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Preliminary Instructions

CONCERNING

FESTIVALS.

W

Quest.

HAT do you mean by Festi-
vals?

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 Ghost, &c. or in Memory of the great Heroes of the Christian Religion, the Blessed Apostles, and other Saints ; who were the happy Instruments of conveying to us the Knowledge of Christ Jesus, 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 Ibese 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 the Land ?

A. When upon the Reformation the Liturgy was settled and established, fuch Days were enjoined to be observed; as plainly appears by the

Statutes

B

& 19.

5 & 6 Ed.

2 & 3 Ed. Statutes of Edward VI. and though these Laws VI.cap. 1. were abrogated by Q. Mary, yet they were re

vived in the first Year of Q. Elizabeth, and conVI. CP.3.

tinued in the first of K. James. And when upon the Restoration, K. Charles II. issued out a Commillion 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 thefe Proceedings, as the Aet of Uniformity testifies: In which the Rubrick and the Rules relating to the Liturgy are established by Royal Authority, as well as the Liturgy itself.

Q. But is not the Observation of Days fuperftitious ?

A. There is an Observation of Days certain

ly superstitious, if not idolatrous, fince in DeuDeuter. tercnony an Observer of Times is declared an Abo18. 10.

mination to the Lord: And it is one of the ProLev. 19. vocations for which the Gentiles were driven out 26.

of the Land. And the Galatians are reproached 10, 11. by St. Paul, for observing Days and Months,

and Times, and Years; which appeared to him fo criminal, that upon this Account he feared the Labour he had bestowed upon them had been in vain.

Q. What kind of Days are they whose Observation is here condemned?

d. Such as were dedicated by the Heathens to their frise Gods, or such as were observed by thein 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 at

tempted

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tempted 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 Gofpel; and to the Doctrine of Salvation by Christ alone, which might juftly make him afraid of them.

Q. Is the Observation of such Days as are in ife among Christians, forbidden in Scripture?

A. No: Because God, who had in Abomination the Observer of Times, doch himself ordain several Feasts to be observed in Memory of past Benefits; as the Feast of the Pasover, of Weeks, and of Tabernacles. 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 publick Thanksgiving and Humiliatin, is Argument fufficient to prove, that in the common Sense of Christians it is not forbidden in Scripture.

Q. What may be pleaded for such Days, from tbe Delign of their 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 Gratitude, to appoint and observe Days for the particular Remembrance of such Bleflings, and to give Thanks for them : The fanctifying such Days being a Token of that Thankfulness, and part of that publick Honour which we owe to God for his inestimable Benefits.

Q. But do not thefe Festivals restrain the Praises of God to certain Times, whichought to be extended 10 all Times? B 2

A. No

A. No Duty can be performed without the Circumstance of Time: And that there is a cer, tain 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 supplant and rob it of all. And though the Days of Solemnity, which are but few must quickly finish that outward Exercise of Devotion, which appertains to such Times ; yet they increase Mens inward Dispositions 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 Disposition of Mind to practise all Christian Virtues, as often as Time and Opportunity require; and not a Perpetuity of Exercise and Action, it being impoflible at one and the same Time to discharge Variety of Duties.

Q. Is not the hallowing unto God more Days than one, egainst 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 six 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 Malt thou labour] is no Commandment, but expresses only an ordinary Permission of Working: For it could not be but that some Days of these holy Feafts must be of the fix. And it is not to be thought God would contradict his own Commandment, by a contrary Institution. As therefore, when he commanded

that

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