December 9, 1608: English poet John Milton is born in London. Though most famous for his epic Paradise Lost, he also penned an exposition of Christian doctrine, a plan for Christian education, and various political writings.
December 9, 1840: Unable to go to China, David Livingstone sets sail from London as a missionary to southern Africa (see issue 56: David Livingstone).
December 9, 1843: The first Christmas cards—actually more like postcards—are created and sold for a shilling.
February 8, 356: For the third time since the Council of Nicea in 325, Athanasius goes into exile. The defender of orthodoxy was out of favor as Arianism, a heresy condemned at the council, ran rampant throughout the Empire. He would be exiled twice more before he died (see issue 51: Heresy in the Early Church).
February 8, 1587: Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded. Attempting to restore Catholicism to England, she began persecuting Protestants. But, largely thanks to the work of John Knox, her attempts ...