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Thou reigning beauty of the night,
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, Audynaus, lolus, 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 Chæac of the Alexandrian or Augustan, and the tenth in the ancient year, all the months 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, Apellæus, 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 to 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.
But many that are first shall be last; and the last (shall be) first.
Heaven's gates spontaneous open to the powers,
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 Romans. 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 expiring month. This was 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 twelve ; 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 (Order); 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 putteth 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.
No war, or battle's sound
The idle spear and shield were high up hung,
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng,
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 have 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 ær
• 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 iï. 23.
The Fates, when they this happy web have spun,
The joyous birds, shropded in cheerfal shade,
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 ÆRA. 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 vessel 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.
No more the virgins shall delight to rove
ÇARUs. A supposed accessary to the murder of the virtuous Probus, his predecessor : he was fattered but feared, and miraculously perished in his bed by a stroke from heaven (or a guilty disease), A. D. 283.
The deposition of the Illyrian general Vetranio, who had assumed the western throne of Constans, in opposition to his murderer, Magnentius, A.D. 350. That tyrant fell by the power of Constantius, who thus became like his father sole Emperor, 10th August, A. D. 353.
Clovis. The solemn baptism or spiritual coronation of Clovis in the cathedral of Rheims was a glorious day among the Franks, A. D. 496. The Letter of his primate and counsellor Saint Remi is perhaps unrivalled for its Christian wisdom, and stands an imperishable rule for governors and princes worthy of the Apostolic age, and adapted for every clime.
CHARLEMAINE. Charles Augustus is anointed pacific Emperor of the West at St. Peter's, arrayed in the Patrician robes, A. D. 800. It was the commencement of a new Roman æra, dissolved by the rod of Napoleon, after recording its millennium. It flatters an Englishman to identify an illustrious Yorkshire scholar as the favourite preceptor of the great Charles. Alcuin survived the inauguration about three years.
The elevation of Michael the Stammerer to the Eastern throne forms a most interesting portion of a loose period. One with “ a dagger at your breast," who drops through a trap-door, finds no pity, A.D. 820.
St. Edmund, 'a youth of fourteen years, but of great hopes,' is crowned at Bures on the Stour, supposed by Hearne to be Sudbury, A. D. 855. That year is most memorable for the eleemosynary grant by King Ethelwolf (weak in the shoulder) and his council of a tenth of all the lands of England, to be held in fee by the clergy. He then made a pilgrimage to Rome with Alfred, his little blessing, who was consecrated there by Leo, the pontiff. The Picts of Scotland were subjugated and united by King Kenneth (son of Alpin), the scourge of England in the year 842. Bred, the last of the Picts, fell at Forteviot, Kenneth's future capital.
What have the ravaging Ottomans done for glory ? ---Nothing.-Voltaire.