Monday, February 06, 2023

Lancelot Andrewes (and other Anglo-Catholics) Discussing Passover and Easter

Thanks to Project Canterbury, a number of Lancelot Andrewes' sermons are available online with mostly modern spellings.  The English seems to be fairly accurately transcribed (by Dr. Marianne Dorman), and the Latin seems very good, but other languages are less likely to satisfy the reader.  The work with Lancelot Andrewes' sermons seems to be part of a larger project to provide a Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology (LACT), which seems to be one of several foci of the Project Canterbury.  While the LACT remains incomplete, I am appreciative of its existence and efforts.

Lancelot Andrewes' discussion of Passover is of interest because of his prominent role in the translation of the King James version, particularly in view of his close connection to King James himself.  For example, at least some of the sermons are sermons that were preached with King James present.

In the following sermons, I've excerpted his use of the word "passover."  

  • Lent Sermon 1596 ("And I verily persuade myself, it we often would fix it before our eyes, and well mark the inscription, it would be a special preparation to our passover, meaning by our passover our end, whereby pass we must ere long into another state, either of misery or bliss")
  • Good Friday Sermon 1597 ("By the death of this undefiled Lamb, as by the yearly Passover, look for and hope for a passage out of Egypt, which spiritually is our redemption from the servitude of the power of darkness.")
  • Miscellaneous Sermon 1602 ("the Sacrament of the Passover, and the blood of it, was the means to save them from the Plague of the destroying Angel in Egypt")
  • Good Friday Sermon 1605 ("And to His Disciples in earth, This, this is the Passover that desiderio desideravi, 'I have longed for,' as it were embracing and even welcoming His death.")
  • Easter Sermon 1606 ("The very feast itself puts us in mind of as much; it is the Pascha, that is, the Passover, not a coming back to the same land of Egypt, but a passing over to a better, the Land of Promise, whither 'Christ our Passover' is passed before us, and will in good time give us passage after Him.")
  • Miscellaneous Sermon 1606 ("And it is a grant of the right and power of the trumpets, and with them of assembling the people of God. A right and power not to be lightly accounted of, or to be heard of with slight attention; it is a matter of great weight and consequence, the calling of assemblies. There is yearly a solemn feast holden in memory of it, and that by God's own appointment. No less than of the Passover or of the Lord itself, even the 'feast of the trumpets,' much about this time of the year, the latter equinoctial. And God appointeth no feast but in remembrance of some special benefit. It is therefore one of His special benefits and high favours vouchsafed them, and to be regarded accordingly.")
  • White Sunday Sermon 1606 ("It is agreed by all interpreters old and new--Cyprian is the first we find it in--that it was to hold harmony, to keep correspondence between the two Testaments, the Old and the New. So it was at Christ's death we see. He was slain, not only as the Lamb was, but even when the Lamb was slain too: on the feast of the Passover, then was 'Christ our Passover' offered for us. Now, from the feast of the Passover, reckoning fifty days, they came to Sinai; and there on that day, the day of Pentecost, received they the Law--a memorable day with them, a high feast, even for so great a benefit; and is therefore by them called the feast of the Law.  And even the very same day, reckoning from 'Christ our Passover' fifty days, that the Law was given in Sinai, the very same day doth the new 'Law' here 'go out of Sion,' as the prophet Isaiah foretold, exibit de Sion Lex; which is nothing else but the promulgation of the Gospel. 'The royal Law,' as St. James calleth it, as given by Christ our King: the other but by Moses, a servant, and savoureth therefore of 'the spirit of bondage,' the fear of servants; as this doth of the princely spirit, 'the spirit of ingenuity and adoption,' the love of children. ... The number thus settled, we descend to the second point, of the manner. And first, on their parts on whom the Holy Ghost came; how He found them framed, and fit to receive such a guest. It is called by the Fathers, Parascene Spiritus, 'the preparation,' as there was one for the Passover, so here for Pentecost. " [big jump] "To this doth Chrysostom join a second harmony. That as under the law, at this feast, they first put their sickle to the corn-harvest, in that climate, beginning with them in this month--the first fruits whereof they offered at Easter, and was called therefore by them festum messis; in like sort we see that this very day, the Lord of the harvest so disposing it, Who not long before 'lifting up His eyes and looking on the regions round about saw them white and ready to the harvest,' His first workmen, the Apostles, did put in their first sickle into the great harvest, cujus ager est mundus, 'whereof the world is the field,' and the several furrows of it, 'all the nations under heaven.' On the feast of Pentecost then second, because then began the great spiritual harvest.")
  • Easter Sermon 1607 ("This very day, Easter-day, the day of Christ's rising, according to the Law, is the day or feast of the 'first fruits;' the very feast carrieth him to the word, nothing could be more fit or seasonable for the time. The day of the Passion is the day of the Passover, and 'Christ is our Passover;' the day of resurrection is the day of the first fruits, and Christ is our 'first fruits.'")
  • Easter Sermon 1608 ("But so long as this is a Gospel, it will sound every Easter-day in our ear, that the buying of odours, the embalming of whatsoever is left us of Christ, is and will be a sign of our loving and seeking Him, as we should" [big jump] "The time of His resurrection is pascha, 'a passing over;' the place Galilee, 'a turning about.' It remaineth then that we pass over as the time, and turn as the place, putteth us in mind. Re-uniting ourselves to His Body and Blood in this time of His rising, of the dissolving and renting whereof our sins were the cause. The time of His suffering, keeping the feast of Christ our new Passover offered for us; leaving whatsoever formerly hath been amiss in Christ's grave as the weeds of our dead estate, and rising to newness of life, that so we may have our parts 'in the first resurrection;' which they are happy and blessed that shall have, for by it they are sure of the second.")
  • Easter Sermon 1609 ("'We have not so learned Christ,' St. Paul hath not so taught us. His rule it is; 'Is Christ our Passover offered for us as now He was?' Epulemur itaque - that is his conclusion, 'Let us then keep a feast,' a feast of sweet bread without any sour leaven, that is, of peace without any malice.")
  • Easter Sermon 1610 ("The two first verses we may well call the parascue, or 'preparation to the feast of passover,' which serve to stir up our regard, as to a mystery or matter of great moment, worthy not only to be written or enrolled in a book, but to be cut in stone; a monument to be made of it, as perpetuam rei memorian, 'Oh that,' &c. Then followeth in the third, his Redeemer and His rising, His passing over from death to life: 'I know,' &c., and out of it in the last, by way of inference, his own, Et quod ego, &c. set down with words so clear, and so full of caution, as in the Epistle to the Corinthians it is not fuller expressed." [big jump] "In this case he saw Him brought to the dust, and thence he seeth Him rising again; and so now it is Easter day with Job. ")
  • White Sunday Sermon 1610 ("To conclude: where shall we find it if not here, where under one we find 'Christ our Passover offered for us,' and the Spirit our Pentecost thus offered to us? Nothing remains but the Father Himself, and of Him we are sure too.")
  • Easter Sermon 1611 ("And never gave Him over, till they brought Him, Lapis ad lapidem, into a grave of stone, and rolled a stone upon Him, and there left Him. It is the feast of the Passover, we now pass over to His other estate, His exaltation ad Caput anguli." [big jump] "That day, the destroying Angel, I am sure, passed over you, and so it was truly the Feast of the Passover. Fit therefore to be remembered this day,--hic est dies, 'this is the day' of the Passover, this is Easter-day, the day of the Resurrection. ... Many ways was Christ, our blessed Saviour, a 'Corner-stone;' among others, especially in this, saith St. Hierome: Quando agnum cim pane conjunxit, finiens unum, inchoans alterum, utrumque perficiens in Semetipso. One chief corner-point of His was, 'when He joined the Lamb of the Passover and the Bread of the Eucharist, ending the one and beginning the other, recapitulating both Lamb and Bread into Himself;' making that Sacrament, by the very institution of it, to be as it were the very corner-stone of both the Testaments. No act then more fit for this feast, the feast of the Passover than that act which is itself the passage over from the Old Testament to the New. No way better to express our thanks for this Corner-stone, than by the Holy Eucharist, which itself is the corner-stone of the Law and the Gospel." )
  • White Sunday Sermon 1611 ("After Christmas day, and the poor estate of Christ's birth, there comes the Epiphany with a star, and great men's oblations, as by way of compensation. Presently after Good Friday and the sorrow of His passion, Easter day follows straight, the day of His triumph, to revive us again. And even so here, upon His Ascension or going from us, there ensues Whitsunday, the mends together withal." [big jump] " they deduce from the fifteenth day, the day of the Passover, and so fifty days, it will so fall out by calculation...")
  • Easter Sermon 1612 (See more detailed discussion below)
  • White Sunday Sermon 1613 ("And, because I spake of passing over, in the Passover it was so; both acts there. The Lamb slain--there is redemption; the posts stricken with hyssop dipped in the blood--there is the signature. Answerable to these two, with us: redemption by the Son of God at Easter; and the sealing by the Holy Ghost at Whitsuntide.")
  • Easter Sermon 1616 ("So from the estate of hope, by the resurrection as by a bridge, pass we over to the enjoying our inheritance. And that falls well with the feast, which is the feast of the Passover. The resurrection is so too; pass we do from spes to res. So passed Christ; so we to pass." [big jump] "That as all began with a resurrection, so it will end with one. Came to us by Christ's rising at the last and great Easter, the true Passover indeed, when from death and misery we shall pass to life and felicity.")
  • Easter Sermon 1618 (See more detailed discussion below)
  • Ash Wednesday 1622 ("And when the chaff is blown away, and the floor purged, when the old leaven which is hypocrisy is cast out; of the rest we are to make our sweet-bread, now against the great feast of our Passover we make ready for.")
  • Ash Wednesday 1623 ("Now in Nissan was the time when their Paschal Lamb was slain and eaten. The same is also the time of the killing of ours, of St. John Baptist's Lamb, 'the Lamb of God,' when 'Christ our Passover' was offered, offered for us in sacrifice, offered to us in Sacrament, to whom St. John Baptist will point us to take special notice of Him and of His time both.  And we now at this time to set those sour herbs and see them come up wherewith the passover is to be eaten, which are nothing else but these 'fruits of repentance.' Now to set them, that then we may gather them to serve us for sauce [433/434] to the Paschal Lamb. Thus every way we may say with the Apostle, 'Behold this is the due season,' Behold now is the convenient time. Now then, 'Bring them forth.'")

As a note, I've used the indication "[big jump]" to make it clear that the excerpts are not particularly close to one another in the source sermon.  The bold/underline emphasis in the text is, of course, mine.  I've made minor typo corrections where I found typos.  I've also removed page numbers that were provided bracketed in the text.

It's hard to make dogmatic conclusions from the evidence.  The Easter 1616 sermon seems to use "Easter" to refer both to Passover and Easter.  Similarly, the White Sunday 1606 sermon seems to use "Easter" in reference to both.  It is said to be Easter-day with Job, but proleptically as a vision of Christ's resurrection.  Andrewes' use of "Easter-day" is interesting in that it seems to provide evidence that if the KJV translators had wanted to refer to "Easter-day" in Acts 12, they could have done so.

As noted in the list above, two of Lancelot Andrewes' Easter sermons are particularly relevant to the discussion and warrant a more detailed look.  As you may be aware, the Scripture to be considered was dictated to the Anglican churches. 

Easter 1612, Andrewes was given 1 Corinthians v:7-8, where Christ is described as "our Passover."  This is not a very surprising Easter text.  By contrast, Easter 1618, Andrewes was given 1 Corinthians xi:16, where it is written, "But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the Churches of God." This, as Andrewes quickly notes, is not the typical text for Easter Sunday. My best guess is that this verse selection was due to the influence of George Abbot (Archbishop of Canterbury), who evidently had Puritan tendencies and a backbone to stand up to the royal will. Interestingly, Abbot was initially quite well liked by King James and rapidly promoted.  The opposite was the case when it came to Charles I.  Also of note, Abbot was one of the KJV translators.  While cross-bow hunting in park, he accidentally shot and killed one of the park's keepers, making him the only Archbishop of Canterbury to (personally) kill anyone while in office. 

In the Easter 1612 Sermon (backup link), there are so many and pervasive references to the Passover, I'm reluctant to block quote all of them here.  The curious reader can go to the linked sermon and read the entirety of the sermon there.  I will, however, include the few references to Easter (by that name) in this sermon.

  • And truly upon this word, celebremus, may this feast of Easter seem to be founded. There is not only a warrant, but an order for the making of a feast. And sure, howsoever it will fall out with other feasts, this of Easter, if there were nothing else but the controversy that was about the time of keeping it, in the very prime of the Primitive Church, even immediately after the Apostles, it were enough to shew it was then generally agreed of all, such a feast was to be kept. And the alleging on either side - one, St. John's manner of keeping, the other, St. Peter's - proves plainly it is Apostolical, this feast, and that the Apostles themselves kept it. Itaque celebremus 'therefore let us keep it.'
  • But first, will ye lay the former and this together, immolatus and celebremus, and see how well it falleth out with us? Immolatus is His part to be slain. Celebremus is ours, to hold a feast. Good-Friday His, Easter-day ours. His premises bitter, our conclusion joyful; a loving partition on His part, happy on ours.
  • Celebremus, and epulemur. There be that refer celebremus to the day, epulemur to the action, and so it may well; both day and action have interest in this text. And then the text is against them that have never an Easter-day in their calendar. But the Fathers usually refer both the action. Their reason, because in truth the Eucharist now in the Gospel is that the Passover was under the Law, the antitype answering to their type of the Paschal lamb. It is plain by the immediate passage of it from the one to the other, that no sooner done, but this began. Look how soon the Paschal lamb eaten, presently the holy Eucharist instituted, to succeed in the place of it for ever. And yet more plain, that this very Scripture of my text was thought so pertinent, and so proper to this action, as it was always said or sung at it. And I know no cause but it might be so still. Two things Christ there, gave us in charge: 1. [Greek], 'remembering,' and 2. [Greek], 'receiving.'

Andrewes is abundantly clear that in his opinion the verse in question justifies, nay mandates, the celebration of Easter.  Andrewes views the verse as "against them that have never an Easter-day in their calendar," while acknowledging that the Fathers "usually" refer "celebrating" to the same action as the "eating."  He concedes that the Eucharist (i.e. the Lord's Supper) is the Passover that was under the law.

There is a tantalizingly ambiguous statement at the start of the Sermon:

There be two things give themselves forth upon the very first view of this text. 1. First, here is news, that we Christians, we also have 'our Passover;' 2. Then, that in memory of it, we are 'to keep a feast.' Pascha Judæorum, 'the Jews' Passover' we find in John, chapters two and eleven. Pascha nostrum, 'our Passover,' never till now. 

Notice that "our Passover" is never until now, according to Andrewes.  That would seem to imply that the reference in Acts 12 is not to our Passover.  However, Andrewes does not mention that text, and his comparative references are to "the Jews' Passover" in John's gospel.  Thus, Andrewes may simply be saying that this is the first time it is called "ours."  

Andrewes goes on to emphasize the idea that this is news, because it is a call to Gentiles to observe a feast.  Andrewes insists that the celebration must be apostolic, given credence to the claims that the two competing traditions are from two of the apostles:

And truly upon this word, celebremus, may this feast of Easter seem to be founded. There is not only a warrant, but an order for the making of a feast. And sure, howsoever it will fall out with other feasts, this of Easter, if there were nothing else but the controversy that was about the time of keeping it, in the very prime of the Primitive Church, even immediately after the Apostles, it were enough to shew it was then generally agreed of all, such a feast was to be kept. And the alleging on either side - one, St. John's manner of keeping, the other, St. Peter's - proves plainly it is Apostolical, this feast, and that the Apostles themselves kept it. Itaque celebremus 'therefore let us keep it.'

Elegantly, Andrewes argues: "So, 1. the benefit, 2. the means, 3. the feast itself, and 4. the duty of it, all are recapitulate in this one word 'Passover.'"  Andrewes continues by playing with the word "passover," referring it not only to the destroying angel passing over the houses but also to the people of Israel passing over the Red Sea.   Andrewes goes on to make a parallel application to us.  He even speaks of the world passing as a kind of passover.

Andrewes draws out the symbolism of the sacraments beautifully: "Christ's blood not only in the basin for Baptism, but in the cup for the other Sacrament."

Andrewes even takes "pass over" to the idea of transferring sins - the sins passing over from us to Christ. 

Likewise, Andrewes refers to the passing over of the Son from the bosom of the Father to the womb of his mother, and from the freedom of uncircumcision to the bondage of circumcision, and finally identifies the passage from death to life as a passing over. He concludes: "First and last, a Passover He was."  Nevertheless, Andrewes rightly emphasizes that Christ is our Passover by his death, his offering. Death passes over us, because he underwent it.

Andrewes wraps up his Sermon with these words, describing the heavenly supper of the Lamb:

A Passover that will never be passed over, but last and continue as feast to all eternity. Of that, this here is a pledge, if we neglect it not as it were not worth the taking. And He That at this time gave us this pledge, in His good time also bring us to the Passover whereof this is the pledge, even to the never-passing but everlasting joys and happiness, of His heavenly kingdom, through the offering of His blessed Son the very Paschal Lamb! 

Remarkably, in all this discussion, the mistranslation of Acts 12 never directly arises.  Andrewes never tells us one way or another what he believes that Passover refers to.  He does not seem to consider it theologically significant, at least in the context of this particular Passover-centric Easter sermon.

In the Easter 1618 Sermon (backup link), Andrewes starts his sermon by suggesting that the verse is not appropriate to the day: "This is no Easter text as we are wont to have, nothing of the Resurrection in it. It is not for the day."

After touching on his understanding of the text regarding men praying uncovered and women veiled, Andrewes turns to an application of the text to the question of Easter celebration.  Andrewes argues:

Then, will we descend to shew the keeping of Easter, to be such, ever in use with 'the Churches of God' from the time of the Apostles themselves. Which, if we can make plain, here is a plain text for it; that if one should ask, what Scripture have you why Easter may not be laid down? It may well be answered, Non habemus talem consuetudinem, nec Ecclesiæ Dei. Custom to keep it we have-the Apostles, the Church had it; but to abolish it, 'such custom have we none,' we depart from them both if we do.

Protesting yet, that we have no purpose to wave Scripture quite for the keeping of Easter. St Augustine is plain: Hoc ex auithoritate divinarum Scripturarum, per anniversarium Pascha celebratur; 'Even by authority of divine Scripture it is, that every year Easter is kept solemnly.' We have touched two Scriptures heretofore: 'The day, which the Lord had made,' applied ever to this feast. That text for the Old. And for the New Testament that verse in this Epistle, 'Christ our Passover is offered, let us therefore keep a feast.'

 But everything standeth fast and surest upon his own base, and the right base of this I take to be custom. We do but make ourselves to be pitied otherwhile, when we stand wringing the Scriptures, to strain that out of them that is not in them, and so can never come liquide from them, when yet we have for the same point the Church's custom clear enough. And that is enough, by virtue of this text. There is and will be enough ever in this text, to avow any custom,-the Apostles, the Churches of God had it; to disavow any-the Apostles, the Church of God had it not.

So, Andrewes acknowledges that Scripture has been appealed to for the celebration of Easter (specifically, Psalm 118:24 and 1 Corinthians 5:7-8), but Andrewes says it is better to assign this to custom.

On the other hand, Andrewes argues for the tradition and even speculates regarding the origin:

But as God would have it, the question never was of the feast itself, but of the time of it only. All kept Easter, though not at the same time. For the keeping they had the Churches' custom; for the time of keeping, they had their own;-the feast of the Christians, the time of the Jews.

And I will tell you how this came, first. From St. James, who was the first, there were successively one after another fifteen bishops of Jerusalem, all of them of the Circumcision. These, the sooner to win their brethren the Jews, condescended to keep their Easter, XIV. Lunæ, as they did. That which was by them thus done by way of condescension, was after by some urged as a matter of necessity, as if it were not lawful but on that day to hold it.

The first that it took thus in the head, Tertullian in the end of De Præscriptione saith, was one Blastus about the days of Commodus. He began a schism. And Iranæus presently wrote De Schismate contra Blastum. But after, from schism Blastus fell to heresy, and began that of the Quartodecimani; to whose manner of keeping it, for the most part, other heretics did cleave, leaving the Churches' custom of purpose since they were departed from her.

This use of "their Easter" does seem to suggest that Andrewes considered it appropriate to refer to "Passover" by the name "Easter."  

Andrewes continues, by suggesting that actually there was an opponent to Easter: Aerius.  Not Arius, but Aerius.  

Great pity some in our days had not been living to have advised the Church to have saved her pains, and never have striven so about it; the shortest way was to have made no more ado, but kept none at all. But non habemus talem consuetudinem, would have been their answer. But you will easily guess, if these for not keeping it at the right time were scored up for heretics, what would become of them that had been against the keeping of it at all.

Till now in our days, there was never any such but Aërius; he took it away clean, as Jewish. His reason was, saith Epiphanius, scorning it because 'Christ our Passover is offered. Christ our Passover is offered, let us therefore keep a feast,' said St. Paul. Let us therefore keep none, said Aërius, holden for so saying for little better than crazed. There was never any Council called about him; but as Aërius was his name, so was his opinion, and so it vanished into air, and was blown over straight. Otherwise all heretics, an Easter they had; not so much as the Novatians that called themsleves Cathari, that is, the Puritans of the Primitive Church, but one they had; but like good fellows, by their Canon adiaphorus, they left every one at liberty, so he kept one, to keep it whether way he listed; but keep one he must. This contending about this custom from the beginning, sheweth from the beginning such a custom there was.

Andrewes continues by describing the ancient calculation of Easter and the numerous church fathers who preached Easter sermons.  He also mentions the Nicene accomplishment of harmonizing the day of Easter.

But yet we have a more sure ground than all these. The Lord's Day has testimony in Scripture-I insist upon that; that Easter day must needs be as ancient as it. For how came it to be 'the Lord's Day,' but that, as it is in the Psalm, 'the Lord made it?' And why made He it? but because on it, 'the Stone cast aside,' that is Christ, 'was made the Head-stone of the corner?'-that is, because then the Lord rose, because of His resurrection fell upon it?

Now what a thing were it, that all the Sundays in the year that are but abstracts, as it were, of this day, the very day of the Resurrection, that they should be kept; and this day, the day itself, the prototype and archetype of them all, should not be kept, but laid aside, and be clean forgotten? That the day in the week we should keep; and the day of the month itself, and return of the year, we should not keep? Even of very congruity it is to be as they, and somewhat more.

I take this opportunity to comment on the fact that Christians recognize that the Sabbath commemorated the rest of God from his works (Exodus 20:11; 31:17) but that it was not necessary to have a separate "Creation Day" in the law of Moses.  So likewise, it is not necessary to have a separate "Resurrection Day" apart from the weekly commemoration.

Andrewes argues from various ancient customs, but tries to make a connection based on Origen's comments:

And last, by the never broken custom of a solemn Eucharist, ever upon this day. Origen in his seventh upon Exodus, he saith, our Easter day far passeth the Jewish Easter. They had no manna on theirs-the Passover was eaten in Egypt, manna came not till they were in the wilderness-but we, saith he, we never keep our Passover, but we are sure of manna upon it, the true Manna, 'the Bread of life that came down from heaven.' For they had no Easter then without a Communion.

Andrewes' wrap-up summarizes his argument well: "Ensuing the steps of the Apostles and the Churches of God, all, with whom joining in both, let us expect the blessing of God upon us ... ."  I'm not persuaded by Andrewes' arguments, but I notice that none of this clarifies the intent of the translation at Acts 12:4.

The LACT of the project also lists a number of folks with varying degrees of chronological connection or proximity to Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626).  The assumption of the project seems to be that these folks represent the "Anglo-Catholic" strain of Anglicanism following Andrewes.  Some of the folks don't yet have their works entered into the project, and some have only a few. The folks include:

  • John Overall (1559-1619)
  • Richard Crakanthorpe (1567-1624)
  • William Laud (1573-1645)
  • William Forbes (1585–1634)
  • William Nicholson (1591-1672)
  • John Bramhall (1594-1663)
  • John Cosin (1594-1672)
  • Herbert Thorndike (1598-1672) 
  • Henry Hammond (1605-1660)
  • Hamon L'Estrange (1605–1660) 
  • Mark Frank or Franck (1613–1664) 
  • John Pearson (1613-1686)
  • Peter Gunning (1614-1684)
  • George Bull (1634-1710)
  • William Beveridge (1637-1708)
  • George Hickes (1642-1715) 
  • John Johnson (1662-1725)
  • Nathaniel Marshall (d. 1730)
  • Thomas Wilson (1698-1755)

Of the materials available through the project, the most interesting is Mark Franck's "Third Sermon Upon Easter Day"  In the sermon, Frank refers to "the Jewish Easter," and he says: 

Particular days are of God's making as well as others. God made such from the beginning, all days in the week, but the Sabbath in particular; all days in the month, but the new moons in particular; all days in the year, but the feasts and fasts, the Easter, the Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles, the great Kipparim in particular, to his service in particular among the Jews. And among the Christians particular days may be observed too. "He that observes a day, may observe it unto the Lord" And upon particular order we have such, Pascha nostrum immolatum; our Passover is slain, and we must keep a feast, we have an Easter. We have the Lord's day thence, and we may be "in the spirit upon" it; a "first day of the week," and we may "break bread," and make col-lections upon it. Panem frangere, and collectas facere, make meetings, and celebrate sacraments upon it. We have the Apostles at their pentecost; S. Paul, after that, making a journey to be at it; the Spirit descending on it, to sanctify particularly to God's service, to take it, as it were, away from the Jewish into the Christian calendar. We have a hodie natus est, a day for Christ's being born, taken up from the examples of an host of angels, by all Christian people (for I can scarce call them Christians any of them that deny it) ever since; a day of his incarnation too, whence the Christian era, all Christian accounts of the year have since ever begun and run; a proof sufficient to show, Christians have their observations of days as well as Jews, particular days and feasts, nay, and fasts too, upon Christ's in diebs illis jejunabunt, his particular injunction of them,--days all particularly made for his own service.

In the same sermon he makes reference to: "that devout and learned Bishop Andrewes," indicating at least some familiarity with his work.

He goes on to repeat the belief among those opposed to the Puritans that the reason for the different celebrations goes back to the apostles themselves:

"From the Apostles' times it came. Polycarpus,--that "angel," as is conceived, "of the Church of Smyrna,"--kept Easter, saith Irenaeus, with S. John, and with the rest of the Apostles' The great difference about the time of keeping Easter between the Eastern and the Western Churches, was grounded upon the different keeping of it by the two great Apostles, S. Peter and S. John: S. John keeping it after one reckoning, S. Peter after another; S. John keeping it after the Jewish reckoning, upon the fourteenth of the mouth Abib: S. Peter much after the account as now it stands, upon the Sunday following; but all the controversy was about the time, not about the keeping it; none denied or questioned that but Aerius, none left it at liberty but the Cathari, both registered for heretics about it. So confident were they it was from the Lord."

Notice the similarity of this to Andrewes' own comments.

Mark Franck's "First Sermon on the Circumcision" mentions, however, that the Lord's Supper replaces Passover, just as Baptism replaces circumcision:

The new Church has its new sacraments. Ite et baptizate for Ite et circumcidite; baptism for circumcision, and the Lord's Supper for the Passover; in both which of ours there is more than was in theirs, in those legal ceremonies; not only "outward signs" as they, but "inward graces."

After Franck, the second most interesting is John Cosin's Sermon XIII:

So the Jews were commanded to observe the feast of the Passover, the fourteenth day of the first month, let the position of the stars, or the face of the sky, or other observances be that day what they would; because that very day God smote the Egyptians, and passed over the houses of the ver. 13. Israelites; and again, enjoined to keep every seventh day of the week a Sabbath, as by this commandment; not that the Sabbath flay differed any whit in nature from another day, but for that upon it God rested from His creation of the universe. As they the seventh, so we that are Christians the first, in memory of Christ's resurrection, and many other glorious and great works that were wrought by Him upon it; which therefore, by way of a singular prerogative given to it above all others, we style, and usually call the Lord's day.

And this is that which St. Austin says, we hallow the memory of God's benefits to his Church, with solemn feasts and set days; lest otherwise, through negligence and ingratitude we should wholly forget what great things lie hath at those tines done for us.

Now why God should choose this first day of the week, which we call the Lord's day, rather than another, wherein to drew forth such manifest signs of' His power and goodness to us, it were a question vain and infinite; vain, for that no other reason can be given but His will and pleasure only, whereinto we are not to search; infinite, for that the self-same question would still remain, if God for that purpose had chosen any other day besides.

But this is the day which the Lord hath made, and made it so glorious and so venerable that thereupon the Church hath transferred all the glory of the other day, which was the old Sabbath of the Jews. The Sabbath then is gone, and the Lord's day is come in place of it, to be received obediently as the other, and to be observed too, religiously as the other, though not with the same ceremonies, yet with the same substance that the other was.

Turning from the Anglo-Catholics to the major early Reformed commentators:

John Lightfoot (1602-1675) in his commentary on Acts (volume 8 of his works) takes up the question of the timing of Peter's death (book pp. 277-79 and 281, pdf pp. 283-85 and 287). Lightfoot does not explicitly address the discrepancy between Easter and Passover.  Lightfoot's primary concern is aligning the history of Acts with other historical accounts of the first century.

Nevertheless, after repeatedly referring to the captivity of Peter as being at "Easter" in the preceding pages, at p. 286 (pdf p. 292), Lightfoot writes:

Agrippa, having laid hold upon him, deferred his execution[t English folio-edition, vol. 1, p.886] till after the Passover[u Sanctius in Acts xii.]; either because he would not defile that holy feast with effusion of human blood; or because he would afflict Peter the more, and give the Jews the greater content, by his long restraint ·and strait imprisonment; or rather, because he feared a tumult, if he should have slain him in that concourse of people, as was there at Passover-time.

So Lightfoot seems to believe that Herod's concern was either to avoid offending the Jews or to burden Peter.  Lightfoot appears to believe that the correct understanding of of Acts 12:4 is "Passover" rather than distinctly "Easter," though he clearly views the timing of the two to be the same.

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) provided a paraphrase of the New Testament (1685).  His paraphrase of Acts 12:4 replaces the word "Easter" with the word "Passover."  Additionally, his paraphrase explicitly comments, "The Holy days of unleavened bread or Easter are celebrated with the Murder of Chrst first, and of James after. This the Hypocrites holyness." (source)

Matthew Henry (1662-1714) in his commentary at Acts 12:4 indicates that "Easter" here ought to be read as "Passover" (source): 

(2.) He would do this after Easter, meta to pascha—after the passover, certainly so it ought to be read, for it is the same word that is always so rendered; and to insinuate the introducing of a gospel-feast, instead of the passover, when we have nothing in the New Testament of such a thing, is to mingle Judaism with our Christianity. Herod would not condemn him till the passover was over, some think, for fear lest he should have such an interest among the people that they should demand the release of him, according to the custom of the feast: or, after the hurry of the feast was over, and the town was empty, he would entertain them with Peter’s public trial and execution. Thus was the plot laid, and both Herod and the people long to have the feast over, that they may gratify themselves with this barbarous entertainment.

John Gill (1697-1771) in his commentary briefly states: "intending after Easter, or the passover," indicating his similar view.

Rudolf Gwalther (1519-1586) as translated by John Bridges (d. 1618) in 1572 acknowledged that the motivation was to please the Jews by avoiding desecrating the feast of unleavened bread: "And there was no let in him, but Peter also shoulde by and by haue bene executed: but bicause it was the dayes of sweete breade, he was through obseruation of the feast prohibited, least he shoulde by vnhallowing the feast, turne the good will of the Iewes from him, which by all meanes he sought to winne." (source)

Finally, for what it's worth, John Chrysostom discussed it this way, in his Homily 26 on the Acts of the Apostles (source): "“And it was the day of unleavened bread.” Again, the idle preciseness of the Jews: to kill indeed they forbade not, but at such a time they did such things! "