Modern Divines

In the next place, we add the testimony of the best and most famous divines of those reformed churches, who concerning the keeping of these festivals, stoutly maintain, both by scripture and reason, what their churches delivered in their confessions.  I shall name only the chief.

First Calvin, Instit. lib 4. cap 10. In verba Augustin: approves the keeping of them, and in his epistle to Hallerus, sorrows very much that these festival days were put down in diverse places.  And moreover for the day of Christs birth, he saith and avoucheth, that the day of Christs birth was better known then that it should now be called into question; and calls the anabaptists that question it, Aerti Daemones, Aerie Divels.  And accordingly the church of Geneva doth annualy celebrate it, as we may read in Perths Assembly confuted. p. 85.   And in France, their most notable preachers give the communion on that day.

Secondly, Zanchie, that treasure of learning and knowledge, Vol 4. lib. I cap. 19 in quartam precept: thesi secunda, proves at large, that it was kept holy in the purer times, and that it ought to be so kept, and yearly observed by all true Christians at this day by sound reasons, which you shall read ……….

Thirdly, Zwingli, rector of the church of Zurich, accounts the birthday of our Lord among those holidays that he would have observed [citation unclear].

Fourthly, Bullinger [citation unclear] saith, Though it is no where said that the  Lords day was enjoined in the writings of the apostles; yet because in the fourth commandment of the first table the care of religion, and the diligent exercise of outward worship is commanded it were contrary to piety, and Christian charity, not to sanctify the Lords Day, especially seeing that outward worship cannot consist without a set time, and an holy rest:  the same we ought to judge of the holidays, or feasts of our Lord Christ, in which we celebrate the memory of his his nativity, incarnation, circumcision, passion, resurrection, ascension, in to heaven, and sending down the holy ghost upon his disciples.

Fifthly, Palanus, professor of divinity in the University of Basil, placeth the feast of Christ’s nativity under the title of The Anniversary Feast of the New Testament; which he defines to be holy times appointed among Christians for the worship of go d in public; that is, to maintain the consent of the faith among themselves, for the preaching of Gods word, and the use of the sacraments, and with one accord to yield due worship unto God in the due sacrifice of thanksgiving, prayers, and alms.  Syntagma Theolog. lib. 9. c. 35.

Sixthly, John Gerhard professor of divinity in the University of Jena (?), who hath gathered together many godly sentences out of the ancient fathers, for the furtherance, and help of our meditations on the day of Christs Nativity.

And what should we say more ?  For the time would fail us, to tell of Melancthon, in Responsione protestantium.  Festus Hommius, in the name of all the reformed Churches, coll: Antibellar: aisp: 41 thesi 3.  Of Bucer in Matth. cap 12 loco de feriis.  Of Ursin, Tract. Theol: in 4. praecep: Of Hemmingius lib: hom: Of Chytraeus in desposit: Epistol: Sub initio: of our countryman Hooker, Eccl. pol. l. 5.  Of famous Andrews, in his sermons; of learned Reynolds, in his conference with Hart, c. 8. divis: secunda, and many others, famous for piety and learning, who by their sermons, writings, examples, have justified the yearly observation of Christs Birthday, upon the 25th of December, grounding upon the word of God, the traditions of the Apostles, and the practice of the primitive and reformed churches.


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