THE HYPOCRITES FAST and FEAST not GOD's HOLY DAY. HAT-HONOUR to MEN MAN's INSTITUTION, not GOD's. Presented to the View and Considera­tion of Papistical and Protestant Time servers and Day-observers, VVill-worshippers and Persecutors; and Sa­tisfaction of the moderate Inquirer.

By George Fox.

Printed in the year, 1677.


WHere did ever Christ or his Apostles command any Be­lievers, or Christians to observe Holy-dayes, or Feast dayes; and let us see where it is written in the Scriptures of the New Testament, in the four Evangelists, or the Epistles, or the Revelations? That ever Christ or his Apostles gave the Christians any such Command, that they should observe the time called Christmas, or a day for Christ's Birth? Or that they should observe the time called Easter, or Whitesuntide, or Peter's, or Paul's, or Mark's, or Luke's dayes, or any other Saints dayes?

Now: you that profess your selves the Reformed Churches from the Papists, Jews and Heathen, and the Scriptures to be your Rule, & are Professors of the New Covenant, where do you prove out of the Scriptures of the new Testament that the Apo­stles & any of the primitive Church practised any such thing or that Christ or his Apostles gave any such Command to the [Page 4]Churches, that they should practise and observe any such days let us see where this Command is written.

For did not the Apostle say, in his Epistle to the Galatians' in chapter 4. But now after ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and Beggerly E­lements, whereunto ye desire again to be in Bondage? Ye observe Dayes, and Moneths and Times, and Years; I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you Labour in vain. And in Gal. 3. it is said, O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the Truth? &c. And in Gal. 5. the Apostle exhorts them, To stand fast in the Liberty▪ wherewith Christ hath made them free; and moreover said, Be not entangled a­gain with the Yoke of Bondage.

Now doth not this manifest that here were some Teachers, that were drawing the Church of the Galatians into these Beg­gerly Elements, and bringing them again into Bondage in ob­serving of Dayes, Moneths, Times and Years; for it was the A­postles work to bring them out of those Bondages and Begger­ly Elements, and therefore when they were going back again into observing Dayes, and Moneths, and Times and Years, he was afraid that he had bestowed his Labour upon them in vain: and be exhorts them to stand fast in the Liberty; wherewith Christ Jesus hath made them free & not to be entangled again with the Yoke of Bondage; AGAIN signifies that they had been once intangled with that Yoke of Bondage, and Begger­ly Elements.

But O, how are all that are called Christians (since the Apo­stles dayes) gone again under this Yoke of Bondage, and these beggerly Elements, in observing Dayes, Times, Moneths and Years, let their Practice declare! Nay do not both Papists and Protestants force People by Laws to observe Dayes, and Months, and Times? &c. And therefore is not the Apostles Labour and [Page 5]Travel bestowed upon Christendom in vain, which was to bring People from under such beggerly Elements, and that Yoke of Bondage, which the Law did require, to stand fast in the Liber­ty, wherewith Christ hath made them free, and not to be entan­gled again with the Yoke of Bondage. So it was and is Christ that has made, and does make his People free from these things, in the Apostles dayes, and now: And had all Christendom kept in this Freedom, they had kept from under this Yoke of Bon­dage: And therefore they who are redeemed, are to stand fast in the Liberty, wherewith Christ hath made them free: And this Liberty which all true Christians are to stand fast in, they are made free by Christ, ànd not by man; for man without the Spirit and Mind of Christ seeks to force and compel Christs Followers, and such as he hath made free from the Yoke of Bondage to the outward things that the law commanded, and to the observing of Dayes, and Moneths, and Times, Fasts and Feasts, and Years, such weak and beggerly Elements, them that know God, or are known of God and Christ, He hath made them free, and they are to stand fast in their liberty, and not come under, not be entangled with the Yoke of Bondage in such things again; for they that are in such things, and would force others to them, are gone f [...]om that which gives them the Knowledge of God, and have not stood fast in the liberty, where­with Christ makes free.

Concerning Prayer.

First, We do not read that ever Christ or his Apostles did compel any to pray or fast, and make a law to strain the Goods of such as would not observe dayes to fast and pray with them; but Christ taug [...]t them how they should pray, and be distinct from the Hypocrites, and Christ's words are as followeth; When thou prayest thou shalt not be as the Hypocrites are, for they [Page 6]love to stand praying in the Synagegues, and in the Corners of the Streets, that they may be seen of men, &c. But when thou prayest enter into thy Closet, and when thou hast shut thy Poor, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father that seeth in secret, will reward thee openly; but when you pray use not vain Repetitions as the Heathen do; for they think that they sh [...]ll be heard for their much speaking: Be not ye therefore l [...]ke unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him, &c. So as the Apostles and Saints did, so do we pray in secret, and we pray in publick, &c as the Spirit gives utterance, which helps our Infirmities, as it did the Apostles and true Christians; and after this manner we pray for our selves. and we pray for all men, both high and low.

Concerning Fasting.

Christ saith, Moreover, when ye fast be not as the Hypocrites, of a sad Countenance; for they disfigure their Faces that they may appear unto men to fast; but when thou fasts anoint thy Head, and wash thy Face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

And likewise you may see in Isaiah 58. what the true Fast is the Lord requires, where it is said to the Prophet, Cry aloud and spare not, lift up thy Voice like a Trumpet, and shew my Peo­ple their Transgression, and the House of Israel their Sins, yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my Wayes, as a Nation that did Righteousness, and forsook not the Ordinance of their God; they ask of me the Ordinance of Justice they take Delight in approach­ing to God.

Wherefore have we fasted say they, and thou seest not? Where­fore have we afflicted our souls, and thou takest no Knowledge?

Behold, in the Day of your Fast ye find Pleasure, and exact all your labours.

Behold, ye fast for Sirife and Debate, and to smite with the fist of Wickedniss, ye shall not fas [...] as ye do this day, to make your voi­ces be heard on high: Is it such a Fast that I have chosen? a Day for a man t [...] [...]ffi [...] his Soul? Is it to how down his Head as a Bulrush, and to spread S [...]ck [...]loth and Ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a Fast▪ and an acceptable Day to the Lord?

Is not this the Fast that I have chosen (saith the Lord) To loose the Bands of Wickedness, to undo the heavy Burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every Yoke?

So this Fast that the Lord requires, is not to lay yokes and oppress, and lay heavy Burdens, and to make fast the Bands of Wickedness; but to loose and break such things.

And further concerning the true Fast the Lord requires: Is it not to deal thy Bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy House? When thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thy self from thine own flesh? (Do you keep this true Fast?) Then shall the Light break forth as the Morning, and thine Health shall spring forth speedily, and thy Righteousness shall go before thee, the Glory of the Lord shall be thy Rere-ward.—Then shalt thou call and the Lord shall answer, thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am: If thou take away from the midst of thee the Yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking Vanity. And if thou draw out thy [...]oul to the hungry, and satisfie the afflicted Soul, then shall thy Light rise in Obscurity, and thy Darkness be as the Noon-day, and the Lord shall guide thee con­tinually, and satisfie thy Soul in Drought, and make fat thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a Spring of Wa­ter, whose Waters fail not, &c.

Now here is the true Fast the Lord requires of his People, & they that observe this Fast, the Lord saith, When they call he will answer; and you may see what Glorious and Happy Com­forts they do receive from the Lord, that keep this true Fast; [Page 8]but such as fast for Strife and Debate, and smite with the fists of Wickedness, to make their Voice: to be heard on high, and afflict their Souls for a Day, and bow down their head like a Bulrush and looses not the Bands of Wickedness, and doth not undo every heavy Burden, and break off every yoke, and let the oppressed go free, and doth not deal his Bread to the hungry, and cloth the naked, and bring the poor to his house, but hides himself from his own Flesh and clothes not the naked, such Fasts and Fasters the Lord dot [...] not accept, neither hath he chosen them; but these appear to men with their disfigured fa­ces in bowing down their heads like a Bulrush for a Day like the Hypocrites to fast, as Christ speaks of in Mat. 6. And is it not the Command of Christ, that in their Fast they should not appear unto men to fast? And now you that would force us to shut up our Shops on fasting dayes, or for a Day, doth not this Fast appear unto men? and is not this the Fast that the Lord saith in Isaiah, he doth not accept; for he saith, Is this the Fast that I have chosen, a Day for a man to afflict his Soul, and bow down his Head as a Bulrush? &c. Wilt thou call this a Fast, and an acceptable Day to the Lord? Isa. 58.

And therefore all God's People are to keep the true Fast of the Lord, from Debate and Strife, and the Fist of Wickedness, and that Fast that breaks the Bands of Wickedness, and undoes every heavy Purden, and breaks every yo [...]e, and lers the op­pressed go free, and deals Bread to the hungry, and clothes the naked, and brings the poor that are cast out, to his own House: So every one that keeps this true Fast, their Health shall grow, and when they call, the Lord will hear them, and the Lord will be their Guide continually, and satisfie their Souls in Drought, and make their Bones fat, and shall be like a watered garden, and like a Spring of Water whose Waters fail not.

Now you that keep not this true Fast, when you ca [...]l upon [Page 9]the Lord on your own Fasting-Dayes, doth the Lord answer you, and say, Here I am? (Doth the Lord guide you continual­ly? And are your Bones made fat by him, and your Souls satisfied in Drought? And are you like a watered Garden, and like a Spring, whose waters fail not? But you who keep not this true Fast, do you not want these Waters which fail not? So your Souls are not satisfied in Drought, but your Bones are lean, and you hear not the Voice of the Lord, who saith, Here I am; and so you loose the Heritage of Jacob, and ride not upon the High Places there, but come under.

And therefore every mau and woman, shut your hearts a­gainst all manner of Evil whatsoever, and trade not with Baby­lon's Merchants of Confusion, but keep the supernatural Day of Christ, that is sprung from on high, that is by believing and walking in the Light of Christ, and being grafted into him; and this will bring you to the true Fast, and from feeding upon a­ny Evil, and to the true praying in the Spirit, as Christ and the Apostles have taught, which Fruits of rhe Spirit is Love, &c. which Birth of the Spirit is not a persecuting Firth; but he that is born of the Flesh, will persecute him that is born of the Spirit; because he will not follow the Birth of the Flesh, with its weak, beggerly Elements, that entangle with its yoke of Bondage, and its observing dayes, moneths, times and years, which the Birth of the Spirit is to stand fast against, in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made it free.

And do you not know the very Turks they keep their Sab­bath on the sixth day, and the Jews on the seventh day, and the Christians meet together on the first day of the Week, and that day which the Turks keep, the Jews and Christians shops are open, and that day the Jews keep, the Turks and Christi­ans shops are open; and the first dayes the Christians keep, both Jews and Turks, shops are open: And so the Turk doth not [Page 10]force the Jews nor Christians to shut up their shops on their meeting-dayes, but lets them have their Liberty in the Turks Counrry.

And where do you read, that ever the Turks forced any Christians to observe any of their Holy-Dayes Fasts or Feasts? and if not, should not Christians be beyond the Turks, in gi­ving Liberty to all tender Conscience to serve God, seeing Christ and the Ap stles command not, nor for [...]e People to ob­serve Holy-Dayes, or Times, or Monet's, or years, but should pray alwayes in the Spirit, and fast alwayes from Strife and De­bate, and from all manner of Sin and Evil; and that will keep down the Fist of Wickedness, and the Bond of Iniquity &c.

And why should not People that be of tender Consciences have their Liberty to exercise their Consciences towards God? that they may have a good Conscience alwayes towards God and man, and to that which God requires, and to do unto all men as they would have them do unto them, & to love their Neigh­bours as themselves: And seeing there is so many debauched and seared Consciences▪ as with a hot Iron have their Liberty in their loose Lives and Conversations, and in their loose words, whose Tongues are at liberty to swear and curse, and their Spi­rits are at liberty in Drunkenness and Uncleanness; so let the Magistrates look & see how this evil Conscience hath its liber­ty, to be exercised in all manner of Evil Things, yea all Christen­dom over, which is a great Shame and Dishonour to God, Christ, Christianity & Humanity: And therefore, why should not God's People have their liberty to exercise their good and tender Consciences towards God and man; for the Mystery of Faith, which Christ Jesus is the author and finisher of, is held in a pure Conscience; and should not the Work of the Christian Magi­strates be to encourage the Exercise of this pure Conscience to­wards God and man, and to discourage the exercise of this evil [Page 11]Conscience, which dishonours God, Christ and true Christi­anity? If not, how are they a Praise to them that do well, and a Terror to evil-doers.

And now concerning The not Putting off Hats, for which ma­ny that go under the Name of Christians have taken Offence at us, because we could not put off our Ha [...]s and bow down to them, for which we find no such command from Christ or his Apostles, but rather to the contrary; for Christ saith,

I receive not Honour of man: M [...]rk,Job. 5.41, 42. he did not re­ceive Honour of men. And further Christ saith, How can ye believe, which recive Hon [...]ur one of another, and seek not the Honour that comes from God only.

Now Christ declares it to be a Mark of an Unbeliever, that seeks Honour one of another, and seeks not that Honour that comes from God only: And is not the putt [...]ng off the Hat, and bowing with it, an Honour of men, which they seek one of another, and are offended if they have it not? Nay, have they not fined, persecuted and imprisoned some, because they did not put off their Ha [...]s to them? Nay, do not the ve [...]y Turks mock at the Christians in their Proverb, saying: That the Christians spend most of their time in shewing their bare Heaths one to another? [...]ut should not the Christians be beyond the Turks, that bear that noble Name of Chistian, in seeking Ho­nour one of another, and perse [...]uting them that will not give it them? when all true believing Christians should seek the Ho­nour that comes from God only, whi [...]h is the Du [...]y of all true Believers in Christ Jesus; for he would not receive Hon [...]ur of men: And he that believeth on the Son of God hath Ever lasting Life, and he that believe [...]h not the Son of God, shall not see Life, but the Wrath of God abi [...]eth upon him.

And now, is not the Turks Proverb a Reproach to the Chri­stians? who say, that The Christians spend most of their time in [Page 12]shewing their bare Heads one to another; Nay have you not fined and imprisoned many, because that they could not put of their Hats to you, and shew you their bare Heads? Nay in many of your courts they shall not have Right and Justice; and its hard for Apprentices, in some Places, to get their Liberty & Freedom in Cities or States, though they have truly served their Time, & are honest & civil men, unless they will put off their hats & shew their bare Heads: And have not some of you made a law against such as will not put off their hats, and shew you their bare heads, yea and to compel and force them to do it, and fine such as do not, Two Guilders, as at Lansmeer in Holland; in Waterland? And is not this the Honour that you seek one of another? Did not the Pharisees and Jews do the same.

Now as for your saying, the Apostle commands To honour all men, and such as rule well are worthy of double Honour. Now if this Honouring all men, were to put off the Hat to àll men, & shew all men their bare Heads, then this command you break your selves; for you do not do this to all men generally; and if they that rule well must have Double Hat-honour, then they must put off their Hats twicej ànd shew their bare Heads twice. Now if this Hat-Honour and shewing the bare Head be an In­vention of man, and not from God, and ye cannot prove it by Scripture, and yet you say it is your Rule, then you act beside the Rule, and compel People to act conrrary to your Rule; for where did ever the Prophets, Chri [...]t or the Apostles command any such thing? let us see a Command, a Practice or an Ex­ample for it.

Nebuchadnezzar who was a Persecutor, and cast the Three Chidren of Israel into the fire, With their Hose, Cloaks and Hats, we do not read that he was offended at them, because they did not p [...]t off their Hats, and shew him their bare Heads, but because they would not bow to his Image. And is it not [Page 13]in the Margin of the Pible, where it is said, Honour all men, it is said, Have all men in Esr [...]em; then they that rule well are worthy of Double E [...]te [...]; and this Esteem must be trùly in the Heart, without any Envy, Malice or Hatred, as all men are the Workmanship of God, they are to be esteemed in the Heart, wi h the Spirit of God; and they that Rule wellare worthy of double Esteem; and here is true Honour from the Heart, both to God and man his Workmanship; for People may put off their Hats, and shew their bare heads one to ano­ther, and put off their Hats, and shew their bare Heads twice to the Officers and to the Megistrates, and be full of Envy, and Malice, and Hatred, and Murder in their Hearts one against an­other, and give them that Honour as you callit, and yet speak or wish bad things of them, when they have turned their Backs on them, which the true Honour or Esteem in thê Heart to all men as they are God's Creation, is without any evil Wish or Thought in the Heart to all men, and to them that rule well, which have the double Esteem; whom God hath placed over People, there is no Evil in the Hear, that gives this Respect, E­steem or Honour, and brings them to love their Neighbour as themselves, and to do unto all men, as they would have them do unto them, in that they esteem all men, and they have a Double Esteem to them that rule well; and that is beyond àll the Honour of putting off the Hats once to the Commonality, and twice to them that are worthy of Double Honour (as you call it) We would ask the Christians that practise the Hat Honour, and shew one another the bare Head, who did invent the single Honour and double Honour, that they should put off their Hats one to another, and shew one another their bare Heads, seeing they cannot prove that ever Christ or his Apostles did command or pra [...]tise any such thing.

Now concerning Persecuting, imprisoning and Banishing [Page 14]God's People, in whom Christ is manifest, and dwells in their [...]earts; doth not Christ t [...]ll you, that you imprison him? and then, do not you banish him, and persecu [...]e him ou [...] of your Ci­ties and Corporations? And how can you ente [...] into his King­dom, and [...]are a Share of his Kingdom, though you may pro­fess him in words? And d [...]d not they g [...]t [...] verlasting Pu­nishment that did not visit Christ in prison, then what will become of you that do banish and imprison him, whe e he is ma­nifest in his Members, not suffer them to meet together to en­joy him amongst them, according to his Promise.

And therefore you that will not let Christ reign in his Peo­ple, and have his Liberty, and exercise his Offices in them, in your Cities and Countries, you will not have your Liberty in Heaven; and you that will not let Christ reign in your Hearts, nor suffer him to reign in hîs Peoples here upon the Earth, in this World in your Kingdoms; you will not reign with Christ in Heaven in his Kingdom, nor in the World without End.

And so you that banish the Truth out of your Cities o [...] Countries, or his People for its sake, you do banish the Truth and Christ out of your Hearts, from ruling there, and exercising his Kingly, Priestly and Prophetical Office in his People, and so you your selves are not the Temples of God: And then, when you have banished Christ and his Truth out of your own Hearts, then you do banish such in whom he rules out of your States and Countries, and then see what Judgments the Lord doth bring upon you, when you are left to your selves; yea, Fears and Truobles, and one Judgment after another comes upon you, that you are even silled with them; but the banish­ed and Sufferers for Truth and Christ's Sake, have a peacea­ble Habitation in the Truth, which the Devil is out of and can­not get in, which Habitation w ll out-last all the Habitations of the Wicked and Persecutors, though they be never so full of [Page 15]Words without Life and Truth; for the Life and the Truth will out-last all airy Notions, and Christ the Lamb and pati­ent Seed will overcome the Devourer and un patient Seed; and they that have the Garments, the Righteousness of Christ, which is the fine Linnen, it will out-last all the Rags and In­ventions of men; for Christ saith to his Learners, Be of good cheer, I have ov rcome the World, the Perscūting World: And so he said unto his Disciples, Marvel not if the World bate you; for it hated me before you

And therefore let all that profess themselves Christians lay away Persecution about Religion, Churches or Worship, Fast­ing or Praying-dayes; for you have no command from Christ and his Apostles to persecute any: For Christ who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords when they called him a Deceiver, and blasphemed him, and said he had a Devil, he did not per­secute any of them for it, nor force or compel any to hear or believe him, nor the Ap [...]stles aft [...]r him, but he said to them that would have been plucking up the T [...]res, Let the Tares and the Wheat grow together until the Harvest. So you have no Command from Christ or his Apostles, to Persecute, Imprison or Banish, or Spoil the Goods of any, for matter of pure Con­science, and Religion, Worship, Faith and Church, in the Gospel-times.

George Fox.

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