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made the light of it shine before men. Never be ashamed of professing the gospel, or of practising what will conduce to your future happiness: rather be ashamed and blush that you have so little conformed to its maxims, and that you have so often left the ways of God, and followed those of the world, which will, in the end, leave you in despair and confusion.


Of the Sign of the Cross.

HY are we taught to sign ourselves with the sign of the cross? A. To put us in mind of the blessed Trinity, and of the incarnation and death of our Saviour.

INSTRUC.-The sign of the cross is a mark to distinguish christians from unbelievers; it is as a short creed, whereby we profess the two principal mysteries of the christian faith, the unity and trinity of God, and the incarnation and death of our Saviour: for when we pronounce these words, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we profess our belief of one God and three persons; and, by signing ourselves with the sign of the cross, we profess our belief in Christ crucified: we ought to glory in nothing so much as in Jesus, and him crucified. Gal. vi. 14.

With the sign of the cross we begin and end our prayers, to signify, that we can obtain nothing of God, but through the mediation and merits of Christ crucified. For the like reason, the church makes such frequent use of the sign of the cross in the administration of the sacraments, to signify, that their virtue is derived from the death and passion of Christ. Our forehead and breast were signed with the cross in baptism; and this we are taught to bear in our bodies, all our lives. This holy sign is a means to preserve us from evil spirits, who vanish at the sight of it. St. Lawrence, by the sign of the cross, restored sight to the blind; many miracles have been done by it; it arms us against temptation; it guards us against witchcraft and inchantme nts.-What veneration the primitive church had for this pious custom, may be known from

these words of Tertullian; "When we set forward on 66 a journey, when we go abroad, or come home, or "when we dress, in all our conversation, we sign our "foreheads with the sign of the cross." De Coron. Mil. c. 3. And from these words of St. Chrysostom, "Let 66 us have the sign of the cross in our houses, on our "windows, on our foreheads, and in our minds, with "much devotion." If any one then ask the origin of this custom, let your answer be, that tradition has ever taught it, antiquity has confirmed it, and faith hath ever practised it.

EXHOR.-Bear then, O christians, a due veneration to the holy cross. Can you think too much of Jesus crucified; can you do him too great honour? The sign of the cross puts you naturally in mind of his passion; how then can you make the sign of the cross too often, whilst by it you honour his death, and profess your belief and adoration of the blessed Trinity? This is the end and pious intent of this custom, as all catholics from their infancy are taught. The sign of the cross will be seen in the heavens at the last day, let it appear in your heart at that day, by having followed the ways of the cross in your life-time; it will then appear to the joy of the good, who honoured it on earth; it will be seen to the eternal agony of the wicked, who despised and held it in contempt. As once it appeared in the air unto Constantine the Great, with this inscription. "In this sign thou shalt over66 come;" so I may say to you, In this sign. thou, O christian, shall overcome the enemies of thy soul, and gain a victory that shall be crowned with glory.

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Of the three Theological Virtues.

THICH are the three theological virtues ?
A. Faith, hope, and charity.

INSTRUC. These three virtues are called theological, because they have God for their immediate object; for it is God whom we believe in all matters of faith; in him we hope for grace and glory; him alone we love above all things. These three virtues

were infused into our souls with baptism, and are absolutely necessary to our salvation. They both raise and perfect the edifice of a spiritual life, which is grounded on faith, advanced by hope, and perfected by charity. They are the key and entrance into life; by faith, we behold God as our supreme happiness; by hope, we are animated to pursue it; by charity, we come to the possession of it, and a union with God. These three begin and perfect all our good works, and without them they are not available to salvation; for without faith it is impossible to please God, or direct our actions to our last end; without hope, we can never be rewarded; and our best actions, if we have not charity, are not meritorious of eternal life. These three great virtues then must accompany our life to the end, and when we shall obtain our last end and felicity, faith and hope indeed will cease, but charity always remains, to be the life of the soul, the joy and glory of the saints.

EXHOR.-Consider, O Christian, how you have hitherto advanced towards the perfections of these theological virtues. Have you fixed your mind on God, as your supreme happiness, by faith? Have you put your trust in him above all creatures, by hope Have you loved him above all things, so at least as to give him the love of preference before all, by charity? Alas! I fear your faith has been very weak, if not dead, while you so often and so easily fall into sin. Your hope has been but faint, while adversities have so often weighed you down to impatience, murmur and complaint. Your charity has been but cold, while you are so slow in serving God, whom you ought to hohour with all your might. Beg that these three divine virtues may take deeper root in your heart. Be more earnest in the affair of your salvation than you have hitherto been; having so many supernatural helps from heaven, so many divine gifts, that flow immedi

ately from God.



Of Faith.

is faith? A. It is the gift of God in our soul, by which we firmly believe all those things which God has any way revealed to us. INSTRUC. Faith is the first virtue required in a christian, as being the foundation and beginning of a christian life; without it there is no pleasing or enjoying God: without faith it is impossible to please God: Heb. xi. 6. without it, all the good we do is of no effect to salvation; by faith, we lay the ground of all true virtue; The just man lives by faith: by faith the just subdued kingdoms, wrought justice, and obtained the rewards promised. Heb. xi. 33.

Faith is a free gift of God, given us gratis, without any merit of our own; it was merited for us by the death and passion of Christ; he infused it into our hearts, with other gifts of grace, in baptism; he increases and brings it to perfection in our souls, by pious reading and spiritual instruction; Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Rom. x. 17. What you now hear, take it as from God, to improve and enlighten your faith. Faith is as a light to the soul; as no one can see the sun, without the light of the sun; so no one can see God, or things supernatural, without the light of faith, which comes from God. As the eyes are necessary to see light, and the blind are in darkness as to all things of this world; so this interior light of faith, is as necessary to see the truth of divine things; without it, man remains in darkness, as to all that belongs to another world: how great a blessing therefore is divine faith.

EXHOR. Give daily thanks, O christian, to God, that he has taken you out of darkness, the darkness of ignorance, the blindness of error and infidelity, and called you unto his admirable light, the light of faith, 1 Pet. ii. 9. Make a right use of this eminent gift of God; see that by this divine light, you fly from evil and do good; behold, by faith, the enormity of one, and the happiness of the other: what is it that makes so many reprobate, but because they close their eyes to

this divine light? They despise and reject it, as the Jews did, when our Saviour preached his gospel among them, loved darkness rather than light, because their works were evil. Look up then, by faith, at the immensity of God, and adore him. Look on his goodness, and love him. Look on his mercy, and praise him. Look on his power, and fear him. Look on the length and breadth of eternity, and secure it by a good life. Look on the vanity of creatures, and contemn them. Look on the joys of heaven, and the torments of hell; aspire to one, and shun with all your might the other: Thy words is as a lamp to my steps. Psalm cxviii.

The Qualities of a Good and Sound Faith.


W faith?

HAT qualities are required to a perfect A. 1. It must be firm. 2. It must be entire. 3. It must be active.

INSTRUC.-I. Your faith must be firm: you must not doubt or waver in any point thereof; because you rely for it on God alone; he is your authority, who is truth itself, and can neither be deceived, nor deceive you. Your faith must be so firm and constant that nothing must lessen or weaken it; neither riches, nor honours, nor pleasures, nor prosperity: nothing must shock it, no storms of afflictions, temptations, tribulations, no persecution of man: you must still go on with a firm faith, and keep resolute under all dangers, even under death itself.

2. Your faith must be entire: you must believe all and every article, every point, the Catholic Church requires of you to believe: by wilfully erring or denying one article of your faith, you destroy your whole belief; you follow your own will, rather than the will and authority of God: as charity is destroyed by one mortal sin; so faith is destroyed by one obstinate error; according to that of St. James, He that offends in one, is made guilty of all.

3. Your faith must be active: as you believe, so you must practise; you must join good works with

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