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Why doth one day excel another?
Ecclus. xxxiii., 7, 8, 9.
It has been suggested to the writer of these Tracts, that having now carried out his intention of issuing one for each of the principal Festivals and Holy Seasons of the Church, many would like to have them in a collected form, so that they might be placed in the Parish or Family Library
The first ten tracts relate to our Redeemer; the eleventh to the Pentecostal Gift; the twelfth to the ever blessed Trinity; and the thirteenth to the Saints and Servants of God. There is, also, one added on the subject of Harvest Festivals, and one for the New Year.
There are, however, many persons who object to the observance of Times and Seasons altogether. But does not the Church act wisely in bringing the Facts and TRUTHS relating to our Redemption periodically before us? Without it, there would be danger of some one Doctrine, or some one Fact, being overlooked. But She, in the course of Her year, brings them all in turn before us, and in this way would teach us the lessons to be drawn from each as they come round. And besides which, Do not such objectors keep the birthdays of the several members of their families, or the anniversaries of their deaths as times of rejoicing, or of mourning ? How then can they refuse to celebrate those periods connected with the Birth, Life, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection, and Triumphant Ascension of our Blessed Lord; or of those His Servants who have trod in
The GREATER our LOVE for Him, the more naturally are we led to take notice of the times set apart to commemorate those Sufferings and Triumphs.
PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD.
The two greatest festivals of the Christian Church are Christmas and Easter—the former festival being that on which our Saviour was born, the other that on which He rose from the dead. But the Church, before she calls upon us to rejoice on these holydays, sets apart a season in which she would have us look back upon our past life, repent of our sins, and flee to Him for pardon: that so we may be able to rejoice in a proper spirit when the festival day arrives.
The season so set apart before Christmas is called Advent-which means "coming"-and includes the four weeks preceding the celebration of our Saviour's birth. In ancient times, it was usually observed as a period of fasting, prayer, and penitence.
This holy season is the beginning of the Church's year. She "does not number her days or measure her seasons so much by the motion of the sun as by the course of our Saviour: beginning and counting on her year with Him, who, being the true Sun of Righteousness,' began now to rise upon the world, and, as the Day-star from on high,' to enlighten them that sat in spiritual darkness."
The Church, at Christmas, keeps a very great and holy feast.
And if suddenly, in your every-day frame of mind, without thought or preparation, you