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“ Luke and St. Matthew, some of the ancient “ Church took Occasion, as on this Day, to go “ in Procession with Palms in their Hands, and “ to denominate it Palm-Sunday.”
But however harmless this Custom might have been, in the Times of its first institution, it is certain, that in after Ages it sunk into Superstition and gross Idolatry. Thus the Rhemists, in their Translation of the New Testament, describe the Ceremony themselves : “ These Offices of Honour, done to “ our Saviour extraordinarily, were very ac-, “ ceptable. And for a Memory hereof, the “Holy Church maketh a solemn Procession "every Year upon this Day; specially in our “Country, when it was Catholick, with the “ Blessed Sacrament revérently carryed, as it “ were CHRIST upon the Ass, and strawing of .“ Bushes and Flowers, bearing of Palms, set“ ting up of Boughs, spreading and hanging “ up the richest Clothes, the Quire and Qui “ resters singing, as here the Children and the • People; all done in a very godly Cere“ mony, to the Honour of Christ, and the “ Memory of his Triumph upon this Day. “ The like Service, and the like Duties done " to him in all other solemn Processions of
S4 . “ the
“the Blessed Sacrament, and otherwise, be “undoubtedly no' less grateful. Dr. * Fulke “ upon this, gives this Answer: “ Your Palm“ Sunlay Procession was horrible Idolatry, " and abusing of the Lord's Institution, who “ ordained his Supper to be eaten and drunken, “ not to be carryed about in Procession like a “ Heathenish Idol : But it is pretty Sport, that “ you make the Priests that carryeth this “ Ido!, to supply the Room of the Ass, on “ which CHRIST did ride: Thus you turn the “ Holy Mistery of Christ's riding to Jerusa“ lem, to a May-game and pagent Play. And “ yet you say, such Service done to CHRIST “ is undoubtedly exceeding grateful;' yea, no “' less grateful, than that was done by his Dis“ciples, at the Time mentioned in the Text : “ Your Argument and Proof is none, but your “ bare Asseverations. That which the Disci“ ples did, had the warrant of the Holy Scrip
ture; but who hath regarded these Thea“ trical Pomps at their Hands? Or what Word
of God have you to assure you that he ac“ cepteth such Will-worship? Who detesteth " all Worship, which is according to the Doc
i trines and Traditions of Men, and not after “ his own Commandment.”
From this superstitious and idolatrous Custom, without all doubt it comes to pass, that we now and then, on a Pulm-Sunday, see the young People carrying Branches of Palms in their Hands; which they seem fond of having that Day, and which they as little regard at . other Times. It is true indeed, it is a Relick of the ancient Superstition of the Papists, but as it is now intirely stript of any Superstition, ard is an Emblem of the Season, and the Transactions of that Day; so I see no harm in so innocent an Observation.
But how much better would it be to carry in our Hands this Day, * the Palm of good Works, the Graces of Humility, and Kindness, and Charity, to feed the Hungry, to give drink to the Thirsty, to clothe the Naked, to entertain the Strangers, to visit the Sick and in Prison, fc. By such Actions as these, should we truly carry Palms in our Hands; by these we should truly straw the Way for our LORD, and so follow his Steps to the Heavenly Jerusalem.,
* Ramos debent fideles portare, id est bona opera.Opera miserecordiæ sunt, vestire nudos, colligere hospites, errantės revocare, visitare infirmos, &c. Bed. Tom. 7. P. 369.
OBSERVATIONS ON CHAP. XXII.
There can be no Doubt but that Palm-Sunday, the Dominica in Rainis Palmartım, was so called from the Palm Branches and green Boughs formerly distributed on that Day, in Commemoration of our Lord's riding to Jerusalem*. Sprigs of Bor Wood are still used as a Substitute for Palms in Ro. man Catholic Countries.-Stow, in his Survey of London, tells us," that in the Week before Easter, " had ye great Shewes made, for the fetching in of a. twisted Tree, or With, as they termed it, out of “ the Woods into the King's House, and the like " into every Man's House of Honour or Worship.” This must also have been a Substitute for the Palm: Thus it is still customary with our Boys to go out and gather the Willow Flowers or Buds at this Time. These seein to have been selected, because in the North they are generally the only Things at this Season, in which the Power of Vegetation can be discovered.
The Russians (of the Greek Church) have a very solemn Procession on Palm Sunday.
* In Fuller's Church History, p. 222, we read, “ Bearing of H Palms on Palm-Sunday, is in Memory of the receiving of Christ “ into Hierusalem a little before his Death, and that we may have ** the same Desire to receive him into our Hearts.” Provision is made for retaining the Rites used on Palm-Sunday, and we have also the Reasons told us why they should be retained, in the Convocation, in the Time of Henry 8th, referred to in the Observations on the preceding Chapter.
Of rising early on Easter Day: What is meant by
the Sun dancing that Morn: The Antiquity of rising early on this Day; the End and Desigủ. of it; the great Advantage of it.
IT is a common Custom among the Vulgar and uneducated Part of the World, to rise before the Sun on Easter-Day, and walk into the Fields; The Reason of which is to see the Sun Dance; which they have been told, from an old Tradition, always dances as upon that Day. We read indeed that the Sun once * stood still, but whether the Sun danced upon the very Day our Saviour rose on, we cannot tell; It's very probable it did not, because the Scriptures are silent; and that it never did so since, I think we may be well assur’d; forasmuch as never any, that we have heard of, have seen any such Thing since that Time. If therefore this Tradition hath any Meaning, it must be a metaphorical one; that when the Morning proves clear, there is a seeming Smile over the Face of Nature, and Earth and Hea
* Josh. X: