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WE beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by his cross and passion we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. What is the great business of this day's festival?
To celebrate the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by which is meant, the declaration made to her by the angel, that she should be the mother of the promised Messiah.
3. Who was the Virgin Mary?
She was of the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of King David. Some time after she was espoused to Joseph, it was announced to her that she should give birth to the Messiah.
4. What was the prophecy concerning the birth of Christ contained in the Book of Isaiah vii. 14?
"Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
5. What do we beseech God to pour into our hearts? His grace. 66 By grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (Eph. ii. 8.)
6. Repeat that passage of Scripture which relates how the incarnation of Jesus Christ was made known by the angel.
"The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matt. i. 20, 21.)
7. What do we pray to be brought unto by Christ's passion? Unto the glory of his resurrection. "If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." (Rom. vi. 5.)
1. Repeat the Collect for SAINT MARK'S DAY.
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace, that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Who was St. Mark?
He was born of Jewish parents, of the tribe of Levi. He planted a Christian church at Alexandria, and was first bishop of that place. He wrote the Gospel which bears his name, and suffered martyrdom.
3. With what has God instructed his holy Church?
With the heavenly doctrine of his evangelist St. Mark. "He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." (Eph. iv. 11, 12.)
4. With what do we pray not to be carried away?
Every blast of vain doctrine. "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive." (Eph. iv. 14.)
5. In what do we pray to be established? In the truth of the holy Gospel. "As ye therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught." (Col. ii. 6, 7.)
1. Repeat the Collect for SAINT PHILIP AND SAINT JAMES'S DAY.
O ALMIGHTY God, whom truly to know is everlasting life; Grant us perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life; that, following the steps of thy holy Apostles, Saint Philip and Saint James, we may stedfastly walk in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Who was St. Philip?
He was an apostle of Christ, born at Bethsaida, a town of Galilee. After our Saviour's ascension, he preached the Gospel in Higher Asia; and his last preaching before his death was in Hierapolis, where he underwent martyrdom.
3. Who was St. James?
He is commonly called James the Less, either from his smallness of stature, or from his being younger than the other James. He was the son of Alpheus, and after the ascension of Christ was constituted Bishop of Jerusalem, and seems to have presided at the council held there (Acts xv.). He was called the Just, and suffered martyrdom at Jerusalem.
4. Shew from Scripture that we attain everlasting life by the true knowledge of God.
"This is eternal life, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John xvii. 3.)
5. What do we beseech God to grant us to know?
That his Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me.' (John xiv. 6.)
6. If we follow the steps of the holy apostles St. Philip and St. James, what way shall we stedfastly walk in?
In the way that leadeth to eternal life. "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. i. 11.)
1. Repeat the Collect for SAINT BARNABAS THE APOSTLE.
O LORD God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Who was St. Barnabas ?
He was of the house of Levi, and was born at Cyprus, and was sent to Jerusalem to study the Jewish law under Gamaliel. His first public employment in the ministry was to settle a Christian Church in Antioch, where the disciples of Christ were first called Christians. After labouring much and successfully in preaching in different places the Gospel of Christ, he was put to death at Salamis, in the island of Cyprus.
3. With what gifts did God endue the holy apostle St. Barnabas?
"For he was a good man, (Acts xi. 24.)
With singular gifts of the Holy Ghost. and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith." 4. Why do we pray God not to leave us destitute of his manifold gifts?
Because we are exhorted by St. Paul to "covet earnestly the best gifts." (1 Cor. xii. 31.)
5. How ought we to use these gifts when they have been bestowed upon us?
To God's honour and glory. "As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. iv. 10, 11.)
1. Repeat the Collect for SAINT JOHN BAPTIST'S DAY.
ALMIGHTY God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour, by preaching of repentance; Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Why do we particularly celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist?
Because the circumstances and design of his birth were so full of significance and wonder, that this in a particular manner claims our praise to God.
3. Why is he called the forerunner of Christ?
Because it was foretold by the angel, "He shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke i. 17.)
4. Why is he called John Baptist?
Because he baptized Jesus Christ in the river Jordan. "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousThen he suffered him." (Matt. iii. 13-15.)
5. Shew that St. John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of Christ.
"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they had no child, because Elisabeth was barren, and they were both well stricken in years. And the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son." (Luke i. 5. 7. 13. 57.) "And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways." (Luke i. 76.)
6. What did St. John preach?
Repentance. "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." (Mark i. 4.)
7. What do we beseech God to make us follow ?
John's doctrine and holy life. "John was a burning and a shining light; he was a just man, and an holy." (John v. 35. Mark vi. 20.)
8. What effect ought his preaching to have upon us?
It should lead us to repentance. "Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, Bring forth fruits meet for repentance." (Luke iii. 7, 8.)
9. After his example, what ought we to speak?
1st. Constantly to speak the truth.
his neighbour." (Eph. iv. 25.)
2ndly. Boldly rebuke vice. "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear." (1 Tim. v. 20.)
3rdly. Patiently suffer for the truth's sake. "If when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” (1 Pet. ii. 20.)
1. Repeat the Collect for SAINT PETER'S DAY.
Speak every man truth with
O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock; Make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Where was St. Peter born?
At Bethsaida, in Galilee. He was the first of the apostles who publicly professed his belief in the divinity of Christ, who in consequence promised him, that his confession should be a principal foundation of the Church which he designed to build up.
3. What was his real name?
Simon: our Saviour said that he should be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a stone; and as the word stone in the Greek language is Térpoç (petros), he was surnamed Peter.
4. Where did he suffer martyrdom ?
At Rome, under Nero; and was crucified with his head downwards, A.1. 69.
5. What excellent gifts did God give unto St. Peter?
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life, and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue." (1 Pet. i. 3.) "He also had power to work miracles." (Acts v. 15.) "And was filled with the Holy Ghost." (Acts iv. 8.)
6. What did Christ command St. Peter to do?
Earnestly to feed his flock. "Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." (John xxi. 17.)
7. What do we beseech God to make all bishops and pastors diligently to preach ?
God's holy Word. "Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, with all long-suffering and doctrine." (Tit. iv. 2.)
8. What do we pray the people may follow?
The same holy Word. "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith follow." (Heb. xiii. 7.)
9. If the people follow the preaching of God's holy Word, what may they hope to receive?
The crown of everlasting glory. "Be faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. ii. 10.)
1. Repeat the Collect for SAINT JAMES THE APOSTLE.
GRANT, O merciful God, that as thine holy Apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, without delay was obedient unto the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him; so we, forsaking all worldly and carnal affections, may be evermore ready to follow thy holy commandments; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
2. Who was St. James the apostle ?
St. James the Great, or the Elder, was one of the sons of Zebedee, and brother of St. John. His mother's name was Mary, otherwise called Salome, a kinswoman of the Blessed Virgin Mary. St. James suffered martyrdom very early, being killed by Herod about eight years after Christ's ascension.
3. Relate how St. James left his father, and all that he had, and followed Christ.
"And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him." (Matt. iv. 21, 22.)
4. What ought we to be ready to forsake?
All worldly and carnal affections. "For they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. v. 21.)
5. What ought we to be ready to follow ?
God's holy commandments. "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." (John xiv. 21.)