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A. There is very good and sufficient Evidence, built on the Testimony of ancient and credible Writers, with a concurrent Probability of Circumstauces, That there was a Christian Church planted in Britain during the Apostles' Times. Eusebius, a Lib. 3. c. learned and inquisitive Person, affirms, in his third 7 Tom. 1. Book of Evangelical Demonstration, That some of the Apostles preached the Gospel in the British Islands. Theodoret, another learned and judicious Historian, In Psal: expressly names the Britons among the Nations cxvi. converted by the Apostles;, and says, in another Place, that St. Paul brought Salvation into the Islands that lie in the Ocean. St. Jerom testifies that St. Hieron. in Paul, after his Imprisonments, preached the Gospel in Amos. c. the Western Parts. By which the British Islands“ . were especially understood; as will appear by the following Testimony of Clemens Romanus, who saith St. Paul preached Righteousness through the whole Epist. ad. World, and in so doing he went to the utmost Bounds Corintb. of the West; which necessarily includeth the British Islands, as is plain to those who know how the Phrase, the utmost Bounds of the West, was used by the Historians and Poets of those Times,
Q. What probable Circumstances concur to incline us to think that St. Paul was the person who planted a Christian Church in Britain ?
A. The Leisure and Opportunity he had for this Purpose; it being about eight Years between the Time of obtaining his Freedom at Rome, and his Return thither again : in which time he preached the Gospel in the West, according to the common and received Opinion of all the Fathers : It being not likely that a person so indefatigable in his Labour before his Imprisonment at Rome, should lie still afterwards; and it is probable he did not return to the East, having so solemnly taken his Leave of those Churches, saying, That they should Acts xv. see his Face no more. St. Paul might have Encou-25. ragement to this Undertaking from the great Number of the Inhabitants, and from the Settlement of
Colonies, both Trading and Military, here by the Romans. And from Pomponia Græcina, who was probably a Christian, and Wife to A. Plautius, the Roman Lieutenant in Britain. And it is not unlikely but that some of the British Captives, carried over with Caractacus and his family, might be among the considerable Converts St. Paul made at Rome; who would certainly promote the Conversion of their Country, by so great an Apostle. None of the Rest of the Apostles stand in any reasonable Competition with St. Paul for this Mission, but St. Peter whose Business lay quite another Way; being the Apostle of the Circumcision, he was to attend the Jews, and consequently his chief Employment must be where the greatest Number of the Jews were: And the Historians that affirm St. Peter's coming into Britain, are of no great Authority, being often slighted by those that produce them. A more exact and full Account of this Matter may be found in Bishop Stilling fleet's Orig: Brit.
Q. Where did St. Paul suffer Martyrdom?
A. At Rome, under Nero, in that general Persea cution raised against the Christians, under Pretence that they fired the City. Some of the Ancients affirm he drew upon himself the Fury of that cruel Emperor, by joining with St. Peter in procuring the fall of Simon Magus; others by converting a Concubine of Nero's, that he extremely loved and caressed. He was beheaded in the Sixty-eighth Year of his Age, and from the Instrument of his Execu tion, the Custom arose always in his Pictures to draw him with a Sword in his Hand. Din's
Q. What Writings did St. Paul leave behind him?
A. Fourteen Epistles, which were not only instrumental in confirming the Churches at first, but they have been highly useful ever since, to the Service of Religion in all Ages. These holy Writings must be read with Humility and Modesty, because St. Peter hath long since observed, that in them are some
Things hard to be understood, which the Unlearned 2 Pet. iji. and Unstable wrest to their own Destruction. 16.
Q: What Controversies exercised the Church in this Apostle's Time ? © A. The damnable Heresies of Simon Magus and his Followers, who were afterwards known by the Name of Gnostics, who placed the Main of Religion in Kuowledge, neglecting the Practice of it; and who, in Times of Persecution, thought it lawful to deny the Faith. But the most considerable Controversy was, whether Circumcision and the Obser. vation of the Mosaic Law, or only the Belief and Practice of Christianity, be necessary to Salvation ; the last was maintained by the Apostles, the former by the Judaizing Christians. And St. Paul's Discourses about Justification and Salvation immediately refer to this Controversy.
Q. How was this Controversy determined?
A. By the apostolic Synod at Jerusalem; where Acte xv. it was declared, that the Gentiles were under no 28, 29. Obligation to observe the Jewish Law: God having clearly manifested his Acceptance of them. Yet not to provoke the Jews, the Gentile Converts were somewhat restrained in the Exercise of their Christian Liberty."
Q. What may we learn from the Commemoration of St. Paul's Conversion?!
A. To adore that miraculous Grace which called him to be an Apostle. To bless God for the Advantages we have had from his laborious and indefatigable Pains. And though we have been great Sinners, to encourage ourselves from his Example with Hopes of Acceptance, provided we sincerely repent. That the best way to shew the Sincerity of our Conversion, is by Actions opposite to our former Sins, that those Virtues may be most conspicuous' in our turning to God, which have been most neglected in our State of Folly. That when wé charge ourselves with the Breaches of God's Law, we always remember that Guilt which we
have contracted by partaking in other Men's Sins; Acts xxii. which St. Paul so fervently bewailed upon the
Account of consenting to St. Stephen's Death.
Q. Since partaking in other Men's Sins makes us liable to share in the Guilt and Punishment of them; pray what is meant by partaking in other Men's Sins ?
A. When, before any wicked Action is committed, we are any Ways knowingly aiding or abetting towards the committing of it: Or when, after it is committed, we are any Ways approving or justifying it; by either of wbich Means we partake in other Men's Sins, though we are not the immediate Actors of them. • Q. What are the usual Ways whereby we partake in Men's Sins, before they are committed ?
A. Those that are Superiors, as Magistrates, Masters, and Parents, share in the Guilt by ordering or commanding any evil Thing; or by not using their Power to prevent and punish it; or by not expressly refusing to concur in such evil Things as are proposed to be enacted by mutual Consent. Those that are Ministers, by neglecting to teach others their Duty, or by forbearing to warn their Flock, as careful Watchmen should, against approaching Danger. Those that are in any subordinate Office, by ministering in any unlawful Business, helping it forward by Advice and Counsel, by furnishing Provisions, by wishing or praying for the Success of it. And all others, by the Influence of their own ill Example, which is powerful of itself, but more fatal when the Example is eminent for Power, Parts, and Learning.
Q. What are the usual Ways whereby we partake . - in Men's Sins after they are committed ? 4 .: A. By approving a wicked Thing after it is acted, inwardly delighting in it, which is to take Part thereof in Will and Affection. . By appearing to praise it; which sets off the Wickedness not only as innocent, but as worthy and honourable. By justifying and defending it; which in some Sense makes
a Man more guilty than he that committed it; for that might be through the Strength of Temptation, and through the Infirmity of Passion, the other is the Effect of Judgment and Consideration. Every Expression of Approbation, in Proportion to its Degree, puts the Approver into the Evil Doer's Case, and makes it his own.
is the Effect the Infirmity
I. O GOD, who, through the Preaching of the Por true blessed Apostle St. Paul, hast caused the Light of Thankfulthy Gospel to shine throughout the World; grant, St. Paul's I beseech thee, that I, having his wonderful Con- Conver version in Remembrance, may shew forth my Thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy Doctrine he taught, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. .
O LORD, raise up, I pray thee, thy Power, and For Power come among us, and with great Might succour us, to resist
: Temptathat whereas, through my Sins and Wickedness, I tion. am sore let and hindered in running the Race that is set before me, thy bountiful Grace and Mercy may speedily help and deliver me, through the Satisfaction of thy Son our Lord; to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost, be Honour and Glory, World without End. - Amen.
III. O GOD, who declarest thy Alinighty Power For Ability most chiefly in shewing Merey and Pity, merci- to live well. fully grant unto me such a Measure of thy Grace, that I, running the Way of thy Commandments, may obtain thy gracious Promises, and be made Partaker of thy heavenly Treasure, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.