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delivered by Moses : 3 “At the end of four hundred years, even the self-same day, all the host of Israel went out of the land of Egypt.” For in that space of time the equinoxes had anticipated, and the eleven minutes had amounted far above a day. And this compute rightly considered will fall fouler on them who cast up the lives of kingdoms, and sum up their duration by particular numbers; as Plato first began, and some have endeavoured since by perfect and spherical numbers, by the square and cube of seven, and nine, and twelve, the great number of Plato. Wherein indeed Bodine # hath attempted a particular enumeration; but (beside the mistakes committable in the solary compute of years, the difference of chronology disturbs the satisfaction and quiet of his computes; some adding, others detracting, and few punctually according in any one year; whereby indeed such accounts should be made up, for the variation in an unit destroys the total illation.
Thirdly, the compute may be unjust, not only in a strict acception, of few days or hours, but in the latitude also of some years; and this may happen from the different compute of years in divers nations, and even such as did maintain the most probable way of account: their year being not only different from one another, but the civil and common account disagreeing much from the natural year, whereon the consideration is founded. Thus from the testimony of Herodotus, Censorinus, and others, the Greeks observed the lunary year, that is, twelve revolutions of the moon, 354 days; but the Egyptians, and many others, adhered unto the solary account, that is, 365 days, that is, eleven days longer. Now hereby the account of the one would very much exceed the other : a man in the one would account himself sixtythree, when one in the other would think himself but sixty
* Matt. Histor.
3 which is delivered by Moses.] Moses that yeare in their accompts: by which accounted by the old Ægyptian yeare, they measure the Julian yeares. Soe wherein he was most skilfull: and the then, his mention of the Julian excesse Ægyptian yeare was a yeare of days of 11 minutes yearlye is a goodróvuoov. without any intercalation. Soe that the For Moses did not use the Julian yeare, head of the yeare was vagrant, but the which bad its original from the Ægypaccompt of dayes most exact, insomuch tian yeares 1454 yeares after-Wr. that the best astronomers to this day use VOL. III.
one; and so, although their nativities were under the same hour, yet did they at different years believe the verity of that which both esteemed affixed and certain unto one. The like mistake there is in a tradition of our days ; men conceiving a peculiar danger in the beginning days of May, set out as a fatal period unto consumptions and chronical diseases ; wherein, notwithstanding, we compute by calendars not only different from our ancestors but one another, the compute of the one anticipating that of the other; so that while we are in April, others begin May, and the danger is past unto one, while it beginneth with another.
Fourthly, men were not only out in the number of some days, the latitude of a few years, but might be wide by whole olympiads and divers decads of years. For as Сensorinus relateth, the ancient Arcadians observed a year of three months, the Carians of six, the Iberians of four; and as Diodorus and Xenophon de Æquivocis allege, the ancient Egyptians have used a year of three, two, and one month : so that the climacterical was not only different unto those nations, but unreasonably distant from ours; for sixtythree will pass in their account, before they arrive so high as ten in ours.
Nor, if we survey the account of Rome itself, may we doubt they were mistaken, and if they feared climacterical years, might err in their numeration. For the civil year, whereof the people took notice, did sometimes come short, and sometimes exceed the natural. For according to Varro, Suetonius, and Censorinus, their year consisted first of ten months; which comprehend but 304 days, that is, sixty-one less than ours containeth ; after by Numa or Tarquin, from a superstitious conceit of imparity, were added fifty-one days, which made 355, one day more than twelve revolutions of the
And thus a long time it continued, the civil compute exceeding the natural; the correction whereof, and the due ordering of the leap-year was referred unto the Pontifices; who either upon favour or malice, that some might continue their offices a longer or shorter time, or from the magnitude of the year, that men might be advantaged, or endamaged in their contracts, by arbitrary intercalations, depraved the
whole account. Of this abuse Cicero accused Verres, which at last proceeded so far, that when Julius Cæsar came unto that office, before the redress hereof he was fain to insert two intercalary months unto November and December, when he had already inserted twenty-three days unto February; so that the year consisted of 445 days; a quarter of a year longer than that we observed ; and though at the last the year was reformed, yet in the mean time they might be out wherein they summed up climacterical observations. .
Lastly, one way more there may be of mistake, and that not unusual among us, grounded upon a double compute of the year; the one beginning from the 25th of March, the other from the day of our birth, unto the same again, which is the natural account. Now hereupon many men frequently miscast their days; for in their age they deduce the account not from the day of their birth, but the year of our Lord, wherein they were born. So a man that was born in January, 1582, if he live to fall sick in the latter end of March, 1645, will sum up his age, and say I am now sixty three, and in my climacterical and dangerous year; for I was born in the year 1582, and now it is 1645, whereas indeed he wanteth many months of that year, considering the true and natural account unto his birth; and accounteth two months for a year: and though the length of time and accumulation of years do render the mistake insensible ; yet is it all one, as if one born in January, 1614, should be accounted a year old the 25th of March, 1645.
All which perpended, it may be easily perceived with what insecurity of truth we adhere unto this opinion; ascribing not only effects depending on the natural period of time, unto arbitary calculations, and such as vary at pleasure; but confirming our tenets by the uncertain account of others and ourselves, there being no positive or indisputable ground where to begin our compute. That if there were, men have been several ways mistaken; the best in some latitude, others
4 shall be accounted a year old, &c.] does it sound, to assert that on the Whereas, if born on the first of January, 24th of March, 1645, he would be a 1644, he would be only 85 days old on year older than on the 25th March of the 25th of March, that being the first the same year. day of the year 1645: still more strange
in greater, according to the different compute of divers states, the short and irreconcileable years of some, the exceeding error in the natural frame of others, and the lapses and false deductions of ordinary accountants in most.
Which duly considered, together with a strict account and critical examen of reason, will also distract the witty determinations of astrology. That Saturn, the enemy of life, comes almost every seventh year, unto the quadrate or malevolent place; that as the moon about every seventh day arriveth unto a contrary sign, so Saturn, which remaineth about as many years as the moon doth days in one sign, and holdeth the same consideration in years as the moon in days, doth cause these periculous periods. Which together with other planets, and profection of the horoscope, unto the seventh house, or opposite signs every seventh year, oppresseth living natures, and causeth observable mutations in the state of sublunary things.
Further satisfaction may yet be had from the learned discourse of Salmasius * lately published, if any desire to be informed how different the present observations are from those of the ancients; how every one hath different climactericals; with many other observables, impugning the present opinion.
* De Annis Climactericis.
5 which duly, &c.] The two conclu- opportunity to avail myself of them. ding paragraphs were added in 2nd See Pluche i, 266.—Vid. J. F. Ringeledition.
bergii Lucubrationes de Annis ClimacI subjoin several references here trans- tericis, p. 548.—Concerning an cribed from a copy belonging to my late number," see Slopford's Pagano-Papis. friend Rev. Jos. Jefferson ; which may be mus, p. 262.-Jeff. useful to others, though I have not had
Of the Canicular or Dog-days.
Whereof to speak distinctly. Among the southern constellations, two there are which bear the name of the dog; the one in sixteen degrees of latitude, containing on the left thigh a star of the first magnitude, usually called Procyon or Anticanis, because say some it riseth before the other; which if truly understood, must be restrained unto those habitations, who have elevation of pole above thirty-two degrees. Mention thereof there is in Horace, * who seems to mistake or confound the one with the other; and after him in Galen, who is willing the remarkablest star of the other should be called by this name; because it is the first that ariseth in the constellation; which notwithstanding, to speak strictly, it is not; unless we except one of the third magnitude in the right paw, in his own and our elevation, and two more on his head in and beyond the degree of sixty. A second and more considerable one there is, and neighbour unto the other, in forty degrees of latitude, containing eighteen stars, whereof that in his mouth, of the first magnitude, the Greeks call Leiguos, the Latins canis major, and we emphatically the dog-star.
Now from the rising of this star, not cosmically, that is, with the sun, but heliacally, that is, its emersion from the rays of the sun, the ancients computed their canicular days; concerning which, there generally passeth an opinion, that during those days all medication or use of physick is to be declined, and the cure committed unto nature. And therefore as though there were any feriation in nature or justitiums? imaginable in professions, whose subject is natural, and
* Jam Procyon fuerit et stella vesani Leonis. seriation.] l'acations.
7 justiliums.? Probably, statute laws.