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tian improvement, little is after you on every deviation. And far wards to be apprehended; though easier is it to keep in the path of renot so little, as to excuse you from ligion, than to recover it, when once vigilance and anxiety for your spiri- it is lost: other paths will be pleatual state. In youth you are by sant to you for a time, and you

will nature exposed to a combination of have no desire to quit them. True dangers, resulting from the violence wisdom, therefore, will prompt you of the passions, and from evil ex- to resist the first solicitations of sin; ample, and from easiness of temper, you cannot listen to them, and preand from want of experience, from serve your powers of resistance unprecipitate decisions, from fascinat. impaired. ing views of the world, and from a “It is fit, however, that you should vain confidence, that as it will never know the nature of such solicitabe too late, abuudant opportunity tions; for they are not confined to will be afforderl you hereafter, of what the world condemns : you must making up your minds on the sub- appeal to a purer standard : the ject of religion, aud of living as it tempter assails the innocent and unmay require : in the mean time, if suspecting most formidably, when you conform to the received usages he would draw them into practices of propriety and decency, you will and indulgences, which though they hold it to be sufficieut for the pre- are at variance with the spirit of the sent, and set your consciences at Gospel, are not, perhaps, subjects rest. It is my duty to warn you of of common censure or remark. Be the grossness of such delusion : un- that as it may, there is mischief in questionably God may bring us to every thing, which has a tendency reflect and to inquire, at any period to the relaxation of genuine reli. of our lives : but the question to be gious principle; in everything, considered is, whether He will do which would oblige you to give up this, when we have deliberately and or even to be remiss in habits, inperseveringly treated the matter as culcated and prescribed by religion; of little importance, compared with in every thing which requires you, the worldly objects on which we before you can give assent to it, to have set our hearts. The way, in- tamper with the conscience, to ardeed, in wbich He usually brings gue with yourselves from the prac. such persons to reflect, if at all, is tice of others, or to efface or soften by some severe atfliction; by the down any virtuous and Christian imloss of friends, of health, or of for- pression. Whatever is really good tune; by some change in their out- and right, recommends itself at ward circumstances, which strips once, to minds not corrupted by the world of its allurements, and the world. This moral feeling is impels them to seek a refuge with invaluable ; and is, therefore, by God. You will not say, that such all means to be retained : and thus an alternative is to be regarded it is, that a correctness of princiwithout alarm : but something worse ple and a certain firmness of characmay happen : it may be that their ter will be found indispensable in delusion may continue to the end: your Christian career. year after year may roll away, with- "2. But then, in the second place, out bringing any signal warning; it were vain to talk to you about and the hand of death may be upon religious principle and Christian them, before they have examined firmness, if you are to be left to their state. You have, therefore, suppose, that they are absolutely no secarity but that of beginning within your own power. There well, and persevering in the right could not be a more fatal error. way: your safety lies wholly in your In our fallen nature nothing is seuse of the danger which threatens strong, and nothing is holy," but through the Grace of God : we owe therefore, the good resolutions, whatour knowledge, and still more our ever they may be, which you have love, of what is good, to the sanc- this day formed, be connected and tifying influences of the Holy Spirit: blended in your minds with the and our power of persisting in the

need of divine succour: our best repractice of holiness is derived from solves are, that we will do what we the same source : no truth is more know to be right, with the help of clearly laid down in the Scriptures; God: but a part of every such purand it is illustrated in our own ex- pose will be, that we will seek for perience. It will be, therefore, to that help, and cease not to pray for little purpose, that you shall re- it from day to day, while we remain solve to lead Christian lives, unless in this state of trial. you will maintain a continual inter- “ 3. In the next place, however, course and communion with God : let me remind you, that though our I do not exceed the truth, when I secret and individual wants should affirm, that prayer is as necessary

be the subject of private prayer, to the well-being of the soul, as (and they cannot be fully represented food is to that of the body: we have in any other) the religion of Christ no spiritual strength without it: we could not be maintained in the world are left to our natural weakness: for without the public service of the what contidence can we place in Church : and to imagine that either the Divine protection, unless we supersedes the use of the other, is to seek it? or how can we expect to mistake the proper objects of both. resist evil, if we take not the means The uses of private prayer way

be to confirm ourselves in the love of gathered, in some measure, from that which is good ? But these ef- what has been already said : but the fects flow from prayer: we are sure service of the Church is a public that God will hear us, if we ear- and continually renewed profession nestly ask, that He will enable us of our faith in Christ, and that not to fulfil his commandments, and merely for our own sakes, but for teach us to love his law: and as lit- the good of our brethren. If I tle can we doubt, if we believe in a might venture to make such a disGracious Providence, that He will tinction, I would say, that self-esdirect us aright, when we submit amination, and contrition, and graourselves entirely to his disposal. titude for especial mercies, are the The very babit, indeed, of prayer principal features of secret devois salutary to the soul: it keeps alive tion; which, however, refer chiefly within us whatever is pure and holy; to ourselves: whereas of public it creates in us an abhorrence of prayer the prominent character will sin! it gives us an interest in the be, that it proclaims "glory to God service of God; it dispenses a sanc- in the highest, and good will totifying influence, and places us wards men.” We meet in this above the world; not above the du- place to offer to the Almighty the ties, or the charities, or the wants of tribute of our common homage, to life; that were, indeed, a delusion; give evidence to others of our faith but above its vicissitudes, its fash- in the Redeemer, and to shew, that ions, its corruptions and tempta. however some may think or act

, tions : in tbe constant practice of we are on the Lord's side;" that prayer our nature is gradually chang- in a conflict between religion and ed: we are benefited by frequent irreligion, such as exists in the and intimate intercourse with men, world, we throw our weight, whatwho are eminently good : how, then,

may be, into the scale of the can we fail to be improved, and former ; that we acknowledge, our even transformed, by the habit of deliverance from sin and misery to holding communion with God? Let, be only through Christ; that we de

ever it

light in beholding others making the bear testimony unto Christ. It is, same profession; that we can cor- indeed, deeply to be lamented, that dially join with our brethren in cal. many of you may be thrown into liug down on our common frailties situations, where religion is not pubthe mercy of God, and his common licly maintained: if, however, you blessing on our endeavours to serve shall feel the privation, (and such him; and we attest, what in an age it must be to every Christian mind) of religious empiricism and cause. you will be the more anxious to avail less separation is not unimportant, yourselves of the public worship, that we are in the unity of the whenever it may be had. It might, Church. It is not, however, my indeed, be expected, that they, who meaning, that social worship has no have resided at stations, where no relation to private and individual religious provision exists, would, on wauts; and as little should it be the first opportunity, direct their supposed, that in our most secret footsteps to the house of prayer: devotious our brethren are altoge- we do not, however, always find ther overlooked : I speak only of this to be the case : and we account these leading distinctions of the for it by the melancholy truth, that two, with the view of shewing you, men may live without religion, till that both are necessary to the Chris- they cease to think of it, or perlian. Let it, therefore, be your care haps regard it with disgust. From to lose no opportunity of joiving in this fact I will derive one word of the service of the Church : let your advice, which, however, I would attendance be not casual, but re- press upon you with all earnestness; gular : no measure of secret piety that if God has blessed you with will excuse you : what you need not religious impressions, cherish and for yourselves, you will in charity. mature them by all the means, wbich ask for your brethren, and assist He has graciously afforded you; or them in their prayers : above all, they will become weaker, till they you will feel it incumbent upon you, are effaced for ever." especially in this heathen land, to

(To be continued.)

ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.

Sketches of the Ecclesiastical His. hood from truth. But of the main tory of Great Britain. facts of the case, there can be no

doubt. And even the particulars No. X.

are not destitute of a degree of proThe Church History of the Ninth bable evidence. The ruin of the Century is confined to two points, great monasteries was a subject upon the destruction wrought by the which tradition would not fail to Danes, and the restoration effected busy herself; and if she exaggerated by King Alfred. On neither of the cruelties of the despoiler, and these subjects, is our information the original splendour, and opulence precise. For the greater part of the of the destroyed, allowance for such circumstances with which they are inaccuracies may easily be made. supposed to have been attended, The first Danish armanient there is no better authority than that landed in Northumberland, and the of ignorant and credulous monks, monastery and shrine of St. Cuthwho wrote several centuries after bert, were immediately levelled with the events took place, and were un- the ground. The reliques of the willing or unable to distinguish false. Saint were preserved by the piety of

were

over

that age, or by the credulity of sub- represents the taking of Croyland sequent times; but every thing else monastery as a protracted and bloody which appertained to the Church of victory. The Danes were defeated Lindisfarne was involved in one un- in the immediate neighbourhood; distinguishing ruin. The monasteries the battle in which they ultimately of Jarrow and Weremouth shared triumphed, was obstinately disputed the same fate. Few years had elap- and only gained by stratagem, and sed, before the Mercian and East, even theu the relics and jewels and Anglican territories

charters were conveyed away by whelmed in a similar manner, Croy, water, to a place of security, and land, or Crowland, Medehamstead, reproduced in after times. At Mede. or Peterborough, and Ely, were hamstead also, the resistance is among the most celebrated monas- described as having been most for. teries in the whole island. The first dable, and the revenge of the barand the last were situated among barians as at least equal to their impenetrable morasses; and are sup-loss. Ely yielded without much opposed to have had their origin in the position; but even there multitudes cell of some pious anchorite, who had assembled as in a place of securetired from the world and its inba- rity, and the ruin which ensued bitants, to mortify his body in the might have been delayed, if not bogs of Lincolnshire, and Cam- averted, by a handful of brave men. bridge. Of the size of the original Considering the slight resistance buildings nothing can now be known. which the invaders experienced The monks had recovered from the throughout the country, and how a Danish invasion, and been com- great part of this little proceeded fortably re-established for upwards from Croyland and Medehamstead, of two centuries, before their ear- it is certainly not improbable, that liest historians lived and wrote. And these celebrated houses had been it is impossible to reflect upon the converted into castles of defence, singular situation of these famous and were the stage upon which churches, without remembering that Saxon liberty was fought for and in such a position, Cassibelaunus lost. The most circumstantial de. held out against Cæsar; and Alfred tail of the Danish ravages amounts preserved himself when every thing merely to a repetition of what has else was lost. Croyland and Ely, already been described. Those who (and Medehamstead likewise, if it resisted were put to death in battle, was placed not on the scite of the and those who yielded were murpresent town of Peterborough, but dered in cold blood; until at length in the neighbouring marshes,) were nothing remained even to King Alwell chosen places of defence; but fred himself, upon whose head the the taste of the monks, which was crown of Wessex had descended, subsequently so correct, had not yet except the island or bog of Athel. taught them to select very agreeable ingay in Somersetshire, in a corner situations, if their abode in these of which, be secreted himself both desolate fens was the result of pre- from friend and foe. ference, rather than necessity. The But Alfred, although reduced to truth probably may be, that the great straights, was born to re-estaoriginal monasteries were built on blish the independence of his coudthe scite of Saxon or British for- try, and be united in his persoy as tresses, and that after the monastic many of the requisites for such a fervour ceased, a great part of the task, as any individual is known to building was used for military pur- bave enjoyed. His genius was every poses.

way superior to the age in which he This supposition derives credit lived. Called to rule over defeated from the History of Ingulphus, who and dispirited tribes, his courage,

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perseverance, and resources never tainments of a modern scholar. His failed. The king of an island, which writings are multiplied till they make had not yet learned to defend itself a formidable catalogue. The whole by sea, he was the first to prepare a cycle of the sciences is reported to naval armament, and its success have been familiar to him, and his must have answered his most san- religion is described not merely as guine expectation. His favourite sincere and effectual, but as free military maneuvre, in the face of a from the least tincture of superstisuperior aud practised enemy, con- tion. And what is more extraordisisted of long and rapid marches; nary, these fictions are reported by and when he could not fight at an historians upon the faith of the monko advantage, he retired, or pretended ish chroniclers; while they affect to to retire, until an opportunity offered be familiar with a contemporary of of attacking the invader in detail. King Alfred, by whose assistance These are so many proofs that King all such fictions may be detected. Alfred was born a general; and if The narrative of Asserius, is the his talents were exerted on a small only authentic account of Alfred's scale, against barbarous adversaries, private life. Its general credibility and at the head of troops of savages, has never been impugned; one half he had still the means of shewing of what it contains, is transcribed what he could have done in a nobler by the panegyrists of the Saxon sphere, and he merited the high re. Solomon; and the other is ne. putation which was given to him by glected for no better reason than his contemporaries and successors. that it brings down the highly co. He placed his territory in a state of loured paintings of Malmesbury, to security by means of his fleets and the sober hue of truth. castles. His militia was ready to be The fact appears to be, that the called out at any moment, and at literary attainments of King Alfred any place, and a few fortunate and were very slender, although his love favourable events, (especially the of letters was intense. He was twelve Danish inroads on France,) con- years old before he learned to read curred, with his own great achieve his native tongue; and whatever ments, to give him the

highest place knowledge of Latin he may have acamong our Saxon kings. The title, quired, and probably its amount however, was earned by his civil, as was always small, was communi. much as his military conduct; and cated to bim after he had reached it is to the former, and especially to his thirty-ninth year. The writings that part of it, in which he appears which are mentioned by later histoas the restorer of religion, that we rians, as the compositions of Alfred, are now particularly to advert. are either mere extracts from the

The task would be comparatively Bible and other books, which were short and easy, if it were confined to furnished by his instructors and asan explanation of what is related by sociates, or translations from the contemporary authors. But the great Latin, of which he himself expressly body of English writers, antiqua- says, that the originals were exrians, commentators, lawyers, and pounded to him by his bishops. But historians, have agreed to work up his merit consisted in having assemthe life of King Alfred the Great, bled eminent men about his court, into an amusing romance. From the and in endeavouring to profit by solemn and laborious Spelman to their lessons. When he came to the the Aippant and superficial Hume, throne of his ancestors, there was the history of Alfred has been made not one individual in his native kingthe subject of extreme misrepresen- dom of Wessex, and scarely any tation. His learning is spoken of within the limits of the Heptarchy, in terms which would suit the at- who could read the offices of the

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