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The Days of the Feast of
are to be observed in the Church of
England throughout the Year.
The Circumcision or our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Innocents.
A TABLE of the Vigils, Fasts, and Days of Abstia
nence, to be observed in the Year.
Vigils before The Evens or
The Nativity of our Lord.
St. Tbomas. (All Saints Note, That if any of these Feast-days fall upon
a Monday, then the Vigil or Fait-day shall be kept upon the Saturday, and not upon the Sunday next before it.
Days of Fasting or Abftinence, I. The Forty Days of Lent. ļI.. The Ember Days at the the 1 st Sun.in Lent,
four Seasons, being the the Feast of Pentec. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after
. III. The three Rogation Days, being the Monday,
Tuesday and Wednesday before Holy Tbursday, or the Asiension of our Lord. IV. All the Fridays in the Year, except Christmas
Quest. HAT do you mean by Festivals?
Answ. Days set apart by the
Church, either for the Remembrance of some special Mercies of God, such as the Birth and Resurrection of Christ, the Descent of the Holy Ghoft, &c. or in Memory of the great Heroes of the Christian Religion, the Blessed Apoftles, and other Saints ; who were the happy Inftruments of conveying to us the Knowledge of Cbrift Jefus, by preaching his Gospel through the World ; and most of them attesting the Truth of it with their Blood.
Q. Of what Authority is the Observation of these Festivals?
A. They are of Ecclesiastical Institution ; agreeable to Scripture in the general Design of them, for the promoting of Piety; consonant to the Practice of the Primitive Church, as appears by the joint Consent of Antiquity.
Q. Are not Holy-Days enforced by the Laws of ibe Land
Å. When upon the Reformation the Liturgy was fettled and established, such Days were enjoined to be observed; as plainly appears by the Statutes of 2 & 3 Eda Edward VI. and though these Laws were abrogated VI.cap. 3• by Q. Mary, yet they were reviewed in the firl Year 5&6 Ed. of Q. Elizabeth, and continued in the first of VI.cap. 3. K. James. And when upon the Restoration, K. Charles II. issuedouta Commission for the reviewing of the Liturgy, and making such Alterations as
should appear to be fit and necessary; the Alterations made by the Commissioners were brought to the Convocation then sitting, where they were Synodically agreed upon, and the King and Parliament confirmed all these Proceedings, as the Arts of Uniformity testifies: In which the Rubric and the Rules relating to the Liturgy are established by Royal Authority, as well as the Liturgy itself.
6. But is not the Observation of Days superstitious ?
A. There is an Observation of Days certainly
superstitious, if not idolatrous, since in DeuteroIcv. xix. nomy an Observer of Times is declared an Abomina
tion to the Lord : And it is one of the Provocations for which the Gentiles were driven out of the Land. And the Galatians are reproached by St. Paui, for observing Days and Months, and Times and Years; which appeared to him fo criminal, thạt upon his Account he feared the Labour he had bestowed upon them had been in vain.
Q. What Kind of Days are they wbose Observation is bere condemned?
1. Such as were dedicated by the Heathens to their false Gods, or such as were observed by them as lucky or unlucky Days; these being the Abominations of the Heathens condemned in Deuteronomy: Or those of the Jews, which, though abrogated, the Judaizing Christians attempted to impose upon the Galatians, as necessary to Salvation; contrary to the Apostle's Endeavours of setting them at Liberty in the Freedom of the Gospel ; and to the Doctrine of Salvation by Christ alone, which might justly make him afraid of them.
Q. Is the Observation of such Days as are in Use among Christians forbidden in Scripture ?
A. No: Because God, who had in Abomination the Olferver of Times, doth himself ordain several Fcasts to be observed in Memory of past Benefits as the Feast of the Pallover, of Weeks, and of Ta
bernacles. Besides, our Saviour kept a Feast of the Church's Institution, viz. the Feast of Dedication : And the common Practice of all Christian Churches and States, in appointing and keeping Days of public Thanksgiving and Humiliation, is Argument sufficient to prove, that in the common Sense of Christians it is not forbidden in Scripture.
Q. What may be pleaded for fucb Days, from the Delign of tbeir Institution?
A. It being not only good, but a great Duty to be grateful, and to give Thanks to God for the Blessings we receive from him, it must be not only lawful, but commendable upon the Account of Graçitude, to appoint and observe Days for the particušar Remembrance of such Blessings, and to give Thanks for them: The sanctifying such Days being a Token of thạt Thankfulness, and Part of that public Honour which we owe to God for his inestimable Benefits.
Q. But do not thefe Festivals refrain the Praises of God to certain Times, which 01_ght to be extended to all Times ?
A. No Duty can be performed without the Circumstance of Time : And that there is a certain Time allotted for this Duty, tends only to the securing of some Time for the Exercise of the Duty, against the Frailties of Men and the Disturbances of the World, which otherwise might fupplant and rob it of all. And though the Days of Solemnity, which are but few, muit quickly finish that outward Exerciseof Devotion which appertains to such Times; yet they increase Men's inward Dispofitions to Virtue for the present, and by their frequent Returns, bring the same at length to great Perfection. What the Gospel enjoins, is a constant Dirposition of Mind to practise all Christian Virtues, as often as Time and Opportunity require; and not a Perpetuity of Exercise and Action, it being