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Thread: Washington Irving on Ye Olde Puritan Christmas

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    Washington Irving on Ye Olde Puritan Christmas

    Washington Irving, Old Christmas:

    The parson gave us a most erudite sermon on the rites and ceremonies of Christmas, and the propriety of observing it not merely as a day of thanksgiving, but of rejoicing; supporting the correctness of his opinions by the earliest usages of the Church, and enforcing them by the authorities of Theophilus of Cesarea, St. Cyprian, St. Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and a cloud more of Saints and Fathers, from whom he made copious quotations. I was a little at a loss to perceive the necessity of such a mighty array of forces to maintain a point which no one present seemed inclined to dispute; but I soon found that the good man had a legion of ideal adversaries to contend with; having, in the course of his researches on the subject of Christmas, got completely embroiled in the sectarian controversies of the Revolution, when the Puritans made such a fierce assault upon the ceremonies of the Church, and poor old Christmas was driven out of the land by proclamation of Parliament.* The worthy parson lived but with times past, and knew but a little of the present.

    Shut up among worm-eaten tomes in the retirement of his antiquated little study, the pages of old times were to him as the gazettes of the day; while the era of the Revolution was mere modern history. He forgot that nearly two centuries had elapsed since the fiery persecution of poor mince-pie throughout the land; when plum- porridge was denounced as "mere popery," and roast beef as antichristian; and that Christmas had been brought in again triumphantly with the merry court of King Charles at the Restoration. He kindled into warmth with the ardour of his contest, and the host of imaginary foes with whom he had to combat; had a stubborn conflict with old Prynne and two or three other forgotten champions of the Round-heads, on the subject of Christmas festivity; and concluded by urging his hearers, in the most solemn and affecting manner, to stand to the traditionary customs of their fathers, and feast and make merry on this joyful anniversary of the Church.

    * See Note C.

    NOTE C.

    From the Flying Eagle, a small gazette, published December 24, 1652: "The House spent much time this day about the business of the Navy, for settling the affairs at sea; and before they rose, were presented with a terrible remonstrance against Christmas day, grounded upon divine Scriptures, 2 Cor. v. 16; 1 Cor. xv. 14, 17; and in honour of the Lord's Day, grounded upon these Scriptures, John xx. I; Rev. i. 10; Psalm cxviii. 24; Lev. xxiii. 7, 11; Mark xvi. 8; Psalm lxxxiv. 10, in which Christmas is called Anti- Christ's masse, and those Mass-mongers and Papists who observe it, etc. In consequence of which Parliament spent some time in consultation about the abolition of Christmas day, passed orders to that effect, and resolved to sit on the following day, which was commonly called Christmas day."
    Andrew

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    Crazy Roundheads! I thought Cromwell liked roast beef.
    The man who is disposed to think of his sin as a great calamity, rather than as a heinous crime, is not likely either to reverence God or to respect His law. - John Kennedy, 1873
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    Quote Originally Posted by turmeric View Post
    Crazy Roundheads! I thought Cromwell liked roast beef.
    He did. Haven't you ever heard of the Rump Parliament?

    ~Jay~
    Husband of ENS, father of J II. | Indian Trail, NC
    disabled - cancer
    Communicant Member, Precentor | Presbyterian Reformed Church of Charlotte, NC | Presbyterian Reformed Church

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybird0827 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by turmeric View Post
    Crazy Roundheads! I thought Cromwell liked roast beef.
    He did. Haven't you ever heard of the Rump Parliament?

    The man who is disposed to think of his sin as a great calamity, rather than as a heinous crime, is not likely either to reverence God or to respect His law. - John Kennedy, 1873
    Meg
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    Member, Intown Presbyterian Church,PCA, Portland, OR

    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jaybird0827 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by turmeric View Post
    Crazy Roundheads! I thought Cromwell liked roast beef.
    He did. Haven't you ever heard of the Rump Parliament?

    If I could give you an anti-thanks I would for that bad pun.
    Chris Thomas | Grace Reformed Baptist Church | Bonham, TX

    Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam!
    So if ye destroy the Letter of the Scripture, you do destroy the Scripture; and if you do deny the Letter, how is it possible that you should attain to the true sense thereof, when the Sense lies wrapped up in the Letters, and the words thereof?
    Samuel Rutherford - A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience
    Blog: The Biblical Thinker

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    Actually, when Cromwell sent the rump parliament home, the English had rump roast for dinner to celebrate the event and lit bonfires all over London. (a very unsafe practice that was habitual with them during the 17th Century)
    The man who is disposed to think of his sin as a great calamity, rather than as a heinous crime, is not likely either to reverence God or to respect His law. - John Kennedy, 1873
    Meg
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    Member, Intown Presbyterian Church,PCA, Portland, OR

    Click to get: Board Rules -- Signature Requirements -- Suggestions?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by turmeric View Post
    Actually, when Cromwell sent the rump parliament home, the English had rump roast for dinner to celebrate the event and lit bonfires all over London. (a very unsafe practice that was habitual with them during the 17th Century)
    Yes but one of those fires was a result of the Doctor's intervention.

    The Great Fire of London was started as a result of a Terileptil weapon overloading in London in 1666, the resulting explosion destroyed the building located in Pudding Lane. (DW: The Visitation)
    Chris Thomas | Grace Reformed Baptist Church | Bonham, TX

    Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam!
    So if ye destroy the Letter of the Scripture, you do destroy the Scripture; and if you do deny the Letter, how is it possible that you should attain to the true sense thereof, when the Sense lies wrapped up in the Letters, and the words thereof?
    Samuel Rutherford - A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience
    Blog: The Biblical Thinker

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The PuritanBoard exists to promote robust discussion of theology in a Confessionally Reformed context. The modern trend of short statements of faith belies the many places where the Scriptures teach with great clarity. Though our respective Reformed confessions sometimes disagree, we believe that Churches have been given the gifts of teachers and elders to lead to the unity of the faith and the result of that unity is a Confessional Church confessing together: "This is what the Scriptures teach." The Confessions are secondary to the authority of Scripture itself but they arise out of Scripture as a standard exposition of the Word of God.