Sunday, February 21, 2016
Sarah Terwilligar’s attempt to fly to heaven as the world is to come to an end, from Upper Canada Sketches by Thomas Conant, 1898.
Thomas Conant, in his 1898 book, Upper Canada Sketches, details how people in East Whitby and Area thought the world was going to end in February of 1843. Conant wrote:
“The “Millerite scare,” as it might be called, was another instance of the extent to which religious fanatics could influence their hearers and affect their lives. From some manuscript left by my mother, and the account given me by my father, and by my uncle, David Annis, I have gleaned the following anecdotes of this curious event in our country:
“During the Winter of 1842-3 the Second Adventists, or Millerites, were preaching that the world would be all burnt up in February, 1843. Nightly meetings were held, generally in the school-houses.
“Sarah Terwilligar, who lived about a mile east of Oshawa “corners,” on the Kingston Road, made for herself wings of silk, and, on the night of 14th of February, jumped off the porch of her home, expecting to fly heavenward. Falling to the ground some fifteen feet, she was shaken up severely and rendered wholly unfit to attend at all to the fires that were expected to follow the next day.”
The apocalypse was to have begun at two o'clock in the morning, at which time the fresh February snow would have turned to blood and started to burn. The Millerites were a bit off in their prediction.
And as for Sarah Terwilligar clad in her diaphanous gown, truly a woman with an instinct for attractive adornment under every circumstance, she broke her leg.
Religious depictions comprised a large part the core of early Western art. In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the contemporary tastes of elite private clients.
British Library - Additional 18196, fol-42 The Empty Tomb - The Resurrection
Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were afraid. And he saith unto them, Be not afraid: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is arisen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. Mark Chapter 16
The Teutonic word Lent, used to denote the 40 days preceding Easter, originally meant no more than the spring season. During the first 3 centuries after the Resurrection of Christ, there was considerable diversity of practice regarding a fast before Easter and also a gradual process of development in the matter of its duration. An early reference is quoted by Eusebius (Church History V.24) from a letter of St. Irenaeus to Pope Victor in connection with Easter. There Irenaeus says that there is not only a controversy about the time of keeping Easter but also regarding the preliminary fast. "For", he continues, "some think they ought to fast for one day, others for two days, and others even for several, while others reckon forty hours both of day and night to their fast." He also urges that this variety of usage is of ancient date, which implies that there was no Apostolic tradition on the subject.