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To proceed then with the course of our inquiry; I
nights, for the latter part of the period between the Creation and the birth of Christ, does not square so exactly with the true place of the third of April in the year of the Nativity; as the former part squared with the assumption of its place in the year of the Exodus: perhaps the following considerations may contribute to mitigate this difficulty, if they do not remove it altogether.
The calculation, for each of the periods in question, proceeded upon the supposition, that the succession of days and nights, between the Creation and the Exodus, and between the Exodus and the Nativity, went on alike; and that the mean length of one νυχθήμερον was always the same with the mean length of another: a supposition which, with respect to the first of the intervals so determined, there is no reason whatever to consider doubtful. But with respect to the latter ; there were two occasions, one in the time of Joshua, B. C. 1520, the other in the reign of Hezekiah a, B. C. 710, when the constant, unvaried, and uniform succession of days and nights did experience some interruption; the nature and effect of which will best be estimated by considering what would have been the case if it had never happened.
Between a certain νυχθήμερον,
B. C. 1560, inclusive, and the same νυχθήμερον in the time of Joshua, B. C. 1520, exclusive, there would be forty natural years; or 14,609 days and nights, sixteen hours, which I shall consider equivalent to another day and night and consequently, 2087 weeks, and one day of another. Let this vuxenμepov, for argument's sake, be assumed as April 1, which B. C. 1560 fell upon Thursday; and therefore B. C. 1520 would fall upon Friday. In this case, the next vvxonμepov, April 2, ought to have fallen on Saturday; and if the succession of νυχθήμερα went on as before, it would fall upon Saturday.
But let it be further supposed, for argument's sake also, that the miracle in the time of Joshua was wrought upon Friday; and that upon Friday, April 1. The effect of this miracle was that one day as such was prolonged to the length of two; that is, a day of twelve hours was made a day of twenty-four b without affecting the day of the month, or the day of the week; (for April I did not thereby become April 2, nor Friday become Saturday;) but only the absolute length of one individual νυχθήμερον, compared with what the length of every νυχθήμερον was before, and what it continued to be afterwards. The actual April I was Friday, and the actual April 2 was Satur
a Josh. x. 12-14. 2 Kings xx. 8-11. 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. b The author of the book of Ecclesiasticus says the same thing of this day in the time of Joshua: ch. xlvi. 4. So likewise Justin Martyr, Dialogus, 419. Í. 15. and Dionysius the Areopagite, Epistola vii. Ad Polycarpum. Operum ii. 90. and the Scholia of Maximus, Ibid. 94, 95.
shall mention only one circumstance more and then conclude.
day; but the actual length of that νυχθήμερον, of which this April 1 was a part, was twelve hours greater than usual.
If then a stranger to this effect were calculating the succession of days and nights from a certain date, before the time of this anomaly, up to a certain date after it; and calculating it upon the supposition that they had always gone on alike, and had always been of uniform length; it is manifest that he would arrive at a conclusion which would be true in theory, but false in fact; viz. that a given vuxenμepov of calculated time began twelve hours later than the same portion of actual time did. He would suppose, for instance, that the vuxenμepov expressed by April 1, B. C. 1520, was an ordinary vuxenμepov of twenty-four hours; whereas it was an extraordinary one of thirty-six and that the next vxonμepov, expressed by April 2, began as usual at the expiration of twenty-four hours of actual time; whereas it did not begin until the expiration of thirtysix. Twelve hours of the calculated second of April were merged in the actual first; and instead of coinciding with Saturday, actually made a part of Friday. But one who was ignorant of this anomaly would suppose they made part of the Saturday, and he would compute them accordingly; that is, his calculated April 2 would be supposed to begin twelve hours later than the νυχθήμερον which it expressed. His calculated April 2 would be reckoned to belong wholly to
Saturday, whereas in reality twelve hours of it were merged in the Friday.
If the effect which ensued in the time of Joshua was repeated in the time of Hezekiah, then another twelve hours of time, which should belong to the calculated νυχθήμερον, would be merged in the actual vyenuepov immediately before it; and both these anomalies together would produce this effect: that reckoning from a certain date before the time of Joshua to a certain date after the time of Hezekiah, and ignorant of each of these miracles, I should suppose a certain calculated νυχθήμερον (we will suppose the third of April) to have been wholly coincident with a certain day of the week, (we will assume the Sunday,) when in fact it was wholly merged in the day before it. That is to say, ever after the miracle in the time of Hezekiah, the actual place of a given vuxenμepov which I might calculate to be Sunday, would be truly the Saturday.
On this principle, April 3, B. C. 4, the place of which was found by calculation to be Sunday, would actually be Saturday; that is to say, the first vvxonμepov of the 208, 710th week, from the Creation, B. C. 4004, which I calculated to begin at sunset on the Sunday, B. C. 4, did actually begin at sunset on the Saturday, B. C. 4 and if I must call that vuxðńμepov April 3, then April 3, which I supposed to be Sunday, was in reality Saturday. Now it makes no difference whether
In the second year after the Exodus f, A. M. 2446, B. C. 1559, on the first day of the first month, the Tabernacle being complete in all its parts, was set up; and either at the same time or soon afterwards the Tabernacle service must have begun. On the fourteenth day ensuing the first Levitical passover was celebrated in its season. It is a natural and obvious question, On what day of the week this celebration would fall? in answer to which I think it is capable of proof that the passover fell in the year after the Exodus, relatively to the days of the week, exactly as it had fallen in the year of the Exodus itself. If so, the same must have been the case with the tenth of Nisan.
In order to this proof I shall assume only, that from the time of the commencement of the Levitical service, the year of the Jews must necessarily be con- . sidered lunar, whatsoever it was before; and therefore, that the celebration of the passover, in this year, must have coincided with the full of the moon, whatsoever had been the case in the year before it. The fourteenth of Nisan, in the year after the Exodus, A. M. 2446, or B. C. 1559, would be determined by the paschal full moon, and either fall on the same day with that, or immediately before it; and the paschal full moon
we were ignorant of the anomalies in question, or did not take them into account: which yet was the case when I instituted the calculation given above. It is not surprising, then, that the ultimate result did not square with the truth; but was found to be a whole νυχθήμερον in excess. The difference is now explained; for the above course of reasoning, I think, must be al
lowed to be just: and perhaps this very difference between the matter of fact, and the result of calculations which would otherwise be true, is some confirmation reflexively of the truth of the miracles which produced it; miracles indeed attested by certain obscure traditions of profane history itself. Vide Herodotus, ii. 142. Pomponius Mela, i. 9.
f Exod. xl. 2. 17. Numb. ix. 3. 5.
would be determined by the vernal equinox, and either coincide with that, or at the utmost precede or follow it within certain limits, such as appear to have held good subsequently. For there is no reason why the same rule, in this respect, which prevailed in the time of our Saviour, when the vernal equinox fell upon March 22, should not be considered admissible at any period before that, when the date of the same equinox was proportionally more in advance. If the vernal equinox was supposed to be arrived six or seven days before its true date at one time, it might be supposed arrived at the same distance of time before its true date at another. Hence, if when that date was nominally March 24, and actually March 22, the passover might still be celebrated on March 18, it is only in accordance with the principle of such an usage, that when the date of the vernal equinox was nominally April 5, and actually April 3, the passover might yet be celebrated on March 30.
Now, on the principle of the lunar and the solar revolutions, between which, for periods of years which are multiples of nineteen, the number of years in a Metonic cycle-a certain ratio is known to prevail; it may be proved that if the moon was at the full, for the meridian of Jerusalem, at 3. 2. in the morning, March 13 in the Julian year, or March 11 in the corresponding tropical year, B. C. 4; it must have been at the full for the meridian of Alexandria in Egypt, at 11. 24. in the morning on April 1 in the Julian year, or March 30 in the tropical, B. C. 1559. The details of this proof I have thrown into the margin *. But if
The statement of the proof
is as follows:
In nineteen tropical years, or two hundred and thirty-five lu
nations, the revolution of the sun is found to anticipate that of the moon by two hours, four minutes, and nineteen seconds.
that was the case, it is manifestly possible that the passover might be celebrated on March 30, and there
For 235 lunations ..
And 19 tropical years of Delambre
days. h. m. = 6939 16 32 = 6939 14 28 9
2 4 19
This difference must be added to a given time of the moon's age in reckoning forwards; and deducted from it in reckoning backwards.
Now in 19 x 12 or 228 years, the Anticipation
And in 228 × 6 or 1368 years it.
In 19 x 4 or 76 years it
7 I 53 58
Now, the hours being reckoned from midnight, let the moon be supposed at the full, B. C. 4, for the meridian of Jerusalem,
Let B. C. 1562. be considered the first of a series of Metonic cycles B. C. 1559. is the third year of that cycle complete, or the beginning of the fourth. To obtain the moon's epact at the end of her third year from the beginning of a cycle, we must proceed thus:
Mean difference of one lunar and one solar
exclusive of seconds
Multiply by three ..
Mean difference of three lunar and three solar