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angels: "j and the worship of images is directly contrary to the second commandment.
Q. Why does the Church celebrate this festival ?
A. The Church celebrates this festival in order to express her thankfulness to God for the many eminent advantages she and her faithful members enjoy from the ministry and assistance of good angels.
Q. What instruction does this festival afford ?
A. It should be a subject of lively gratitude to God, and it should inspire the most elevated confidence, that he has appointed the highest order of his creatures, his pure and blessed spirits, to minister to our temporal and spiritual wel. fare, to guide us through life, support us in death, and convey us to his kingdom of glory. And since these holy angels constantly observe our conduct, we should ever act under the impression that we are surrounded by the most exalted and glorious society; and we should therefore be excited to holy awe, and to circumspection and vigilance in all our conduct. We should also be excited to imitate these blessed spirits in their ready, active, and zealous obedience to the commands of their God; and, like them, to condescend to the most humble services for the good of others, and especially to advance the eternal salvation of mankind. And, lastly, we should endeavour to secure to ourselves the ministry of good angels, their protection, aid, and support, by continuing holy and faithful members of the Church ; in communion with which only we can enjoy the confidence that we are “ heirs of salvation."
Q. What may we learn from the behaviour of St. Michael, when he disputed with the devil concerning the body of Moses?
A. It is said, (Jude 9,) that St. Michael, disputing with the devil concerning the body of Moses, durst not bring a railing accusation against him. From this behaviour of St. Michael we may learn the duty of avoiding the sin of evil speaking, the seed of all evil and the pest of society. Q. Wherein consists the nature of evil speaking ?
A. Evil speaking consists in divulging any evil which we know concerning our neighbour, whether true or false, whereby his good name is impaired. We may be guilty of this sin by our actions as well as by our words; for significant looks or gestures, will often excite or sanction injurious surmises
; Col. in 18.
concerning others : and silence itself, if it be affected or mysterious, may be as effectual as the most envenomed satire. If the charges which we bring against any man be false, or doubtful and uncertain, it is calumny or slander. If the evidence on which we proceed be insufficient, it is rash judg. ment. And a proneness to blame, or censure others, is called censoriousness.
Q. Is it never allowable to expose the faults of our neighbour which we know to be true ?
A. It may be sometimes a duty to expose those faults of another which we know to be true, in order to prevent other people from being deceived or injured by him, to check his dangerous influence in society; and to fix on vice that indig, nation which is her just due. But the faults which we thus expose should not be merely occasional or trivial, but radical and important; and our motive in exposing them should be to do good, and not to indulge an uncharitable, envious, or censorious çemper. Except when some good purpose is to be answered, we ought not to expose even the real faults of others; because we would be unwilling that all our own in; firmities and errors should be exposed to public view. Real benevolence would lead to cover and to conceal, as far as justice and truth will permit, the trivial faults of others; and even their more serious errors, if only the result of sudden temptation and not of radical depravity.
Q. How is the vice of evil speaking condemned in Scripture?
A. The Scriptures rank evil speaking among the most heinous and infamous vices. "Out of the heart,” says Christ, “ proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, false witness, evil speakings.''k St. Paul ranks backbiters among those who are “ given up to a reprobate mind," and who, in the judgment of God, are worthy of death.”] The same apostle puis slanderers and revilers among those who shall not " inherit the kingdom of God;"m and when he reckons up the sins of the last times, evil speakers are in the list of that black catalogue. St. Peter joins evil speakings with malice, hypocrisy, and envy-hateful vices, which we must lay aside entirely, if we desire to advance in spiritual grace and knowledge." And St. James assures us, that, however high his pretences are to religion, the religion of that man is vain who “ bridleth not his tongue.”
k Matt. xv. 19.
1 Rom. i. 29, 30, 32.
m 1 Cor. vi. 10.
Q. Is not the vice of evil speaking a dishonourable and heinous vice ?
A. The vice of evil speaking robs our neighbour of what is dearer to him than life, his good name and reputation. It is a violation of that excellent rule of justice, “ of doing to others as we wish they should do to us;" and of that Christian charity which is so forcibly enjoined on us by Christ, and which is the distinguishing badge of his disciples. It discovers a weak and little mind, which is not able to bear the lustre of merit and virtue. To delight in wounding the reputation of others, is an evidence of a most unworthy and "cruel disposition.
Q. What are the disguises under which this vice is often concealed ?
A. This vice sometimes cloaks itself under the appear. ance of friendship, and ushers in its censures by commendations and praises. Sometimes it counterfeits a lively zeal for the glory of God; a compassionate sense of the faults of our neighbour; a love of justice; and a violent and just sorrow for the dishonour cast on religion and virtue. When these are the real motives which lead us to expose for good and necessary purposes the faults of others, they justify our conduct:, but when they are only the pretences under which we conceal an envious, malicious, and revengeful temper, so far from justifying, they aggravate the crime of evil speaking
Q. May we not, by encouraging this vice in others, be come partakers of the guilt of it ourselves ?
A. If we feel pleasure or satisfaction at hearing the faults of others unjustly or unnecessarily exposed; if we do not endeavour, by every prudent method, to interrupt or check censorious conversation concerning others; if we do not seek to palliate and extenuate, as far as truth will allow us, their faults, and to bring forward all their virtues and good actions, in order to lessen the force of even the just censure that may be cast upon them; we incur the same guilt as if, from mean and unworthy motives, we actually exposed the faults of others; or as if we unjustly detracted from their reputation and good name.
Q. How may we conquer a propensity to speak evil of others ?
1. We shall effectually conquer a propensity to speak evil of others, if we are careful to subdue the passions which excite and nourish this propensity-our pride, which falsely
persuades us that we exalt ourselves by debasing others; our envy, which makes us look upon the happiness of others with an evil eye, and excites us to disturb it; and our impertinent curiosity, which is always meddling with what does not concern us. And in order to conquer this criminal and prevalent propensity, we should firmly resolve never to expose the faults of others, except when those faults are great and heinous; and when, at the same time, some good end is certainly to be answered by making them known.
St. Luke the EVANGELIST, October 18.
A FESTIVAL. e. What do you mean by an Evangelist ?
A. The name Evangelist was at first given to those who preached the Gospel ; but afterwards it was confined to those four who wrote the history of the life and preaching of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Q. What account do you give of the Evangelist St. Luke?
A. St. Luke was born at Antioch,9 the metropolis of Syria, a city celebrated for its academies and schools, and for its eminent professors of all arts and sciences. Here the Evangelist St. Luke was educated from his childhood, and en.. riched with all kinds of human learning. He afterwards. visited the chief academies of Asia and Greece; and then applied himself to the study of physic, in which art he became eminent. He was also celebrated for his skill in painting.
Q. By whom was St. Luke converted, and whom did, he, constantly attend ?
A. St. Luke was probably converted by St. Paul at Antioch. He was the constant and inseparable companion of St. Paul;F, who entertained a great affection for him, owning him for his fellow-labourer, calling him the beloved physician, and the brother whose praise is in the Gospel. He went with St. Paul to Rome, where he attended him in his sickness, and discharged some of those ministerial duties. which the apostle was prevented from discharging by his
Euse. lib. iii. chap. 4.
Acts xvi. i0, &c.
confinement. He was particularly employed in carrying messages to those Churches where St. Paul had planted the Gospel. It is supposed that he left St. Paul at Rome, and travelled througb Greece, Egypt, &c. But the more probable supposition is, that he did not entirely leave St. Paul till he had finished his course in martyrdom. The place and the manner of St. Luke's death are uncertain.
Q. What account do you give of the Gospel written by St. Luke?
A. St. Luke wrote his Gospel in Achaia, by the assistance of St. Paul, principally with a view to record many particulars relating to the Saviour which
the other evangelists had passed over. It is dedicated to Theophilus, who was probably some magistrate of Achaia, who was converted and baptized by St. Luke.
Q. What account do you give of the Acts of the Apostles which were written by St. Luke?
A. The Acts of the Apostles were written by St. Luke at Rome, while he was there attending on St. Paul in his imprisonment. In this history he relates the actions and sufferings of some of the chief apostles, particularly St. Paul.
Q. What are the characteristics of St. Luke's style ?
A. St. Luke's manner of writing greatly excels that of the Other writers of the sacred history. His style is polite and elegant, sublime and expressive; yet clear and perspicuous. He comes up to the character of a true historian, being faithful in his narrations, and elegant in his expressions.
Q. What instruction may we derive from the observation of this festival ?
A. We should rejoice in those glad tidings of salvation proclaimed to the world by this holy evangelist; and it should be our supreme care and aim to obtain an interest in this great salvation. From the advantage which St. Luke received from the learning of Antioch, we should be impressed with the necessity and importance of human literature as a powerful auxiliary to divine truth. From tho, pains which this evangelist took to instruct his friend The. ophilus in the truths of the Gospel, we should learn to consider it as one of the most sacred duties to advance the spi. ritual welfare of those dear to us. The attendance of St. Luke on the aged Apostle Paul, during his confinement and persecutions at Rome, should teach us the duty of assisting and comforting our fellow Christians in their distress and persecution; by praying to God to succour and console