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This Roman catholic festival is in the church of England calendar and almanacs.
According to Butler and other Romish writers, "the title of the mother of God was confirmed to the virgin Mary" by the traditions of their church; and her nativity has been kept "above a thousand years," with matins, masses, homilies, collects, processions, and other forms and ceremonies ordained by that hierarchy. Some of its writers " attribute the institution of this feast to certain revelations which a religious contemplative had; who, they say, every year upon the 8th of September, heard most sweet music in heaven, with great rejoicings of the angels; and once asking one of them the cause, he answered him, that upon that day was celebrated in heaven the nativity of the mother of God ; and upon the relation of this man, the church began to celebrate it on earth."
Upon this it is observed and related by the late Mr. Brady thus:—
"A circumstance so important in its nature, and unfolded in so peculiar and miraculous a manner, was of course communicated to the then reigning pope, Servius; who immediately appointed a yearly feast 'to give an opportunity for the religious on earth to join with the angels in this great solemnity;' and there have been some contemplations dedicated for this occasion, wherein is unfolded, 'for the benefit of mankind,' certain circumstances of her 'sallies of love and union with God,' even before her pious mother St. Anne gave her being! It is somewhat extraordinary, that, notwithstanding the day of the nativity of the virgin was so clearly proved, after having been forgotten for many centuries, pope Servius, when he appointed the festival, did not also honour it with an octave or vigil; for it appears that pope Innocent IV. has the credit of the octave which he instituted A. D. 1244, and that pope Gregory XI. appointed the vigil A.d.1370. At the death indeed of Gregory IX. it was in contemplation to observe an octave upon the following occasion : the cardinals had been long shut up without agreeing upon the appointment of a successor to the deceased pope, when some of these holy men made a vow to the virgin, that if through her merits they could come to a decision they would in future observe
her octave; a vow which had ari instan- "Golden Legend" relates, among others, taneous effect, and caused Celestine the following:—
to be elected to St. Peter's chair; though, A bishop's vicar, by nairie Theophylns, as this nominal pope lived only eighteen on the death of his diocesan, was willed days from his election, the vow was by the people to succeed him; but Theonot fulfilled until Innocent IV. sue- phylus refused, saying, he had rather be a ceeded to that dignity. The long and vicar than a bishop. However, the new uncourteous disregard, however, of the bishop displaced nlra from being vicar, early church td the immaculate mother df whereupon Theophylus grieved, and our Lord, in respect to the day of her falling into despair, consulted a Jew, who nativity, was amply compensated by being a magician, summoned the devil to other attentions, and there still remain the help of Theophylus. The devil being Jtiany persons in catholic countries, in duly acquainted with the state of affairs, Spain and Italy in particular, who place wrote a bond with Theophylus's blood, a much greater reliance on the efficiency whereby the said Theophylus was held of the mediation of the virgin, than thev and firmly bound to renounce the virgin, do on that of our Lord himself; and if and the profession of Christianity, and we are to credit the numerous authors, the same being by him duly sealed and who have made her divine powers their delivered, as his act and deed, the dervV theme, and celebrated her extraordinary was therewith content, and procured the condescensions, our wonder and asto- bishop to re-establish Theophylus in his nishment must be excited in a most emi- office. When Theophylus was a vicar nent degree. Some of her courtesies are again, he began to repent that he had calculated for teaching a lesson of humi- given his bond, and prayed the virgin to lity, which no doubt was the operating relieve him from it. Wherefore she apcause of her performing such offices, peared to Theophylus in a vision, "and which in no other view appear of im- rebuked him of his felony, and commandportance. At one time she descends ed him to forsake the devil," and to from heaven to mend the gown of Thomas a confess himself in heart a] christian man. Becket, which was ripped at the shoulder. This he accordingly did, and therefore Whilst the monks of Clervaux were at the virgin obtained his pardon, and work, the virgin relieved their fatigue, by brought his bond from the devil, and wiping the perspiration from their faces, laid it oh his breast; and Theophylus That the important duties of an abbey became joyful, and related to the bishop should not be neglected, she for some and all the people what had befallen him, time personally superintended them, and they marvelled greatly, and gave whilst the abbess was absent with a monk praise to the virgin, and "three dayes who had seduced her from the path of after he rested in peas," and died in his virtue. She even descended from heaven vicarage, whereunto the devil had caused to bleed a young man who prayed to her, him to be presented, and whose health required that operation. At another time a widow, whose son At the entreaty of a monk, who prayed had been taken prisoner, wept without to her for that purpose, she supplied his comfort, and prayed to the virgin for his place when absent, and sung matins for delivery, but he still remained prisoner; him. And, we are solemnly assured, and at last, when she saw that her prayers that when St. Allan was much indis- availed not, she entered into a church posed, she rewarded him for his devo- where an image of the virgin was carved, tional attentions to her, by graciously and standing before the image, reminded giving him that nourishment which female the virgin of her importunities, and that parents are accustomed only to afford she had not helped her; " and therefore," their offspring! To what depths of im- said she, " like as my son is taken from pious absurdity will not ignorance and me, so shall I take away thy son, and
she took away from the image, the chrM that it held, " andshette it in her chest.
Legendary stories in honour of the and locked it fast ryght diligently, and
virgin are numberless. For edifying was ryght joyfull that she had so good
reading on this particular festival, the hostage for her sone." Wherefore, Gb
. the following nighty the virgin liberated
* cimis catendaria. the widow's son, and desired him to go and
tell his mother that, as he was released, she desired to have her own son back. This he did, and the widow, in great joy, "toke the chylde of the image, and came to the chirche, and delivered it to out lady, sayenge, lady, I thanke you, for ye have delivered to me my son, and here I deliver to you yours"
One other story is of a thief who was always devout to the virgin. On a time he was taken and judged, and ordered to be hanged; but when he was hanged "the blessed virgin Mary susteyned, and beside hym up, with her handes, thre dayes, that he dyed not." When they that caused him to be hanged, " found hym lyvyihg, and of glad chere," they supposed that " the code had not been well strnyned," and would have cut his throat with a sword; but " our blyssed lady" put her hands between his neck and the weapon, so that he could be neither killed nor hurt; and then they took him down "and let him go in the honour of the blessed virgyn Marye;" and he went and " entred into a monastery, and was in the service of the moder of God as long as he lived."
Perhaps these three stories provided for the festival of the nativity of the blessed virgin Mary in papal times, may be deemed sufficient in our times.
Spain, as a catholic country, is profuse in adoration of the virgin. On her festivals a shrine is erected in the open street, decorated with flowers, and surrounded by a number of wax candles. A flight of stairs leads to an altar, whereon is placed an image of the virgin mother, with an embroidered silk canopy above. On these stairs a priest takes his station, >and preaches to the multitude, while other priests go round, at intervals, with a salver, to collect oblations from he devotees. To those who give libe■ally, the priest presents little engravings if the virgin, which are highly valued. \.n obliging correspondent, who commulicates these particulars, (J. H. D. of ,Portsmouth,) says, " I have two of them, fhich I obtained on one of those occaions at Cadiz, in 1811, one of which I erewith send you." Of this consecrated rint, the engraving at the head of the resent article is a fac-simile.
Amellus. Aster Aaeltus. Dedicated to St. Adrian.
Sts. Gorg'ohius, Dorotheas, and Companions A. D. 304. St. 6mer, A. b, Mr. St. Kiarah, Abbot A.d. 549. St. Dimana of Ireland. St. Bettelin.
St. BetteRn, or Becceliu.
. The town of Stafford is honoured by this saint being its patron, where " his relics were kept with great veneration." He is said to have served St. Guthlac, and been of all others most dear to him, and to have led an "anchoretical life in the forest near Stafford."*
Fakny Braddock. The fate of this unhappy young woman who committed suicide at Bath, on the 9th of September, 1731, is still remembered in that city. She resided with Mr. John Wood, the architect, and on the night of the 8th went well to bed, nowise disordered in behaviour. Her custom was to burn a candle all night, and for her maid to lock the door, and push the key under it, so that she always got up in the morning to let her maid into the room. After she had retired, on the evening mentioned, she got out of bed again, and, it is supposed, employed some time in reading. She put on a white night-gown, and pinned it over her breast; tied a gold and a silver girdle together, and at one end having made three knots about an inch asunder, that if one slipped another might hold, she opened the door, put the knotty end of the girdle over it, and locking the door again, made a noose at the other end, through which she put her neck, by getting on a chair and then dropped from it. She hung with her back against the door, and had hold of the key with one of her hands; she had bit her tongue through, and had a bruise on her forehead; this was occasioned, probably, by the breaking of a red girdle she had tried first, which was found in her pocket with a noose on it; there were two marks on the door. The coroner's inquest sat on her that day, and brought in their verdict non compos
tit. She was daughter to the late general Braddock, who at his death left her and her sister 6000/. By her sister's death about four years before, she became mistress of the whole fortune, but being infatuated by the love of gaming, met "an unlucky chance" which deprived her of her fortune. She had been heard to say, that no one should ever be sensible of her necessities, were they at the last extremity. She was generally lamented, and in life had been greatly esteemed for courteous and genteel behaviour, and good sense. She was buried in a decent manner in the abbey church, in the grave of her honest brave old father, a gentleman who had experienced some undeserved hardships in life; but who might be said to have been thus far happy, that he lived not to see or hear of so tragical a catastrophe of his beloved daughter. The following verses were written by her on her window :—
*' O, death! thou pleasing end to human woe!
Thou cure for life ! thou greatest good below!
Still may'st thou fly the coward and the slave,
And thy soft slumbers only bless the brave.'''
Mr. Wood who wrote " an Essay towards a Description of Bath," speaks of many circumstances which unite to prove that Fanny Braddock had long meditated self-destruction. In a book entitled New Court Tater, she is called "the beautiful and celebrated Sylvia," which Wood says "she was not very improperly styled, having been a tenant under my roof during the last thirteen months of her life; and at the time of her unhappy death, her debt of two and fifty pounds three shillings and fourpence for rent, tec. entitled me to the sole possession of all her papers and other effects, which I seized on Monday, the 13th of September, 1731." Though Wood probably knew better how to draw up an inventory, and make an appraisement, than a syllogism, yet at the end of five months the creditors drew "a new inventory" of what was in his possession, and made a new appraisement. "The goods were then sold," says Wood, " and people striving for something to preserve the memory of the poor deceased lady, the price of every thing was so advanced that the creditors were all paid, and an overplus
remained for the nearest relation; though it ought to have come to me, as a consideration towards the damages I sustained on the score of Sylvia's untimely death" 1 Whatever was Wood's estimation of his unhappy tenant when alive, he could afford to praise her dead. "Nothing on be more deplorable than the fate of this unfortunate young woman; a fate that I have heard hundreds in high life lament their not suspecting, that they might have endeavoured to prevent it, though it should have been at half the expense of their estates; and yet many of those people, when common fame every where sounded Sylvia's running out of her fortune, would endeavour to draw her into play to win her money, and accept of whatever was offered them from her generous hand!" She was ensnared by a woman named Lindsey, who kept a house for high play. "When I came down to Bath," says Wrood, " in the year 1727, Sylvia was entirely at the dame's command, whenever a person was wanting to make up a party for play at her house. Dame Lindsey's wit and humour, with the appearance of sanctity in a sister that lived with her, strongly captivated the youth of both sexes, and engaged them in her interest." The reputation of this "dame Lindsey" was at a low ebb, but Wood observes, " in uV course of three years I could never, br the strictest observations, perceive Sylva to be tainted with any other vice thus that of suffering herself to be decoyed to the gaming-table ; and, at her own hazard, playing for the amusement and advaotif* of others. I was therefore not long in complying with a proposal she made to me in the summer of the year 1738, fa renting part of a house I then lived to, in Queen-square; her behaviour was? such as manifested nothing but virtue, regularity, and good nature. She »js ready to accept of trifling marks of friendship, to give her a pretence of Baking 'great returns; and she was no sooner seated in my house than ladies of the highest distinction, and of the most unblemished characters were her coostir, visiters: her levee looked more like the* of a minister of state than of a private young lady. Her endowments seemed vt have had a power of attraction «id«k her own sex, even stronger than that <* all the riches of a court among the g«tlemen that are allured by them." The last night of her life she had spent Mr.Wood's study, where she took her supper, and dandled two of his children on her Knees till the hour of retiring. She then went to the nursery and taking leave of a sleeping infant in its cradle, praised the innocence of its looks. Passing to her own room she undressed and went to bed, and, as her servant left the room, bade her good night; she had never done so before. It is probable that at that moment she thought on her fatal purpose, and some passages in Harrington's translation of "Orlando Furioso," are supposed to have strengthened it. It was found that after she had arisen, she had been reading in it; the book lay open at pp. 74 and 75, the story of Olympia, who, by the perfidy and ingratitude of her bosom friend, was mined.
Canadian Golden Rod. Solidago Canadensis. Dedicated to St. Omer.
St. Nicholas, of Tolentino, A. D. 1306. St. Pulcheria, Empress, A. D. 453. Sts. Nemesiamis, Felix, Lucius, another Felix, Litters, Polianus, Victor, Jader, and Dativus, Bps. with other Priests, Deacons, &c, in Numidia, banished under Valerian. St. Finian, called irinin, by the Welsh, Bp. 6th Cent. St. Salvias, Bp. of Albi, A. D. 580.
[Autumn » by some supposed to commence on th« 0th of this month.]