December 29, 1862
"I am now engaged in circulating my page 129 of 'Mazzaroth,' Part ll, against what I consider a mischievous error."
The error FR refers to has to do with the day of Jesus' birth.
"This time two years our good Baptist teacher unhappily got hold of Adam Clarke's neologian error, that the real day of Christ's birth was 'uncertain,' and many of his poor hearers went home, "If Christmas day is not Christmas day, what are we to believe next?'--disbelieve, they meant. This . . . did not reach me till just in time to circulate among them those pages of 'Mazzaroth' bearing on the subject. Christ was born on the winter solstice, then the 25th of December."
FR's notes on the day of Jesus' birth cover pages 129 through 131 of Mazzaroth. Her main argument is that the census records in Rome were available for inspection in the early years of the church, and that Augustine and Justin Martyr held to December 25 based on that fact. The archives were not destroyed until the Gothic invasion about 535CE, long after December 25 was accepted.
The day and date of Jesus birth is still argued today. (I have done so myself.) The interesting thing here is FR's readiness to combat whatever error or misinformation is in circulation. Was the day really important to defend, or did she consider this error an attack on the church? I'm sure she was familiar with this scripture:
"But sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear," 1 Peter 3:15.