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THE history of the Anglo-Saxon church has exercised the industry of several writers, whose researches and discoveries have been rewarded with the approbation of the public. It is not my wish to encroach upon their labours. With patient and merito rious accuracy they have discussed and detailed the foundations of churches, the succession of bishops, the decrees of councils, and the chronological series of events. Mine is a more limited attempt, to describe the ecclesiastical polity and religious practices of our ancestors, the discipline, revenues, and learning of the clerical and monastic orders, and the more important revolutions, which promoted or impaired the prosperity of the AngloSaxon church.
Of these subjects I am not ignorant that some have been fiercely debated by religious polemics. The great event of the refo nation, while it gave a new impulse to the powers, imbittered with.oncour the writings of the learned. Controversy pervaded every department of literature: and history, as well as the sister sciences, was alternately pressed into the service of the contending parties. By opposite writers the same facts were painted in opposite colours: unfavourable circumstances were carefully concealed, or artially disguised, and the nien, whom the catholic exhibited as models of virtue and objects of veneration, the protestant condemned for their interested zeal, their pride, their ignorance, and their superstition. I will not deny, that the hope of acquiring additional information nas induced me to peruse the