Page images

and from that time forward, hath still been retain'd till the late Rebellion, when this, and many other good things grew into disuse: But at the Restauration they were again reviv'd by the Aet of Uniformity, whereby the Liturgy, as amended by Convocation, is eitablished; for in this Liturgy, which this Act authorizes

, there are Epifles, Gospels, and Collects appointed to be read on Holydays, and the Curate is to give notice on the Sunday before, what Holy. days are to be observed the Week folloving: And the Preface of that Act intimates it to be Schismatical to refuse to come to Church on Holydays ; and by this Act, 1 Eliz. is declard, to be in full force; and by i Eliz. all Persons are oblig'd to refort to their Parish Church on Holy. days, as well as Sundays, upon pain of Punishment by the Censures of the Church, and likewise upon pain of 12 d. for every Offence, to be levied by Distress.

The Statute Law has made a Distinction in this last Age betwixt Sundays and other Holydays. For all Pastimes, out of their own Pa. rishes, are forbid People on the Sunday, under

Penalty of 35. 4 d. or being set in the Stocks 6 three Hours; i Car. I. c. 1. and all Work, and

worldly Business, or Travelling without a 6 License from a Justice, is forbid on this Day,

under 5 s. Penalty; and Goods expofed to Sale are forfeited, by 29 Car. II. c. 7. By the same Law, any Process served on the fame Day is

void, and he that serves it is punishable, as it * he had done it without Warrant. Farther, he * that goes with a Waggon, or travels with a


[ocr errors]

on pain

Drove, forfeits 20 s. and a Butcher killing Meat, or selling it, os. 8 d.4 Car. I. c. I.

By Stat, 27 Hen. VI. c. 5. Fairs and Markets are forbid to be kept on Afcenfion-Day, AllSaints, Good-Friday, and every Sunday in the Year (the four Sundays in Harvest excepted)

of forfeiting the Wares to the Lord of the Franchise. This is still in Force, save that the Four Sundays in Harvest, are by latter Acts to be kept as other Sundays.

But the Parliament never saw juft occafion to make any penal Law against Clergy men, for negle&t of their Office on that Day,which thews how diligent they have been in this main part of their Duty, or at least, how great a Care the Bishops have taken to prevent, or supply any Defe£t in this particular.

If the Clergy have not of late Years been fo frict in observing other Holydays, it is chiefly to be attributed to the backwardness of the People, who either thro' false and superstitious No. flons, or an immoderate pursuit of Worldly Profit and Pleasure, are not easily drawn togeher to worship GOD on these Days.

The Bishops indeed have the same Power to blige their Clergy to observe other Holydays,

at they have to oblige them to keep Sundays: Put there are several penal Laws, whereby all cople are bound to go to Church on Sundays: and these Laws are in force against all Persons Wat do not go, either to Church, or some other eligious Allembly on that Day. (See Tolerati.

AL.]. But not against Diljeniers, who do pt publickly worship GOD on Holydays. he Ad of ift Elizabeth is indeed in full Force

K 2


against those who are not Dissenters, but if they Thould be prosecuted on this Act, this were one effectual way to make them so. By the Canon Law People were obliged to forbear all Work on these. Holydays of Obligation, even such Works as were profitable to the Commonwealth : But our Statute Law is not so severe: And even by the Act of Convocation made in 1536, the People were permitted to work in Harvest on all Holy days, Sundays not excepted.

There is in our Liturgy a Table, containing the Days of Fasting and Abftinence. By Fafting or Abstinence, I think none of our Church understand, forbearing Flesh, and eating Fish, Tho' by Statute 5 Elizab. 5. ftill in Force;

none may eat Flesh on Fith-Days, without " License from the Bishop or Minister, under

Penalty of three Pounds in Money, or three Months Imprisonment without Bail, and for ty Shillings Forfeiture to him that conceals it : But this is declared to be a meer political

Law, and he who fays 'tis necessary to abstain • from Fleshi, for the Service of GOD, shall be

punish'd as a spreader of false News'; that is be imprison'd till be produce the Autbor,Stat. 34 Edw. III. c. I. and if he cannot produce the Author, be shall be punish'd by the King's Coun cil, 12 Richard II. c. II. · By - this Act, Wednesday, ( not falling Christmas, or Easier-Week) is made a Fith-Day yet one Dish of Flesh to three of Fish, is al Žow'd on this Day, of which it is said, the it had not beretofore been used as a Fish-Dy By Stat. 27. cap. 11. of Elize the foregoing A is repeal’d, so far forth only as it concernsey

[ocr errors]

ing Fish, or prohibiting Flesh on Wednesdays, is not having before that Aet been used as a Fish Day. Stat. 35 of Eliz. c. 7. Sect. 22. restrains the Forfeiture for eating Flesh on Fridays, to 205. or one Months Imprifonment; and for concealing of it to 13s. 4 d. any thing in the said Stat. (Stat. 5 of Eliz.) to the contrary not withstanding. This supposes the A&t yet in Force. The Stat. I Jac. I. c. 29. speaks of the 5th of Eliz. as yet in Force in Se&t. i. and iv. Therefore tho’this Act of Eliz. was at first only temporary, it is certain it was made perpetual by some following Statute; and Wingate, the Abridger, puts it as a perpetual Aět, (tho' what relates to Wednesday, ought to be except. ed) yet Bishop Gibson prints it as a repealed Act, and a late Writer affirms it fo to be; but without Cause for so doing. By Statute 2, 3 Edw. VI. c. 19. the Penalty of eating Flesh on Fish-Days: is 10 s, and ten Days Imprisonment for the first Offence; 20s, and twenty Days Imprisonment for the second. The Aết is declared to be made on Confideration, that due, and godly Abftinence is a Means to Virtue; but especially that Fishers may be set at Work, and that by eating Fish, much of Flesh may be saved and increased.

But, I suppose, our Days of Abstinence are to pe kept, by forbearing those Pleasures and Vaieties of Meats and Drinks, and Diversions, which we may at other times innocently enjoy. Bellarmine says, that the Feasts and Fasts of he Church, habent mitiffimam obligationem. Ve of the Church of England, act as if we hought so too.

Befides the stated Feafts and Fafts of the Church, there are other Days prescribed to be obferv'd by Aet of Parliament, viz.

The Fifth of November, as a Day of Thankl. giving for the Discovery of the Gunpowder. Treason ; and the Statute for keeping the Day, is to be read after Morning Prayer, or Preaching on the saine Day.

The 29th of May, as an Anniversary Thankf. giving for the Restauration of the Royal Family and the Church; the Act 12 Car. II. C. 14. to be read on the Sunday next before.

The zoth of January, as a Day of publick Humiliation, for the Murder of K. Charles I. by virtue of a Clause in the A&t for Attainder of several Persons guilty of the borrid Murder of bis late Sacred Majesty K. Charles the Firs. 12 Car. II. c. 30. confirmed by 13 Car. II. C. 7. neither of which A&ts, nor the Clause relating to this Day are order'd to be read in the Church and it is to be observed, that by the Words of the first Act, if this Day fall on a Sunday, 'tis to be kept on the next Day. For it is a Rule al. ways observed not to fast on Sunday ; because

, that is the stated Christian Feaft in all Churches, but those of Rome, and Scotland. For the Church of Rome, contrary to the ancient Pra&tice, obliges her Votaries to Abftain (as they call it) on Sundays, as well as other Days in Lent : And in Scotland State-Fafts are often appointed on the fame Day.

Some have question’d, by what Law the Fasts, and Thankfgivings appointed by the King, are observ'd, and by what Authority the Office for the Day appointed by Act of Parlia.


« PreviousContinue »