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XVI.

Furthermore, as to the proposal subjoined to your epistle, that I should attempt to introduce into this little book some notice of the ascent and descent of the sun, which is made out in the distribution of days and nights. The matter proceeds thus: In fifteen days and half an hour, the sun ascending by so many minutes, that is, by four in one day, from the eighth day before the Kalends of January, i.e., 25th December, to the eighth before the Kalends of April, i.e., 25th March, an hour is taken up;11911191    Diminuitur. [This year (1886) we have the lowest possible Easter.] at which date there are twelve hours and a twelfth. On this day, towards evening, if it happen also to be the moon’s fourteenth, the lamb was sacrificed among the Jews. But if the number went beyond that, so that it was the moon’s fifteenth or sixteenth on the evening of the same day, on the fourteenth day of the second moon, in the same month, the Passover was celebrated; and the people ate unleavened bread for seven days, up to the twenty-first day at evening. Hence, if it happens in like manner to us, that the seventh day before the Kalends of April, 26th March, proves to be both the Lord’s day and the moon’s fourteenth, Easter is to be celebrated on the fourteenth. But if it proves to be the moon’s fifteenth or sixteenth, or any day up to the twentieth, then our regard for the Lord’s resurrection, which took place on the Lord’s day, will lead us to celebrate it on the same principle; yet this should be done so as that the beginning of Easter may not pass beyond the close of their festival, that is to say, the moon’s twentieth. And therefore we have said that those parties have committed no trivial offence who have ventured either on anticipating or on going beyond this number, which is given us in the divine Scriptures themselves. And from the eighth day before the Kalends of April, 25th March, to the eighth before the Kalends of July, 24th June, in fifteen days an hour is taken up: the sun ascending every day by two minutes and a half, and the sixth part of a minute. And from the eighth day before the Kalends of July, 24th June, to the eighth before the Kalends of October, 24th September, in like manner, in fifteen days and four hours, an hour is taken up: the sun descending every day by the same number of minutes. And the space remaining on to the eighth day before the Kalends of January, 25th December, is determined in a similar number of hours and minutes. So that thus on the eighth day before the Kalends of January, for the hour there is the hour and half. For up to that day and night are distributed. And the twelve hours which were established at the vernal equinox in the beginning by the Lord’s dispensation, being distributed over the night on the eighth before the Kalends of July, the sun ascending through those eighteen several degrees which we have noted, shall be found conjoined with the longer space in the twelfth. And, again, the twelve hours which should be fulfilled at the autumnal equinox in the sun’s descent, should be found disjoined on the sixth before the Kalends of January as six hours divided into twelve, the night holding eighteen divided into twelve. And on the eighth before the Kalends of July, in like manner, it held six divided into twelve.


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