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Not ſo much for the pre­paration of the Burial; as for the clearer Illuſtra­tion, and Exornation of the Birth and Nativity of our bleſſed Lord and Saviour Chriſt Jeſus.

CONTAINED In a ſhort and ſweet diſ­courſe which was at firſt hinted, and occaſioned through a Queſtion propounded by R.B.P. de K. Which is now anſwered and reſolved by T.M. P. de P.

〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉

Cant. 1.12. While the King ſiteth at his Table, my Spikenard ſendeth forth the ſmell thereof.

London, Printed by J. S. for George Sawbridge, and are to〈…〉

THE AVTHOR TO THE Indifferent and Im­partial Reader.

I Shall uſe no further Preface or In­troduction to this inſuing Treatiſe, but onely to acquaint thee, that this Task was at firſt undertaken by me, not onely for the ſatisfaction of ſome pri­vate intimate Friends and honeſt-minded Proteſtants, who did much ſollicite and intreat me hereunto; but alſo for the confutation of all ſuch peeviſh and perverſe oppoſers of the Truth. And to ſtop the mouthes (if it were poſſible) of ſuch Ma­lignant Antilegons, Antagoniſts and Gain-ſayers; who do much grieve and offend their weak Brethren, by putting a ſtumbling block, or an occaſion to fall in their way; even touching things indiffe­rent and matters of little or no conſequence at all. Rom. 14.Such men as theſe you know are cenſured and perſtringed by St. Paul. And I know, alſo that by the Law of Moſes they are condemned, Levit. 19.14. Thou ſhalt not curſe the deaf, nor put a ſtūbling-block before the blind, but ſhalt fear thy God; I am the Lord. As for ſuch quaint and cu­rious, difficult and preciſe Readers as theſe, I care not how few theſe poor labours of mine do meet with: I know they will be apt, like Zoilus, to look upon them, fronte corrugante, with a wrinkled or bended brow; and, with Momus, not onely toite the lipp at them, but, cum dente Theo­nino, gnaſh with their malicious teeth, and be ready to rent and tear them in pieces; I know that they will be apt to ſay, that I am become a fool in print, and am very for­ward to blaze my own folly and foppery; yea, and to maintain my old Popery and Superstition; yea, perhaps, they will call me and accuſe me; as Tertullus did Paul,Act. 24.5. to be a peſtilent fellow, and a mover of ſedition, and an enemy to the State, with the like obloquies and exprobrations: But when I meet with ſuch as theſe I pre­ſently put on Paul's reſolution, and ſay, 1 Cor. 3.4. with me it is a very ſmall thing that I ſhould be judged of them, or of man's Judgment; yea, I judge not mine own ſelf, for I know nothing of my ſelfe: (i. e. ) whereof to boast, ſaving of mine infirmities, (as he ſpeaks elſewhere): yet put the caſe I ſhould know any thing in my ſelf that is commendable or praiſe-worthy, yet am I not hereby juſtified; but he that judgeth me is the Lord: Quod olim altè & acutè quiſpiam, id hîc verâ voce pro­clamo: Satis mihi pauci lectores, ſatis eſt unus, ſatis eſt nullus: id tamen peto, ut quicunque haec tangens cognoſcendi animum adferat, & ſimul ignoſcendi; namque vetus & verum proverbium eſt, Ut facilius eſt carpere quám corrigere, ſic facilius eſt interrogare quam reſpon­dere. We have in theſe laſt and worst times, in theſe perillous and pernicious, dangerous and Climacterical days of ours a new brood of thoſe old Serpents, a freſh generation of Vipers lately hatched and ſprung forth amongſt us, as it were a ſpawn of thoſe proud and inſolent and ſu­percilious Scribes and Phariſees that were amongſt the Jews, who vilifie Chriſt, and do both ſcornfully and diſdainfully think and ſpeak of Him, as they did, Mark 6.3. Is not this the Carpenter, the Son of Mary, the Brother of James, and Joſes, and Juda, and Simon? and are not his Siſters here with us? And they were offended at him. And how truly did that old good man Simeon Propheſie of Him; ſaying, Behold, this Child is ſet for the Fall and Riſing again of many in Iſrael, and for a Signe that ſhall be ſpoken againſt: Neither is it without a Myſtery which the Angel told the Shepheards. This ſhall be a ſigne unto you; you ſhall find the Infant wrapt in ſwadling Clothes: Upon which word, devout Bernard deſcants ſweetly thus, In ſignum poſiti ſunt panni tui (ô bone Jeſû); ſed, in ſignum〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a ſigne that is ſpoken againſt, a ſigne that is done againſt; for we cannot abide thy Clouts, nor thy Raggs (O Lord Jeſu), nor any part of thy Humility: which makes the Proud and Arrogant, and inſolent ſpirits of a late up ſtart Phantaſtical and Pharaiſaicall Generation; ſo peremptorily and perverſly to ſpeak, and audaciouſly to write, againſt the ſolemn Remembrance of thy Nativity.

Courteous Reader, to ſhew their frenzy and madneſs I have written, and ad­ventured to divulge theſe Papers, and if thou doſt receive any comfort or profit by theſe poor labours of mine, give God the Glory, and wiſh well to him, Who wiſh­eth nothing but well to thee in Chriſt Jeſus.

T. M.

AN Appendix to the Preface.

THere are two things principally required in a Miniſter, the one that he be able to exhort with whole­ſome Doctrine: the other that he hath skill to Improve them that ſay againſt it, Tit. 2.9. whereunto agreeth that witty ſaying of grave St. Auſtin, that he muſt be veritatis propugnator, & erroris ex­pugnator, (i.e.) he muſt be a maintainer of the Truth, and a withſtander of Er­rour, Auguſt, de doctrinâ Chriſti. Lib. 4. c. 4.

Author ad Libellum.Vade ſed incultus,

Candidus Auctoris Amicus, ad Lecto­rem candidum et benevolum.
REad on good Reader but read aright;
Do not miſtake, nor conſtrue things in spight.
'Tis a proud word to ſpeak yet true I ween,
That ſuch a Book as this you have ſeldom ſeen.
All Books this Chriſtmas, whereon vain men do look,
Are not to be compared to this Little Book.
You cannot play at a more delightſome Game,
Than to handle, and peruſe, and read the ſame.
'Tis not Pandora's Box, here is no ill;
Be not afraid, but open't with goodwill.
'Tis rather Mary's Box, ſhe brake in love
Of her dear Saviour, as't did truly prove;
An Ointment 'twas, ſo pretious and ſo ſweet,
It did perfume the Houſe where they did meet:
Spikenard the ſame was call'd, and ſo it was,
For it did other Odours far ſurpaſs.
So if this Spikenard ſhall afford a pleaſing ſmell,
Such Readers (I wis) ſhall pleaſe us paſ­ſing well.
It is not for his Burial but his Birth,
'Cauſe He was born for to redeem the Earth;
Other wiſe we had all been cast to Hell,
With the Devil and his Angels there to dwell.
O happy time! that ever He was born,
To ſave poor Sinners that were thus for­lorn.
To celebrate the five and twentieth of De­cember,
O let us all, with one accord, remember,
And not forget His kindneſs towards Man,
But ſet forth's praiſe with all the Might we can.
Did not the Augels do the ſame, and ſing
A holy Carroll to our Heavenly King?
Did not the Shepherds & Wiſe men of the Eaſt
Praiſe Him, & bring preſents of the beſt;
Even Gold, & Frankincenſe, & Myrrhe?
To come ſo far they did them ſelves beſtir;
In ſo ſhort a time (I mean) to come ſo far:
But they were guided by a glorious Star
To Bethlem Town, and to that very place
Wherein that bleſſed Babe lay-full of grace,
Though mean in ſhew, and laid but in a Manger,
Yet they acknowledg'd him, though they were ſtrangers;
And down they fell upon their bended knee,
And aid adore and worſhip him, all three;
Opening their Treaſures, & offering ſuch a thing
As did become a Man, a God, a King:
A Myſtery! for Myrrhe, & Frankincenſe, & Gold
Do ſignify the Office of Chriſt threefold:
For both King, Prieſt, & Prophet's He
To rule, & pray for, & teach both thee & me.

And this, according to the Chriſtian Poet Juvencus,

Aurum, Thus, Myrrham, RegiqueDeoqueHominique
Dona ferunt.

Liber ad Lectorem.

Si Natura negat, facit Indignatio Ver­ſum.
AND is it News you look for? O Sir, There's none;
I do but tell you of a thing done long agone:
Yet this is News, for me-thinks 'tis very ſtrange
To hear of ſuch an uncouth, & prodigious Change,
That Chriſtmas ſhould be buried! Is old England dead?
Alas! This whimzy comes from a ſtrange head,
Who would have all things new, in spight of old.
Sure they would have a new Chriſt if they could;
A Chriſt without a Birth: How ſtrange is this?
Sure they are madd, or elſe they dote, I wis:
New Lords, new Laws: What, would they have new Gods?
Or do they long to be ſcourg'd with new Rods.
War was in the Gates, und many a miſery moe,
When Iſrael did the living God foregoe,
To worſhip dead Idols of wood and stone,
Whereas they ſhould have worſhipt God a­lone.
But mark their reaſon, which is not worth a ruſh,
They all want ſhame, or elſe they would bluſh;
Becauſe they know not when Chriſt was born,
Therefore, like Jews, at's Birth they ſcorn;
And ſcoff at us, becauſe that we do dance
Before the Ark, & do Chriſt's Name ad­vance:
But let them Michol-like diſdain, yet we
With holy David, will yet viler be.
The Article of his Birth-day they do deny
Such Antichriſtian Tenet's I defy:
For born he was, and of a Virgin pure,
And did for us the pains of Hell endure,
To bring us unto happineſs, and perfect bliſs,
Wherein no ſenſe of grief nor ſorrow is.
Then cauſe have we for to obſerve this time,
And not to account it any fault or crime:
This Feaſt of Chriſt hath been highly kept of yore,
And never yet eſteemed Popery before.
It is not Superſtition to eat a Pye;
Sure, he that tells you this, tells you a Lye,
And doth diſſemble with his glozing tongue.
Theſe Round head Hypocrites do all the wrong:
All ancient customes be they ne're ſo good,
They esteem no more than Tales of Rob­bin-hood.
'Cauſe Papiſts keep it, therefore muſt not we?
' Cauſe they are good to the poor wee'l hide­bounded be.
Oh no! Not ſo, my Maſters, whatſoe­ver betide,
Let us follow the Scripture for our onely Guide,
Which tells us, 'Tis better to give than to receive;
And he that ſaith not ſo, doth us deceive.
Reader farewell, I do defy
All thoſe which Chriſt's Birth-day deny.

To his Loving Friend Mr. T. M.

IT being my hap, not long ſince, to find this Trea­tiſe of Yours, even be­fore the printing and publiſhing thereof, in a Friend's Houſe; And being, upon Inquiry, informed touching the Quality of the Authour, I wondred what man it was, that had ſo much Chri­ſtian Courage in him, as to adventure to vindicate this Chriſtian Duty of cele­brating the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Chriſt Jeſus; contemning the clamorous Cenſures, and the vain Ob­jections, and Argumenta mutilata of the weak multitude of Pretenders to Religion and Learning. Therefore be­ing much affected with your Chriſtian valour, in this kind, and deſirous to commend the ſame to poſterity; It is not in my power to do it more effectu­ally, than by adding this Epiſtle to your Treatiſe, which (if I were eloquent) I ſhould commend in the Superlative de­gree. For, although the valiant and learned Champions, or rather railing Antagoniſts, of our times, evemunt quic­quid in buccam venit, and ſpit out their venome againſt it, and ſtrive, tanquam pro aris & focis, to maintain that it is a meer vanity to obſerve the bleſſed time of Chriſt's Birth-day: Yet, if they will give me leave to ſpeak, I ſhall tell them, That the moſt learned Arguments that their ſubtle brains can invent or produce, are not ſufficient to prove it a Sin, to ce­lebrate this time; and beſides, I will tell them, it is an Herculean labour, and as hard a task as to fetch Cerberus out of Hell. And although they give out the worſt words they can rake out of the ſink of their rotten brains, againſt it; yet I will tell them, It is eaſier for them to drive a Spunge into a Milſtone, than to diſſwade many godly People from the due Obſervation of it.

Reader, Whoever thou art, be per­ſwaded in thy ſelf, That the bonouring of this time is juſt, honeſt, commenda­ble, good, and lawful. And I prove it thus, with a threefold Argument (and you know that a Cord which is three­fold, or thrice doubled, is not eaſily broken): My Argument is this,

That which God, and the Church of God, and the ancient Fathers have com­manded to be kept and celebrated, ought to be kept and celebrated; and the uſe of it, is good, pious, lawful, and com­mendable:

But God, and the Church of God, and the Fathers, have commanded this day to be kept and celebrated. Ergo. &c.

I prove that God hath commanded it out of Heb. 1.6. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. And again, when he bring­eth the firſt-begotten into the World, he ſaith, And let all the Angels of God worſhip Him, Pſal. 77.7. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Incurvate vos ei omnes Divi. Luke Chap. 2. ver. 10.11.

〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉

〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. And the Angel ſaid unto them, Fear not, &c.

That the Church of God, and the Fa­thers, commanded it to be celebrated, is exactly proved in the Anſwers of ſome of the 14 Arguments, and I need not re­cite them here: And I do believe that there is no man in this Nation, who hath lived forty or fifty years, but hath known Chriſtmas day ſtrictly obſerved and kept.

But alas! We can expect no good­neſs, if we caſt but our eyes upon the age wherein we live. It is moſt admirably deciphered by the Poet,

De duro eſt Ultima ferro;
Protinus irrupit venae pejoris in aevum
Omne nefas: Fugêre Pudor, Verumque, Fideſque,
In quorum ſubiêre locum frandeſque, do­lique,
Inſidiaeque, & vis, & amor ſceleratus ha­bendi.
At laſt the Iron-Age comes bluſtring in,
I'ch' latter times, and fills the World with Sin;
All Shame, and Truth, and Faithfulneſſe are gone:
Fraud and Deceipt, Lords paramount, alone,
Do rule: By ſnares and violence men get
Eſtates, and all is Fiſh that comes to Net.

Which how truly it is verified, every body may ſee, if not as blind as Moles; and may feel, if not ſenſleſſe. I ſhall now ſpeak a word or two to ſome which raile at, and preach down, the Solemni­ty of this Time: & deſire them to ſpend the time which they ſpend in burying Antiquity and lawful Cuſtoms, in the Tranſlating of many things which are not as yet tranſlated, and not to mono­polize Knowledge. I will name ſome places which are not as yet tranſlated, viz. Pſal. 56. To the Chief Muſi­tian upon〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉Why could not they have tranſlated it Super Columbam mutam remotis, The dumb Dove in a far Country. And I am perſwaded, that they durſt not tran­ſlate one Word, when they looked on their own Coats, Zeph. 1.4. I will cut off the names of the CHEMARIMS with the Prieſts; meeting with the Word, now and then, in Hoſea, they tranſlated it Priests; but here it being joyned with the word PRIEST, my Blades plaid the honeſt (I ſhould have ſaid, the ſelfiſh) men, and never tranſlated it at all: Tremelius and Junius give it a very honeſt and true Verſion, Nomen Atrato­rum cum Sacerdotibus, The Names of Black-Coats with the Prieſts. I com­mend this Scripture to the ſerious con­ſiderations of our Rigid Presbyterians: and when they look upon it, let them do as the Peacock doth, when he looks on his leggs.

I deſire the Reader of this Book, not to give credit to every one that ſpeaks againſt Antiquity, nor to carp at that which they cannot mend: for I dare ſay, and will affirm, that the Authour here of hath written herein, nothing but what is true, nothing contrary to the Will of God; to whoſe Protection I leave him.

The Almighty bleſs him, & proſper his ſtudies: For ſuch is the deſire and hopes of him, who craves leave to ſubſcribe himſelf,

Your Humble Servant and true admirer of your Chri­ſtian Ingenuity, Sincerity, and Courage. T. J.

Courteous Reader.

MAny of our late Divines bring ſuch poor weak Arguments a­gainſt the Celebration of Chriſt's birth­day, that I am almoſt aſhamed to re­peat any of them; much leſs then, will I trouble my ſelf to anſwer them, they being ſo ridiculous, that (if it were poſ­ſible) they would cauſe corpus rationis vacuum, to laugh them to ſcorne. Two or three I will repeat: the firſt is of a Divine that brought a Rubrick or Almanack into the Pulpit to bury this Day, and reads Arguments out of it to the People, and tells them a tale of a rub without a bottome; I am ſure this Gentleman might have looked in a Jack-Dawes Neſt, and have found as good Arguments there, as any he found in his Almanack.

Another Divine ſaith, It is not onely a bad time, but it is the worſt of all times; and thinks, This ignis fatu­us, of his giddy brain, is ſufficient to lead men from the Truth; But Alas! I will be ſo bold as to deny his Propo­ſition, and I am ſure, he cannot prove it, for he hath no more skill in arguing, then a Cow hath in dancing.

The third Divine ſaith, It is the De­vil's day, and therefore ought to be bu­ryed, and never to be celebrated. But I reply thus: His Body will deſcend into Orcus, and his Name will be bu­ryed in Oblivion, long before this Day will be buryed: for I doubt not, but it will be celebrated as it ought to be, un­till there will be a period put unto all things. I wiſh all Chriſtian Readers of this Book, happineſs in this World, and a Crown of Glory in that to come.

T. J.

A BOX OF Spikenard Newly Broken.

The Queſtion propounded by Richard B. which was the occaſion of this Treatiſe.

Queſt. WHether the Nativity of Chriſt, commonly called Chriſtmas-day, ought to be celebrated; R. B. denyeth it, and endeavours to prove the contrary. His Arguments are theſe 14 following.


Arg. 1. There is nothing in the World a Duty, which God hath not made a Duty; But God never made this a Duty: Ergo, it is no Duty.

Arg. 2. If I ſhould obſerve this Day, I am afraid leſt I ſhould deny the per­fection of the Scriptures?

Arg. 3. I am fearful leſt by doing ſo, I ſhould arrogate the making of a Day to my ſelf: for if I ſhould do ſo much as in me lyeth, I ſhould make a Day to my ſelf.

Arg. 4. I am fearful leſt by ſo doing, I ſhould ſet up a Day againſt God.

Arg. 5. It is the Devil's policy to imitate God, and when he will be holy, he will be holyer then God; and when he ſeeth God will have a Sabbath to be kept, then he will ſet up a Day, and he will have a Chriſtmas Day to be kept, and he will have his Pictures in the Church­windows, and the Croſſe made on the Childrens foreheads in Baptiſm?


Arg. 6. I am fearful, leſt I ſhould be condemned for accuſing God for want of Wiſdom, and ſo make my ſelf wiſer then God, as though he knew not what ſhould be done as well as I, and ſo derogate from the Wiſdome of God.

Arg. 7. I am fearful of being more inexcuſable for my ſin.

Arg. 8. It ſeemeth to me a vain and needleſſe thing, Firſt, becauſe God hath ſet apart a Sabbath, the Lords Day, for this purpoſe to meditate upon God's love in redeeming the World; Secondly, Becauſe I never heard a good Argument for it.

Arg. 9. It is an impoſſibility to keep it, and God never made an impoſſibility, a duty: no man knoweth certainly on which day Christ was born.

Arg. 10. I obſerve God hides things purpoſely from us, to ſee whether we will do any thing on our own heads.

Arg. 11. It hath not bin the practiſe of Chriſtian Churches to obſerve it?


Arg. 12. In all doubtfull Caſes a man ought to go on the ſureſt ſide: Now I am ſure, It is no ſin not to keep it, but am not ſure, It is no ſin to keep it.

Arg. 13. This time ought not to be celebrated; for there is more ſin commit­ted in theſe 12 Dayes, then is in all the year after, in Drunkenneſſe, Gluttony, &c.

Arg. 14. God bleſſeth his own Day, the Sabbath, but hath not bleſſed this, with ſucceſſe?

Here followeth the Anſwer of Tho­mas M. to the forerecited Queſtions and Arguments: and herein, the honour of Chriſt his Nativity is Vindicated, or the Solemnity of his Birth-day (which is commonly called Chriſtmas-day), avowed and averred, (i. e. ) juſtified and maintained to be lawful and good: E­ven in this Anſwer to fourteen arro­gant Arguments, or weak Linſey-Wool­ſy Reaſons, which have been of late eventilated, and divulged in writing to the contrary.


Anſwer to the firſt Argument.

You may remember that the firſt Argument runneth thus; There is no­thing in the World a duty which God hath not made a duty.

But God never made the Celebration of the Nativity of Chriſt a Duty, Ergo, it is no Duty.

Though this Argument is Scholaſti­cally and Syllogiſtically propounded, yet I ſhall be ſo bold as to deny the Minor or ſecond propoſition, and that for theſe Reaſons: for although it be not in words plainly expreſſed, yet in ſenſe it is ſignificantly and ſufficiently implyed, and, by way of neceſſary con­ſequence, may be deduced and gather­ed out of the firſt Chapter of the Epiſtle to the Hebrews, at the 6. Verſe. When he bringeth forth his firſt begotten Son into the World, He ſaith, And let all the Angels of Gods worſhip him; and for proof hereof, to ſhew the ſweet harmo­ny and conſent of both Teſtaments, the Old and the New, and that one and the ſame Spirit ſpeaks in both: For the6 ſame God is Author of both, and the ſame Chriſt is Subject of both; inſo­much that each Teſtament is in other: for in the Law there is an hidden Goſ­pel, and in the Goſpel a revealed Law; Being like the two Cherubius on the Mer­cy-Seat, whoſe faces looked one towards the other, Exod. 15.20. St. Paul alleadg­eth that in Pſal. 97.7. And howſoever the ordinary reading of the Pſalm is, worſhip Him all ye gods; yet the Apo­ſtle Interprets it of Angels directly, ſaying according as Tremelius renders it out of the Original, Incurvanto ſe, bonorem exhibentes ei, omnes Angeli; Let all the Angels of God worſhip Him: For ſo we find it to be true in­deed, and ſo it was at Chriſt's Birth, and upon the very Day of his Nativity; That one Angel firſt reports it to the Shep­heards of Bethlehem; and many other of thoſe Celeſtial Choriſters ſing Praiſes to God for it; Fear not, ſaid Gabriel, for Behold, I bring you good tydings of great joy, which ſhall be unto all Nations; For unto you is born this Day in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord; and ſuddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the Heavenly Hoſt7 prayſing God, and ſaying, Gloria Deo in Excelſis, &c. Luke 2.13.14. Now I inferr from hence, that theſe Angels came not about this Errand without ſome ſpecial Commiſſion and Com­mand from God, and therefore it was a Duty Commanded and Given in charge to them; Now, if the Angels for whom Chriſt came not, were to per­forme it; How much more ought we Men to obſerve it, for whoſe ſake, and for whoſe Salvation he was Incarnate, and became Man; for verily, He took not on Him, Naturam Angelorum, ſed Semen Abrahami,Heb. 2.10. not the nature of Angels, but the ſeed of Abraham, ſaith the Apoſtle. Dubartas.Wherefore the An­gels, As they are called by a Divine Poet, The ſacred Tutors of the Saints, and the guard of God's Elect, &c: So they may alſo be called Tutors and In­ſtructors to us, to inſtruct and teach us this Leſſon, and may be alſo exemplary Patterns and Precedents to us, in the practiſe and performance of this Duty. Anſwerable and agreeable hereunto, is the plat-form of our grand Maſter, and bleſſed Lord and Saviour Chriſt Jeſus; who hath taught us in the third Petition8 of that his moſt abſolute and perfect Prayer, to pray thus, Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven: wherein we are taught to pray, (as all the beſt Ortho­doxal Divines do expound it), that the will of God may be obeyed, and done by us as Chearfully, Speedily, Faithfully, Conſtantly and Continually: as it is done by the Angels in Heaven. And therefore as the Angels melodiouſly chanted it here on Earth at the Birth of Chriſt: So let us likewiſe unanimouſly celebrate, & ſet forth his praiſe, and ſay, Glory be to God on High, in Earth Peace, good will towards Men. We bleſſe Thee, we praiſe Thee, we glorifie Thee, we give thanks to Thee for thy great Glory. Theſe words were at firſt added to the Heavenly Carroll of the Holy Angels, by that famous Biſhop Hilary, and uſed by him in his own Church, Anno 340. So ſaith Caſſander's Litturgy, Cap. 22. And that this is a Duty expected and required from us, upon good ground, and ſpecial Reaſons and Cauſes that ſhould move us hereunto, grave St. Austin tells us wittily, and pro­foundly, This Quaery hath a ſufficient Quaery, Quia verbum caro factum eſt,9 & habitavit intra nos, Becauſe the Word was made fleſh, and dwelt a­mongſt us, & vidimus Gloriam, and we faw his Glory (ſaith St. John) as of the onely begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth, John 1.14. Wherefore as thoſe Perſian Sages (who were both Wiſemen and Kings) being led by the guidance, and aſſiſtance, and direction of a Starr to the place of Chriſt's Birth, and there did adore and worſhip Him, and preſented gifts unto Him, Gold, Frankincenſe, and Myrrh, Math. 2.10. and this their coming made to the greater condemnation of the Jews, and to ſhame their blockiſhneſs and blindneſs, their ſluggiſhneſs carnality and infidelity, who ſtanding hard-by, ſaw not ſo much as they who came from far, according to that ſpeech of Leo, Veritas illuminat magos, Infidelitas obcoecat magistros: So it is to be feared, leſt the Lord for our contempt of Chriſt, and the unſpeakable benefits that we have received by his firſt coming in the fleſh, leſt the Lord (I ſay) for our ingratitude, and for our careleſſeneſſe and carnality, take his Word from us Chriſtians, as he did his Kingom from10 the Jews, and give it to ſuch as we think to be moſt alien from God and his Goſpel, even to Moors, and Tar­tars, Turks, and Infidells, who perhaps may bring forth better fruits of Obedi­ence and Thankfulneſs than we have done and ſo riſe up in Judgment at the latter day, and condemn us; for if wiſe­men, brought up in Gentiliſm and Ido­latry, come to Chriſt and believe, what excuſe then belongs to the Jews? So if Infidels and Pagans believe and obey, What ſhall become of us, Chriſtians, who want both Faith and Obedience? Thus much for the anſwering of the firſt Argument.

Anſwer to the ſecond Argument.

The Words of the ſecond Argument are theſe, If I ſhould obſerve this day, I am fearfull leſt I ſhould deny the Perfecti­on of the Scripture; for in the Scripture all things are contained which are neceſſa­ry to Salvation, and all things which are needfull to be believed, and done by a Chri­ſtian man, for the attainment of Salvati­on. But the Celebration of Chriſt's Nativity is not contained therein; Er­go,11 If I ſhould obſerve this, I ſhould deny the Perfection of the Scriptures.

To this I anſwer, That the Article of our Faith, touching Christ's Incarna­tion and Manifeſtation in the Fleſh, is both commended, and commanded, in the Scripture; and I refer you or any other indifferent Man, not onely to our Apoſtolicall Creed, which, although it be not Protocanonical Scripture, yet (as Ambroſe ſpeaks) it is the Key of the Scripture, and (as Auguſtine terms it) a plain, ſhort, abſolute, ſumm of all ho­ly Faith: It is indeed a ſweet and brief Compendium and Abridgment of the whole Goſpel: But alſo I referr you to the learned and authentick Creed of judicious Athanaſius, (which is an accu­rate and compleat Expoſition of the for­mer;) who ſaith, Quicunquevult ſalva­ri &c. Whoſoever will be ſaved, it is neceſſary to his everlaſting Salvation, That he believe rightly in the Incarnati­on of our Lord Jeſus Christ: For the right Faith is, That we believe and con­feſs, that our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, the Son of God, is God and Man: And when did He become Man? or when was12 God manifeſted in the Fleſh, but on this day? And what fitter day can there be, to confeſs this Faith, than on the very ſame day he was born? For this is to perform, Opus diei in die ſuo. And this hath been both done and authori­zed, or allowed of, alſo to be done, by as ancient, learned, godly, and zealous Doctors and Divines, as ever the whole Chriſtian World affoarded, ſince the firſt appearance of Chriſt in the ſhape of Man; even by thoſe Chariots & Horſe­men of Iſrael, who were the chief Ori­ent and reſplendent Lights of the times, the Glory of the Churches, and the on­ly Diamonds, Pearls, and Ornaments, of the places where they lived, men fa­mous and renowned in their Generati­ons; namely, St. Cyprian, St. Am­broſe, St. Auguſtine, St. Bernard, St. Chryſoſtome, Baſil, Cyril, Beda, Theo­phylact, Euthymius, Ludolphus, Eraſ­mus, cum multis aliis, &c. whoſe Ser­mons, Homilies, and Orations, for this day's Solemnity, are both extant and e­minent: and might be made alſo evi­dent and apparant (if need were), ſuffi­cient to convince and ſtop the mouth of any peeviſh and perverſe Antagoniſt13 or Gainſayer whatſoever. To theſe we may add (Dia Poemata) the Divine Poems of thoſe ſweet, mellifluous, Chriſtian Poets, Palladius and Pruden­tius, made in an honourable memoriall of our bleſſed Lord and Saviour's Na­tivity: And what if we mentioned here the rate Prophecies and Praedictious of the Sybillaes of old, who foretold us of theſe things; and the very Heroicall Verſes, and ſtately Genethliacon's of Hea­theniſh Poets, who lived both before ſome of them, and otherſome alſo about the time of the Birth of Chriſt, who re­ceived their Raptures and Enthuſiaſms, not onely from Sybilla or Apollo, but as ſome think, and are bold to conjecture it, from the Spirit of God.

This was it that made Virgil to raiſe up his Muſe to a higher ſtrain, Eclog. 4.

Sicelides Muſae, paulo majora cana­mus;
Jam redit & Virgo, redeunt Saturnia Regna,
Jam nova Progenies coelo dimittitur alto:
Aspice, venturo laetentur ut omnia ſê­clo.

14For now return the daies of Peace, now the new Progeny is ſent from Heaven; behold, all things ſhall then rejoyce and be glad.

Tully, in Lib. Divinationis, gives this Obſervation out of Sybil, that ſhe propheſyeth of a King to come, Quem Regem colere debemus, ſi velimus eſſe ſal­vi; which King we muſt worſhip if we would be ſaved. And this King ſhould aboliſh all falſe Religions whatſoever. Now concerning all theſe, if you ſhould cavill and object againſt them, or any of them, and ſay, What is this to the Scrip­ture? Then will I anſwer you, as our Saviour anſwered the Phariſees, finding fault with his Diſciples, for their cry­ing Hoſanna before him, when he ridd into Jeruſalem; I tell you, that if theſe ſhould have held their peace, the very ſtones would cry out and applaud Him. Well then, Have all theſe doted and de­lired in their writing concerning this thing, namely, the ſolemn Obſervation of this high and feſtival Time, in ho­nour of the World's moſt gracious, and glorious, and bleſſed Redeemer? and are you the onely wiſe man (as it were) that is now left upon the Earth, to cor­rect15 them and direct us? have all theſe erred? Even ſo will we. And more ſweet ſhall our Errour be unto us with theſe, (I ſpeak eſpecially of thoſe ancient and reverend Fathers of the Primitive Church, whom I named before,) who, I dare ſay, were all, and every one of them, as fearful to offend God, in deny­ing the Perfection of the Scriptures, as you for the very life can poſſibly be; more ſweet, I ſay, ſhall our errour be unto us, with theſe, of whom we make no queſtion, but that they are all bound up in the bundle of life, with the Con­gregation of the firſt-born, than a new and recent device and purpoſe, of bury­ing the Anniverſary remembrance of this day, in the ſilent Night, and dark­ſome Grave of everlaſting Oblivion, ob­truded unto us by you, and ſuch as you, who take upon them to be the grand Re­formers of theſe times, and great Un­dertakers, and principal Innovators, of all ancient, lawful, and laudable Cu­ſtomes whatſoever. Let others affect Novelty how they pleaſe; for my own part, I ever reverenced and admired Antiquity, eſpecially when I have found it in the way of Verity; and If I were16 worthy to admoniſh our young, upſtart, malapert, Maſters of theſe times, I would wiſh them to remember what grave St. Austin ſaith in his 118 E­pist. & cap. 5. Ipſa mutatio conſuetudi­nis, etiam quâ adjuvat utilitate, pertur­bat novitate.

Auſwer to the third Argument.

The words of the third Argument are theſe, I am fearfull leſt I ſhould make a day to my ſelf, &c.

Sir, I wonder whether your Lecture­day is not a day made to your ſelf? I doubt not but you have done as much as in you lyeth concerning your Le­cture-day, and both extoll and preferr it before the day of Chriſt's Birth; For this day hapning, not long ſince, to be upon your Lecture-day, you did not ſpare to ſpeak it, nor bluſh to give it out in the Pulpit, (as I was credibly infor­med by ſome that heard you;) That if that day had not hapned on your Le­cture-day, you had not then preached; ſo that your day, muſt by all means, be obſerved and kept ſtrictly and praeciſely, but our Saviour's day muſt be ſcornfully17 ſlighted and neglected, as a day not ſcarce fit to be named, much leſs to be cele­brated and regarded with honour. But I ſay, Let his Birth-day be celebrated, yea, all praiſe and Glory be unto him, who was born and died for our Salvati­on, Amen.

Anſwer to the fourth Argument.

The fourth Argument is this, I am fearfull, leſt by obſerving this day, I ſhould ſet up a day against God.

To this I anſwer, If you obſerve and celebrate this day, you ſet not a day up againſt God, but for God: for that which you do for Chriſt, you do for God, for we know that God and Christ are not divided, but He and the Father are One, they are his own words, John 10.30. Ego & Pater Ʋnum ſumus: hoc eſt, ſubſtantialiter Idem, & in Perſonis Di­ſtincti: In which few words, both the Hereſy of the Arrians and Sabellians is ſufficiently confuted. For, as learned Athanaſius obſerveth, (who for this was happily called the World's Eye, be­cauſe he did ſee ſo much, and pierce ſo18 far, into this unſearchable and ineffable Myſtery) we muſt neither confound the Perſons with Sabellius, nor divide the Subſtance with Arrius, for there is one Perſon of the Father, another of the Sonne, another of the Holy Ghoſt, but the God-head of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Ghoſt, is all One; the Glory equal, the Ma­jeſty co-eternal; ſuch as the Father is, ſuch is the Son, &c. And therefore the Glory, Honour, and Worſhip, that is done to the One is done to the other, or is both due, and ought to be done, to the other. How then can it be otherwiſe, that the leaſt Homage. Honour, and Du­ty, that is done to Christ on this day, is accepted of God, if it be done in Faith and Obedience? Why then do you ſay, That by keeping this day, you are fearful leſt you ſhould offend God, and ſet up a day againſt Him? It may be you will object, and ſay here, as you do in your thirteenth Argument, that God is in ma­ny places much diſhonoured by the great Abuſe and Diſorders that is committed at this time. To this I briefly anſwer by the way, according to that true and well-known Rule, The Abuſe of any19 good thing cannot abrogate or take away the right and lawful Uſe of it; and there­fore why ſhould you fear, when there is no ſuch juſt cauſe at all to fear? Re­member what Christ ſaieth, Luk. 9.48. Whoſoever ſhall receive me, receiveth Him that ſent me; and in the ſame place, and upon the very ſame occaſion, when John told Him ſaying, Maſter, we ſaw one caſting out Devils in thy name, and we forbade him, becauſe he followeth not with us; But Jeſus ſaid, For bid him not, for there is no man which ſhall do a Mira­cle in my Name, that can lightly speak e­vill of Me; for he that is not againſt us is for us. And I am verily perſwaded in my Soul and Conſcience, that whoſoe­ver is truly, really, and ſincerely, addict­ed and devoted to Chriſt, neither can, nor will, ſpeak a word amiſs againſt the due Feſtivity and Solemnity of this day; thus (as the Apoſtle ſpeaks) Rom. 14.5. One man eſteemeth one day above ano­ther, another eſteemeth every day alike; Let every man be perſwaded in his own mind, he that regardeth a day regardeth it to the Lord; and I am perſwaded, if any man regard this day as he ought to do, the Lord will both regard & reward him for ſo doing.


Anſwer to the fifth Argument.

The fifth Argument is this; It is the Devil's policy to imitate God, and when he will be holy, he will be holier then God, &c.

Sir, This Argument is as ſtrange ſtuff as ever I have either ſeen, felt, heard, or un­derſtood; for although the antecedent part cannot be much misliked, it be­ing taken pro conceſſo, & confeſſo, for a thing granted and confeſſed to be true, that it is the Devils policy to imitate God (for in many things he is God's Ape, as ſome Divines compare him), ſeeking to counterfeit and reſemble him as an Ape doth a Man, in ſuch ge­ſtures and tricks which he uſeth; and where God will have his Church he will have his Chappel, and he will have his Exorciſms, and Charms and Spells inſtead of God's-ſpell, (i. e. ) the Goſ­pel; but your Sequel or Subſequent, is a meer new fangled Parodox, and a Propoſition, or rather a Suppoſition, which is not onely abſurd, but ridicu­lous; not onely erroneous, but alſo21 blaſphemous; and may be ranked and reckoned amongſt thoſe evil-ſurmiſings, and perverſe diſputings which are men­tioned by the Apoſtle, 1 Tim. 4.5. and are utterly condemned by him: but let us examine what you ſay in the latter part, viz. That when the Devil will be holy, he will be holier then God; And is that poſſible? But you inſtance for an example thus; When he ſeeth God will have a Sabbath to be kept, then will he ſet up a Day, and he will have a Chriſtmas day to be kept; ô monstrum, horrendum, what a horrible, terrible ſecret is this! Is Saul among the Prophers? is Sathan a­mong the Saints of God? Is it poſſible? or, it is probable? or, is it any way likely to be true? That he that was (even like the great Turk) an Enemy to Chriſt and all Chriſtendom, ſhould ſo far be a friend and favourer of Chriſt, as to be a prime and forward Erector, Abettor, and Set­ter up of a Day for the celebrating and ſetting forth of his Praiſe and Honour: Alas! if this be ſo, in what a lamenta­ble and pittiful caſe are we, and how have we and our forefathers been led hoodwinckt (as it were) and blindfol­ded all this while, and have been taken22 in the ſnare of the Devil, and be Captive by him at his will, 2 Tim. 2.26. We have ſure ſerved a very ill Saint all this while, if, like the People of Callicut, we have worſhipped the Devil in obſer­ving that Day which you affirm he hath ſet up; but I ſay it is not ſo, Good Sir, for toto erras coelo, you are fouly and groſly deceived in this point. Shall you, or any man alive make me believe that ever the Devil had any deſire or inclina­tion this way, to propagate or promote the Cauſe of Chriſt, or of his Goſpel; who was ever an Adverſary, bonis incoeptis in germine, and whoſe continual and day­lie practiſe is, ſuffocare Dei filios, dum parvuli ſunt, to ſmother and murder the Children of God while they are little ones. Was it not he who ſtirred up Pharoah at the firſt, and moved him to command and charge the Midwives to drown the male-children of the Hebrew Women ſo ſoon as they were born, Exod. 1.22? And was it not this Mer­chant or Factor, or rather that old Ser­pent, called the Devil and Sathan, who went about the ſame deſigne at Chriſt's birth? did not he inſtigate Herod to ſend his Men of Warr, and to kill all23 the young Children of Bethlehem from two years Old and under, intending thereby to murder Chriſt in Infancy and Childhood: wherefore, as devout Bernard cryeth out in the like Caſe, ſo may we; ô malitia Herediana naſcen­tem perſequi Chriſtum, & naſcentem perſequi religionem; O Herodian malice, to perſecute Chriſt and his Religion in their minority, to deſtroy the Sprigg, leſt it become a Tree, and break the Egg, leſt it prove a Dove, O diveliſh malice indeed! for (as Expoſitors upon the place aptly obſerve, and apply it thus) Herod repreſents the Devil,Apoc. 12.4 who ſtands before the Woman in the Wilderneſſe great with Child, ready to devour her Babe;Gen. 3.15. He knew that the ſeed which ſhould break his head, was to be born of the Jews, and therefore cauſed Pha­roah to murder all the Hebrew Males, Exod, 1. And ſtirred up Haman to de­ſtroy the whole Nation of the Jews, Eſther 3. And Athalia to kill all the ſons of Da­vid. 2 King. 12. And ſo ſoon as the noiſe was of Chriſt's Birth, Herod was troubled, and all Jeruſalem with him, Math. 2. And he ſent incontinent to cut the throats of all the Children24 in Bethlehem; yea, more then this (if if you will believe Joſephus, who is a credible Author, and a ſufficient Repor­ter of that which was true, being testis oculatus, an eye-witneſs of many things which he wrote of, and ſaw them acted and done before his eyes) this malici­ous crafty Fox Herod (as he tells us lib. antiquit. 10.) put to death almoſt all the Nobility of Juda, and burned the Genealogies of their Kings and Princes, commanding a Pedigree to be drawn out for himſelf, as deſcending from the Kings of Juda. This was a right Matchi­avilian policy, and a deep ſleight and ſtratagem of Sathan, to extirpate and eradicate the name of Chriſt, and the name of Chriſtians for being a People from under Heaven: How then ſhall we think, or believe it, that he hath any will or deſire to ſet up a Day for Chriſt, or to have him worſhipped or adored, who ſet upon Chriſt in the Wilderneſſe, and tempted Him, by proffering the whole World, and all the Kingdomes and Glory of it to Him, if he would but ſall down and worſhip Him: So that you plainly ſee, he had rather be wor­ſhipped himſelf, then to have Chriſt to25 be worſhiped; All his chief aim is to have the Power and Kingdom of Chriſt to be leſſened and diminiſhed, and his own Kingdome to be enlarged and ad­vanced. But what did our Saviour an­ſwer? or how did he reſiſt his temptati­on? Why, ſurely he defied him, and put him from him, with an Apage Satana, Avoid Sathan, or get thee hence Sathan; For it is written, Thou ſhalt worſhip the Lord thy God, and Him onely ſhalt thou ſerve, Math. 4.10. As if he had ſaid, If thou wilt not worſhip and ſerve him in Faith and Love, thou ſhalt be com­pelled to worſhip him in fear and trem­bling: and for this end is he reſerved in everlaſting Chains under darkneſs, unto the Judgment of the great day, ſaith St. Jude in his Epiſtle, at the 8. ver. As for Chriſt we know that all Power is given unto Him, both in Heaven and Earth, Math. 28. And this was it that the An­gel Gabriel intimated to the Virgin Ma­ry, when he ſaluted her with that firſt happy and ever-joyful news of bringing forth a Son; He ſhall be great (ſaith he) and ſhall be called the Son of the High­eſt, and the Lord ſhall give unto him the Throne of his Father David, and he26 ſhall Raign over the Houſe of Jacob for ever, and of his Kingdom there ſhall be no end: Semper regnabit quem mater virge generabit, It was the anſwer which Octavius the Emperour received from the Oracle, concerning his Succeſſor. And David himſelf foretold as much of him; ſaying, Pſal. 145.13. Thy King­dome is an everlaſting Kingdome, and thy Dominion endureth throughout all Ages.

Anſwer to the ſixth Argument.

The ſixth Argument is this, If I ſhould celebrate this Day, I am fearful lest I ſhould be condemned for accuſing God for want of wiſdome, &c.

To this I anſwer, As our Saviour ſaith, This is the condemnation (or this is the cauſe of mens condemnation as Beza interprets the place), that light is come into the World, and men loved darkneſſe rather than light, becauſe their deeds are evil. For in Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light ſhined in darkneſs, and the dark­neſſe comprehended it not, John 1.4, 5. (i.e.) The darkneſs that was in the Gen­tiles27 thoughts and cogitations, and the Vail of blindneſſe that was upon the hearts of the Jews,2 Cor. 4.15 when Moſes was read unto them, cauſed them that they could neither apprehend nor compre­hend this light; And therefore they are both cenſured and condemned by the Apoſtle for want of wiſdome, and for want of a diſcerning Spirit, 1 Cor. 1.21, 22, 23, 24. For after that, in the wiſdome of God, the World by wiſ­dome knew not God; it pleaſed God by the fooliſhneſſe of preaching [or by that preaching which the wiſe men of the World counted fooliſhneſſe] to ſave them that believe: for the Jews require a ſigne, and the Greeks ſeek after wiſ­dome; but we preach Chriſt Crucified, unto the Jews a ſtumbling block, and unto the Greeks fooliſhneſſe: but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks; Chriſt the Power of God, and the wiſdom of God: becauſe the fooliſh­neſſe of God is wiſer then Men, and the weakneſs of God ſtronger then Men. And therefore I wire you not, for being careful and chary of accuſing God for want of wiſdom, as they did: and yet whereas you ſay further, you are fearfull28 leſt you ſhould make your ſelf wiſer then God, as though He knew not what ſhould be done as well as you, and ſo derogate from the wiſdome of God, and herein ſo far as I conceive your mean­ing, you ſeem a little to derogate from the wiſdome of God, thinking your ſelf not bound to keep this Day, becauſe God in his wiſdome hath not directly revealed, or particularly nominated and ſet down in the Rubrick and Ephemeris, or in the Regiſter or Calender of his Word, what day his Son Chriſt was born, and there injoyned and com­manded it to be obſerved and kept, which, albeit he hath not done it imme­diately from his own mouth: yet me­diately or miniſterially hath he done it by that heavenly Trumpeter of his, the Angel Gabriel, who particularly did Preach, promulgate, expreſs and declare it openly in the Fields to thoſe Shep­heards of Bethlehem;Luke 2. for this thing was not done in ſecret, nor in a corner. Now I proceed to the ſeventh Argu­ment.


Anſwer to the ſeventh Argument.

The words of the ſeventh Argument are theſe; if I ſhould obſerve this day, I am fearful lest I ſhould be the more inex­cuſable for my Sins.

Sir, This quirk or tranſcendent ambi­guity (as I may ſo call it) is but petitio principii, and no better than idem per i­dem, (i. e. ) no more then you have ſaid in ſome of the former: yet, in this caſe I will not ſay to you as Chriſt ſaid to Peter,Mar. 14.21. when he adventuring preſumptu­ouſly to walk upon the Water, was afraid, and his heart deceiving him, or rather his Faith fayling him, he began to ſink; immediately whereupon, Jeſus ſtretched forth his hand and caught him, and ſaid unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didſt thou doubt? So, wherefore do you ſear, leſt, if you ſhould keep this Day, (I mean) the Day of Chriſt's Nativity, that then you ſhould be the more inexcuſable for your fins? What, do you conceit that your carefull and conſcionable obſerving of this time ſhall add to the weight of your ſins? or30 increaſe the meaſure and number of your impieties? What a ſtrange and wonderful, anxious and penſive ſurmi­ſing, and prejudicate or prepoſterous miſdeeming is this? Wherefore as our Saviour cheared and comforted his Diſ­ciples againſt the Perſecutions and Tri­bulations which they feared would be­fall them after his departure from them, John 14.1. So let me, with your leave, a little rectifie, and direct you in this point; Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe alſo in me: and I verily believe it, and am ſtrongly per­ſwaded, that in doing this thing which, you ſay, you are fearful to do, leſt you ſhould be the more inexcuſable for your ſins; you ſhall be ſo far from being ac­cuſed and condemned for it, that it ſhall rather be a means to excuſe you, and a help to hide and cover your ſins at the day of Judgment: and all the harm I wiſh unto you or my ſelf, or to any of the deareſt and neareſt Friends that I have in his World, is, that we had no greater Crime or Offence then this to anſwer for, at the great and terrible Day of our general and common appearance. For then ſhould we be acquitted and31 diſmiſſed with that ſentence of abſolu­tion; I mean with that joyful and com­fortable, and ſoul-reviving ſentence of Venite Benedicti, Come ye bleſſed: And for your further ſatisfaction herein, and better confirmation of that which I have affirmed and averred: Let me give you a hint and inſtance of it, in that one and remarkable example of Mary Magdalen, who though ſhe were a no­torious Malefactor, and a great and grievous Sinner,Luke 7. as the Hiſtory Evange­lical effigiates, and ſets her forth unto us: yet, hearing that Jeſus ſate down to meat in a Phariſee's houſe, ſhe preſn­med and made bold to go into the houſe; and bringing an Alablaſter-Box of Oyntment, ſhe ſtood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to waſh his feet with tears; and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kiſſed his feet, and anointed them with the Oint­ment. Now when the Phariſee which had bidden him, ſaw it, he ſpake within himſelf being diſcontented; ſaying, This man if he were a Prophet, would have known who, and what manner of Woman this is that toucheth him: for ſhe is a Sinner: And Jeſus anſwering, ſaid32 unto him, Simon, I have ſomewhat to ſay unto thee; and he ſaith, Maſter ſay on: There was a certain Creditor who had two Debtors, the one owed five hun­dred pence, and the other fifty; and when they had nothing to pay, He freely for­gave them hoth: tell me therefore, which of them will love him moſt? Simon an­ſwered andaid, I ſuppoſe that he to whom he forgave most, and he ſaid unto him, Thou haſt rightly judged: And he turned unto the Woman, and ſaid unto Simon, Seeſt thou this Woman? I entred into thy Houſe, Thou gavest me no water for my Feet, but ſhe hath waſhed my Feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head; Thou gaveſt me no kiſſe, but this Woman ſince the time I came in, hath not ceaſed to kiſſe my Feet: My Feet with Oyl thou didſt not anoint, but this Wo­man hath anointed my Feet with Oynt­ment: Wherefore, I ſay unto thee, Her ſins which are many, are forgiven; for ſhe loved much: but to whom little is forgi­ven, the ſame loveth little: Where the Argument is not (as learned Fulk ob­ſerveth, and as the whole diſcourſe of the Text makes it manifeſt) from the Cauſe to the Effect, but from the Effect33 to the Cauſe, Many ſins are forgiven her, therefore ſhe hath loved much; (for our Saviour had caſt ſeven Devils out of her), therefore ſhe had good cauſe to love him much, for to whom little is re­mitted, he loveth little, wherefore our Saviour preferrs and extolleth her kindneſſe both above, and before the entertainment of the Phariſees Houſe. So that, if we in like manner do ſhew our love to Chriſt freely and chearfully, in celebrating the memoriall of his Birth, as ſhe did in token of his Burial, we ſhall not onely be excuſed but accepted as ſhe was; for as St. Mark relates the ſame ſtory more briefly, Mark 14. 4. When there were ſome that murmured at it, and had indignation within them­ſelves; ſaying, Why was this waſte of the Oyntment made, for it might have been ſold for more then three hundred pence, and have bin given to the poor? But Je­ſus ſaid by way of Apology for her, Let her alone, Why trouble you her? She hath wrought a good work on me: for you have the poor with you alwayes; and whenſoever ye will, you may do them good, but me you have not alwayes: She hath done what ſhe could, ſhe is come aforehand to anoint my Body to the Burying. Verily34 I ſay unto you, Whereſoever the Goſpel ſhall be preached thorow out the whole World, this alſo that ſhe hath done, ſhall be ſpoken for a memoriall of her, (i. e. ) for a memoriall of her love, of that good work that ſhe hath bestowed upon me. Wherefore as St. Auſtin anſwers ſome who made a queſtion, How it was poſſi­ble a Virgin ſhould bring forth a Child, Fides adſit & nulla quaeſtio remanebit; So I ſay to you, Si amor adſit timor, iſte re­movebit, if you love Chriſt in ſincerity, as you ought to do, then this fear will ſoon remove, and expell ſuch timorous Niceties, and frivolous Scrupuloſities out of your mind: for what ſaith the Apoſtle St. John, There is no fear in love, but perfect love caſteth out fear; becauſe fear hath torment, or fear hath painful­neſſe 1 John 4.18. And let this ſuffice for the anſwering of the ſeventh Argu­ment.

Anſwer to the eighth Argument.

The words of the eighth Argument are theſe, It ſeems to me a vain and need­leſs thing: &c.


To this Argument I anſwer firſt in the words of the Roman Oratour, Quaedam videntur & non ſunt, ſome things ſeem to be that which they are not; for accor­ding to the Opinion of the Philoſopher, Quandoqueſenſus fallitur circa proprium Objectum, ſometimes the ſenſe is decei­ved about its proper Object; as when a Man ſeeth a Buſh a far off he takes it to be a Man, which when he cometh neer it, he finds it to be no ſuch matter: even as the Man in the Goſpel, having recei­ved a little glimpſe and glimmering of his ſight, thought he ſaw men walk like Trees, (i.e.) he took them to be as bigg as Trees, becauſe the Organ of his Eye, being not ſufficiently cleanſed, he could not otherwiſe diſcern them, Mark 8.24. But it ſeems to you to be a vain and needleſs thing. What? Is it a vain and needleſs thing to ſerve God? It ſeems there were ſome who both thought and ſpake ſo in, Malachi's time:Mal. 3.13, 14. but their groſs error and their madneſs was repro­ved by the Prophet; even as St. Peter tells us that Balaam was rebuked for his Iniquity: the dumb Aſſe, ſpeaking with Man's veice, forbade the madneſs of that falſe Propher, becauſe he loved the wa­ges36 of Unrighteouſneſs, & went beyond his permiſſion, being blinded with the hope of Bribes and Rewards of Divina­tion;2 Pet. 2.16. and, Is it (think you) a vain thing & unprofitable to ſerve the Lord? as Eliphaz the Temanite ſaith, Job 4.7. Who ever pe­riſhed being innocent. So, who ever waited on the Lord and went away unreward­ed? He that ſerveth himſelf ſerveth a Fool; He that ſerveth the Devil ſerveth his Enemy; He that ſerveth the World ſerveth his Servant; The onely true free­dom is, to ſerve the Lord: For Godlineſs with Contentment is great Gain (ſaith the Apoſtle) 1 Tim. 6.6. yea, it is profitable unto all things (ſaith he) having promiſe of the life which now is, & of that which is to come, 1 Tim. 4.8. How then can you ju­ſtify or affirm it to be a vain & needleſs thing to ſpend this time in the publick Worſhip and Service of God; namely, in the duties of Piety, and exerciſes of Reli­gion, in hearing of the Word, & in offe­ring up Prayers & Praiſes to God, cele­brating it, & lauding his holy and glori­ous Name, with Pſalms, and Hymns, and ſpiritual Songs. ſinging and making me­lody in our hearts to the Lord,Eph. 5.19, 20. giving thanks alwaies, for all things, unto God37 and the Father, in the Name of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt. And eſpecially, and a­bove all things, giving thanks for this one thing; I mean, that ineſtimable benefit and unſpeakable gift which God beſtowed upon the World at this time. And me thinks, to this end and purpoſe we may very well encourage and ſtirr up our ſelves with the words of David, and ſay as he doth Pſal. 69.31, 32. I will praiſe the name of God with a Song; and magnify it with thankſgiving, this alſo ſhall pleaſe the Lord better than a Bullock which hath horns and hoofs; yea this ſhall be as precious and odoriferous in his Noſtrils, and no leſs pleaſing and acceptable in his ſight than that right & coſtly Spikenard which was ſpent to an­oint our Saviour's feet withall; although it be ſaid of that, That the whole Houſe wherein our Saviour was at that time was filled and perfumed with the odour of the Oyntment, Joh. 12.3.

But the Reaſons you alledge, to prove it to be a vain and needleſs thing to ob­ſerve this day, are in the next place to be examined and conſidered; the firſt whereof is this, as you affirm it, becauſe God hath ſet apart a Sabbath, the Lord's­day,38 for this purpoſe, to meditate upon God's Love in redeeming the World, and this ſeems to be an indifferent good one; yet you know, or at the leaſt cannot but know, that the Sabbath, or the Se­venth day, was at the firſt ordained, ſan­ctified, and ſet apart, onely in remem­brance of the World's Creation, as it ap­pears in that paſſage or Concluſion of the fourth Commandment, Exod. 20. For in ſix daies the Lord made Heaven and Earth, the Sea, and all that in them is: Wherefore the Lord bleſſed the Se­venth day, and hallowed it: For this Commandment is hedged in on every ſide, leſt we ſhould break out from ob­ſerving it; with a Caveat and ſpeciall Memorandum before it, Remember &c. and with two Reaſons after; one drawn from the Equity of the Law, and the o­ther taken from the Law-giver's, or the Law-maker's, own Example: Six daies ſhalt thou labour; As if God ſhould ſpeak thus, If I permit thee ſix whole daies to follow thine own buſineſs, thou mayeſt well afford me one onely for my own Service; but ſix daies ſhalt thou la­bour and do all thine own work, there­fore hallow the Seventh in doing my39 work. Six daies ſhalt thou labour; whereupon, both Reverend Calvin, and that learned Gentleman B. Babington, who was once Biſhop of this Dioceſſe, a man of no mean Note, but of good Report both for Life and Learning, do obſerve, That theſe Words (Six daies ſhalt thou labour &c.) are a permiſſion, or a remiſſion of God's right, who might challenge all, rather than an abſolute Commandment: For as Judicious Per­kins hath alſo delivered it in his Golden Chaine, for a ſound, Orthodoxal, and undeniable Theſis,Catenâ au­reâ, cap. 13 The Church upon juſt occaſion may ſeparate ſome week daies alſo to the Service of the Lord, and reſt from Labour, Joel 2.15. Blow the Trum­pet in Zion, ſanctify a Faſt; call a ſo­lemn Aſſembly. And as daies of publick Faſting for ſome great Judgment, ſo daies of publick Rejoycing for ſome great Benefit, are not unlawfull, but ex­ceeding commendable, yea, neceſſary: And you cannot in Modeſty, and I hope you will not for Shame, deny this to be the Truth; for beſides the ordinary Sabbath, among the Jews, they had their Sabbaths, and their new Moons, and ap­pointed Feaſts; yea, Almighty God40 himſelf ordained, in the old Teſtament, divers and ſundry Feaſts, to put his Peo­ple in mind of his great Benefits be­ſtowed upon them: Amongſt the reſt there were three ſolemn Feſtivals every year; namely, the Paſsover, the Pente­coſt, and the Feaſt of Tabernacles, as we read in the 16th of Deuteronomy; The Paſsover was inſtituted in remem­brance of the deliverance from Egypt's bondage; Pentecoſt, in remembrance of the Law, given in Mount Sinui; The Feaſt of Tabernacles, in remembrance of Iſrael's dwelling in Tents forty years in the Wilderneſs: Now, as Hemingius obſerves in his Postil. dom. 1. poſt Epiph. inſtead of thoſe three Jewiſh Feaſts, our Chriſtian Church (which may challenge as much Liberty as the Jewiſh, if not more) hath ſubſtituted Chriſtmas in ho­nour of Chriſt's Incarnation; Eaſter, in honour of Chriſt's Reſurrection; and Whitſuntide, in honour of Chriſt's con­firmation of the Goſpel, by ſending un­to us the Holy Ghoſt at that time; So that we ſay, according as St. Auſtin ſaith in his 108 Epist. cap. 1, Celebran­tes Anniverſariâ ſolemnitate Paſcha, re­liquasqueChriſtianas diêrum Feſtivitutes41 non obſervamus tempora, ſed quae illis ſig­nificantur temporibiu: (i.e.) In celebra­ting Easter, and other Chriſtian Feaſts, we do not ſo much obſerve the times, as the things that are repreſented and ſignified unto us at thoſe times. If then it be granted, as it cannot be denied, ac­cording to your words, that God hath ſet apart a Sabbath (which is our Chriſt­ian Sabbath) and is called the Lord's Day, becauſe the Lord roſe from death to life on that Day, and that on this day (in that reſpect) we are to meditate on God's Love in redeeming the World; if we muſt do this once every week in an ordinary courſe, how much more may the Church and Spouſe of Chriſt ap­point, and ſet apart, one day in the year, after an extraordinary manner, to medi­tate, and muſe, and think on his Love in redeeming her from the hands of all her Enemies; for ſo indeed the holy Prieſt Zacharias tells us, in his Song called Benedictus, That this was the main End of our Redemption, Luk. 1.74. that we being delivered out of the hands of our Enemies, might ſerve him without fear, in holineſs and righteouſneſs, all the daies of our Life: Whereupon I infer, That42 if we muſt ſerve him all the daies of our life, as he may juſtly challenge and re­quire it at our hands, in regard he hath redeemed us, How much more ought we to meditate on his Love, not onely once a week, but alſo once in every year praiſe his moſt Holy Name after a more ſpeciall and ſingular manner? For at this time eſpecially and particularly, it may be ſaid of Him, as the Pſalmiſt doth Pſal. 111.9. He ſent Redemption unto his People; He hath commanded his Co­venant for ever, holy and reverend is His Name.

But, in your ſecond Reaſon, you ſay That you never heard a good Argument for it: Well, be it ſo as you ſay, yet I dare ſay, that you ſay it, not ſo much out of your Ignorance, as through a miſcon­ſtruction and ſiniſter Interpretation of that which you have both heard and read concerning this thing: Wherefore for anſwering you, firſt, Hoc tibi inno­teſcere velimus, we do you to wit, or would have you to know and under­ſtand, That albeit the gray-headed An­tiquity and Authority of our dear Mo­ther, the Church of England, and the uniform Diſcipline with Us eſtabliſhed,43 for ſome Centuries of years, making and conſtituting it an antient and lauda­ble Order, and generally approved Cu­ſtome, may be a ſufficient Plea, Argu­ment and VVarrant to perſwade you, or any other rational man to conſent and conforme unto it; for what ſaith grave St. Auſtin, He that will have God to be his Father, muſt acknowledge the Church of God for his Mother: and then, let every Member of this Church remember that good and wholeſome advice of Solomon's, Prov. 11.8. My Son, hear thy Fathers Instruction, and forſake not thy Mothers teaching: For St. Auſtin tells us in his Epiſt. 118. Extremae eſt dementiae ſeu inſolentis in­ſaniae, ea negligere〈◊〉repudiare quae tota obſervat eccleſia. It is extream folly, and inſolent madneſſe to neglect and re­fuſe, to obſerve thoſe things which the whole Church (whereof we are born Members) doth obſerve; yet for your better ſatisfaction herein, I have a de­ſire and purpoſe to bring in a few Argu­ments, which perhaps may be thought by ſome to be as good, and ſtrong, and forcible for the keeping of this Day, as any you have hi her to urged, or may44 hereafter deviſe and produce, againſt it.

The firſt that I ſhall propound and preſent to your quaint and curious and ſupercilious cenſure, or to your Auſtere and Rigid conſideration, ſhall be the Legality and lawfulneſs of Ordering and Ordaining, and ſetting apart of ſome dayes of publick Thankſgiving, and holy rejoycing to the Lord for great Benefits, and publick Bleſſings received; which, if this day of Chriſt his Incarnation and Manifeſtation in the fleſh, might be but ſet up and celebrated amongſt the reſt as it deſerveth, I am perſwaded it would contend and ſtrive ſo for the Su­periority and Preheminence above the reſt, that it would even devour and ſwallow the reſt up, as Aarons Serpent did the Serpents of thoſe Egyptian Ma­gicians and Praeſtigiators; or excell them, and caſt them down, as the Ark did Dagon; or as the Image of Chriſt when it was placed by the Senators at Rome in the Capitol, threw down the Image of Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and others of their feigned heatheniſh gods, as Enſebius and Nicephorus report it for45 truth; and the Men of this Generation would ſoon condeſcend and yield to this motion, and not deny nor gain-ſay this reaſonable propoſition, if they were not too much like thoſe blind and blinded Phariſees among the Jews, who were for the moſt part, culicem excolan­tes, & Camelum deglutientes, apt and inclined to ſtrain at a Gnat, and ſwallow a Cammel, Math. 23, 24. For if it be lawful to give God thanks for Corporal and Temporal Deliverances, How much more for our Spiritual and Eternal Deli­verance by Chriſt, from the thraldome of ſinne and Sathan; Again, If it ſhall be thought lawful and allowable to praiſe God for the ſpilling of blood,2 Kings 6. and de­ſtroying of Mens lives, (which yet nei­ther the Prophet Eliſha,2 Chron. 2.8. nor the Prophet Oded would allow of;) how much more then ſhall it be lawfull and commenda­ble to praiſe the Lord for the ſparing and preſerving of Mens lives, and for the ſaving of their Souls, and freeing or delivering both their Bodies and Souls from the everlaſting pains and tor­ments of Death and Hell; For the Son of Man came to ſeak and ſave that which was loſt, and God ſent not his Son into the46 World, to condemn the World, but that the World through Him might be ſaved, Joh. 3.17.

The ſecond Argument which I ſhall here ſet down for the ſolemnity of this Day, I will make bold to borrow from the words of St. Auſtin, which, I do not onely conjecture, but preſume, were Preached and Delivered by him on the very Day; we find them recorded in his Serm. 2. & 4. de tempore; Be­hold (ſaith he), all of us are bidden on this Day to a Marriage, for Chriſt came out of the Virgins Womb, as a Bride­groom out of his Chamber; the God­head was joyned unto the Fleſh, and the Fleſh unto the God-head, and theſe two were coupled together; and, after an in­effable manner, in an ineffable Marriage made one. The marriage-Chamber was the Virgins Womb, (which he abhorred not) out of which that Sun of Righte­ouſneſs, Chriſt Jeſus came in the day of his Birth, as a Bridegroom out of his Chamber,Pſal. 19.5. and as a ſtrong man joyfull to run his race. For the Son of God, knowing that according to the eternall decree enacted in the Court of Heaven,47 our Salvation could not be perfected be­fore he was Incarnate;Gal. 4.4. in the fulneſſe of time, came down (ſealing our Redemp­tion) with rejoycing of Spirit, and glad­neſſe of heart, exſuiting, trium phing, and preparing himſelf to the deſired work of his mediatorſhip. Long had the Church waited and prayed for this com­ing of Chriſt in the fleſh:Iſa. 64.1. O would God thou wouldeſt burſt the Heavens, and come down:Cant. 8.1. O that then werſt as my Brother, which ſucked the breaſt of my Mother, partaking the ſame humane na­ture with me. I would find thee with­out, here below on Earth, I would kiſſe thee, and familiarly intreat thee with­out the reproach of the World. Then I would lead thee, and bring thee into my Mothers houſe, though now I am penned up in the Straights of Judea, I would bring thee into the Light and Knowledge of the Univerſal Church, whoſe Daughter I am; and herefore he was worthily called deſideratus om­nium gentium,Hag. 2.7. the deſired of all Nati­ons: but when he came, he came merily; with nimbleneſs of Spirit, zeal of Piety, fervency of Love, as the Church eſpying him, joyfully relates it; It is the voice48 of my well-beloved,Cant. 2.8. Behold, he cometh leaping by the Mountains, skipping by the Hills: My well-beloved is like a Roe or Hart. He came flying on the wings of the Wind, he out-leapt Gabriel the Archangel, and came to the Virgin before him, by the Teſtimony of the Angel himſelf:Luk. 1.27. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Behold, Gabriel left Chriſt in Heaven, but finds him in the Womb: How ſo? Volavit & praevolavit ſuper pennas vontorum, he flew, and out-flew him on the wings of the wind; he ſent his Meſſenger, but (like Ahinoaz) got before him. Will you ſee his Jumps? He lept from Hea­ven into the Womb, from the Womb to the Manger, from the Manger to the Croſſe, from the Croſſe to the Grave, from the Grave to Heaven again: from whence we look for, and expect his ſecond coming. David ſang of this his alacrity;Pſal. 20. The King is glad of thy ſtrength (O Lord) and exceeding joyfull of thy Salvation, Quia verbum caro factum est, & habitavit in nobis; be­cauſe (ſaith Augustine on thoſe words), The Word was made fleſh, and dwelt in us, the Day of Chriſt's Nativity was49 his Day of Feſtivity, his Birth Day was his Mirth Day, for then his Mother Crowned him with the Crown of his Incarnation; which was the Day of his Eſpouſals, or the Day of the joy and gladneſs of his heart, as it is ſo called, Cant. 3.10. This is a great Myſtery (ſaith Paul), but I ſpeak concerning Chriſt and the Church; &, ſine dubio, magnum est pietatis myſterium; And without controverſy great is the Myſtery of godlineſs; How God was manifeſted in the Fleſh, juſtified in the Spirit, ſeen of Angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the VVorld,1 Tim. 3.16. and received up in Glory; and He being thus aſcended and received up into Glory; for the Heaven muſt receive Him (in regard of his bodily preſence) untill the times of reſtitution of all things, ſaith Peter, Act. 3.21. And thus, leaving his Spouſe the Church as a VViddow, as He hath enjoyned and Commanded her in the Goſpel to think upon his Love, and of­tentimes to remember him and his Death, eſpecially as often as ſhe receiv­eth the bleſſed Sacraments of his Body and Blood: So ſhe for her part thinks it meet not onely to Commemorate his50 Death, but ſometimes, alſo eſpecially once a year to Congratulate and Solace her ſelf in remembrance of his Birth; That happy and joyful Marriage day which was once Solemnized betwixt her and that great King of Glorie's Son, who now ſitteth at the right hand of his Fa­ther in Heaven: even as I have alſo ob­ſerved it to be the faſhion and condition of many good and honeſt Couples whilſt they live on Earth together, to keep a ſolemn remembrance every year of their Wedding day, even untill their Dying day: So ſhould every good Chriſtian and faithful Soul keep a due and perpe­tual remembrance of her Loving Lord, and gracious Head and Husband, Chriſt Jeſus. As it is reported of that famous Artemiſia, That to ſhew her love to her dead Husband Mauſolus, ſhe took the aſhes of his Urne or Pitcher, and mingled them with her Drink, and ſo intombed his dead Carkaſſe within her living Body: And it is ſaid of bleſſed Ignatius after his Martyrdome, that theſe words were found written upon his heart (ſo it were to be wiſhed that they were alſo ingraven and imprinted in Ours) Amor mens crucifixus, my51 Love Chriſt Jeſus was crucified for me. But perhaps here you, will object, and ſay, that this is Symbolica Theologiae, and that it is not Argumentativa, (i. e. ) that it is an Argument Rhetorical rather than Dialectical. What ſay you then to Theo­logia miraculis confirmata: which in the third place I ſhall alleadge; namely, the ſtrange accidents, and wonderful effects that happened at the Birth of Chriſt, or rather thoſe rare and ſingular miracles that were acted and done near about the time of his Nativity: For a little before, this was it that made a young Babe while he was yet in the Womb of his Mother to Spring and Sprout, and leap therein for joy; yea,Luk. 1.44. this was it that made an old man that was dumb before, to ſpeak, and to praiſe the Lord with a ſong; and ſay,Luke 1.6, 8. Bleſſed be the Lord, &c. And this was it that moved another old man, after he had ſeen the Lord Chriſt to hold him in his arms, and deſire life no longer. He was ſo much raviſhed and overjoyed with the ſight of his Saviour, that he preſent­ly chanted out Cantionem Cygneam, that ſwanne-like ſong, Lord, now it is enough, and I am abundantly ſatisfied52 becauſe thou haſt fulfilled my deſire, in performing thy promiſe to me, that I ſhould not ſee Death before I had ſeen thy Son.

To theſe we may add the apparition of that glorious Starr which ſhewed it ſelf unto the Wiſe men of the Eaſt, about the time of his Nativity: which was not an ordinary Starr, but extraordinary and miraculouſly created at this time, for this very end and purpoſe, not onely to ſignifie, but to dignifie and ſet forth the Birth of Chriſt,Math. 2. for ſaid they, We have ſeen his Starr in the East, that is, the Starr which he hath newly made, to teſtifie unto the World, that he is born. It differed from other Starrs in Place and Motion, in Luſtre and Brightneſſe. Haec ſtella quae ſolis rotam vincit decore ac lumine, ſaith Prudentius of this Starr; it hath another way then the way of the Starrs from the Eaſt to the South, from Perſia to Palestina, it appeared not when other Stars appeared; It ſhined in the day, Other in the Night; it did appear & was hid, it was hid and did appear. It ſhew­ed it ſelf before they entred Jeruſalem, and hid it ſelf while they were there: but53 ſo ſoon as they left Herod and the City, it did ſhew it ſelf; and went right for­wards in a ſtraight courſe towards Beth­lehem, no otherwiſe then the Cloud and Pillar of fire went before the People of Iſrael at their departure, and going out of Egypt into Canaan: It kept not the ordinary courſe of the Starrs, nor any proper way, for it went that way which the wiſe men would go, and when they would ſtand ſtill, then that ſtood ſtill; yea, it did not keep aloft like other Starrs, but it deſcended to ſhew the Meſſiah: the Meſſah ſo poor, ſo baſe and contemptible. Whereupon it is that St. Auſtin calleth it, magnifica lin­gua caeli, the ſtately congue of heaven, appointed by God, as it were, to reveal and preach unto the wiſe men that Chriſt was that Starr of Jacob, propheſied of by Balaam, Numb. 24.17. that he was Stella illa ſplendida & matutina, that bright Morning Starr, Revel. 22.16. and that he was Oriens ab alto, that day­ſpring from high, that came to viſit us, and to give light to them that ſit in darkneſs, and in the ſhadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of Peace, as that holy Prieſt Zacharias telleth us54 comfortably in his ſong, Luke 1.75. Wherefore, as the Roman Orator ſpeaks, ſo will I here ſay, Nihil horum era vultusquemovernunt? and as the Ro­man Poet elegantly, Quid ſatis est, ſi Roma parum: ſo will I be bold here to ſpeak it, Quid ſatis erit illi, cui non ſuf­ficient iſta? If theſe things will not ſerve to convince you, I know not what will? Mark. 16. 6.For, if neither the VVord, nor Miracles, nor the VVord confirmed by Miracles, will prevail and work upon us to make us believe; then I ſay, as it is in the 16 of Luke at the laſt verſe, If they hear not Moſes and the Prophets, neither will they be perſwaded, though one roſe from the dead: Yet, willingly would I add here one ſtrange thing more or two, (which are no more ſtrange then true) as a Corollary and Appendix to the former; which though they were not Synchroniſms, or things Contem­poraneous with the Birth of Chriſt, yet the People of our Nation, and our own Countrymen can witneſſe them to be true, as I relate them; The firſt is the Thorne at Glastenbury in Sommerſet­ſhire, which was commonly called Jo­ſeph's Thorne: which for many hun­dred55 years together, even (as it is to be thought) ſince the firſt arriving of Jo­ſeph of Arimathea there, which was within five years after the Death and Reſurrection of the Lord Jeſus, (as that antient Hiſtorian of our Nation, the Golden-mouthed Gildas reporteth) this Thorne conſtantly budded and ſhewed forth its green leaves, fair, freſh and flouriſhing on this Day every year, to the great admiration of all Specta­tors that came of purpoſe to behold it; and this was no other then a Miracle, and may ſerve for our confirmation in the faith of Him, who, for our ſakes was contented to wear (Coronam Spi­neam) a Crown of Thornes: Or it may well be ſuppoſed, that ir flouriſhed on this Day, to teſtifie the truth of his Nativity, and to ſignifie the flouriſhing Eſtate of the Goſpel by Him, which ſhall proſper and flouriſh, manger the head and hatred of all Gain-ſayers. And although this Thorne be now, as they ſay, cut down by ſome ſpightful and malig­nant Zoilus; yet, thoſe ſufficient men of our parts, who, with their eyes have ſeen it, and beheld it, will ſtill talk of it, and tell it to their Children, not for an56 old Wives Fable, but for truth; and one Gentleman among the reſt of good rank and quality in theſe Parts (who is a man well affected and devoted to the power and purity of Religion) for that Thorn's ſake, having ſeen it, doth ſtrictly, and carefully, and conſcionably keep this Day, and is reſolved to ob­ſerve and keep it ſo long as he liveth.

The other rare and ſtrange thing, are the three pitts of Durham, commonly called Hell kettles, which are adjoy­ning near unto Darlington, whoſe Wa­ters are ſomewhat warm; theſe are thought to come of an Earth-quake, which happened in the year of Grace, 1179. whereof the Chronicle of Tin­mouth maketh mention, whoſe record is this; That on Chriſtmasday at Oxen-Hall, in the Territories of Darlington, within the County of Durham, the ground heaved aloft, like unto a high Tower, and ſo continued all that day, as it were unmoveable, untill the eve­ning, and then fell with ſo horrible a noiſe, that it made the Neighbourhood-dwellers much afraid, and the Earth ſwallowed it up, and made in the ſame place three deep pits, which are there57 to be ſeen for a Teſtimony unto this Day. Here then we may apply that of the Pſalmiſt, and ſay, Tremble thou Earth at the preſence of the Lord, at the preſence of the God of Jacob, which tur­ned the hard Rock into a ſtanding Wa­ter, and the flint ſtone into a ſpringing Well, Pſal. 114.7, 8. But whilſt I am relling you a ſtory of a Thorne-Tree, and of deep pits of Water, you bring me into another difficult and thorny queſtion, and plunge me, as it were, in a deep pit of non plus, or nil ultra; and into ſuch a quick and and quagmire of troubleſome meditation, that I ſhall hardly get out of it; the Quaery is this ninth following.

Anſwer to the ninth Argument.

The ninth Argument is this; It is an impoſſibility to keep it, and God never made an impoſſibility a Duty: and, that no man in the World knoweth certainly what day Chriſt was born on.

To this I anſwer, although I firſt in­genuouſly confeſſe, according to that Adage, Davus ſum ego, non Oedipus:58 for it is true which Chryſoſtome ſaith, Praeſtat probâ ignoratione detineri quàm falſa opinione mancipari. It is eaſier to plow in the plain, then in the ground new-ſtocked; better to write on a pa­per free from writing, than on that which is full of lines; and more eaſie to reach the ſimple, then him that is opinionated of his own knowledge: Better it is for a man, and more com­mendable to confeſs a little ignorance, then to boaſt of too much knowledge; wherefore, as Beza on that place in 1 Cor. 11.10. For this Cauſe ought the Woman to have power on her head, be­cauſe of the Angels gives no other note but this, Quid hoc ſit, nondum mihi liquet, wherein he confeſſeth, he did not underſtand, as yet, what the Apoſtle meant by theſe words: So if we ſhould here yield and acknowledge that we do not certainly know what day Chriſt was born on:Vaux. yet, As a late Starr­gazing Speculator takes upon him in his Almanack, to define the year of Chriſt his coming to Judgment, but dare not preciſely ſet down the day and hour of his coming; So perhaps we ſhall here endeavour, pro Noſſe & Poſſe,59 to calculate and diſcover unto you the year when our Saviour Chriſt was born, if not the day. And for this I ſhall re­ferr you to the Rhemiſts Marginal note on the ſecond of Luke, which re­ports unto us that in the year from the Creation of the World 3199, from Noah's flood 2957, from the Nati­vity of Abraham 2015, from Moſes and the coming forth of the People of Iſrael out of Egypt 1510, from David anointed King 1032, from the firſt Olympias 800, from the building of Rome 752, Hebdomada 63, according to the prophecy of Daniel (c. 9.) that is in the year 440, or thereabout; in the ſixth age of the World, when there was univerſal Peace in all the World: the eternal God, and ſon of the eternal Father, meaning to Conſecrate and Sanctifie the World with his moſt bleſſ­ed coming, being conceived of the Holy Ghoſt nine Months after his Con­ception; Jeſus Chriſt the Son of God is born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the year of Caeſar Augustus 42 (Uſuard in the Martyrol)**And then why ſhould not the 25 of Decem. be as ſo­lemnly ob­ſerved, and kept, as the 5 of Nov. December 25 according to the common ancient ſupputation. But it may be, you will object againſt this, &60 becauſe it comes from the Rhemiſts, you will miſlike it, and diſdain it; yet nevertheleſs (I ſay) becauſe it is not thwarted nor contradicted by Calvin, nor Beza, nor Fulke, nor any other of our late Proteſtant Writers; I ſee no juſt Cauſe or Reaſon why we ſhould re­ject it, but rather receive it, Fide hiſto­ricâ, and believe it for truth, as it is faithfully and exactly related by them for a ſufficient Author, and ancient Chronologer, or Reporter of that which was nothing elſe but a true ſtory, and cannot be denyed or diſproved; yet, put the Caſe here that we neither do, nor cannot certainly know the Day where­on Chriſt was born, therefore ſhall it be thought a thing impoſſible to keep it? Then by the ſame Rule and Reaſon, you may as well ſay, It is impoſſible to keep the Sabbath day:H. Wolphii Chronol. lib. 2 p. 1. p. 92. For the Com­mandement doth not ſay, remember to keep holy the ſeventh day, next follow­ing the ſixth day of the Creation; or this or that ſeventh day; but indefinite­ly, remember that thou keep holy a ſe­venth day. And to ſpeak properly, as we take a day for the diſtinction of time, called either a day natural conſiſting of61 twenty four hours; or a day artificial conſiſting of twelve hours, from Sun­riſing to Sun-ſetting: and withall con­ſider the Sun ſtanding ſtill at noon in Joſhua's time the ſpace of a whole day,Joſh. 10.12, 13. and the ſame going back ten degrees (viz. five hours,2 Kng. 26.11. almoſt half an arifi­cial Day) in Ezekias time; the Jews themſelves could not keep this Sabbath upon that preciſe and juſt diſtinction of time, called at the firſt, The ſeventh day from the Creation; therefore in ſuch difficult and doubtful Caſes, the beſt way is to be ordered and guided, and reſolved by the Judgment and Diſci­pline and Direction of the Church wherein we live: for ſhe is our Mother, ſaith Calvin,Lib. Inſtit. 4. C. 1. Sect. 4. foraſmuch as there is no other entry into life, unleſs ſhe con­ceive us in her Womb, unleſs ſhe bring us forth, unleſs ſhe feed us with her Breaſts, and keep us under her Cuſtody and Governance, untill ſuch time as being unclothed of mortal fleſh, we ſhall be like unto Angels. Again in his Lib. 4. Cap. 10. Sect. 30. He ſaith of the Church and Church-Ordinances, that in outward diſcipline and Cere­monies, the will of God was not to62 preſcribe each thing particularly what we ought to follow, becauſe he foreſaw this to hang upon the State of times, and did not think one form to be fit for all Ages) herein we muſt fly to thoſe general Rules which he hath given, that thereby all thoſe things ſhould be try­ed, which the neceſſity of the Church ſhall require to be commanded for or­der and comelineſs. And foraſmuch as he hath therefore taught nothing ex­preſly, becauſe theſe things both are not neceſſary to Salvarion, and accor­ding to the manners of every Nation and Age, ought diverſly to be applyed to the edifying of the Church; there­fore as the profit of the Church ſhall re­quire, though it might be thought convenient as well to change and abro­gate thoſe that be uſed, as to inſtitute new: yet, I grant it indeed, and muſt needs confeſſe it, That we ought not raſhly, nor oft, nor for leight and trivial Cauſes to run to Innovation, but what may hurt or edifie, Charity ſhall beſt be judge: which if we will ſuffer to be the Governeſs, all ſhall be ſafe. And in the next Section at the latter end thereof; It is alwayes meet, ſaith he,63 for the publike worſhip and ſervice of God, that there be both certain dayes and appointed hours, and a place fit to receive all, if there be regard had of the preſervation of peace. For how great an occaſion of ſcandal, brawling, and contention ſhould the confuſi­on of theſe things be, if it were law­full for every man as he liſteth to change thoſe things which belong to common State; foraſmuch as it will never come to paſs that one and the ſame thing ſhall pleaſe all Men, (it be­ing an old and true ſaying, difficillimum eſt omnibus placere) if things be left (as it were) at randome, and in the middeſt to the choice of every Man to do what he pleaſeth, to have a Pſalm, and a Do­ctrine, and a Revelation, and an Inter­pretation by himſelf, as the Apoſtle ſpeaketh with a kind of Indignation and Increpation of them that uſed it, 1 Cor. 14.26. If any man therefore do Carp and Cavil againſt us, and herein will be more wiſe then he ought, let him ſee himſelf by what reaſon he can defend his own preciſeneſs to the Lord. As for us, That ſaying of Paul ought to ſatisfie us; If any man ſeem to be64 Schiſmatical and contentious, we have no ſuch uſe, we have no ſuch Custome nor the Churches of God, 1 Cor. 11.16. Where we may perceive that that good Man and faithful Paſtor of Geneva, though he liked not the Maſſe, yet he preached Chriſt ſincerely, and maintai­ned and defended his Church, and la­boured by all means to preſerve, Tuni­cam ejus inconſutilem, his ſeamleſſe Coat to be without brack or breach, Sect­or Schiſm, Rent or Diviſion at all; but ſtill to continue pure and undefiled without ſpot or wrinkle, or any ſuch thing. I will then conclude and ſhut up this paſſage with the witty Sentences of St. Auſtin, Contrarationem nemo ſobrius, contra Scripturas nemo Chriſtia­nus, contra eccleſiam nemo pacificus ſen­ſerii. And if we will be the Children of the Church, as we profeſſe our ſelves to be, then let us hearken what the wiſe man ſaith: Ecclus. 3.1. The Children of wiſdome are the Church of the Righteous, and their exerciſe is Obe­dience and Love.


Anſwer to the tenth Argument.

The words are theſe, I obſerve, God hides things on purpoſe from us, to ſee whether we will do any things on our own heads.

I anſwer, This Argument is derived de profundis, and drawn or fetched ab abſconditis & ſecretis. 'Tis true, and we cannot much deny it; For He hideth, or concealeth from us, his Decree of Ele­ction, and final Dereliction or Repro­bation,Rom. 9.13 becauſe he will have Mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardneth; And this he doth, becauſe he would not have us like curious Beth­ſhemites to pry into the Ark of his Se­crets, but rather to work out our own Salvation with fear and trembling,Phil. 2.12. as the Apoſtle St. Paul ſpeaks; and as the other Apoſtle teacheth and exhorteth us,2 Pet. 1.10. to give all diligence to make our Calling and Election ſure. And now is this to be underſtood? why, ſurely thus, if I be not deceived; ſure to God. I need not, I cannot,2 Tim. 2.19. the Foundation of God ſtands ſure enough of it ſelf, and66 the Gifts and Calling of God are with­out Repentance, Rom. 11.29. (i. e.) Sine mutatione stabiliter fixa ſunt, ſaith St. Auſtin, they are irrevocable, im­mutable, and unchangeable; but, Sure to my own Soul, I may, I muſt, by all means labour and endeavour to make and effect it, or elſe this Precept is in vain, of giving all diligence to make our Calling and Election ſure. Secondly, He hideth the hour of every particular man's death, and the day of the generall Judgment, from us, and reſerveth them in the private Cabinet of his own Fore­knowledgeſhip;Act. 1.17. For it is not for us to know the times and the Seaſons which the Father hath reſerved in his own Power: And this he doth for this very end, as an ancient Father of the Primi­tive Church hath told us truly and eſpe­cially, Ideò latet ultimus dies, ut obſer­vetur omnis dies, It is to make us careful and watchful, every day and hour, of that laſt day and hour, Omnem crede di­em, &c. And doth not our Saviour him­ſelf tell us as much, and forwarn us, both in the 24. and 25. Chapter of St. Mat­thew's Goſpel, Watch therefore, for ye neither know the day nor the hour where­in67 the Son of man cometh; But whereas you ſay that God hides things on pur­poſe from us, to ſee whether we will do any thing on our own heads, I perceive your meaning is, that God hath ſo hid­den and concealed the day of Christ's Birth from us, to try whether we will celebrate and obſerve it, or no, as both you and others of your Fraternity have made the Compariſon, and vented and vaunted it in the Pulpit, touching the body of Moſes, how God ſhould bury it Himſelf in ſome ſecret place, and keep it from the Knowledge of the Children of Iſrael, leſt they ſhould worſhip and adore it: So you would have the Re­membrance of this day to be buried for ever, and quite obliterated and forgot­ten, leſt we ſhould commit Idolatry to it. Now, touching the body of Moſes, we know it was buried by God, as ap­peareth, Deut. 34.6. that no man ſhould know where his Sepulchre was: There­fore, as learned Fulk anſwereth the Rhe­miſts on the Epiſtle of Jude, at the 9th. verſe; It is like, the Altercation and Combat that is there mentioned to be betwixt Michael the Archangel and the Devil about it, was immediately before68 that time, when the Devil deſired to have the Body of Moſes diſcovered, that it might be abuſed to Idolatry; as it al­waies hath been the practiſe of Sathan to perſecute the Saints while they live, and to make Idols of their Bodies when they are dead. That ancient Father which wrote the Book De Mirabilibus Sacrae Scripturae, which goeth under the name of St. Augaſtine lib. 1. cap. 35. writeth thus of the body of Moſes; For two Cauſes, as wiſe men ſay, No man was privy of his death, nor of his Sepul­chre; Firſt, That no man ſhould ſee that face, which had ſhined through the familiarity of the Lord's Speech unto him, ſtricken down or dimmed with the heavineſs of Death. And then Se­condly, leſt the People of Iſrael, if they had known where his Sepulchre was, ſhould have adored it. Wherefore, as moſt men think, he carried away with him the Rod wherewith he had done Wonders, leſt it ſhould have been ado­red; ſeeing the Children of Iſrael did afterwards adore the Serpent which he made.

But there cannot be the ſame reaſon for the burying of Christ's Birth-day, as69 was for the burying of the Body of Mo­ſes; It is but a lame Similitude, neither can the Compariſon be aequivaleut, or any way co-incident or correſpondent; for Moſes was but a Servant, Christ a Son; and the Servant abideth not in the Houſe for ever, but the Son abideth e­ver, Joh. 8.35. Moſes was a Type and Shadow, Chriſt the Body and Subſtance; the Shadow vaniſheth, but the Body and Subſtance remaineth. Beſides this, the one was but a Man, the other God, even God and Man; and ſhall that be coun­ted Idolatry and Superſtition, which is a holy Worſhip, and devout Service performed to the true God? So that Moſes muſt yield, ſubſcribe, and give way to Chriſt; when he is preſent, the Law muſt depart out of the Conſcience,Iſa. 28.20. and leave the Bed which is ſo ſtrait, that it cannot hold two, to Christ alone: For the Law came by Moſes, but Chriſt hath put an end to the Law, and ſo Grace and Truth came by Jeſus Chriſt,Joh. 1.16. (i. e.) Joy, and Liberty, and Freedom, and Juſtification, and Redemption; for if the Son once ſhall make us free, we ſhall be free indeed. For there is a great Antitheſis, even a great deal of70 diſtance and difference, betwixt Moſes and Chriſt, the Law and the Goſpel; the one being the miniſtration of Death & Condemnation, and the other the mi­niſtration of Righteouſneſſe and Life e­ternal, 2 Cor. 3. And therefore I ſay, to conclude this Point, that this day is not ſo hidden and obſcured from us, but that the very dawning and breaking thereof is diſcovered and deſcryed: For, did not the heavenly Herald proclaim it in the fields of Bethlehem? and did not the Shepherds find it to be true, that very day, according as the Angel had told them? and ſhall we think that there were no Regiſters nor Records of it in that City wherein he was born? and did not that Starr in the Eaſt, ſigni­fying this Day-Star from on high com­ing to viſit us; did it not directly point the Wiſe-men to the place of his Birth? Yea, And Chriſt himſelf told the Jews of this his day,Job, 8.56. ſaying, Your Father Abraham rejoyced to ſee my day, and he ſaw it and rejoyced: Hic Dies Do­mini uil aliud ſignificat quàm Adven­tum Christi in carne, This day of Chriſt (ſaith Beza, on that place in John) ſig­nifieth nothing elſe but his firſt coming71 in the Fleſh, which many Prophets and Kings deſired to have ſeen as well as Abraham; for the Meſſias is cal­led The deſire of all Nations, Hag. 2.8. of whom the Prophets enquired, ſearch­ing when or what time the Spirit, which was in them, ſhould declare the Suffe­rings which ſhould come to Chriſt, and the Glory that ſhould follow, 1 Pet. 1.11. When Balaam had prophecyed of Christ, There ſhall come a Star out of Ja­cob, and a Scepter ſhall riſe out of Iſrael, Numb. 24.17. he brake forth into this Paſſion; Alaſs! Who ſhall live when God doth this? As if he ſhould have ſaid, Happy men are they, who ſhall ſee that glorious Star, and Sun of Righ­teouſneſs, coming out of his Chamber as a Bride-groom; giving light to ſuch as ſit in darkneſs, and in the Shadow of Death: Oh that thou wouldeſt break the Heavens and come down, ſaid the Prophet, Iſa. 64.1. Good old Simeon looked long for this day, and with an earneſt deſire waited for the conſolati­on of Iſrael: So did alſo Joſeph of Ari­mathaea, that honourable Counſellor & great Friend and Well-wiſher to Chriſt; for he alſo himſelf was one of them who72 waited for the Kingdom of God, Luk. 23.51. So did that ancient and reve­rend Father St. Auguſtine, of whom it is reported that he wiſhed he might have ſeen three things eſpecially, Rome in her Glory, Paul in the Pulpit, and Chriſt in the Fleſh. If the Queen of Sheba reputed the Servants of Solomon happy, for that, attending about his Throne,1 King. 10.8. 1 King. 4.33. they heard his Wiſdom dif­courſing of Prees, from the Cedar that is in Lebanon, even unto the Hyſſop that ſpringeth out of the Wall: How bleſſed and happy then may we think were the Diſciples of Christ, in hearing a greater than Solomon, Math. 12.4. and in ſeeing him who was fairer than the Sons of Men, Pſal. 45.3. and in whom alſo are hid all the Treaſures of Wiſ­dom and Knowledge, Coloſ. 2.3.

Anſwer to the eleventh Argument.

In the Eleventh Objection you ſay, It hath not been the Practiſe of Chriſtian Churches to obſerve the Birth-day of Chriſt.


To this I ſay, you deſerve a ſharp re­jection, and a ſerious and ſevere repre­henſion. For it is a meer falſhood, and a groſſe and manifeſt untruth; and I wonder that a man of your account, Countenance and gravity, ſhould ſuffer ſuch an unjuſtifiable thing, to fall ei­ther from your tongue or pen; for I ſay, contrarium hujus argumenti est ve­rum, &, credat Judaus Apella, non ego, believe it who will, for I cannot other­wiſe be perſwaded, but you ſpeak herein that which is contrary to truth: for, be­ſides that it is well known among the Learned, eſpecially by thoſe who are converſant in the large Volumes, and accurate writings of the Ancient Fa­thers; It hath been the annuall and conſtant Practice of the Primitive Church to obſerve it; eſpecially in the time,Auguſt. 118. Epiſt. cap. 7. and ſince the time of Conſtantine the Great, who gave peace to the Church and commanded this Feſtivall time among divers others to be obſerved. Witneſſe Auguſt. con. Aimant. c. 16.118. Epiſt. and in divers of his Ser­mons de Tempore, eſpecially in his ſe­cond and fourth Sermon de Tempore. Witneſſe Fulgentius de dup. Nat. Chri­ſti,74 witneſſe Ambroſe de Incarnat. Do­mini, witneſſe Bernard in his firſt Ser­mon in Nat. Domini. for that ingenu­ous and Religions man, that witty and Godly Father of the Primitive Church, preaching on this day, in that his firſt Sermon, and towards the latter end of it, uttered theſe words, and ſaid, Brevi­tas temporis cogit me contrahere & co­arctare Sermonem meum; the ſhortneſs of the time conſtraineth me to ſhorten my Sermon, at this time; & ne cui ve­strûm ſit mirum, ſi brevis eſſe laboro, Let none (quoth he) wonder if my words be ſhort, ſeeing on this day, God the Fa­ther hath abbreviated his own Word: For whereas it was ſo long and ſo large, that it filled Heaven and Earth (Jer. 23.24. ) it was on this day ſo ſhort, that it was laid in a Manger: I wiſh here un­fainedly, with the ſame devour Bernard in his Sermon in Natalem Domini, that as the Word was made fleſh, ſo our ſtony Hearts may be made fleſh alſo; that we might alwayes meditate on his Sacred Meſſage, and his. Heavenly Goſpell: Unto you this day is born, in the City of David, a Saviour which is Chriſt the Lord: For all our ſound comfort ſtands75 in happineſſe, and all our happineſſe is in the Fellowſhip and Communion with God, and all our Fellowſhip and Communion with God, is by Jeſus. Christ, for ſo that good Divine St. John, tells us in his 1 Epiſt. cap. 2.3. Where­fore alſo, St. Austin uſeth a moſt ex­cellent acclamation, to this purpoſe, in his ninth Sermon de Tempore, which as it is probable, he alſo preached on this day, ô beatum vagitum Infantuli be­ati, oh the bleſſed crying of a bleſſed babe, by which every faithfull ſervant and Son of God, eſcapeth eternal how­lings in Hell; ô ſplendidum & Glorio­ſum praeſepe! Oh famous and glorious Manger, in which our Souls Manna lay! 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the bread of life that came down from Heaven, on which if a man once, &c. ô quàm dites: ſunt panni tui! Oh how Rich and Honourable are the rags which have made plaiſters for our ſores, even for our ſins! I will ſhut up this paſſage with a Hymn of Prudentius.

Mortale corpus ſumpſit immortalitas.
Ʋt dum caducum poytat aeternus deus.
Tranſire nostrum poſſit ad coelestia.

And what ſay you now to theſe things before ſaid? Can