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22, 28.

impossible at one and the same Time to discharge Variety of Duties.

Q. Is not the hallowing unto God more Days than one against the Meaning of the fourth Commandment, Six Days shalt thou labour; whence some argue, that it is no more lawful for human Authority to forbid working any of the fix Days, than to forbid the holy Observation of the Seventh?

A. By the Solemn Feasts which were established by God himself, each of them at least of a Week's Continuance, it is manifest that [Six Days shalt thou lb our] is no Commandment, but expresses only an ordinary Permission of Working : For it could not be but that some Days of these holy Feasts must be of thesix. And it is not to be thought God would contradict his own Commandment, by a

contrary Institution. And therefore, when he comDeut. xiv. manded that Men should give the Tenth of their In

crease, he forbad not Free-will Offerings; so when he commanded one Day in seven to be kept Holy, this hinders not the Church from hallowing to God other Days of the six: As the Church of the Jews, to whom the Commandment was given, did in the Dedication of the Temple, the Feast of Purim, &c. Q. Is not the Church of England's

symbolizing with the Church of Rome, in hallowing of Days, an Objection against the Observation of them?

A. I apprehend it is not ; because Conformity to any Church, in such Institutions as tend to promote Piety, and are agreeable to Scripture and primitive Antiquity, no way deserves Censure : Neither is the Churchof Rome blamable for hallowing of Days, but for grafting upon them such erroncous and fuperftitious Practices as are unknown to Scripture, and to the purest Agesofthe Church: For which Reason, and many more very substantial, we were forced to separate from her Communion. Q. But doth not ibe Abuse of Festivals to Intem

perance

perance and Luxury, make it necessary to have them
abolished ?

A. I think this a very terrible Objection, some-
what of the Nature of that of the scandalous Lives
of Christians against the Efficacy of the Christian
Religion: But as that is an Objection not so strong
against Christianity, as it is shameful to Christians;
so this perverting of Holy Seasons shews only the
greatest Depravity of Mankind, in turning their
Food into Poison; and no way reflects upon the
Prudence and Piety of the Institution. For as they
who are intemperately disposed, do upon these Oc-
casions turn Feasting, designed for Hospitality and
Charity, into Luxury and Excess; so the same Men
treat the Lord's Day with as little Respect, and
make the Advantage of Restand Leisure from their
worldly Affairs only an Instrument to promote their
Pleasure and Diversions. But I with Christians
would lay this seriously to Heart, and retrieve the
Honour of such Holy Seasons by the Exercises of
Piety and Charity ; left our spiritual Governors
should be forced to lay these Festivals aside, as it is
certain the Ancient Church was to abolish even some
Apoftolical Rites, viz. the Agapa and Kiss of Cha-
rity, through Men's obstinate Abuse of them.

Q. Whence arose those Festivals in the Primitive
Church wbich were kept in Commemoration of Martyrs?
A. This Practice seems to be founded

upon

the Exhortation of St. Paul to the Hebrews, who, to encourage them to Constancy in the Faith, advises them to be mindful of their Bishops, and Governors, who had preached to them the Gospel, and had sealed it with their Blood. Remember them, faith he, Hcb. xiii. which bave the Rule over you, who have spoken unto 7. you the Word of God; whose Faith follow, considering the End of their Conversation. And it is not without Reason that St. Paul is thought thereby chiefly to hint at the Martyrdom of St. James the Bishop of

Jerusalem,

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Euscb. Hift. Lib. 4. C. 15:

Jerusalem, who not long before had laid down his Life for the Testimony of Jesus. Hence proceeded the great Reverence People then had for those who suffered for the Profession of Christianity, and laid down their Lives for the Confirmation of it: Thus the Church of Smyrna professed they worthily loved the Martyrs, as the Disciples and Followers of our Lord; and because of their exceeding great Affection to their King and their Master. Upon this Account they thought it reasonable to do all possible Honour to their Memories ; partly that others might be encouraged to the fame Patience and Fortitude, and partly that Virtue, even in this World, might not lose its Reward.

Q. How did they use to observe these Festivals ?

A. They were wont oncé a Year to meet at the Graves of the Martyrs; there solemnly to récite their Sufferings and Triumphs, to praise their Virtues, to bless God for their pious Examples, forthcirholý Lives, and their happy Deaths. Besides, they celebrated these Days with great Expressions of Love and Charity to the Poor, and mutual Rejoicing with one another, which were very sober and temperate, and such as became the Modesty and Simplicity of Christians.

Q. Were these annual Solemnities early practised in the Church?

A. It is certain they were very ancient, though

when they first began is not exactly known. In the A&t. Mar. Acts of the Martyrdom of St. Ignatius, we find Ignat. that thofe that were Eye-witnesses of his Sufferings,

for this Reason published the Dayof his Martyrdom, (which, according to learned Men, happened about the Year 110,) that the Church of Antioch might meet together at that Time to celebrate the Memory of such a valiant Combatant and Martyr of Christ. After this we read of the Church of Smyrna's giving an Account of St. Polycarp's Martyrdom, (which

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Hift. l. 4.
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was A. C. 168,) and of the Place where they had Eufeb.
entombed his Bones, and withal professing, that
shey would assemble in that Place, and celebrate
the Birth-day of his Martyrdom with Joy and Glad-
ness; both in Memory of what he suffered, and for
the Exercise and Preparation of those that might
hereafter suffer. Tertullian, who is very careful in De Cor.
recounting the Practices of the Primitive Church, C. 3.
affirms, that Christians were wont to celebrate
yearly the Days of the Martyrs Births, that is, their
Sufferings, as a Custom received from the Tradition
of their Ancestors. In Constantine's Time these De Vit.
Days were commanded to be observed with great c.23.
Care and Strictness; and it was thought a piece of
Profaneness to be absent from the Meetings of
the Chriftians at such Times. And St. Augustine Ser.253.
makes it a Character of a Son of the Church, to

de Temp. observe the Festivals of the Church.

Q. Why did they call the Days of their Death their Birth-Days ?

A. Because they looked upon those as the true
Days of their Nativity, wherein they were freed
from the Pains and Sorrows of a troublesome
World, placed out of the Reach of Sin and Temp-
tation, delivered from this Valley of Tears, these
Regions of Death and Misery; and born again
unto the Joys and Happiness of an endless Life,
an Inheritance incorruptible, that fadeth not away.

Q. How ought we to observe the Festivals of the
Church?

A. In such a Manner as may answer the Ends
for which they were appointed : That God may
be glorified by an humble and grateful Acknow,
ledgment of his Mercies, and that the Salvation
of our Souls may be advanced, by firmly believ-
ing the Mysteries of our Redemption; and by
imitating the Example of those Patterns of Piety
that are set before us,

Q. What

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We should par

Q. What Manner of keeping tbese Days answers these Ends?

A. We should constantly attend the Public WorJhip, and partake of the blessed Sacrament, if it be administered. In private we should enlarge our Devotions, and suffer the Affairs of the World to interrupt us as little as may be. ticularly express our Rejoicing by Love and Charity to our poor Neighbours. If we commemorate any Mystery of our Redemption, or Article of our Faith, we ought to confirm our Belief of it, by considering all those Reasons upon which it is built-; that we may be able to give a good Account of the Hope that is in us. We should from our Hearts offer to God the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving, and resolve to perform all those Duties which refult from the Belief of such an Article. If we commemorate any Saint, we should consider the Virtues for which he was most eminent, and by what Steps he arrived at so great Perfection; and then examine ourselves how far we are defective in our Duty, and earnestly beg God's Pardon for our past Failings, and his Grace to enable us to conform our Lives for the Time to come to those admirable Examples that are set before us.

Q. What Command is there concerning the Manner of observing Festivals under the Law ?

A. That they should not appear before the Lord empty. Every man should give as he is able, &c. Wherein is contained a special Duty of all, when they came to worship God at these Feasts, viz. to bring a Present, a Heave-offering ; which was a Kind of Tribute of Thankfulness unto God, and withal an Acknowledgment of his supreme Dominion over all. According to this Rule, at the Feast of the Pellover, the Jews brought a Sheaf of the Firji-fruits of ibeir Harvest unto the Priest, and he was to wave it before the Lord': And, until this was done, they

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Deut. xvi.

16, 27.

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