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INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY.
the "Annales Ecclesiæ Anglicana, auctore R. Patre Michaele "Alfordo, alias Griffith, Anglo, Societatis Jesu Theologo;" in four large folio volumes. His extracts from the original authors are so copious as to leave the reader, who wishes for original information, hardly any thing to desire. The writer also had perused with great attention the six first chapters of the first part of father Persons's "Treatise of the "Three Conversions of the Church of England,"-a learned work, now becoming exceedingly scarce.
IN this letter I shall particularly notice, -1. The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to christianity :II. The conformity of the religion, the religious ceremonial, and the morality preached to them, to those now taught by the roman-catholic church: -III. Then consider your crimination of the AngloSaxon clergy, for their practices on the ignorance and credulity of the people :-IV. The doctrine taught in their monasteries; the misrepresentation of it by two eminent protestant writers :-V. And the miracles performed in the roman-catholic church.
The Saxons of Ptolemy lay between the Oder and the Elbe; they afterwards extended themselves from the Elbe over the Ems, and reached Francia and Thuringia on the south. Harderick was the first of their kings whose name is known to us; he reigned ninety years before Christ. To him Hengist, who with his brother Horsia invaded England in 434, was fourteenth in succession. These princes, and their successors, made a complete conquest of England; they extirpated the pagan religion of the Romans, established their own superstition throughout the island, and drove the Britons, who professed christianity, into Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
History of the Conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to
SACRED history contains nothing more edifying than the account of the conversion of the AngloSaxons. "It has often been remarked as a pecu"liar merit of the christian religion, that it neither "arose from ambition, nor was propagated by the "sword. It appealed unoffendingly to the reason, "the sensibility, the virtue, and the interest of "mankind; and it established itself in every pro"vince of the Roman empire. When the torrent દ of barbarians overspread Europe, to the destruction “of all arts and knowledge, christianity fell in the general wreck. Soon however in some districts "she raised her mild and interesting form, and the savages yielded to her benign influence.
Among the Anglo-Saxons, her conquest over "the fierce and wild paganism, to which our an"cestors adhered, was not begun, till France, and 66 even Ireland, had submitted to her laws; but it was accomplished in a manner worthy of her "benevolence and purity.
"General piety seems to have led the first mis"sionaries to our shores; and the excellence of "the system they diffused, made their labours "successful."
With these expressions, our learned friend, Mr. Sharon Turner, introduces his account of the propagation of christianity among the Anglo
Saxons*. I beg leave to transcribe doctor Fletcher's succinct history of this event; nothing of my own could be more true, or would be so elegant. I transcribe it from one of the sermons, addressed by him to his congregation, at Weston-Underwood, in Buckinghamshire.
"About twelve hundred years ago, and above "nine hundred years before the introduction of "protestantism, Augustine, with his companions, brought the light of faith into this island. They "derived their commission from the great, and only acknowledged, source of spiritual authority; and in their faith and communion, they "were united with every orthodox community "of the christian universe. Their faith, my "brethren, was the same which you and I adore at present. In their private and public characters, "they were men eminent for their virtues, prac
tising, not only the precepts, but the counsels of "the gospel; despising all earthly satisfactions, and "attentive only to their own salvation, and to the "salvation of their neighbours. Their employ"ments, when not engaged in the active occupa
tions of their ministry, were prayer, watching, penance, and mortification. As for their con"duct in the sacred ministry, it was such as became apostles,--men deputed, by the command "of Heaven, to convey the blessings of the gospel
* Turner's "History of the Anglo-Saxons," 2d edition, book xiii. c. 1.
+ Doctor Fletcher's "Sermons on various Religious and "Moral Subjects," vol. 2. p. 14.
"to pagan nations. They preached, and acted, as "did once the first envoys of Jesus Christ. Fired "with the love of God, and animated with charity "to their fellow-men, they joined the ardour of zeal "to the tenderness of benevolence. They gained "proselytes, but it was by the eloquence of truth, "assisted by the eloquence of meekness, humility "and piety; verifying, in the whole series of their "conduct, that pleasing sentence of the prophet, "How beautiful on the hills are the footsteps of "those who bring glad tidings!??
"Neither were the exertions of their charity "unattended by the approbation of Heaven. Not only contemporary historians attest, but several protestant writers allow, that God rewarded them " with the gift of miracles. Even the fierce enemy "of every thing that is catholic, the martyrologist "Fox, admits this fact, a fact, which confirms "both the holiness of the lives of these apostles, "the lawfulness of their mission, and, by a most
logical inference, the truth of the holy religion " which they were labouring to establish. • The
King,' says Fox, considered the honest con"versation of their lives, and was moved with "the miracles wrought through God's hand by "them *'"'
"Under the influence of the sanction of such “authority, united to the influence of the methods by which these holy men propagated the maxims "of religion, it is easy to imagine what would be
* Acts and Monuments, col. 2.