We come therefore in the next place, to prove, that all the protestant churches beyond the seas, ever since the reformation, have in their several congregations, religiously kept the feast of our Saviour’s Nativity, according to the use of the primitive church, upon the 25th day of December, and have accounted it, and maintained it to be their duty so to do; and not only the feast of the Nativity but of the circumcision, passion, resurrection, ascension, and pentecost, as is manifested at large in the Harmony of their Confession, lately printed in English, to which I refer the English reader. As also by their several confessions, general practice and the testimonies of their reverend and learned divines.
First for the confessions. We shall not urge the words of every one of them in particular, because it would be to tedious, and because they are the same in substance, and the grounds and reasons of each accord: Two or three therefore of the chief shall suffice.
And first shall be the Augustana Confession [ AD1520 ], exhibited to the Emperor, Charles the fifth, in the year One thousand, five hundred, and thirty. The words whereof in the fourth article, are as followeth.
We teach ( say they ) that we ought not to condemn those traditions, which appoint nothing contrary to Gods Commandments, and have a civil use, or end, to with, for good order in the Church: such are the traditions concerning Holidays, Christs Birthday, Easter, and the rest; and those ancient customs we willingly retain in our Churches.
The second shall be the Bohemian Confession, published in the year 1532. cap. 16.
We keep the Lords day holy, and those chief festivals which are consecrated to the Commemoration of Christs works, his Nativity, Passion, Resurrection, etc. As also those which are consecrated to th ememory of Saints; as of the Virgin Mary, the Apostles, and other Saints, especially of those whom mention is made in holy writ. All these things are done of us, by the Authority of Gods word, and in worship of God, and for his glory.
The third shall be the latter Confession of Helvetia, published in the year 1566 which was Subscribed by all the churches of ______, Poland, Hungary and revolted Scotland, as Alfred doth witness in the 37th chapter of hi sChronology, page 392. edition ___: 1650.
They in their 24th Chapter, tell us much, If the Churches according to their Christian liberty, do, or shall religiously celebrate the memory of our Lords Nativity, Circumcision, Passion, resurrection, Ascension into Heaven, and sending of the Holy Ghost upon hte Disciples, we do in especial manner approve of it.
Note here I pray you, to the Scotts everlasting shame, that all the Churches or Kirks of Scotland, did subscribe this Confession of Helvetia, and that now at this day they generally speak against the keeping of Christs Birthday. How true then is our Northern Proverb, As false as _____ ? No marvel then if they ______ their King, that thus slight their faith, and despise the comming of the King of Kings.
Nay more, they have herein with Ephesus, forsaken their first love, for if we read the life of William Cooper, Bishop of Galloway, in the 12 page we may find, that hte Scottish Church for 800 years after Christ, before it was polluted with Popery, did give the Communion upon the 25th day of December by them accounted the day of Christs Nativity: which is also avouched by Mr. Ley, in his Sunday a Sabbath, page 173.
With these forementioned confessions, agree all the rest, as that of the four cities, Argentine, Constance, Memmimge, and Lindavia, called by some, the Confession of Sweethland, published in th eyear 1530. That of Basil, 1531, that of Saxonse, 1551, that of Wittemberg, 1552, that of France, 1559 that of Germany 1556.
Add to thse the joint answer of the Protestants, in the year 1541 with the consent of all the Reformed churches of Poland, the greater and the lesse; also the churches of Russia, Lithuania, Samgoitia, in that famous Synod of Sendmore, in the year 1570 Denmark, Swede, and all the Lutherans, as appears by Luthers Hymns sun by them upon the day.
Add lastly to them all the late National Scottish Covenant, wherein the words that are to be voewd protested, and sworn by them that take it are
That they sall endeavour the reformation of the Church of England, in Doctrine, Discipline,a nd Worship, according to Gods Word, and the Example, and Practice of the best reformed Churches.
Now all the best reformed churches keep the day of Christs Birht, as a day o fholy worship, and thanksgiving, even all of them at this day, and ever since their reformation. Then, I beseech you note, that whosoever he be, or whether a faithless Scotsman, or a Scottified Englishman, that hat taken that Covenant, and doth not endeavour, and labour yearly to keep holy the twenty fifth day of December, or the annual day of Christs Nativity, is in plain English and Scoth, absolutely forswon, for not worshipping God and Christ thereupon, in the public congregation, as they of the best reformed churches do.