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triumphant return from the dead. This, Justin Martyr assures us, was the original of the title. "Upon Sunday," says he, "we all assemble and meet together, as being the first day wherein God, parting the darkness from the rude chaos, created the world, and the same day whereon Jesus Christ our Saviour rose again from the dead; for he was crucified the day before Saturday, and the day after (which is Sunday) he appeared to his apostles and disciples" by this means observing a kind of analogy and proportion with the Jewish Sabbath, which had been instituted by God himself. For as that day was kept as a commemoration of God's Sabbath, or resting from the work of creation, so was this set apart to religious uses, as the solemn memorial of Christ's resting from the work of our redemption in this world, completed upon the day of his resurrection. Which brings into my mind that custom of theirs so universally common in those days, that whereas at other times they kneeled at prayers, on the Lord's-day they always prayed standing, as is expressly affirmed both by Justin Martyr and Tertullian; the reason of which we find in the author of the Questions and Answers in Justin Martyr, "It is," says he, "that by this means we may be put in mind both of our fall by sin, and our resurrection or restitution by the grace of Christ; that for six days we pray upon our knees, as in token of our fall by sin; but that on the Lord's-day we do not bow the knee, does symbolically represent our resurrection by which through the grace of Christ we are delivered from our sins, and the power of death." This, he there tells us, was a custom derived from the very times of the apostles, for which he cites Irenæus in his book concerning Easter; and this custom was maintained with so much vigor, that, when some began to neglect it, the great council of Nice took notice of it, and ordained that there should be a constant uniformity in this case, and that on the Lord's-day (and at such times as were usual) men should stand when they made their prayers to God. So fit and reasonable did they think it to do all possible honor to that day on which Christ rose from the dead. Therefore we may observe, all along in the sacred story, that after Christ's resurrection the apostles and primitive Christians did especially assemble upon the first day of the week: and, whatever they might do at other times, yet there are many passages that

intimate that the first day of the week was their more solemn time of meeting. On this day it was that they were met together when our Saviour first appeared to them, and so again the next week after and on this day they were assembled when the Holy Ghost so visibly came down upon them, when Peter preached that excellent sermon, converted and baptized three thousand souls. Thus, when St. Paul was taking his leave at Troas, upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, i. e., as almost all agree, to celebrate the holy sacrament, he preached to them, sufficiently intimating that upon that day it was their usual custom to meet in that manner, and elsewhere giving directions to the church of Corinth (as he had done in the like to other churches) concerning their contributions to the poor suffering brethren, he bids them lay it aside upon the first day of the week, which seems plainly to respect their religious assemblies upon that day, for then it was that every one according to his ability deposited something for the relief of the poor, and the uses of the church.

After the apostles the Christians constantly observed this day, meeting together for prayer, expounding and hearing of the Scriptures, celebration of the sacraments, and other public duties of religion. "Upon the day called Sunday," says Justin Martyr, "all of us that live either in city or country meet together in one place;" and what they then did he there describes, of which afterwards. This, doubtless, Pliny meant, when, giving Trajan an account of the Christians, he tells him that they were wont to meet together to worship Christ stato die, upon a set certain day; by which he can be reasonably understood to design no other but the Lord's-day; for, though they probably met at other times, yet he takes notice of this only, either because the Christians, whom he had examined, had not told him of their meeting at other times, or because this was their most public and solemn convention, and which in a manner swallowed up the rest. By the violent persecutions of those times the Christians were forced to meet together before day. So Pliny in the same place tells the emperor that they assembled before daylight to sing their morning hymns to Christ, whence it is that Tertullian so often mentions these nocturnal convocations. This gave occasion to their spiteful adversaries to calumniate and as perse them. The heathen in Minucius charges

them with their night congregations, upon which account they are there scornfully called Catebrosa et lucifugaz natio, an "obscure and skulking generation;" and the very first thing that Celsus objects to is, that the Christians had private and clancular [secret] assemblies, or combinations. To which Origen answers, "that, if it were so, they might thank them for it who would not suffer them to exercise it more openly; that the Christian doctrine was sufficiently evident and obvious, and better known through the world than the opinions and sentiments of their best philosophers; and that, if there were some mysteries in the Christian religion which were not communicated to every one, it was no other thing than what was common in the several sects of their own philosophy. But to return.

They looked upon the Lord's-day as a time to be celebrated with great expressions of joy, as being the happy memory of Christ's resurrection, and accordingly restrained whatever might savor of sorrow and sadness. Fasting on that day they prohibited with the greatest severity, accounting it utterly unlawful, as Tertullian informs us. It was a very bitter censure, that of Ignatius (or of whosoever that epistle was, for certainly it was not his), that whoever fasts on the Lord's-day is a murderer of Christ. However, it is certain that they never fasted on those days, no, not in the time of Lent itself; ́nay, the Montanists, though otherwise great pretenders to fasting and mortification, did yet abstain from it on the Lord's-day. And, as they accounted it a joyful and good day, so they did whatever they thought might contribute to the honor of it. No sooner was Constantine come over to the church, but his principal care was about the Lord'sday. He commanded it to be solemnly observed, and that by all persons whatsoever. He made it to all a day of rest; that men might have nothing to do but to worship God, and be better instructed in the Christian faith, and spend their whole time without anything to hinder them in prayer and devotion, according to the custom and discipline of the church. And for those in his army, who yet remained in their paganism and fidelity, he commanded them upon Lord's-days to go out into the fields, and there pour out their souls in hearty prayers, to God; and, that none might pretend their own inability to the duty, he himself

composed and gave them a short form of prayer, which he enjoined them to make use of every Lord's-day: so careful was he that this day should not be dishonored or misemployed, even by those who were yet strangers and enemies to Christianity. He moreover ordained that there should be no courts of judicature open upon this day, no suits or trials at law; but that for any works of mercy, such as emancipating and setting free of slaves or servants, this might be done. That there should be no suits nor demanding debts upon this day was confirmed by several laws of succeeding emperors; and that no arbitrators, who had the umpirage of any business lying before them, should at that time have power to determine to take up litigious causes, penalties being entailed upon any that transgressed herein. Theodosius the Great, anno 386, by a second law ratified one which he had passed long before, wherein he expressly prohibited all public shows upon the Lord's-day, that the worship of God might not be confounded with those profane solemnities. This law the younger Theodosius some years after confirmed and enlarged, enacting, that on the Lord's-day (and some other festivals there mentioned) not only Christians, but even Jews and heathens, should be restrained from the pleasure of all sights and spectacles, and the theatres be shut up in every place; and whereas it might so happen that the birthday or inauguration of the emperor might fall upon that day, therefore, to let the people know how infinitely he preferred the honor of God before the concerns of his own majesty and greatness, he commanded that, if it should so happen, that then the imperial solemnity should be put off, and deferred till another day.

I shall take notice but of one instance more of their great observance of this day, and that was their constant attendance upon the solemnities of public worship. They did not think it enough to read and pray and praise God at home, but made conscience of appearing in the public assemblies, from which nothing but sickness and absolute necessity did detain them: and if sick, or in prison, or under banishment, nothing troubled them more than that they could not come to church, and join their devotions to the common services. If persecution at any time forced them to keep a little close, yet no sooner was there the least mitigation, but they presently returned to their open duty, and publicly met

all together. No trivial pretences, no light excuses, were then admitted for any one's absence from the congregation, but, according to the merit of the cause, severe censures were passed upon them. The synod of Illiberis provided that if any man dwelling in a city (where usually churches were nearest hand) should for three Lord's-days absent himself from the church, he should for some time be suspended the communion, that he might appear to be corrected for his fault.



THE parish of St. Dennis is one of the most pleasant parts of the county in which it is situated. It is fertile, well wooded, well watered, and of an excellent air. For many generations the manor had been holden in tail-male by a worshipful family, who have always taken precedence of their neighbors at the races and the sessions.

In ancient times the affairs of this parish were administered by a Court Baron, in which the freeholders were judges; and the rates levied by select vestries of the inhabitant householders. But at length these good customs fell into disuse. The lords of the manor indeed still held courts for form's sake, but they or their stewards had the whole management of affairs. They demanded services, duties, and customs to which they had no just title. Nay, they would often bring actions against their neighbors for their own private advantage, and then send in the bill to the parish. No objection was made, during many years, to these proceedings, so that the rates became heavier and heavier; nor was any person exempted from these demands, except the footmen and gamekeepers of the squire and the rector of the parish. They indeed were never checked in any excess. They would come to an honest laborer's cottage, eat his pancakes, tuck his

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