Note, that the Collect appointed for every Sunday, or for any Holy-day that hath a Vigil or Eve, shall be said at the Evening Service next before.
THis Saints day is the first that is kept solemn, because he first came to Christ, and followed him before any of the other Apostles, S. John 1. 38. He brought his brother Simon to Christ, 42. He it was that said, We have found the Messiah, and therefore his day is right set at the beginning of Advent for ever, to bring news De Advent. Domini, of the Advent or coming of our Lord.
W. St. Andrew’s day.] This Apostle leads the van in the rubric of our saints, some conceive because he “ first came to Christ, and followed Him before any of the other Apostles.” John i.88. Reason good he should have that honour, were this infallibly certain, whereof the Scripture gives slender assurance, for the words of the evangelist are, “the two disciples heard Him speak, and they followed Jesus,” so that there were two disciples; one of them indeed was Andrew, but he being mentioned jointly with the other, (who most probably was St. John himself,) priority and posteriority cannot be admitted. Andrew, true it is, first revealed the Messiah to his brother Simon, yet this is no argument that he came the first of the Apostles unto Christ: and where it is said that these two disciples followed Christ, yet it is not thence inferrible that they followed Christ as disciples, but out of curiosity; for clear it is they continued still in their vocations, until they had their call, Matt. iv. 18, as is evidently demonstrated by the learned annotator on that place, and by Mr. Casaubon before him. In the Latin translation of our liturgy, anno 2 Eliz., I find a collect for St. Andrew different from the English, which I shall set down.
Omnipotens Deus, qui dedisti beato Andree Apostolo tuo, ut acerbam et ignominiosam crucis mortem duceret sibi pro magna gloria: tribue ut omnia nobis adversa pro nomine Tuo, ducamus profutura ad eternam vitam conducibilia, per Christum Dominum nostrum.
Almighty God, who didst give to Thy holy Apostle St. Andrew to account it his great glory to suffer the bitter and ignominious death of the cross: grant unto us that what we endure for Thy sake, we may also esteem profitable and conducible to eternal life, through Jesus Christ.
WHereas other Saints martyrdoms, or at least the dayes of their death are celebrated by holy Church; S. Pauls Conversion is made the Holy-day. For these reasons:
X. The Conversion of Paul.] This posthume Apostle, though he came late into Christ’s livery, yet gives us this account of his service, that he toiled, sweat, and laboured more in Christ’s vineyard than all the rest, 1 Cor. xv. 10, and therefore hath gained the reputation to be understood, when we think fit to say no more than “the Apostle;” and if such an eminent saint should not be assigned a room amongst his fellow Apostles in the memorials of the Church, it may to any seem a wonder; yet, in part, so hath it come to pass: for though he hath in the service of our Church as much respect as the best of them, yet both in the calendar and catalogue he seems with his companion Barnabas to be omitted. The truth is, I do not observe so high a value set upon him by the Romish Church as his labour hath merited; for in the Roman order, where the litany gives the names of all the other Apostles and canonized saints, only St. Paul and Barnabas are missing in that nomenclature: in their ancient calendars indeed, and that prefixed to King Henry the Eighth’s primer, though his conversion be not dignified with a rubric note, yet is he yoked with St. Peter on the twenty-ninth of June, that day bearing the dedication of St. Peter and St. Paul; upon which consideration perhaps our reformers forbare the allotting him any other day peculiar to himself.
SOme Churches keep four Holy-daies in memory of the blessed Virgin, namely, The Annunciation, the Assumption, the Nativity, and Purification. Our Church keeps only the Purification and Annunciation which are common to her and our Blessed Lord.
The Purification is a double Feast, partly in memory of the Virgins purification (this being the fourtieth day after the birth) which she observed according to the Law, Leviticus 12. 4. though she needed it not: but chiefly in memory of our Lords presentation in the Temple, which the Gospel commemorates.
Our Saviour thus presented in the Temple, offered himself alive Oblation for us, that so the whole obedience of his life might be ours.
This day had one solemnity of old peculiar to it: namely, Procession; the order and manner of which I shall set down briefly out of S. Bernard.
We go in Procession two by two, carrying Candles in our hands, which are lighted, not at a common fire, but a fire first blest in the Church by a Bishop. They that go out first return last; and in the way we sing; Great is the glory of the Lord. We go two by two, in commendation of Charity and a social life; for so our Saviour sent out his Disciples. We carry lights in our hands: First, to signifie that our light should shine before men. Secondly, this we do this day especially in memory of the wise virgins (of whom this blessed Virgin is the chief) that went to meet their Lord with their Lamps light and burning. And from this usage and the many lights set up in the Church this day, it is called Candelaria or Candlemas. Because our works should be all done in the holy fire of Charity; therefore the Candles are light with holy fire. They that go out first, return last, to teach humility, in humility preferring one another, Phil. 2. 3. Because God loves a cheerful giver, therefore we sing in the way. The Procession it self, is to teach us, that we should not stand idle in the way of life, but proceed from vertue to vertue, not looking back to that which is behind, but reaching forward to that which is before.
For the Antiquity of this day, see Cyril. Alex. Gregory Nys. in diem. And for the Feast of the Annunciation Athanas. Ser. de Dei para.
Y. The Purification of St. Mary the Virgin.] This feast is called by the Greeks ὑπαπαντὴ, whichsignifieth “a meeting,” because Simeon and Anna the prophetess met at the presentation of our Saviour in the temple: Nicephorus ascribeth the institution thereof to Justinian the emperor, about the year 550. Whether Justinian first instituted it, or whether he established its cecumenical celebration, which perhaps before was but provincial, that author is not express enough; with us in the vulgar language it is called Candlemas day, because, saith a learned bishop, the lights formerly used all winter through in the evening service were then laid aside, according to the proverb, “ On Candlemas day, lay candles away :” but more properly from the former custom of bearing tapers lighted in procession upon this day, in imitation of the five wise virgins represented in the parable, Matt. xxv., as St. Bernard delivereth, or to put Christians in remembrance of Christ, the spiritual light, of whom Simeon did prophesy, as is read in the Church that day.
Z. The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary.] There pass two homilies, the one under the name of Gregorius Neocesariensis, the other of Athanasius, which were preached on this day: but in regard they are both impostures, the youngest being at least six hundred years after Christ, as the ora pro nobis sufficiently demonstrateth, I shall not urge them; nor indeed could the celebration of this day consist with the canons of the Church at that time, because it fell in Lent, a time of fasting and humiliation, wherein the council of Laodicea decreed, ὁτὲ οὐ δεῖ μαρτύρων γενέθλιον ἐπιτελεῖν, “ that the birthdays or passions of the martyrs,” and consequently other festivals, “be not celebrated ;” nor do I find any mention of this festival in any piece I dare confide in before the sixth general council in Trullo, where the fifty-second canon stands thus; ἐν πάσαις ταῖς τῆς ἁγίας τεσσαρακοστῆς νηστειῶν ἡμέραις, παρεκτὸς σαββάτου καὶ κυριακῆς καὶ τῆς ἁγίας τοῦ εὐωγγελισμοῦ ἡμέρας, γινέσθω ἡ τῶν προηγιασμένων ἱερὰ λειτουργία: i.e. “ that in all the days of the Lenten fasts, unless it be on the Sabbaths, Lord’s days, or on the holy Annunciation day, the service of the elements before consecrated be performed.”
WHereas in the Primitive Church, the Apostles had not several days of solemnity; it was appointed that one day should be allowed for them all; namely, in the Latin Church, the Calends or first of May: in the Greek, the Feast of S. Peter and S. Paul. Afterwards, when the other Apostles had peculiar days appointed, this first of May was left to S. Philip and S. Iacob, because it was thought that they suffered upon that day. Thus Durandus and some other deliver it: but upon further enquiry it seems to be a mistake; for if (as hath been proved in the discourse upon S. Stephens day) Martyrs and other Saints had their several days observed in the first times, it is not probable, that the Apostles, those Founders of Churches, those Princes over all Lands (as they are called Ps. 44. 10.) should be hudled up all into one day, and have a less respect given them by the Church than other Saints and Martyrs had. I conceive therefore that they had several days allowed them as well as other Saints: and this mistake of Durandus was occasioned by this, that in some old Martyrologists, this Feast of Philip and Iacob, was called the Feast of S. Philip and Iacob and all the Apostles, and in some, the Feast of Philip and Iacob and All-saints. The reason of which was not, because the Apostles had no other Feasts appointed them but only this, but because the Feast of Philip and Iacob is upon the Kalends of May, and so falls within the Paschal Solemnity betwixt Easter and Whitsuntide; All which time the Church of old was wont to commemorate not one Saint alone, but altogether; and therefore not Philip and Iacob alone, but all the Apostles and Saints together with them: The reason of which was, saies Gemma de Antiq. Mis. rit. cap. 140. Because in our heavenly Country, which that time signifies, the joy of all is the joy of every one; and the joy of every Saint, the common joy of all. Or because as Micrologus says, De Eccl. Offic. c. 55. At the general Resurrection (of which Easter solemnity is a type) there is a common Festivity and joy of the Righteous.
The Philip this day commemorated, was Philip the Apostle, whom the Gospel mentions, not Philip the Deacon. Yet the Church gives us a Lesson Acts 8. concerning him; and it was a thing not unusual in ancient Martyrologies to commemorate divers of the same name on the same day.
The Iames that is commemorated this day is not one of the sons of Zebedee whose day is kept in Iuly, but Iames who was called the brother of our Lord, the first Bishop of Ierusalem; who wrote the Epistle called the Epistle of S. Iames, part of which is this day read.
This day hath no Fast, because it falls betwixt Easter and Whitsuntide. See the Feast of Circumcision.
AA. Philip and Jacob.] In ancient martyrologies this day was styled the feast of Philip and Jacob and All Saints. All Saints was indeed its first and most genuine appellation ; upon which account, as the western Church observed this very day, so also did the eastern, or at least some other in temporality and point of time very near it, for St. Basil, preaching upon this or the like day, saith, ἐπὶ τῇ μεγίστῃ τῶν μαρτύρων ἄγομεν THY μνήμην σήμερον : 1. 6. “ for the most part we celebrate the memory of the martyrs”(martyrs, not of one martyr) “this day.” Now what this day was, at the end of that homily he is more explicit ; ἡ αὐτὴ ἡμέρα ἡμῖν opifer τὸν παρελθόντα κύκλον Kal κεφαλὴ γίνεται παλὶν τῷ ἐπερχομένῳ : “this very day determineth the year past, and commenceth that which is to come;”evidently denoting New Year’s day. Now the primitive Christians of the east began their year in April, (which they called Hecatombeon,) in honour of their Easter, and so the distance of time could not be much. As to the original of its institution, it was this: the Apostles, evangelists, and martyrs, luminaries of the greatest magnitude, being honoured with days of single appropriation, it was withal considered that very many others, though of inferior note, had yet sacrificed their lives in defence of the Catholic faith, and it was requisite their honour should in some competency be provided for; to gratify it with the assignation of a particular day to every one, being so numerous, was impossible, therefore the best expedient was to celebrate their memories by one day allotted to all, whereby God might be glorified for them, as comprehended under one constellation.Why this feast was translated to the calends of November, ritualists give a probable, though earthy and sensual account, viz. because of the scarcity of victuals in the spring, and plenty at the time of the defoliation, or fall of the leaf: so Durandus', Biel, and others.
As to the persons now commemorated on this day, the first is Philip, not the evangelist; neither the collect, second lesson, nor gospel of our Church speaks him so, but the Apostle; and not he because he suffered on that day, as chronologers and ritualists of the Romish Church assert. Late tradition, I confess, hath crucified him, and so Johannes Euchaitensis delivers, ἶσον Πέτρῳ δίδωσι Φίλιππος μόρον, “ Philip came to the same end with Peter :” but neither Eusebius nor Jerome, who followed him, knew of any such thing, and Clemens Alexandrinus, who lived near up to the Apostles’ times, is positive to the contrary: Ματθαῖος, Φίλιππος, Θωμᾶς, Acvi's οὐχ ὡμολόγησαν τὴν διὰ τῆς φωνῆς ὁμολόγιαν καὶ ἐξῆλθον: “Matthew, Philip, Thomas, and Levi, did not suffer as Christian confessors.” The next is James, not he the son of Alpheus, nor he the son of Zebedee, but James the brother of our Lord; though the Greek menology fixeth this day upon the second.
WE celebrate the birth of S. John Baptist, and of our Saviour, For these reasons:The Births of both were full of joy and mystery. Our Saviours we have already observed. Now for S. Johns, it is plain, there was more than ordinary joy at his birth, S. Luke 1. 14. And full of mystery and wonder it was. As a Virgin conceived our Lord, so a barren woman brought forth S. John, S. Luke 1. 36. Again, his birth was prophetical of our Lord, whom he saluted out of his mothers womb. Lastly, his birth was made memorable by the prediction of the Angel Gabriel, S. Luke 1. 19.
There was formerly another Holy day for the beheading of S. John Baptist; but our Church keeps only this Holy-day in memory of him, wherein though she principally commemorates his mysterious Nativity, as you may see in the Gospel; yet she does not omit his Life and Death; his Life and Office in the Morning Lessons are recorded. His death is related in the Second Lesson Evening, and the Collect prayes for grace to imitate his example, patiently suffering for the Truths sake.
BB. St. Peter’s day.] This day was not dedicated to Peter alone, but to Peter and Paul jointly; and in the Romish Church June 13th is allotted entirely for the commemoration of St. Paul. The coupling of these two Apostles together in one festival is no late invention, for Theodorus Lector, mentioning a petition of one Festus a Roman senator to Anastasius the emperor for the celebration of the memory of these two champions of the Church, Peter and Paul, he saith, “it was never kept with such splendid solemnity as then,” an argument of its existence before.
HOly Church holds a Feast in memory of the holy Angels. First, because they minister to us on earth, Heb. 1. 14. being sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation. Secondly, because they fight against the Devil for us, by their prayers and recommendation of us and our condition at the throne of grace; as appears by the Epistle, and the Gospel at the end of it.
The Church in this Feast particularly commemorates S. Michael, because he was Prince or tutelar Angel of the Church of the Jews, Daniel 10. 13. 12. 1. and so of the Christian Church: For the Church, which was once in the Jews, is now in the Christians.
BEcause we cannot particularly commemorate every one of those Saints in whom Gods graces have been eminent, for that would be too heavy a burthen: and because in these particular Feasts, which we do celebrate, we may justly be thought to have omitted some of our duty, through infirmity or negligence: therefore holy Church appoints this day, in commemoration of the Saints in general.
Other Holy-dayes not here spoken of, are either mentioned in other places, or need no other explication than what already hath been said in general of Holy dayes, and their Readings.