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Chapter XXIII.

But the majority of those who are accounted believers are not of this advanced class; but from being either unable or unwilling to keep every day in this manner, they require some sensible memorials to prevent spiritual things from passing altogether away from their minds.  It is to this practice of setting apart some days distinct from others, that Paul seems to me to refer in the expression, “part of the feast;”48844884    Col. ii. 16.  The whole passage in the English version is, “Let no man judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday” (ἐν μέρει ἑορτῆς).  Origen’s interpretation is not followed by any modern expositors.  It is adopted by Chrysostom and Theodoret. and by these words he indicates that a life in accordance with the divine word consists not “in a part of the feast,” but in one entire and never ceasing festival.48854885    [Dr. Hessey notes this as “a curious comment” of Origen’s on St. Paul’s language:  Bampton Lectures, On Sunday:  its Origin, History, and Present Obligation, pp. 48, 286–289, 4th ed.  S.]  Again, compare the festivals, observed among us as these have been described above, with the public feasts of Celsus and the heathen, and say if the former are not much more sacred observances than those feasts in which the lust of the flesh runs riot, and leads to drunkenness and debauchery.  It would be too long for us at present to show why we are required by the law of God to keep its festivals by eating “the bread of affliction,”48864886    Deut. xvi. 3. or “unleavened with bitter herbs,”48874887    Ex. xii. 8. or why it says, “Humble your souls,”48884888    Lev. xvi. 29. and such like.  For it is impossible for man, who is a compound being, in which “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,”48894889    Gal. v. 17. to keep the feast with his whole nature; for either he keeps the feast with his spirit and afflicts the body, which through the lust of the flesh is unfit to keep it along with the spirit, or else he keeps it with the body, and the spirit is unable to share in it.  But we have for the present said enough on the subject of feasts.

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