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CHRISTMAS, The Chriſtians grand Feaſt: Its Original, Growth, and Obſervation, Alſo of Eaſter, Whitſontide, and other Holydayes modeſtly diſcuſſed and determined. Alſo the beginning of the Yeare, and other things obſervable. Where alſo among other learned Men, you have the judgment of thoſe eminent Men; Joſephus Scaliger, Rodulphus Hoſpinian, Matthaeus Beroaldus, Joh. Cauſabon, Doct. Fulk, M. Cartwright, Alſted, Hugh Broughton, Maſter Mead.

〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉


By THOMAS MOCKET; Sometimes of Queens Colledge in Cambridge, and Mr. of Arts in both the Univerſities; and now Paſtor of Gildeſton in Hartfordſhire.


Edm. Calamy.

London, Printed for Richard Wodenoth at the Star under Peters Church in Cornhill. 1651.


CHRISTMAS, The Chriſtians grand Feaſt: Its originall, growth & obſervation; diſcuſſed and determined.

FOr the diſſolving of this doubt,Saturnus Aegy­ptius was wick­ed Cham, ſaith Laurentius Co­domannus in Anno M. 1905, Saturnus Baby­lonicus was cruell Nimrod, ibid. and ſetling all religious, and peaceable mens minds and conſciences concerning the obſervation of Chriſts Nativity, we muſt know

1 That Saturn, who (as Heathens them­ſelves inform us**Phornutus, Alſo Cicero de natura Deorum Macrobius Sa­turnalium, l. 1. c. 7. Boccaçe ge­nealogie of the gods,) was ſon to Coelum, or Coelus and Veſta, Father of the Heathen gods, took to wife his own ſiſter Ops, by whom he had many children; Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Pluto, and others, Patri Coelo viri­lia exſecuit, he cut off his father Coelums genitalia, and threw them into the Sea, a moſt unſon-like, and an a­bominable fact, he was famous in his generation, becauſe heaaMacrob. Sa­turnal. l. 1. c. 7. Polyd. Virgil. de inventribus rrum, l. 3. c. 3. firſt found out the art of grafting fruit trees and huſ­bandry in Latium, a part of Italy, and taught it firſt in Europe, he was generally honoured by the Heathens, as a god, and to that end, ſacred rites were done unto him, and the 25 of December, with the reſt of the days follow­ing, ſeven days together, were appointed and generally obſerved by the idolatrous Heathen, to that end, ſacrifices, ſports, and other ſolemnities, were magnificently, and with great preparation and rejoycing performed,bbPolydor. Vir­gil. de invent. rerum, l. 2. c. 14 23. & l. 5. c, 2. Sneca Epiſt. 18 Prin Hiſtrom. p. 751. &c. which the Apoſtle tels us is foul idolatry, a ſacrificing unto Devils, 1 Cor. 10. 20. At which time alſo, there was a ſheaf of Corn, offered to Ceres, their Goddeſſe of Corn, and an hymn ſung in her praiſe, called〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Alſo Feaſting,2ccPol. Virg. de invent. l. 5. c. 2. Horatius Cam. l. 1. Ode 37. & Sermo l. 2. Satyr. 7. Alſo Vir­gil. Ovid, & a­lii. Drinking, Stage-plays, Enterludes, Masks Mummeries, Dancing, and all licentious diſſoluteneſſe by their Lords of miſ-rule, (eſpecially in England, ſaith Polydore Virgil) who, for that time commanded all in the houſe, the Gover­nours, as well as others. He was made propitious by ſacrifi­ces of men unto him, as they thought. ddPlut. Moral. p 379.His better part as they believed) being tranſlated unto heaven, ſhineth forth in the greateſt and higheſt of the ſeven Planets, called Sa­turn, a malevolent ſtar,eeStella nocens Saturnus. Lu­can. Him, and alſo Belus, Jupiter, Mars, Mercurius, Venus, Pluto, Neptune, Apollo, Bacchus, Flora, and many other ſouls of great men departed, the Pagans worſhipped for their gods, becauſe while on earth, they deſerved well of mortall men, did many good things, ſaith Lactantius Firminianus,ffLactantius in­ſtitut. divin. l. 1. who as AuguſtineggAug. de Civit. Dei, l. 3. c. 3. & 17. ſaith, were known to have been adulterers, and notorious malefa­ctors, though in ſome other things famous. Sir W. Raleighs Hiſtory of the World p. 73. 75.

That feſtivall time in December, called Saturnalia, (Sa­turns feaſts, becauſe in honour of Saturn their idol god) was called alſo〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Yule,hhAthen. l. 14. Veteres Theolo­gi begin their year as〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉à Domini praeſentiâ, which ſome re­fer to his birth, ſome to his ba­ptiſme, & ſome to the appear­ing of the Star to the Wiſe­men, Beroald. Chron. l. 4. c. 1. becauſe of the ſheaf then offer'd to Ceres, and hymn ſung in honour of her, for the words were generally uſed both for a ſheaf and that hymn, which time they ſpent in idolatrous ſacrificing, feaſting, revelling, and the like, as above-ſaid.

At this time was conſecrated to the honour of Saturn, Ceres, and their goddeſſe Veſta, by the ancient Heathens eſpecially.

So the firſt day of January, commonly called New-years-day, of which I have not yet obſerved any good reaſon in Antiquity, ſave only this, becauſe the Chriſtians retained the Julian Account and year, as the trueſt which begins the year on the Kalends, or firſt day of January, as**Hoſpin. de o­rigne Feſt. Chiſtian. f. 31. Ho­ſpinian obſerveth, without having reſpect to the true ac­connt of the beginning of time, but conceive rather that the year ſhould begin on March 25, when our Politicall and Civil year begins, and the firſt day of the worlds crea­tion, as ſome learned men think: Or rather now about the tenth of March, when the Sun firſt enters into the firſt degree of Aries, and begins our Spring, or about the 3d. of3 Aprill, about which time Chriſt ſuffer'd, it being uſuall with Antiquity, to record the day of the death of eminent perſons in honour of them, for their birth day, becauſe they then begin to live the life of Eternity. The Ancient Heathens,i Martis erat primus menſis, Veneriſque ſe­cundus, Ovid. Faſt. lib. 1. as the Romans, did begin their year with March, as appears by the names of the Moneths ſtill in uſe among us, namely, September, October, November, December, that is the ſeventh, the eighth, ninth, and tenth moneth, till Numa Pompilius the great forger and advancer of Hea­the Romane Idolatry and Superſtition, who began to reign about the third year of the ſixteenth Olympiade, ſaith Plutarch. kkPlut. in vita Numae Pompilii p. 48 Pol. Virg. de invent rerum l. 2. c. 4.The Arabians and the Aegyptians began their year with the Vernall Equinoctiall or Spring, and the Jews, their Eccleſiaſticall year for holy feaſts and Church-affairs with Abib about the latter end of our March. Or elſe, we ſhould begin in September, as the Aſians, the later and Chriſtian Greeks: for the Ancient Greeks began their year with the Summers Solſtice, that is in June, as they did alſo their Olympiades,Scarpi Sym­phon. p. 141. Laurent. Codo­mannus Anna­les. Beroaldus Chron. l. 4 c. 1. p. 236. ſaith Beroaldus, The Eccleſiaſticall Aſtrologers begin their year and account with September, do alſo the Jews: the Jews for legall, politicall, and civill affairs, becauſe they generally believed the World was then created, the fruits being then all ripe, and not any in March at the Paſſeoeer, for then corn was green, and green ears were offered to God, as appears by Exod. 9. 31. 32.Avenarius in Lexico Hebr. the word Abib,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſignifies Spica cum culmo, ſpica virens matureſcens, a green ear, earing, earing time Pagnin and Avenarius, ſee Exod. 9. 31, 32. Levit. 2. 14. The Septu­agint uſually renders it by〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉new fruits: And the text ſays expreſly that the plague of hail, Exod. 9. which we may ſuppoſe hapned about the beginning of Abib, March Moon, or a few days before (as Mr. Mead well conjectu­reth) had ſmitten the flax and the barly,Mead Diatriba 3. part. p. 627. becauſe the barly was eared, and the flax bolled, but the wheat and the rye were not eared, after which earing, it muſt have ſome time to ripen, with us they have about two moneths and ſometimes more, and ſo with them, (as I conceive) harveſt began4 (their two loaves of firſt fruits, and harveſt feaſt of them, becauſe of the ripe corn) at Pentecoſt, Exod. 23. 16. the beginning of harveſt and not the end, as ſome affirm, for their ſeed time both for wheat and barly in Egypt (and therefore alſo about that in Paleſtine) was in November, and their barly was ripe in the ſixt moneth, but their wheat not till the ſeventh, about a moneth after, as Pliny informs us, which muſt be in May and June, the uſuall time of Pentecoſt which fell out moſt commonly in May, therefore this moneth was called Aethanim, which ſignifieth ſtrengths, becauſe all things were created in the ſtrength, and much about the time, our Bleſſed Saviour was born, that moneth beginneth towards the end of our September Moneth, but I return, having thought good to add a word or two concerning the beginning of the year.

The firſt of January, commonly called New-years-day, a part of our Chriſtmas was dedicated to the honour of their two faced**Polyd. Virgil. de invent. re­rum, l. 2. c. 4. Idoll Janus ſo called, and pictured, bcauſe he was a wiſe Prince, that did look back, and well obſerve times and things paſt, and thence did wiſely gather and foreſee what might be hereafter, and accordingly did re­gulate his affairs, which day the Heathens did in like manner ſolemnize, and alſo by ſending of New-years-gifts one to another, wherefore the whole Catholike Church (as Mr. PrinhhHiſtriom. p. 756. Concil. Al­tiſiod. A. C. 614. Can. 1. Synodus Turonica 2 Can. 23. Concil. Conſtant. 6. A. C. 680 Can. 62. informs us out of Alcuvinus) and four famous Councils appointed a ſolemn faſt to be kept on that day, to bewaile all heatheniſh ſports, plays, and lewd idolatrous practiſes and prophane courſes,Polyd. Virgil de Invent. rerum l. 5. c. 2. prohibiting all Chriſtians under pain of Excommunication from obſer­ving the firſt of January as holy, or ſending New years gifts. Durand. Ratio­nale divin. offic. l. 6. c. 15.It was condemned alſo by many ancient and learned Writers, as Ambroſe, Auguſtine, Chryſoſtome, and many o­thers, yea, and by two Popes as bad as they were, name­ly, Pope Zachary, and Pope Martin.

February the ſecond was dedicated to the honour of their goddeſſe Februa,Rhenanus in Tertul de Coro­na militum. (the mother of Mars,**Tertul. de I­dolat. another of their Deities) to whom the Pagans offered burnt torches,5 tapers, and wax-candles to pacifie the evill Spirits, as they did alſo on the altars of Saturn, on his feſtivall days, and the moneth is called February from Februus, which is Pluto, the god of hell, as the heathens imagined.

May-day, the firſt day of May, was conſecrated and kept in honour of their devill goddeſſe Flora,llPolyd. Virgil. de Invent. re­rum, l. 5. c. 2. a notable rich whore, at what time they uſed to bring laurell, green boughs and branches of trees and flowers, with ſinging and rejoycing, and adorn their doors and houſes with them, a heatheniſh idolatrous practiſe, condemned by the Councill of Toledo,mmConcil. Tole­tanum A. C. 617 Can. 73. where were preſent 77 Biſhops, and by Pope Martin, and by many other good writers, yet frequently practiſed in many places of England to this day.

The firſt of November, was ſolemnly kept by the Pagans, in honour of all their devils Deities,nn1 Cor. 10. 20 and a Temple built in Rome, and conſecrated in honour of them, both that feaſt and Temple were therefore calledooPolyd. Virgil. de Invent. re­rum, l. 6. c. 8. Pantheon.

Thus you have a brief account of ſome of the Pagan idolatrous feſtivals, and how obſerved by them in honour of their idoll devill gods, and conſequently how little rea­ſon we Chriſtians have to obſerve them. Now

2 To come neerer to the point in hand, we muſt know alſo that the heathen idolatrous holy dayes were turned into Chriſtian, as Chriſt's NativityppPolyd Virgil. de Invent. re­rum, l. 5. c. 1, 2. Durandus Rati­on. divin. offic. l. 7. c. 34. in feſto omnium Sancto­rum, Franc. de Croy his firſt conformity c. 19. 20. was appointed to be kept, and hath long been generally obſerved on the very time and day, when Saturns idolatrous, riotous feaſt was ſolemnized, and in the room and imitation thereof, and therefore that time was anciently called Yule〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the heathens called it, and the mad, ryotous, pro­phane playes, and ſports in Chriſtmas time, Yule-games and Chriſtmas Karols, ſung in praiſe of Chriſt, as the heathens did the hymn〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in honour of the idoll Keres, that is Ceres,Doctor Ʋſhr. de anno Maced. & p. 40. out of Beda, de ratione temporum. goddeſſe of corn.

Innocents day Decemb. 28. The pretended day in which the Innocent children of Bethlem were murthered by He­rods command, Matt. 2. 16. ) is dedicated to the memory,6 and kept in honour of them, as it was conſecrated and kept feſtivall in honour of the Pagans idoll god Quirinus the ſirname of Romulus, the founder of Rome, whoſe idoll feaſt is called Quirinalia.

The Circumciſion of Chriſt, was ſolemnized on Jaunary the firſt, in the roome of their two-facedqqJani hiſrontis imago Virg. l. 7. Plutarch. in Numa Pompil. p. 48. Latinae verſionis Xy­landri. Jodous in Hora. f. 57. idoll Janus heatheniſh idolatrious-feſtivall, and from thence Yule an hymne and ſheafe, (a burnt offering) to Ceres, our Bla­zes Chriſtmas Karols and ſending of New-yeares-gifts came.

The Purification of Mary, is celebrated on February the ſecond, and called Candlemas-day, becauſe of the many wax candles and tapers offer'd and burnt in honour of the Virgin Mary,rrPolyd Virgil. de Invent. l. 5. c. 2. and chriſtened by the Papiſt Candlemas­day, as the Pagan Idolaters did on that day to their ſhe­god Februa, more abundantly then to Saturn on his day, but accendant quotidiè lucernas, quibus lux nulla eſt, let them light candles to them that have no light in themſelves, ſaid Ter­tullian and Lactantius of theſſTertul. in A­polog adverſus Gentes,actant. Inſtitut l. 6. c. 2. heathens.

May-day, alſo hath been by us obſerved (by the com­mand of Superiours as others holy days were) even with the heathens cuſtomes of bringing green boughs, branches of trees, flowers, and adorning of houſes, windows, with them, juſt as the Heathens did, alſo May-poles, dancing, drinking, and the like, Ethnicorum more, after the man­ner of the idolatrous Pagans.

Likewiſe, The firſt of November, was dedicated and ob­ſerved feſtivall in honour of the Virgin Mary, and all the Saints, by the Church of Rome,ttPolyd. Virgil. l. 6. c. 8. Durand. Rationale di­vin o••ic. Ro­delphus Hſpi­nian. de orig. ſe­ſtorum Chri­ſtian. f. 159 and called All-Saints-day, (as the Pagans obſerved it in honour of all the idol gods calling it Pantheon) and that by the decrees of Pope Boniface the Fourth, and Pope Gregory the Fourth.

3 This change of Pagan idolatrous feaſts into Chriſtian, in honour of Chriſt, and the Saints, was made by ſome of the Ancients, when Chriſtianity was ſpread among the Heathens, and many of them converted to the true faith, in hope, that by complying with them, in obſerving their7 feſtivall days but to Chriſtian ends, they ſhould the rather draw the Pagan Idolaters from Paganiſm to Chriſtianity. Pope TeleſphonusuuRabanas Murus Iſtt. Clericorum l 2. c. 31. ut rfrt Guil Prin Hi­ſtrom. p. 774. Miſſas in nocte Nativitacis Chriſti tr cele­brari ſtatuit Teleſphorus. Summa Conci­liorum & Pon­tificum per Bar­tholom. Carran­zam, p. 17, 18. Doctor Fuk in anwer to the Rhemiſh Teſt. Matth. 2. 5, 4. who began about the year of Chriſt 140 in the time of Antoninus, the Emperours reign, was the firſt Authour we read of among the Romans, of the celebration of Chriſts Nativity, and on that day Saturns devil-feaſt was began, viz. December the 25, but in other Churches (excepting Conſtantinople) I find as yet no obſer­vation of it, the Church of Rome, where Antichriſt was to reign, being the firſt beginner and authour as of moſt other ſuperſtitious obſervations, ſo of this alſo. Before Conſtantine the Great, there were not many feſtivals obſer­ved, and the feaſt of the Nativity of Chriſt, Eaſter and Pentecoſt, which two laſt certainly (were obſerved before the Nativity) were not univerſally obſerved till many years after, ſaith Dr. Fulke, no not till many hundred years after Chriſt, ſee Magdeburgenſis Century 2. 4. 5. 6. Gregor. Magnus in Evang. hom. 8. Chemnit. harmony p. 92.

The other feaſts mentioned before, were changed by Pope Boniface,xxBedae Eccleſ. hiſtor. l. 2 c. 14. and Pope Gregory the Firſt;yyGreg. Magn. Ep. l. 9 Ep. 71. Pope Boniface began A. C. 419. Pope Gregorius began A. C. 590. as Alſtedius and BellarminezzAlſted. Chron. p. 279. Bellar. de Script. Ec­clſ. inform me, contrary to the judgment and will of renowned Ambroſe, Auguſtiue, and the whole Councill of Affrick,aaGuil. Prin hiſtrom. p. 760. Can. 27. 28. and others. And to ſpeak truth at the firſt, Chriſts Nativity and other feaſts was religiouſly obſerved by the Chriſtians. Hear Tertullian of this matter,bbTertull. in Apolog. adver­ſus Gentes c. 39, 40 f. 187. Ex­cellently alſo to this purpoſe Greg. Nazian­zene in orat. in Natalem Dom. A good exam­ple. for Chriſti­ans now to fol­low, on the Lords dayes, & days of thankſ­givng. ſaith he, (ſpeaking of himſelf, and the Chriſtians of his time.) Coimus in coetum, & con­gregationem, ut Deum quaſi manu facta precationibus ambia­mus orantes. Wee aſſemble together into one company, that ſo we might, as it were, aſſault and beſiege God with our joynt prayers. Again, we feed our faith, with holy words erect our hope, ſettle our confidence, eſtabliſh our diſcipliue with the often in­culcations of divine precepts: alſo there are exhortations, corre­ctions, divine cenſures. After which, they kept the Supper, or Love-feaſt (Agape) in which nihil vilitatis, nihil immo­deſtiae admittur, non prius diſcumbitur quam oratio ad Deum8 praeguſtatur, in which, no vileneſſe, no immodeſty is admitted, they ſate not down (to eat) before they had firſt ſent up a prayer to God. Editur quantum eſurientes capiant, bibitur quantum pudicii eſt utile, and then falling to their meat, they eat no more then would well ſatisfie their hunger, drink no more than was fit for modeſt perſons, ſatiating themſelves, ſo as they re­membred they were to worſhip God in the night after. Ita confa­bulantur ut qui ſciunt Deum audire, diſcourſing as they who well knew God heard them. Poſt aquam manualem, and after water to waſh their hands, and lights were brought in, every one as he was able, was provoked to ſing a Pſalm to God. And as prayer began, ſo it likewiſe concluded the feaſt, after which they departed non in catervas coeſionum, neque in claſſes diſcurſati­onum, nec in eruptiones laſcivorum, not into the rude routs of ſwaſhing blades, not into the companies of rambling fellows, not into the laſhings out of laſcivious perſons, but to the ſame care of modeſty and chaſtity, like thoſe, qui non tam coenam coenave­rint quam diſciplinam, who had not ſo fed their bellies, as their minds and hearts with wholeſome diſcipline. Thus he ſhews how religiouſly they obſerved their feaſts; the ſuppoſed day of Chriſt's Nativity, and other feſtivall days at firſt, after their change from Pagan to Chriſtian feſtivals, which ſtrict and religious obſervation of thoſe days, were it now injoyned by authority, and practiſed, I believe it would be as much diſliked by our Chriſtmas men, as the non-obſervation of the time is now diſpleaſing.

4 But then withall, it muſt be remembred, that within a little time after, the obſervation of theſe Pagan feſtivall days (though the name and end was changed) brought in all the heatheniſh cuſtomes, and Pagan rites and ceremo­nies that the idolatrous Heathens uſed, as riotous Drink­ing, Health-drinking, Gluttony, Luxury, Wantonneſſe, Dancing, Dicing, Stage-plays, Enterludes, Masks, Mum­meries, with all other Pagan ſports, and prophane practi­ſes, into the Church of God, which was never defiled with theſe prophane abominations, till thoſe Pagan holy days9 were changed into Chriſtian, which by reaſon of mens naturall proceſſe to carnall pleaſures, and heatheniſh rites and ceremonies, &c. did ſoon transform all Chriſtian fe­ſtivals into heathen again, as many learned and good Wri­ters aſſure us,bbVide Prins Hiſtricm. p. 760 till at laſt, all Chriſtendome was over-run with them, and in a manner all life and power of Chriſti­anity eaten out with thoſe Pagan Chriſtmas paſtimes and heatheniſh delights. Hunc diem plurimi Chriſtianorum diurnis nocturniſquecompotationibus, commeſſationibuſquepa­gunt, ita ut non Chriſti Natalia, ſed Bacchanalia potius & Lupernalia agere viderentur, ſo that they ſeemed not to keep the feaſt of Chriſt's Nativity:Hoſpinian de o­rig. feſt. Chriſt. f. 45. & 159. (the like may be ſaid of other ho­ly days) but rather the drunken and riotous feaſt of Idoll Bac­chus and Pan, as Hoſpinian truly ſaith. It is true alſo that Beroaldus obſerveth,Bercald. Chroni­corum, l. 4. c. 1. that the pretence of celebrating the memory and vertues of ſome eminent godly Chriſtians, brought in holy dayes,Primum ad o­tium, dinde ad nequitiam & ad caetera quae otium alit ma­la, inducit. and holy days idleneſſe, and idle­neſſe, prophaneneſſe and all licentiouſneſſe, but we may ſay of the obſervation of holy days, as our Saviour in a­nother caſe, from the beginning it was not ſo. The truth is, that holy days, Monkery, Nunnery, ſolitary life, Images, praying for the dead, prayer to Saints departed and An­gels as Mediatours, were brought in by the factors for Antichriſt, yet with ſuch ſpecious pretences, and ſeeming devotion and holineſſe, that even many good men were ſtrangely deceived by them, till it was too late to with­ſtand them. But by thoſe Chriſtmas ſports, carnall plea­ſures and delights, God hath in thoſe few holy days been more diſhonoured, the devill better ſerved, evill men more hardned in their wickedneſſe, and good men more grieved, and more ſouls ſent head-long to hell, than on any other day, yea, than on all the reſt of the year beſide.

Wherefore, thoſe godly Fathers, Auguſtine,ccAuguſtine the father flouriſh­ed A. C. 4: o died 433. Bllar de Script Eccleſ. Alſtd. Chronolog. and others, obſerving thoſe growing evils that followed thereupon, wiſhed Pagan feſtivals had never been turned into Chri­ſtian feaſts, but quite aboliſhed, the better to avoid all heatheniſh cuſtomes, diſſolute and prophane practiſes.

10And although the diſorders and abuſes of thoſe days were afterward condemned by Councils and Synods, as by the Councill of Rhemes, A. C. 1583, by the Synod of Toures in France, the ſame year, and by others before and ſince, yet all in vain, no rooting of them out, but by taking away the obſervation of them wholly, as experience ſheweth.

Thus we ſee who firſt appointed thoſe holy days we formerly kept as holy feſtivities, viz. the Heathen Pagan Idolaters, in honour of their idol devill gods, the ſouls of ſome dead Heroes, which all Chriſtians ought to abomi­nate, and that long after ſuch idolatrous uſe of them, ſome ſeducing and ſeduced Chriſtians turned the ſame days into Chriſtian feſtivals in honour of Chriſt and the Saints, in complyance with the Heathen Idolaters, out of hope to draw them to a Chriſtian Religion, but though the corruption of mans nature, eſpecially they having no divine warrant from Ieſus Chriſt ſo to do, it turned to the hard­ning of the Heathens in their Idolatry, and the uni­verſall and abominable corruption of the Church of Chriſt.

5 Now let it be conſidered, whether Chriſt was born as on that day, which commonly goes under his name, or about that time, and ſurely upon inquiry, wee ſhall finde that hee was not born then, but rather about the end of September, in October,ddHoſpinian. de orig. feſt. Chri­ſtia. Matthaei Beroaldi Chron. l. 4 c 12. Hen. Wolphius in Chō. The Jews Chiſtian aera or acoun,〈◊〉birth of Chriſt beginnig in September, Jo­ſephus Saliger de Emend. tem­porum, Hugh Broughten in his Conſent of Scripture, in A. M. 3953. Jo ban. Canſabon. xect. p. 91. Scaliger a ſo in Canonibus Iſa­gogiis, p. 297. Mr. Mad. ia­triba 3. part. p. 617. &c Aſted. Praecog. T••ol. p. 532 & 572. Alſted. Chronol p. 19. 22 74. & 120. Encyclop. p 2998. Who addeth further, ut docent euditi Chronolgi. It is the opinion of the moſt learned Chronologers, ſaith Mr. Mead, Ditriba 3 d. port p. 6. 8. Doctor Drakes ſacred Chronog. p. 72, 73. Scharpius Symphon. Veteres animad vertſſe Dominum noſtrum Jeſum Chriſtum, natum fuiſſe aquinoctio Autum­nali, quae canſa eſt ut annos inde ſic exorſiprioris aetatis Chriſtiani, quos à Domini nativi­tate ſolita eſt incoare Vetus Eccleſia. Broaldi Chron. l. 4. p. 236. which I thus clear, beſide the learned Authors judgment mentioned in the margine.

Firſt, from the time of his conception, which was to­wards the end of December, or in Ianuary at the fartheſt, and therefore his birth being full 9 moneths or 40 weeks after, muſt fall about the end of September, or in October11 which I think evident, by laying down theſe Propoſitions, which I believe are manifeſt truths.

1 That the Jews Eccleſiaſticall year began in Niſan, alias Abib, Exod 12. 2. This moneth ſhall be to you the begin­ning of moneths, the moneth in which Iſrael came out of Egypt, Exod. 13. 4. which contains the latter part of our March, and the former part of our Aprill.

2 That the Jewiſh year conſiſted of twelve moneths.

3 That in thoſe 12 monethes were 24 courſes for the Prieſts to ſerve in the Temple, each Prieſt fourteen days, 1 Chron 24. v. 1, and 6. to 20.

4 That in Abiatus courſe,ccAlſted. Chron. p. 19, 20, 74. which was the eighth courſe or fortnight from the beginning of Abib, which be­gan on the latter part of our March, with our March­moon then.

That miſtake that Zechary was high Prieſt, and offici­ated in September, in the feaſt of Tabernacles may eaſily be confuted from the text, Luke 1. v. 1, 8, 9. the primitive practiſe of the Church of Alexandria, which was very ex­act in their accounts, they celebrated the birth of Iohn the Baptiſt, Aprill 2. 13 the 28 menſis Pharmutii, ſaith Cyrill, in an Homily on that occaſion. Alſo by the perpetuall obſervation of the Jews, and is fully done by Sharpius, Scaliger, Cauſabon, Ber••ldus, Mead,**Scharpi Sym­phon. p. 471. Cauſahon out Scaliger. Exer­cit. p. 91. Berc­ald. Chron. l. 4. c. 2. Meads Dia〈◊〉triba 3 pa t. p. 620. and others.

5 That after Zecharies courſe of miniſtring in the Tem­ple was ended, and Zechary returned home, his wife Eli­zabeth conceived him, who was after called John, Luke 1. 5, 6, 13, 19, 23, 24, After theſe days, (that is, the end of his courſe and miniſtery) his wife Elizabeth conceived, &c. which was in the latter end of our July, and John was born in the end of our AprillffScharp. Sym. phon. p. 473. Alſted. Chron p. 20. 74. 121. Broughons Conſent in A. M. 3953. Cau­ſabon out of Scaliger. de E­mendatione temporum, & in Canonibus Iſa­gogiis. p. 29. Cauſa•••Ex­ercitati, p 91. or thereabout.

6 That our bleſſed Saviour was conceived in the wombe of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Ghoſt, ſix moneths after the conception of John the Baptiſt, Luke 1. 7, 26, 27, to 36. which muſt fall out about the end of December, or in January ſix moneths after the end of July, the time of Johns conception.

12Theſe things being granted (wch I think cannot be denied) it muſt of neceſſity follow that Chriſts birth, which was nine moneths or forty weeks after, muſt fall out about the end of September, or in October, eſpecially he being her firſt-born.

Secondly, I clear this aſſertion concerning the time of Chriſt's birth, from the time of his ſuffering, thus:

1 It is (I think) generally granted by Divines,Matthaeus Be­roald. Chron l. 4. c. 2. & l. 3. c. 8. that Chriſt lived on earth 32 years and an half, or 33 and an half, Chriſt's birth and baptiſme were both on the 14 day of the ſeventh moneth, to which our September anſwe­reth: he was three year and an half in his miniſtry, lived in all 32 years and an half (ſaith Beroaldus) but many o­thers reckon 33 years and an half;g Piſcator in Luk. 3. 13 Beza, Broughtons Conſent a­gainſt A. M. 3941. Lauren­tii Cdoman. Annales. Ainſw. Annot. in Numb 4. 3. with Gen. 5. 32. eroali Chron. l. 4. c. 2. all (I think) acknow­ledge an odde half year, for he was baptized and entred into his publique miniſtery, when he began to be, or entred upon the thirtieth year of his age. Luke 3. 22, 23. at which age the Leviticall Prieſts (as ſome affirm) enter'd upon their ſervice. Numb. 4. 3, 35, 39, 43, 47. or as ſome others when the thirtieth year of his age was compleat, and he began to enter upon his one and thirtieth year, the words are〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which word for word is: he was begin­ning, &c. Beroaldus renders it thus: Ipſe annum ingreditur triceſſimum: ſee the Authors in the Margine.

2 That hee lived three years and an half in his pub­lique miniſtery, from his baptiſme to his paſſion, is gene­rally granted by Divines, yet ſome,hhAlſted. Chron. p. 22. Scharpius in Sympho. p. 474. I have read, ſay four years and an half,i Laurentius Codoman. An­nales, H. B. & R. B. Itierari­um ſacrae Script p. 477. Auguſt. contra Judaeos, Paganos, Arria­nos, l. 3. c. 5. which diſagreement doth nothing wea­ken our aſſertion, but confirm it.

3 Tahe ſuffered the 15 day of the moneth Abib or Nilan, which was then about our Aprill the third, but Auſtine ſays on the 8th. Kalends of April (that is March 25.

Now caſt away all the whole years (be they more or fewer, it matters not) and there remains half a year or ſix moneths, which all learned men (wch I have read or heard of acknowledg) which ſix moneths reckon (either forward or backward, all comes to one account) from the time of13 his ſuffering and his birth falleth preciſely about the end of September or beginning of October, and ſo we have the time evidenced to fall out this way alſo pat with the other. This alſo Beroaldus proveth from the 9 ofkkMath. Brcal­di Chroncorum l. 4. c. 2. Daniel.

Thirdly, Neer upon the ſame time falleth the obſerva­tion of Mr. Mead,llMeads Dia­triba 3. part p. 615. & 617. Hen. Wolphius in Chron. and ſome others from John 1. 14. The word was made fleſh, and dwelt among us:〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; and tabernacled, pitched his tent, or dwelt in tents, for ſo the word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉ſignifieth, anſwerable to the type of the Iſraelites, dwelling in tabernacles, tents or buſhes in the feaſt of the ſeventh moneth, Levit. 23. 34. Deut. 16. 13. Nehem. 8. 14, a thing uſuall among the Jews, at the feaſts of Tabernacles, which began on the 15 day of the September-moon, and ended the 22, at which time they affirm Chriſt to be born, and ſo happily anſwered the type, which another cuſtome uſed at that feaſt, ſeems to con­firm, for while they were carrying the boughs, they uſed this ſhort prayer, Hoſanna, Hoſanna, a ſave now, or ſave I beſeech thee.

Fourthly, Adde here unto the teſtimony of the Rabbines in Midraſh Rabba, that the Meſſiah muſt be born in the moneth Aethanim, alias Tiſri, and September the moneth of ſtrengths, full of feaſts, to teach of the Meſſiah, And ſo wee finde that the three chief aniverſary feaſts of the Jews did foretell and type out Chriſts times.

As 1 Their Paſſeover was a memoriall of Iſraels pre­ſervation in Egypt, and deliverance out of it in the firſt moneth Abib, fitly prefiguring Chriſts death, and our ſpi­rituall redemption wrought by Chriſt at the ſame time.

2 Their feaſt of Weeks, or harveſt 50 days after the Paſ­over, the time of giving the fiery law by Moſes to Iſrael with our Pentecoſt, when the Spirit was given in fiery cloven tongues. Act. 2. 1, 2, 3, 4. So

3 Their feaſt of Tabernacles, or dwelling in tents or buſhes on 15 of the ſeventh moneth, and September, 8 days together, prefigured Chriſts Nativity, pitching his tent, or dwelling in the Tabernacle of his fleſh among men, four times eight years.

14Fiftly, At that time Chriſt was born, all the world went to be taxed, every man to his own city, Luke 2. 2, 3. but it is not at all probable, that the journeying of all the world, men and women with child, ſhould be comman­ded by Empericall Edict in the depth of winter, when the ways were worſt, and the days ſhorteſt, and therefore unfitteſt for travail, eſpecially for women with child, there are days enough in the year beſide to gather and pay mo­ney: neither was Auguſtus Caeſar, ſo bare of money and hard put to it: neither doth Princes uſe to gather ſuch ex­traordinary taxes of their ſubjects in the middle of win­ter, and when the fruits of the year are half ſpent, but pre­ſently after harveſt,Hen. Wolph. Chron. l. 1. as Wolphius obſerveth.

Sixtly, At that Chriſt was born, the Shepheards were watching their flocks in the open fields all night, Luke 2. 8. but tis very unprobable, that they did ſo in winter, eſpecially in December moneth, ſheep being frigoris impa­tientiſſimae, moſt impatient of cold, as H. WolphiusmmH Wolp. l. 1. Chron. out of Heſide l. 2. operum, but in houſes or ſtables, as Columella ſaith. l. 7. c. 3. & Virgil. l. 3. Georg. conſider our Saviours words. Matth. 24. 20. Pray that your flight be not in the winter.

Seventhly, Neither is it likely, that the Wiſemen that came to viſite Chriſt, were ſo unwiſe, as to take ſo long a journey to, and from Chriſt, in thennDoct Drakes ſacred Chron. p. 72. depth of winter.

Eighthly, Chriſt was born on the day of the Autumme Equinoctiall, in which the world was made by God, de­formed and undone by Adam, but renewed byooNatus mun­dus & renatus eodem menſe ſc­ptimo,erald. Chron. l. 4. p. 248. See Hen. Wolphius Chrn. l. 1. Chriſt.

Ninthly, Beroaldus proves Chriſt birth to be in Septem­ber, by another argument from Daniel c. 9. in his 4th. Book, and 3d chapt to whom I referre the learned.

Laſtly, The true, perticular and exact time of Chriſts birth cannot be determined by men, and if Chriſts birth were unknown toppClem. Alex. Strom. l. 1. who lived An. Chri­ſti, 195. Epi­phanius, Beroal­dus, Mead, Dr. Fulk on the Rhem. Teſt. Matth 2. 5, 1. Clemens Alexandrinus, and them that lived the next age to Chriſt, why, I pray you (ſaith Ho­ſpinian) do you believe Epiphanius,qqEpiph. to. 1. l 2. who lived almoſt 400 years after, who held January 5, or Middelburgenſis,15 whorrMiddelburg c. 4. l. 19. was for the 8 Kalends of Aprill, is March 25, or they that ſay he was born on December 25. as did Oroſius? Some of the Ancients held that Chriſt was born January 6, and they call'd〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, alſo〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſome on April 29: ſome on May 19, or 20: ſome in September, ſome on De­cember 25, ſaith Hoſpinian, and I. Cauſabon,ſſHoſpin. de ori­gine feſt. Chriſt. Cauſabon. Ex­ercit. 1. p 91. ſome on March 25, then the day of the Vernall Equinoctiall, ſaith Middel­burgenſis. ttMiddelburg. l. 19. c. 4.And accordingly, the birth of Chriſt was ce­lebrated by the Roman, or Latine and French Churches on December 25, ſaith Theophilus Caeſarienſis, Paleſtinae Epiſcopus. The Aegyptians, Graecians and Armenians, a people in Aſia, celebrated his Nativity and Baptiſme, both together on our Epiphany, January 6, ſaith Caſſianus and Hugo,uuHugo in Matth. c. 1. others on the 15 day of menſisyb. and a­bout January 9, ſome others on the 14 or 15 menſis Phar­muthi, that is Aprill the 9 or 10, as Cyrill informs us in an Homily on that**Cyril in hom. ejus argumenti. occaſion.

The firſt inſtitution of it cannot be known, ſaith Hoſpi­nian, and the firſt mention of its obſervation that he could finde (though a diligent ſearcher into Antiquities of this kind) was by Theophilus,In Paſch. Epiſt. Saint Theophilus Biſhop of Anti­och. A long time after the Lords Aſcenſion, there was no day or certain time appointed for the obſervation of the birth of Chriſt, ſaith Beroaldus,xxBeroad, Chro. l. 4 p. 238. longo poſt Aſcentio­nem Domini tempore nullum fuiſſe feſtum, aut cero tem­pore diſtinctam diei natalis ob­ſervationem. yea, there was no certainty a­greed upon in Epiphanius time, as himſelf witneſſeth, who lived almoſt 400 years after Chriſt; and it was after the time of Conſtantine the Great (who died about 337) that the 25 of December, was choſen, and firſt in the Latine or Roman Church, but not in the Greek Church till the days of Chryſoſtome,yyMaſtr Mead Diatriba. 3. part. p. 619. who made an oration, yet extant, at the firſt obſervation of that day, which he ſays they re­ceived from the Roman Church, he flouriſhed A. C. 400. But Beroaldus ſaith,zzBeroald Chron. l. 4. c. 1. p. 236. & 238. Hoſpin. de orig ſeſt. Chriſt. f. 66 there was nothing certain inſtituted til A. C. 532, and that, as it ſeems, the firſt Councill that determin'd that day, was the Council of Aurelia, or Orleans in France A. C. 558, and after that the 10 Councils of Tole­do in Spain, A C. 621, but it was obſerved long before that,16 and ſurely God hath purpoſely concealed that day of Chriſts birth, that none might ſuperſtitiouſly obſerve it, as he did Moſes ſepulcher.

Q. But if Chriſt's birth was about the end of Septem­ber or in October, why then did the Ancients ſet that time apart in memory of Chriſt's birth, and not ſome other neereſt to it?

A. The Ancients, who changed that Pagan feſtivall to Chriſts Nativity, did not therefore pitch on that day, be­cauſe they thought he was then both, ſaith Hoſpinian, Pau­lus Jovius, and others, eſpecially J. Cauſabon,aaHoſpin de o­rig. feſt. Chriſt. f. 160. Paulus Jovius biſt. l. 38 Hugo in Matth. c. 2. Cauſobon. Exercit. 1. p. 91. Videntur Pii Patres, &c. Religionem fa­cilius admiſſum iri ſperabant ſi eadem opera im­pias Gentium ſolemni ates de­berent & novas inſttuerent, quae ad verum Dei cultum pr­tinent. but becauſe they hoped that the turning the Heathens feaſts on theſe days wch were obſerved to chriſtian, as they did alſo ſome other Pagan holy-days, obſerving the ſame days ſtill, but to a better end and uſe, would be a means to draw the Ethnicks from Paganiſm, to Chriſtianity, but it turned to a quite contrary effect, to wit, the hardning of the Hea­thens in their idolatry and ways of ſin, and the great cor­ruption of the Church of God with heatheniſh cuſtomes, prophane and ſuperſtitious practiſes, through the prone­neſſe of people generally to carnall pleaſures, ſuperſtiti­ous, and prophane cuſtomes and practiſes, and eſpecially through the idleneſſe, luxury, pompe, power, wealth and diſſoluteneſſe of the Popes clergy, the ſuperſtitious Prieſts and Monks of Rome Chriſtian, (now long ſince tur­ned Antichriſtian) following ſtep by ſtep Rome Heathen, who brought in and countenanced Spurcitias Gentilium, the filthineſſe, diſhoneſty and uncleanneſſe of the idola­trous Gentiles, as many good Authors andbbSalvion. de Gubern. Dei, l. 3 Greg. Magnus hom. 17. in E­vangel. & Mo­ral. l. 6. c. 17. Aug. de Civit. Di l. 2. c. 20. Franc. de Croy, his firſt confor­mity. Synodus Tironenſis ſub Carl. Magno, A. C. 742. Can. 5 Jeffery Chaucer his Plowmans tale. See many others mentio­ned in Maſter Prins Hiſtriom. p. 760. &c. which I have not read. Councils inform us.

Wherefore I conclude this ſection, that conformity un­to, and retention of the Heatheniſh cuſtomes in the ob­ſervation of days, and perticularly of thoſe days firſt con­ſecrated to Heathens ſpurious idoll Deities, is not com­mendable in Chriſtians, ſutable or agreeable to the Go­ſpell, though under pretext of honouring Chriſt, and his worſhip, but to be renounced and caſt off for ever, with de­teſtation of all Chriſtian pious hearts.

176 But ſuppoſe it were true, and certain that Chriſt was born in the Winter Solſtice, on that day we heretofore ob­ſerved in memory of his birth, viz. December 25, (the contrary whereunto is, I think, clearly and fully proved) yet now by reaſon that our year conſiſteth of 365 days and 6 hours is longer then the true naturall and tropicall year, by 11 minutes and 15 ſeconds, or thereabout, every 25th day of December is ſo much later then the former, ſo that the 25 of December this preſent year 1650 fals out about thirteene days, or more later than the true ac­count of time, and later than it was, then which Julius Caeſar inſtituted the Julian-Yeare (the ſame yeare that is now in uſe among us) about 54 years be­fore Chriſt was born, alſo later by almoſt ſo much, then it was on that year Chriſt was born, therefore our 25 of December is not the day, but December 11, when the Sun enters into Capricorn, (though the former ſuppoſition were granted, which may not be) and therefore not to be obſerved in memory of Chriſt, eſpecially by knowing Chriſtians, leaſt by their practiſe they ſhould teach others alſo to believe that for truth which is very untrue, that Chriſt was born on that day, by which alſo we may ſee how untruly though ignorantly many did ſay the Collect appointed for that day. Almighty God which haſt given us thine onely begotten ſon, to take our nature upon him, and this day to be born, &c.

7 The celebration of our December the 25 in memory of Chriſts Nativity (ſuppoſing further that he was then born,M. Cartwrights Annotat. on the Rhem. Teſt. Gal. 10. §. 5. Matth. 2. Sect. 1 and that that time is the true time of the year, and the ſame time it was when Chriſt was born, viz. the day of the Winters Solſtice) yet is it not juſtifiable and warrantable for Chriſtians who pretend to honour Chriſt to obſerve it.

1 Becauſe there is no precept, example, or approved ground in ſacred Scripture for the obſervation of that day in houour of Chriſts birth, if any ſuch be, let him that can ſhew it, and I will imbrace it, and recant my errour at Pauls-croſſe, or the Exchange, but it is an humane inventi­on, and a meer tradition of men, and was deviſed, and18 the religious obſervation of it, and other holy days were impoſed and commanded meerly and only by man with­out any ground and warrant from Chriſt, therefore they that will honour Chriſt, (as all ought to do) muſt not ob­ſerve it or them, being without Chriſts direction. It is an honour peculiar to Jeſus Chriſt, to preſcribe times, days and worſhips, and an high intrenching on his Sovereign Authority and Kingly office, to preſcribe days and times, therefore what Chriſt our Lord and Maſter doth not com­mand, or allow warrant to do, we may not do, we may not obſerve days or times without his appointment and war­rant, but punctually (as neer as we can) keep to his com­mand, Deut. 5. 32, 3. Jerem. 7. 22 Iſaiah 1. 12. Therefore Dr.Dr. Fulk. in an­ſwer to the Rhem. Teſt. on Luk. 24. 50. Fulk ſpeaking of the ſigne of croſſe in baptiſme ſaith, It cannot be a memoriall of Chriſts, becauſe Chriſt commanded it not, and ſo may I ſay of this, and all other the like ho­ly days.

2 Becauſe theſe days have been and are elſewhere to this day greatly abuſed to all manner of prophaneneſſe, diſſoluetneſſe and ſuperſtition, whereby God hath been more diſhonoured on the Chriſtmas dayes, and ſo on all other holy dayes alſo, and the Devil more ſerved, than at any other time of the year, yea than on all the reſt of the year beſide, therefore they are to be aboliſhed, as Hezeki­ah did the Brazen Serpent when abuſed to Idolatry, he brake it into pieces, and called it Nehuſtan, a contempti­ble piece of braſſe, though at firſt ſet up by Gods eſpeci­all command for an excellent end, and did much good, 2 Kings 18. 4. TertullianeeTertull. de Corona Milit proves at large in his book of the crown of ſouldiers, that when lawfull things are abuſed by Pagans or Idolaters, Chriſtians may not uſe them, unleſſe they have Gods warrant for them. And Auguſtine ſhews. ffAug. Epiſt. 86. ad Caſub.That the Church of Chriſt left off to faſt on the Lords day, becauſe the Manichees had taken up that day to faſt on. Alſo Biſhop Jewell,ggJewels De­fence of Apo­logie, p. 441. gives many like examples, yea, and the very Popes lawhhPpes Law diſtinct. 63. Quia Sancta. reſolveth; That if our Predeceſſours have done things well in their time, and afterward they be turned to er­rour19 or ſuperſtition, they muſt without any delay be reformed: Indeed things neceſſary, though formerly groſly abuſed, as houſes, churches, wine, &c. may not therefore be abo­liſhed or laid aſide, but the abuſe removed, as the Popiſh abuſes and corruptions in both the Sacraments, &c. but things only lawful, unneceſſary, and not commanded of God, ought to be aboliſhed when groſly abuſed.

Beſide, let it be alſo remembred, that many of our Engliſh or rather of Romiſh holy dayes were dedicated to Saints, as the names of the days do witneſſe, as St. Stephen, St. John, St. Peter, St. James, Innocents-day, &c. which a­lone maketh the retention and obſervation of them ſin­full and Idolatrous.

3 Becauſe the obſervation of this feaſt, and other holy days (ſo called) is now againſt the command of the Su­pream Authority and Magiſtracy, in this Land, as di­vers of the Ordinances of both Houſes of Parliament do witneſſe, and is wel known. And doubtleſſe, we are in conſci­ence bound to obey Authority in all things lawful, and do ſin in a wilful diſobeying them. Rom. 13. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1 Pet. 2. 13, 14, 15, and do herein plainly contradict at leaſt in practiſe, their proceedings in order to Reformation.

4 Becauſe our ſolemn League and Covenant binds us un­der an oath, To endeavour the extirpation of Popery, Prelacy, Superſtition, Hereſie, Schiſme, Prophaneſſe and whatſoever ſhall be found to be contrary to ſound doctrine and the power of God­lineſſe, leaſt we pertake in other mens ſins, &c. And ſure I am the obſervation of theſe Heatheniſh, Popiſh holy days, comes under ſome of theſe heads, and ſo under our Cove­nant to reform.

5 The Jewiſh traditions of the Elders, as of waſhing pots, cups, hands &c. received from their fore-fathers without warrant from Gods Word, for the religious ob­ſervation of them, though with good intention, was re­proved and condemned by our Saviour,iiMark 7. 3, 4, 7, 8, 9. therefore the obſervation of theſe alſo is juſtly reproveable,Matth. 15. 2, 3, 5, 7, 13. being meer20 inventions of men, and having been groſly abuſed and pro­phaned.

6 The Jewiſh ceremoniall dayes, and obſervations though commanded of God himſelf under the law, are now long ſince aboliſhed, and unlawfull for Jews (much more for Chriſtians under the Goſpel) and as a burthen too heavy for their fore-fathers to bear, therefore much more the religious obſervation of theſe days, which are onely the commandements of men, as unlawfull for us Chriſtians, Gentiles.

7 Becauſe the obſervation of them is a conformity to Pagan and Popiſh cuſtomes and practiſes, which a Chri­ſtian ought to abhorre and abominate, and flee from them as much as may be, inſtance in leſſer matters than this, the cutting off the hair of the head, beard, and the like, though otherwiſe lawfull enough, meerly becauſe Idolaters did ſo. Leuit. 19. 27, 28.

8 Chriſtians are not bound to rejoyce at the birth of Chriſt, on that 25 day of December, which many ſuper­ſtitiouſly call Chriſt-mas day more than at other times, therefore neither to obſerve it more than any other day.

9 The very name, with which the Pope and Papiſts have chriſtened it Chriſt-mas, is enough to make all true Chriſtians to abhorre the obſervation of it Chriſt-mas, be­cauſe the Papiſts had on that day a peculiar Maſſe pre­tendly in honour of Chriſt, but to his great diſhonour, it being a moſt deteſtable Maſſe of Idolatry, in divers perti­culars, as theſe Proteſtant Divines writing againſt the Pa­piſts doctrines, do unanimouſly affirm, and ſome have ſet them outkkSee Dr. Barns Du Pleſſis. Biſhop Jewell. & alios quàm plurimos. perticularly.

10 The 4 Commandement enjoyns us to work on the ſix days, and keep holy the ſeventh day. Exod. 20. 8, 9, 10. ſo that if we obſerve Gods Commandement, there is no room left for holy dayes, dayes of idleneſſe, ſuperſtition, and pro­phaneneſſe.

Object. But it may be, ſome will ſay, is there not room21 for Chriſts-day, and other hoyldayes, as well as for dayes of faſting and thankeſgiving?

A. No, becauſe to faſt on ſome ſpeciall occaſion, we have not onely an old Teſtament,llJoel 1. 14, 15. & 2. 12. to 18. Iſa. 58. begin. but alſo a new Teſta­ment. 1 A Goſpell approbation. Mat. 6. 16, 17, 18. 2 A Goſpel command. Mat. 9. 15. 3 A Goſpel example. Acts 13. 2, 3. So for dayes of thankſgiving we have ſufficient warrant from Gods Word. Pſal. 50. 14, 15. Exod. 15. 2 Chron. 20. 26, 27. Heſter 4. 16. and 9. 17, 18, 19, 20. but we have neither Scripture precept, approbation, nor pra­ctiſe for keeping of this nor the other holy days.

Ob. But ſome have ſaid, Our fathers and fore-fathers for many hundred years have obſerved theſe days, eſpe­cially Chriſtmas, Eaſter and Whitſontide, and the obſerva­tion of them hath been approved by Parliaments, Councils, and Synods, and are now grown wiſer than all thoſe that we ſhould now reject them.

A. I much reverence and honour Parliament Coun­cils, and Synods and forefathers, but they were but men, as we are, and did erre fouly, witneſſe the eſtabliſhing of Popery, the Maſſe, praying for the dead, praying to Saints, Angels, Images, Pictures and the Croſſe, yea, and adoring and worſhipping of them, and of ſome Saints, Saints Bones; cloathes and other Reliques. 2 They lived in times of leſſe meanes of knowledge and more ignorance, we of more means and knowledge. 3 As godly and lear­ned and wiſe men have in all ages diſallowed and con­demned the obſervation of theſe dayes, as any that allow­ed, approved of them. And ſo hath our late Engliſh Aſ­ſembly of Divines and Parliament alſo done, whom (I beleeve) are as pious and learned as ever any in any, for­mer age in this Nation. 4 The matter is not who is moſt learned, pious, and judicious but which party hath Gods Word on their ſide and ſound reaſon, and for this let the judicious Reader judge by what I have ſaid, I mag­nifie not my ſelf, but deſire to prefer the wiſedome and22 Authority of God before and above all mens whatſoever, and ſo far only follow me as I have Gods Word for my warrant; homo ſum, errare poſſum, at haereticus eſſe nolo.

Q. But is it not meet, that a day ſhould be ſet a part in hand of Chriſt our Bleſſed Saviour?

A. Yes, very fit, but it muſt be only that day which himſelfe hath appointed and ſanctified to that end, and therefore called it by his own name, to appropriate it to himſelfe, viz: The Lords day, Revel. 1. 10. and hath commanded us to remember to keep it holy, Exd 20. 8, 9, 10. Remember the Sabboth day to keep it holy, (is the day of reſt,) the Sabboth of the Lord thy God, we may not ſet dayes a part of our own head and without his minde, Neither may any impoſe the obſervation of any day for this end, leaſt they be found to be Intruders of humane inventions, in ſtead of Gods Commandements on the conſciences of Gods people, whereof Chriſt only is King.

Ob. But many have religiouſly obſerved theſe dayes in preaching, hearing, praying, ſinging, holy conference, &c. And have gotten much good thereby,

A. True, but ten to one have got more hurt and done more evil in theſe dayes, than on any other time, contract­ed more guilt, and done Chriſt more diſhonour than on all other dayes. Beſides, the obſervation of dayes and times, without Gods warrant, and greviouſly abuſed to ſupperſtition and prophaneſſe, is not lawfull for Chriſtians on pretence of ſome good gotten by duties of Gods wor­ſhip on thoſe dayes, which may as well be on any other dayes.

Ob. But ſome ſay ſtill, I ſee no hurt in them, they offend not me, I obſerve them out of love and duty to my Savi­our, and with a good intention and well meaning, I do no hurt to any man, and therefore I hope it is no offence to Chriſt.

A. Good intentions and wel meanings cannot juſtifie any unwarrantable practiſe, as good and well meaning23 Ʋzzah found by wofull experience, 2 Sam. 6. 6. The action it ſelfe was good, his ayme and end good, and the man (ſurely) a good man, yet he died by the immedi­ate hand of God, for touching of the Arke to ſave it when the Oxen ſhook it, and it was in danger to be broken into pieces, becauſe he had no warrant to touch it, being not a Le vite.

2 Love to God muſt be ſhewed in obeying his com­mands, Joh. 14. 15, 21. 1 Joh. 2. 3, 4. and 5, 3. But the ob­ſervation of this feſtivall in honour of Chriſt (I thinke) hath been clearly proved to be unwarrantable, not of Chriſt's appointment, of meer humane inſtitution, and therefore no duty to Chriſt, It hath alſo been extreamly abuſed to ſuperſtition and prophaneſſe, and is not on the day Chriſt was borne, and againſt the command of the Magiſtrate, and therefore is ſinfull, offenſive to God and men, at leaſt to the moſt godly and judicious knowing Chriſtians, ſinfull and dangerous to the ſoul, and if thou be convinced that what I have here ſaid is true, then thy obſervation of it is a ſin againſt conſcience, a preſumptu­ous ſin, and ſo a dangerous ſin, which, as David, ſo all good men ſhould carefully watch and pray againſt, Pſal. 19. 13.

Ob. But the poor complain, ſaying: This doth put down all good houſe keeping and hoſpitality. Many Gentle­men hereby take occaſion to lay aſide all charity, where­by the poor formerly had much relief at their tables and doors.

A. The more is their ſin and ſhame, who make that the occaſion to withdraw more than is meet, and a cloak for their covetouſneſſe, I here ſpeak not againſt charity, but againſt the unwarrantable obſervation of this feſtivall and the ſuperſtition, great abuſes and diſorders and pro­phaneſſe of the time. Rich men may now with much leſſe charge and trouble, be much more beneficiall to the poor,24 if they pleaſe, and ought to be free-hearted and free-han­ded to the poor, and to their neighbours. And I earneſt­ly intreat them in the fear of God to conſider theſe Scri­ptures which are exceeding full of preſſing arguments to encourage them to charity. Pro. 11. 25. The liberall ſoul ſhall be made fat. Pro. 21. 13. whoſo ſtoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, (their knowing cryes, vvants and neceſſities, though themſelves out of ſhamefac'tneſſe do not cry, him­ſelf ſhall cry and not be heard. 2 Cor. 9. 6. He that ſoweth ſpa­ringly, ſhall reap ſharingly, but he that ſoweth bountifully ſhall reap bountifully. As full or more full are theſe follovving, Eccleſ. 11. 2. Pro. 11. 24, 25. and 21. 15, 26, and 22. 9. and 25. 21. Mat. 10. 42, 43, and 19. 21. Luke 6. 38. Gal. 6. 7, 8, 9, 10. 1 Tim. 6. 17, 18. Jam. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Ob. But then Servants and Touth ſhall have no time of liberty to refreſh themſelves; viſit their friends, and mend their apparell.

A. 1 The Sabbath or Lords day is a day of reſt from ſer­vile labour appointed by the Lord himſelf, yet may not be ſpent any part of it in carnall delights, but wholly in reli­gious exerciſes. 2 Other time I read of none in the Scri­pture. 3 I am vvell contented, there ſhould be ſometime allowed by the State for that end, and if not, ſure I am, Maſters and Governours of families ought to allow ſome convenient time to their ſervants for ſuch occaſions, and do freely do ſo my ſelf.

Upon the fore-mentioned grounds, and ſuch like, the Parliament and Aſſembly of England and Scotland have a­boliſhed and taken away the obſervation of December 25, and all other holy days forbidden us to obſerve. And I hope no truly conſcientious Chriſtian well weighing the premiſſes, will any more plead for the obſervation of that, or any of thoſe Paganiſh, or Popiſh holy days, nor ob­ſerve them, but rather ſtudy to honour Jeſus Chriſt by ſanctifying his Sabboth, ſincere obedience to his Com­mandements,25 living ſoberly, righteouſly and godly in this preſent world, and labour to abound in all works of cha­rity: Howſoever, I have diſcharged my duty, and the Lord make his bleſſing go along vvith his truth.


LONDON, Printed by R. L. for Richard Wodenothe, and are to be ſold at his ſhop at Peters Church in Cornhill, 1651.

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TextChristmas, the Christians grand feast: its original, growth, and observation, also of Easter, Whitsontide, and other holydayes modestly discussed and determined. Also the beginning of the yeare, and other things observable. Where also among other learned men, you have the judgment of those eminent men; Josephus Scaliger, Rodulphus Hospinian, Matthæus Beroaldus, Joh. Causabon, Doct. Fulk, M. Cartwright, Alsted, Hugh Broughton, Master Mead. / By Thomas Mocket; sometimes of Queens Colledge in Cambridge, and Mr. of Arts in both the Universities; and now pastor of Gildeston in Hartfordshire. Novemb. 26, 1650. Imprimatur, Edm. Calamy.
AuthorMocket, Thomas, 1602-1670?..
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Bibliographic informationChristmas, the Christians grand feast: its original, growth, and observation, also of Easter, Whitsontide, and other holydayes modestly discussed and determined. Also the beginning of the yeare, and other things observable. Where also among other learned men, you have the judgment of those eminent men; Josephus Scaliger, Rodulphus Hospinian, Matthæus Beroaldus, Joh. Causabon, Doct. Fulk, M. Cartwright, Alsted, Hugh Broughton, Master Mead. / By Thomas Mocket; sometimes of Queens Colledge in Cambridge, and Mr. of Arts in both the Universities; and now pastor of Gildeston in Hartfordshire. Novemb. 26, 1650. Imprimatur, Edm. Calamy. Mocket, Thomas, 1602-1670?., Scaliger, Joseph Juste, 1540-1609., Hospinian, Rudolf, 1547-1626., Beroald, Matthieu, d. 1576., Fulke, William, 1538-1589., Alsted, Johann Heinrich, 1588-1638., Broughton, Hugh, 1549-1612., Cartwright, Thomas, 1535-1603., Mede, Joseph, 1586-1638., Casaubon, Isaac, 1559-1614.. [2], 25, [1] p. ; Printed for Richard Wodenoth at the Star under Peters Church in Cornhill,London :1651.. (Annotation on Thomason copy: "Dec. 6 1650", the 51 in imprint date crossed out.) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Holidays -- Early works to 1800.
  • Fasts and feasts -- Church of England -- Early works to 1800.

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