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the Saviour of the world, were but to think him less worthy of it than false gods were esteemed by the Gentiles, than princes by their subjects, than private friends by their greater friends, whose birth-days they yearly celebrated. But of this I trust no man, that truly deserves a name among Christians, will make scruple. Some, indeed (and those not a few among the learned) have doubted of the just time of the birth of our Saviour; which while they doubt, they offer the more occasion to others to question and impugn the celebration of it, as it is now settled in the Church. For if that were not the true day, as they argue, it follows, that there were no more reason (save only what comes from the latter and arbitrary Constitutions of the Church) to keep that day than any other throughout the whole year, unless also some other day were found to be the exact time of it. But for myself here, as I was far from questioning the duty of it, so was I also from doubting of the right of celebration of it on the very day of December whereon it is now kept.
And to make clear my mind here, I shall now more largely, according to what his Majesty's most learned instructions have taught me, declare the certainty of that feast as it is this day observed, even from the eldest of the Christian times and apostolical tradition received even from the practice of his disciples; for it is one thing to deny, as I have done, that it was so ordained by the Apostles in those Clementines (which, I think, all learned and ingenuous men will deny), and another and far different thing to affirm, that the tradition of that day, as it is now kept, is both apostolical and as ancient as the birth itself; as I shall presently deliver in the deduction
of the continuance of it, according as it is now observed through all Christendom. For although in the feast, and in all others unmoveable, there be the known difference of ten days (which were taken out of October in the year 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII., when he reformed the Julian Calendar) betwixt us with some few other states, and those which have received the Gregorian Calendar; yet both they and we agree in this, that upon the twenty fifth of that month (that is, with us, of our Julian December) this feast is ever to be observed. So that we meddle not here at all with any part of the differences betwixt the Julian and Gregorian year, but only endeavour to make it certain, that on this day of that month December that feast hath ever been settled in the Western Church; from whence the Eastern, also, anciently received it. For it is clear, that upon what day soever of any month an unmoveable feast is to be kept in our Julian year, on the same day of the month it is to be kept in the Gregorian; so that the proof here is equal for the use of both accounts. Thus appears the state of the question ; and to this purpose, for order's sake, shall be showed,
1. The authorities of keeping it on this day both in the Eastern and Western Churches about four hundred years after our Saviour, and that then it was ancient in the Western Church, and known also under the name of the Winter-solstice day,' which is especially here observable :
2. For preparation of more particular proof of the tradition of this feast-day, the supposition which the most primitive ages had touching the times of the solstices and equinoxes :
3. That the keeping of it on this day was so received from tradition, even of the eldest times since our Saviour; and this justified from the Fathers, supposing it to have been upon the very day of the ancient winter-solstice:
4. Express testimonies to the same purpose out of ancient history, and a confirmation from the general use in the several Churches in Christendom:
5. The common reasons used out of the holy text to justify this day, and how they are mistaken, and therefore not used here; together with what some would prove
from the scheme of his nativity: 6. The chief objections, that are made against this day's being the true time of the birth, with plain answers to them :
7. Some other opinions among the ancients touching it, and how some of them may agree with what we have received, and the rest are of no weight against it; and then move especially of the ancient confusion of this feast with that of the Epiphany.'
TO MICHAEL DRAYTON, ESQ.
What every tasting palate so approves) -
Digesting wars with heart-uniting loves ;
In this round system all—it's ancient lore,
And when unwinged souls the fates restore
The first musicians, scholars, lovers take
The following rabble meaner titles take-
Thy bays to th' eye with lily mix'd and rose,
TO MR. WILLIAM BROWNE,
So much a stranger my severer muse
Is not to love-strains, or a shepherd's reed,
Of Pan, of Pallas, and her sisters' meed.
Of him, that loves her (she hath ever found
His readers be with rose and myrtle crown'd!
* • Bays, fair readers, being the materials of poets' garlands (as myrtles and roses are for enjoying lovers, and the fruitless willow for them which your inconstancy too oft makes most unhappy) are supposed not subject to any hurt of Jove's thunderbolts, as other trees are.'
DR. JAMES USHER,
ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH.
THIS distinguished Prelate was descended from the ancient line of the Nevils, whose ancestor went over to Ireland as Gentleman-Usher to King John, and there changed his inherited name to that of his office. His descendents subsequently branched out into several families of repute in and near Dublin, and long enjoyed considerable employments in that city.
His father was Mr. Arnold Usher, one of the Six Clerks in the Court of Chancery in Dublin, a gentleman highly esteemed for his integrity. His mother was the daughter of James Stanihurst, Esq. Recorder of Dublin, one of the Masters in Chancery, and Speaker of the Irish House of Commons during three parliaments in the reign of Elizabeth; in the last of which he distinguished himself by proposing the founding and endowing of the College and University of Dublin, which has subsequently been eminent for the proficiency of it's members both in profound and elegant learning.
* AUTHORITIES. Parr's Life of Usher (prefixed to his Letters) and Bernard's Funeral Sermon.