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An invasion of Ireland, in 1172, was followed by its conquest. The latter years of Henry were embittered by the rebellion of his sons. In the midst of these unnatural hostilities he died, in 1189.
Richard I., eldest surviving son of Henry, succeeded him. His coronation was signalized by a sanguinary massacre of the Jews, which began without premeditation, but was continued with blind and bigoted fury. At York, the unfortunate victims took refuge in the castle, the gates of which they refused to open at the demand of the governor. It was immediately assaulted, and the Jews, to avoid falling into the hands of their enemies, put an end to their own lives.
The history of Richard's reign is little more than that of the crusade, to which he led a large and gallant army soon after his accession. Achieving the conquest of the island of Cyprus on his way, he reached Syria, and joined the king of France at the siege of Acre, which they reduced, and entered as conquerors in 1191.
This was their only victory of consequence. Jealousy and divisions prevailed between the Christian chiefs, and Philip soon after returned home, leaving Richard to prosecute the enterprise. After performing prodigies of valour, and sacrificing an immense amount of blood and treasure, Richard concluded a truce with the Sultan, and set out on his journey home, with a very small number of followers. His ill fortune pursued him. After suffering shipwreck, he was taken prisoner in Austria, kept in captivity by the emperor, Henry VI., for more than a year, and then only released on the payment of an enormous ransom.
His dominions had suffered much from misgovernment and revolts during his long absence; and he was involved, through the ill-conduct of his brother John, in fresh hostilities with France. He died in 1199, of a wound received at the siege of the castle of Chalus, in that country.
PROPHECY_THE PROMISED MESSIAH. In the sacred writings of the Jews; writings which, on the fullest evidence, we maintain to have been in existence long anterior to the birth of Christ; we have numerous documents which claim to be divinely-inspired prophecies. Now these predictions announce, and minutely describe, a remarkable character, whom the Jews have ever been accustomed to denominate the Messiah, and whom, from a numerical prophecy of Daniel, they were actually expecting, immediately before and about the very time when Christ made his appearance. The prophecies in question teach, among numerous other particulars : that he should be born in Bethlehem; that he should be a descendant of the tribe of Judah and the house of David ; that he should appear during the continuance of the second temple; that the time of his manifestation might be known by computing seventy prophetic weeks, or 490 calendar years, from an edict of one of the Persian kings to restore and build Jerusalem at the close of the Babylonian captivity ; that, shortly after the end of those 490 years, the city and the sanctuary of the Jews should be destroyed; that one of his familiar friends should betray him ; that he should be sold for thirty pieces of silver ; that his hands and his feet should be pierced; that his garments should be divided among his oppressors, and that they should cast lots on his vesture; that he should be taken off by an unjust judgment; that his grave should be appointed with the wicked, but that nevertheless his tomb should be with the rich man; that he should be despised and rejected of men, but yet that his portion should be the many, and that the mighty people he should share for his spoil; that he should be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, but that in him all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
Such are some of the many predictions, which the Jews, in all ages, have believed to relate to their expected Messiah; and their peculiar nature is such, that their accomplishment or non-accomplishment is wholly out of the control of any person, whether an impostor or an enthusiast, who might think fit to apply them to himself. It is readily allowed, that either an impostor or an enthusiast might have affected to accomplish a prophecy of Zechariah, by riding into Jerusalem on an ass; because an action of this sort would plainly be altogether in his own power: whence
no such action, standing in an isolated form, or joined with other actions of a similar description, would be any valid proof that the rider was the promised Messiah. But neither an impostor nor an enthusiast could have had any control over the accomplishment of a prediction, which set forth the various circumstances (for instance) of the death of the Messiah; because no person can certainly determine the several contingencies of bis own dissolution : whence it follows, that the exact accomplishment of a prophecy of this nature, in the case of one who, during his life-time, had claimed to be the promised Messiah, has a strong tendency to establish the validity of his claim; and it is obvious that the greater number there is of such independent coincidences, the stronger is the presumption in favour of the claimant.-G. S. Faber.
LESSON XXVI.-- MONDAY.
In the reign of John, all the rapacious exactions usual to the Norman kings were not only. redoubled, but mingled with other outrages of tyranny still more intolerable. These, too, were to be endured at the hands of a prince utterly contemptible for his folly and cowardice. One is surprised at the forbearance displayed by the barons, till they took arms at length in that confederacy which ended in establishing the Great Charter of liberties. As this was the first effort towards a legal government, so is it beyond comparison the most important event in our history-except that revolution, without which its benefits would rapidly have been annihilated. The constitution of England has, indeed, no single date from which its duration is to be reckoned. The institutions of positive law, the far more important changes which time has wrought in the order of society, during six hundred years subsequent to the Great Charter, have undoubtedly lessened its direct application to our present circumstances; but it is still the keystone of English liberty. All that has since been obtained, is little more than as confirmation or commentary; and if every subsequent law were to be swept away, there would still remain the bold features that distinguish a free from a despotic monarchy.
It has been lately the fashion to depreciate the value of Magna Charta, as if it had sprung from the private ambition of a few selfish barons, and redressed only some feudal abuses. It is, indeed, of little importance by what motives those who obtained it were guided. The real characters of men most distinguished in the transactions of that time are not easily determined at present. Yet, if we bring these ungrateful suspicions to the test, they prove destitute of all reasonable foundation. An equal distribution of civil rights to all classes of freemen forms the peculiar beauty of the charter. In this just solicitude for the people, and in the moderation which infringed upon no essential prerogative of the monarchy, we may perceive a liberality and patriotism very unlike the selfishness which is sometimes rashly imputed to those ancient barons. And, as far as we are guided by historical testimony, two great men may be considered as entitled, beyond the rest, to the glory of this monument -Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, and William, earl of Pembroke. To their temperate zeal for a legal government, England was indebted, during that critical period, for the two greatest blessings that patriotic statesmen could confer; the establishment of civil liberty upon an immoveable basis, and the preservation of national independence under the ancient line of sovereigns, which rasher men were about to exchange for the dominion of France.Hallam.
CENTRE OF GRAVITY.
All the particles of a body are equally influenced by the force of gravity, and have a mutual tendency, when not prevented by other causes, to fall to the earth. By the weight of a body is meant the aggregate force of gravity exerted on the whole of its particles. The whole weight of a uniform iron rod may be supported by balancing it on its middle point. A scale beam is thus supported ; and the needle in the mariner's compass is balanced on a point as fine as that of a sewing needle. All solid bodies might be supported in the same manner, though some, from their shape, would require more dexterity in their adjustment than others. As the whole weight of any solid may be supported on a point, it may, for most purposes, be considered as collected in a point. The point in which it may be supposed to be collected is called the centre of gravity of the body.
In regular shaped figures the centre of gravity is in the centre of the figure. The centre of a sphere is its centre of gravity; and the centre of a cube, that is, the point where the diagonals bisect each other, is the centre of gravity of the cube. The centre of gravity of irregular shaped figures can only be ascertained by calculation. In a cone or square pyramid it is situated at one-fourth the perpendicular height from the centre of the base. In shapeless masses, the exact position of the centre of gravity is more difficult to determine by calculation than by experiment; for however irregular the shape of a body may be, if it is suspended from any two points of its surface, and pierced through each of these points in the direction of the suspending string, the two holes thus formed will meet each other in the centre of gravity. It follows, therefore, that if a body is freely suspended from any point of its surface, the centre of gravity is vertically beneath that point. The centre of gravity is not always in the material of which a body is composed. If an iron rod is formed into a ring, the centre of gravity is removed from the iron itself to the centre of the ring. This is the case with many other curved bodies.
The centre of gravity of a body always seeks to occupy the lowest position which the support of the body will allow. By imbedding a piece of lead in a sphere, the centre of gravity is removed from the centre of the body towards the loaded side; and if the sphere is placed on an inclined plane, with that side towards the higher part of the plane, it will cause it to roll up the plane, because, by such a motion, the centre of gravity is descending.
The stability of a body is owing to the position of its centre of gravity with respect to its supporting base, and iz a vertical line, drawn from the centre of gravity, falls without the base, the body will fall. When a body is so placed that it cannot be overturned without raising the centre of gravity,