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tives, to form the New Forest. The feudal system was established in England in this reign.

William died A.D. 1087. He left three sons—Robert, William, and Henry. Robert inherited Normandy, and William succeeded his father as king of England.

William II. (Rufus) was an oppressive, tyrannical monarch, His brother Robert, urged by some of his warlike barons, made preparations for wresting the kingdom from him; but a treaty was at length made between them. The king of Scotland also invaded England, but was defeated, and at length slain.

It was at this period that Peter the Hermit roused the chivalry of Europe to engage in the first crusade for the recovery of Jerusalem from the Saracens. Robert was among the first to assume the red cross, and to furnish his equipment he was compelled to mortgage Normandy to his brother, for five

years, for the sum of 10,000 marks. Before his return from the East, the death of William took place. He was shot whilst hunting in the New Forest, A.D. 1100.

Henry I. (Beauclerc), on the death of his brother, hastened to Winchester to secure the royal treasure, and thence to London, where he was crowned three days afterwards. He delighted his English subjects by marrying Matilda, niece of Edgar Atheling, the last of the Anglo-Saxon royal family. On Robert's return from Palestine he claimed the kingdom. Henry not merely repelled his invasion, but deprived him soon afterwards of Normandy, confining him for life in Cardiff castle. Prince William, the king's only son, was drowned in a voyage from France; be therefore bequeathed all his dominions to his daughter Matilda, widow of the emperor Henry V., and wife of the count of Anjou.

On the death of Henry, A. D. 1135, Matilda, undoubtedly the rightful heiress to the crown, found herself supplanted by Stephen, Count of Blois, grandson of the conqueror by his daughter Adela, who hurried over to England, and was crowned. Matilda, with the uid of her uncle David, king of Scotland, and her natural brother, the duke of Gloucester, endeavoured to recover her rights, and to dethrone the usurper. A civil war of twenty years inflicted on the nation an amount of misery and suffering scarcely to be exceeded, and from which no station, age, or sex was exempt. It ended with a compromise, by which Stephen was to retain the crown during his life, and Henry Plantagenet, the son of Matilda, was to succeed him.

LESSON XX.-FRIDAY.

TUE EXISTENCE OF CHRISTIANITY. The existence of Christianity in the world at this present moment is obviously certain. The account of its origin and early progress is contained in four parallel histories, and in a subsequent narrative attached to them, all which documents are still extant. These are found to correspond with the testimonies of the pagan writers Tacitus and Suetonius : and they are so repeatedly cited and referred to by an immense body of ecclesiastical writers, that we cannot reasonably doubt either their high antiquity, or their historical veracity, in the relation of facts and circumstances; just as we never think of doubting the general accuracy of the writings of Plato and Xenophon in regard to their master Socrates, or (if we descend to more modern times) the writings of Boswell in regard to Johnson.

To dispute this reasonable assertion is, in fact, to unhinge all historical evidence; for as to the actual existence of such a person as Christ, during the reigns of the Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius, it is fully demonstrated by the positive testimony of Suetonius, Tacitus, Julian, Porphyry, Celsus, and various other writers inimical to Christianity; and as to the actions and conduct of himself and his fol. lowers, it has never been denied, either by the Jews, or by the ancient pagan philosophers, who had the best opportunity of detecting imposition, that a true account has been given of them by those authors whom Christians deem sacred and inspired.

In truth, the whole narrative approves itself to be authentic by its exact falling in with general history. Christianity now exists; it must, therefore, have had a commencement. But we are quite sure, from the numerous writings of that period which have come down to us, that, although Christ himself was born in the Augustan age, his religion was not

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then in existence; hence it must have been brought into existence subsequent to the Augustan age. Now, Tacitus expressly bears witness, both that it sprang up in the reign of Tiberius; that its author was crucified by the procurator, Pontius Pilate; that, proceeding from Judea, it had spread, even before his days, as far as Rome; and that its proselytes were subjected to a bloody persecution during the reign of Nero. Accordingly, from Tacitus downward, Christ, and Christianity and Christians are perpetually mentioned by writers, both pagan and ecclesiastical. Henceforth, the history of the Church becomes a portion of the history of Rome; nor can the one proceed a step without the other.-G.S. Faber.

LESSON XXI.-MONDAY.

THE FEUDAL SYSTEM. It is the previous state of society under the grand-children of Charlemagne which we must always keep in mind, if we would appreciate the effects of the feudal system upon the welfare of mankind. The institutions of the eleventh century must be compared with those of the ninth, not with the advanced civilization of modern times. If the view I have taken of those dark ages is correct, the state of anarchy, which we usually term feudal, was the natural result of a vast and barbarous empire feebly administered, and the cause, rather than effect, of the general establishment of feudal tenures. These, by preserving the mutual relations of the whole, kept alive the feeling of a common country and common duties; and settled, after the lapse of ages, into the free constitution of England, the firm monarchy of France, and the federal union of Germany..

The utility of any form of polity may be estimated by its effect upon national greatness and security ; upon civil liberty and private rights; upon the tranquillity and order of society; upon the increase and diffusion of wealth; or upon the general tone of moral sentiment and energy. The feudal constitution was little adapted for the defence of a mighty kingdom, far less for schemes of conquest. But as it prevailed alike in several adjacent countries, none had anything to fear from the military superiority of its neighbours. It was this inefficiency of the feudal militia, perhaps, that saved Europe during the middle ages from the danger of universal monarchy. In times when princes had little notion of confederacies for mutual protection, it is hard to say what might not have been the successes of an Otho the Great, a Frederick Barbarossa, or a Philip Augustus, if they could have wielded the whole force of their subjects whenever their ambition required. If an empire, equally extensive with that of Charlemagne, and supported by military despotism, had been formed about the twelfth or thirteenth centuries, the seeds of commerce and liberty, just then beginning to shoot, would have perished, and Europe, reduced to a barbarous servitude, might have fallen before the free barbarians of Tartary.

If we look at the feudal polity as a scheme of civil freedom, it bears a noble countenance. To the feudal law it is owing that the very names of right and privilege were not swept away, as in Asia, by the desolating hand of power. The tyranny which, on every favourable moment, was breaking through all barriers, would have rioted without control, if, when the people were poor and disunited, the nobility had not been brave and free. So far as the sphere of feudality extended, it diffused the spirit of liberty and the notions of private right. Every one, I think, will acknow. ledge this, who considers the limitations of the services of vassalage, so cautiously marked in those law books which are the records of customs, the reciprocity of obligation between the lord and his tenant, the consent required in every measure of a legislative or general nature, the security, above all, which every vassal found in the administration of justice by his peers, and even (we may in this sense say) in the trial by combat. The bulk of the people, it is true, were degraded by servitude, but this had no connexion with the feudal tenures.

The peace and good order of society were not promoted by this system. Though private wars did not originate in the feudal customs, it is impossible to doubt that they were perpetuated by so convenient an institution, which, indeed, owed its universal establishment to no other cause. predominant habits of warfare are totally irreconcileable

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with those of industry, not merely by the immediate works of destruction which render its efforts unavailing, but through that contempt of peaceful occupations which they produce, the feudal system must have been adverse to the accumulation of wealth, and the improvement of those arts which mitigate the evils or abridge the labours of mankind.

But as the school of moral discipline, the feudal institutions were, perhaps, most to be valued. Society had sunk, for several centuries after the dissolution of the Roman empire, into a condition of utter depravity; where, if any vices could be selected as more eminently characteristic than others, they were falsehood, treachery, and ingratitude. In slowly purging off the lees of this extreme corruption, the feudal spirit exerted its ameliorating influence. Violation of faith stood first in the catalogue of crimes, most repugnant to the very essence of a feudal tenure, most severely and promptly avenged, most branded by general infamy. The feudal law books breathe throughout a spirit of honourable obligation. The feudal course of jurisdiction promoted, what trial by peers is peculiarly calculated to promote, a keener feeling and readier perception of moral as well as of leading distinctions. And as the judgment and sympathy of mankind are seldom mistaken, in these great points of veracity and justice, except through the temporary success of crimes, or the want of a definite standard of right, they gradually recovered themselves when law precluded the one and supplied the other. In the reciprocal services of lord and vassal, there was ample scope for every magnanimous and disinterested energy. The heart of man, when placed in circumstances which have a tendency to excite them, will seldom be deficient in such sentiments. No occasions could be more favourable, than the protection of a faithful supporter, or the defence of a beneficent suzerain, against such powerful aggression as left little prospect except of sharing in his ruin.-Hallam.

LESSON XXII.-TUESDAY.

STATICS. Mechanics is the science which investigates the laws and effects of force. It comprehends statics, dynamics, hydro

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