Chap. II.

Of mens Enquiries in what season or Point of the Zodiack it began, that as they are generally made, they are in vain, and as particularly, uncertain.

CONCERNING the Seasons, that is, the quarters of the year, some are ready to enquire, others to determine, in what season, whether in the Autumn, Spring, Winter or Summer the World had its beginning. Wherein we affirm, that as the question is generally, and in respect of the whole earth proposed, it is with manifest injury unto reason in any particular determined; because when ever the world had its beginning it was created in all these four. For, as we have elsewhere delivered,[1] whatsoever sign the Sun possesseth (whose recess or vicinity defineth the quarters of the year) those four seasons were actually existent; it being the nature of that Luminary to distinguish the several seasons of the year; all which it maketh at one time in the whole earth, and successively in any part thereof.[2] Thus if we suppose the Sun created in Libra, in which sign unto some it maketh Autumn; at the same time it had been winter unto the Northern-pole, for unto them at that time the Sun beginneth to be invisible, and to shew it self again unto the Pole of the South. Unto the position of a right Sphere or directly under the Æquator, it had been Summer; for unto that situation the Sun is at that time vertical. Unto the latitude of Capricorn, or the Winter Solstice it had been Spring; for unto that position it had been in a middle point, and that of ascent, or approximation, but unto the latitude of Cancer or the Summer Solstice it had been Autumn; for then had it been placed in a middle point, and that of descent, or elongation.

And if we shall take it literally what Moses described popularly,[3] this was also the constitution of the first day. For when it was evening unto one longitude, it was morning unto another; when night unto one, day unto another. And therefore that question, whether our Saviour shall come again in the twilight (as is conceived he arose) or whether he shall come upon us in the night, according to the comparison of a thief, or the Jewish tradition, that he will come about the time of their departure out of Ægypt, when they eat the Passover, and the Angel passed by the doors of their houses; this Quere I say needeth not further dispute. For if the earth be almost every where inhabited, and his coming (as Divinity affirmeth) must needs be unto all; then must the time of his appearance be both in the day and night. For if unto Jerusalem, or what part of the world soever he shall appear in the night, at the same time unto the Antipodes, it must be day; if twilight unto them, broad day unto the Indians; if noon unto them, yet night unto the Americans; and so with variety according unto various habitations, or different positions of the Sphere, as will be easily conceived by those who understand the affections of different habitations, and the conditions of Antæci, Periæci, and Antipodes.[4] And so although he appear in the night, yet may the day of Judgement or Dooms-day well retain that name; for that implieth one revolution of the Sun, which maketh the day and night,5 and that one natural day. And yet to speak strictly, if (as the Apostle affirmeth) we shall be changed in the twinckling of an eye (and as the Schools determine) the destruction of the world shall not be successive but in an instant; we cannot properly apply thereto the usual distinctions of time; calling that twelve houres, which admits not the parts thereof, or use at all the name of the time, when the nature thereof shall perish.

But if the enquiry be made unto a particular place, and the question determined unto some certain Meridian; as namely, unto Mesopotamia, wherein the seat of paradise is presumed, the Query becomes more reasonable, and is indeed in nature also determinable. Yet positively to define that season, there is no slender difficulty; for some contend that it began in the Spring; as (beside Eusebius, Ambrose, Bede, and Theodoret) some few years past Henrico Philippi in his Chronology of the Scripture. Others are altogether for Autumn; and from hence doe our Chronologers commence their compute; as may be observed in Helvicus, Jo. Scaliger, Calvisius, and Petavius.


* [My or others' notes are in square brackets]; Browne's marginalia is unmarked; {passages or notes from unpublished material by Browne is in curly braces}.

1 [In Religio Medici; and in Book IV, Chap. XIII, the chapter on the dog-days.]

2 [Wren: According as he makes his access too, or recess from the several parts of the earthe: now in that his accesse to the one is a recess from the other, it followes, that those from whom he partes have their autumne, those within the tropicks, over whose heads he passes, have their summer, and those on the other side beyond the tropicke towards whome he goes have their new spring beginning in exchange of their former, caused by his absence.]

3 [In Genesis 1:4-5: And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.]

4 [antoeci: dwellings on the same meridian, but equal and opposite latitude (for example, 40 degrees north and 40 degrees south, 5 degrees west longitude); perioeci: dwellings on the same latitude, but opposite longitudes, as 40 degrees north, 5 degrees east and west longitude; antipodes, opposite latitude and longitude, as 40 degrees north 5 degrees west, 40 degrees south 5 deg east]

5 Νυχθήμερον.

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