Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Hemmingsen on the Sabbath and Christian Festivals (10)

Herewith the next three assertiones, on the major festivals of redemption and the memorials of saints. One notices the pedagogical and practical purposes1 Hemmingsen sees for such observances, and the way in which he distinguishes these purposes from the abuse of festivals remarked upon in assertio 26. In other words, these matters are not all or nothing. Reason and reflection tell us the same; hence the old, albeit overused, saw, abusus non tollit usum. The rationale in assertio 24, for example, is, as David Bentley Hart might say of one of his own arguments, “irrefutable.”

Assertions concerning the Sabbath and the Festivals of Christians (Continued)

  1. The festivals of the Savior are preserved in the church in order for his history to be learned in an orderly way, in order for the benefits of the Mediator to be considered one by one, and in order to use the benefits of the same correctly for the glory of God and our salvation.
  2. The memorials of the saints have the following useful purposes: for the history of the church to be learned; for the benefits of God toward members of the church to be reflected upon; for thanks to be given to God for them; for various misfortunes of the saints to be pondered; for us to imitate the saints in repentance, life, worship, confession, steadfastness, patience, and other virtues; and for us to await with pious sighs the fellowship of the saints.
  3. All these purposes serve the glory of God and our salvation. However, we abhor with curses the gentile and papistical purposes of festivals, as things unworthy even to be mentioned among Christians.2
  1. These are not the only justifications one might note, but they are the only ones Hemmingsen deals with here.
  2. The translation is my own.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.