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335; and has since been honoured by a service in the Catholic church. With this notice, Sir, (addressing himself to Mr. Constance,) I conclude my labours, for the year; and shall esteem myself well repaid for the trouble of research, if I have in any measure been conducive to the happiness and instruction of my young friends.
A general smile of thankfulness succeeded this announcement; and Mr. Constance, in congratulating his nephew on the termination of his particular duties, reminded him and the rest of the party, that the present was an instance of the advantages to be derived from persevering industry. "We commenced in ignorance," he said, "of the mine of information hidden under the obscurity of the Calendar; we rise from- our research, I hope, with increased knowledge, and a determination to follow in the path of the many bright examples set before us. We find that it is a record of men, whose characters, unincumbered by the trammels of superstition, would have shed a lustre on any age, and whose memories require from us, if not divine honours, at least respectful veneration. Well has the poet said—
'Patriots have toiled, and in their country's cause
But Martyrt struggle for a brighter prize,
The time of departure had now arrived, and when our young friends were about to take an affectionate farewell of Mr. Constance and his family, the former pleasingly surprised them by saying — "I hope to see you all to dinner on Christmas Day, and shall then endeavour to suggest something for your future entertainment and instuction. Till when, I bid you all—adieu!"
(a) page 14.
The term Calends (from calare, to proclaim) gave name to the Calendar. On the first of every month were proclaimed, in public assembly, in the court of the Capitol, the number of days dedicated to Juno,* thus: "Dies te quinque calo, Juno novella ," or, " Septem te dies calo, Juno novella." The first of these proclamations declared five days to precede the Nones; and the second announced that seven days were to take precedence. The latter was used in March, May, July, and October; when the Nones fell on the 7th, and the Ides on the 15th; and the former in all the other month?, the Nones then being on the 5th, and the Ides on the 13th. The object of that custom will be better understood, by explaining that the Romans counted forwards to these three divisions of the month, and not in an uninterrupted series from the 1st to the 31st: thus, after the Calends they reckoned so many before the Nones; after the Nones, so many before the Ides; and then so many before the Calends of the next month ; so that in one half the month the name of the next was used in dates : for example, the 25th of December was vm. Cat. Januarias. The meaning of Calends has been explained above. That of Nones (from nonus, ninth) is obvious; as from that day were counted nine to the Ides. The Ides happen about the middle of the month: the name is derived from an Etruscan verb, signifying ' to divide.'
(b) page 20.
What has been stated in the preceding note in reference to the days of the month, will help to explain the meaning of Bissextile. In (lie Roman leap-year, the 24th of February (vi. Cal. Martias) was twice reckoned, and the intercalated day called dies bissextus, (twice sixth): the year was therefore named annus bissextus or bissexiilis; hence the word now used to signify leap-year.
* The Calends were dedicated to Juno, as were the Ides to Jupiter.
(c) page 50.
Reformation.—For three centuries afterthe death of Jesus Christ, the Christian religion made rapid progress among Jews and Gentiles; and though violently opposed by the persecutions of both parties, ultimately, in the fourth century, became incorporated with the state, under the auspices of Constantine. During the next two hundred years, so rapid was the establishment of the new doctrines, that a bishop of Rome assumed to himself the supreme government of his fellow pastors, and in process of time aimed at a secular government of both princes and subjects. The widely extended territory of the Romans, in the first four hundred years after the birth- of Christ, greatly aided the dissemination of the gospel; but, in proportion as their power declined, and their country became infested with barbarous hordes, ignorance and superstitious darkness prevailed. Christianity, which had hitherto surmounted all opposition, and shone like a luminary on the minds of men, was in turn destined to be the medium of the most absurd speculations, and revolting practices. The " night of time," or age of darkness, emphatically so called, succeeded the fall of the Roman empire, and totally obscured the light of revelation: knowledge became extinct; persons filling the most eminent stations could scarcely read or write; and the religion of Christ gave place to the dogmas of men. It was now that indulgences were granted, absolutions effected!, monastic seclusion honoured, and mortals worshipped by fellow-mortals, with such services as were alone due to; the Creator of AIL During this period eight "Crusades" to the Holy Land were undertaken by the Papists, to drive the Turks from Palestine, or the land of Judea, and thus to rescue the holy sepulchre out of the hands of infidels. The first of these expeditions was in 1096V the last in 1270. As a recompense to those who went in person upon these enterprises, an '' indulgence, " so called, was invented by Urban the Sixth. It assumed the power of conveying to the possessor, pardon of his own sins, as well as to release anyone in whom he was interested,from. the.pam? of purgatory. In process of time an indulgence became, the reward of all those who contributed to the accomplishment of any pious work; thus the church of St. Peter, at Rome, was in a great measure built by the contributions of the- faithful, who- were recom
peused by the grant of this precious document.* The heads of the Catholic church in time, taking advantage of the credulity of ignorance, collected vast sums of money on the sale of these indulgences. "Leo the Tenth when raised to the Papal throne, found the revenues of the church exhausted by the vast projects of his two ambitious predecessors, Alexander the Sixth, and Julius the Second. His own temper, naturally liberal and enterprising, rendered him incapable of that severe and patient economy, which the situation of his finances required. On the contrary, his schemes for aggrandizing the family of the Medici, his love of splendour, his taste for pleasure, and his magnificence in rewarding men of genius, involved him daily in new expenses; in order to provide a fund for which, he tried every device that the fertile invention of priests had fallen upon to drain the credulous multitude. Among others, he had recourse to a sale of indulgences. The right of promulgating these indulgences in Germany, together with a share in the profits arising from the sale of them, was granted to Albert, elector of Mentz, and archbishop of Magdeburg, who, as his chief agent for retailing them in Saxony, employed Tetzel, a Dominican friar, of licentious morals, but of an active spirit, and remarkable for his noisy and popular eloquence. He, assisted by the monks of his order, executed the commission with great zeal and success, but with little discretion or decency; and though, by magnifying excessively the benefit of their indulgences, and disposing of them at a very low price, they carried on for some time an extensive and lucrative traffic among the credulous multitude; the extravagance of their assertions, as well as the irregularities of their conduct, came at last to give general offence. The princes and nobles were irritated at seeing their
* Form of Indulgence. "May our Lord Jejus Christ have mercy upon thee, and absolve thee by the merits of his most holy passion. And I, by the authority of his blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, and of the most holy Pope, granted and committed to me in these parts, do absolve thee —first, from all ecclesiastical censures, in whatever manner they have been incurred, and then from all thy sins, transgressions, and excesses, how enormous soever they be, even from such as are reserved for the cognizance of the holy see; and, as far as the keys of the holy church extend, I remit to thee all punishment which thou dost deserve in purgatory on their account; and I restore thee to the holy sacraments of the church, to the unity of the faithful" and to the innocence and purity which thou didst possess at baptism; so that when thou dost die, the gates of punishment shall be shut, and the gates of the paradise of delight shall be opened; and if thou shall not die at present, this grace shall remain in full force when thou art at the point of death I In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Huly Ghost."