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CH A P. XV. Of the Christmass-Carol, an antient Custom: The common Observation of it, very unbecoming. 181

CH A P. XVI. Of New Year's Days Ceremonies : The New Year's

Gift an harmless Custom: Wishing a good New-Year, rio way finful: Mumming a Custom, which ought to be laid aside.

187 CH A P. XVII. Of the Twelfth-Day; how observed: The Wickedness

of observing the Twelve Days after the common Manner.

199 CH A P. XVIII. Of St. Paul's-Day: The Observation of the Weather,

a Custom of the Heathens, and handed down by the Monks: The Apostle St. Paul, himself is against such Observations: The Opinion of St. Austin upon them.,

208 CH A P. XIX. Of Candlemass-Day; why it is so called: The Blaf

phemy of the Church of Rome in consecrating WaxCandles.

220 CH A P. XX. Of Valentine Day; its Ceremonies: What the Council

of Trullus thought of such Customs; that they had better be omitted.

225 CH A P. · XXI. Of Shrove-tide; what it signifies: The Custom of the

Papists at this Seafon : That our present Customs are very unbecoming.

CH A P. XXII. Of Palin-Sunday; why so called: How observed in the

Popish Times: What it is truly to carry Palms in our Hands on that Day.

236 CHAP


CH A P. XXIII.. Of rifing early on Easter-Day: What is meant by the

Sun-dancing that Morn: The Antiquity of rising early on this Day: The End and Design of it: The great Advantage of it.

241 CHA P. XXIV. Of Easter Holy-days; a Time of Relaxation from Labour:

How observed in the dark Ages of Popery: That our Customs at this Time, are Sprung from theirs, 249

CH A P. XXV. . Of May-Day; the Custom of going to the Woods the

Night before: This the Practice of other Nations : The Original of it: The Unlawfulness. 255

CHA P. XXVI. Of Parochial Perambulations; their Antiquity; the Benefit and Advantage of them.

263 CH A P. XXVII. Of Midsummer-Eve: Of kindling Fires, their Origi

nal: That this Custom formerly was Superstitious ; but now may be used with Innocence.

271 CH A P. XXVIII. Of the Feast of Sheep-shearing, an ancient Custom. 282

CH A P. XXIX. Of Michaelmass: Guardian Angels the Discourse of

the Country People at this Time : That it seems rather true, that we are protected by a Number of Angels, than by one particular Genius. 288

CHA P. XXX. Of the Country Wake : How observed formerly: A Cuf

tom of the Heathens, and regulated by Gregory the Great.

296 CH A P. XXXI. . Of the Harvest-Supper: A Custom of the Heathens,

taken from the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. 303

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T Radition has in no Instance fo clearly evinced her Faith

1 fulness, as in the transmitting of vulgar Rites and popular Opinions.

Of these, when we are desirous of tracing them backwards to their Origin, many lose themselves in Antiquity.

They have indeed travelled down to us through a long Succession of Years, and the greatest Part of them, it is not improbable, will be of perpetual Observation: for the generality of Men look back with superstitious Veneration on the Ages of their Forefathers : and Authorities, that are grey with Time, seldom fail of commanding those filial Honours, claimed even by the Appearance of hoary old Age.

Many of these it must be confessed are mutilated, and, as in the Remains of antient Statuary, the Parts of not a few of them have been awkwardly transposed: they preserve, however, the principal Traits, that distinguished them in their Origin.

Things, composed of such flimsy Materials as the Fancies of a Multitude, do not seem calculated for a long Duration ; yet have these survived Shocks, by which even Empires have been overthrown, and preserved at least some Form and Colour of Identity, during a Repetition of Changes, both in religious Opinions, and in the Polity of States.

But the strongest Proof of their remote Antiquity, is, that they have outlived the general Knowledge of the very Causes that gave rise to them.

The Reader will find in the subsequent Pages an Union of Endeavours to rescue many of these Causes from. Oblivion. If, on the Investigation, they appear to any so frivolous as got to have deserved the Pains of the Search, the humble Labourers will avoid Censure, by incurring Contempt.

How trivial foever such an Enquiry may seem to some, yet all mur be informed that it is attended with no small share of Difficulty and Toil..

A Passage is to be forced through a Wilderness intricate and entangled: few Vestiges of former Labours can be found


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