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from the example of Solomon, “ the great evil they did, and the danger they run;" and concludes: “shall we also be disobedient to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God, and marry strange women ?” 2 Esdras xiii. 27. How often does experience shew, that the children of parents who are of different religions, speak neither the language of the one nor of the other, in religious matters?
(3.) On account of their own peace and happiness; for when the parties are of different religions, the one of the true religion, and the other of a false one, what a source of dissension and disturbances does this become! How often do they contend about the children! How often are calumpies and slanders against the true religion thrown out by the other party! How many gibes and sneers against their religion is the believing party often exposed to hear! What difficulty do they find in observing the rules and practices of their religion! And, though none of all this happen, what a heart-felt affliction must it be to them, if they have any sincere sense of eternity, to see the person whom, by the laws of God and nature, they are bound to love above any other creature, living in a way so dangerous and ruinous to their souls! And how must this affliction be increased, if they see their dear children, whether they will or not, brought up in the same way ! Besides numbers of other trials which attend such connexions, but which the world never hears of.
Secondly, that he chooses one who is also a good Christian, and a virtuous woman. This is no less necessary, both for his own salvation, the good of his children, and their mutual happiness, than that she be of his own religion. Family, and riches, and beauty, are but feeble helps to happiness, it the temper be bad, the humour extravagant, and
the passions violent. The word of God declares, that it is “ better to sit in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman;" yea," that it is better to dwell in a wilderness, than with a quarrelsome and passionate womán," Prov. xxi. 9, 19. And, on the contrary, how great a blessing it is to have a virtuous and good wife, the same sacred oracle declares in these words: “He that hath found a good wife, hath found a good thing, and shall receive a pleasure from the Lord," Prov. xviii. 22. “ Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall he praised,” Prov. xxxi. 30. “ Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord ; for the grace of her modesty is above gold," Ecclus. vii. 21. “ Blessed is he that dwelleth with a wise woman," Ecclus. xxv.
Happy is the husband of a good wife ; for the number of his days is double. A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband, and shall fulfil the years of his life in peace. A good wife is a good portion, she shall be given in the portion of them that fear God, to a man for his good deeds. Rich or poor, if his heart is good, his countenance shall be cheerful at all times. . . the grace of a diligent woman shall delight ber husband, and shall fat his bones; her discipline is the gift of God. Such is a wise and silent woman; and there is nothing so much worth as a well instructed soul. A holy and sham faced woman, is grace upon grace.
As the sun when it riseth to the world in the high places of God, so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house." Ecclus. xxvi. All which is equally to be understood of a pious and virtuous husband.
Q. 33. What are the immediate dispositions with which Christians ought to receive the sacrament of marriage ?
A. Besides what is above, they ought (1.) to be instructed in the nature and obligations which the law of God has annexed to that state, and be resolved faithfully to discharge them. (2.) To be sufficiently instructed in the Christian doctrine, according to their capacity, without which they are not in a condition to receive that sacrament worthily. (3.) To be in the state of grace, and in friendship with God; otherwise, by profaning the sacrament, if they receive it in the state of sin, they will bring a malediction upon their marriage instead of a blessing. (4.) To endeavour, by works of charity and mercy, and by approaching worthily the holy sacraments of confession and communion, to procure the favour of God, and the presence of Jesus Christ to their marriage, that he may bless it, as he did that of Cana of Galilee.
OF THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT.
Q. 1. What is meant by the Church Triumphant ?
A. The Church of Christ, taken in its most ample signification, consists of all those who belong to him by faith, of the posterity of Adam, wherever they are, and in whatever state or condition they be. The members of this Church are divided into three classes; the first contains all those who belong to bis one holy Catholic and apostolical Church here upon earth, and these compose the Church militant; so called, because her members are still in the field of battle, fighting against the enemies of their souls, VOL. II.
and labouring to secure their eternal happiness. The second class contains all those who, being departed out of this life in friendship with God, but not in such purity as to be in a condition for seeing him, or not having fully satisfied for what they owe to his divine justice, are in a state of suffering and purgation, till having fully paid their debt, and being thoroughly purified from all stain, they be received into his eternal kingdom; and these compose what is called the Church suffering. The third class contains all those who, being departed out of this life in perfect purity, and having fully satisfied what they owed to the divine justice, are immediately admitted to the enjoyment of God in heaven, in company with his holy angels, or have been received into that happy state, after being sufficiently purified in purgatory; and these compose what is called the Church triumphant ; because, having fought manfully, and conquered all the enemies of their souls, they are now the saints of God triumphing in heaven, in the possession of eternal glory. We have already seen what our holy religion teaches us concerning the two first states, it remains only to consider this third.
Q. 2. What are we chiefly to consider concerning the saints and angels in heaven ?
A. (1.) Their state and prerogatives; (2.) Our communion with them; (3.) The respect due to their relics and holy images.
OP THE STATE AND PREROGATIVES OF THE SAINTS.
Q. 3. How does it app ear that the souls of the saints are immediately admitted to the possession of God in heaven, when they depart out of this life?
A. (1.) From the following clear testimonies of holy Scripture. “We know,” says St. Paul, “that, if our earthly house of this dwelling be dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; for in this also we groan, desiring to be clothed over with our dwelling, which is from heaven,” 2 Cor. v. 1. Here the apostle declares, that when our earthly house, our bed, is dissolved by death, we have a dwelling prepared for us in heaven; and that he groans to be clothed with that heavenly dwelling; and, therefore, a little after he adds, “therefore, having always confidence, knowing, that while we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord, (for we walk by faith and not by sight,) we are confident, I say, and have a good will to be absent rather from the body, and to be present with the Lord," verse 6. ; which demonstrates that the beatitude of the saints, is not deferred till the resurrection ; but that, in the mean time, and whilst they are « absent from the body," their blessed souls are
present with the Lord.". Again, in his epistle to the Philippians, he says, “To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain ; and if to live in the flesh, this is to me the fruit of labour, and what I shall choose I know not. But I am straitered between two,