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Q. What is the meaning of the Church, when she says, that the godhead and manhood are joined together in one person, whereof is one Christ?
A. The design of the Church, in declaring that the divine and human natures are uniled together in the person of Christ, is to express, that there is a true and proper communication of names, characters, and properties, from the two natures, to the one person made up of them.
Q. Is not the doctrine of the incarnation incomprehensible?
Å. Our feeble powers cannot comprehend the mysterious union of the divine and human nature in the person of Christ; neither can we comprehend the infinite and eternal essence of God, or the secret tie that connects together in one person the soul and body. If, therefore, we reject the doctrine of the incarnation, because it is incomprehensible, we must also reject the existence of God, and the union of the soul and body; both of which baffie our comprehension. Every truth relating to the divine nature, must necessarily transcend the comprehension of a finite creature. To believe in the mystery of the incarnation, it should be sufficient for us to know, that God has revealed it in his holy word, and that the most glorious blessings are connected with it.
Q. In what sense may the blessed Virgin Mary be styled the mother of our Lord ?
A. As the eternal Son of God took upon him our nature, and was born of the Virgin, in this respect she may be called the mother of our Lord.”
Q. What reverence do we owe to the blessed Virgin ?
A. We should highly esteem and reverence the blessed Virgin, who was distinguished for her humility, virtue, and piety; and who enjoyed the exalted honour of being the inother of our blessed Lord. But to invoke her mercy and aid, or to offer up our prayers through her mediation, thus to render unto her divine honours, would be the most impious idolatry, and presumptuous insult to that divine Saviour, who is the only “Mediator between God and man.”
Q. What instruction does this festival afford us?
A. We should be excited to imitate, on all occasions, the modesty and humility of the blessed Virgin, who did not permit herself to be unduly elated with the distinguished honour conferred upon? 1. The wonderful condescension of the Son of God in caking our nature upon him, should
• Luke i. 43.
lead us evermore to adore and praise him, and to endeavour to fulfil the design of his coming into the world, which was to redeem us from all iniquity. As he was pleased to be united to our nature, so it should be our supreme care and business to be spiritually united to him, that thus we may partake of the blessings of his redemption.
Q. By what means are Christians united to Christ?
A. The Scriptures uniformly refer to the sacrament of baptism, as the rite in which our union with Christ commenced.” In this sacrament, on our profession to believe what Christ hath revealed, to perform what he hath commanded, to renounce whatever he hath forbidden, and stead. fastly to love and serve him, we are made members of that mystical body, the Church, whereof he is the head. Our union with Christ must be maintained, by "continuing steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers ;'" we must steadfastly adhere to that form of sound words handed down from the apostolic age; we must maintain fellowship with the apostles, and, through them, with Christ, by submitting to the priesthood, in the orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, who derive their authority, by regular transmission, from Christ, the head of the Church; we must constantly and devoutly par. take of the Lord's supper, and attend on the public prayers of the Church. Thus continuing in communion with the Church, we shall “grow up united into him in all things, which is the head, Jesus Christ,"y
Q. Can our communion with the Church be sincere, or will it be effectual to our salvation, unless it produces holiness of heart and life?
A. Upon their admission into the Church by baptism, all Christians receive the influences of the Holy Spirit, to enable them to work out their salvation, and to secure, by a life of faith and holy obedience, the remission of sins, the favour of God, and everlasting life; blessings which, in baptism, were conditionally conferred. Communion with the Church is the appointed mode by which their faith and obedience are to be quickened and preserved, and made accept. able unto God; but unless their communion with the Church conduces to this end, and advances them into a conformity to Christ, their holy and divine head, it is not sincere, and will not be effectual to their salvation. Those who, admitted » 1 Cor. xii. 13; Gal. iii. 27; Rom.
y Eph. W.15.
3 Acts H. 42
into the Church, live in a course of sin and disobedience, will incur the heavy condemnation of having resisted God's grace, of having done despite unto his Spirit, of having contemned the offers of divine mercy, and counted the blood of the covo enant an unholy thing.
Q. What are the distinguishing blessings annexed to sin cere communion with the Church?
A. The sincere members of the Church of Christ enjoy a sure and express title to the remission of their sins; to the prevailing intercession of Jesus, their gracious advocate, with ihe Father; to the powerful aids and consolations of the Holy Spirit; to the enlivening favour and protection of God; to a participation of the immortal glories to which the Church of the redeemed will finally be advanced. All mankind are in the hands of an infinitely merciful and righteous God, who will judge them according to their works; but his covenanted and distinguishing mercies are the peculiar portion of the sincere members of the Church, the mystical body of Christ, his beloved Son.
OF THE SUNDAYS IN LENT.
Q. HOW are the Sundays in Lent named ?
A. The Sundays in Lent are generally termed from then Dumber, being called the first, second, &c. Sunday in Lent. but the fourth Sunday is sometimes called Midlert Sunday: and the fifth Sunday is called Passion Sunday, though this name might perhaps be more properly applied to the following Sunday, which is the Sunday next before Easter, and which has obtained the appellation of Palm Sunday, in commemoration of our Saviour's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the multitude that attended him strewed palm branches in his way.
Q. What is the design of the Church on these Sundays ?
A. Sunday being a festival, the Church allows us to inc derrupt our fasts on the Sundays in Lent; but it is still her earnest desire to keep us in mind of the solemn duties which are appropriate to the season. Accordingly, in the epistles for the three first Sundays, we are taught the necessity of mortifying our sinful passions; the epistle for the fourth Sunday shows, by a striking allegory, the superior excellence of that covenant which Christ, by his death, sealed, over the law of Moses; the epistle for the fisth Sunday points out to us the divine purifying efficacy of the blood of Christ; and the epistle for the Sunday next before Easter, exhorts us to humility, from the consideration of the infinite condescension of the Son of God, in submitting, for our sakes, to the death of the cross. The gospel, for the first Sunday, to animate us to resist temptation, recites the bistory of Christ's temptation in the wilderness: the gospels for the four following Sundays, with a view to excite us to the imitation of the benevolence of Christ, and to confirm our faith in him, set before us some striking instances of his divine compassion and power, and of that forcible reasoning whereby he vindicated his divine claims: the gospel for the Sunday next before Easter, commences the recital of the sufferings of Christ, which the ensuing week more particularly commemorates.
OF THE PASSION-WEEK,
Q. BY what names has this week been commonly called ?
A. The week next before Easter has been called Passion Week, because is particularly devoted to the commemoration of the passion and death of Christ. It is also called the Great Week, on account of the important transactions which it witnessed, and the exalted blessings derived to us from them: and it is also called the Hely Week, from the extraordinary and solemn exercises of devotion which the Church prescribes in it.
Q. How was this week observed by the primitive Chris. tians ?
A. This week was observed by the primitive Christians with great strictness :f fasting and humiliation. They applied themselves to prayer, both in public and private; to hearing and reading God's holy word; and to exercising a most solemn repentance for those sins which occasioned ihe sufferings of the Lord of life.
Q. How is this week now observed by the Church?
A. The Church calls us every day this week to the con: templation of our Lord's sufferings, which are recited in the lessons, epistles, and gospels; in order that our humiliation may be increased by the consideration of the sufferings of Christ; and that, with penitent hearts, and firm resolutions of dying unto sin, we may accompany the Saviour throngh the several stages of his bitter passion. In conformity with the design of the Church, we should, in this week, enlarge ou: private devotions, and abstain from all indulgences in einsistent with the seriousness that should possess our hearts.
Of the THURSDAY before EASTER.
Q. WHAT is this day called?
A. This day is called [ Dies Mandati] Mandate, or Mauns day-Thursday, because our Saviour commanded his apostles to commemorate the holy sacrament of the supper, which he this day instituted, after the celebration of the passover.
Q. What have you to remark concerning the epistle and gospel for the day?
Å. The gospel for the day is suitable to the season, treating of our Saviour's passion; and the epistle contains an account of the institution of the Lord's
supper. Q. Explain the nature and end of the Lord's supper, or holy Eucharist.
A. The holy Eucharist is a sacrament of the Church, in which bread and wine, consecrated to represent the body and blood of Christ, are offered unto God, in “ rememo brance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby.” Christ, when he instiluted the sacrament of the supper, blessed bread and wine, to represent his body and blood then, by these symbols, sacramentally given or offered, and shed for the sins of the world : and by enjoining it on his apostles, thus “to show forth his death till his coming again,” he gave them and their successors authority to consecrate bread and wine to be symbols of his body and blood, and to offer them up as a