Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

XXV. DECEMBER.

Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt set it in settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first' row shall be a Ruby, a topaz, and a carbuncle. And the second row shall be an Emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the

third row a Ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a Beryl, and an onyr, and a jasper : they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet.---Aaron's Breastplate of Judgment.

Acts.

The Minor Prophets. As they plainly foretold the advent and kingdom of Christ, with the downfall of several opulent and mighty iniquities, we shall require no pardon in devoting a page to their elucidation.

Hosea. The most ancient of the twelve, was of Samaria, whose destrue. tion he predicts. His chapters extend over sixty years, from B.C. 785.

Joel. This reverend prophet, so much admired for the variety of his images, resided at Bethoron, and flourished about B.C. 800.

Amos. The herdsman of Tekoa stands almost unrivalled for loftiness of thought, magnificence of style, and dignity of sentiment. We date his brilliant vision of judgment, upon the nations, B. C. 787.

Obadiah. A brief and very forcible vision respecting the Edomites, which is dated B.C. 587. There is no intelligence of the prophet.

Jonah, of Gath-hepher, who is referred to by the Saviour, describes the fall of Nineveh. His excellent prayer was uttered, B.C. 862.

Micah. He sounds the triumphs and destruction of the Assyrian foe and the final appearance of an eternal glory over the site of Jerusalem, when her house became as the high places of the forest, B.C. 710.

Nahum. Josephus acknowledges the predictions of the captivity in this splendid poem, B.C. 713. Nahum's festival is kept the 24th Dec.

Habakkuk. Another prophetical poet, B.C. 626. The prayer in the third chapter was probably set to musick, and chanted in the Temple.

Zephaniah. Of noble birth at Mount Sacabatha, the denouncer of idolatrous worship and those who'swore by Malcham,' B.C. 630.

Haggai. This denizen is supposed to be the first of the three prophets who flourished at Jerusalem after their return from Babylon, B.C. 520.

Zechariah. He assisted the preceding in exhorting the people to reconstruct their temple ; and then lifts his voice against the evil shepherds.

Malachi. The last of those prophets who flourished before the Messiah was of Sapha. He sealed up' the seven weeks vision, about B.C. 400.

Thou shall not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift dost blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

Moses.

......... 838 .....

Thou reigning beauty of the night,
Fair queen of silence, silver moon,
Whose gentle beams, and borrow'd light,
Are softer rivals of the noon;
Arise, and to that Sovereign Power,
Waxing and waning, honours pay,
Who bade thee rule the dusky hour,
And half supply the absent day.

Acts.

The Months. The tenth' and concluding month of the ancient Roman year, December, receives its title properly from the Being who pervades and upholds the universe; but ministerially (perhaps) from Shem, the Melchisedec of the Jews and the Persian Zoro-aster. It corresponds from about this day with the tenth sacred, and the fourth historical month, Thebet, of the Jews, and with the fourth moons, Audynæus, Iolus, and Dionysius, of the Syro-Macedonians, Paphians, and Bithynians. Again, the Abyssinian and Coptic months, Tacksam and Chiuhac (computed from the 28th of November), agree with the fourth month Chaac of the Alexandrian or Augustan, and the tenth in the ancient year, all the montlıs of which commence with us on the first decade.' -See 29th August. The sacred month, Die, of the Armenians, begins about the November' decade, but in the common calendar near about the same day as the Bithynian month. The Persian month (meh) called Thir responds to the fifth Abyssinian month and the Coptic Tona (or Tush), which both commence on the January decade, Gregorian time. See 8th January. The fourth lunar month of the Macedonians, Peritius, began with the Attic month, Gamelion, and their solar month, Apellaus, with the Julian December. The Syrian month, Canun 1., opens likewise on the calends. This month retains its original Alban

It then consisted of thirty-five days, reduced by Romulus to thirty, and by Numa lo twenty-nine. Cæsar and Augustus then added each a day. The Saxons began their year with December,' called Winter-month ; but after they received Christianity, they then, of devotion to the birthtime of Christ, termed it by the name of Heligh-month, that is to say, ' Holy-month.'—See 22nd September. It appears that some of the Saxon authors called it Guili and Aerra Geola. By the Arabians it is named Giumadi II., and by the Turks, Gimaasilachir. There is only one observation now to make—that from all antiquity the seasons of the earth's adversity have been devoted to religion.

name.

But many that are first shall be last; and the last (shall be) first.

Heaven's gates spontaneous open to the powers,
Heaven's golden gates, kept by the winged Hours;
Commission'd in alternate watch they stand,
The sun's bright portals and the skies command,
Involve in clouds the eternal gates of day,
Or the dark barrier roll with ease away.
The sounding hinges ring: on either side
The gloomy volumes, pierc'd with light, divide.- Homer.

Acts.

mans.

This was

The Weeks. A Week called in the Greek hebdomas is a system of seven days, derived to us from the Jews through the Egyptians and Ro

It is also a division of the lunar cycle, recognized in the religion of the pagans. The day of rest was imperative, but there is no divine decree that the week should be confined to seven days, although certainly a sacred number. There is indeed some probability that the primitive week was composed of eight' days, as used by the first Italians; i.e. six days of labour, one of rest and thanksgiving, and the last a day of judgment or expiation. This division of time is not however found among the Persians, an aboriginal race, and comparatively uncorrupted. The Greeks separated their month in three parts called decades (decemeroi); the first of which was called the decade of the beginning, the second of the middle, and the third, the decade of the erpiring month. reckoned back by inversion from the 21st (the first day after 20) until the last day (demetrias), which was called 'old' and 'new'(ene kai nea), because it partook of both the old and the new month. The opening of each month was styled the first day of the first decade, neomenia.

DAYS AND Hours. The Romans and the later Jews apportioned their day into four parts, called vigils, or watches. The first began at sunrise, or six in the morning; the second, at nine ; the third, at tuelve ; and the fourth at three after meridian. The night was divided also into shares called quarters ; the first of which began at sir in the evening, the second at nine, and so on. The ancient Hebrews cut their natural day (between sunset and sunrise) into four parts : viz. morning, high-day, or noon, first evening, and last evening : and the night into three divisions; viz. night, midnight, and morning watches. The gracious · Hours,' according to Hesiod's theogony, were produced by Jupiter from the bright Themis: which are Power and Counsel. They are called, Eunomia (Or. der); Dice (Justice); and Irene (Peace). These are the three Seasons.'

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and patteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh : so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Sacred History.

......... 840

No war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around:

The idle spear and shield were high up hung,
The hooked chariot stood,
Unstain'd with hostile blood,

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng,
And Kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sov'reign Lord was by.

Acts.

The GOLDEN AGE. This happy period is commonly included between the descent' of Noah and the great dispersion,' B.C. 2247; but as the early Arcadians divided their years into four equal months agreeing with the Solstices and Equinoxes, the · Ages’ may bave been justly comprehended by a poetical people in those quarters or · Seasons' of the year. The 'Iron Age' was therefore appositely placed when the elements are at warfare and nature is a blank. The Ascrean bard calls the fourth the · Heroic age,' embracing the Trojan campaign. His fifth, however, was the real • Iron Age,' when · Modesty' and Justice' flew away.

CHRISTMAS. An universal rubric which asks no rhetoric to enforce, no genius to illustrate, no glosser to expound, no polemics to fortify, nor • breathed spell’ to unriddle the mystery. All who are not wholly sunk in corruption, who find leisure to lift their heads abroad, may trace the comfortable characters, AMO-the elements and charter of salvation. We are not (it is presumed) to understand by the “ Nativity"a corporeal birth, but the spiritual nativity, or the Baptism” of Christ. St. Clement of Alexandria records—" The whole time from the birth of Jesus Christ to the death of Commodus was one hundred and ninety-four years, one month, and thirteen days.” This sentence would seem to determine the exact day and year of our Saviour's birth ; on Monday, the 18th day of November, in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of Augustus (from the death of Marc Antony), when the gates were shut of the Temple of Janus, in the year of the first Indiction, before the common æra ‘three,' B.C. 3, which was a “Sabbatic' Year.—See 23rd May. There is at least another respectable authority, St. Epiphanius, who maintains that the proper nativity of Christ was on the sixth of November, the day it was solemnized at • Cyprus’ so early as the fourth century. That highly interesting circumstance, the Baptism, would more properly fall (it is apprehended) at the Solstice on Christmas Day; namely, Saturday, Golden number 10, Cycle of the Sun 9, Anno Domini, 28.-See Luke iii. 23.

The Fates, when they this happy web have spun,
Shall bless the sacred clue, and bid it smoothly run.

[ocr errors]

The joyous birds, shropded in cheerful shade,
Their notes unto the voice attemper'd sweet,
The angelical soft trembling voices made
To th' instruments divine, respondence meet;
The silver sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmur of the water's fall;
The water's fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, pow loud, into the wind did call;
The gentle warbling wiod low answer'd to all.- A Concert.

acts.

Christian Æra. The epoch called the Christian Æra was first invented (upon Gibbon's authority) in the seventh' (it should be the sixth') century: it was propagated in the eighth' by the authority of Bede (and the Council of 743); but it was not till the ' tenth' that the use became legal and popular. It commences, by an error in the calculations of Denis, the founder of the Cycle' (a Scythian monk), about two or three years after the coming of Christ. See 25th March. The Emperor Justin I. died in April, A. D. 527, and the current Era of Denis was considered to commence from the publication on the 1st day of January, A. D. 528. Before the general reception of those Tables, the western years were computed from after the consulate of Basil, sole consul in A. D. 541, whose name stands the last in the Fasti of Roman Consuls, upon their suppression by Justinian. At Lyons they dated from the consulate of the younger Justin, A. D. 540. There is an antediluvian cycle which has not been noticed, comprising sir hundred years, called the “Great Year. It began with the birth of Noah. The first of these periods was completed at the Deluge. We are therefore now (1831) in the seventh,' terminating on the 6th of November, 1852.

SPANISH ARA. It began with the first year of Augustus his reign in Spain, B.C. 38. In the year A.D. 1252, we find an event recorded, Spanish Æra, 1290. The Dionysian Epoch was introduced into Spain consequently at a later period than within any other western state.

The Brumalia. This course of Roman days now closed.-See 24th November. The word • Bromos' signifies the merry Bacchus, a symbol of the shortest day. Valerius Harpocration informs us that the water in the judicial Clepsydra (hour-glass) was measured upon the shortest day, in order that the three divisions into which the ressel was apportioned might be contained in any other cause-day of the Athenian year. The universal · license' at Rome now concludes with their ' Juvenal Games.'

Sneezing is of all breaths the only sacred indication.- Aristoteles.

......... 8+2

« AnteriorContinuar »