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Notes from Daniel Neal’s History of the Puritans and Certain Puritan Theologians
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1843), in 2 volumes.
All references are direct quotations except as noted individually, including the use of brackets. Spelling has not been modernized.
Daniel Neal, born December 14, 1678, died April 4, 1743. First volume published in 1732, the second in 1733, the third in 1736; the fourth and last volume in 1738.
Volume 1, page 406-7
[The King resolved to impeach five members of the House of Commons for high treason; the members were Denzil Hollis, Sir Arthur Haslerigge, John Pym, John Hampton, and William Stroud.]
… accordingly, his majesty sent his attorney-general to the House with the articles (January 3, 1642), and at the same time despatched officers to their houses to seal up their trunks, papers, and doors; but the members not being ordered into custody, as his majesty expected, the king went himself to the House next day in the afternoon (January 4) to seize them, attended with about two hundred officers and soldiers, armed with swords and pistols…. The king having entered the House, went directly to the speaker’s chair, and looking about him, said, with a frown, ""I perceive the birds have fled, but I will have them wheresoever I can find them…."
[The five men had fled to London. On January 8, 1643, the King issued a command to] … all magistrates and officers of justice to apprehend theaccused members and carry them to the Tower.
[The citizens of London refused to deliver the five men to the King, and petitioned the King to allow the men to remain and liberty, and took the opportunity to express their concerns about the ruin of trade and the danger of the Protestant religion due to the rebellion in Ireland and the number of papists at court. The King, then at Whitehall, fortified that place with men and ammunition. In the meantime,] … a thousand mariners and sailors offiered to guard the five members to Westminster by water upon the day of their adjournment (January 11), and the train bands offered the saem by land, which was accepted …. Things being come this extremity, his majesty, to avoid the hazard of an affront from the populace, took a fatal resolution to leave Whitehall, and accordinlgly, January 10, the day before Parliament was to meet, he removed with his queen and the whole royal family to Hamptom Court, and two days after to Windsor, from whence he travelled by easy stages to York; never returning to London till he was brought thither as a criminal to execution.
Volume 1, page 422
[Ordinance of September 10, 1643, and effective November 5th, numerous ecclesiastical positions were abolished by a bill entitled "An Act for the utter abolishing and taking away of all archbishops, bishops, their chancellors and commissarties," &c. The act absolished, among others, the title and function of vicar choral and chorister.]
Volume 1, page 423
Though the Parliament and Puritan clergy were averse to cathedral-worship, that is, to a variety of musical instruments, choristers, singing of prayers, anthems, &c., as unsuitable to the solemnity and simplicity of Divine service, yet it was not prohibited…. [1642-3]
Volume 1, page 424
As is usual in times of public calamity, so at the breaking out of the civil way, all public diversion and recreations were laid aside. By an ordinance of September 2, 1642, it was declared, that "whereas public sports do not agree with public calamities, nor public stage-plays with the season of humiliation, this being an exercise of sad and pious solemnity, the other being spectacles of pleasure too commonly expressing lascivious mirth and levity, it is therefore ordained that, while these sad causes and set times of humiliation continue, public stage-plays shall cease and be forborne; instead of which are recommended to the people of this land the profitable duties of repentance, and making their peace with God."
The set times of humiliation mentioned in the ordinance reefers to the monthly fast appointed by the king at the request of Parliament (January 8, 1641), on account of the Irish insurrection and massacre, to be observed every last Wednesday in the month as long as the calamities of that nation should require it.
Volume 1, page 445
[Parliament enacted an ordinance on February 15, 1642-43, which included a bill entitled "An Act for the suppression of divers innovations in churches and chapels in and about the worship of God and for the due observation of the Lord’s Day, and the better advancement of preaching God’s Holy Word in all parts of the kingdom." The bill required, inter alia:]
That all alters and rails be taken away out of churches and chapels before April 18, 1643, and that the communion-table be fixed in some convenient place in the body of the church. That all tapers, candlesticks, basins, crucifixes, crosses, images, pictures of saints, and superstititious inscriptions in churches or churchyards, be taken away or defaced. [The bill provided an exception for images, pictures or monumnets for the dead.]
[Church organs were also moved from many churches, page 456.]
Volume 2, page 20
[Parliament, hearing objections to the psalter of Sternhold and Hopkins, approved and authorized the use of the Psalms published by Mr. Rouse.]
Volume 2, Pages 55-56
Among the ordinances that passed this year for 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, and Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holydays, have been heretofore 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.
And that there may be a convenient time allotted for scholars, apprentices, and other servants, for their recreation, be it ordained, that all scholars, apprentices, and other servants, shall, with the leave of their masters, have such convenient, reasonable recreation, and relaxation from labour, every second Tuesday in the month throughout the year, as formerly they used to have upon the festivals'; and masters of scholars, apprentices, and servants, shall grant to them. respectively such time for their recreation, on the aforesald. Second Tuesday in the month, as they may conveniently spare from their extraordinary necessary service and occasions; and if any difference arise between masters and servants concerning the liberty hereby granted, the next justice of peace shall reconcile it."
The king was highly displeased with thyis 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 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." [Charles Rex, that is, Charles the King]
Sir' James Harrington 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.
The changing the festival of Christmas into a fast last winter  was not-so much taken notice-of, because all-parties were employed in acts of devotion; but when it returned this year , there appeared a strong propensity in the people to observe it; the shops were generally shut, many Presbyterian ministers preached; in some places the common prayer was read; and one or two of the sequestered clergy getting into pulpits, prayed publicly for the bishops; several of the citizens of London, who opened their shops, were abused; in some places there were riots and insurrections, especially in Canterbury, were the mayor, endeavouring to keep the peace, had his head broke by the populace, and was-dragged about the streets; the mob broke into divers houses .of the most religious in the town, broke their windows, abused their persons, and threw their goods into the street, because they exposed them to sale on Christmas Day.  At length, their numbers being increased to above two thousand, they put themselves into a posture of defence against the magistrates, kept guard, stopped passes, examined passengers, and seized .the magazine and arms in the town-hall, and were not dispersed without difficulty. The like disorders were at Ealing, in Middlesex, and in several other counties. The Parliament, was alarmed at these disorders, and therefore commanded all papists and delinquent clergymen to retire without the lines of communication, and punished some of the principal rioters as a terror to the rest, it being apparent that the king's party took advantage of the holy days to try the temper of the people in favour of his release, for during the space of the following twelve years, wherein the festivals were laid aside, there was riot the least tumult on account of the holydays, the observation of Christmas being left as a matter of indifference.
Volume 2, Pages 73
By an ordinance of February 11 this year , "all stage players were declared to be rogues , punishable by the acts of the 39th of Queen Elizabeth and 7th of King James, notwithstanding any license they might have from the king or any other person. All stage galleries, seats, and boxes, are ordered to be pulled down by warrant of two justices of peace; all actors in plays for time to come being convicted shall be publically whipped, and find sureties for their not offending in like manner for the future; and all spectators of plays for every offense are to pay five shillings."
Volume 2, page 468, from Number VIII, The Directory for the Public Worship of God, 1654 (Agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster; examined and approved, Anno 1654. By the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and ratified by Act of Parliament the same Year).
Of Singing of Psalms
It is the duty of Christians to praise God publicly, by singing of psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family.
In singing psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered; but the chief must be to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.
That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to have a psalm-book; and all others, not disabled by age or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him, and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm line by line, before the singing thereof.
Christmas is a wonderful, cheerful holiday. Whether we spend it by a
real tree or someBalsam
Hill artificial Christmas trees, at the end of the day
what matters is that we enjoy our time together with our loved ones.
The Hymns and Carols of Christmas
Douglas D. Anderson