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feeling, productive and suggestive of civil faith, that yet remained linked with the liberty;* and, amid the systematic attempts singularly simple habits and unwavering of Rome, afterwards, favored with learning, fidelity of the Britons. We are frank to wealth, tact, and the affection she had in- confess that this period was not so remarkspired, to erect an undivided sovereignty able or important, religiously considered, over the hearts and arms of the Anglo- as a future one. Probably the virtue and Saxons, this same spirit has never decayed. energy of the Britons are more conspicuFirst evinced when the intrepid Druids ous in their civil relations ; for the first plunged from the smouldering hamlets of phase in the development of these germs of Monat preferring death to Roman servi- free institutions, that so slowly expanded tude, and thus cheering the faith of their afterwards, was here visible; and yet their countrymen ;£ the counterpart may be ob- attachment to religion must have been conserved, gifted with a more spiritual imper- siderably operative, for it sustained them sonation, amid the fires of Smithfield, and under the grinding oppression of the “misowning such men as Latimer and Ridley. tress of the world,” then ruled by one of But their defence (heroic as it must have her most ruthless tyrants. The astute been) was unavailing ;ş for who could re- and critical scholar, as his eye lingers with sist the colossal power, who could curb fond delight on the limnings of the brief, the iron legions, of “ the seven-hilled city ?” sententious Tacitus, will not fail to trace The extension of Roman authority gener- many offshoots from the rude institutions ally softened and subdued the fierce valor of the ancient Germans transplated, develof the Britons ;|| and, as wave after wave oped, and now operative in our varied of their more independent foes (the Picts) forms of social life, as well as our princirolled down from the north, instead of ples of government and modes of political manfully repelling the ferocious invaders, procedure.* Probably they were one race they invoked the aid of the Saxons, T who with the Britons. Of both it may be said, became more formidable as allies, than that “their so were raised by taking a they ever could have become as enemies. free part in concerns more dignified than During the Roman domination, the Britons those of individuals. The
energy was had received some faint sparks of Chris- 1 awakened, which, after many ages of storm tianity.** We have spoken of the Druids : and darkness, qualified the Teutonic race it was on this predisposed stock that its to be the ruling portion of mankind, to lay pristine influences were grafted in their the foundation of a better-ordered civilizapurity, and from the feelings to whose ex tion than that of the eastern or ancient hibitions we have alluded, they took their world, and finally to raise into the fellowwarmest, most ineffaceable impress. “The ship of those blessings the nations whom word of life" had reached them, and was they had subdued.” (Mackintosh, “Engreceived into the affections of a people land.”) whose earnest care and self-denying efforts The first permanent conversions to Chrishave been to exhibit it to the world, and tianity, occurred during the reign of Ethtransmit it to others unimpaired. The en- elbert, (A. D. 596,) and were accomplished ervating influence of excessive luxury, by the enterprising devotion of St. Augus(which “sævior armis incubuit, victum ulciscitur orbem,”) and the fires of persecu * Inter al. 'the hundreders,'( Mor.Ger.vi. Murphy, tion, have equally failed to crush its ener note 9 ;) limited authority of their kings, vii. ; the gies. Of the latter there were two: the battle-field, vii. and viii.; customs of "wager of bat.
influence of woman over them, especially on the first raged under Diocletian ; and the tles," " duel,” &c., the origin of chivalry, ibid. note Saxons, ferocious pagans as they were,
4; their political assemblies, (commune consilium,)
the type of the Wittenagemot," and origin, through soon annihilated the vestiges of a milder it, of the British Constitution, xi. n. 5; reckoning
by nights instead of days, ibid. n. 7; their punish* Mor. Ger. iii. (Murphy, n. 5 and 8.).
menis pecuniary, ('mulcts.') xx. xxi., illustrated by | Annal., Lib. xiv. sec. 29 and 30 ; Agric., xiv. “Deodands,” n. 4, and voluntary “tribute,"xv., n. 6; (Murphy, n. 11.)
Parliament (the influence of ;) reverence for the | Agric., xviii.
sanctity of the marriage relation, xviii. xix.; and $ Ibid (Murphy, p. 600, nole.)
influence of “Salique” law, xx. n. i.; and respect 11 Agric. xiii. xviii., xx.-xxi. xxxiv.
for the dead, xxvii. TA. D. 416, (just 1400 years ago.)
1 This seems to be the increasingly probable * Fuller, Eccl. Hist., (Lond. Edit.,) vol. I. pp. 7, opinion of the best authorities ; vide in connection, 17 ; Waddington, idem, p. 133.
Mor. Ger. xl. (Murphy, note 6, ibid.)
tine. From this period to the landing of able race, yet Wilfrid's superior zeal or William the Conqueror, the faith and confi address introduced Christianity even here. dence of the Anglo-Saxons (though subjected to trials and seductions of no ordinary Expelled from his diocese by the intrigue of character) met no annihilation. Here was
his enemies, he wandered an honorable exile the golden age of English religious energy ;
among the tribes of the south, when Edilwalch, for no subsequent period has been marked
King of Sussex, who had been lately baptized,
invited him to attempt the conversion of his by more unity of aim, by a more unswerv
subjects.” ing attachment to the doctrines and practice of the uncorrupted Christian church. Thus, guided by the glowing pathos of That a more particular and satisfactory his eloquence, his “slaves were first conview of Anglo-Saxon Britain may be en- verted, and generously restored to their joyed, we shall take the liberty of quoting freedom on the day of their baptism ;” an from a work, whose spirit and excellencies eloquent commentary on the sentiment, are appreciable by the simple-minded “ he is free whom the truth makes free"Christian, never unwelcome to the refined
paralleled but once in the records of bisand critical scholar.* Our limits will per tory, (that in the Sandwich Islands, to mit but brief glances at some of the most which we shall hereafter refer.) prominent features of this age--an age whose records are crowded with an inter “ Thus in the space of about eighty years was esting portraiture of those who suffered, successfully completed the conversion of the labored, and died, having accomplished the Anglo-Saxons ; an enterprise which originated work allotted to them.
in the charity of Gregory the Great, and was Little was the resistance to that strong
unremittingly continued by the industry of his
disciples, with the assistance of several faithful incentive of propagating Christianity by the co-operators from Gaul and Italy." sword, in the minds of most northern mon “The acquisition of religious knowledge inarchs, as is abundantly evident from the troduced a new spirit of legislation ; the presrecords of Swedish history.f No such con
ence of the bishops and superior clergy imversions, however, took place in England;
proved the wisdom of the national councils; and
laws were framed to punish the more flagrant all was peaceful and voluntary.
violations of morality, and prevent the daily
broils which harass the peace of society.” “ Mercia received the faith from the pious industry of the Northumbrian princes, who Even such, to this day, has been the were eminently instrumental in the dissemina- state of Scandinavia—the primal germ tion of Christianity among the numerous tribes
again bursting forth, in fresher luxuriance ; of their countrymen. Peada, the son of Penda,
for the “ House of the Clergy" there reKing of Mercia, had offered his hand to the daughter of Oswin, the successor of Oswald ; tains an elevating and conservative check but the lady spurned the addresses of a pagan,
upon the other branches of the legislature, and the passion of the prince induced him to and all who visit Sweden are surprised study the principles of her religion. His con at the happy results of such influence.* version was rewarded with the object of his af
Perhaps it may be useful to consider fection"--and he became a sincere adherent to
whether some slight imitation of this arthe new faith.
not be practicable in our Sussex was peopled by a fierce, intract
own body politic. That they are highly necessary, none who have sedulously noted
public affairs, will fail to perceive.f *“ History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon
Then royalty, meekly obedient, sought Church, by John Lingard, D. D." Philadelphia Edi the more permanent aid of religion, and țion, M, Fithian, 1814. Excellent as this volume is, there is much room for improvement. Some of worshipped at other shrines than those of our enterprising publishers might publish an edition lust, or passion, or ambition. containing judicious translations of the numerous Latin extracts which form a large portion of the body and notes of the work. Under the guidance
“ In the clerical and monastic establishments, of a good editor, other improvements might be
the most sublime of the Gospel virtues were made which would render it more adapted for the carefully practiced: even kings descended from popular mind.
Dr. Baird's Visit, (N. 1. Edi. 1841,) pp. 41, 123, * Dr.Baird's Visit, vol. II, p. 101, 176. et alibi.
t Qu. ED. VOL. I. NO, I. NEW SERIES, 3
their thrones, and exchanged the sceptre for enjoy the free exercise of her religion, and had the cowl. Their conduct was applauded by extorted from the impatient suitor a promise, their contemporaries; and the moderns whose that he would impartially examine the credibilsupercilious wisdom affects to censure it, must ity of the Christian faith. With these conditions at least esteem the motives which inspired, and Edwin complied, and alternately consulted the admire the resolution which completed the Saxon priests and Paulinus, a bishop who had sacrifice. The progress of civilization kept accompanied the queen. Though the arguequal pace with the progress of religion; not ments of the missionary were enforced by only the useful, but the agreeable arts were in the entreaties of Edilberga, the king was slow troduced ; every species of knowledge which to resolve, and two years were spent in anxious could be obtained, was eagerly studied; and deliberation. At length, attended by Paulinus, during the gloom of ignorance which over he entered the great council of the nation; respread the rest of Europe, learning found, for a quested the advice of his faithful Witau ; and certain period, an asylum among the Saxons of exposed the reasons which induced him to preBritain.” (Lingard, p. 35.)
fer the Christian to the pagan worship. Coiffi,
the high priest of Northumbria, was the first to Such names were given to the different reply. It might have been expected, that presections of the country as have withstood judice and interest would have armed him with the mutations of a thousand years : for arguments against the adoption of a foreign instance, we have Cent, (Kent,) South- creed; but his attachment to paganism had
been weakened by repeated disappointments, Seaxe, (Sussex.) O.renford, (Oxford,) and and he had learned to despise the gods, who Grantebrige, North-Humber-land, and nu
had neglected to reward his services. That merous others. Such arrangements for the religion he had hitherto taught was useless, the jurisdiction of the clergy, and their he attempted to prove from his own misfortunes, support
, were originated, as have met very and avowed his resolution to listen to the reafew changes in later ages. Canterbury
sons, and examine the doctrines of Paulinus. then secured (after severe conflicts) its
He was followed by an aged thane, whose dis
course offers an interesting picture of the simpresent pre-eminence, and the present sys- plicity of the age. When,' said he, 'Oking, tem of tithes obtained as early as the year you and your ministers are seated at the table 750 ; but Offa, King of Mercia, first invest in the depth of winter, and the cheerful fire ed them with a legal relation, and Ethel- blazes on the hearth in the middle of the hall, a wolf, about sixty years after, enlarged sparrow, perhaps, chased by the wind and snow, them for the whole kingdom of England. *
enters at one door of the apartment, and esAt this early period, too, the right of tem
capes by the other. During the moment of its
passage, it enjoys the warmth ; when it is once poral investitures was yielded to the king, departed, it is seen no more. Such is the naand “as soon as any church became vacant, ture of man. During a few years his existence the ring and crosier, the emblems of epis is visible; but what has preceded, or what will copal jurisdiction, were carried to the king follow it, is concealed from the view of mortals. by a deputation of the chapter, and re
If the new religion offer any information on turned by him to the person whom they
these important subjects, it must be worthy of
our attention.'" had chosen, with a letter by which the civil officers were ordered to maintain him
Right worthily spoken, though by one in the possession of the lands belonging to who never trod the starry halls of science! his church.” (Lingard.) This useful for, in the words of the poetmeasure soon engendered intolerable abuses, though it was William Rufus who first Nothing of life abideth ! all is change! “ prostituted ecclesiastical dignities.”+
Nor whence we came, and whither we shall
He knoweth who hath sent-nor deem it We meet with interesting records of the strange conversion of Northumbria, of which Ed
If whence and whitherward the ocean's flow win was the puissant king. He
Ages have known not, nor shall ever know.”
“ To these reasons the other members as6 Had asked and obtained the band of Edilo sented. Paulinus was desired to explain the berga, the daughter of Ethelbert ; but the zeal principal articles of the Christian faith, and the of her brother had stipulated that she should king expressed his determination to embrace
the doctrine of the missionary. When it was
asked who would dare to profane the altars of Black, Comm. pp. 25, 26.
Woden, Coiffi accepted the dangerous office. # Fuller, vol. i, p. 279.
Laying aside the emblems of the priestly dig
nity, he assumed the dress of a warrior; and others, the practice of celibacy was fully despising the prohibitions of the Saxon super- operative. Indeed, although every age stition, mounted the favorite charger of Edwin. has marked the prevalence of this sentiBy those who were ignorant of his motives, his conduct was attributed to a temporary in ment, none has presented brighter exsanity; But he disregarded their clamors, pro- amples of its faithful observance. From ceeded to the nearest temple, and, bidding defi- their early teachers were derived the inance to the god of his fathers, hurled his spear stances of its carefully-instilled importance; into the sacred edifice. It stuck in the opposite and we are almost ready to agree with wall; and, to the surprise of the trembling Lingard, that spectators, the heavens were silent, and the sacrilege was unpunished. Insensibly they recovered from their fears, and, encouraged by volved in the embarrassments of marriage, they
“ Had Augustine and his associates been inthe exhortation of Coiffi, burnt to the ground would never have torn themselves from their the temple and the surrounding grove.'
home and country, and have devoted the best
portion of their lives to the conversion of disa For the instruction of the clergy, semi- tant and unknown barbarians.” (p. 57.) naries were founded, in which, “ With the assistance of the best masters, the
It was, probably, the consideration of young ecclesiastics were initiated in the differ- such sentiments that afterwards induced ent sciences which were studied at that period, Bacon to say : “He that hath wife and while the restraint of a wise and vigilant dis- children hath given hostages to fortune ; cipline withheld them from the seductions of for they are impediments to great entervice, and inured them to the labors and duties prises, either of virtue or mischief. Cerof their profession. According to their years tainly the best works, and of the greatest and merit, they were admitted to the lower or
merit for the public, have proceeded from ders of the hierarchy; and might, with the approbation of their superior, aspire at the age of the unmarried or the childless man, which five-and-twenty to the rank of deacon, at thirty | both in affection and means have married to that of priest.”
and endowed the public. ... Unmarried Nor were these provisions for education
men are best friends, best masters, best confined to the monasteries.
servants. A single life doth well with mass of the common people shared in the churchmen; for charity will hardly water labors and instructions of the missionaries.
the ground where it must first fill a pool.”
Seneca, it seems, was of the same opinion: “ Bede has drawn an interesting picture of
“Vita conjugalis altos et generosos spiritos the avidity with which the simple natives of frangit, et a magnis capitationibus ad huthe most neglected cantons were accustomed to millimas detrahit.” (Ibid., p. 58.) hasten, on the first appearance of a missionary, Without entering on the discussion of to beg his benedictions and listen to his instruc- this question, we may briefly mention that tions; and the celebrated St.Cuthbert frequently these are the times when no such principles spent whole weeks and months in performing are in vogue—that the moderns will hearken the priestly functions among the most mountainous and uncultivated parts of Northumbria.” to no opinion of this kind ; and yet we are (P. 51.)
not certain that enthusiastically unselfish, * Thé priests were exhorted to be satisfied vital piety is any more extensively prevawith the revenue of their churches ; and the se
lent now, than when the self-denying earnverest censures awaited him who presumed to estness of Anglo-Saxon religion graced demand a retribution for the discharge of his England with those exemplars, which after functions."
years have delighted to commemorate, To prevent the secularization of their though, perhaps, not to imitate. * minds, (the necessity of which is painfully
In his third chapter Dr. Lingard passes, evinced by the history of the Moravian by a natural digression, to the temporal missionaries in Greenland,) many arrange- support of the ministers of religion. It ments were sedulously carried out. Among was derived from donations of land, termed
“ glebe lands,” (which were exempt from * Alcuin has celebrated the fame of Coiffi in his poem on the Church of York:
* There are of course two sides in this question. “O nimium tanti felix audacia facti,
Mackintosh, “Hist. Eng.,"? vol. I., cap. 2, pp. 46 Polluit ante alios quas ipse sacraverat aras.' --50, has sketched the origin of clerical celibacy,
(Pp. 25, 26.) | and the corruption engendered by it.
taxation ;) from the voluntary oblations of imperial city likewise. (P. 69.) But unthe people; from tilhes, whose institution worthy advantage was taken of this liberal has been noticed above ; and various other spirit, so diffusive among the Anglo-Saxons,
harities, as “the plough alms,” (consisting by the imposition of the Rome-scot, a tax of one penny for every hide of arable which was originated by Offa, established land, exacted within fifteen days after by Ethelwulf, and continued by Alfred ; Easter ;) the kirk-shot, col-shot, and last, “and which,” in the time of Gregory VII., (though not least, for it was the right of "amounted to something more than two the clergy to exact it,) the soul-shot, a hundred pounds of Saxon money.". (P. retribution in money for the prayers said 71.) in behalf of the dead.”
Nor did the violent escape the penalty of These were willing offerings. The Saxon their neglect people were not hard-fisted, nor unworthy
“In the laws of Ethelred and Canute, the of the privileges Heaven had given to them. Ample provision was hence made for the grithbryce, the penalty for violating the peace revenues of the clergy, and most of the of a church of the
Shillings. institutions for that purpose have come 1st class was
2d down to our own time. The Saxon clergy
60 appear both to have known and taught
150." the pure morality of the Gospel. Their
(P. 274.) preachers sedulously inculcated that the first of duties was the love of God, and
The same reverence for the sacred office the second the love of our neighbor.
is displayed in the rates of “the manbote,' “ To subserve this latter object, the aggre; thus evincing their recognition of a superi
where the bishop comes after the king, gate amount of all these perquisites composed in each parish a fund, which was called the ority granted only by Heaven, and one patrimony of the minister, and which was de running through all the variations of yoted to nearly the same purposes as the reve- Anglo-Saxon social institutions as well as nues of the cathedral churches.
After two- laws. thirds had been deducted for the support of the clergy and the repairs of the building, the re “ In the time of Edward the Confessor, the mainder was assigned for the relief of the poor manbote to be paid to the king or archbishop, for and of strangers.
In a country which offered the murder of one of their retainers, was three no convenience for the accommodation of trav- marks; to a bishop or earl, forty-eight shillings ellers, frequent recourse was had to the hospi- of five pennies=20 of 12, or halfof a mark; and tality of the curate ; and in the vicinity of his
to a thane twenty-four of five pennies, or residence a house was always open for their ten of twelve, or one-fourth of a mark, which reception, in which, during three days, they
was two-thirds of a pound, or one hundred and were provided with board and lodging at the sixty pennies.”+ expense of the church.” (Pp. 58, 66.)
The clergy were eminently adapted, both Here no Achæan host graced the festive by spirit and education, for modifying the table with the refinement of habits and rude customs—for forming and mollifying suavity of manners, which made Hellas the laws; and their assistance was cheerrenowned through all antiquity ; but the fully given. How beautifully Christianity toil-worn traveller found, among the Anglo- moulded their ferocious valor, and made it Saxons, a race anxious to minister to his auxiliary to the life and spread of true comforts, “given to hospitality.” The religion, may be seen from the scanty rights of sanctuary, and the peace of the records of contemporaneous history. It was church, were institutions that softened the by their persuasion, that Ethelbert pubmanners and elevated the generous senti- lished the first code of Saxon laws; and ments of those almost semi-barbarians, to thus the civil power, in the infancy of its an extent elsewhere unsurpassed in the annals of civilization. “Royal alms” were
* Edinburgh Review, January, 1838, pp. 163, 168. conveyed to Rome, and the benefactions of gress and success of these clerical encroachments
The result of“ a careful investigation into the proEthelwulf to the pontiff were munificent: after the conquest,”(particularly in regard to tithes,) nor did he fail to give to the people in the + Vide also Mackintosh, vol. I., p. 75.