?
When the children cried in the Temple, saying, “Hosannah to the Son of David !”
4. What was Christ's reply to the chief priests and scribes who were displeased at the children for doing this?
Have ye never read, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise.” (Ps. viii. 2.)
5. When did God make infants to glorify Him by their deaths ? When, for Christ's sake, the innocents were destroyed by Herod. “ Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wrath, and sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under.” (Matt. ii. 16.)
6. What do we pray God to mortify and kill in us?
All vices. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Col. iii. 5.)
7. Why do we pray God to strengthen us with his grace ?
Because he says, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. xii. 9.).
8. How should God's people desire to glorify Him?
1st. By innocency of life. “I will wash my hands in innocency; so will I compass thine altar, O Lord.” (Ps. xxii. 6.) 2ndly. By the constancy of our faith, even unto death.
“ Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. ii. 10.)
1. Repeat the Collect for the SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS Day. ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin ; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children 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.
2. Why is the same collect used on the first Sunday after Christmas Day as on Christmas Day itself?
Because the primitive Christians used to observe their principal feasts to the octave or eighth day from their commencement, and upon every day between the feast and the octave or eighth day, as also upon the octave itself they used to repeat part of that service which was performed on the feast day. As the Sunday after Christmas Day generally falls within the octave of Christmas Day, the collect then used is repeated now.
1. Repeat the Collect for the CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST. Almighty God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit ; that, our hear and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will ; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Upon what day does this feast fall ?
To commemorate the obedience of Jesus Christ in fulfilling all righteousness.
4. Shew that Christ was circumcised and made obedient to the law for man.
“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” (Luke ii. 21.)
5. What kind of circumcision do we pray God to grant unto us?
The circumcision the spirit. 6 Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom. ii. 29.)
6. For what purpose do we ask this ?
That our hearts and all our members being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey God's blessed will. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification; for God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (1 Thess. iv. 3. 7.)
1. Repeat the Collect for the EPIPHANY, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy onlybegotten Son to the Gentiles ; Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition