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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 and Luxury, make it necessary to have them
A. I think this a very terrible Objection, some-
Q. Whence arose those Festivals in the Primitive
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
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
Hift. l. 4.
was A. C. 168,) and of the Place where they had Eufeb.
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
Q. How ought we to observe the Festivals of the
A. In such a Manner as may answer the Ends
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