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Saints' days.

Grant to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will, through &c.

For the seventeenth Sunday:

Tua nos Domine quæsumus gratia semper et præveniat et sequatur; ac bonis operibus jugiter præstet esse intentos. Per &c.

Lord, we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works, through &c.

The service for the twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity is ordered to be always used on the Sunday next before Advent, because it is preparatory to that season: the epistle being the prophecy of Jeremiah as to the coming of 'the Lord our righteousness;' and the gospel shewing the popular expectation of the Jews in the time of our Lord, that a prophet should come into the world, an expectation which was probably founded in a great measure on this passage of Jeremiah.

The immovable feasts, or Saints' days, appointed for certain days of the year, have generally been observed from the earliest age; the primitive Christians having been accustomed

to commemorate the deaths of the Apostles and martyrs by annual services, which were called Memoriæ martyrum. In process of time the abuse crept in of worshipping the Saints whose virtues were thus celebrated; and as the services were often held at their graves, it is not surprising that their ashes became the objects of superstitious veneration. Our reformers greatly reduced the number of these festivals, and abolished the worshipping of relics, the pilgrimages, and other practices which converted a laudable Christian custom into an occasion of heathenish idolatry and ribaldry. The names of many ancient saints, martyrs, and divines, are retained in the Calendar, as being worthy of memory; but with two exceptions only those days are appointed to be kept holy which are dedicated to the honour of the Apostles and Saints mentioned in the New Testament. The exceptions are St Michael's day, which puts us in remembrance of the ministry of the angels, and All Saints' day, on which we thank God for all those in every age, who have departed this life in the faith and fear of Christ.

There are, only two or three of these festivals which seem to require notice in this place.

The feast of the Purification, or the Pre- The Purifi


VIL 172.

sentation of Christ in the temple, is said to have been instituted in the reign of Justinian, about A.D. 540, and was probably intended as a substitute for the pagan festival of Juno februata, held on the first of February. It was called by the Greeks naarTMǹ, i.e. the meeting of the Lord by Symeon in the temple, and was regarded as one of the festa Dominica, Bingham, or feasts in honour of the Lord. It was called 'the Purification,' in reference to the Jewish law which ordained that the first-born child should be holy to the Lord, and that forty days after the birth the mother should present herself in the temple, and make an offering of a lamb, or two turtles, or young pigeons, for her purification. (See Levit. xii. 8; Luke ii. 23.) It is commonly called Candlemas, because it was usual on that day to carry candles in procession, and to offer them to be burnt in the churches, perhaps in allusion to the words of Symeon, 'To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,' &c. This custom was abolished in the second year of Edward VI.


The origin of the feast of Michaelmas1 is not clearly known; but it appears not to have been generally observed before the eighth century. In 815 it was recognized by the

1 Riddle's Christian Antiquities, p. 658.

council of Mentz, and from that time it gained

ground in the Church.


The feast of All Saints, or All Hallows, is All Saints' not of great antiquity. About the year 610 the pantheon at Rome was taken from the heathen by the Emperor Phocas, at the desire of Boniface IV.; and as it had formerly been sacred to all the Pagan gods, it was now dedicated to all the martyrs. Hence came the original of the feast of All Saints, which was then celebrated on the 1st of May, but was afterwards, by an order of Gregory IV., in 834, removed to the 1st of November. Our reformers, having laid aside the celebration of a great many martyrs' days, which had grown too numerous and cumbersome to the Church, thought fit to retain this day; whereon the Church, by a general commemoration, returns her thanks to God for them all. (Wheatly.)

The greater part of our collects for the Saints' days were composed at the Reformation, as has been already shewn, (pp. 185-7). A few of the old collects have been retained, among which, that for St Michael's day seems most worthy of being transcribed.

Deus, qui miro ordine Angelorum ministeria hominumque dispensas; concede propitius, ut qui

B. C. P.


bus tibi ministrantibus in cœlo semper assistitur, ab his in terra vita nostra muniatur. Per &c.

O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of angels and men in a wonderful order; mercifully grant, that as thy holy angels always do thee service in heaven, so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth. Through &c.

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