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miraeles said to be wrought at his tomb were so numerou's, that we are told two large volumes of them were kept in that church. His shrine was visited from all parts, and enriched with the most costly gifts and offerings. (Chalmers' Biog. Dict., vol. iv, Art. BECKET.)
15.SAINT SWITHIN. . Swithin, in the Saxon Swithum, received his clerical tonsure, and put on the monastic habit, in the old monastery at Winchester. He was of noble parentage, and passed his youth in the study of grammar, philosophy, and the Scriptures. Swithin was promoted to holy orders by Helmstan, Bishop of Winchester, at whose death, in 852, King Ethelwolf granted him the see. In this he continued eleven years, and died in 868. Swithin desired that he might be buried in the open churchyard, and not in the chancel of the minster, as was usual with other bishops; and his request was complied with : but the monks on his being canonized, considering it disgraceful for the saint to lie in a public cemetery, resolved to remove his body into the choir, which was to have been done, with solemn procession, on the 15th of July. . It rained, however, so violently for forty days succeeding, that the design was aban. doned as heretical and blasphemous, and they ho. noured his memory by erecting a' chapel over his grave, at which many miraculous ćures of all kinds are said to have been wrought. To the above circumstance may be traced the origin of the old saying, • that, if it rains on St. Swithin's, it will rain forty days following ! :
In Poor Robin's Almanack for 1697, are the fol: lowing lines :
This Swithin was a Saint, I trow,
!! 20.-SAINT MARGARET. She was born at Antioch, and was the daughter of a Pagan priest. Olybius, president of the East, under the Romans, wished to marry her ; but finding that Margaret was a Christian, he postponed his intended nuptials until he could prevail on her to renounce her religion. Our saint, however, was inflexible, and was first tortured, and then beheaded, in the year 278. .
22.-MARY MAGDALEN. This day was first dedicated to the memory of St. Mary Magdalen, by King Edward VI ; and in his Common Prayer, the Gospel for the day is from St. Luke, chap. vii, verse 36. Our reformers, however, upon a more strict inquiry, finding it doubtful whether this woman, mentioned in the Gospel, was really Mary Magdalen, thought it prudent to discon. tinue the festival.
25.—SAINT JAMES. James was surnamed the Great, either on account of his age, being esteemed older than the other James, or for some peculiar honour conferred upon him by our Lord. He was by birth a Galilean, and partner with Peter in fishing, from which our Lord called him to be one of his disciples. Mark i, 19, 20.
He cheerfully complied with the call, leaving all to follow him. Soon after this, he was made an apostle ; and, with Peter and John his brother, was taken to see the miraculous raising of Jairus's daughter,— Christ's glorious 'transfiguration,--and' was also with our Saviour in the garden a witness of those bitter sufferings which he there endured for us. It does not appear how James was employed after our Lord's ascension. St. Jerome thinks that he' preached to the Jews of the dispersion ; but that his labours ever carried him at all out of Judea, or even from Jerusalem itself, no authentic history informs us. Of his ardent zeal, no other proof is necessary than his becoming the victim of Herod Agrippa. The Spaniards esteem James their tutelar saint."
. ' 26.-SAINT ANNE. She was the mother of the Virgin Mary, and the wife of Joachim her father Her festival is celebrated by the Latin church.
naked eyeved by.ccultation at to a stere does ed with that's
of the Fixed Stars. WHEN viewed with the best telescopes, the fixed stars do not appear at all magnified, but rather diminished in bulk, inasmuch as the telescope takes off that twinkling appearance which is observed by the naked eye. The smallness of their apparent diameter is proved by the suddenness with which they disappear on their occultations by the Moon. The time this takes does not amount to a single second, which proves that their apparent diameter does not exceed 4". The brilliancy of their light, compared with their small diameter, leads us to suppose them to be at a much greater distance than the planets, and to con sider them as luminous bodies like our Sun, instead of borrowing their light from that luminary like the planets. '
The stars, on account of their apparently various magnitudes, have been distributed into several classes : the largest are called stars of the first magnitude; the next to them in lustre, stars of the second magnitude ;
and so on to the sixth, which are the smallest that vare, visible to the naked eye. This distribution having been made long before the invention of telescopes, the stars which cannot be seen without the assistance of these instruments are distinguished by the name of telescopic stars.,
The antients divided the starry sphere into particular constellations, or systems of stars, according as they lay near one another, so as to occupy those spaces which the figures of different sorts of animals, or other things, would take up, if they were delineated there. Those stars which could not be brought into any particular constellation, were called unformed stars. The division of the stars into different constellations, or asterisms, serves to distinguish them from one another, so that any particular star may be readily foạnd in the heavens by means of a celestial globe, on which the constellations are so delineated, as to put the most remarkable stars into such parts of the figures as are most easily noted. The number of the antient constellations is 48, but upon modern globes there are about 70. On Senex's globes are inserted Bayer's letters; the first in the Greek alphabet being put to the largest star in each constellation, the second to the next, and so on; by which means, every star is as easily found, as if a name were given to it. Thus, in the Occurrences of January for the present year, we have given an account of the star ju Ceti being eclipsed by the Moon on New Year's Day; and, by looking on the globe, ,we instantly find it, and by that means are enabled to direct our views to the heavens to watch the phenomenon.
There is a division of the heavens into three parts: (I.) The Zodiac, so called because most of the constellations in it, which are twelve in number, have the names of animals : these are,
Aries, the Ram.
Libra, the Balance. - . .
Scorpio, the Scorpion,
Sagittarius, the Archer.
Capricornus, the Goat.
Aquarius, the Water-Bearer.
The zodiac goes quite round the heavens : it is 16 degrees broad, so that it takes in the orbits of all the planets, and likewise the orbit of the Moon. Along the middle of this zone, or belt, is the ecliptic, or circle which the earth describes annually as seen from the Sun, and which the Sun appears to describe as seen from the earth. (2.) All that region of the heavens which is on the north side of the zodiac, containing 21 of the ancient constellations; and (3.) That on the south side, containing 15.
New stars sometimes appear, while others disappear. Several stars mentioned by antient astronomers are not now to be found : several are now visible to the naked eye, which are not mentioned in antient catalogues.; and some stars have suddenly appeared, and again, after a considerable interval, vanished. · The following apparently well authenticated examples have been noted: The first new star of which we have an accurate account is that discovered by Cornelius Jansen, November 8, 1572, in the chair of Cassiopeia: it exceeded Sirius in brilliancy, and Jupiter in apparent magnitude; it gradually decayed, and, after 16 months, disappeared. On the 13th of August 1596, David Fabricius observed a new star in the neck of the Whale, and it disappeared after October in the same year, but was supposed to be again discovered in the year 1637. In the year 1600, William Jansenus discovered a changeable star in the neck of the Swan. - It was seen by Kepler, who wrote a treatise upon it, and determined its place to be 16° 18 m , and 55° 30 or 32' north latitude. Ricciolus saw it in 1616, 1621, and 1624. Cassini saw it again in 1655 ; it increased till 1660; then decreased, and, at the end of 1661, it disappeared. In November
neckaise upon it: 0 or 32' north Cassinis