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Dum id sibi negotii unicè dedit, Deo ut placeret,
Severam interim Christianæ Religionis,
Ad quam se composuit, disciplinam Suavissima inorum facilitate ita temperavit,
Ut hominibus perraro displiceret:
Forma ipsa Honesti mirè elucebat,
Cum Naturæ satis & Gloriæ,
Parum diu vixisset,
Fatali Asthmate correptus .
Et futuræ spei plenus.
Apud Sanctæ Cænæ participes,
Nelsoni vigebit memoria.
Comitem pariter & adjutorem.
Et nunquam morituris,
Adhuc eos sermonibus
Delectare pergit & instruere.
Ætat. suæ 59.
I THINK myself so far obliged by that Respect that is usually paid to the candid and charitable Reader, as to acquaint him, before he engages, with what he may expect from the following Treatise : The Design whereof is an Attempt to rescue the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England, not only from the Prejudices of those who have not yet reconciled themselves to Her Constitution : but chiefly from the Contempt and Neglect of such as profess themselves Her obedient Members, who own Her Authority in indifferent Things, and who, upon all Occasions, praise and extol the Piety and Usefulness of such Institutions. And farther, humbly to offer such Aid and Assistance to welldisposed Minds, that they may be enabled to improve all these holy Seasons, to the Adountage of their Immortal Souls, and to the securing that Eternal Heb. iv. 9. Rest that remains to the People of God.
In order to this Purpose, I have, in the Preliminary Instructions, endeavoured to clear the Observations of the Festivals and Fasts from those Objections they were most exposed to; and have made it my Business to set them in such a Light, as may best discover their Beauty and Excellency. And,
indeed, except we will acknowledge some Power in the Church, to determine the Modes and Circumstances of Public Worship, and to oblige us in indifferent Matters, it is impossible there should be any settled
Frame of Things in any. Christian Society in the 1 Cor. xiv. World. The Rule that is laid down by St. Paul,
for the Conduct of all Christian Churches is, that all Things be done decently, and in Order; in which, as it supposes a Power in our Governors to determine these decent Things, and to prescribe the necessary Order, and is, moreover, a Measure for them to proceed by in establishing their Injunctions ; so it must necessarily imply an Obligation in us that are governed to submit to such Determinations, and to obey such Regulations; not from any binding Power in the Nature of those Things that are enjoined, by Virtue of that Obedience we owe to lawful Authority; which is so plainly and positively inforced upon us in the holy Scriptures. For those Things that the Laws of God have not made necessary Duties by being commanded, or Transgressions by being forbidden, are indifferent in their own Nature, and may be determined either Way by lawful Authority; and those that are Subjects ought to yield
Obedience to such Determinations, because they are Heb. xiii. commanded to obey those that have the Rule over
them, and to submit themselves.
Thus it is the Duty, of all Christians to humble
themselves before God with Fasting and Prayer : Frequently to admire and adore the infinite Wisdom and Goodness of God in the Mysteries of our Redemption : Thankfully to acknowledge those Advantages we have received from the Labours of the Apostles, who by miraculous Gifts and Graces, were fitted to convert the World. But as to the certain Seasons, when these Duties are publicly to be performed, and as to the Way and Manner of discharging them, that must be left to the Determinations of our lawful Governors ; for what we are obliged to perform at some Times, cannot be less a Duty when lawful Authority enjoins a certain Time for the performing it. And if we consider that the Foreign Conf. Poh. Churches have preserved in their Communion several August.'p.
,., 34. Helvet. Festivals, and that the Remains of Christianity, which c.24. still subsist in the Greek Church, are very much State of
the Greek owing to the solemn Observation of their Feasts and Church, Pasts, there is not the least Reason we should refuse Obedience to such Institutions as are owned by the Protestant Churches abroad, and have had so good an Effect in a Church otherwise oder-run with Ignorance under the Oppression of Infidels. ,
As for those who profess these Principles, they ought to attend to the true Consequences of them, which would oblige them to pay such Regard to Days set apart by the Church for Holy Uses, as to
frequent the Publie Assemblies, and to join in all the Acts of Public Worship, and to make them serviceable to those Ends for which they were instituted. It is highly probable, from All Sundays in the Year being placed at the Head of the Festivals, that it was the Intention of those that compiled the Liturgy, that they should all be observed after the same Manner, not only with Prayers and Thanksgivings, but with Rest from ordinary Labour.
And this, I think, farther appears from the Words Can. xiii. of the Thirteenth Canon, wherein all Manner of
Persons within the Church of England are enjoined to keep the Lord's Day, commonly called Sunday, and other Holy-Days, according to God's holy Will and Pleasure, and the Orders of the Church of England, prescribed in that Behalf; that is, in hearing the Word of God read and taught, in private and public Prayers; in acknowledging their Offences to God and Amendment of the same; in reconciling themselves charitably to their Neighbours, where Displeasure hath been; in oftentimes receiving the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, in visiting the Poor and sick, using all godly and sober Conversation. And
that the People might not neglect their Duty in this Can. Iziv. Particular, every Parson, Vicar, or Curate, is
obliged to give Notice every Sunday, whether there be any Holy-Days, or Fasting-Days the Week