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did urge the Observation of these Times; but tis evident the Convocation thought there was no Occasion for any such Law to be made, and therefore judged it fufficient to have their Opinion publish'd in all Churches, without any such Declarative Law. Mr. Strype takes notice of a Scheine intended to be offered to Parliament, or Convocation, or both, A.D. 1562. That it shall be lawful to Marry at any time of the Year, except Christmas-day, Easter-day, and fix Days before, and upon Pentecost-Sunday. All this thews that the Men of Thought in that Age did believe, that these Times mention'd in the old Ritual were no longer of any Obligation, or at least, that they ought not fo to be, though the inferior Ordinances countenanced by the Queen did still press the Observation of them.

Indeed the Council of Ænbam does mention such Times; but, among them, reckons all the greater Feafts, and fifteen Days after Easter, and the Ember-Days, but omits the Rogation. So that this is a Rule obferv'd by none, and indeed it was made, A. D. 1009, long before any Canon or Statute now in force: See Spelman's Vol. 1. p. 518.

2. Nor do any of our Canons made fince tho Reformation, take notice of any such Tiines. The 62d of the Canons made in 1602, forbids Ministers to Marry at unseasonable Times ; but it is evident, that thereby are meant Times of the Day, not of the Year, for 'tis presently ad. ded, but between the Hours of 8 and 12: So that it does not appear, that these Times were

ever intended to be prohibited by our Prelates, fince the Reformation.

Dr. Cosins, that most exa&Civilian, takes no notice of any such Times prohibited in his Tables, though he had a fair Occasion to do it. Tab. 4, 8, 9.

Dr. Comber, in his Defence of our Liturgy, Part. 4. pag. 4. only says, These Times are observed by fome: Which is, indeed, the most, that can in Justice be said. Farther, in the Form of License drawn up by Convocation, A. D. 1597. to be seen in Sparrow's Collection, there is no mention of any prohibited Times: The Words, Et fi tempore de jure probibito have since been foisted in by the Proctors. So that if ever there were any such Custom, I suppose it might truly be faid, That 'tis now out of Doors.

Thus much have I said on this Subject, not so much for the sake of the Clergy, as the People. For, indeed, the greatest Hardship is to them, who are hereby, for a great part of the Year, restrained from using that Liberty which God and Nature allows all Men, and which all Go. vernments ought to encourage, I mean, Honest Marriage. For the greatest part of the Nation are such as cannot be at the Charge of a License, without hurting themselves, and their future Families; and indeed, by the Canon, Licenfes ought not to be granted, but only to such as be of good State and Quality. Can. 10 I.

Some have indeed queftion'd the Bishop's Power to grant Licenses for Marrying in any Case, without Banns first published, becaufe this is dispensing with an Act of Parliament; for the

Mar

Marriage. Office, which requires Banns, is part of the Statute Law. But then it is answer's, That this Power of dispensing is granted to the Bishop by Statute Law too; I mean, by the 25 Hen. VIII. c.21 by which all Bishops are allow'd to dispense, as they were wont to do: And such Dispensations have been granted by Bishops ever since Archbishop Mepham's Days at least, who died Anno Dom. 1333. See Prov. L. 4. T. 3. c.1. Or rather the fixth Conftit. of Zouch, Archbishop of York,, 1347

Many of those Churches which formerly were exempt from the Visitatior hoth of Bishop and Archbishop, by virtue of the Pope's Bull, in favour of fome Monastery of Regular Monks or Friars, do still remain fo exempted ; and so are visitable only by the Crown, and have now for some Ages been visited by no body at all: These are called Lawless Churches; because the Minifers belonging to them being not obnoxious to the Visitation of any Spiritual Ordinary, marry without either Banns or License.

Marriage without Banns or License is good, and valid in Law, if there be no Legal Impedi. ment; but the Minister is liable to three Years Sufpenfion who married fo: And the Parties married may be corrected in the SpiritualCourt. Godol. c. 33. Sell : 3.5. and no Probibition lies

. If there be any Legal Impediment, the Marriage is null, tho' Banns have been published, or License granted ; for so many as are coupled togetber otherwise than God's Word doth allow, are not joined together by God, neither is their Matrimony Lawful. Office of Matrimony.

CH A P. CAH P. XXII.

Of the Christian Æra, and our Account of

Time.

WE

E now reckon 1730 Years fince the Birth

of Chrift, which Account was first settled by Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian born, and afterwards a Roman Abbot : He drew á Paschal Cycle for 97 Years, beginning 527. From him others took this Way of Reckoning. The first time we find it used here, is at the Council of Baccanceld, which is dated A. D. 694. at the Council of Calecyth, A. D. 816. c.9. all the Bishops are required to take an Account of the Year of our Lord. The French and Germans did not receive it, or use it in any of the Epistles and Charters, till the latter end of that Century. Bede was the first who is observed to have made use of it in History, either here or any where else.

But Scaliger, and others since him, will not allow that the Annus vulgaris Dionysii is the Annus veras; he places it almost two Years sooner ;. fome four, some five; but one of our Nation has fix'd it precisely three Years, two Months, and seven Days, before the Common Account. Harm. of the Gospels, p. 161.

The exact Observations of later Ages have difcover'dan Error in the yulian Account of Years; fo called because settled by Julius Cæfar, 45

Years

Years before the Birth of Christ, and by him order'd to be observ'd throughout the Roman Empire, of which Britain was then a Province, and is still retain'd here, and called the Old Stile.

By this Account the Year is supposed to con fift of 365 Days and 6 Hours; the odd Hours ad. ded together, amounted every fourth Year to a whole Day, which is therefore added every fourth Year, calla Bissextile or Leap-Year.

But there are not lix full Hours above 365 Days in the true Solar Year, there are 10 Mi. nutes, 44 Seconds wanting to make the 6 Hours compleat ; and therefore the addition of a whole Day every fourth Year was too much, and in 134 Years makes a Variatian of a whole Day; by which means it is come to pass, that the Vernal Equinox, which was in Julius Cæsar's Time, on the 24th of March, and at the Coun. cilof Nice on the 21st, now falls, according to our Old Stile, on the oth of that Month.

Pope Gregory XIII, to corre& this Error, in the Year 1582, order'd 10 Days of that Year to be left out, by calling the 5th of October the 15th; by which means, the next Vernal Equinox, which would otherwise have been on the with of March, fell on the 21st, as it did at the time of the Council of Nice, 325 Years after Christ. He also order'd the Intercalary Day, the 29th of Frbruary, to be omitted at the end of the three ensuing Centuries, and to be retain. ed at the beginning of the fourth. This is called the Gregorian or New Stile, which since the beginning of this 18th Century, differs eleven

Days

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