Methinks what hath been said already might persuade any reasonable christian to the due observation of the day. But alas, I find of late, [people] in England, to whom Christ came and they received him not, John 1:11. Who unless they see signs and wonders, they will not believe, and then neither; so stupid they are, and obstinate yet whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, whether they will believe or continue in unbelief, and believe no man but themselves; let them know, that divers and sundry miracles have been wrought in diverse nations, upon the twenty fifth day o December, to confirm it to have been the very day of our Saviour’s Birth; as the Fountain of Ogle(?) breaking out in Rome, the tongue tying of the Divels Oracles, the amity of the Beasts, and many more, which you may find in Gregory Turonensis, which I may not now repeat; but especially two wrought here in England, confirming that the keeping of the day, upon the twenty fifth of the fore said month, according to the old Julian account, is authentic, true and orthodox.
The one is the oak in the new forest sacra jovi quercus, an oak consecrated to the Son of God, left as a lasting witness to this truth, even there, where so many churches were demolished, wherein it should have been preached. Abraham the father of the faithful, feasted the son of God in the likeness of man, even Abraham that rejoiced to see his day, and saw it, and was glad, under the Oak of Mamre, and this oak so long after desires to show unto the faithful, the day of his incarnation, and to solemnize the same by wearing every year upon this very day, new and green leaves upon it: as showing to posterity, that as this day Truth sprung out of the earth of Mary’s womb, and righteousness looked down from heaven; signifying also, that in his days the righteous should flourish, and that the should grow up as a tender plant in a dry ground, his fruit should shake like Lebanon and be green as grass upon the earth; that he is the chief of our strength, and that as the leaves, bark , and fruit of that tree are all medicinal, so should Christ be that Tree of Life, Rev 22:2 whose leaves should heal the nations.
The other is that thorne by Glastenburie, growing as the tradition goes, on Josephs Grave. But whether that be true or no, I know not, it may be; this I am certain, that the whole country cries it up for a truth, and a known one, that time out of mind, even to this day, it hat every year blossomed in full measure, upon the twenty fifth day of our December near that place where Joseph of Arimathea, that buried our Saviour’s Christ, first arrived, and first preached the gospel in this our Island, to witness to all posterity, that our Saviour’s Christ did as that Day, bud and blossom out of the earth.
That very thorn in a mysterious manner, pricing deep, and reproving to the quick, the dead unthankfulness of many men, while that poor thorn, as it were, in way of thankfulness to its Creator, doth gratefully shoot forth his blossoms upon the very day of his birth, who did honor and grace all thorns so much, as to wear a crown of thorns upon the day of his death; and signifying by the white blossoms that the King that was born that day, and wore the thorny crown when he died, is now risen again, and wears a crown of glory; and moreover, by the long livedness of the same, intimates to dull mortals, that he that was that day born, and died on Good Friday, corned in that manner, is still alive, and lives forevermore. And further yet, that those men that are of such a thorny disposition, and touchy froward behavior as not to suffer their souls as this day to send out the white and pleasant blossoms of thanksgiving, for his birth, shall at the day of their death, like thorns that are dead, be cast into unquenchable fire. Christ then coming to destroy all such briers and thorns, as the soldiers of the King of Ashur, are called, who came to destroy Jerusalem the holy city, Gods Temple, priests, and ordinances, and to put an end to the solemn feasts, Isa 10:17 to whom for such an intention the prophet tells them, that the light of Israel should be for a fire, and his holy one for a flame, and it should burn and devour all such briers and thorns in one day: And shall consume the glory of his forest, and his fruitful field, both soul and body, ver 18
What shall I say more ? But, that if the things that have been done in England, had been done among the wild and savage Americans, they had believed in Christ, and honored his day long ago: But here is the condemnation that the marvelous light as this day came into the world, and that this day, was the day of its coming, hat been among us of this Island, believed, and yearly is confirmed by miracles, and yet many blinded ones among us, both clergy and laity, shut their eyes and will not see, loving darkness rather than light.
Pardon me ( or will you not, choose ) for I am full of godly jealousy for the honor of my Saviour’s Birthday, and will affirm even to my last breath, that it was upon the twenty fifth day of December, and is every year to be kept holy, and that Dies Dominica, that Lords day by way of eminence, from which our Lords day, kept every first day of the week, doth take its denomination, and name, rather then from that of the resurrection, and that it was that Lords day mentioned by St. John Revel 1:10 upon which he was in the spirit, upon which Christ Jesus did appear unto him in that glorious shape, which is the opinion of diverse and good divines; and the first primitive fathers do also persuade me to believe it, while they, in their writings, as Zanchie well observes, do affirm, that the churches of God did everywhere, in their time, yearly and solemnly celebrate the feast of the Lords Day, besides the Feast of the Passover, Easter, and the Resurrection, as the chief feast in the year, as a distinct feast from the same.
This great and principal feast then, of the Lords Day, could be no other ( being by them so precisely distinguished from the day of Christs Resurrection ) but the feast of Christmas, or the day of our Lords Nativity, from which, and not from Easter day, all the Sundays in the year, became to be called Lords days, the truth whereof will appear as clear as the sun, to any that will take the pains to compare Ignatius in his epistle, ad Magnes, with Justin Martyr, apol 2. ad finem, Euseb lib 4. c. 23 Iraeneus l 4. c. 23 ad Victorem Romanum apud Sozomen: Tertullian lib de idolat pag 376 lib de Corona Militis, Augustine Tom 2. ep. 119. ad Januar decivit dei lib 22 c. 30 de verbis Apostolis Ser 15. Cyrill in Johan lib 17. cap 58 Euseb lib 1. cap. 23,24 Socrates lib 5. cap 22 And to shutup all, take here the words of a most eminent divine, whose learning and piety hat placed him beyond exception, Bishop Andrews ( I mean ) in his sermon upon John, chap 8 verse 56. There is ( saith he ) no day so properly Christs, as his Birthday, which may appear, if we set it in comparison with other days of most honorable note, as the day of his Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension: for the day of his Passion, that was not so properly his, because two Thieves suffered with him at the same time, in the same place, after the same manner, Luke 23:32,33. Nor the day of his Resurrection, for as he rose from the dead, so did others, the same day, and went into the holy city, Mat 27:52,53. Nor the day of his Ascension, for Enoch and Elias, had their ascension too, and long before his, Gen 5:24, 2 Kings 2:11. But his Birthday was without a fellow: None ever so born, none ever so both such; and therefore ( as no festivity is besides it ) it is attended as Christ himself, with an apostolical retinue of Holidays.