THE Harmony and Agreement OF THE COLLECTS, EPISTLES, and GOSPELS, As they stand in the BOOK of COMMON-PRAYER From the First Sunday in ADVENT, TO THE Last SUNDAY after TRINITY.
In which is shewn From the first SUNDAY in ADVENT, to TRI∣NITY-SUNDAY, what Relation they bear to their respective Times and Seasons; and from TRINITY-SUNDAY to ADVENT, how they agree with each other.
Proper to be bound up with the COMMON-PRAYER, and looked into every SUNDAY, and Holyday herein taken Notice of, and compared with the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel of the Day.
By HENRY BOURNE, M. A. Curate of All-Hallows, in Newcastle, upon Tyne.
Boys Epist. and Gosp.
NEWCASTLE upon TYNE, Printed by JOHN WHITE, for the Author, and sold by Mr. Bryson in Newcastle, Mr. Wag∣horn in Durham, and by the Booksellers, in London and York. MDCCXXVII.
TO Granville Wheler, Esq
THE Labours of Study of what∣soever kind they are, do natural∣ly chuse their proper Patrons. There will be always some excelling in every Sort of Knowledge, to whom the vari∣ous Parts of Learning will be more just∣ly adapted.
As then every Part of the COMMON-PRAYER speaks the Breathings of the greatest of Saints, the earliest Antiqui∣ty, and the soundest Faith; so a Trea∣tise on any Part of it will be most suit∣ably patronized by a Lover of our Church, and a Practiser of her Doctrines, by one skill'd in her Offices, and un∣shaken in her Faith. I hope, therefore you'll excuse the Freedom of a Dedica∣tion, since the Nature of this Perfor∣mance calls for your Protection of it.
Page ivOr whether you are considered as sprung from a Great Ornament of our Church; From one learned in Antiqui∣ty, truly Orthodox, primitive in his Example, and holy in his Life: Or whether, as you are allied to that No∣ble Family, which gives Examples to the World of the earliest Virtue, and a lasting Piety, of Veneration for the Church, and Esteem for her Clergy, of such as rejoyce in doing Good Works to the one, and Deeds of Hospitality to the other; your Right to this Treatise is not a little strengthned.
But when, together with these I re∣flect on your placing me in your Friend∣ship and Familiarity, and the many kind and affectionate Offices you have done me, you'll easily pardon my Choice, as it affords me so just a Patron, and gives me an Opportunity of somewhat acknowledging your many Favours to,
Your most obliged, and Most humble Servant, HENRY BOURNE.
THE Design of the following Pages, is to shew the Relati∣on the COLLECTS, EPI∣STLES, and GOSPELS, from the first Sunday in Ad∣vent, till Trinity-Sunday, have to their Respective Times and Seasons; and what Connection and Agreement every COL∣LECT, EPISTLE, and GOSPEL for the Sundays after Trinity till Advent, have among themselves. And this, I hope, may be of some Service, not only as it is exceedingly delightful to the Mind, to consider the Order, and Fitness, and Har∣mony of these Offices, but as it will make them have that Esteem and Regard paid them, they justly deserve; as it will speak clearly the Wisdom of the Church in so compiling them; as it will instruct in a Page vidue Knowledge of Times and Seasons; and make them be a more Reasonable Service, than they usually are with the most of People.
Bishop Sparrow, and Mr. Wheatley, in their excellent Treatises of the Common-Prayer, have both of them treated of this in the Sundays before Trinity. But then what they have wrote on this Subject, is lodged in a Book which is not easily got by those, who will reap the greatest Bene∣fit from a Work of this Nature. I have therefore considered, in as narrow a Com∣pass as I conveniently could, both the Of∣fices before and after Trinity, in the Manner above mentioned. And this I have done not only from such Hints and Passages of the Moderns, (particularly the two great Men above-mentioned) as give any but also from the ancient RI∣TUALISTS.
I hope it will be no Fault, that it comes after so many much more valuable and learned Treatises on the Common-Prayer, as it aims at nothing more than the In∣struction of the Ignorant in this Part of it, which as far as I know has not hi∣therto been so published, as to be of Ser∣vice to them.Page 1
THE Word Advent signifies Com∣ing, and is appropriated to the Time preceeding Christ∣mass* to commemorate that Time, in which the Messiah was so much ex∣pected; and also to prepare us for his Coming in the Flesh; For this Season is to Christmass-Day, what John the Baptist was to our Lord, a Fore-runner, and Preparer of the Way.
It is observable, that the Church in celebra∣ting the most remarkable Histories of our Sa∣viour's Life and Death, hath followed the Order they were done in, and plac'd them answerable to their respective Times. Thus she comme∣morates his Nativity before his Death, and his Death before his Resurrection and Ascension. And this is the Reason why the Office of our Lord's Advent, precedes the other Offices of the Church, viz. Because his Coming in the Flesh was prior to all the Transactions the other Offi∣ces were compil'd of. And as by the Advent of our Lord, there was a Renovation of Things, agreeable to that of St. John,*Be∣hold I make all Things new, so the Church, in Honour of his Advent, begins her Year of Offices at the Time of Reno∣vation.
Page 2THIS Advent lies in four Weeks, tho' as the Ritualists tell us, these four Weeks are ne∣ver held intire.
THUS the Church delineates these four Comings of our Saviour, in her setting apart the four Weeks of these Seasons: Tho' it is observa∣ble in her Offices appointed for them, she only commemorates two of them, viz. his Coming in Page 3the Flesh and his Coming to Judgment; for his Coming in the Flesh, and his Coming into the Hearts of good Men, are in Effect but one Com∣ing, as are also his Coming at the Hour of Death, and in the Day of Judgment.
Of the COLLECTS.
THE Collects are most of them of great Antiquity, as is evident from many Autho∣rities. They are so called, either* because the Priest that officiated collected into them the Devotions of the People, or, as being used upon the People's being collected, or gathered together, or, as others think, and with greater Probability, be∣cause of their being chiefly collected from the Epistles and Gospels. But however this be, they are the Breathings of the Holiest Times, and have been used by the best of Men, and must therefore be acknowledged of great Bene∣fit and Advantage.
Of the EPISTLES and GOSPELS.
THE Epistles and Gospels are of equal Anti∣quity with the Collects, and are ranged in an admirable Order, following each other in a natural Series of Things, and expressing the Hi∣story of the Season they relate to. They are divided, as the Year is, into two Parts; the one beginning at Advent, and ending at Trinity Sun∣day; the other then beginning, and ending at Advent. The Former shews us the Example of our Lord, the Latter instructs us how to follow his Example.
The first Sunday in Advent.
THE Collect for this Day, is taken out of the Epistle and Gospel, and has a two-fold View, the one to remind us of his Coming in the Flesh, the other of his Coming to Judgment. It therefore im∣plores the Grace of God, that now, in our Sa∣viour's first Advent, when he came to visit us, as the Prophet intimates in the Gospel, in great Humility, we may so cast off the Works of Dark∣ness, mentioned in the Epistle, that at his se∣cond Coming we may rise to the Life of Light and Glory.
The EPISTLE is an Exhortation to Love, which is in Effect the Fulfilling of the whole Law. And this it also excites us to, from the present Consideration of Things; That now it is high Time to awake out of Sleep. The Night is far spent, the Day is at Hand: Which tho' first of all wrote by the Apostle to the Christian Converts, to shake off their Sleep and Drow∣siness, and excite them to Vigilancy and Activity in the christian Life: And tho' the Night here will undoubtedly signifie the Time of Life, in which we grope about, and wander in Page 5Darkness, in Comparison of that Day we shall afterwards behold‖ when the Vail shall be taken away, and we shall no longer see through a Glass darkly; yet it also must remind us of the Circumstances of the present Season, and bring into our Minds, that Night which hung upon the World before our Saviour's Coming, and how it was dispelled and driven a∣way, by the Day-spring from on high. When then these Words are read, the Night is far spent, &c. Our Hearts should be filled with Joy and Comfort. For they should represent to us the World's long lying in Darkness, that now the Shadows are fleeing away, and that the Sun of Righteousness is approaching; That the Na∣tivity of the Messiah, the Saviour of the World is near.
The GOSPEL of our Saviour's Riding to Jerusalem, has been the Peculiar of this first Sun∣day in Advent* from ancient Times. It seems, indeed, rather proper for Palm-Sunday, which was the Day he made this Journey on to his Passi∣on, and is accordingly used by some Churches; But yet when we consider the Words, Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord, Hosan∣na in the highest, i. e. blessed be his Coming in the Flesh, for which is due the greatest Hosan∣nahs, we may see manisestly its Harmony to the Season, in the‖ Opinion of both the Ancient and Moderns; and al∣so how agreeable it is to the Epistle, which tells us, Now is our Salvation near, the Day is at Hand, &c.
The second SUNDAY in Advent.
THE Collect is taken out of the Epistle, which mentions, that whatever Things were written aforetime, were written for our Learning, that we through Patience and Comfort of the Scrip∣tures, might have hope: And therefore it says, a little after, as it is written, and so mentions some Prophecies relating to our Saviour's first Coming into the World. The Collect there∣fore will appear very suitable for the Time, if it be consider'd as a Petition to God, that we may receive all*his holy World, and at this Season that Part of it in par∣ticular, which Prophesies of our Lord's first Coming into the World, that me may be†comforted by it, and ever hold fast the blessed‖Hope of everlasting Life.
The EPISTLE treats of our Lord's first Advent, and in a particular Manner how he came to save us of the Gentile World; and men∣tions some Prophecies relating to us, that we may be comforted by them, and§glorifie God for his Mercy: As first that in the 18th Psalm, For this Cause I will con∣fess to the among the Gentiles, and sing Praises unto thy Name: And that in Deuteronomy the xxxii, Rejoyce ye Gentiles with his People. And again Psalm the cxvii, Praise him all ye Gentiles, and laud him all ye People: And lastly Isaiah in his xi Chapter says, There shall be a Root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gen∣tiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust.
Page 7The GOSPEL treats of our Lord's second Coming to judge the World, as the Epistle did of his first Coming into it: Which may teach us, That those Men, who will not receive the First Coming of their Saviour, will be compell'd to acknowledge Him at his Second. They who will not*confess to him among the Gentiles, shall have†Hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those Things which are coming on the Earth at the Day of Judgment. But on the con∣trary,§they who are filled with all Joy and Peace in believing, and abound in Hope through the Power of the Holy Ghost; when*these Things begin to come to pass, they shall look up, and lift up their Heads, because their Redemption draweth nigh.
Thus the Church in this Day's Office, prepares us for the first Coming of our Lord, by threat∣ening us with the Terrors of his Second; by assuring us, we must bear the Troubles of that Evil-Day, if we answer not the End and De∣sign of our Saviour's first Coming, by leading holy and religious Lives.
The third SUNDAY in Advent.
THIS Week being the last of the Four Sea∣sons or Ember Weeks, set apart by the Church, for the Dedicating of the Seasons to God, and imploring his Blessing upon the Or∣dinations then perform'd, the Church hath made the Collect suitable to this Occasion; Not that she forgets our Saviour's first Advent, but along with it, takes Notice of the Practice of this Sea∣son.
Page 8THE Collect is taken out of the Epistle and Gospel, and is a Petition to our Lord, that†the Ministers and Stewards of his Mysteries, may in like Manner*pre∣pare his Way against his Coming to Judgment, as†his Messenger at his first Coming prepar'd it before him.
The EPISTLE, treats of the Ministers of God's Word, and of our Saviour's second Ad∣vent; shewing the Dignity of their Office, and how wrong it is in the World to throw its Censures upon them, as is frequently done; that they should be left to the Judgement of the Lord who when he comes the second Time to*take an Account of his Servants, will render to every One according to their Works.
The GOSPEL treats of our Saviour's first Coming, and gives us the History of John's Sen∣ding two of his Disciples to him, who were to learn from himself, Whether it was he that should come, or they were to look for another. This the Baptist did, not to satisfy any Doubt of his own, for he was perfectly convinc'd of the Truth of our Saviour's Mission; but that as he was short∣ly to leave the World, his Disciples, who were not as yet fully satisfied, might be convinc'd and become his Disciples.
THE Close of this Gospel, Behold I send my Messenger, &c. seems to have been the chief Rea∣son of the Church's Using this Gospel at this Sea∣son: that it might teach us that the Way of the Lord was to be prepared by his Messenger, and that therefore we must expect this Messenger, before the Lord himself come.
Page 9THE Character our Saviour gives of John, of his Constancy in the Faith, and his Austerity of Life, makes the Gospel also answerable to the Ember Season.
The fourth SUNDAY in Advent.
THE Collect prays for Christ's Coming and Succour in a most ardent Manner, that the Sins and Wickedness which stop us in our chri∣stian Race, may be removed through Grace and Mercy, the Consequents of our Saviour's Coming in the Flesh.
The EPISTLE does as it were point out the Coming of our Lord, not as at a Distance, but in hast and immediately: The Lord is at Hand. How seasonably therefore does it advise us, to Rejoyce in the Lord? As it were exhorting us to be chearful, because of the Messiah's near and speedy Coming into the World.
As the GOSPEL of the last Sunday told us of the Messenger who should prepare the Way before our Lord's Coming; so the present Gospel shews us this Messenger, in the Exercise of his Errand, in an actual Preparation for Christ's Coming, and making straight the Way of the Lord, And these Words, There standeth One among you, whom ye know not, he it is who coming, &c. are very agreeable to the Season: They do all but bring the Messiah. And as the Epistle tells us, That he is at Hand; so here the Gospel tells us, as it were, that his Manifestation is so near, that he is even just now among us, but we know him not yet: Which is answering exactly the Page 10Nearness of this Sunday to Christmass-day, be∣fore which Time we knew him not.
HE whom we have been expecting in this Season of Advent, and whom the Offices of that Season spoke of, as Coming, has now really come, and appear'd in the World; and therefore the Offices speak no longer of a State of Expectancy, but of a State of Fruition: They speak not of him as coming, but really come.
THE Collect mentions him as born at this Time, and prays that we may be regenerated and made the Children of God by Adoption and Grace, and be daily renewed by the Holy Spirit, which are the Benefits of Christ's Birth.
The EPISTLE speaks of his being actually come into the World, and assures us, That in these last Days, God hath spoken unto us by his Son.
The GOSPEL also answers the Season, as it speaks of our Saviour's being come into the World. He was in the World; and, He came unto his own.
Saint STEPHEN'S Day.
THERE are several Reasons given for the Placing of this and the two following Fe∣stivals in the Order they now stand; immedi∣ately after Christ's Nativity, and before the Rest Page 11of the Saints: The most probable of which seems to be this; as our Lord in his Gospel says, If a∣ny Man will come after me, let him take up his Cross and follow me, So it hath pleased the Wis∣dom of the Church, that those who took up their Cross, and followed him by Martyrdom, should be first in his Retinue. Now there are three Sorts of Martyrdom, one in Will and in Deed; another in Will, not in Deed; the other in Deed, not in Will. Saint Stephen's Martyr∣dom being therefore the First, and Highest of those, it hath deservedly the first Place after our Saviour. Yesterday, says St. Austin, we cele∣brated the Birth Day of the King of Martyrs, born in the World, and to Day the first of Mar∣tyrs going out of the World. It was fit the Immortal should first take upon him Flesh for Mortals, that so the Mortal might despise Death, for the Immortal. The Lord was therefore born to die for his Servant, that the Servant might not fear to die for his Lord. Christ was born in Earth, that Stephen might be born in Heaven.
THE Collect acknowledging with the Mar∣tyr of the Day, the Divinity of our Lord, prays to him, in Imitation of the Martyr, that in all our Sufferings here for the Testimony of the Truth, we may with him, look up stedfastly, into Hea∣ven, and by Faith behold the Glory which shall be revealed; And being filled with the Holy Ghost, as he was, we may learn, from him, to pray for our Persecutors to our Lord, who standeth at the Right Hand of God, as he saw him, to Succour those who suffer for him.
The EPISTLE, is the Story of Stephen's Martyrdom.
Page 12The GOSPEL is very suitable to the Oc∣casion, as it mentions our Saviour's Prophecy of the Treatment that his Followers should have a∣mong the Jews; especially, as it speaks of their stoneing them which were sent unto them, and in in∣stancing*Zacharias, who was ston∣ed to Death; and as it also ma∣kes mention of Abel, who was the Protomartyr of the Old Testament, as St. Stephen was of the New.
Saint JOHN'S Day.
THE Festival of St. John, stands next to that of St. Stephen, because his Martyrdom was next in Kind to that of St. Stephen's: that is, he was a Martyr in Will, tho' not in Deed. For he was miraculously delivered from the Caldron of Boiling Oil, which he was thrown into, at Rome, coming out without any Maim or Hurt.
THE Collect from the Light mentioned in the Epistle, prays for the Illumination of the Church, that it may be enlightened by the mysterious Doctrines of the Apostle of this Day; and so walk in that Light, as at last to obtain that Light, which we are told in the Epistle, is God.
The EPISTLE mentions the Doctrine of this holy Apostle and Evangelist, which the Col∣lect prays the Church may be enlightened by, viz. the Doctrine of our Lord's Divinity, which he so sublimely treats of in his Gospel, beginning it in the same Manner, he begins the present E∣pistle. It was the Handling of this lofty Doct∣rine, Page 13that made him be compar'd to an Eagle, flying within the Clouds, beyond the narrow Sight of Men, and for which also he has the pe∣culiar Character of John the Divine.
The GOSPEL is that famous Passage where our Saviour Answers the Curiosity of Peter, about the Death of John. If I will that he tarry 'till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me. Which though some of them interpreted, that John therefore should not die; yet we have both the Word of John himself, which teaches us, that Jesus said not unto him, he shall not die; but if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? And also Ecclesiastical History, assuring us, that he did die; For he dy'd twenty-eight Years after our Lord came to destroy the City Jerusalem, which is the Coming spoken of in the Gospel.
The INNOCENTS Day.
NEXT to the Feast of St. John, stands the Day of the Holy Innocents: Their Martyr∣dom being that of the last Kind, a Martyrdom in Deed, not in Will. They shewed not forth the Praise of the Lord in speaking, but in dying for him; For, for his Sake, and in his Stead, were they slain. Thus, beautifully and wisely are these Festivals placed after the Birth of Christ. They answer, as it were the Church's Descrip∣tion of him in the Canticles,*My beloved is White and Ruddy, and the Chiefest among ten thousand. For he is white in the Chastity and Purity of John, ruddy in the Page 14Blood of Stephen, and the Chiefest among ten thousand, by the suffering Innocents.
THE Collect prays God, who out of the Mouths of Babes and Sucklings hast ordained Strength, and made the Infants of Bethlehem to give him Glory by their Deaths, to mortify in us all Vices; that we may have the Innocency of this Day's Martyrs, and be so strengthened with his Grace, that if call'd upon to suffer, we may be constant in the Faith, even to Death; and so may glorify his Holy Name.
The EPISTLE is no doubt a Discription of the whole Church in Christ, but yet there are several Things in it suitable to this Occasion, as it describes in particular the Martyrs of the Day; for it says, These are they which are not defiled with Women, for they are Virgins; These were re∣deemed from among Men, being the first Fruits un∣to God, and to the Lamb; And in their Mouth was found no Guile: For they were without Fault before the Throne of God.
The GOSPEL give's the History of Joseph's Flight into Egypt with our Lord, and the Mur∣dering of the Children of Bethlehem.
The SUNDAY after Christmass.
IT was usual in the primitive Times, for some Part of the Offices of great Festivals, to be repeated every Day, 'till the Octave, or eighth Day after, which was the last Day of its being repeated, and the End of the Festival. The Page 15Church therefore in Imitation of this ancient Cu∣stom, has the Collect of Christmass-Day, for this Day also, which generally falls within the Octave of Christmass. Bishop Sparrow tells us, the Ob∣servation of Octaves is done out of Honour to the Feast, and that greater Solemnities have some Days after them, to continue the Memory of them.
THE Reason of their being lengthen'd to eight Days, is taken from the Jews, who observ'd some of their higher Festivals, for the† same Number of Days, it be∣ing thought by the primitive Church, that those Jewish Feasts, which were only the Shadow, should by no Means exceed their Feasts, which were the Substance.
BUT according to others there* is a mystical Meaning in the Obser∣vation of Octaves, and that is, that the Octave is an Emblem of the Mystical eight Day, which is the Day of the Resurrection. For as on that Day we shall return to our former Inno∣cence, so the Church, as an Emblem of it, re∣peats on the Octave, and the Days between the Festival and it, some of the first Days Office; thereby teaching us, that if we continue in the Worship of God, after being regenerated by Baptism, we shall on the Octave of the Resur∣rection, after the seven Days of our Life have passed away, return to our first Purity and Ho∣liness.
The EPITLE treats of our Saviour's Birth, and mentions the Advantages accruing to us from thence: That whereas before, the Church of Page 16God, like an Heir under Age, differed nothing from a Servant, being burthened with Ceremo∣nies, and the Observations of the Law; it was now by the Coming of his Son, arriv'd at Ma∣turity, and freed from those Incumbrances, so that its Members are no more Servants; But Sons and Heirs of God, through Christ.
THE Church seems to have chosen this E∣PISTLE with a View to our Saviour's Infan∣cy: For the Heir under Age, differing nothing from a Servant, tho' he be Lord of all; is no ob∣scure or mean Remembrancer of our Saviour's Condition at this time† who was appointed Heir of all Things; and*yet took upon him the Form of a Ser∣vant, tho' he‖was Lord of all.
The GOSPEL also treats of our Saviour's Birth, and is an Explication of God's§sending forth his Son, made of a Woman, when the fullness of Time was come; For it relates to the Human Nature of our Lord, as that of Christmass-Day does to the Divine.
The CIRCUMCISIONS of CHRIST.
THIS Day, tho' the Octave of Christmass-day* was formerly observed a Fast by the Church, because of those Sports, and abominable Customs practis'd on it by the Heathen, in Honour of their God, Janus. Afterwards it was changed into the Feast of the Circumcision, it being the Page 17Day from the Nativity of our Lord, and therefore the Day on which he was circumcised, according to the Command given to Abraham,†He that is eight Days old shall be circumcised among you.
THE Collect is a Petition to God, that as he made his own Son to be circumcised, so he would grant us the Circumcision of the Spirit, which is, the Cutting off from our Hearts and Members all worldly Lusts; That as our Lord by the Circum∣cision of the Flesh was obedient to the Law, so we by the Circumcision of the Spirit, may be obe∣dient to his Will.
The EPISTLE also is very suitable to the Festival, as it shews who they are that are the Bles∣sed of God; whether those of the Circumcision or those of the Uncircumcision; That those who follow the Faith of our Father Abraham, which he had, yet being uncircumcised, will have Right∣eousness imputed unto them, as he had, and be numbered among the Blessed, tho' they are not of the Circumcision.
The GOSPEL is also very proper for the Occasion, which, as it mentions the Circumci∣sing of the Child after eight Days, is exactly suit∣able to the Feast of the Circumcision.
Of the EPIPHANY.
THIS Day is called by the Church the Epiphany, which in Greek sig∣nifies Manifestation. It is called in our Common-Prayer Book, parti∣cularly, the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles; because on this Day our Lord was manifested to the Gentile World, by the appearing of a Star to the Wise Men in the East that they might be conducted to Worship their Saviour.
THE Collect is very suitable, and full of Devotion, and begs of God, who by a Star, manifested his Son Jesus to the Gentiles, to grant us after this Life, the Fruition of himself, whom we only know now by Faith.
The EPISTLE answers the Nature of the Sea∣son, and tells us, that the Gentiles should be fel∣low Heirs, and of the same Body, and Partakers of his Promise in Christ by the Gospel, and that St. Paul preach'd among the Gentiles, the unsearch∣ble Riches of Christ.
The GOSPEL is the History of the Star's Appearing to the Wise men in the East, and how it guided them to the Place where our Saviour was.
Page 19BUT this is not the only Manifestation, which the Church commemorates this Day; there are other two besides; one the Manifesta∣tion, of the most glorious Trinity at his Baptism, the other that of his own Divinity, when he turn'd the Water into Wine, at the Marriage of Cana in Gallilee. The First of these the Church commemorates in the second Lesson at Morning Prayer, and the Latter in the second Lesson at Evening. The Reason why the Church celebrates these three Manifestations on this Day of the Epiphany, is, because they all happened upon this same Day,* tho' in different Years.
The first SUNDAY after the Epiphany.
THE Collect prays that we may have a right Knowledge of our Duty, and suffici∣ent Strength to perform it.
The EPISTLE mentions the Things the Collect prays for, and is first an Exhortation to Mortification and Chastity: 2dly, to the Re∣newing of our Minds and thereby in Effect, to hope, Prayer and Obedience: 3dly, to Unity, as we are Members one of another. Now these three Things are the Virtues pointed out to us, by the Wise Men's Offerings. The Myrrh they offer'd signifies the First; The Incense they offer'd signifies the Second; And the Gold they offered signifies the Third. How suitable then is this Epistle to this Season! For in the Gospel for the Epiphany we have the Wise Men making their Page 20Offerings, and in this Epistle for the Sunday following, we are exhorted to imitate them.
The GOSPEL of this Day, is also very suitable to the Season: For as this Sunday is the next after the Epiphany, so the First memorable Action we meet with of our Saviour in his youn∣ger Years, is this of his Coming up to Jerusa∣salem at Twelve Years of Age, and disputing with the Jewish Doctors. At* thirteen Years of Age, the Jews were wont to bring their Children to the House of God, there to be publickly examined; and being then approv'd, they were then declared to be Children of the Precept, that is, obliged to keep the Law. And whereas our Saviour came up at twelve Years old, it was because of his Pre∣gnancy, according to that saying of the Rabbins, the Ingenious do run before the Command.
IT is observalbe, that as from Christmass to Epiphany, the Church in her Offices sets forth Christ's Humanity, so from the Epiphany, to Septuagesima, she sets forth his Divinity. In the present Gospel it is Manifested, when he says to his Mother, Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's Business? For he says in another Place, all Things that the Father hath are mine; and there∣fore he attests, that in the same Manner the Tem∣ple belonged to his Father, it belonged to him. Bed. in Dom post Epiph.
The second SUNDAY after the Epiphany.
THE Collect having acknowledged God, who wrought the Miracle in the Gospel, to be the Governour of all Things in Heaven and Earth,Page 21prays that the would mercifully hear the Supplica∣tions of his People, and grant them that Peace all the Days of their Life, which the Epistle puts them into the Method of acquiring.
The EPISTLE also is conformable to our Saviour's Goodness in the Gospel, and adviseth us to a Right Use of the Gifts God hath bestow∣ed on us, of whatsoever Kind they be; that we should not keep them to our selves, but make them of Service and Advantage to others: That we should be kindly affectioned one to another, with Brotherly Love, and of the same Mind one to∣wards another.
The GOSPEL gives us and Example of our Saviour's Goodness, in supplying the Wants and Necessities of others, by his Turning the Water into Wine. It is used on this Day, as being the History of our Saviour's first Miracle, and there∣fore what most naturally follows his Going up to Jerusalem: And because also it manifests, (as is observ'd above, the Sundays after the Epiphany do manifest) the Divinity of our Lord; For it is only in the Power of God to change the Nature of Things.
The third SUNDAY after the Epiphany.
THE Collect, considering the Mercy of our Lord in the Gospel, desires God mercifully to look upon our Infirmities; and from his†Putting forth his Hand to cleanse the Leper, it prays, that he would be pleased to stretch forth his Right Hand to defend us in Dangers and help us in Necessities.
Page 22* The EPISTLE, tho' at first Sight it seems not any Way agreeable to the Gos∣pel; yet if taken in the mystical Sense, will appear very suitable to it; For as the Gospel relates our Saviour's Cure of the Leper, so the Epistle tells us how we may prevent the Leprosy of Sin. Be not wise in your own Conceits, will teach us how to prevent the Leprosy of Pride, and recompence to no Man Evil for Evil, how we may not be infected with Envy and Malice.
The GOSPEL is the History of our Lord's Curing the Leper, and the Centurion's Servant who was sick of the Palsie. It seems to have been pitched upon as suitable after our Lord's Epiphany, as being a clear Manifestation of his Divinity. In the Cure of the Leper he shewed forth his Almighty Power, and in curing the o∣ther at a Distance, he gave an undeniable Proof of his Omni-presence.
The fourth SUNDAY after the Epiphany.
THE Collect is founded upon the Gospel, and because we are set, as were the Disci∣ples of our Lord, amidst Waves and Storms, and since through the Weakness of our Nature, we often, as they did, imagine we perish; it there∣fore prays God to support us in all Dangers, and carry us through all Temptations, as our Lord sup∣ported his Disciples in the midst of Seas and Tempests.
Page 23The EPISTLE, if rightly consider'd, is not •nsuitable to the Gospel; It speaks the Power •f Christ upon Earth by His Ministers, as the Gospel does that of his own Word upon the •ea; and as by the later he asswages the Winds •nd Waves, and makes a great Calm, so by the •ormer, he asswages the swelling Waves of a •empestuous World, and becalms and quiets •he Madness of the People.
The GOSPEL seems to have been chosen •or this Season, because it is a Manifestation of our Saviour's Divinity: His Commanding of the Winds and Seas, speaks him to be no other than He at whose Word the stormy Wind ariseth, and ••steth up the Waves thereof, and who maketh the Storm to cease, so that the Waves thereof are still.
The fifth SUNDAY after the Epiphany.
THE Collect prays for such Holy Men as are mentioned in the Epistle, for the merciful and meek and charitable; which constitute the Church and Houshold of GOD.
THE EPISTLE exhorts us to be Part of that Houshold, by putting on the Bowels of Mercy and Kindness, and above all Charity, which is the very Bond of perfectness.
The GOSPEL under a Parable, mentions the last Manifestation or Epiphany of our Saviour, viz. his Coming to Judgment; when the Tares, will be burnt, but the Wheat gathered into the Barn. The Angels, who are here called the Page 24Reapers, shall at the Time of Harvest, or at the End of the World, gather together the Tares, which are the Emblems of the Wicked, that they may be burnt; But they shall gather the Wheat, that is, just Men, into God's Barn, to the general Assembly of the first Born, where* they shall ever be with the Lord.
THE Collect then of this Day prays for the Safety of good Men; The Epistle advises us to be of their Number; and the Gospel shews the Greatness of their Reward.
The sixth SUNDAY after the Epiphany.
† THE Collect, Epistle and Gos∣pel for this Sunday, were all
THE Collect desires God in the Words of the Epistle; whose Son was manifested to destroy the Works of the Devil, and make us the Sons of God, that having this Hope, we may purify our selves, even as he is pure, and that when our Lord shall appear in the Power and great Glory, men∣tioned in the Gospel, we may enjoy what the Page 25Epistle tells us will be the Portion of good Men, viz. to be made like unto him, in his eternal and glorious Kingdom.
The EPISTLE very suitably to the Season of the Epiphany, mentions our Saviour's first Ma∣festation, and tells us, He was manifested to destroy the Works of the Devil. And it also very suitably (as this is the last Sunday after the E∣piphany) in Conformity to the Gospel, takes notice of our Saviour's last Appearance, and tells us, We shall then be like him, and see him as he is.
The GOSPEL treats of the last Epiphany of our Saviour, and is therefore very fitly adap∣ted to this Sunday, it being, as it was just now observ'd in the Epistle, the last Sunday after the Epiphany. The Collect prays that we may be with him in his Kingdom; The Epistle shews, that if we would see him as he is, we must purifie our selves, &c. The Gospel opens the Scene of the Day of Judgment, and our Lord's last Epi∣phany; and shews, that those the Collect prays for, and the Epistle gives advice to, will be ga∣thered together by the Angels from the four Winds, from the one End of Heaven to the other.
THERE are many Reasons given by the Roman Ritualists for the Names of this and the two following Sundays, the most probable of which seems both to them and others to be Page 26propter Consequentiam Numerandi. For the fin∣•• Sunday in Lent being called Quadragesima, be∣cause it is about forty Days from Easter; the Sunday before is called Quinquagesima, because Quinquagesima is the next round Number abo••Quadragesima. And so in like Manner, the •∣ther two Sundays, as they are still further r•¦moved from Easter, so they answer to the ne•• great Numbers, and are therefore called Sex••∣gesima and Septuagesima.
THE Design of the Church in setting ap••• this Time, was to prepare her Members for 〈◊〉Lent Fast. And therefore former the*Regulars began to fast after Septuagesima, the Greeks after Sex•∣gesima, the Clergy after Quinquagesima, and 〈◊〉 whole Christian Church on Ash-Wednesday.
THE Collect very seasonably prays to be d•∣livered from Sin and Punishment, which we 〈◊〉 never be freed from, without the Struggles a•• Hardships of Mortification.
The EPISTLE therefore persuades us 〈◊〉 the Exercise of the Duties of the Christian Li•• which are here represented to us under the Na•• of a Race: Teaching us, That as they who str••• for the Mastery in a Race, are temperate in 〈◊〉 Things, so should we be in all our Conversati∣on. We should keep under our Body, and bring 〈◊〉 into Subjection, by Acts of Pennance and Mortifi∣cation, if we would receive the Prize here me•∣tioned, The incorruptible Crown.
The GOSPEL assures us, that the Rewar•Page 27is not to be acquir'd without Labour; that the Toil of the Christian Life is absolutely Neces∣sary to the Gaining of the Heavenly; and that without our Cross we shall wear no Crown. If we stand idle in the Market-Place all the Day long, we have no Wages to expect in the Evening; but if we labour in the Vineyard, we shall receive our Penny.
THE Collect is a Prayer to God for his Aid and Assistance in all Dangers and Adversi∣ties, that we may be supported by his Power, as was the Apostle St. Paul in all the Adversities the Epistle mentions.
The EPISTLE before persuades us to the Duty of Pennance and Austerity, and the pre∣sent Epistle gives us a noble Example for our Imitation, that of the Sufferings of the Great St. Paul, who, by having in him that Trust, which the Collect mentions, surmounted the greatest of Dangers, and bravely underwent the most mor∣tifying Pennance. He suffered Stripes and Impri∣sonment and Deaths oft, he was beaten and stoned and suffered Shipwrack, a Night and a Day he had been in the Deep; in a Word, he endur'd the greatest Hardships of Earth and Sea. Nor were his voluntary Sufferings much Inferiour, He was more abundant in Labours than others, in Journeying often, in Weariness and Painfulness, in Watchings and Fastings often, in Cold and Naked∣ness.
Page 28The GOSPEL is the Parable of the Sower, and answers of the Epistle, in telling us the Dan∣gers we are in, when we neglect the Duties the Apostle St. Paul was so eminent an Example of. For it is observable that the Seed fell in four Pla∣ces and brought forth but in one; which as it intimates to us, that scarce one in four attain Salvation, so it lets us plainly see the Necessity of Mortification; especially when it tells us, That they on the good Ground, bring forth Fruit with Patience. The Higher they rise in Piety, the greater will be their Tryals; the nearer they are to Heaven, the greater are their Temptati∣ons. But*in their Patience, they possess their Soulds, till†through much Tribulation they enter into the King∣dom of God.
THE Collect for this Sunday prays for the most excellent Gift of Charity, which is so beautifully commended in the Epistle.
The EPISTLE is very suitably chosen by the Church; For the two last Sundays having proposed to our Imitation in the Coming Lent, some of the sublimest Acts of Mortification, and given us one of the greatest Examples of it, she now treats of Charity, the very Bond of Peace and of all Virtues, to shew us, that all the Doings of Austerity and Pennance, without Cha∣rity are nothing Worth.
THE Word Lent in the Saxon Tongue sig∣nifies Spring, and because this Time of Fa∣sting begins in the Spring, it therefore borrows its Name from the Season, and is called Lent.
THIS Fast is of such great Antiquity, that is seems to have been used from the Days of the Apostles. It is of forty Days Continuance, be∣ginning at Ash-wednesday, and ending at Easter∣day, the Sundays excepted, which were always Festivals in Memory of our Saviour's Resurrection.
THE Reason of its continuing forty Days is because that forty Days were of old, the al∣lowed and stated Times of great Fasts; Witness the Fasts of Moses and Elias; But the chief Rea∣son with us, is, that our Saviour Fasted forty Days.
Page 30IT always ends at Easters, to point out to us, that as our Saviour's Sufferings were done a∣way at his Resurrection; so after the Troubles of this Life, which are shadowed out by the Time of Lent, we shall enjoy Peace and Rest, and a glorious Resurrection, which are shadowed out to us by Easter.
THIS is called Ash Wednesday,* from a Custom in the ancient Discipline (the Loss of which Cu∣stom or Godly Discipline, our Church laments in her Office for this Day, called the Commina∣tion) which began to be very early exercised on this Day, an Account whereof, we have in Gra∣tian, as follows.
Page 31THE Collect for this Day, prays that God would send us, new and contrite Hearts, that we may lament our Sins in a sincere and unfeigned Manner, and so obtain the Pardon and Remissi∣on of them.
THE Portion of Scripture for the Epistle is taken out of the Prophet Joel, and exhorts us to what the Collect prays for, viz. to turn to the Lord with all our Hearts, to fast and weep, and mourn, and to rent our Hearts; And then to rest assured, that the God of all Mercy will repent him of the Evil, and give us perfect Remission and Forgiveness.
The GOSPEL cautions us to be sorrowful in the Manner the Epistle mentions, lest if we appear only with the external Signs of Sorrow, we receive the Reward of the Hypocrites, who only disfigure their Faces, that they may appear to Men to fast. It may also teach us, that as we hope God will be merciful to us, we should al∣so be merciful to the Poor, by giving to them what we save by Fasting. If we do so, we lay up Treasure in Heaven; if not, it is only Treasure which the Moth and Rust doth corrupt, &c.
The first Sunday in Lent.
THE Collect is a Prayer to Christ, which shews the Church believes him to be God. It is very suitable to this Season of Fasting and Abstinence, and prays our Lord, that in Imita∣tion of his Fasting forty Days and forty Nights,Page 32we may by his Grace use such Abstinence, as to subdue the Flesh to the Spirit, and so ever obey his Godly Motions.
The EPISTLE exhorts us to Patience in all Things, belonging to our Spiritual Warfare, whether we be in Afflictions, in Watchings, in Fastings, or whatever Condition else.
The GOSPEL is the History of our Savi∣our's being tempted, and his Conquest over Temptations; and is therefore highly suitable for our Entrance on our spiritual Combat in this Season of Lent, our great Day of Battle, as it emboldens and animates us with the Hopes of Victory against our spiritual Enemies. For we know in that he himself suffered and was tempted, he is able to succour them which are tempted.
THE Epistle and Gospel are also not unsui∣table to the *Ember-Week begin∣ning on this Day. The Epistle shews how a Minister should be∣have himself in his Calling; and the Gospel what he must expect to meet with after he has enter'd on it. No sooner did our Saviour enter on his publick Ministry, than he was temp∣ted of the Devil; and we know, the Servant is not greater than his Lord.
The second SUNDAY in Lent.
THE Collect after acknowledging from the Petition of the Woman in the Gospel, viz. Lord help me, that we have no Power, of our sel∣ves to help our selves, prays God, that he would keep us outwardly in our Bodies from all Adver∣sities, and inwardly in our Souls from all evil Thoughts.
The EPISTLE exhorts us to avoid all Un∣cleaness, and be studious of Holiness; which is undoubtedly very fit Advice at this Season, when we are more particularly assaulted both outwardly in our Bodies and inwardly in our Souls.
The GOSPEL put us into the Method of obtaining what the Epistle persuades us to, by giving us the Story of our Lord's Curing the Woman and Canaan's Daughter that was vexed Page 34with a Devil. As she by her steady Faith and earnest Prayer, crying, Have Mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David, and Lord help me, got the Devil thrown out of her Daughter; so may we, in like Manner, be disposess'd of the uncle all Spirit of Lust and Incontinence.
The third SUNDAY in Lent
THE Collect with a View to the Finger of God, and that stronger Man mentioned in the Gospel, desires God to stretch forth the right Hand of his Majesty, to be our Defence against all our Enemies.
AS the Season of Pennance is thus far ad∣vanced, the Church is careful that her Sons should not flag, but rise in their Piety; and therefore the Epistle does not only persuade us to avoid Fornication, and Sins of a deeper Col∣our, but even foolish Talking and Jesting, which are not convenient; both as they are unbecoming the Gravity of this penitential Season, and are sinful in their own Nature.
The GOSPEL confirms the Advice of the Epistle, and Endeavours after our Continuance in our holy Violences, by shewing us the Danger of *falling from our own Stedfastness, and how needful it is for us to grow in Grace. For it assures us, If the unclean Spirit, which hath been once cast out of a Man, eater into him again, the last State of that Man is then worse than the First.
Page 35This GOSPEL, as it aims at our Keeping out the unclean Spirit when he is once dispos∣sessed, is very fitly placed after that of the last Sunday, which shews us the Way of getting him cast out.
The fourth SUNDAY in Lent.
IN the last Sundays Office the Church laid be∣fore us the Danger of Lapsing from the Au∣sterities of the Season; and having now brought us to the * Middle of the thorny Way of Mortification, she chears and comforts us with the End of our Journey, and the Pro∣mise of Refreshment, lest we faint upon the Road.
THE Collect having acknowledged, that for our evil Deeds we worthily deserve to be pu∣nished, prays God, that we may mercifully be relieved by the Comfort of his Grace.
The EPISTLE encourages us to go on chearfully in our holy Pennance and Hardships, as it tells us of the Jerusalem which is above, which is free from all these Troubles, and where we shall be relieved with everlasting Comforts.
The GOSPEL tells of Christ's Relieving the five Thousand miraculously; intimating to us, that after the Hunger we suffer here, we shall be refreshed by our Lord. For blessed are they that hunger and thirst after Righteousness, for they shall be filled. There is also another Reason Page 36of this Gospels being read at this Time, which see in the 7th Sunday after Trinity.
THIS Sunday is also called Dominica de Panibus, the Sunday of the Loaves; or Dominica Refectionis, the Sunday of Refreshment: Because it does not treat of Mortification, but tells of the heavenly Jerusalem, and that Refreshment our Saviour will there give us. Mr. Wheatley says,
The fifth SUNDAY in Lent.
THIS Sunday is called Passion-Sunday, be∣cause as the Ritualists tell us, what the Jews transacted on Good-Friday, was begun on Ye∣sterday Evening. From * that Day it was that they took Council together to put him to Death; and after this Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews till Palm-Sunday. On this Sunday therefore is very justly celebra∣ted the Beginning of his Passion, † which follows on Good-Friday, as a Corps after a pompous Train of Mourners.
Page 37THE Collect prays, that God of His Mercy would preserve our Bodies and Souls.
The EPISTLE relates to our Saviour's Pas∣sion, and tells us of the Benefit we have obtain∣ed by the Shedding of his Blood: How he thereby entered into the holy Place, and obtained eternal Redemption for us, that we might receive the Pro∣mise of eternal Inheritance. It very suitably § represents to us what is to come, as it were, at the Day of our Lord's Passion, viz. a Derelicti∣on of the old Jewish Priesthood, By the Medi∣ator himself of the new Covenant, and the High Priest of a New Sacrifice.
The sixth SUNDAY in Lent.
THIS Sunday has the Name of Palm-Sunday, because it was on this Day our Lord rode in Triumph to Jerusalem, when the People took * the Branches of Palm-Trees, and went forth to meet him, and cryed, Hosanna, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the Name of the Lord. It was a Custom in the ancient Church to go in Proces∣sion on this Day, bearing Palms in their Hands; and it was also observed in our own, till the Reformation, when it was abolished, because of the Superstitions attending it.
THE Collect, from these Words in the Epistle, †Let this same Mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus—Who was made in the Likeness of Men, and humbled him∣self, and became obedient to Death, even the Death of the Cross, prays God, §Who sent our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our Flesh, and to suffer Death upon the Cross, that all Mankind should follow the Exam∣ple of his great Humility; that he would merci∣fully grant that we may follow his Example, or‖be of the same Mind with him, and so partake of his Resurrection.
The EPISTLE advises to what the Collect prays for, when it says, let this same Mind be in you, which was in Christ Jesus; that is, do ye humble your selves, as he did, and so ye may be partakers, as it were, the Sunday following, of his Resurrection.
Page 39The GOSPEL is the History of our Savi∣our's Passion, and gives us the Particulars of what the Epistle recommends to our Imitation. The Gospel then shews our Lord's Patience and Sufferings; the Epistle persuades us to imitate them; and the Collect prays for God's assistance in following his Example.
THIS Week is called the Great, the Holy, and the painful Week. The Great, as being that in which were transacted the great Affairs of Man's Salvation; the Holy, as being that which was spent in the Exercise of Prayer, Meditati∣on, frequenting the Church, stricter Fasting then usual, and greater Actions of Charity; and the painful, as being that in which our Lord under∣went such exceeding Pains and Tortures for the Sins of the whole World. Our Church comes as near as she can to the Devotions of the anci∣ent Christians in this Week of Humiliation, by setting apart for every Day a particular Service suitable to the Occasion.
The Thursday before Easter.
THIS Day is called Maundy-Thursday, from that new Commandment our Lord gave his Disciples, to love one another. On this Day he washed his Disciples Feet, and therefore the second Lesson for the Morning, is the History of that Transaction: On this Day also he insti∣tuted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, and therefore the Epistle gives an Account of that Page 40Institution. The Gospel is very suitable, being as the others, the History of our Saviour's Pas∣sion.
THIS * Day the Penitents, that were put out of the Church upon Ash-Wednesday, were received again into it, for this Reason chiefly, because on this Day our Lord was apprehended and bound, which Bind∣ing wrought our Deliverance and Freedom.
THE Form of reconciling Penitents, was in short this. The Bishop goes out to the Doors of the Church, where the Penitents lie prostrate upon the Earth, and thrice in the Name of Christ he calls them, Come, come, come, ye Chil∣dren, hearken to me, I will teach you the Fear of the Lord. Then after he had prayed for them, and admonished them, he reconciles them, and brings them into the Church. The Penitents thus received, trim their Heads and Beards, and laying of their penitential Weeds, they recloath themselves in handsome Apparel.
THE Church Doors were wont to be set o∣pen all this Day, to signifie that penitent Sin∣ners coming from North or South, or any Quar∣ter of the World, shall be received to Mercy, and the Churches Favour.
THIS Day is called Good Friday, from the Good we received o• it, viz. the Redemp∣tion of our Souls, by the Death of our Lord.
Page 41IT is to be observed with the strictest Fasting tho' the Passion of our Lord was the Cause of all our Joy. If * it be asked why we do so, when the Saints Days are observed as Feasts, and right dear i the Sight of the Lord is the Death of his Saints and when the Apostle St. Paul glories in the Cros of Christ: I answer, because he dy'd for our Sins as says the Prophet Isaiah, for the Transgressio of my People was he stricken; we ought therefor to be sorrowful rather than joyous, and Fast ra¦ther than Feast, lest we be more obdurate tha• the Rocks themselves who rent at his Passion.
THE Church on this Day, prays God to look upon his Family, the Church, for which Christ dyed; to receive our Prayers which we offer for all Estates of Men within it; and to have Mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Here∣ticks without it, that they may be converted and saved. † Christ pray∣ed, not only for his Friends, but also for his E∣nemies, and therefore this Day, the Church, in Imitation of him, prays for all.
The EPISTLE shews the Sacrifices under the Jewish Law incapable of attoning for the Sins of Men; for it tells us, It is not possible that the Blood of Bulls and of Goats should take away Sins; that those were only the Shadow of good Things to come, and did but typifie the great Sa∣crifice of our Saviour Christ, which he offered up this Day for the Sins of the Whole World. *When God had no Plea∣sure in burnt Offerings and Sacrifices for Sin; then, said he, Lo, I come (in the Volumn of the Book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God.
Page 42The † GOSPEL for this Day is not only taken out of St. John, be∣cause, in Order, it follows the other Evangelists; it not having been wrote till after he return'd from the Isle of Patmos, where he was banished to, and consequently wrote later than these of the other Evangelists; but also be∣cause he was present at the Crucifixion, whilst the other Disciples were not. For, as he says of himself, and as St. Jerome writeth, he being known to the High Priest, did therefore follow him with great Confidence, and stood by the Cross. For‖there stood by the Cross of Jesus, his Mother and his Mother's Sister; and when Jesus saw his Mo∣ther, and the Disciple standing, whom Jesus loved, he said unto his Mother, Woman, behold thy Son; Then said he to that Disciple, behold thy Mother; and from that Hour that Disciple took her to his own Home. And a little after he says, §And he that saw it bear Re∣cord, and his Record is true. This Gospel is therefore taken out of St. John, rather than the others, because he was an Eye-wit∣ness of the Passion: * Which Example should teach us, not to be ashamed nor afraid of the Cross of Christ.
THIS Day was observed in the ancient Church, as one of the strictest Fasts in the Year, in Memory of our Saviour's Lying in the Grave, and the Sorrow of the Apstoles, Who when the Bridegroom was taken away from them, Page 43did fast in those Days. The Church of England in Imitation of that, advises us also to a strict Fast in private, and calls us to the Place of Wor∣ship, by the publick Office of the Day, to im∣ploy our selves in meditating on our Saviour's Burial and Descent into Hell.
THE Collect prays in a most mov∣ing and solemn Manner, that †as we are baptised into Christ's Death; so by con∣tinual mortifying our corrupt Affecti∣ons, We§may be buried with him, and not fear the Grave, but pass joyfully thro' it to our Resurrection.
The EPISTLE treats of the Descent of our Saviour's Soul into Hell, that is, into the Mansions of holy Souls, Where ‖ he went and preached unto the Spirits in Prison, Where * he communicated to them the Mysteries of the Gospel, the Secrets of the Kingdom, the Things hidden from eternal Ages, and taught them to look up to the Glories pur∣chased by his Passion, and made the Term of their Expectation be his second Coming, and the Object of their Hope, the Glories of the Beatifick Vision.
The GOSPEL treats of our Saviour's Bo∣dy, as the Epistle does of his Soul, and is an Account of his Burial, as the Gospel of Yester∣day was of his Death. It tells us also of what happened after he was interr'd, and ends in such a Manner, by telling us, That they went and made the Sepulchre sure, sealing the Stone, and setting a Watch, that we leave reading it with heavy Hearts, and forced away, as it were, mourning from the Sepulchre.
THE Word Easter comes from the Saxon Word Oster, which signifies to rise, or from the Name of a God∣dess, which the Saxons worshipped at this Time of the Year, called Easter.
IT is the highest of Festivals, as bringing us the comfortable News of our Lord's, and in due Time of our own Resurrection. In the Season before, the Church was in Mourning and Sorrow, an Emblem of the Troubles of the present Life; but now, on the Day of her Savi∣our's Resurrection, the Emblem of our future Happiness in the Kingdom of Heaven, she is in the compleatest Joy. Whereas therefore it was always Customary in the primitive Times to be in Sorrow for the Season of Lent, especially in the Holy Week, when they beheld the Passion, and bewailed at the Cross, and sat weeping by the Sepulchre; it was now usual to shew Tokens of the greatest Joy, and therefore their morn∣ing Salutation was, The Lord is Risen, and the Answer was, The Lord is Risen indeed, or, andPage 45hath appeared to Simon. In Imitation of this; our Church begins her Office of Praise, with Salutations of the same Nature, Christ our Pass∣over is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the Feast, &c. Christ being raised from the Dead, dy∣eth no mo•e, &c. Christ is risen from the Dead, and become, &c.
THE Collect having acknowledged that God through his Son his conquer'd Death, and set open to us the Heavens, prays, that the good Desires of a Joyful Resurrection, which are ow∣ing to his Grace, may by his continual Help be brought to good Effect.
The EPISTLE directs us how to obtain what the Collect prays for, when it advises us, To mortifie our Members which are upon the Earth, and to set our Affections on the Things above; for if we be risen with Christ, we must seek those Things which are above.
The GOSPEL very suitably gives us the earliest Account of his Resurrection, and Men∣tions the first Evidences of it.
IN the primitive Times the Feast of Easter was solemnized even till Whitsunday, in honour of our Lord's Resurrection; afterwards the whole Week following was observed, which our Church approves of, by appointing a Preface in the Communion-Office for eight Days following; Page 46tho' she hath only appointed an Epistle and Go∣spel for the Monday and Tuesday.
The EPISTLE gives and Account of our Saviour's Resurrection from St. Peter, who tells us, That he was raised up the third Day, that he was seen of them, whom God had chosen Witnesses, and that they eat and drank with him after his Resurrection.
THIS Epistle is conveniently and judicious∣ly placed before this Gospel, as it contains the Words of Peter, who had the Honour of seeing his Lord, before the two Disciples, or any of the Apostles.
The GOSPEL is the History of what hap∣pened on the Afternoon of our Saviour's Resur∣rection, viz. his Walking to Emmaus with the two Disciples, and his Discovering himself to them in the Breaking of Bread.
THIS EPISTLE also is an Account of our Lord's Resurrection, from the Mouth of Peter; shewing, as the Epistle Yesterday did, that he was raised from the Dead, and that he was seen of them, his Witnesses, many Days.
The GOSPEL tells us what happened in the Evening of our Lord's Resurrection; how when the Disciples were come from Emmaus, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
The first Sunday after Easter.
THE Collect prays for such Purity and Ho∣liness, as may intitle us to a Share in our Lord's Resurrection.
The EPISTLE adviseth those who are born of God, or Baptized into the Faith of Christ, to overcome the World, as they promised when they were Baptized.
THE Reason why the Church chuses this Epistle for this Season, is, because it was proper for those who were Baptised on †Easter-Eve; who came to Church every Day in Easter-Week with ‖Lights before them, and clad in white Vestures, which they laid aside this Day in the Church, that they might rise up in Judgment against them, if they af∣terwards violated the Faith they pro∣fessed in their Baptism. This Epi∣stle therefore was very suitable, as putting them in Mind of what they promised.
Page 48The GOSPEL is answerable to the Season, and as the Sunday is Low-Sunday, or Low-Ea∣ster, so it treats of our Lord's Resurrection.
The second SUNDAY after Easter.
* AS by the Resurrection, not on∣ly the young and newly Baptized were instructed, but also the Grown and the Mature: This Sunday there∣fore treats of those who are arrived at Maturi∣ty, as the Sunday before did of those who had not so far advanced. It treats of the Pastors of the Church, and shews them how they must follow the Example of the Lord, as the other instructed the New-born Christians, how they should imitate Christ's Resurrection, by Pure∣ness and Holiness of Life.
THE Collect (from these Words in the E∣pistle, because also Christ suffered for us, leaving us an Example, that we should follow his Steps,) having acknowledged, that God gave his only Son to be unto us both a Sacrifice for Sin, and also an Example of a godly Life, prays God to send us his Grace, that we may be thankful for the Be∣nefit of his Dying for us, and may also follow his Steps.
THE EPISTLE shews to all, the Example of our Lord's Patience and Holiness, that they may follow his Steps; For it tells us, that he suf∣fered for us, that he was reviled, that he bore our Sins in is own Body on the Tree; and it also shews us his Manner of bearing Sufferings, he did Page 49no Sin, neither was any Guile found in his Mouth; her viled not, he threatned not; but committed himself to him who judgeth righteously; And so he suffered and took it patiently, which was acceptable with God.
The GOSPEL in a more particular Man∣ner relates to the Pastors and Bishops of the Church, and sets before them our blessed Lord, the good Shepherd, for their Imitation.
The Epistle, and it, are parallel in several Places. The Gospel tells us, that Jesus is the good Shepherd; the Epistle, that he is the Shep∣herd and Bishop of our Souls; The Gospel, that he layeth down his Life for his Sheep; The Epistle, that he bore our Sins in his own Body on the Tree; The Gospel shews the Master foretelling, that he hath other Sheep which are not of this Fold, and that them also he wou'd bring, and they should hear his Voice, and they should be one Fold and one Shep∣herd; The Epistle shews the Servants fulfilling the Prophecy of their Lord, when it says, Ye were as Sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your Souls.
The third SUNDAY after Easter.
IT is observable that the Collect and Epistle of this Day have a particular View to Baptism, which was undoubtedly to remind the newly baptized at Easter what Obligations they lay under, to perform their Duty.
Page 50† THE Ancients were wont to observe an Anniversary, in Comme∣moration of their Baptism, which was called Pascha Annotinum: They that were baptized at Easter the Year before, came the Year following the same Day to Church, and so∣lemnly with Oblations and other Religious Offi∣ces, commemorated the Anniversary Day of their New-Birth. Tho' our Church does not in every particular observe the same Custom, yet she draws near to the ancient Practice, in this solemn, tho' general Anniversary Commemora∣tion of Baptism this Day, minding us all this Day of our Baptism, and our Vow made there∣in, and praying to God to enable us all to keep it.
THE Collect is very suitable to this Com∣memoration of the Church, and prays God, wh• enlightens by Baptism, that all those who ha•• been admitted into the Fellowship of Christ's Religi∣on, or baptized into the Faith of Christ, may perform the Promises and Vows made in their Baptism.
The EPISTLE is also very suitable, and persuades the New-Born, or those whom God hath brought *from Error to the Light of his Truth, to walk as Chil∣deren of Light, and to live up to what they vowed in their Baptism, § by ab∣staining from the Lusts of the Flesh, and having an honest Conversation among the Gen∣tiles.
The GOSPEL is answerable to the Sea∣son Page 51of our Lord's Being in the World after his Resurrection, till the Ascension. A little while and ye shall not see me, is to say, in a little while I shall be laid in my Grave, and so be taken from your Eyes, and again a little while and ye shall see me, is to say you shall see me again for a little while after my Resurrection. A little while and ye shall weep and lament for my Death, but after my Resurrection your Sorrow shall be turn'd into Joy. This Gospel therefore should represent to us the Joyfulness of this Time, by the Joy the Apostles had after our Lord was risen.
The fourth SUNDAY after Easter.
THE Collect considering that the Epistle says, every good and every perfect Gift com∣eth down from above, &c. and therefore that what∣soever good we do is owing to the Gifts and Will of God, §who of his own Will begat the Apostles with the Word of Truth, that they might be a Kind of First-Fruits of his Creatures; acknowledges God to be Almighty, and that he alone can order the unruly Wills and Affections of sinful Men; and then it prays, that he would Grant the like unto his People; that they loving the Things which he commands, and desiring that which he does promise, may have their Hearts fixed upon such heavenly Ob∣jects, as redound to them from Christ's Resurrecti∣on, and the Holy Ghost the promised Comforter.
The EPISTLE telling us that every good and perfect Gift cometh •own from the Father of Page 52Lights, does thereby teach us, that the Holy-Spirit and his blessed Fruits are the Gifts of God and cometh down from him; And as it tells us, that God of his own Will begat the Apostles with the Word of Truth, &c. so it confirms the Promise of Christ to his Apostles in this Day's Gospel, viz. †when the Spirit of Truth was come, he should Guide them into all Truth. This Epistle therefore is very suitable to this Season, in which we read the Promise of the Comforter.
The GOSPEL also is very suitable to this Season of our Lord's Going in and out for forty Days among his Disciples. In the Gospel before, he tells them of his Being with them a little while, in the present Gospel he tells them he must short∣ly go away, to sent unto them the Spirit of Truth to guide them into all Truth.
The fifth SUNDAY after Easter.
THIS Sunday has the Name of Rogation. Sunday, and is so called because of the Three Days following it, being set apart by the Church, as Days of Abstinence, and putting up of Roga∣tions and Litanies, which are Requests and Sup∣plications to God.
THE Reason of this Exercise at this Time, is that our Hearts and Minds may be the better prepared to Ascend with Christ the Thursday fol∣lowing, and that the Fruits of the Earth, which at this Time are young and tender, may avoid being hurt; that God would avert his Judg∣ments Page 53from them, and let us enjoy them in due Season.
THE Collect observing in the Gospel, that Whatsoever we ask the Father in Christ's Name we shall receive, acknowledges that it is God from whom all good Things come; and then prays that he would send his Holy Ghost into our Hearts, that by his Holy Inspiration we may be puri∣fied with good Thoughts, and obtain Strength and Power to bring them to good Effect.
The EPISTLE teaches us how we may obtain the Comforter the Collect prays for, viz. by being Doers of the World and not Hearers only. For they who hear the Word only, are like the Seed which fell upon the Way-side, on the Rock, and among the Thorns, which were trodden down, withered away and choaked; But§the Doers of the Word, are*they which hear the Word of God and keep it, are the Seed which fell on good Ground, which brings forth Fruit with Patience. And therefore †not a forgetful Hearer, but a Doer of the Work, shall be blessed in his Deed, or shall obtain the promised Comfor∣ter.
The GOSPEL before acquaints us with our Lord's Leaving the World, and sending to us the Comforter: The present Gospel shews us how we may obtain him, ask and ye shall receive that your Joy may be full. This is therefore very suitable for the Sunday before the Ascension, as it as∣sures us, that our Lord did not ascend till he had promised us a Comforter in his Stead, and shew∣ed us the Way of obtaining the Promise.
THE Fast this Week is voluntary, for there is no Fast commanded betwixt Easter and Whit∣sunday; all that Time being spent in Joy on Account of the Lord's Resurrection.
THE Church having celebrated the Resur∣rection of her Saviour, doth in a regular Course of Things come to his Ascension. She shews him, telling hid Disciples, how he would be in the World a little while, then talking of his Go∣ing away, then sending to us the Comforter, and lastly shewing us the Way and Method of ob∣taining him. And having thus celebrated these Things in her Gospels for each Sunday, she now celebrates the Day of his Ascension after all; when he visibly ascended into the Heavens with his Humane Nature, after he had been with his Disciples forty Days upon Earth.
THE Collect prays that God would send us Grace to imitate, as much as we are able, the Ascension of our Saviour; that as he really as∣cended in his Humane Nature, so we may also ascend in our Hearts and Minds, and dwell con∣tinually with him there.
The EPISTLE gives us a particular Ac∣count Page 55of our Lord's Ascension, in the Presence of his Disciples; how after he had been with them forty Days, he assembled them together, and having assured them he would send them the Comforter, he ascended into Heaven.
The GOSPEL also is the History of our Lord's Ascension, and tells us in a particular Man∣ner how he ascended into the Heavens, and when he came there, that he sat down at the Right Hand of God.
The SUNDAY after Ascension-Day.
THIS Week has the Name of Expectation-Week, because now the Apostles expected the fulfilling of our Saviour's Promise of the Comforter, If I go away, I will send the Comfor∣ter to you.
THE Collect is very suitable to the Season, and in Imitation of the Condition the Apostles were in at this Time, prays, as the Apostles may be supposed to have done, that God would not leave us comfortless; but send to us the Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us into the same Place, whither our Saviour Christ is gone before.
The EPISTLE (considering what the Col∣lect prays for, viz. that we may obtain the Com∣forter and be exalted into the Heavens) shews us the Way of obtaining both the one and the other. If we be sober, and watch unto Prayer, as it advises us, following the Examples of the A∣postles Page 56at this Time, †The Comfor∣ter will come unto us, according to what our Lord himself tells us, as it were a lit∣tle before his Ascension, ask and ye shall receive;* and by good Works, by Charity and Mercy, which it also exhorts us to, we may fly after our Saviour into the Heavens, as it were from the Mount of Olives.
The GOSPEL is the Promise of the Com∣forter, which the Epistle exhorts to pray for, and which therefore our Church does pray for, in this Day's Collect. It is suitable to this Time, as it is the Promise of the Comforter the Apostles were now expecting.
THIS Day is called Whitsunday, because of that Light the Apostles were illuminated with by the Descent of the Holy Ghost; But it is chiefly so called, because the new baptized were wont at this Time to be cloathed with White Garments.
It has the Name of Pentecost, because there are Fifty Days between Easter and Whitsunday, as it was Fifty Days between the Passover and the Jewish Pentecost. Among the Jews it was celebrated, because the Law was then given on Mount Sinai; and among the Christians, because on this Day the Holy Ghost was given to the Church.
Page 57The last Sunday the Church, being as it were in Expectation of the Coming of the Comforter, prayed in the Collect that God would send him; but now the Comforter being come, she prays in this Day's Collect, that God would send her a true Judgment in all Things, and everlasting Joy in the Comfort of that Holy Spirit.
The EPISTLE is the Relation of the Won∣derful Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the A∣postles on this Day of Pentecost, when he sat upon Each of them, in the Shape of Cloven Tongues like as of Fire, and gifted them with speaking in all Languages, the wonderful Works of God.
The GOSPEL is very suitable for the Fe∣stival as being our Saviour's Promise of the Com∣forter, which the Epistle tells us he sent down on his Church on this Day.
MONDAY in Whitsun-Week.
THE Collect is the same with that of Ye∣sterday, it having been always Customary in the Week following any great Festival, to re∣peat some part of its Office.
THIS Week is not celebrated quite through in a Festival Manner, as was the Week of Easter; the former Part of it is only Festival, the latter Part is East. The former is Festival, because of the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and because also the Church at this * Season perform∣ed the Office of Baptism to Converts: But the later was spent in Fasting,Page 58because of the Ember-Days, the Wednesday, Fri∣day, and Saturday following, which were always observed a Fast, in Conformity to the Apostles fasting before Ordination, Act. xiii. 3.
AS then the Church at this Season not only celebrates the Descent of the Holy Ghost but likewise performed the Solemn Acts of Baptism, and Ordination and also Confirmation at this Sea∣son; so in her Offices for the Days, attending this great Festival, she solemnizes the Feast, and Com∣memorates the Church's Practice.
The EPISTLE mentions the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Gentiles, as Peter was prea∣ching to them, and at the Close it mentions Bap∣tism, telling us how the Gentiles were Baptized in the Name of the Lord. The Epistle therefore is very agreeable to the Season, in which we commemorate both the Descent of the Holy Spi∣rit, and the Custom of the Church of Baptizing at this Season: And therefore it lays before the Newly Baptized, the Necessity of walking as Chil∣dren of Light, and believing in Christ. For he that believeth shall not perish, but hath everlasting Life; but he that believeth not, is condemned al∣ready, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.
TUESDAY in Whitsun-Week.
THE Epistle, suitable to the Custom of Bap∣tizing at this Season, and of Confirming which was also now used, is concerning Baptism Page 59and Confirmation; and is also very proper for the Practice of the Church, at the latter Part of the Week, the Time of fasting and praying for an holy and regular Ministry. It tells us there∣fore, that, when the Apostles had heard that Sama∣ria had received the Word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who when they had laid their Hands on them, they received the Holy Ghost. Philip had Baptized them, but being only in the Inferior Orders, he could not give them Confir∣mation, which was the Province of Peter and John, they being Bishop or of the Highest Order. We may see therefore how agreeable this is to the Custom of Ordaining at this Time; For it teaches us, that there is a Difference of Orders, because there is a Difference of Power: Philip could baptize, but he could not confirm; which shews, that the Power of Ordaining (being at least equally great with that of Confirming) can be lodged no where but in the Bishop, or the highest Order. This Epistle then mentions Ba∣ptism, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, Confirma∣tion, and lastly inferrs the Validity of an Episco∣pal Ordination, which is going to be performed at this Time, and so is highly suitable to the Season.
The GOSPEL, answerable to he Ember-Week, and the Ordination, shews which are the lawfully appointed Ministers of God, which are not; which are the Shepherds of the Sheep, which are the Thieves and Robbers; Those who enter not into the Sheepfold by Christ, who is the Door, and consequently by those whom Christ sent, as he himself was sent, but climbeth up some other Way, are the Thieves and Robbers.
THIS is called Trinity-Sunday, be∣cause on it is celebrated the Festival of the Holy Trinity. It is celebrated at this Time as com∣ing in at the Close of the Festiv∣als, which have been dedicated to the several Persons of the God∣head. † On the Nativity is cele∣brated the Festival of the Father, for the Nativity is called the Festival of the Father; On Easter-day, the Festival of the Son; and on Whitsunday, the Festival of the Holy Ghost; and therefore very fitly on this Day in celebrated the Feast of the Trinity, to shew that those three Per∣sons are one God. For as the Church by observ∣ing these Days separate to the Persons in the Ever Blesse Trinity, shews her Faith in the Uni∣ty in Trinity; so by the Observation of this in particular, she shews her Faith in the Trinity in Unity. Another Reason for observing this par∣ticular Time for the Celebration of this Festival, is, because the Lord had no sooner ascended in∣to Heaven, and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Church, than the Knowledge of the most glorious Trinity became more conspicuous than ever it was before.
THIS Sunday in the ancient Church, having been the last of the Days of Baptism at this Sea∣son of Pentecost, the † Epistle has Relation to Baptism, particularly in that Part of it, and before the Throne there was a Sea of Glass like to Chri∣stal, which the Ritualist says, signifies the Bap∣tism of a pure Confession, and a solid Faith; But however, it is still very fit for the Season, as having in it that angelical Hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which is it self a Proof of the Trinity in Unity.
The GOSPEL also suitable to the Custom of Baptizing at this Season of Pentecost, treats of Baptism, and shews the great Necessity of it, Verily, verily I say unto you, except a Man be born of Water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God; which is exactly answerable to the Epistle, and is as much as to say, that we must sail through the Sea of Glass there mentio∣ned, Page 62before we arrive at the Port of Happi∣ness, or enter into the Kindom of God, men∣tioned in the Gospel; But however, tho' it an∣swers the Epistle so exactly in the Custom of the Church, of Baptizing at this Season, yet it is still very proper for this Festival of the Blessed Trinity. For the Three Persons of the God∣head are mentioned in it, in whose Names the whole Church is baptized.
The first Sunday after Trinity.
THE whole Time from Advent to Trinity-Sunday, having been chiefly spent in Com∣memorating the most remarkable Transactions of our Saviour's Life and Death, the Offices ap∣pointed by the Church were always answerable to the Occasion: And having celebrated the My∣steries of our Redemption, and proposed to our Imitation the Example of our Lord, she comes now in the Offices from Trinity Sunday, to Ad∣vent, to instruct us in our Duty, that we may follow rightly the Example which has been gi∣ven us. The Epistles and Gospels therefore of the following Sundays are instructive of an Holy Life, teaching us the Road of Virtue, and how we may avoid the By-ways of Vice; And tho' they are not suited to the Sundays they were fixed to, as the others before Trinity-Sunday are to their respective Seasons, that being im∣practicable, yet the Office for each Sunday has generally an agreeable Harmony and Fitness in itself, the Collect, Epistle and Gospel, having Page 63for the most Part, some Likeness and Analogy to one another.
THE Collect considering, from a View of the rich Man's uncharitable Behavi∣our in the Gospel, *The Weakness of our mortal Nature, and therefore how of our selves, †we are able to do no good Thing; prays God that he would grant us the Help of his Grace, that‖we may keep his Commandments, or the Command∣ment of loving our Brother, mentioned in the E∣pistle, which will enable us to§please God both in Will and Deed.
The EPISTLE tell us, how God sent his Son into the World, that he was the Propitiation for our Sins, and how after that, he gave us of his Spirit; by which is mentioned in short, the great Acts of our Redemptions, viz. our Sa∣viour's Brith and Death, and the Coming of the Holy Ghost; which by the Way is very suita∣ble for the first Sunday after Trinity. From those Acts of Love and Mercy, it exhorts to Charity, which the Rich Man in the Gospel wanted. For the Apostle argues, if God so lov∣ed us, we ought also to love one another: And that we cannot love God, but we must love our Brother also: That it is not enough to be holy in our Desires and Thoughts, that we may *please God in Will; but we must also be charitable to our Brethren †that we may please him in Deed.
The GOSPEL is the Parable of Dives and Page 64Lazarus, which tells us the Fate of the unmer∣ciful and uncharitable; and which therefore both deters us from that Hatred, and excites us to that Love of our Brethren mentioned in the E∣pistle. For whoever would avoid being in Hell and in Torments, as Dives was, must not only not *hate, but Love his Brother also. The Collect then prays that we may be able to do Good, or Deeds of Charity; the Epistle excites us to this great Duty, by shewing us the Love of God towards us; and the Gospel threatens us with the Flames of Hell, and everlasting Death, if we do it not.
The second SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, as it were from these Words in the Epistle, and whatever we ask, we re∣ceive of him, because we keep his Commandments, &c. having acknowledged, that God never fails to help and govern those whom he brings up in his stedfast Fear and Love; beseeches him, to keep us under the Protection of his good Providence, that we may have a perpetual Fear and Love of his Ho∣ly Name, that by the Former we may not dare to excuse our selves from the great Supper men∣tioned in the Gospel, and may by the Latter have Grace readily to accept of the Invitation.
The EPISTLE excites us to Actions of Charity and Love to each other, and to the Love of God; and therefore advises us, out of the A∣bundance and Affluence of Things God hath be∣stowed on us, to be merciful to our poor and Page 65indigent Brethren; in Imitation, as it were of the Man in the Gospel, who brought into his Supper, the Poor and the Maimed, and the Halt and the Blind. For whos• hath this World's Good, and seeth his Brother have need, and shutteth up his Bowels of Compassion from him, how dwelleth the Love of God in him? It therefore Advises us not to love our Brethren in Word, neither in Tongue, as those loved God, who excused them∣selves from the great Supper, but to love them in Deed and in Truth, as God loved those he invi∣ted to it.
The GOSPEL is the Parable of the great Supper, in which is represented the wonderful Love of God to his indigent Creatures, in invi∣ting them to the good Things of his heavenly Kingdom, and the Ingratitude of the Sons of Men, in not accepting of them.
The third SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect considering that the Epistle and Gospel shew that we are exposed to many and great Dangers, prays that we may be defen∣ded and comforted in all Dangers and Adversities.
The EPISTLE mentions what those Dan∣gers are and shews what is requisite to support us under them. It tells us, the Dangers are the Devil and his Angels, who walk about, seeking whom they may devour; and that, by being hum∣ble, sober, and vigilant, and by casting all our Care upon God, who careth for us, we may be a∣ble to resist them.
Page 66The GOSPEL also, under the Parable of lost Sheep, shews us the Dangers we are ex∣posed to, and that God careth for us, when we are in them. When the Devil, who is the roar∣ing Lion in the Wilderness of this World, finds one of the Sheep of Christ wandering and stray∣ing from the Flock, and not using that Vigilance the Epistle advises him to; he immediately seizes him, that he may devour him. But Jesus Christ, the good Shepherd, who careth for his Sheep, goes after that which is lost, untill he finds it; and then *delivers him out of the Jaws of the Lion, and brings him back to the Fold.
The fourth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect seems from a View of the blind Guides, mentioned in the Gospel, to ac∣knowledge God the Protector of all that trust in him, and to be him without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; and then considering the Suffer∣ings of this present World, mentioned in the E∣pistle, and the Danger of meeting with the blind Guides in the Gospel to carry us through them, it prays God, *Our Father which is merciful,†that he would increase and multiply upon us his Mercy; that in∣stead of the Guides in the Gospel, §He would be our Ruler and Guide, that we ‖may so pass through Things temporal, that we finally lose not the Things eter∣nal; or as the Epistle has it, That we may pass through the Sufferings of this prefent World, to the Glory which shall be revealed.
Page 67The EPISTLE mentions the Sufferings of the World, and tells us, That the whole Creation, nay even those who had the first Fruits of the Spirit, groan and travel in Pain together; waiting for the Manifestation of the Sons of God, and the Re∣demption of the Body.
The GOSPEL shews us the Way of obtain∣ing what the Collect prays for: If we would have God multiply upon us his Mercy, we must be merciful as he is merciful, we must not judge nor condemn, but we must forgive, and we must be charitable: And if we would have him to be *our Ruler and Guide in passing through Things temporal, we must guard against Blind-Guides, who are Leaders of the Blind; who together with those they lead, fall both into the Ditch, and † so fi∣nally lose the Things eternal.
The fifth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect is founded upon the Epistle and Gospel, and begs of God the Peace of the World, that the Church may serve him in joy and godly Quietness.
The EPITLE shews the Method of acqui∣ring what the Collect prays for. ‖If we be all of one Mind, as were the Partners in the Gospel; if as they did, we §love as Brethren, and are ready *to come and help each other; if‖we be pitiful and Courtous, &c.†we shall keep the Church in godly Quiet∣ness: Page 68But,§if we render Evil for E∣vil, or Railing for Railing, we shall oc∣casion Schisms and Divisions, and put the Church into Disorder and Confusion.
The GOSPEL is the Miracle of the Draught of Fishes, when the Lord entered into Simon's Ship. Tho' they had toiled all the Night, and had taken nothing, yet at his Word they let down the Net; and when they had this done, they in∣closed a great Multitude of Fishes, and their Net brake.* By the Ship is re∣presented to us the Catholick Church; by the Net the Catholick Faith; and by the Multitude of Fishes, the vast Numbers of Converts the Apostles should bring over to the Christian Religion, when they be∣came Fishers of Men. So that by the Nets break∣ing with the Multitude of Fishes, is represented to us how the Faith of the Church is rent and torn by Heresies and Schisms, which the Epistle cautions us, and the Collect prays against.
The sixth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect prays for the love of God, that by loving him above all Things, we may ob∣tain his Promises, which exceed all that we can desire.
The EPISTLE tells us what these Promises are, and how we may acquire them. It assures us, we shall be planted into the Likeness of Christ's Resurection, and that we shall live with him, provided, that we walk in Newness of Life, and have destroyed the Body of Sin.
Page 69The GOSPEL also excites us to Newness of Life, by commanding us not so much to regard what was said by them of old Time, as what our Saviour says unto us. And as the Epistle tells us, That our old Man is crucified with Christ; so the Gospel tells us, That our Righteousness must ex∣ceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, or else we shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, or obtain the Promises which exceed all that can be desired.
The seventh SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect having acknowledged God, from a View of the Miracle in the Gospel, to be the Lord of all Power and Might; and from our Saviour's Compassion to the hungry Multi∣tude, to be the Giver of all good Things; prays God that he would graft in our Hearts the Love of his Name, increase in us true Religion, nourish us with all Goodness, and of his great Mercy keep us in the same.
The EPISTLE persuades us to what the Collect prays for; and advices that we should turn from being the Servants of Sin, to be the Servants of Righteousness; that we may avoid the Wages of Sin, which is Death; and obtain the Gift of God, which is eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The GOSPEL is the Miracle of our Savi∣our's Feeding the four Thousand with seven Loaves and a few small Fishes: Where we may observe Page 70upon what Bottom the Church in this Day's Collect puts up her Petitions. By the staying of the People so long, and their eager Desire for the Doctrine of Christ, she prays for the Love of God, and the Increase of true Religion; and from the Refreshment of the Loaves, she prays, that we may be nourished with all Goodness. The Ritualists tell us, that those of the People, who came from far, are a Representation of those, who hunger and thirst after Righteousness, which they have so long fasted from, and that therefore the Epistle answers exactly in saying, When ye were the Servants of Sin, ye were freed from Righteousness.
The eighth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect prays, that God would put away from us all hurtful Things, and give us such Things as are profitable to our Salvation.
The EPISTLE shews what is hurtful and what is Profitable: That it is hurtful to live after the Flesh, and profitable, through the Spirit to mor∣tify the Deeds of the Body; because if we live af∣ter the Flesh we shall die; but if through the Spirit, we mortify the Deeds of the Body, we shall live.
The GOSPEL is careful that we be not drawn away, * to live after the Flesh by False Prophets.† It therefore bids us beware of them, and then tells us how we may know them in Disguise; You shall know them by Page 72their Fruits; that is, you shall find that they *live inwardly after the Flesh, tho' outwardly, by a seeming Continence, Chastity, and Fasting, they appear to ‖mortify the Deeds of the Body. And then, agreeable to the Epistle, which says, that they which live after the Flesh shall die; it also deters from such a Life and Conversation, by men∣tioning the Punishment due, viz. that they shall be cast into the Fire.
The ninth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, considering the Fate of the Is∣raelites in the Epistle, and how we are there advised to take heed lest we also fall;§ and how the Steward in the Gospel was turned out of his Stewardship, for unjustly ma∣naging the Things he was intrusted with, prays God that he would send us, *his Spi∣rit to do always such Things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do any Thing that is Good without him, more than could the Israel∣ites in the Epistle, when they fell from their own Steadfastness, or the Steward in the Gospel, when he became Unjust) may by him be enabled to live according to his Will.
The EPISTLE shews the Necessity of our being assisted by God's Spirit, †to do always such Things as he rightful. The Israelites had obtained many Blessings, and tasted of the ‖good Things of God, but when they *lusted after evil Things, became Idolaters, Fornica∣tors, Page 73&c. and God's Spirit forsook them, they were overthrown in the Wilderness; wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.
The GOSPEL also teaches us, that the Spirit of God is always necessary to keep us in *doing these Things that be rightful. Whilst the Steward walked in the Spirit he was Faithful to his Lord; but when he ceased to be so guided, he became unjust. The Gospel in this Parable runs parallel to the Epi∣stle. The rich Man who had a Steward, is no other than God who is rich in Goodness towards all; and who committed his Blessings to the Israelites in the Epistle, as he did his Goods to the Steward in the Gospel: As the Israelites in the Epistle, abused his great Goodness to them, so the Steward wasted his Goods; and as the Israelites were therefore overthrown in the Wil∣derness, so was the Steward put out of his Steward∣ship.
The tenth SUNDAY after Trinity
THE Collect having as it were before its Eyes the Gifts mentioned in the Epistle, some of which will always be necessary, for the Church prays God, †Who wor∣keth all in all, and divideth to every Man severally as he will, that *we may ask such Things, or Gifts, as will please him, or be according to his Will, which worketh all in all.Page 72〈1 page duplicate〉Page 73〈1 page duplicate〉
Page 74 The EPISTLE is chosen from a View of the Gospel; As the Gospel mentions our Sa∣viour's weeping over the City Jerusalem, and lamenting, that the Things belonging to her Peace were hidden from her Eyes; so the Epistle in∣structs us as to Spiritual Gifts, and tells us, that whoever calleth Jesus accursed or opposeth Christ and his Religion, doth not speak by the Spirit of God, and that no Man can say that Jesus is Lord, or the Messiah, but by the Holy Ghost; and that all Manner of Gifts what-ever are from the same Spirit.
The GOSPEL is the Story of our Saviour's Weeping over the City Jerusalem. The E∣pistle is parallel to it in several Places. The Gospel tells us, that the Jews knew not the Things which belonged to their Peace; the Epistle there∣fore concerning Spiritual Gifts would not have us Ignorant as they were; the Gospel shews that our Lord, the Messiah of the World, was hid∣den from their Eyes; the Epistle shews that they wanted the Holy Ghost, because they were the Persons who called Jesus accursed, and who would not say that Jesus is the Lord.
SOME of the Ritualists observe, that be our Lord's Casting them out that bought and sold in the Temple, is represented, that the Lord will throw those out of the Church, who are Buyers and Sel∣lers of Holy Orders. And therefore the Epistle very suitably tells us before, that Spiritual Gifts cannot be given, much less sold by Man; but they are the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, who di∣videth to every Man severally as he will.
Page 75This Gospel is read at this Season because in the Month of August the Temple was burnt, and in September the whole City was set on Fire, and so was our Lord's Prediction of it fulfilled.
The eleventh SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, as it were from the Mouth of the Publican in the Gospel, God be merciful to me a Sinner, and from the Apostle in the E∣pistle *who obtained Mercy through the†Grace of God, acknowledges God to be a God of Mercy and Piety and prays that God would mercifully grant unto us his Grace, as he did the Apostle in the Epistle that we may run the Way of his Commandments, and be made Partakers of his heavenly Treasure.
The EPISTLE gives us the Apostle St. Paul for an Example of that Humility, which is recommended in the Gospel. For, says he, I am the least of the Apostles, that am not meet to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. Observe how answerable this is to the Publican in the Gospel; the Publican stands afar of, and dare not so much as lift up his Eyes to Heaven. The Apostle with the same humble Mind, says, I am the least of the Apostles, &c, T••Publican confesses that he's a Sinner; the Apostle, that he persecuted the Church of God.
The GOSPEL, in the Parable of the Pha∣risee and the Publican, shews that they which ex∣alt themselves shall be abased, and they that hum∣ble Page 76themselves shall be exalted. The boasting Pha∣risee is an Instance of the Former, and the humble Publican is of the Latter. The Publican boasts not with the Pharisee, that he is not as other Men are, Extortioners, unjust, &c. but he stands afar of and dare not so much as list up his Eyes to Hea∣ven; and with a deep Sense of his Guilt he smites upon his Breast, saying, God be merciful to me a Sinner. And therefore he went down to his House justified rather than the Other.
The twelfth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, considering our Saviour's Good∣ness in giving the Man in the Gospel Speech instead of Dumbness, and Hearing instead of Deafness, prays for such abundant Mercy, that we may be forgiven those Things, whereof our Conscience is afraid, and given these good Things, which we are not worthy to ask, but through the Merits and Mediation of our Saviour.
The EPISTLE seems to have been cho∣sen as suitable to the Gospel; because the Gospel in its mystical Meaning shews, that the Priests of the new Testament should bring over to Christ's Doctrine, the Unbelievers of the World: It therefore shews, that God made the Apostles and their Successors able Ministers of the new Testament, and that the Ministration of Death, or the Ministry of the Law, was infe∣riour to the Ministration of the Spirit, or the Ministry of the Gospel. For in the Times of Page 77the Former, it was only prophecy'd, that*the Ears of the Deaf should be opened, and the Tongue of the Dumb should sing, but under the Latter we see the Pro∣phecy compleated.
The GOSPEL is the History of our Lord's Curing the Deaf and Dumb, under which is couched a * mystical Meaning. By the Deaf and Dumb is to be understood those who hear not the Commands of God, nor speak forth his Praise. And those who bring them to Christ, and beseech him to put his Hand upon them, are an Emblem of the Preachers of the Gospel, who by the Charge of the Ministry committed to them, bring such Dumb and Deaf to Christ, and to a Knowledge of their Duty.
The thirteenth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, observing that both the Epi∣stle and Gospel shew, that Salvation, is by the free Promise of God, and not by the Jewish Law, acknowledges that of God's only Gift it com∣eth, that we do unto him true and laudable Ser∣vice; and then from these Words in the Gospel, this do, and thou shalt live, it prays God, that we may so faithfully serve him in this Life, that we fail not finally to attain his heavenly Promises.
The EPISTLE treats of the Promise God made to Abraham and his Seed, which was, in thee shall all Nations be blessed. This was Promi∣sed Page 78not to many Seeds but to his only, which Seed is Christ. It therefore tells us, that the Right of Inheritance was by that free Promise, and not by the Observation of the Jewish Law.†For if there had been a Law given, which could have given Life, verily Righ∣teousness should have been by the Law; But the Scripture hath concluded all under Sin, that the Promise by Faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Those then only are saved who believe in Jesus Christ, and there is no Sal∣vation by the Jewish Law.
The GOSPEL shews us this Seed, viz. Christ, in whom all the Nations of the World are blessed, verifying the Promise, and saying, blessed are the Eyes which see the Things that ye see, &c. and by the following Parable most beautifully Points out to us, that Salvation and the Blessing promised, is not by the Jewish Law, but by Jesus Christ the promised Seed. By * the Man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, who fell among Thieves, &c. is to be understood the Sons of Adam, stript naked of their Innocence, and left al∣most dead in their Sins. By the Priest and Le∣vite passing by on the other Side, we have an Em∣blem of the Weakness of the Jewish Law, in ta∣king away Sins. For as the Epistle infers, it was not a Law that could give Life*For it is not possible that the Blood of Bulls and of Goats should take away Sins. By the Good Samaritan is to be un∣derstood our blessed Lord, who according to the Promise, repaired our lost Innocency, and bound up the Wounds of our Sins.
The fourteenth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect having as it were in view the Faith of the Samaritan Leper, the Hope and Confidence of the Ten, when they listed up their Voices, and the Charity of our Lord in healing them, prays for the Increase of Faith, Hope, and Charity; and probably from their being cleansed as they were going to the Priest, as Christ com∣manded them, It also prays, and that we may ob∣tain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command.
The EPISTLE is answerable to the Gos∣pel. For as the Gospel gives us the History of the ten Lepers, whose Disease is an Emblem of Sin, the Leprosie of the Soul; so the Epistle mentions the Substance, of which the Leprosie of the Ten was but the Shadow. For the Works of the Flesh, says it, are Adultery, Fornication, Uncleannses, Lasciviousness, &c. And as the Gos∣pel tells us how the Leprosie of the Body was healed, so the Epistle tells us, how we may cure the Leprosie of the Soul: I say then walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the Lusts of the Flesh, &c.
The GOSPEL is the History of the Ten Lepers. As our Lord was going to Jerusalem, they met him, and prayed him to cure them of their Leprosie: Upon which he told them, to go shew themselves unto the Priests; and it came to pass, that as they were going, they were cleansed. For * it was com∣manded, that whoever was cured of the Leprosie, should go shew himself to the Page 80Priest, that he might make the Offering which the Law required, and so be pronounced clean of the Leprosie.
NOW under this is couched, that when we are tainted with the Leprosie of Sin, we should go to those who are the Judges of the Uncleanness of the Soul, the Successors of those who judged of the Leprosie of the Body.
The fifteenth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, as it were from a View of the False-Brethren in the Epistle, prays for the Preservation of the Church; and considering their Failing, it acknowledges the Frailty of Man without God's Assistance: And then from a Page 81deep Sense of the great Danger of too much desiring those †Things which the Gentiles seek after, and the great Ne∣cessity of*seeking first the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness, it prays God, to keep us from all Things hurtful, and lead us to all Things profitable to our Salvation.
The EPISTLE, by giving us an Account of the Behaviour of those mentioned in it, shews plainly, what is hurtful, and what is profitable to our Salvation. It tells of some who desired to make a fair Shew in the Flesh, by constraining others to be circumcised. And this they did, that they might not suffer Persecution for the Sake of * Christ, by which Words, the A∣postle cautions his Galatians against the Practises of those Christians, who out of the Fear of being persecuted for the Cross, and of not carrying on their worldly Affairs, observed the Rites of the Jewish Law, and taught that Circumcision was necessary. So then being so anxious after the Things of this Life, as to neglect or slight the Things of the other, are the hurtful Things here spoken of; and no doubt, if we become new-Crea∣tures, as the Epistle advises, we shall possess those Things which are profita∣ble to our Salvation.
Page 82The GOSPEL shew, that no Man can serve two Masters, which speakes the Impossibility of those mentioned in the Epistle, pleasing both the Christian and the Jew, God and the World. It was their Practice to preach to the Jews the Do∣ctrine of the Circumcision, that they might avoid Persecution, and enjoy in Ease the Things of the World; and the Doctrine of the Cross to the Christians, imagining that that was Suffi∣cient to save them; But this Gospel thews the Weakness and Folly of such Pretences. For it assures us, we cannot serve God and Mammon. Would we therefore avoid being the Servants of Sin? We must take no Thought what we shall eat or what we shall drink, or wherewith all we shall be cloathed; lest with the too anxious People in the Epistle, we become *Haters of God; but if we would be † Lovers of God, as St Paul strives to make his Gala∣tions, we must seek first of all the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness, or first of all put on the New-Man, and become a *New-Creature.
The sixteenth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, from the Example of St. Paul in the Epistle, praying for the Church of the Ephesians; and from our Saviour's Pity to the Widow, or the Church in the Gospel prays God that he would cleanse and defend his Church, and preserve it evermore by his Help and Goodness.
The EPISTLE is an Instance of St. Paul,Page 83praying for the Church of the Ephesians, that they might be strengthned with Might by his Spirit in the Inner-Man, that Christ might dwell in their Hearts by Faith, and that they might be filled with all the Fullness of God. Thus the Apostle in Effect prays in the Epistle that the Church may obtain, what our Lord did for her in the Gospel. And as the Epistle acknowledges that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, so the Gospel gives us an In∣stance of this Power and Goodness in our Lord's raising up the Widow's Son, when she neither ask'd, nor thought he would be raised.
The GOSPEL gives us an Instance of our Lord's Cleansing, Defending, and Helping his Church, in the Story of his raising the Widow's Son to Life again, as they were carrying him on the Bier to the Grave. The Widow weeping for her Son, * is an Em∣blem of the Church, now a Widow, as it were in the Corporal Absence of her Lord, weeping for her Sons, who are dead in their Sins; and the Lord's having Com∣passion on her, and raising up her Son again, represents to us, that the Lord raises up those who are dead in Sin, to a Life of Righteousness, to the Comfort and †Glory of the Church.
The seventeenth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect prays that God's Grace may always prevent and follow us, and that he would make us, after the Example of our Lord curing the dropsical Person on the Sabbath Day, to be continually given to all good Works.
The EPISTLE makes mention of some of those good Works the Collect prays for, and thereby Answers to the Parable of those who were bid∣den to the Marriage, and exhorts us to Humi∣lity and Meekness; telling us as it were, that when we are bidden to the Wedding, we should behave with all Lowliness and Meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in Love, not aiming at a Seat in the highest Room, as did the People in the Gospel, but endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit, in the bond of Peace.
The GOSPEL in the Parable shews the Disesteem and Discredit that attend Pride and Haughtiness, and the Advantage and Profit of Humility and Meekness. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth him∣self shall be exalted.
The eighteenth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Office of this Day relates to the Cler∣gy, and has been chosen very suitably by the Church. For as this Sunday often happens to be the Sunday of Ordination, after the Em∣ber-East in September, so nothing could be more suitable to the Season than the present Office.
THE Collect prays for God's Grace to with∣stand the World, the Flesh, and the Devil; and forasmuch as the Gospel tells us, That we must Love the Lord our God with all our Heart, and all our Mind, it therefore prays God, That with pure Hearts and Minds we may follow him the only God.
The EPISTLE tells us, what Qualificati∣ons are more especially required in those to be admitted to holy Orders; that they should have Utterance, and Knowledge, and come behind in no Gift.
The GOSPEL tells us, how our Saviour answered the Question of the Lawyer, and how he put the Pharisees to silence, so that none of them was able to answer him a Word. Which teaches us how the Ministers of Christ should be qualified; that *they should be able to give an answer to e∣very one that asks them a Reason of the Hope that is in them; and to confute the Gain-sayers.
The nineteeth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, considering the Epistle and Gospel, prays that the holy Spirit of God, (whereby, as the Epistle tell us, We are sealed to the Day of Redemption,) may in all Things direct and rule our Hearts; that we may avoid that Blindness of Heart mentioned in the Epistle, and not think Evil in our Hearts, as did the Scribes in the Gospel.
The EPISTLE is answerable to the Gos∣pel, and shews that the Gentiles, before their Conversion, were, like the Sick of the Palsie in the Gospel, lying in Sin, which the Palsie is an Emblem of. But after they had learned Christ, they laid aside the old Man, and put on the new Man, which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holiness: They were not still in their Understandings darkned, but were renewed in the Spirit of their Mind.
The GOSPEL is the History of our Savi∣our's Curing the Sick of the Palsie, who was brought to him on a Bed; to whom also he gave Remission of Sins. * This is a lively Representation of a Man living dissolutely, and as the Epistle says of the Gentiles, alienated from the Life of God, and given over unto Lasciviousness, and all Uncleanness. But our blessed Lord cures him, as he did the Gentiles in the E∣pistle, †by putting of the old Man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful Lusts, and renewing him in the Spirit of his Mind. And when he ‖rises up and Page 87walks from his Sins, and hath§put on the new Man, which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holiness, then he is able to perform the Advice of the Epistle, and to let all Bitterness, and Wrath, and Anger, and Clamour, &c. be put away from him.
The twentieth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect considering the Fate of them who would not come to the Marriage, prays that we being ready both in Body and Soul, may chearfully fulfill God's Commands, and be obedient to his Will, as the Epistle advises.
The EPISTLE persuades, as it were, to make ready for the Wedding; that we walk cir∣cumspectly; that we be not unwise, as those were who were invited, but understanding that it is the Will of the Lord we should come to the Wed∣ding; that we should not be drunk with Wine; but be filled with the Spirit, the Wedding Gar∣ment required in the Gospel.
The GOSPEL is the Parable of the King, who made a Marriage for his Son. Under which is signified, that God sent his Servants to invite the Jews to the good Things he had provided for them in Heaven: But when they behaved so ungratefully to his Servants, he came and de∣stroyed those Murderers, and burnt up their City Jerusalem. Then ordered he his Servants, the Apostles, (who whilst the Jews were invited Page 88and expected at the Wedding, were *not to go into the Way of the Gen∣tiles,) to go into the Highways, viz. among the Gentiles, and call them to the Marriage; which they did, and so the Wedding was furnished with Guests. But tho' many were called, yet but Few were chosen. Those who came not in the Wed∣ding Garment of an holy Life, but cloathed only with a dull. unactive Faith, were thrown into outer Darkness.
The twenty first SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, from our Lord's Compassion on the Nobleman's Son in the Gospel, ha∣ving acknowledged the Lord to be merciful, be∣seeches God, from a View of the Nobleman's Faith, and the Cure thereby wrought, that he would grant to his faithful People pardon, that they may be cleansed from all their Sins: And from a Consideration of the Disquietudes and Troubles of the Christian Warfare, mentioned in the E∣pistle, it prays for Peace, that we may serve God with a quiet Mind.
The EPISTLE shews the Enemies we have to combat in our spiritual Warfare, and puts us into the Method of acquiring that Peace and Quiet the Collect prays for, notwithstanding we are surrounded with them in the most hostile Manner. For it advises us to be strong in the Lord, and in the Power of his Might.
The GOSPEL is an Account of the Noble∣man,Page 89who desired Jesus to go down to Caperna∣um to heal his Son who was a dying; to whom Jesus said, go thy way, thy Son liveth. By * this is represented to us, that when our dear and immortal Souls are assaulted with Evils and Temptations almost to death, and we come to our Lord, and beg him to relieve us, he sends us the Aid and Assi∣stance of his holy Spirit: So that †when God arises his Enemies are scattered, and they which hate him flee before him. Wherefore when we are surrounded with the Fi∣ery Darts of the Devil,‖let us be strong in the Lord, and in the Power of his Might.
The Twenty-second SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect, imitating St. Paul, praying for the Church of the Philipians in the Epistle, prays God, the King in the Gospel, who took an Account of his Servants, to keep his Household, the Church, in continual Godliness, that through his Protection it may be free from all Adversities, and devoutly given to serve him in all good Works, to the Glory of his Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, viz. such §good Works as the Apostle tells us in the Epistle, God had begun in the Philipians, and such as at the End of this Epistle are called the Fruits of Righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, to the Glo∣ry and Praise of God.
The EPISTLE shews the Love and Charity of St. Paul to the Church of the Philipians, for Page 90God, says he, is my Record, how greatly I long af∣ter you all, in the Bowels of Jesus Christ. And then he prays with such a Spirit of brotherly Kindness, as is required in the Gospel, that their Love may abound yet more and more; that they may be Sincere and without Offence, 'till the Day of Christ, or * or till the King come to take an Account of his Servants.
The GOSPEL is the Parable of the unmer∣ciful Servant, which is grounded upon a Question of Peter to our Lord, How often shall my Brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven Times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee until seven Times, but until seventy Times seven: Therefore is the Kingdom of Heaven, &c. in which Para∣ble is shewn the great Mercy of God, in forgiv∣ing us such infinite Numbers of Sins, and our Unmercifulness in not forgiving each other a pet∣ty Trespass; And it also shews the grievous Con∣sequence of such unbrotherly Treatment, viz. that the cruel and unmerciful will the delivered to those everlasting Tormentors, the Flames of Hell, where they can never pay the Debt of their Sins.
THE Collect then prays, that we may serve God in good Works; the Epistle shews what these good Works are, viz. such as God had begun in the Philipians, that their Love might abound more and more to each other, in Knowledge, and in all Judgment; that they might approve, &c. And the Gospel gives us an Example of good Works in the King mentioned in it, and threatens us with eternal Misery if we do not follow it.
The twenty-third SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect prays, that God would be ready to hear the devout Prayers of his Church, and that he would grant her the Petitions *she asks in Faith.
The EPISTLE takes Notice of two Sorts of People, the one of which has their Conversa∣tion in Heaven, the other Minds earthly Things; the one pays the Tribute of a holy Life to God, the other makes a God of their Belly: The one at the Resurrection shall have a Body fashioned like unto the Body of their Saviour, the other shall end in Destruction.
The GOSPEL teaches us to render unto Cae∣sar, the Things that are Caesar's, and unto God, the Things which are God's. Some of the Ritu∣alists observe, that as we are commanded by our Lord, to render unto Caesar, the Things which are Caesar's, and are therefore to render him a Tri∣bute with his own Image upon it; so we are likewise to render unto God, the Things that are God's; by rendring him, as the Epistle recom∣mends, the Tribute of a pure and holy Soul, which is stamped with his own Image; and if we conform our selves here to the Image of Christ, He shall hereafter Transform our§vile Body, that it may be like unto his glorious Body.
The twenty fourth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THE Collect having before its Eyes in the Gospel, the Story of our Saviour's raising up the dead Maid to Life again, and healing the Woman of her Disease; prays therefore that God would in like Manner absolve his People from their Offences, and of his same bountiful Goodness deliver them from the Bands of their Sins.
The EPISTLE gives and Account of the Conversion of the Gentiles at Collosse, and shews St. Paul praying for their Continuance and Growth in the Faith, and that they may be thankful to the Father who made them meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light. The Epistle therefore, as it mentions the Con∣version of the Gentiles, and what they owe to God for it, is very suitable to the Gospel.
The GOSPEL is the Story of the Woman that was cured of the Issue of Blood, and of Ja∣irus's Daughter, who was raised from the Dead. The Woman was a Gentile, the Maid was a Jew: The Woman had been ill twelve Years, the Maid was twelve*Years old: The Woman was cured of her Disease, as Jesus was going to cure the Maid. Observe then the Mystery in the Jews and Gentiles. As the Woman was taken ill when the Maid was born, so the Gentiles degenerated into Idolatry when the Jews believed in the Loyns of Abra∣ham. As Jesus went down to heal the Maid, and in the Going, the Woman was first healed; Page 93so Jesus came first to the Jews, but the Gentiles first believed and were saved. And as at last he went down to the Ruler's House, and raised his Daughter from the Dead, so in the End the Jews also shall be converted.
The twenty fifth SUNDAY after Trinity.
THIS Sunday being the Fore-runner of Ad∣vent, the Church hath ordered the Office of this day, to have Relation to our Saviour's Coming into the World; that we may be put in mind of the Season, and 〈…〉.
THE Collect 〈…〉 may bring forth 〈…〉Coming of our Lor•〈…〉.
THE Portion 〈…〉 is very suitable to 〈…〉 Prophecy of our 〈…〉Days come saith the 〈…〉 David a righteous Branc•〈…〉 Name, whereby he shall be 〈…〉OUR RIGHTEOUSN••〈…〉
The GOSPEL has been 〈…〉 the Sake of these Words in 〈…〉This is of a Truth that Prophet 〈…〉Page 94into the World. Which Words make it very suitable to this Sunday, which is the immediate Fore-runner of Advent. There is also another Reason of its being read now, which see in the seventh Sunday after Trinity.