Preface

Thesis : The Birthday of our Saviour Jesus Christ, the 25th of December ought yearly to be kept holy by all Christians.

Peter the apostles chief, and Christ’s companion, did Prophecy [ 2 Peter 2:1] that in the latter days there should come false cheaters; the word I confess in our Translation is Teachers, but we may read either, for they are both one; the word doth anagrammatize the other, and both words and deeds do prove them to be the same in these days, when Cheaters turn Teachers, and teachers Cheaters; cheating Christ of his glory, denying the Lord that bought them, themselves of salvation, bringing upon themselves swift destruction: the way of truth, of its reputation, making it to be evil spoken of, Christ of his followers, they following them, and men of their monies, with feigned words, making merchandise of them.

These days are now upon us, and now these men, these unclean spirits like unto Frogs [Rev 16:3] do not only creep into houses, and lead captive filly women, as Paul foretold [2 Tim 2:6], but even to their bed chambers, and beds, as those that plagued Egypt; and not only there but openly and abroad like so many tinking copper smiths, cry down Christ Jesus to magnify the Diana of their own inventions; upon the pikes of whose opinions, Christ and his truth are tossed daily in such a severe manner, that it is now grown disputable, whether Christ suffered more in his body, by the fury and violence of the hand, or in his Divinity, and Divine Ordinances, by the scourge and sting of venomous and depraving tongues; denying not only the Lord that bought them, but all that any way belongs to him, leaving him more naked then he was between the two thieves upon the cross, who stole nothing from him. One would have him no God; another no man; this again would have him a mere man, and that denies him a true body; on strips him quite of flesh, another clothes him with it, but makes it sinful; this would have him an Angel, that little better than a Devil, or at least that he used one. One forsakes the Assembly of Saints, another his Sacraments: One denies his Prayer to be said, another his Birthday to be kept, as if his coming to save sinners were not worth the thanksgiving. Thus when men meddle too much with Christ, he gives them over to themselves and will have nothing to do with them, and then every head is frantic with a strange opinion, and that with some wild fantasy, which all meet in the same improbability, and foot [uncertain in text] following falsehood.

My task must be to confute them that do deny that the twenty fifth day of December, the day whereon our Saviour Christ came into the world, is to be kept holy. In traversing of which, give me leave to make use of that Apology unto all ( in this case ) which Ambrose did once to Gratian the Emperor, in the case of Christs Divinity, Lean not so much to my strength of Argument and disputation, as to sacred authority and proof: Let us ask the Scriptures, Patriarchs, Prophets, Evangelists, Apostles and Christ; le me add ( for both my task and industry require ) Churches, Fathers, etc. Let us ask of the former days, and them that are more aged then we, the sacred Ecclesiastical Histories. Let’s give Antiquity her due, and not paddle in a new raised puddle at our own doors, while we may have our fill at a pure and clear fountain, where of while we drink therein, we may see the truth cleared which we maintain.

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