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and to stand before the Son of man.” That the primitive believers saw an end of these shadows of good things, by coming to him in whom all figures and shadows end, is evident by the words of the apostle Paul: “For Christ,” said he, “is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Rom. x. 4. “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also is he the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Heb. viii. 6. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Col. ii. 16, 17. And the same apostle thus expostulated with some who it appears had fallen from the true faith in these respects: “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.” Gal. iv. 9, 10, 11. Whilst therefore, it is our earnest concern that we may be found worshipers within the temple, it is affectionately desired that our members may be individually cautious not to give occasion of additional suffering to the truly conscientious amongst us, by any compliance with such observances as our worthy ancestors were rightly concerned to bear testimony against. ADVISED, that all friends keep to the simplicity of truth, and our ancient testimony, in calling and writing the months and days by scripture names,(that is the numerical,) and not by the heathen. 1697. And that you may the more clearly discern the importance of that Christian testimony borne by our predecessors in this case, we recommend what follows to your serious consideration, viz.
A brief account of the origin of the names of some months of the year, and of all the days of the week, now customarily and commonly used. I. January was so called from Janus, an ancient king of Italy, whom heathenish superstition had deified, to whom a temple was built, and this month dedicated. II. February was so called from Februa, a word denoting purgation by sacrifices ; it being usual in this month for the priests of the heathen god Pan to offer sacrifices, and perform certain rites, conducing, as was supposed, to the cleansing or purgation of the people. III. March was so denominated from Mars, feigned to be the god of war, whom Romulus, founder of the Roman empire, pretended to be his father. IV. April is generally supposed to derive its name from the Greek appellation of Venus, an imaginary goddess worshiped by the Romans. V. May is said to have been so called from Maia, the mother of Mercury, another of their pretended ethnic deities, to whom in this month they paid their devotions. go
VI. June is said to take its name from Juno, one of the supposed goddesses of the heathen.
VII. July, so called from Julius Caesar, one of the Roman emperors, who gave his own name to this month, which before was called Quintilis, or the fifth.
VIII. August, so named in honor of Augustus Caesar, another of the Roman emperors. This month was before called Sextilis, or the sixth.
The other four months, namely, September, October, November and December, still retain their numerical Latin names, which, according to the late regulation of the calendar, will for the future be improperly applied. However, from the continued use of them hitherto, as well as from the practice of the Jews before the Babylonish captivity,” it seemeth highly probable, that the method of distinguishing the months by their numerical order only, was the most ancient, as it is the most plain, simple and rational.
As the idolatrous Romans thus gave names to several of the months in honor of their pretended deities; so the like idolatry prevailing among our Saxon ancestors, induced them to call each of the days of the week by the name of the idol which on that day they peculiarly worshiped. Hence the First day of the week was by them called Sunday, from their accustomary adoration of the sun upon that day.
The Second day of the week they called Monday, from their usual custom of worshiping the moon on that day.
*See the Scriptures to the time of Ezra.
The Third day of the week they named Tuesday, in honor of one of their idols called Tuisco. The Fourth day of the week they called Wednesday, from the appellation of Woden, another of their idols. The Fifth day of the week was called Thursday, from the name of an idol called Thor, to which they paid their devotions on that day. The Sixth day of the week was termed Friday, from the name of Friga, an imaginary goddess by them worshiped. The Seventh day of the week they styled Saturday, as is supposed from Saturn or Seater, by them then worshiped.* In the ages of Popish superstition, not only the use of such heathenish names and customs was indulged, but also other unsound and unscriptural practices in religion were invented and introduced. For when the profession of the Christian religion became national, multitudes of the heathen priests, whose interest lay in the performance of rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices, embraced prevailing Christianity with selfish views, and labored early, with too much success, to find employment for themselves, by imposing on the people a new set of ceremonies and sacrifices, bearing some resemblance to those, which in their former state of heathenism they had been accustomed to. From this corrupt source sprang the Popish sacrifice of the mass, the celebration of which, at particular times and on particular occasions, gave rise to the vulgar names of Michaelmas, Martinmas, Christmas, and the like. Seeing therefore that these appellations and names of days, months, and times, are of an idolatrous or superstitious original, contrary to the divine command, the practice of good and holy men in former ages and repugnant to the Christian testimony borne by our faithful friends and predecessors in the truth, for the sake of which they patiently endured many revilings; let neither the reproach of singularity nor the specious reasonings of such as would evade the cross of Christ, turn you aside from the simplicity of the gospel, nor discourage you from keeping to the language of truth, in denominating the months and days according to the plain and scriptural way of expression, thereby following the example of our worthy elders, and coming up in a noble and honorable testimony against these and all other remains of idolatry and superstition.
*See Verstegan and Sheringham.