William Whittaker Contra Lent

“But you tell us, why we do so much avoid the Fathers.”

I had rather you would tell us why you do so carefully avoid the Scriptures.

“For” (say you) “they that cannot away with set times of Fasting, must needs be offended with Basil, Nazianzen, Leo, and Chrysostom, which have published excellent Sermons of Lent.”

Christ ordained no set and ordinary fasts in the Gospel, Lent was appointed long after, and the manner of observing it in those times, was not one and the same in all Churches. We both allow and use public and Christian fasts which are fitted to the time and the Churches’ occasions: as for your appointed, and yearly solemn fasts, we do with good reason reject them, because they are full of superstition, and injurious unto Christian liberty. Our judgement of fasting is the same which Augustine hath taught: I find it not set down in any Commandment of the Lord, or his Apostles, what days we ought to fast, what not. Augustine then knew not these your set yearly ceremonies of fasting, nor your Lenten fast, which hath a certain time and number of days prescribed.

William Whitaker, An Answer to the Ten Reasons of Edmund Campian, the Jesuit… (London, 1606), 133–34 [spelling and punctuation modified].

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