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the irregular and dissolute from open profanation of the day, the peace and good order of society will be maintained, and such measures will receive the approbation of every intelligent citizen of any government. Political freedom can never be dissevered from virtue ; virtue is but another name for the sense of moral responsibility to God; and this moral sense cannot live in a land where the Sabbath is publicly disregarded. It will ever be a true sentiment that no legislature can license sin; no human power can make that lawful which is unlawful in itself;—nor can any government justify that which the book of nature and the book of revelation alike proclaim to be contrary to the law of God.
Finally, let all the religious observances of the Sabbath be duly attended, and let Christians everywhere content themselves with the single weapons of persuasion and example ; meaning, by persuasion, an open and candid statement of facts, arguments, and motives; and by example, the conscientious regulation of their own conduct, in accordance with the requisitions of the fourth commandment. He who instead of observing its ordinances, abandons himself to profligate or forbidden indulgences is a Sabbath-breaker ; so is he who dedicates it to the worship of his own narrow notions, for this is self-idolatry; who saddens it by misery and moroseness, for this is ingratitude towards heaven, who imbitters it with bigotry and intolerance, for this is un charitableness towards his fellow-creatures.
“Thus times do shift, each thing his turne does hold;
As the festivals take precedence in our titlepage, we shall briefly notice those that are most distinguished, and the modes of their celebration, before we proceed to the subject of games and amusements, avoiding in our summary such
minute researches as would little please the general reader, however they may interest the professed antiquary. Inquirers of the latter character having often thrown so much light upon the subject as to obscure it by their illustrations, it may perhaps be rendered more intelligible as well as attractive by presenting it in a more condensed and simple form ; though even in this shape we may often have to repeat that with which the reader is already conversant.
NEW-YEAR's Day. It is at once so natural and so laudable to commemorate the nativity of the new year, which is a sort of second birthday of our own, by acts of grateful worship to heaven, and of beneficence towards our fellow-creatures, that this mode of its celebration will be found to have prevailed, with little variety of observance, among all ages and people. Congratulations, visits, and presents of figs and dates, covered with gold-leaf, are said to have distinguished New-year's Day even in the times of Romulus and Tatius, and to have continued under the Roman emperors, until the practice, being abused into a mode of extortion, was prohibited by Claudius. Yet the Christian emperors still received them, although they were condemned by ecclesiastical councils on account of the Pagan ceremonies at their presentation; so difficult was it found, in the earlier ages of Christianity, to detach the newly-converted people from their old observances. The Druids of ancient Britain were accustomed on certain days to cut the sacred misletoe with a golden knife, in a forest dedicated to the gods, and to distribute its branches with much ceremony as New-year's gifts to the people. Among the Saxons and northern nations this anniversary was also observed by gifts, accompanied with such extraordinary festivity, that they reckoned their age by the number of these merrimakings at which they had been present. The Roman practice of interchanging presents and of giving them to servants, remained in force during the middle and later ages, especially among our kinys and nobility; Henry III. appearing to have even imitated some of the Roman emperors by extorting them, * and Queen Elizabeth being accused of principally supporting her wardrobe and jewelry by levying similar contribu
* According to Mr. Ellis, who quotes Matthew Paris in proof of his assertion.
tions.* Pins were acc, ptable New-year's gifts to the ladies, as substitutes for the wooden skewers which they used till the end of the fifteenth century. Instead of this present they sometimes received a composition in money, whence the allowance for their separate use is still termed “pin-money."
To the credit of the kindly and amiable feelings of the French, they bear the palm from all other nations in the extent and costliness of their New-year's gifts. It has been estimated that the amount expended upon bon-bons and sweetmeats alone, for presents on New-year's Day in Paris, exeeeds 20,0001. sterling ; while the sale of jewelry and fancy articles in the first week in the year is computed at one-fourth of the sale during the twelve months. It is by no means uncommon for a Parisian of 8000 or 10,000 francs a-year to make presents on New-year's Day which cost
him a fifteenth part of his income. At an early hour of the * morning this interchange of visits and bon-bons is already in full activity, the nearest relations being first visited, until the furthest in blood and their friends and acquaintance have all had their calls. A dinner is given by some member of the family to all the rest, and the evening concludes, like Christmas Day, with cards, dancing, or other amuse
In London, New-year's Day is not observed by any public festivity; the only open demonstration of joy is the ringing of merry peals from the belfries of the numerous steeples late on the eve of the old year, until after the chimes of the clock have sounded its last hour. We may have done well to drop what Prynne, in his Histrio-Mastix, calls “a meere relique of Paganisme and idolatry, derived from the heathen Romans' feast of two-faced Janus, which was spent in mummeries, stage plays, dancing, and such like interludes, wherein fiddlers and others acted lascivious effeminate parts, and went about the towns and cities in women's apparel;" but, however the celebration of Newyear's Day may have been disfigured in the earlier ages by Pagan associations and superstitious rites, nothing can be
* This is Dr. Drake's opinion, whose researches prove her majesty to have even received New-year's gifts from her household servants, Among others, the dustman is recorded as having presented her with two bolts of cambric. Unless these doriations were upon the calculating principle of do ut des, their reception implies great meanness.
more truly Christian than to usher it in with every cheerful observance that may express gratitude towards Heaven, and promote a kindly and a social feeling among our friends and fellow-creatures.
Twelfth Day is so called because it is the twelfth day after the Nativity. It is also termed the Epiphany, or Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, when the eastern magi
guided by the star to pay their homage to the Saviour. The festive rites and gambols of this anniversary were originally intended to commemorate the magi, who were supposed to be kings. In France, one of the courtiers was formerly chosen king, and waited upon by the real monarch and his nobles in a grand entertainment; in Germany they practise a similar custom among the scholars at the colleges, and the citizens at civic banquets ; at our own universities, not many years ago, and in private entertainments still, it is castomary to give the name of king to that person whose portion of the divided cake contains the lucky bean, or the royally-inscribed label, and to honour him with a mock homage. This mode of perpetuating the remembrance of the eastern kings seems to have been partly borrowed from the Roman saturnalia, when the masters made a banquet for their servants, and waited upon them; and partly from the Roman custom of drawing lots or beans for the title of king, when the fortunate party was declared monarch of the festive circle, over which he exercised full authority until they separated. The festival of kings, as this day is called in an ancient calendar of the Romish church, was continued with feasting for many days. “To what base uses may we not return ?" In 1792, during the French Revolution, when kings of all sorts were suffering proscription, la fête des rois was abolished as anti-civic, and Twelfth Day took the name of la fête des sans culottes. To this nominal change the people willingly yielded assent, but they would not resign the festival and the good cheer, and they were quite right. As a religious memento, the cake and its concomitants may be idle and perhaps irreverent, but it is a pity to let any custom fall into desuetude which promotes social mirth and happiness, and fills every juvenile class with pleasant anticipations and recollections from Christmas to Candlemas.
CANDLEMAS Day, 22 February.-The Purification of the Pirgin Mary. It has already been intiinated that this feast
was derived from the Romans, though writers differ both as to the Pagan ceremony, of which it was an imitation, and as to the pope by whom it was first established. Some affirm that it was copied from the festival of Februa, the mother of Mars, when the Pagans were accustomed to run about the streets with lighted torches; and that in the year of our Lord 684, Pope Sergius, “ in order to undo this false mummery and untrue belief, and turn it into God's worship and our Lady's, gave commandment that all Christian people should come to church, and offer up a candle brennyng, in the worship that they did to this woman Februa, and do worship to our Lady." In some of the ancient illuminated calendars, a woman holding a taper in each hand is represented in the month of February. The following is given as one of the prayers used at the hallowing of candles. “O Lord Jesu Christ, + blesse thou this creature of a waxen taper at our humble supplication, and by the vertue of thy holy crosse, poure thou into it an heavenly benediction; that as thou hast graunted it unto man's use for the expelling of darknes, it may receive such a strength and blessing thorow the token of thy holy cross, that in what places soever it be lighted or set, the divel may avoid out of those habitacions, and tremble for feare, and fly away discouraged, and presume no more to unquiete them that serve thee,” &c.
“ There is a general tradition,” says Sir Thomas Browne, in his Vulgar Errors, “ in most parts of Europe, that inferreth the coldnesse of succeeding winter from the shining of the sun on Candlemas Day, according to the proverbial distich
Si sol splendescat Mariâ purificante,
Major erit glacies post festum quam fuit ante. Candle-carrying on this day remained in England till its abolition by an order in council in the second year of King Edward vi.
VALENTINE DAY, 14th February. This also seenis to have been a festival inherited from the ancient Romans, but fathered upon St. Valentine in the earlier ages of the church, in order to Christianize it. There is no occurrence in the legend of the saint, a presbyter, beheaded under the Emperor Claudius, that can have given rise to the ceremonies observed on his anniversary, which are too well