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1. Preliminary Remarks

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XXII. Sacred Seasons of the Puritans

1. Preliminary Remarks

Natural religion, as enlightened by original revelation however deteriorated, has long instructed man, that he has sins enough for humility and mercies enough for gratitude. Hence it is, that ancient as well as modern nations, the history of whose worship has come down to our day, have had their seasons for giving expression to such affections of the soul. Hence, also, the wisdom of God in requiring this service from his once favored people. In accordance with such example, the primitive Christians adopted days, commemorative of events, as full of interest to them, as others had been to the Jews. These days were so far increased by the Catholic church and so far observed by the Episcopal church of England, as to meet, for the most part, with the disapprobation of Dissenters. Among the last denomination, who sought for greater simplicity in the forms of worship, was the celebrated John Robinson. His church in Leyden believed with him, that no other holy days should be observed, except sabbaths and occasional fasts and thanksgivings.

The portion of his flock, who resolved to forsake Europe and make their home in America, for the sake of purer society and the spread of the gospel, had several seasons of fasting and prayer, as preparatory to so important an enterprise, within a few months, before they sailed for South Hampton. So disposed, they would sooner have thought of parting with all their worldly substance, than of omitting duties of public thanks and humiliation before their Maker. The same times, which they hallowed in their European pilgrimage, were engraved too deeply on the calendar of their sacred occasions, to be thus forgotten in their more perilous, needy and changeful pilgrimage in this country. Hence, with their hopes and fears, their purposes and piety, they brought hither the observance of fasts and thanksgivings.

Prince's New England Chronology, pp. 66, 69, 70.

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