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it still was, in reality, the centre of religion. Whatsoever knowledge existed of a future state of being, of heaven and hell, and eternity; whatsoever warning against sin was addressed to the consciences of men ; whatsoever impulse was given to holiness and devotion-these were still derived from the Church. The Church was also the centre of charity. All that were troubled, and broken-hearted, and wearied with the din of the world, found an asylum in her arms. Her conyents furnished, in the name of God, food to the hungry, shelter to the afflicted, and rest to the weary. The warrior and the politician refreshed their world-worn spirit within her cloisters; and the husbandman preferred the sway of the peaceful monks to that of the rude baron, who forced him from his home, and compelled bim to fight in quarrels with which be had no concern. In short, corrupt as she was, the Church was still superior, infinitely superior, to the world. Whatever was reverent and pious was within her. She was the instructor and enlightener of the nations, so far as they had any light or instruction. No wonder that not only was she beloved by the poor and humble, but that the best of men then living, and men of practical wisdom no whit inferior to that of our own days, seeing in the world no better spiritual instructor or guide, were her zealous and devoted adherents. No wonder that the Church, thus based on the affections of the people, and supported by the zeal and talent of the wisest and best men of the age, should have exercised the vast authority which we have seen.
The history of the times will teach us, that often her most extravagant claims were founded on a basis of real justice. We are astonished that an Italian bishop should have the presumption to claim, or the power to exercise, a veto on the appointment of all the bishops in Christendom. But when we learn that William Rufus, during almost the whole of his reign, appropriated to himself the revenues of each bishopric which became vacant, and kept the offices themselves suspended, and that such was no uncommon practice amongst the monarchs of Europe, we are the less surprised that, in the reign of his successor, the force of public opinion in his favour enabled the pope to gain the right of investure. But for his interference, the Church would have speedily been deprived of her bishops altogether. Such is but a specimen of the mode in which the Church of Rome took under protection, nations ground down by the rapacity of crnel masters. “The good father of Christendon," was a protector to
the people against the iron sway of their kings and nobles; and so established a moral influence, which, though capable of effecting much real good, yet in the hands of unprincipled pontiffs, was too often exercised for the worst and most ambitious purposes.
Amidst the turbulence and ignorance of the middle ages, it is not to be wondered at that gross doctrinal errors should have crept into the Church. We cannot be too thankful to Almighty God that we live in an age in which scriptural truth is more fully known. At the same time, we should do well to recognise the inscrutable providence of God whereby, amidst the general darkness, He preserved the truth entire; and to consider how the Church itself, corrupt as it was, proved the means of securing the blessed treasure. The very infallibility of the pope, monstrous as we believe the claim, was the obvious means of maintaining the creeds and sacraments, and general framework, of the Christian Church entire ; while in the cells of her monasteries, whatever may have been their corruption, God provided that copies of the word of life should be continually transcribed and preserved; which, in His appointed time, were destined to aid in the reformation of the Church.
The annals of the reformation of the sixteenth century are the history of the mode in which, by a variety of instruments, and through an infinite number of concurrent means, God so arranged, that, in the general awakenment of learning and civilisation, man's self-willed spirit might be restrained within some bounds, and the Church, whose lamp had burnt but feebly, though it'still had burnt, during ages of darkness, might, in & reformed and purified condition, shed the rays of its divine light over the awakened energies of the human mind.-Forest of Arden.
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF IMPORTANT PLACES MEN
TIONED IN HOLY SCRIPTURE, ACELDAMA.—This word signifies “ The field of blood," and is the name of a small tract of land lying South of Jerusalem, which the Jewish Priests purchased with the thirty pieces of silver, which Judas had received as the price of our Saviour's blood, (Matt. xxvi. 8; Acts i. 19.) Believing, or pretending to
believe that it was not lawful to put this money to sacred uses, because it was the price of blood, they bought with it the Potter's field, to be a burying place for strangers, or foreigners. Strangers are frequently mentioned in the laws of Moses, who specified two different descriptions of them, viz:-1. Those who had no home, whether Israelites or Foreigners; and—2. Those who were strangers generally, and held no land or property, though they might have bought houses. The latter class is that for which this burial place seems to have been provided. After the subjection of Jerusalem to the Roman yoke, that city would be more than ever the resort of Gentile Strangers, and hence the necessity for increased means of Sepulchre.
Helena, the mother of Constantine, had part of the field covered in, for the purpose of receiving the dead, and it was formerly thought that such was the destructive power of the earth over flesh, that the bodies were consumed in two or three days. It is now used as the sepulchre of the Armenians, who have a magnificent convent on Mount Zion.
ALEXANDRIA.-A celebrated City in Egypt, situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Lake Mareotis. It was founded by Alexander the Great, about B. c. 332, and was first colonized by Greeks and Jews. No situation could be better adapted for the metropolis of the world than Alexandria, and this was doubtless the great object of its founder. It rose rapidly as a commercial city, being the centre of intercourse between the east and west, and in course of time became scarcely inferior to Rome itself. The ancient city, according to Pliny, was about fifteen miles round, or about half the size of London, and contained a population of 300,000 free citizens, and an equal number of slaves. From the gate of the sea ran one magnificent street, 2000 feet broad, through the entire length of the city, one end displaying a noble view of the sea, and the other, of the Mareotic Lake. Another street of equal width crossed this at right angles, in a square nearly two miles in circumference. Thus the whole City appears to have been divided into two streets intersecting each other.
Upon the death of Alexander, who was buried in his new city, Alexandria became the royal capital of Egypt under the Ptolemies, and rose to its highest splendour. During the reign of the first three princes of this name its glory was at the highest. It was
frequented by the most celebrated philosophers from the east, as well as from Greece and Rome; and men eminent in every (lepartment of knowledge were found within its walls. Ptolemy Soter, the first of that line of kings, formed the Museum and Library, and several other splendid works, which after his death were completed by his son Philadelphus.
At the death of Cleopatra, B. c. 26, Alexandria passed into the hands of the Romans, under whom it became the theatre of several memorable events. At length, after enjoying the highest fame for upwards of a thousand years, it was conquered by the army of the Caliph Omar, A. D. 646. Such was its greatness that the victors themselves were amazed at the extent of their prize. Amron, the general of Omar, writing to his master, said, “ I have taken the great city of the west: it is impossible for me to reckon up the variety of its riches and beauty; I shall content myself with observing that it contains 4000 palaces, 4000 baths, 400 theatres, or other places of amusement, 12000 shops for the sale of vegetable goods, and 40,000 tributary Jews.”
With this event the sun of Alexandria may be said to have set. The weight of the Mahometan superstition settled over it, and although the genius and resources of such a city would not at once be destroyed, it continued to decay, until in the fifteenth century, when the discovery of the passage by the Cape of Good Hope, gave the last impetus to its fall, by diverting into another channel the trade which had been its support. At this day, Alexandria, like most eastern cities, presents a mixed spectacle of ruin and wretchedness of fallen greatness and enslaved human beings.
The Gospel was introduced into Alexandria by the Evangelist St. Mark, who suffered martyrdom here A. D. 68. The Jewish and Christian schools in Alexandria, were long held in the highest esteem. The latter, besides producing many eloquent preachers, paid much attention to the multiplication of copies of the sacred writings. A very valuable copy, well known as the Alexandrian MS. is in the British Museum. For many years Christianity continued to flourish in this city, but at length it became the source, and for a long period the stronghold, of the Arian heresy. In the year 296 A. D. this city gave birth to the eminent Father Saint Athanasius. It should, likewise, not be forgotten that here was also the birth place of Apollos. Acts xyiii. 24.
ANTIOCH-in Syria; was formerly called Riblath. It is mentioned in the book of Maccabees, and in the New Testament; but Riblath, or Riblatha, is named in Numbers xxxiv. 11; 2 Kings, xxiii. 33; xxv. 6, 20, 21; Jer. xxxiv. 5; lii. 9, 10, 26, 27; It was not known by the name of Antioch, till after the reign of Seleucus Nicanor, who built it on the site of the ancient Riblath, and called it Antioch in honour of his father, Antiochus, B.C. 301. Being centrally situated it became the seat of empire of the Syrian kings, and afterwards of the Roman governors of the eastern provinces. There also the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians, It became a missionary station, and from hence many were sent forth to plant the Church. Strabo describes Antioch as being not much inferior in power and dig. nity to Seleucia, or Alexanadria. Josephus calls it the third city of the Roman provinces. It was long indeed the most powerful city of the east, and was famous among the Jews for the “jus civitatis,” or right of citizenship, which had been given to them by Seleucus. These privileges contributed to render Antioch so desirable to the Christians, who were everywhere considered as a sect of the Jews, since here they could perform their worship in their own way without fear of molestation. This also may help to account for the importance attached by the apostles to the introduction of the Gospel into Antioch ; and for the interest taken by them in its promotion and extension in a city so distant from Jerusalem. The account of the first planting of the Gospel here is recorded in Acts xi. 19—27. It appears that the disciples who had been scattered abroad upon the persecution of Stephen, went everywhere preaching the word. They however confined their preaching to the Jews only, but hearing at length that the door of faith had been opened to the Gentiles also, through the ministry of St. Peter, they relaxed the strictness of their rule and began to preach to them likewise. The effect was that a great many believers were immediately added to the Church. So large a number of converts would of course require to be organized ; and as there was a prospect of their being safe from persecution, by the law of their citizenship, it was the object of the college of Apostles at Jerusalem, to complete the work just begun, by immediately placing a bishop there, who should build up the rising Church' to a full state of efficiency: and accordingly we read that When tidings of these things came to the Church that was in Jerusalem, they sent forth Barnabas that he should go as far as Antioch. So great was the work there going on, that the aid of another Apostle was called in, and Barnabas departed to Tarsus,