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was avoided, and he wasted neither coals nor candles; for, when he was cold, he used to run till his blood began to glow, and his evening studies were always prosecuted under the roof of some one or other of his companions.
21.-SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE. Thomas, surnamed Didymus, or the Twin, was a Jew, and in all probability a Galilean. There are but few passages in the gospel concerning him. Thomas is said to have suffered martyrdom in the same city, being killed by the lances of some people instigated by the Bramins.
This is the shortest day, and is, at London, 7h, 44 m. 17 s.; allowing 9 m. 5 s. for refraction.
25.—CHRISTMAS DAY. . The feast of our Saviour's nativity was undoubtedly
celebrated in the early ages of Christianity; for we are told that, under the persecution of Maximinus, that emperor burnt a church at Nicomedia, which was filled with Christians assembled to keep this festival. St. Gregory terms it the festival of festivals ; and St. Chrysostom, the chief of all festivals. It is named Christmas-day, from the Latin Christi Missa, the Mass of Christ, and thence the Roman Catholic Liturgy is termed their Missal or Mass Book. About the year 500, the obseryation of this day became general in the Catholic church,
For an account of various customs formerly observed in England at this season, we refer to our six previous volumes.
In tbe Report of the Commissioners for inquiring into the Duties, Salaries, and Emoluments of the Judges, &c. of the Courts of Justice in England, it appears, that the Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, 'according to antient usage, receives annually at Christmas four yards of broad cloth from Blackwell Hall, and 33 loaves of sugar, presented to him by particular officers on the Plea side of the Court; and that each Puisne Judge receiveş
annually, from the same officers, a small silver plate, and 18 loaves of sugar.'
*25, 1762.-INTENSE FROST. On this day, a most intense frost set in with a north easterly wind, and continued with very little intermission to the 29th of January, when it broke up with a gentle thaw. A glass of water placed upon a table in the open air, in six minutes froze so hard as to bear five shillings upon it; a glass of red port wine, placed upon the same table, froze in less than two hours; and a glass of brandy in six, both with hard ice. By the 2d of January, the river Thames was completely frozen over at Richmond; as was the Severn in several places; so that in many parts carriages passed over the ice, and booths were erected and fairs held; the ice being, in some places, six feet thick. Below London Bridge, the river afforded a most melancholy prospect; the ice floating up and down with the tide, cut the cables of the shipping, and set whole tiers adrift, many of which were driven on shore, and with their cargoes damaged to a great amount. Sea-gulls came up as high as London Bridge; birds were driven from their usual haunts, and were seen in great numbers in the streets of London.
26.-SAINT STEPHEN. Stephen was the first deacon chosen by the apostles. He was cited before the Sanhedrin, or Jewish Council, for prophesying the fall of the Jewish Temple and economy; and while vindicating his doctrine by several passages of the Old Testament, he was violently carried out of the city, and stoned to death in the year 33. See our last volume, p. 309. 27.-JOHN EVANGELIST.-See p. 158.
28.--INNOCENTS. The slaughter of the Jewish children, by Herod, is commemorated on this day. The festival is very antient, for Tertullian and Saint Cyprian call these Innocents martyrs, and Prudentius has written a hymn upon the subject. Childermas-day is another name for this feast.
On an INFANT. • The Drop of Heavenly Dew,' from the Greek Hymn of Synesius, transla
ted by the Rev. Reginald Heber, M.A,
From which thy fitting wand'rer fell! *28. 1694. - MARY, CONSORT OF WILLIAM III,
DIED, of the small pox; and was buried the 5th of March, 1696. It was ordered by the Privy Council, that on the day of the funeral, the biggest bell in overy cathedral, collegiate, and parochial church of England and Wales be tolled from the hour of 9 till 10 in the morning, and from 5 til 6 in the afternoon.' The guns of the Tower fired for three hours at a minute's distance; and orders were given to all his Majesty's ships at the 'Buoy of the Nore,' and at • Blackstakes,' to fire their guns the same day, from two in the afternoon till sunset.
31.--SAINT SILVESTER. He was Bishop of Rome; and succeeded Miltiades in the papacy, in 314. Silvester is accounted the author of several rites and ceremonies of the Romish church, as asylums, unctions, palls, corporals, mitres, &c. He died in 334.
In DECEMBER 1820. The Sun enters Capricornus at 52 m. after 8 in the evening of the 21st; and he rises and sets, as in the following table, during this month.
TABLE : Of the Sun's Rising and Setting for every fifth Day.
December 1st, Sun rises 56 m. after 7. Sets at 4 m. after 4 .. ., 6th, - - - 1 - - 8 ... 59
11th, • - - 5 - - 8 ... 55
Equation of Time. The quantities in the following table being subtracted from, or added to, the time shown by the Sun as directed below, will give the time that should be indicated by a good clock or watch; viz.
TABLE. Friday, December 1st, from the time by the dial subtract 10 38 Wednesday, . 6th, . . .. .. . . .... • 8 36 Monday,
11th, - . . . . . . . . . . . 6 21 Saturday, • • 16th, · ... · · . . .. .. 3 58 Thursday, - 21st, • • • • • • • • . . , . 1 29 Tuesday, - 26th, to the time by the dial add 1 Sunday, - 31st, - • • • • • • • • • • 3 27
Phases of the Moon.
Moon's Passage over the Meridian. The Moon will pass the first meridian at the following times during this month, when she may be observed in that position if the weather be favourable; viz. ;
December 10th, at 29 m. after 4 in the afternoon
11th, - 18 · · 5 · · - - -
7 in the evening
9 - - - - -
10 . . . . .
Phase of Venus.
S Enlightened part .. = 6'6571
** Dark part · · · · · = 5.3429
Eclipses of Jupiter's Satellites. The following eclipses of these small bodies will be visible at the Royal Observatory this month; viz.
Form of Saturn's Ring.
S Transverse diameter = 1.000
Other Phenomena. Mercury will be in his inferior conjunction at 1 in the afternoon of the 6th, and stationary on the 16th of this month. Jupiter will be in quadrature at 15 m. after 9 in the evening of the 6th; and Saturn at half past 7 in the evening of the 28th. Georgium Sidus will also be in conjunction at half past 8 in the evening of the 2d. Mars will also be in conjunction with this planet at 53 m. after 10 in the evening of