Page images
PDF
EPUB

ciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall fee in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his fide, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them : then came Jesus, the doors being Shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then faith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord, and my God. Jesus faith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other ligas truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his Name.

O

The Conversion of St. Paul.

The Colicet.
God, who, through the preaching of the blessed

Apostle St. Paul, hast caused the light of the Gof. pel to shine throughout the world; Grant, we beseech

St. Paul This great Apostle propagated the Gospel of Christ throughout all Greece and the. Lciler Afia, in Italy, Spain, and Illyricum, ettablishing Christian churches in the principal towns thereof. Ancient writers athrni, that he suffered martyrdom at Rome, under Nero, at the same time with St. Peter.-Euseb. Chron. Epiph. Hæref. xxvii. Hieron. de Script. Evel. The most probable reason affigned for his condemnation was, his infeéting several Roman kodies with a foreign religion, as the Romans uled to cali Chriftianity, and particularly fome ladies with whom Nerð had had formerly an unlawiul familiarity, but who after their conver'fionto Chriftianity, refused his embraces; (Ambrof. in Auxen.) which story is not improbable, firce Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dio, and indeed all thit write of Nero, speak of his debauching numbers of ladies, as well of chic quality 25 others. : Our Apoitle for this pretended crime being Convidavned to death, he being a Roman citizen, could not be crucified by the woman laws, as his colleague St. Peter was, and was therefore beheaded by a great Lword, which gave the occation for his being pictured with in 3. l word.in his hand. Nicephorus defcribes this Apottie to be ora bitle body, ani fomeiliat crooked, of a pale face, and thewing more y cars pan, barely was of; his head was but of a moderate bize; a fparkling vigour played in lis' é yes; the hair of his eye-brows turned a

thee, that we having his wonderful conversion in remmbrance, may shew forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy doétrine which he taught, through Jesus Chriit our Lord. Amen.

The Epiftle. Ats ix. 1.
ND Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and

slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high-priest, and desired of him letters to Damalcus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring thein bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecuteft: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished faid, Lord, what wilt chou have me to do? And the Lord faid unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood (peechless, hearing a voice, but leeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his

eyes were opened, he saw 110 man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.' And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain difciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him faid the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord faid unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his fight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this little downwards; he had a handsome bending of his nose, which was fumewhai longer than ordinary; his beard was thick and long, and a little sprinkled with grey hairs, as were those of his head likewise.

The Colle) This prayer, for manifesting gratitude by obedience, was impruvid in 1549), from an ancient form in Greg Sac., and slightly altered again in 1662 to its present form. The introitus was pfalm cxxxviii.

man, how much evil he hath done to thy faints at Jeru. falem: and here he hath authority from the chief priekts to bind all that call on thy Name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen veffel unto me, to bear my Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my Name's fake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and purring his hands on him, faid, Brother Saul, the Lord (even Jesus that ap. peared unto thee in the way as thou camest) hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy fight, and be filled with the Holy Ghoft. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been fcales: and he received fight forthwith, and arofe, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damafcus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard bin were amazed, and faid, Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this Name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests ? But Saul increafed the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is

Very Christ.

The Gospel. St. Matt. xix. 27. PET ETER anfwered and faid unto Jefus, Behold, we

have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus faid unto them, Verily I fay unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man fall fit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall fit upon twelve thrones, judging the zwelve tribes of Israel. “And every one that hath for. liken houses, or brethren, or filters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my Name's fake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last, and the last thall be first.

[ocr errors]

upon

f The Presentation of Christ in the emple, commonly called the Purification of St. Mary the Virgin.

The Collect.
LMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly befeech

thy Majesty, that as thy only begotten Son was this day presented in the Temple in substance of our flesh; so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Mal. iii. 1. EHOLD, I will send my messenger, and he shall pre

pare the way before me: and the Lord whom yę The Virgin) This feast is of considerable antiquity in the church; those that place the beginning of it the latest, say, it commenced in Juftinian's time, about the year 540, upon the occasion of fome public calamities

, as a great earthquake, thowers of blood, and some malignant distempers following thereupon. The Greeks call this teaft by the name of Hžpante, which fignifies the meeting, because Simeon and Anna met our Lord in the temple this day. But I take this feast to be much older than Justinian's time ; lince St. Chrysostom mentions it as a feast celebrated in the church in his days; for his 137th Hom. tom. v. is intitled, A sermon

the Hypante, or the meeting, &c. This day is also called Candlemas. das, from the abundance of lights which the ancient Chriftians used, both in their churches and processions, in remembrance (as is supposed) of our blefied Saviour's being this day declared by old Simeon, “ to be a light to lighten the Gentiles;" which portion of scripture is for that reason appointed for the gospel of the day. This practice continued in this country till the ad year of Edward the Vith, when an order of the privy council put an end to it.—Collier's Eccl. Hist. It had also one folemnity of old peculiar to it; namely, a proceffion, of which St. Bernard gives us the following account :-“We go in procession, two by two, carrying candles in our hands, which are lighted, not at a common fire, but a fire firit blessed in the church by the bishop. They that go out first return latt; and in the way we ling, “Great is the glory of the Lord.”—Wego two by two, in commendation of charity, and a social life; for fo our Saviour sent out his disciples.-We carry lights in our hands; first, to lignify that our light should fine before men; secondly, this we do this day especially in memory of the wife virgins, (of whom this blessed Virgin is the chief) that went to meet their lord with their lamps burning. And from this dage, and the many lights fet up in the church this day, it is called Can delaria, or Candlemas. Because our words should be all done in the holy fire of charity, therefore the candles are light with holy fire.- They that go out first return laft, to teach humility: in humility preferring one before another, (Phil. ii. 3.)—Because God loves a cheerful giver; therefore we Jong in the way. The procession itself is to teach us, that we should not stand idle in the way of life, but proceed from virtue to virtue; not looking back to that which is behind, but reaching forward to that which is before.”—For the antiquity of this day, see Cyril.Alex. Greg. Nys. in diem,

The Collect] This prayer, for purity of heart, was originally composed by Gregory, and incorporated into the liturgy ip 1549. The introitus was pfalm cxxxiv.

feek, shall suddenly come to his temple ; even the mefsenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he fhall come, faith the Lord of hofts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's foap. And he shall fit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and be fall purify the fons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come Dear to you to judgment, and I will be a fwift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false fwearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right; and fear not me, faith the Lord of hosts.

The Gospel. St. Luke ii. 22.
ND when the days of her purification according to

the law.of Moses were accomplithed, they brought him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord; (as it is wiitten in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a facrifice, according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not fee death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blefied God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy falvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things

« PreviousContinue »