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and lifting up his heart to God. in prayer, he laid aside the sword, and composed himself to suffer. Two of his nephews began to make resistance. “ If you love me truly,” said Lambert, “ love Jesus Christ also, and confess your sins to him. As for me, it is time for me to go to live with him." “ Do you not hear,” said another nephew, “ how they call out to set fire to the house, to burn us all alive?” Remember, replied the bishop calmly, the guilt of the murder is yours: submit to receive the due recompence of your deeds. He continued in fervent prayer, and the armed men put all, whom they found, to the sword, and Lambert himself among the rest. A man of a Christian spirit surely, and worthy of a more enlightened age, in which his humility, piety, and charity might have shone with a brighter luftre!
Ceolfrid, in the early part of this century, governed the two monasteries of Weremouth and Jerrow, which had educated Bede. Through his influence, the Piets, who inhabited North Britain, were brought over to the Roman mode of celebrating Easter, and of course to the Roman communion *. But I can find no account of any progress in piety in the British isles. As the Roman church itself grew more corrupt in this century, our ancestors were infected with a larger portion of its superstitions. In the year 713, the Mahometans passed over
713 from Africa into Spain, and put an end to the kingdom of the Goths, which had lasted near three hundred years. The Christians were there reduced to Navery; and thus were scourged those wicked professors, who had long held the truth in un
• Egbert, an Englishman, not long after, effected the fame change among many of the Irish.
righteousness, called on the name of Christ, while in works they denied him, and buried his faith under an enormous heap of superstitions. A remnant, however, preserved their independency in the Asturian mountains, who chose Pelagius for their king, a person descended from the royal family. He expressed his hope, that after God had chaltized them for their fins, he would not give them up wholly to the Mahometans. His confidence in God was not disappointed. Under circumstances extremely disadvantageous, he defeated the enemy, re-peopled the cities, rebuilt the churches, and, by the pious assistance of several pastors, supported the Gospel in one dictrict of Spain, while the greatest part of the country was overrun by the Arabians. But the fucceffors of Pelagius, by degrees, recovered more cities from the enemy.
Christendom, at this time, afforded a very grievous and mournful spectacle. Idolatry itself was now spreading widely both in Europe and in Asia, among the profeffors of the Gospel *: men had very commonly every where forsaken the faith and the precepts of Jesus, in all those countries, which had' been long evangelized. The people, who served the Lord in the greatest purity and sincerity, seem to have been our ancestors , and the in
* This important event will be explained in the next chapter.
f Ireland, which Prideaux calls the prime seat of learning in all Christendom, during the reign of Charlemagne, was peculiarly distinguished in this century. Usher has proved the name of Scotia to have been appropriated to Ireland at this time. Eginhard, the secretary of Charlemagne, calls Ireland Hibernia Scotorum insula. Several of these Scots (Irish) laboured in the vineyard in Charlemagne's time, and were made bishops in Germany. Both facred and profane learning were taught by them with success.
habitants of some other regions, which had but lately received the Gospel. So true is the observation, which our history constantly gives us occasion to make, namely, that there is a perpetual tendency in human nature to degeneracy and corruption. Such, however, was the goodness of God, that he still exercised much long suffering amidst the most provoking enormities; and after he had removed the candlestick from some churches, he carried it to other places *, so that the light of his Gospel was never removed from the earth. The most marvellous event in such cases, is, that men seem not at all conscious of their crimes, nor perceive the avenging hand of God upon them. For the nominal Christians of the day were insensible of their condition; and, though the Arabians were evidently making large strides toward universal dominion, it was not till they had advanced into the heart of France, and ravaged that country in a dreadful manner, that any strong efforts were A.D. made to withstand them. In the year 732, how- 732. ever, they were totally defeated near Poictiers, by the heroic Charles Martel. An event memorable in history, because by it the providence of God stopped the progress of the Arabian locusts. It is astonishing, that all the civilized nations had not long ago united in a league, which would have been equally just and prudent, to stem the torrent, which threatened the desolation of mankind. Those who had, for ages, trusted more in relicks, altars, austerities, pilgrimages, than in Christ crucified, and had lived in deceit, avarice, and uncleanness, were suffered to yield themselves a prey to devouring invaders. Adored be that Providence, which, in the crisis, preserved Europe
* This will be illustrated in Chap. IV.
from complete desolation, and, by saving France from those barbarians, has still left a people to ferve God in these western regions *.
• The plague of the locusts, Rev. ix. continued five months, that is, 150 years, a day being reckoned for a year in prophetical language. It may be difficult to reckon exactly the time of the extension of the Arabian conquests, because of the inaccuracy and confusion of historians. But divine truth was exact no doubt; and under every possible way of computation, the period of about 150 years will properly limit the duration of the Saracen conquests.
СНА Р. CH A P. III.
THE CONTROVERSY ON IMAGES. THE MATU
RITY OF ANTICHRIST.
N the year 727, the Greek emperor began open A.D.
hostility with the bishop of Rome, and, to 727. use the words of Sigonius *, Rome and the Roman dukedom passed from the Greek to the Roman bishop. It would have been more accurate to say, that a foundation was then laid for the temporal power of that prelate, than that it was actually established. However, as it was established a few years after, and a rupture commenced at the period juft mentioned, I shall assume this as the most proper date, that I know of, for the beginning of popedom, which from this time is to be regarded as Antichrist indeed; for it set itself by temporal power to support false doctrine, and
particularly that, which deserves the name of idolatry.
The marvellous propensity of all ages to the fin of idolatry, which implies a departure of the heart from the one living and true God, must originate in fome steady principles existing in the nature of fallen man. The true account of this extraordinary and lamentable fact seems to be as follows.—God is an immaterial, felf-existent Being, of infinite power and goodness, and, as our Maker and Preserver, he has an unquestionable claim to our supreme veneration and affection. Man, considered as a rational creature, is endowed with faculties abundantly fufficient for the discovery of
this • Sigon. Hist. de Regn. Italic, B. III. VOL. III.