Here is a link to an extract from Samuel Miller's book Presbyterianism the truly primitive and Apostolical Constitution of the
This excerpt is timely as we are in the heart of the Christian 'holy season' of Easter. Many in the Church today think that discussions like these are pointless, but our Reformed ancestors did not agree. They spent much time and energy in this important issue that needs to be brought back to the forefront of American Presbyterianism. Our worship needs to be governed by God in his word. We have no right telling God how he is to be worshiped.
Miller starts this section with this confession.
We believe, and teach, in our public formularies, that there is no day, under the Gospel dispensation, commanded to be kept holy, except the Lord's day, which is the Christian 'Sabbath.'He then gives seven reasons why this is the case. Points three and six are of particular interest.
We believe, indeed, and declare, in the same formula, that it is both scriptural and rational, to observe special days of Fasting and Thanksgiving, as the extraordinary dispensations of Divine Providence may direct. But we are persuaded, that even the keeping of these days, when they are made stated observances, recurring, of course, at particular times, whatever the aspect of Providence may be, is calculated to promote formality and superstition, rather than the edification of the body of Christ.
3. The observance of Fasts and Festivals, by divine direction, under the Old Testament economy, makes nothing in favor of such observances under the New Testament dispensation. That economy was no longer binding, or even lawful after the
was set up. It were just as reasonable to plead for the present use of the Passover, the incense, and the burnt offerings of the Old economy, which were confessedly done away by the coming of Christ, as to argue in favor of human inventions, bearing some resemblance to them, as binding in the Christian Church. New Testament Church
6. It being evident, then, that stated fasts and festivals have no divine warrant, and that their use under the New Testament economy is a mere human invention; we may ask those who are friendly to their observance, what limits ought to be set to their adoption and use in the Christian Church? If it be lawful to introduce five such days for stated observance, why not ten, twenty, or five score? A small number were, at an early period, brought into use by serious men, who thought they were thereby rendering God service, and extending the reign of religion. But one after another was added, as superstition increased, until the calendar became burdened with between two and three hundred fasts and festivals, or saint's days, in each year; thus materially interfering with the claims of secular industry, and loading the worship of God with a mass of superstitious observances, equally unfriendly to the temporal and the eternal interests of men. Let the principle once be admitted, that stated days of religious observance, which God has no where commanded, may properly be introduced into the Christian ritual, and, by parity of reasoning, every one who, from good motives, can effect the introduction of a new religious festival, is at liberty to do so. Upon this principle was built up the enormous mass of superstition which now distinguishes and corrupts the Romish Church.