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twenty-fourth of February, called by the Romans the sixth of the Calends of March; as it was thus reckoned twice, the year in which it was introduced was called Bisextile, or what we call Leap Year.

This Calendar was still more reformed by order of Pope Gregory XIII. in 1532, from whence arose the New Style, which is now observed in every European country, except Russia. The Julian year was too long by nearly eleven minutes, which excess amounts to about three days in 400 years; the Pope therefore, with the advice of able astronomers, ordained that a day in every three centuries out of four should be omitted; fo that every century, which would otherwise be a bissextile year, is made to be only a common year, excepting only such centuries as are exactly divisible by four, which happens once in four centuries. This reformation of the Calendar commenced in the countries under the papal influence on the 4th of October, 1582, when ten days were omitted at once, which had been overrun since the Council of Nice in 325, by the overplus of eleven minutes each year. In England this New Style commenced only in 1752, when eleven days were omitted at once, the 3d of September being reckoned the 14th in that year; as the surplus minutes had then amounted to eleven days. The Calendar thus reformed, which, by an Act of Parliament in the 24th of George II. was ordered to be observed, comes very nearly to the accuracy of

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nature,

nature, for it is ordered by that Ad, that Easter Sunday, on which the rest of the Feasts depend, is always the first Sunday after the full moon, which happens upon, or next after the 21st of March; and if the full moon happens on a Sunday, Ealterday is the Sunday after?

9 This account is taken from. Hutton's Mathematical Dice tionary.

CHAPTER

CHAPTER 1v.

The History of the Jews.

The Ifraelites, or ancient Jews, were those diftinguished people, who were favoured by the immediate care of the Almighty, and conducted by his especial guidance to Judea, a place of residence promised to their remote ancestors. In consequence of their obstinacy, idolatry, and wickedness, and inore particularly for the rejection of their Meffiah, they were subdued by the Romaris, after sustaining a fiege in their metropolis, unparalleled in the annals of history for its distreffes, calamities, and Naughter. Jerusalem was reduced to ruins, the Jewish government was totally fubverted, and the surviving people were dispersed over most parts of the world. Their descendants still remain unmixed with the rest of mankind, and are marked by their original features of national peculiarity: they adhere with the most zealous attachment to the religion of their forefathers, and cherith the hopes of restoration to their former prosperity by mcans of a glorious and triumphant Deliverer":

* Many of the triatèrials for this chapter were furnished by the works of Jofephus, Stillingileet's Origines facræ, Bryant's Mythology, Gray's Key to the Old Testament, Maus dice's Indian Antiquities, &c.

1 g

They

· They preserve with the most watchful care the facred Books of their ancient writers. And astonishing, very astonishing it is to observe, that in the prophetical parts of these sacred Books are contained all the events before mentioned of their ertraordinary history. Their particular conduct, and the viciffitudes of their national affairs, were predicted by their prophets, and more especially by Moses, their great lawgiver, in the infancy of the world, at the · vast distance of thirty-three centuries from the present times. The accomplishment of these predic

tions bears the fullest and most striking evidence to - the truth and inspiration of their Prophets, and - illuftrates the dispensations of Providence to his chosen people

. These sacred Books contain likewise prophecies the most exact of the character, office, and actions of the Messiah of the Jews, the great lawgiver of the Christians, the appointed Saviour of the world.

. Such interesting circumstances as these, in addition to the peculiar nature of the Jewish polity, considered as a divine institution, the curious manners and customs, and the memorable actions of the descendants of Abraham, viz. of the most an-, cient people of whom we have any authentic accounts, combine to place these Books first in order of importance, as in order of time.

If

If we consider, I. The great antiquity of these Books; II: The proofs which support their authenticity; III. Their subjects, the characters of the writers, and the place they occupy in the order of general history, particularly as they stand connected with the Christian Revelation, they will be found to deferve our very earnest attention.

İ: The Antiquity of the Scriptures.

No writings of any other nation can be brought into competition in this respect, with those of the Jews. In proof of this affertion, it may be remarked, that Mofes lived more than a thousand years before the age of Herodotus, who is reputed the father of Grecian history; and rather earlier than he flourished, Ezra and Nehemiah closed the records of the Jews'. As another proof of the priority of the Jews to the Greeks, it appears by the confession of the Greek writers themselves that they received the letters of their alphabet from the Phenicians; and there are very sufficient grounds for believing, that the Phenicians derived the art of writing from the Jews. The learned and acute Porphyry, who was an equal enemy both to Jews and Christians, and much attached to the learni ing of Greece, candidly confessed, that Mofes, and

• Moles • • • • • B.C. 1571 years. Herodotuš . . . .

445 The former therefore preceded the latter 1126 Nehemiah lived - -. - B.C. 456

the

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