The 1647 English Parliament on Christmas



The History of the Puritans, by Daniel Neal, vol. 2, pp. 458-459.  This quote was compiled by Andrew Myers.

Among the ordinances that passed [British Parliament] this year [1647] for the reformation of the Church, none occasioned so much noise and disturbance as that of June 8, for abolishing the observation of saints’ days, and the three grand festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide; the ordinance says,

‘Forasmuch as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holydays, have been superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained, that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holydays, be no longer observed as festivals; any law, statute, custom, constitution, or canon, to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.

The king [Charles I] was highly displeased with this ordinance; and therefore, while the affair was under debate, he put this query to the Parliament commissioners at Holmby House, April, 23, 1647.

‘I desire to be out-resolved of this question, Why the new reformers [Puritans] discharge the keeping of Easter?  My reason for this query is, I conceive the celebration of this feast was instituted by the same authority which changed the Jewish Sabbath into the Lord’s Day or Sunday, for it will not be found in Scripture where Saturday is discharged to be kept, or turned into the Sunday; wherefore it must be the Church’s authority that changed the one and instituted the other; therefore my opinion is, that those who will not keep this feast may as well return to the observation of Saturday, and refuse the weekly Sunday. When anybody can show me that herein I am in an error, I shall not be ashamed to confess and amend it; till when you know my mind. C.R. [Carolus Rex, Charles, the King]’

Sir James Harrington [1607-1680] presented his majesty with an answer to this query, in which he denies that the change of the Sabbath was from the authority of the Church, but derives it from the authority and example of our Saviour and his apostles in the New Testament; he admits that, if there was the like mention of the observation of Easter, it would be of Divine or apostolical authority; but as the case stands, he apprehends, with great reason, that the observation of the Christian Sabbath, and of Easter, stands upon a very different footing.



See Also

Historic Reformed Quotes on Religious Holidays


Related Pages

The Regulative Principle of Worship

The Change of the Sabbath to the First Day