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by the

Augustus died upon the 19th of Au- some agents to improve the superstitious gust, A. D. 14; and Tacitus informs notions which had leized the legions ; and us, that Tiberius was scarce seated on the in the morning, as soon as it was light, throne, when the legions in Pannonia re- Corto die, says Tacitus) he arranged them volted. The emperor immediately dif- afresh and succeeded. Hence, I think, we patched his son Drusus to reduce those le- may fairly and safely conclude, that the gions to their duty. Drufus having read present date of the year of our Lord is his father's letters, and received their right. demands, made a reply, which instead of Whoever will consult the learned Mede, abaring, inflamed their rage. They al- will soon be convinced that the Jewish saulted his principal attendant, Cneius feast of tabernacles was typical of the Lentulus, with stones, and had certainly birth or incarnation of our Saviour.dispatched him, had he not been rescued And that our Lord was born

troops he had brought with him; that time, is demonstrably certain, from but their interposition did not quell the the time of the year it fell to Zachatumult. Yet the mischiefs which that rias's lot to burn incense. Scaliger lays, night threatened were entirely prevented that he entered upon that office on the by the moon. For while the sky was re- 21st of July; I differ only two days from markably serene and clear, the moon, on him, and make the Jewish fabbath to fall a sudden, seemed to lose her light, and by that year on the 233 and 24th of July.degrees was totally involved in darkness. And it is very remarkable, and deferves The legions, ignorant of the real cause, particular notice, that the primitive supposed that the Gods had then testified church of Alexandria, famous for its their displeasure at the mutiny; and Dru- chronology, celebrated the nativity of fus, artfully improving the opportunity, John the Baptist on the 23d of our April

, soon reduced them to their duty. This which is exactly nine months after his is the account which Tacitus has given us father Zaccharias began to offer incense. of that eclipse; and according to Cal. The consequence must bey that our Savisius, it happened the 27th September, viour was conceived about the end of Jaabout five in the morning.

nuary, and was born about the end of our Now by the method proposed, it will September, which answers exactly to the appear that the ecliple happened in the time of the Jewish feast of tabernacles, evening of the 27th of September, A. D. which begin on the 15th of their month 14.For from the year 14, to 1962, are Tfiri. But if the feast of tabernacles 92 cycles of the moon; and in 92 cycles, was typical of our Saviour's incarnation ; ah. 27' 32", amount to 54. 145. 13' 4". and in order to that he must needs have We find in 1762 a full moon happened at been born on some one day which fell withLondon, Oétober 3d, 4". in the morning, in the eight days of that feast; then we or, according to the Old Style, September have all the reason to believe, that he was 2zd, 4. in the morning, to which if we born on the first day of that feast. The add 5.4". 13' 4" we come to September feast of the passover was a type of his 27th, about fix in the evening, that is, al- death; and on the very day in which they lowing for the difference of longitude be- killed the passover, that is on the first tween London and Pannonia, it happened day of that feast, our Saviour expired on about eight o'clock in the evening of the cross. The feast of weeks, or PenteSeptember the 27th, that is about two cost, was appointed for a remembrance hours after sun-set; and though this does of the law, and for a type of the docnot exactly agree with the calculation of trine of the gospel, that is of the deCalvisius, still it does not vary much, and scent of the Holy Spirit ; and upon the which may be accounted for, either from first day of that feast it descended on an inaccuracy of Calvisius, or an error in the apostles. Thus, as two of the grand the moon's theory. It is certain, from the Jewish types were fulfilled on the first day account of Tacitus, that the eclipfe hap- of their respective feasts, we may, by anapened in the evening; for the outrage of.logy, conclude, that on the very day on fered to Lentulus, and the behaviour of which the Jews began to dwell in booths, the legions upon his rescue, threatened a or tabernacles, was our Lord tabernacled terrible fucceeding night, and the mischief in our fleth ; that is, on the 15th day of was prevented by the eclipse; therefore the Jewish month Tsiri, was our Saviour the eclipfe must have happened in the born. We will now proceed to enquire evening of that night. Drufus employed what day in our calendar corresponded to


Vol. II.]

Æra of Christ's Nativity.


the 15th of the month Tsiri.-We are founded upon a mistake. The error that certain, that the month Iliri answered misled Dionysius, and all the world, arose partly to our O&tober, and that the new from a mitrepresentation of the words of moon began the month. Now, from the St. Luke, che ili, v. 23, which supposes, birth of Christ to the year 1767, are 93

that Jelus was about thirty years of age cycles of the moon, or so many periods the 15th of Tiberius; whereas the words of 19 years; and in that number of import no more, than that when Jesus beperiods 1". 27' 32", will amount to sd. gan his ministry, or to fhew himself unto ish. 40' 36". In the year 1767 a new Ifrael, he was about 30 years of age, moon happened at London, Sept. 23, N. S. which might precede his baptism two or Sept. 12, 0. S. at 2". 48' in the morn- years at least, as some time must have ing, that is,, allowing for the difference elapsed between his leaving Galilee and of longitude, it happened at Jerusalem coming to the south of Jordan, where John Sept. 12, at about 51. in the morning; was, about that time, (that is in the 15th to that time add sd 15h. 40' 36", and of Tiberius) preaching and baptizing.. we shall have Sept. 174. 10". 40' 36" for The greatest service that has been done, the day of the new moon, when our Lord is the having fixed the 15th of Tiberius was born; consequently the latter end of with some degree of certainty and preciour-then Sept. 17th was the beginning of fion, and consequently the year of our the first day of the Jewish month Tsiri; Lord's baptism.--For, from the account and therefore the 15th of that month, that given by Tacitus, of the eclipfe, and the is, the beginning of it, the first day of beginning of Tiberius's reign, the evidence the fealt of tabernacles, was the day of is as satisfactory as can be withed; namely, the birth of our Saviour, and was the that his reign commenced the latter end latter end of our then October, ist, which of the 14th year of the vulgar æra, the day was then our Saturday; and thus 4742d f the Julian period, the first of the our Lord was born on the beginning of 2020 Olympiad, 782d 'of the building of that Jewish day, which was afterwards Rome (C. Fufius Geminus and L. Rubellius the Christian sabbath. Upon the whole, Geminus being consuls), 776th of Nathen, we may conclude, that since we have bonafjar, the cycle of the moon being 11, altered our style, we ought to celebrate of the fùn 10, dom. letter c. (N. S.) and the nativity of our Saviour on the 12th the first after leap-year. day of October.

From the knowledge of the true year All these proofs amount to this; that of Christ's baptism, we may probably the vulgar ara, from the 330 and 14th come with certainty also to the real year year of it to the present time, is truly of Christ's death, as most interpreters settled, according to astronomical prin- agree that four passovers intervened beciples. But the question we want to have tween those two events; and this will determined still remains unsettled, namely, bring us to the 33d of the vulgar æra, whether the commencement of the Diony- the very year that Eusebius has made the fan æra is that of the real Christian æra? fixed point of his calculations, and which For, unless we could have this proved, many learned men thought the real year the real year of Chrift's birth remains as of Christ's death.-But, as there are dif. uncertain as ever.

ferent opinions on this matter, we will The method taken is, undoubtedly, one leave it to farther consideration, whether of the most probable that can be, and best or no these calculations may not be apadapted to extricate us out of the diffi- plied with advantage in reconciling tlie culties that embarrass chronology : for it disagreements we find in writers upon is only from a careful comparison of hiss this subject, and particularly those of twa tory with eclipses, that we can hope to antronomers of this country, Ferguson and adjust the different opinions of authors Emerson: this first in his astronomy says, upon thele subjects.

that a Friday passover full moon fixes the It is an happiness that the theory of the time of our Lord's death to the 3d of moon is so well established; and that in April, in the 330 year of the vulgar æra; such a number of periods of 91, 92, or 93, whereas the latter says, that it is extremely the intervals between the new. moons probable that his paifion was in the year should be so small, and easy to be calcu- 34, on Friday the 14th day of the month lated; yet this kind of proof, valuable as Nifan, which, by the Julian account, it is, will never ascertain the vulgar æra was on Friday the 23d of April. to be the true one, as it is certainly

6 Fa


For the Monthly Magazine. quence


But the fact of its not A free DissertaTION ON THE NA- proof of the impossibility of the thing in

having yet been happily shewn is no TIONAL ADVANTAGES OF AN ABO- question-And it cannot therefore be a LITION OF TITHES BY PURCHASE; clear presumptive proof, that the object AND A MORE EQUAL PAYMENT OF lies beyond the power of human fagacity, THE CLERGY..

aided by a sincere desire to do good. IT is not in this period of knowledge and

If the well-meaning author of the essay

should be thought to have failed in his neral voice of the public has established humble attempt to serve his country, he the fact, that Tithes, as they now ftand, must submit without arrogance to fuperior are a most formidable bar to the greatest opinion ; and if he shall stand acquitted, improvements of agriculture. This fact as he trusts he shall, of any improper mois asserted by men of all ranks, and of most tives, he shall stand resigned to his ill fuc

cess. denominations. Even the clergy themselves, or a large part of them, are suppor

Many have been the fchemes of men of ed to be assenting to the general propo

considerable ingenuity and more good. fition. The difficulty which lies in the will, for a partial modification, princiway of some of that body, who heftate pally in favour of the superior clergy, by concerning an alteration in the Tithe fyf- promoting their ease, and for securing a tem is, How a change fall be made whicb

more amicable intercourse between them may not injure their particular Interests, and and their parishioners.—This, fo far as endanger the stability of a national Religions able tep; but it has been observed al

may be practicable, would be a desire ous establishment is a national good, they ready, and should ever

be kept in view, may be well expected to believe, as an

that their share of the Tithes of the naimportant truth ; and the opinion of many them, are comparatively a small part of

tion, and the inquietudes attendant upon of the laity of the national church is, port the grievance and in justice to the ge; haps, equally strong in favour of that principle. It shall be granted, for argu. nerality of the clergy, it must be allowed ment's sake, or rather to preclude the ne

to their honour, that, dependent as they ceflity of argument in this place, that a

are for subfiftence upon Tithes, as by law national religious establishment may be a

established, a spirit of liberality pervades national good *. But the mode of fup- their order, which seems not to be geneporting such an establishment on the im. rally equalled among the lay impropriamediate produce of landed labour, is a

tors. I do not intend a flattering encoquestion of immense magnitude. This mium on the clergy; but from close pbwill be allowed in the abtract, both by for a proof of my opinion I need only rer

servation I believe this to be a fact : 'and clergy and laity. If the difficulties which are allowed to

fer to the numerous modern decisions of attend the present system of Tithes could courts in their favour, when questions be happily obviated in a plan for an als concerning their right have been agitated. tered fyftem, reason presumes, with autho

But not to digress from the subject of rity, that an universal acclamation of the proposed remedies, I repeat again, that laity would ensue! That it has not yet those schemes which have been held forth been shewn with a clearness equal to the have generally been partial, and, as might importance of the subject, may be allowed be expected, from partial plans wholly inwith probability, notwithstanding the pro. adequate to a national cure of the evil fessed candour, the learning and elo complained of. How it could be possible 10

suggest a mode of regulation, suited to be

several deferiptions of Titbe incumbrance * I have said may be, not because I am de- 'in this country? The general answer to firous of insinuating a doubt on the subject (for such an enquiry would be short, and such contention or disparagement are not my objects) but because it is not a demonftrable pro- Atitious times might have been productive

as in the apprehenfion of former fuperposition. It is not demonftrable that a national of alarm ; but now neither alarming to religious establishment is essential either to the advancement of real religion or the peace

reason nor religion :and prosperity of civil government; but it is

A COMPLETE ANNIHILATION better to have it thought so, under rational

OF TITHES THROUGHOUT THE regulations of emolument, than to disturb un

REALM!!! necessarily the prejudices and tranquillity of This, and nothing short of this, it is the people,

presumed, would be effectual to the pro


Vol. II.)

Plan for the Abolition of Tithes.


duction of all that advantage, all that for that end, previous to its being rehappiness, which we may hope is reserved turned to parliament ; at which quarter for the present age to commence the dif- sessions, or county or other meeting, any pensation of !

person may have a right of appeal, for The different descriptions of Tithes amendment of the valuation, if, in the are too well known to require particular opinion of three or more reputable lande explanation ; but there is no defcription owners of the district, he can fhew reabut what is capable of valuation : and sonable cause of disatisfaction.—And the whatever may be fairly valued, may be meeting to have full power of altering any fairly bought and annibilated for ever. valuation which it may think erroneous ;

The calculation, whatever it shall hap- but if it shall appear to them that the pen, will be no difficult task for persons complaint is ill-founded, their decision, in of common capacity and skill in the value favour of the valuation, to be final. of land. Of fuch' men, in the present 5. That returns be made to parliament state of agricultural knowledge, enough of the amount and particulars of the vamay be felected in this country to value luation in each district or county within twenty times the quantity required to be one year, or within eighteen months next valued, I would therefore propose the after the passing of the act, and all Tithes following outline of a plan, to be pre- and out-goings to cease at a stated time, sented to Parliament, as the bafis of a only fufficiently distant from the day of general act, for the purpose aforesaid : parliamentary ratification to admit of the

1. That a law be passed, to authorise purchaser's completing his title. and compel the owners of all titheable 6. That the amount of sales of the lands and property throughout the realm Tithes appertaining to laymen (however to purchase the Tithe of the fame, on a originally acquired) being now legally fair valuation, within a time to be li- vested in them, and their heirs, execu. mited.

tors, administrators, or afligns, be taken 2. That by such law, the gentlemen by the owners, without deduction, whea land-owners in each county, to be affem.. ther those owners be individuals or truf. bled at the quarter sessions, or in fome tees for particular uses; but if the latter, other public manner, be required to no- that they be bound forthwith to vest the minate a suitable number of perfons, con- money in government securities, the inte. sidered as the most skilful in the value of rest to be applied from time to time to the lands in their respective districts, to be ends of the original appointment; fave returned as such to parliament on a given and except in instances where parliament, day, out of which persons a proper nun- after mature deliberation, fhall deem the ber to be selected and appointed as com- object fuperftitious or unworthy. And misfioners, for estimating the value of the in such cases parliament to have the power Tithes of each county or district. In the of abrogation, and of applying such moproceedings of such persons to value, the ney either to the founding of some chaperson immediately interested in the valu- rity, most congenial to the circumstances ation and purchase to have the liberty, if of the district, or towards the lessening he thall fo chufe, of appointing some one the debt of the nation. or more person or persons, according to a 7. That the purposes to which the said certain rule or proportion, to act with, and income shall be for ever applied, shall be, affift such parliamentary commiflioners in 1. The maintenance of the whole clergy determining the value.

of the national church ; 2. The building 3. That the persons appointed be re- and reparation of houses for their dwellquired to proceed in their office, under the ing; 3. The occasional reparation or usual qualification of an oath, or affirma. building of the places of worship appera tion, to do justice according to the best of taining to the establishment. their knowledge and belief, without fa. The foregoing objects ftruck me as vour or affection. And this judicial test, proper for the application of the agupon wliich matters of ftill greater conse- gregate income; and I have extended quence, even personal liberty, life and them to the number set down, because death, are made to depend, will doubt, they seem to be naturally connected, and lefs be deemed sufficient. The majority parts, although not all i be parts, of the to determine the value in question. original appropriation of tithes in this

4. That every valuation thall be laid country. I have also so far extended before the quarter sessions, or such county them, because I have no doubt it will meeting as lhall be specially appointed be found, that the income from the fund,


to be raised from the sale' of appropriated When a man, who is not very indiftithes *, will be fully equal to such a ferent to the things of this world, has three-fold application.

once been seated for life in a state of But although an individual may suggest affluence and splendor, it must be irkwhat appears to him beft, and most pro- fome 'to him to be deprived of it. The per for the occasion, the application of act may be deemed illiberal, if not unTurplus money may be left with due de- just ; and as human life foon passes away, ference to the wisdom of parliament, fo the burden, in most instances which under the direction of which we may may be considered as exceptionable, reasonably and respectfully trust it will would soon be removed. And as death not be misapplied.

diffolves the poffeffor, the poffeffion to With regard to such lands as remain at- another, being no matter of right, may tached to parsonages and livings, through- be modified to a proper standard. out the nation, I see no reason why

That those who bear the same common they should not be fold, fave such garden, distinction of bishop may be confiftently orchard, and small pasture grounds, as

allowed the same common income, it is are commonly found attached to the presumed, will need, but little proof. dwellings of the clergy. The more fim- And if one of that distinction can sube ple and uniform the system of support is list in fufficient fplendor on 1-4th or made for them, the more correspondent 1-6th of what others receive, the excess with the harmony that should subsist may not, by reflecting men, be deemed internally among themselves, as well necessary. And the nation may well be as between them and their respective the judge, where the nation is to pay. churches.

The incomes of the different bishops But the sale of such lands being an are supposed to vary, from near 20,000). object entirely distinct from removing down to less than 100cl. per ann. if those the burden of tithes from agriculture, annexed to the fees of Canterbury, York, may be omitted, and remain a subject of Durham, Winchester, Ely, &c. thall be future consideration. A non-essential allowed, by the best friends to the true alteration need not be contended for; interests of the church of England, to be and if experience thall prove, that such great and superfluous beyond all ideas of lands, remaining in the hands of the propriety, for men who are to set the clergy, are as well cultivated by them, examples, and inforce the precepts of the or their tenants, at their own pleasure, Christian religion,---a religion, the efas they would be if otherwise disposed of, sence and character of which is lowliness it will be the same thing to the nation. and simplicity, a religion which is in eter

Should such a general alteration as I nal opposition to every thing that induces have been suggesting ever happily take pride, sensuality, and voluptuousness ; fureplace, it may become the province of the ly a gradual reform of such extravagances legislature to consider (for the general will not be deemed improper. The pious interest of religion and the clergy) what and exemplary Wilson, bishop of Soilor descriptions of the clergy, or rather what and Man, is an eminent inttance how diftin&tions of the clerical office, may be much dignity and usefulness, in the pre{pared, particularly such as stand invest- latical character, may be compatible wvith ed with local privileges and immunities,

a moderate income. But we will not prenon-essential to general comfort and hap fume to suggest a diminution down to piness, or to their service as preachers of double the income which that venerable righteousness.

man possessed, and by the wife and beSuffice it to say in this place, that not- nevolent management of which he ren. withstanding some are beneficed, far be- dered himself fo much like the temporal yond what their office or their reason- father of his Rock ! able-wants require, while the majority As we discuss this subject in the West either have no income at all, or not a of England, we may take the liberty of respectable one, I would not go fu far asking our neighbour, the bishop of Brisas to propose any diminution of income tol, whether, moderately beneficed as he from any during their life.

is, his income be not sufficient to procure * It inay only be necesiary for a few of my chief minister of the meek and lowly

him all the rational comforts which a readers to be informed, that this term applies to those tithes only which remain to church Jesus can want, for himself and fac uses; those in the heads of lay-proprietors mily? We might even presume to go are called unappropriated tithes, and hence a little further, and af another prelate, their owners are called improfiriators, famous for his learning, talents, and

usefulness ;

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