Part 3 out of 4
writings that professed to have come down from the Apostles' time, and
proved clearly which had been really written under the inspiration of
God, and had been always held as Holy Scriptures by the Church. Then
he translated the whole Bible into Latin, and wrote an account of each
book, setting apart those old writings of the Jews that are called
the Apocrypha, and are read as wise instruction, though they be not
certainly known to be the Word of God, in the same manner as the Holy
Scriptures themselves. St. Jerome is counted as one of the chief Fathers
or doctors of the Church.
Another great Father of the Church who lived at the same time, was
Ambrose. He was the Governor of the Italian city of Milan; and though a
devout believer, was still unbaptized, when the clergy and the people,
as was then the custom, met to choose their Bishop. A little child in
the crowd cried out, "Ambrose Bishop!" and everyone took up the cry with
one voice, and thought that the choice was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Ambrose was very unwilling to accept the office, but at last he
submitted; he was baptized, and a week after was first confirmed, and
then ordained priest, and consecrated Bishop. He was one of the most
kind and gentle of men, but he had a hard struggle to fight for the
truth. The Emperor, Valens, died, and his widow, Justina, who ruled for
her little son, was an Arian. She wanted a church for her friends, but
Ambrose would allow none to be profaned by a service where the blessed
Saviour would be robbed of His honour. He knew his duty as a subject too
well to lift a hand against the empress, but he filled up the Church
with his faithful flock, and there they prayed, and sang psalms and
hymns without ceasing; and when Justina sent soldiers to turn them out,
they were so firm, that only one woman ran away. Instead of offering
violence, the soldiers joined and prayed with them, and thus Justina was
obliged to give up her attempt in despair.
A very good emperor named Theodosius had begun to reign in the east,
and assisted Justina's young son to govern the west. He was a thorough
Catholic, and loved the Church with all his heart. Some fresh heretics
had risen up, who taught falsehoods respecting the Third Person of the
most Holy Trinity; and to put them down, Theodosius called another
General Council to meet at Constantinople, and there the following
addition was made to the Nicene Creed: "I believe in the Holy Ghost, the
Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the
Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified--" and so on to
the end. Thus each heresy was made the occasion of giving the faithful a
Though good and religious, Theodosius was hasty and violent by nature,
and could be very severe. He had laid a tax on the people of Antioch,
which made them so angry that they rose up in a rage, knocked down the
statues of the emperor and his wife which adorned their public places,
and dragged them about the streets; but as soon as they came to their
senses, they were dreadfully alarmed, knowing that this was an act
of high treason. They, therefore, sent off messengers to entreat the
emperor's pardon; and in the meantime they met constantly in the
churches, fasting and praying that his wrath might be turned away. John,
called Chrysostom, or Golden Mouth, from his beautiful language, was a
Deacon of Antioch, and he preached to the people every day during this
time of suspense, telling them of the sins that had moved God to give
them up to their foolish passion, so as to put them in fear, and lead
them to repentance. One of these sins was vanity, and love of finery and
pleasure; and another was their irreverent behaviour at church. They did
repent heartily; and before the emperor's men had time to do more than
begin to try some of the ringleaders, there came other messengers at
full speed, bringing his promise of pardon.
Love of the sight of chariot races was a great snare to the Greeks.
At Thessalonica, one of the favourite drivers behaved ill, and was
imprisoned by the governor, upon which the people flew out in a fury,
and actually stoned the magistrate to death. In his passion at their
crime, Theodosius sent off soldiers with orders to put them all to
death; and when he grew cool, and despatched orders to stop the
execution of his terrible command, they came too late--the city was in
flames, and the unhappy people, innocent and guilty alike, all lay slain
in the streets. Theodosius was at Milan; and St. Ambrose thought it
right to shut him out from the congregation while he was so deeply
stained with blood. The emperor came to the church door and begged to
be admitted; but the Bishop met him sternly, and turned him back.
Theodosius pleaded that David had sinned, and had been forgiven. "If you
have been like him in sin, be like him in repentance!" said the Bishop;
and this great prince turned humbly away, and went weeping home. Easter
was the regular time for reconciling penitents; and at Christmas the
emperor stayed praying and weeping in his palace till a courtier advised
him to try whether the Bishop would relent. He came to the church, but
Ambrose told him that he could not transgress the laws in his behalf.
At last, however, when he saw the emperor so truly contrite and
broken-hearted, he gave him leave to come in again; and there the first
thing Theodosius did was to fall down on his face, weeping bitterly,
and crying out in David's words, "My soul cleaveth to the dust, quicken
Thou me according to Thy word!" He lay thus humbly through all the
service; nor did he once wear his crown and purple robes till after
several months of patient penitence he was admitted to the blessed Feast
of Pardon. He made a decree that no sentence of death should be executed
till thirty days after it was spoken, so that no more deeds of hasty
passion might be done.
One great happiness of St. Ambrose's life was the conversion of
Augustine. This youth was the son of a good and holy mother, St. Monica;
but he had not been baptized, and he grew up wise in his own conceit,
and loving idle follies and vicious pleasures. For many years he was
led astray by heretical and heathenish fancies; but his faithful mother
prayed for him all the time, and at last had the joy of seeing him
repent with all his heart. He was baptized at Milan; and it is said that
the glorious hymn _Te Deum_ was written by St. Ambrose, and first
sung at his baptism. The hymn, "_Veni Creator_," which is sung in the
Ordination Service, is also said to be by St. Ambrose. Monica and her
son spent a short and peaceful space together; and then she died in
great thankfulness that he had been given to her prayers. He spent many
years as Bishop of Hippo, in Africa, and wrote numerous books, which
have come down to our day. One is called the City of God, so as exactly
to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah, that the Church should so be called by
the descendants of those who had afflicted her. St. Martin, a soldier,
who once gave half his cloak to a beggar, and afterwards became a
Bishop, completed the conversion of Gaul at this time, and was buried
at Tours. St. Chrysostom likewise left many sermons and comments on the
Holy Scripture. He was made Patriarch of Constantinople, but he suffered
many things there, for the wife of the Emperor Arcadius, son of the good
Theodosius, hated him for rebuking her love of finery, and her passion
for racing shows, and persuaded her husband to send him into exile in
his old age, to a climate so cold, that he died in consequence. The
beautiful collect called by his name comes from the Liturgy which was
used in his time in his Church at Constantinople; but it is not certain
whether he actually was the author thereof.
THE TEUTON NATIONS.
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a leaven, which a woman took and hid
in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened."--_Matt_. xiii.
The miry clay which Nebuchadnezzar saw mixed with the iron of Rome, had
by the end of the fourth century nearly overcome the strong metal, and
the time had come when the great horn of the devouring beast was to be
broken off, and give place to ten others. The Romans for the last two
hundred years had been growing more and more selfish and easy in their
habits; and instead of fighting their own battles, had called in
strangers to fight for them, till these strangers became too strong
for them. The nations to whom these hired soldiers belonged, were the
forefathers of most of the present people of Europe. They were called
Teutons altogether, and lived in the northern parts of Europe. They were
tall, fair, large people, very brave and spirited, with much honour and
truth, though apt to be savage and violent; and they showed more respect
to their women than any of the heathens did. They had many gods, of whom
Odin, who left his name to the fourth day of the week, was the chief and
father. Freya, the Earth, was his wife, and Thor was Thunder. There was
a story of Baldur, a good and perfect one, who died by the craft of
Lok the Destroyer, and yet still lived. This seemed like a copy of the
truth; and so did the story of Lok himself, the power of evil, with a
serpent on his brow, who lay chained, and yet could walk forth over the
earth, and whose pale daughter, Hela, was the gaoler of the unworthy
dead. They thought the brave who died in battle had the happiest lot
their rude fancies could devise; they lived in the Hall of Odin, hunting
all day, feasting all night, and drinking mead from the skulls of their
The tribe called Goths, who lived near the Romans, and who took their
pay and entered their armies, learnt the Christian faith readily; but
unfortunately, it was through Arians that they received it, and those
farther off continued to worship Odin. The great Theodosius left his
empire parted between his two sons, Arcadius in the east, Honorius in
the west. Both were young, weak, and foolish. They quarrelled with the
great Gothic chief, Alaric, who began to overrun their dominions, and at
last threatened Rome so much, that Honorius was forced to call home all
his soldiers to protect himself.
The first province thus left bare of troops, was Britain, which remained
a prey to the savage Scots, and then was conquered by the Saxons and
Angles, two of the heathen tribes of Teutons, who seemed for a time
quite to have put out the light of Christianity in their part of the
island. The Britons in the Welsh hills, however, still continued a free
and Christian people; and Patrick, a noble young Roman, who had once
been made captive by the wild Irish, and set to feed their sheep, no
sooner grew up than he went back to preach the Gospel to them, and
deliver them from a worse bondage than they had made him suffer. So many
did he convert, and such zealous Christians were they, that Ireland used
to be called the Isle of Saints; and it has never forgotten the trefoil,
or shamrock leaf, by which St. Patrick taught his converts to enter into
the great mystery, how Three could yet be One.
In the meantime Alaric marched against Rome. Once he was beaten back,
and Honorius celebrated the victory by the last Roman triumph ever held,
and after it, by the last of the shows of righting slaves. A monk sprung
into the amphitheatre while it was going on, and, in the name of Christ,
forbade the death of a gladiator who had been wounded, and was to have
been killed. The people, in a rage, stoned the good man; but they were
so much ashamed, that these shocking entertainments were given up for
ever. Rome never won another victory. Alaric came on again; and though
he honoured the noble city so much, that he could not bear to let loose
his wild troops on it, the false dealing of Honorius at last made him so
angry, that he led his Goths into the city; but he was very merciful,
he ordered that no one should be killed, and no church injured nor
plundered; and he led his army out again at the end of six days.
Honorius had fled to Ravenna, and though a few more weak and foolish men
called themselves Emperors of the West, the very title soon passed away,
and the chief part of Italy was held by the Goths and other Teuton
tribes; but they seldom came to Rome, where the chief power gradually
fell into the hands of the Pope.
Gaul was conquered by another Teuton race called Franks, who were very
fierce heathen at first, but were afterwards converted. Their great
leader, Clovis, married a Teuton lady named Clotilda, a Catholic
Christian. She was very anxious to lead him to the truth; and at last,
in a great battle, he called out in prayer to Clotilda's God; and when
the victory was given to him, he took it as a sign from Heaven, and on
coming home was baptized, and built the Church of Notre Dame at Paris,
which is said to be just as long as the distance to which King Clovis
could pitch an axe.
Spain was conquered by a set of Arian Goths; but a Frank princess, great
grandchild to Clotilda, brought her husband, the young prince, to a
better way of thinking; and though they were persecuted, even to the
death, their influence told upon the rest of the family; and the younger
brother, who came to the throne afterwards, brought all Spain to be
It was something like this with England, where Bertha, another Frank
princess, worked upon her husband, Ethelbert, King of Kent, to listen to
Augustin, whom Pope Gregory the Great had sent to preach the Word to the
Saxons, recollecting how he had once been struck by the angel faces of
the little Angle children, whom he had found waiting to be sold for
slaves in the marketplace. From Kent, the sound of the Gospel spread out
throughout England; and before one hundred years had passed, all the
Saxons and Angles were hearty Christians, and sent out the missionary,
St. Boniface, who first converted the Teutons in Germany. So, though
it would have seemed that the great rush of heathen savages must have
stifled the Christian faith, it came working up through them, till at
last it moulded their whole state and guided their laws; but this was
long in coming to pass, and for many centuries they were very savage and
St. Gregory the Great was one of the very best of the Popes, very
self-denying, and earnestly pious, and doing his utmost to train the
Romans in self-discipline, and to soften the Teutons. He put together
a book of seven services, to be used by devout people in the course of
each day; and he arranged the chants which are still called by his name,
though both they and the services are much older. A little before his
time, St. Benedict had made rules for the persons who wished to serve
God, and to live apart from the world. They lived in buildings named
monasteries, or convents; the men, who were called monks, under the
rule of an abbot, the women, nuns, under an abbess. They took a vow of
poverty, chastity, and obedience; lived and worked as hard as possible,
and spent much time in prayer and doing good, teaching the young, giving
medicine to the sick, and feeding the poor. They would fix their home in
a waste land, and bring it into good order, and they went out preaching
and convening the heathen near. Everyone honoured them; and in the worst
times, they were left unhurt; their lands were not robbed, and in those
savage days, little that was gentle or good would have been safe but for
the honour paid to the Church.
"God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie."--2
_Thess_. ii. 11.
The Eastern Empire was not broken up like the Western. The emperors
reigned at Constantinople in great state and splendour, in palaces lined
with porphyry and hung with purple, and filled with gold and silver. The
Greeks of the east had faults the very contrary to those of the Teutons
of the west. Instead of being ignorant, rude, and savage, they were
learned, courtly, and keen-witted; but their sharpness was a snare to
them, for what they were afraid to do by force, they did by fraud, and
their word was not to be trusted. In matters of faith too, they were too
fond of talking philosophy, and explaining away the hidden mysteries of
God; so there sprang up sad heresies among them, chiefly respecting the
two Natures of our blessed Lord; and though there were councils of the
Church held, and the truth was plainly set forth, yet great numbers were
led away from Catholic truth.
Long ago, the Lord of the Church had warned the Churches of Asia by His
last Apostle, that if they should fall from their first faith, He would
remove their candlestick--that is, take away the light of His Gospel.
The first warning they had was, when the Persians broke out in great
force, came to the Holy Land, robbed the churches at Jerusalem, and
carried away the true Cross, which had been put in a gold case, and
buried under ground in hopes of preserving it. They afterwards went
on to the very banks of the Bosphorus, and seemed likely to take
Constantinople itself; but the emperor, Heraclius, who had hitherto been
very dull and sleepy, suddenly woke up to a sense of the danger, and
proved himself an able warrior, hunting the Persians back into their own
country, and rescuing the Cross, which he carried up the hill of Calvary
again upon his own shoulders.
But a worse foe was growing up among the wild sons of Ishmael in Arabia.
Nobody can tell what kind of religion these wandering tribes had in
the old times, except that they honoured their father, Abraham, still
circumcised their sons, and believed in one God, though they paid some
sort of worship to a black stone, which was kept at Mecca. Some bad
learnt a little Christianity, some had picked up some notions from the
Jews; but they cared for hardly anything, except their camels, horses,
and tents, and had small thought beyond this life. Among these men there
arose, about the year 600, a person named Mahomet. He had at first been
servant to a rich widow, whom he afterwards married. Either he fancied,
or persuaded others that he believed, that the angel Gabriel spoke to
him in a trance, and told him that he was chosen as a great prophet, to
announce the will of God, and restore the faith to what it had been in
Abraham's days. He caused all that he pretended to have been told by the
angel, to be set down in writings, which were called the Koran, meaning
the Book, the first sentence of which was, "There is no God but one God,
and Mahomet is His prophet." Mahomet blasphemously pretended to be as
much greater a prophet than our Lord, as our Lord was than Moses. He
ordered prayers and fastings and washings at set times, forbade the
least drop of wine to be touched, and commanded that not only no image
should be adored, but that no likeness of any created thing should
exist, promising that all who strictly obeyed all these rules, should be
led safely over a bridge, consisting of a single hair, and enter into a
delicious garden, full of fruits, flowers, and fountains, there to be
waited on by beautiful women. He gave men leave to have four wives, and
did nothing to teach them real love, purity, or devotion; and thus his
religion suited the bad side of their nature, and he persuaded great
numbers to join him. Indeed no unbeliever is so hard to convert as a
Some of the Arabs being offended at the new teaching, wanted to put
him to death; and he fled from his home at Mecca. On his way he was so
closely pursued as to be forced to hide in a cave. His enemies were just
going to search the cave, when they saw a spider's web over the mouth,
and fancied this was a sign that no one could have lately entered it,
so they passed by and left him safely concealed. In his anger at this
persecution, be declared that the duty of a true Mahometan was to spread
his religion with the sword; and calling his friends round him, they
fought so bravely that he won back Mecca, and conquered the whole of
Arabia. They did not persecute Christians, but they kept them down and
despised them; and any Mahometan who changed his religion, was always
put to death. Mahomet called himself Khalif, and ruled for ten years
at Mecca, where he died and was buried. Mahometans go on pilgrimage to
Mecca, and always turn their faces thither when they pray at sunrise
or sunset, throwing water over themselves, or sand if they cannot get
The Khalifs who came after Mahomet, went on conquering. The chief tribe
of the Arabs was called Saracens; and this was the name given to the
whole race whom God had sent to punish the Christian world. The Holy
City itself, and all the sacred spots, were permitted to fall into their
hands; and though they did not profane the churches, the Khalif Omar
built a great mosque, or Mahometan place of worship, where the Temple
had once been, so as quite to overshadow the Church of the Holy
They conquered Persia, and spread their religion through that country,
putting down the fire worshippers; they seized almost all Asia Minor,
where the heretical Christians too easily became Mahometans, and they
obtained possession of Egypt, and the great library at Alexandria, where
they burnt all the collection of books, because they said, "If they
taught the same as the Koran, they were useless, if otherwise, they were
mischievous." Then from Egypt they spread all along the north coast of
Africa, where the Roman dominion had once been, and were only grieved
that the waves of the Atlantic Ocean kept them from going further to the
In Spain the Gothic king, Rodrigo, mortally offended one of his nobles,
who, in revenge, called in the Saracens to punish him; and the whole
kingdom fell a prey to these Mahometan conquerors, except one little
mountainous strip in the north, where the brave Christians drew
together, and fought gallantly for their Church and their freedom
through many centuries. It almost seemed as if these terrible Saracens,
who bore everything down before them, were intended to conquer all
Europe, and crush down the Church there as they had done in the east;
but God was with His people, and He raised up a great warrior among the
Christian Franks. Charles Martel, or Charles of the Hammer, so called,
because he always went into battle with a heavy iron hammer, led the
Franks against the Saracens, when they came up into the South of France;
and in the year 732 gave them at Tours the first real defeat they had
yet met with. It turned them back completely, and they never came north
of the Pyrenees again; but all over the west of Asia and north of
Africa, the first places where Christianity had spread, the heavy dark
cloud of Mahometanism settled down, and has never been removed.
THE FIRST SCHISM.
"While men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat."
--_St. Matt._ xiii. 25
Is the West there was no heresy as there was in the East. The simple
Teutons believed what they were taught, and grew softened by little and
little, as their clergy gained more influence over them. The clergy were
usually bred up in the convents, and there read the good old books which
had come down from learned times, St. Jerome's Latin Bible, and the
writings of the holy Fathers of the Church, from St. Clement, the friend
of St. Paul, down to St. Gregory the Great. Each monastery had a few
of such books, as well as of the Liturgy, or Communion Service, and
Breviary, or Daily Service; and they were worth much more than their
weight in gold. The monks used to copy them out, and adorn the borders
and first letters of the chapters with beautiful colours and gilding;
but such writing took a long time, and when it was done, few but the
clergy could read. Except the clergy, only such persons as were partly
Roman by birth had any notion of Latin, or cared to read at all; and so
changed were things now that the new race were the conquerors, that to
be a Roman was thought quite contemptible, and in France there was a
less heavy punishment for killing a Roman than for killing a Frank. The
fierce Teuton nobles thought nothing but war worth their attention, and
yet they were very devout, and would weep bitterly over their sins. They
gave richly to churches, founded convents, and paid great honour to
clergymen, and to everything belonging to religion.
Sometimes this honour began to run into idolatry. They treated relics,
that is, remains, or things that had belonged to holy persons, as having
some sacredness of their own, and fancied that they would save him who
carried them from harm. And when they glorified God for His saints in
Heaven, and thought of the Communion of saints, they began to entreat
their prayers, and the more ignorant would even pray to the saints
themselves, as if they could by their own power grant the things that
were asked. The blessed Virgin was more sought in this manner than any
other saint. The pictures and images of saints, and the crucifix
or figure of our blessed Lord on His Cross, which stood in all the
churches, often had lights burning before them, and people kneeling
round in prayer, till there was danger that, in their ignorance,
they might be bowing down to the likeness, and breaking the Second
One of the Greek emperors named Leo, was much displeased at this
practice, and tried to put a stop to it. There was a great uproar at
Constantinople, and many profane things were done and said, which
shocked the western branch of the Church. At last the Greeks made a rule
that there might be pictures of sacred subjects in their churches, but
no images, and to this they have kept ever since. The Latins would not
agree to this, and kept both images and pictures; and thus began a
feeling of distrust between the two branches.
The great Frank king, Charles le Magne, grandson of Charles Martel, was
a very religious man, and did a great deal to convert the heathens in
Germany, and spread the power of the Church. He saved Rome from some
dangerous enemies, and made the Pope a sort of prince over the city; and
the Pope, in return, crowned him Emperor of Rome, though without any
right to give away that title. He died in 814, and after his time all
the Christian west suffered horribly from the Teuton heathens, who lived
in Norway and Denmark, and who used to come down in their ships and ruin
and ravage all the countries round, especially England and France. They
loved nothing so well as burning a convent; and such a number of learned
monks and their books perished under their hands, that the world was
growing more ignorant than ever, when our good King Alfred rose up in
880, taught himself first, and then his people; and though he died
early, left such good seed behind him, that at last his Saxons converted
their enemies themselves, and Norway and Denmark became Christian too,
through kings who had learnt the faith in England. But all the errors
grew the faster from the ignorance of the people; and at Rome, where
there was plenty of learning, the power the Pope enjoyed had done little
good, for it made ambitious men covet the appointment, and they ruled
their branch of the Church so as to ensure their own gain, more than for
the sake of what was right. The Patriarchs of Constantinople greatly
disapproved of this, and made the most of all the differences of opinion
and practice. When the Council of Constantinople had added to the Nicene
Creed the sentence which asserts the Godhead of the Third Holy Person of
the Ever Blessed Trinity, the third clause had been "Who proceedeth from
the Father." Of late the Western Church had added the words "and the
Son." Now though the Greeks believed with all their hearts that the
blessed Spirit doth come forth from the Father and the Son, yet they
said that the Latins ought not to put words into the Creed that no
Council had yet authorized; and thus a great dispute arose. Besides, the
Popes had begun to think themselves universal Bishops, heads over all
other Patriarchs; and to this the Patriarch of Constantinople would not
submit, and rightly said that from the old times all Patriarchs had been
equal, and had no right to take authority over one another. At last
matters ran so high, that the Pope sent three legates or messengers, who
laid on the altar of St. Sophia an act breaking the communion between
the two Churches, and then shook off the dust from their feet. This was
in the year 1056, a very sad one, for here was the first great rent in
the Church, the first breach, and one that has never been repaired, for
the Greeks will not, to this day, hold communion with anyone belonging
to the Western Church, nor will the Roman Church with them; and after
the first happy thousand years when the Church was one outwardly as well
as inwardly, thus began the time when her unity has become a matter of
faith, and not of sight. But it is our duty to believe that all good
Christians are joined together, because they are joined to our blessed
Lord, as the boughs of a tree belong to one another by their union with
the root, though they may grow apart on different branches.
There were many other differences. The Greeks and Latins reckoned the
time of keeping Easter in different ways, and had not the same way of
shaving the heads of their clergy. Besides, the Greeks thought that when
St. Paul said an elder might be the husband of one wife, he meant that a
parish priest _must_ be married; so if a clergyman's wife died, they put
him into a convent, and took away his parish. The Roman Catholics said,
on the contrary, that the clergy were better unmarried; and by-and-by
they forbade even those who were not monks to have wives; and in process
of time a far more serious evil gradually arose in the Western Church.
The clergy said that there was no need for the people to partake of the
Cup at the Holy Eucharist, so they were cut off from that privilege,
though our Lord had said, "Drink ye ALL." The clergy said it was all the
same whether the people drank of it or not, since Flesh and Blood were
one; but this was thinking for themselves, and over explaining, and so
by-and-by they lost the real spiritual devout way in which they ought to
have reverently spoken of that great and holy mystery, and thought of it
in a manner that answered better to their mere human understanding.
THE MIDDLE AGES.
"Surely the isles shall wait for Me."--_Isaiah_, ix. 9.
It is not easy to make out exactly the ten kingdoms to which the Roman
dominion was said in Daniel to give place, because sometimes one
flourished, sometimes another; sometimes one was swallowed up, sometimes
a fresh one sprang forth; but there can be no doubt that the ten horns
mean the powers of Europe, which have always been somewhere about that
number ever since the conquest by the Teuton nations.
By the time the first thousand years had past, the "little leaven" had
thoroughly "leavened the whole lump;" and the ways of thinking, the
habits, laws, and fashions, of the western people, were all moulded by
Christian notions. The notions were not always really Christian, nor did
the people always act up to them; but they meant so to do; and though
there was some error, yet there was also the sincere saving Truth, which
made those who followed it holy, and led them to salvation. Perhaps the
greatest mistake was the craving to see, instead of only to believe;
and this led to peoples' putting their trust in many things besides
the Merits of our blessed Lord--in relics, in images of saints, in
the intercessions of the blessed Virgin, and above all, in the Pope's
The Popes were Patriarchs of Rome, and had thus some right over the
Churches founded from thence. They used to send the Primate, or chief
Archbishop, of each country, a pall or scarf, woven of the wool of lambs
which they had blessed on St. Agnes's Day. Many questions were sent to
them to be decided. At first the right way of choosing a bishop was,
that the clergy and people of the place should elect him, and the king
give his consent; but when the Pope's power increased, ambitious men
used to bribe the people to elect them; and affairs grew so bad, that
at last the Emperor Otho, of Germany, came to Rome, put down the wicked
Popes, and took the choice quite into his own hands. This was wrong the
other way; and after two or three reigns, the great Pope, Gregory VII.,
after a fierce struggle with the emperor, Henry IV., set matters in
order again, and obtained that, as the Roman people were not to be
trusted with the choice, it should be put into the hands of the clergy
of the parish churches at Rome, who were called Cardinals, and have ever
since had the election of the Pope in their hands. They wear purple
and crimson robes and hats, in memory of the old Roman purple of the
It had been thought by almost the whole of the Western Church, ever
since they had lost their communion with the eastern branch, which might
have kept them right, that the Pope stood visibly in our Lord's place as
Head of the Church, and that he was infallible, namely, so inspired by
the Holy Spirit, that he could no more fall into error than a General
Council could. So he stood at the head of all the Archbishops and
Bishops, Abbots and clergy, of the west; and whenever a difficulty
arose, it was sent to him to be settled. He ruled likewise over the
consciences of all men and women. If they sinned, the being cut off from
the Church, excommunicated, as it was called, was the most terrible
punishment that could befall them; and if a king or country were very
wicked indeed, the Pope could lay them under an interdict, namely,
deprive them of every office of religion, shut up the church doors, and
forbid all service.
Sometimes these threats were of great benefit. It was good for the kings
to be forced to think of what was right, to be stopped from making cruel
wars, from misusing their people, or living in sinful pleasure; but the
Popes did not always use their power rightly; they would become angry,
and excommunicate people for opposing them, and not for doing what was
wrong, and they did not bethink them of our Lord's saying, that His
Kingdom is not of this world. Still the Church was working great good.
Holy people were bred up, some in convents, some in the world: St.
Margaret, Queen of Scotland, who taught her people to say grace at their
meals; St. Richard, the good humble Bishop of Chichester; and that
glorious French monk, St. Bernard, whose holy life and beautiful
preaching made him everywhere honoured.
Great alms were given to the poor, and almost all our most beautiful
churches and cathedrals were built by devout kings, nobles, or bishops,
who gave their wealth for God's glory. These were built so as to be
almost as symbolical as the Temple had been. They were usually in the
shape of a cross, in honour of the token of our Salvation; the body was
called the nave, or ship, because of the Ark of Christ's Church; the
doors stood for repentance, as the entrance; the Font, just within,
showed that none could enter save by the Laver of Regeneration; the
holiest part was to the east, as looking for the Sun of Righteousness.
This portion is called the chancel, and belongs to the clergy, as the
Sanctuary did to the priests of old; but the people are not as of
old cut off, but draw near in faith, to taste of the great Sacrifice
commemorated upon the Altar. The eagle desk for the Holy Scripture,
shows forth one Gospel emblem; the Litany desk is for times of
repentance, when the Priest may mourn between porch and altar. The dead
rested within and around, in the shadow of their church, and constant
services were celebrated, that so the gates might ever be open.
Even warriors sought to have their alms blessed by the Church; they
bound themselves not to fight on holy-days, such as Fridays and Sundays;
and before they could be made knights, they were obliged to vow before
God that they would always help the weak, never fight in a bad cause,
and always speak the truth. So that all would have been like perfect
fulfilment of Isaiah's promises of the glory of the Church, save that
man will still follow the devices of his own heart; and there were
shrines and altars where undue honour was paid to the Saints, and too
many superstitious observances were carried on before their images.
Prayers and alms were offered for departed souls, in the notion that
they were gone to Purgatory, a place where it was said their sins would
be purged away by suffering before the Day of Judgment, and whence their
friends might, as they imagined, assist them by their offerings.
People used to go on pilgrimage, and especially such as had fallen into
any great sin, would go through everything to pray at the Holy Sepulchre
for forgiveness. The Saracens, who had not been unkind to the pilgrims,
were subdued by a much fiercer set of Mahometans, the Turcomans, who
did everything to profane the holy places, and robbed and misused the
Christians who came to worship there. The news of this profanation
stirred up all Europe to deliver the Sanctuary from the unbeliever.
Monks went about preaching the holy war, and multitudes took the cross,
that is, fastened on their shoulder one cut out in cloth, and vowed to
win back Jerusalem. The Pope took upon himself to say that whoever was
killed in such a cause, would have all his sins forgiven, and be in no
danger of purgatory; and this be called an indulgence. These wars were
called Crusades. In the first, in 1098, Jerusalem was conquered, and a
very good and pious man, named Godfrey, set up to be king, though he
would not be crowned, saying he would never wear a crown of gold where
his Master had worn a crown of thorns. But as the Greek Christians who
already lived there, would not own the Pope, but held to their own
Patriarch, a Latin Patriarch was thrust in and was in subjection to the
Pope; and thus the unhappy schism grew wider. After Godfrey's death, the
Christians in Palestine did not behave well, nor show themselves worthy
to have the keeping of Jerusalem; and though St. Bernard preached a
second Crusade, and the Emperor of Germany and King of France came to
help them, their affairs only grew worse and worse.
In 1186, after they had possessed the Holy City only eighty-eight years,
they were deprived of it; it was taken again by the Saracens, and they
retained only a few towns on the coast. All devout people mourned that
the unbeliever should again be defiling the sanctuary; but the Pope had
a great quarrel with the Emperor of Germany, and told the poor credulous
people that fighting his battles was as good as a Crusade; and they
began to forsake the Holy Land, and leave it to its fate. Our own
Richard the Lion Heart did his best, and so did the excellent French
king, St. Louis, who died in Africa on his way to the Crusade, but all
in vain; and finally the Christians were driven out of Acre, their last
town, and Palestine became Mahometan again with only a few oppressed
Christians here and there. Then came a much more rude, dull, and violent
race of Mahometans, the Turks, who burst out of the East, conquered the
Saracens, gained all Asia Minor, and at last, in the year 1453, they
took the city of Constantinople, killed the last emperor, Constantine,
in the assault, and won all the country we now call Turkey, where they
sadly oppressed the Greeks, though they could not make them turn from
their true Catholic faith. It was then that the light of truth faded
entirely away from Ephesus and the Churches of Asia; a blight fell
wherever the Turks went, and cities, once prosperous, were deserted and
ruined. Tyre was one of these; and she has now become a mere rock, where
fishermen spread their nets to dry upon the sea-shore, as Ezekiel had
foretold. However, it was only forty years afterwards, that the last
remains of the Mahometan conquerors were chased out of Spain, so that it
became again an entirely Christian country.
"The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field."--_Matt_.
When the Services of the Church were first drawn up, almost everyone in
the East spoke Greek, and most people in the West understood Latin;
and when the Teutons learnt Christianity, they also, with it, learnt
a little Latin. Thus the Prayers and the Scriptures remained in that
tongue, but the people themselves spoke each their own language. German,
English, French, Spanish, and Italian are mixtures in different degrees
of Latin and Teuton, and only learned persons who understood the old
language, could follow the Prayers, or read the Bible. So the people
missed more and more of the real truth and meaning of sacred things;
and some of the clergy who had grown corrupt, took advantage of their
ignorance and deceived them. Whereas the Pope had once declared that
those who went on a Crusade were sure of dying in a state of salvation,
he now declared, that to give alms for building the great Church of St.
Peter at Rome, would answer the same purpose; and indulgences, namely,
promises of so many years less of purgatory, used to be absolutely sold;
and it was very difficult to set these errors right, for anyone who was
thought to speak against the doctrine of the Church, was liable to be
punished by being burnt to death. This was quite contrary to the ways of
the early Church, which, however bad a heretic might have been, never
attempted to harm his person, but only separated him from her Communion.
As the Holy Spirit within the Church is ever cleansing and sanctifying
it, witnesses against these errors began to be raised up. The way to
print books, instead of writing them out, had been discovered in the
fifteenth century; and as this art made them much more cheap and common,
many more people began to read and to think. In the year 1517, a German
monk, named Martin Luther, began to declare how far the selling of
indulgences was from the doctrine of the Apostles; and he spoke such
plain truth, that he convinced a great number of Germans, and there was
a great longing for the cleansing of the Church, especially after Luther
had translated the Bible into his own tongue, and everyone could see how
unlike the teaching there was to what had been so long believed.
In England, King Henry VIII. separated from the Roman Church because the
Pope would not please him by breaking a marriage, which certainly never
ought to have been sanctioned; but which having been permitted by the
Pope, and having continued twenty years, it was very wrong to dissolve.
He called himself Head of the Church in England; and though he believed
all the later errors, he allowed the Lessons to be read from a new
English translation of the Bible. He pretended to reform the convents,
some of which were in a very bad state, and had forgotten their rules;
but instead of setting them to rights, he seized their wealth, and
turned all the monks and nuns adrift.
The new notions were favoured by his break with the Pope. The whole
Western Church was in a ferment; the reformers were constantly writing
and preaching against the many errors of the Roman Church, and were
rejoicing over the real treasure of true faith they had found hidden
within her. Many other sincere and good men were shocked at such
disobedience to what they had once respected; and unhappily, almost all
the Italian clergy and cardinals were so food of the riches and power in
which they were maintained by misleading the people, that they dreaded
nothing so much as having them set right.
The Emperor, Charles V., strove hard to bring about a General Council of
the Church, as the only hope of making matters right, but he was much
hindered by his wars with the King of France, and by the double dealing
of the Pope; and in the meantime Luther and his friends drew up a
protest against the false doctrines of Rome, and were, for that reason,
called Protestants. In Switzerland and France, another reformer, named
John Calvin, was preaching against the doctrine of the Pope; and though
he neglected what the Church of old pure times had decided, and thus
threw away much that was good, as well as much that was untrue, great
numbers followed him; but unfortunately, none of the higher clergy on
the Continent would listen to these views, and there seemed no choice
but to accept falsehood, or to break into a schism. After many trials,
Charles V. got together some Italian, Spanish, and German clergy at
Trent, in the Tyrol, and called them a council; but this was far from
being a true General Council, as there was nobody from the Eastern
Church, nor from many branches of the Western. The Protestants knew they
should not be fairly treated, and that if these Italians should decide
that they were heretics, they might very probably be burnt; so, instead
of coming to it, they acted as the early Christians never did, they took
up arms and fought, and this attempt at a council broke up in confusion.
Things were happier in England. After the death of Henry VIII.,
Archbishop Cranmer, and the other guardians of his little son, Edward
VI., set to work to clear away the corruptions from the Church in
England, so as to make it as like as they could to what it had been in
the Apostles' time. The Bible had been translated, and they put the
whole Prayer-Book into English, leaving out all that savoured of
idolatry, all the notions about purgatory, and everything of error, and
keeping the real old precious services of the early Church, restoring to
the people the blessed privilege of the Cup, while the Bishops, Priests,
and Deacons, went on in an uninterrupted line, as from the beginning. On
Edward's early death, his sister, Queen Mary, who was married to Philip
II., the son of the Emperor, thought all these changes very wicked, and
endeavoured to put them down. Four Bishops, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley,
and Hooper, were burnt for their share in them, with many other persons,
and England was again reconciled to Rome; but Mary only reigned five
years, and her sister Elizabeth was a sound Churchwoman, and held fast
by the Catholic English Church in her reformed state.
Philip II., the son of Charles V., managed to accomplish another sitting
of the Council of Trent, and the Church of Rome considers it a true
council, though there were only two hundred and fifty-five Bishops, and
they condemned the Protestants without hearing their defence. It did
some good to the Romish Church by putting down the sale of indulgences,
and some bad practices of the clergy; but it bound her to all the errors
renounced by the Reformers, and put her into a state of schism from the
The Lutheran Protestants in Germany, and the Calvinists in France,
Holland, and Scotland, as they could have no bishops, made up their
minds that none were needed, though this was quite contrary to
Scripture, and to the ways of the Apostles. There was a sad time of
warfare through all the centre of Europe; and the Spaniards and French
horribly persecuted the Protestants and Calvinists, thinking in their
blindness that they were thus doing God service; but Queen Elizabeth
stood up as the firm friend of all the distressed Reformers; and at last
matters settled down again, though not till all Christianity had been
grievously shattered and rent, and there was no more outward unity.
There were four branches of the Church Catholic keeping their Bishops,
the Greek, the Roman, the English, the Swedish; but none of these were
in outward communion the one with the other, though still owning one
Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, and waging the same fight with the Devil
and his works. The Roman Church was spread over all Italy, Spain,
France, and great part of Germany, and tried to force down all
differences of opinion by cruel and bloody means, caring more for unity
than for truth, and boasting of being the only Catholic Church, instead
of only one branch of it. The Lutheran doctrine was taught in Norway,
Denmark, and many parts of Germany, and the Calvinist teaching gained a
great hold in Holland, Scotland, and on such French as were not Roman
Catholic. The Greek Church meanwhile stood fast through much tribulation
in the Turkish dominions, and had gradually won the whole great Russian
Empire, where, as the people ceased to be barbarous, they became most
devout members of the ancient unchanging Greek Catholic Church.
"Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains
of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy
stakes."--_Isaiah_, liv. 2.
Just as the Reformation was beginning, fresh lands were being found
beyond the Atlantic Ocean, where the knowledge of the Gospel might
reach. Christopher Columbus, a gallant Genoese mariner, and deeply
religious man, was full of the notion that by sailing westwards he might
come round to India, and thence make a way for winning back the Holy
Land. After much weary waiting, and many entreaties, he obtained three
little ships from Queen Isabel of Spain; and with them, in the year
1492, came to the islands which he named the West Indies, lovely places,
full of gentle natives with skins of a dark ruddy colour, wearing, for
their misfortune, golden ornaments. To get gold was the great longing of
the Spaniards, and they did not care what cruelties they used so that
they could obtain it. The Pope, finding in the prophecies that the isles
of the sea should belong to the Church, considered that this gave him a
right to give them away to whomsoever he pleased; so he made a grant of
all to the west to the Spaniards, all to the east to the Portuguese.
Thereupon great numbers of the Spaniards went over to America; they
conquered the two great empires of Mexico and Peru, and settled in the
West-Indian Islands, robbing the poor natives of their gold and silver,
making slaves of them, and hunting them with blood-hounds when they
tried to run away. Many good priests who went out as missionaries did
all they could to hinder these horrors, but in vain; and when at last
the poor delicate Indians began to dwindle away and die off, the plan
was resorted to of bringing negroes from Africa to work in their stead.
Though it was a good man who thought of it, in the hope of saving the
Indians and making the negroes Christians, it came to most horrible
cruelty, and was a disgrace to Christian Europe.
However, these faithful priests worked hard in teaching and converting
the Indians all over South America. One brotherhood, called the Jesuits,
had great establishments, where they trained up large villages of
Indiana in Christian habits, and taught them to be very faithful and
industrious. But at home, in Europe, these Jesuits did harm by stepping
out of their work as ministers, interfering with governments more than
was right, and trying to keep up the authority of the Pope more than
real Catholic truth. They taught so many false stories as articles of
faith, that at last clever people, wise in their own conceit, began to
believe nothing, and became like the fool who said in his heart, "There
is no God." So there came to be a bad feeling against all the clergy,
and the Jesuits, who had made themselves very meddling and troublesome,
were put down at the entreaty of several kings. When they were taken
away from their converts in South America, it turned out that the poor
Indians had not steadfastness enough to take care of themselves; so all
their well-ordered establishments were broken up, and the people ran
wild again. All the Spanish settlers, of whom there were many, still
held fast to their Church, and all the coast of the Continent of South
America is Roman Catholic.
The English and Dutch had not been slow to find their way to the West,
but they went to the colder North instead of to the South, and sought
good land more than gold. Some of the English had, during Queen Mary's
reign, made friends with some of the Dutch and German Calvinists, who
fancied that whatever Roman Catholics had done must be wrong, instead
of only a part, and who cared nothing for the ways of the Apostolic
Primitive Church. So when the true Catholic faith was upheld by Queen
Elizabeth; by James I., who caused our translation of the Bible to be
made by forty-eight learned Hebrew and Greek scholars; and by Charles
I., who gave Bishops and a Prayer-Book to Scotland, there were many
persons who grew impatient and angry that more changes were not made.
These broke away from the Church, calling themselves Puritans and
Independants, and living in a state of schism. Some, too, thought the
king had too much power; and in Charles's time a great many went away
and settled in North America, that they might have freedom, and worship
in their own way. Those who stayed at home went on to that rebellion
against Church and King, which ended in the Scottish Calvinists
betraying King Charles, and the English Independants putting him
to death for upholding the Bishops, after Archbishop Laud had been
beheaded. For nearly eleven years the Bishops were put down, the clergy
persecuted, and the use of the Prayer-Book forbidden in England, while
all sorts of sects rose up and explained the Bible as they pleased.
When, at length, Charles II. came back, and the Church was
re-established in England, many more went to the colonies; and though
there was a Church settlement in Virginia, the great mass of the North
American colonists were Calvinists or Presbyterians, as they are called,
because presbyters are their highest order of their ministry, though
they cannot be really commissioned priests, never having been ordained
by Bishops come down from the Apostles.
The English began to spread fast on every side, as their nation grew
stronger and more numerous. They conquered several of the West-Indian
Isles, and the Church was there established; but, to their disgrace,
they carried on the slave-trade, to supply the settlers with workmen. In
the East-Indies, too, they began to acquire large tracts by conquest and
by treaty, and a few churches were built there; but they had not tried
to convert the great number of heathens who became subject to them,
fearing that, should they take offence, they would shake off their
dominion. Such clergy as did go out were ordained in England. There was
as yet no Bishop to overlook the colonial Churches, so that they could
not take deep root.
Still the English Church was living as a witness of the truth at home,
with many a great and holy man within her, such as Bishop Taylor, whose
beautiful writings are loved by all; Bishop Ken, whose loyalty to Church
and King witnessed a good confession, and whose hymns are like part of
the Prayer-Book; Bishop Wilson, whose devotions for home and at the Holy
Eucharist are our great guide, with more good and humble men and women
than the world will ever know of; and this, under God's mercy, saved the
nation from falling into the unbelieving state of France, where people
thought it fine to laugh at all religion. There, in the end of the
eighteenth century, a terrible outbreak took place against all
authority, human or Divine; the King and Queen perished by the hands of
their subjects; quantities of blood was shed, and for a time it seemed
as if the country was given up to demons; the faithful clergy fled or
remained hidden; and though at last people began to return to their
senses, the shock to loyalty and religion has never been entirely
recovered in that country.
THE SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL.
The fearful effects of infidelity in France roused good men everywhere;
and the Church began to show that power of reviving and purifying
herself, which proves that the Lord abideth with her for ever.
Some time before things had come to this pass, an English clergyman,
named John Wesley, had been striving to awaken people to a more
religious life; but he did not sufficiently heed the authority of the
Church; and his followers, after his death, quite separated themselves
from her, and became absolute schismatics, with meeting-houses and
ministers of their own, calling themselves Methodists. Still his fervour
and earnestness stirred up many within the Church; and from that time
there was much more desire to fulfil the mission of Christians by
bringing others to the knowledge of the truth. Sunday-schools began
to be set up to assist the catechizing in Church enjoined in the
Prayer-Book, and often instead of it; and there was a growing eagerness
to convert the heathen abroad. The great possessions and wide trade of
England seemed to mark her as especially intended for this work. Some
persons went about it by giving their money to any Missionary Society
that made fair promises, without heeding whether it were schismatic or
not; others had more patience, and trusted their alms to the Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel, which was managed by the English Bishops.
The American colonies had, by this time, grown impatient of the English
Government, and had shaken it off, calling themselves the United States.
The Church people among them obtained some Bishops from the Scottish
branch of the Church, which the Calvinists had never been able to put
down; and every one of the many United States has now a Bishop of its
Calcutta was the first English colony to receive a Bishop, in the year
1814. The second Bishop was Reginald Heber, whose beautiful hymns seem
the birthright of our Church, like those of Bishop Ken, one hundred
and fifty years before. Still very little was done with the natives of
India; they were attached to their foul old religion, and Government
forbade any open measures against it, though here and there was a
conversion; and there have at length come to be three Bishops' Sees, and
in the south of the peninsula, in the See of Madras, there are a hopeful
number of Christians. The work would everywhere proceed better if there
were no schism, so that all Christians could work together. Ceylon also
has a Bishop, and many are there gathered in. On the borders of China
likewise there is an English Bishopric; and within that empire the
French Roman Catholics have been working steadily for many years to win
a few of those obstinate heathen to the faith, but with little success,
and often receiving the crown of martyrdom.
The French are very ardent missionaries, bearing joyously all kinds of
privations, and forming their stations wherever they see any hope of
gaining converts. The Sisters of Charity--good women under a vow to
spend their lives in nursing and teaching--do much to show what the real
fruit of Christianity is; and they are to be found wherever there is
trouble or distress. There is a great college at Rome, called the
_Propaganda_, where every language under the sun is taught, in order to
fit persons for missionary work,
Our own St. Augustine's College at Canterbury is intended to prepare
young men to become English missionaries; and north, south, east, and
west, are the good tidings spreading, now that the days are come of
which Daniel said: "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be
The English West Indies were first forbidden to import slaves; next, all
the slaves were set free; and there are now four Bishoprics for their
black and white population. All negroes seized in the ships of other
nations, on their way to be made slaves, are brought back to Sierra
Leone, on the coast of Africa, there set free, and taught to be
Christians under a Bishop of our Church; and the Christian blacks are
beginning to carry the message of salvation into the other parts of
Africa, where the climate is so hurtful to Englishmen, that only the
negro race could there do the work.
South Africa has three Bishops to rule their English settlers, win the
Dutch farmers to the Church, and convert the Hottentots and Zulus. And
from them a Missionary Bishop has been sent out to the heathen tribes in
the interior of the continent.
North America contains nine great Bishops' Sees, and the huge Island of
Australia six. New Zealand, scarcely discovered till within the last
fifty years, has three Bishops of her own, ruling over a population of
English, and of Christian natives, men whose fathers were cannibals, but
who are now hearty Christians; and it is the centre whence a Mission
Bishop is seeking to gain to the Church the inhabitants of the beautiful
islands that thickly dot the Pacific Ocean. Many of these islanders have
become Christian, under the teaching of missionaries from the other
Societies; and though great numbers still remain savage heathens, yet
the light of the Gospel is in the course of shining upon all the
islands far away. Everywhere the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten
Commandments, in the vulgar tongue, are being taught, and each convert
is gathered in by baptism and fed by the Holy Eucharist, as when the
apostles first went forth; and no one can mark the great spread of the
Church within the last fifty years, without feeling that the blessing
of God is with her. The Greek Church has done less; but though still
enslaved in Turkey, in Greece she is free, and the yoke of the Mahometan
is there shaken off, after her long patience and constancy.
There are dark spots in all this brightness, for Rome still teaches the
same errors mixed up with the truth, and the spirit of unbelief is to be
found far and wide, questioning and explaining away all the mysteries it
We know that it must be so, for it was to fight with sin that Christ
came into the world, and left His Church there; and St. Paul prophesied
that evil men and seducers should wax worse and worse, deceiving and
being deceived. Daniel too, foresaw that the little horn should spring
up, and do very wickedly; and all the tenor of prophecy in the Epistles
declares that times of trouble and temptation must try the Church.
It seems that there has been, even from the Apostles' times, an evil
spirit opposing himself to our Lord, and therefore called by St. John
the Anti-Christ. His manifestations have broken out in many ways--in
Arianism, in Mahometanism, perhaps in the great errors of Rome, and more
lately, in Infidelity, and in Mormonism; and it would seem that there is
to be some much more dreadful development of "that wicked one" exalting
himself against Christ, and severely trying the elect. But we have a
certain promise, that come what may, Christ will never forsake His
chosen flock; and those who try to hold fast the faith once delivered
to the Saints, and to keep the law of love, clinging to their own true
branch of the Church, may be sure that He Who has redeemed them, will
guard them from all evil, and that they will share in His glory when He
shall come with all His holy angels to put all enemies under His feet.
Then He shall sit on His great white Throne, and gather His elect from
the four winds to dwell in the eternal Jerusalem, which needs neither
sun nor moon, for the Lamb is the light thereof.
1. In what state was the Earth when first created?
2. To what trial was man subjected?
3. What punishment did the Fall bring on man?
4. How alone could his guilt be atoned for? A. By his punishment being
borne by one who was innocent.
5. What was the first promise that there should be such an
atonement?--_Gen._ iii. 15.
6. What were the sacrifices to foreshow?
7. Why was Abel's offering the more acceptable?
8. From which son of Adam was the Seed of the woman to spring?
9. How did Seth's children fall away?
10. What was Enoch's prophecy?--_Jude_, 14, 15.
11. Who was chosen to be saved out of the descendants of Seth?
12. How was the world punished?
13. In what year was the Flood?
14. Where did the ark first rest?
15. What were the terms of the covenant with Noah?
16. Which of Noah's sons was chosen?
17. What was the prophecy of Noah?--_Gen_. ix. 25, 26, 27.
18. What lands were peopled by Ham's children?
19. What became of Shem's children?
20. What became of Japhet's children?
1. Whom did God separate among the sons of Shem?
2. What were the terms of the covenant with Abraham? A. Abraham
believed, and God promised that his descendants should have the land of
Canaan, and in his seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed.
3. What was the token of the covenant with Abraham?
4. Which son of Abraham inherited the promise?
5. Who were the sons of Ishmael?
6. What measure was taken to keep Isaac from becoming mixed with
7. Which of Isaac's sons was chosen?
8. Why was Esau rejected?
9. What was the promise to Esau?--_Gen_. xxvii. 39, 40.
10. By what names were the descendants of Esau called?
11. Where did the Edomites live?
12. What sea was named from them?
13. What were the habits of the Edomites?
14. Who is thought to have been the great prophet of Idumea?
15. What was the prophecy of Job?--_Job_, xix. 25, 26, 27.
16. How was Jacob's name changed?
17. Who were to be in the covenant after him?
18. What prophecy was there of the Israelites going into Egypt?--_Gen_.
19. Which son of Jacob was to be father of the promised Seed?
20. What was Jacob's prophecy of the Redeemer?--_Gen_. xlix. 10.
1. Who were the Egyptians?
2. What kind of place was Egypt?
3. What remains have we of the ancient Egyptians?
4. What were the idols of Egypt?
5. How long were the Israelites in Egypt?
6. How were they treated in Egypt? 7. What prophetic Psalm is said to
have been composed in Egypt?--_P_s. I. xxxviii.
8. Who was appointed to lead them out?
9. How was Moses prepared for the work?
10. How did God reveal Himself to Moses?
11. What wonders were wrought on the Egyptians?
12. What token of faith was required of the Israelites at their
13. What feast was appointed in remembrance of the deliverance from
1. How many Israelites did Moses lead into the wilderness?
2. How were they supported there?
3. What was the difference between the covenant with Abraham, and the
covenant on Mount Sinai?
4. How did the Israelites forfeit the covenant?
5. How was God entreated to grant it to them again?
6. What signs of the covenant did they carry with them?
7. How was Moses instructed in their observances?
8. What was the Tabernacle to figure?
9. What did all the ceremonies shadow out?
10. Why were the Israelites to be kept separate from other nations?
11. How were they trained in the wilderness?
12. How long did they wander there?
13. Why did not Moses enter the land of Canaan?
14. What were the two great prophecies of the Redeemer which were given
in the wilderness?--_Num_. xxiv. 17. _Deut_. xviii. 15.
15. What books were written by Moses?
16. What Psalm was written by Moses?--_P_s. xc.
1. In what year did the Israelites enter Canaan?
2. What kind of country was Canaan?
3. Where was the first seat of the Tabernacle in Canaan?
4. How was the inheritance of the tribes arranged?
5. Why did not the Israelites occupy the whole of their territory
6. Who were the Phoenicians?
7. What were the chief cities of the Phoenicians?
8. Who were the chief gods of the Canaanites?
9. How were the Israelites governed?
10. What was the consequence of their falling from the true worship?
11. Who were their chief enemies?
12. In what book in the Bible is this history related?
13. For how long a period did the rule of the Judges last?
14. What crime brought on them the loss of the Ark?
15. How was the Ark sent back?
16. What was the prophecy of the Redeemer during this period?
--1 _Sam_. ii. 35.
17. Who was the first of the Prophets and last of the Judges?
1. When did the Israelite kingdom begin?
2. Who was the first king of Israel?
3. On what conditions was Saul to reign?
4. What was Saul's great error?
5. Who was chosen in Saul's stead?
6. Of what tribe was David?
7. What was David's great excellence?
8. What were David's exploits?
9. How was David prepared for the throne?
10. What terrible massacre did Saul commit in his hatred of David?
11. What prophecy was thus fulfilled?--1 _Sam_. ii. 32, 33.
12. What was the beginning of David's kingdom?
13. What was the end of Saul?
14. Who reigned over the rest of Israel?
15. What became of Ishbosheth?
16. What were David's conquests?
17. What is the meaning of the name Jerusalem?
18. How did David regulate the service before the Ark?
19. Which are David's chief prophecies of our Lord?--_P_s. ii.--xvi.
20. Which Psalm marks David as our Lord's forefather?--lxxxix.
21. Why was not David permitted to build the Temple?
22. How long did David reign?
23. What was the site of the Temple?
24. How was the Divine Presence marked there?
25. For what was Solomon's reign remarkable?
26. How did Solomon fall away?
27. What was to be his punishment?
28. What are the prophecies of Solomon? _A. Prov_. viii. and ix.--where
our Lord is spoken of as the Divine Wisdom.--_P_s. xlv. The Song of
Solomon on the mystical union of Christ and His Church.--_Eccles_. iv.
1. How did Rehoboam bring about the accomplishment of the sentence on
2. What tribes were left to him?
3. How was he prevented from making war on Jeroboam?
4. Who was the Egyptian king who invaded Judea?
5. Who succeeded Rehoboam?
6. Who succeeded Abijah?
7. What was Jehoshaphat's great error?
8. Into what danger did Ahab send him?
9. What great deliverances were vouchsafed to Jehoshaphat?
10. How did Jehoram act on coming to the throne?
11. How was he punished?
12. What became of Ahaziah?
13. Who was Athaliah?
14. Why could she not entirely destroy the seed royal?
[Footnote 1: These references are to the Prayer-Book version.] 15. What
prophecy was fulfilled by these massacres?--_2 Sam_. xii. 10.
16. How was Joash preserved?
17. How was he restored to the throne?
18. How did Joash reign?
19. What was the sin of Amaziah?
20. What was the sin of Uzziah?
21. How was the sin of Uzziah punished?
22. Who reigned in Uzziah's stead?
23. Who began to prophesy in Uzziah's time? A. Isaiah.
24. What was the character of Ahaz?
25. How was the sin of Ahaz punished?
26. What were Isaiah's chief prophecies of our Lord? A. _Isaiah_, vii.
14.--ix. 6.--xi.--xii.--xxxii.--xxxv.--xl.--xlii.--l. 5, 6.--li. 13,
1. Where had the greatness of Joseph's children been foretold?
A. _Gen_. xlix. 25, 26. _Deut_. xxxiii. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.
2. How did Jeroboam forfeit these blessings?
3. What warnings did he receive?
4. Who overthrew the house of Jeroboam?
5. What kings reigned next?
6. What city did Omri make his capital?
7. How had the site of Samaria been made remarkable?--_Deut_, xxvii.
8. What was the difference between the sin of Jeroboam and the sin of
9. How was Ahab influenced?
10. What prophet warned him?
11. What proofs were given that the Lord is the only God?
12. Who were the chief enemies of Israel?
13. What was the fate of Ahab?
14. Who became prophet after Elijah? 15. Who executed judgment on the
house of Ahab?
16. How long was the house of Jehu to continue?
17. How did Joash disobey Elisha?--_2 Kings_, xiii. 19.
18. What prophets succeeded Elisha?--A. Hosea and Amos.
19. What was Hosea's prophecy of Redemption?--_Hosea_, xiii. 14.
20. What was Amos' prophecy of Redemption?--_Amos_, ix. 11-15.
21. What was the end of the house of Jeroboam?
22. Who were the two allies against Judah?
23. What generous action was done by the Ephraimites?
1. Who founded the Assyrian Empire?
2. What is the description of Nineveh?
3. What prophet was sent to warn the Ninevites?
4. How did the Ninevites receive the message?
5. What prophetic book besides Jonah is concerned with Nineveh?
6. Which King of Nineveh was contemporary with Ahaz?
7. Why did Ahaz seek the alliance of Tiglath Pileser?
8. What victories did the Ninevites gain?
9. What was the effect upon Judah?
10. What profanation did Ahaz commit in the Temple?
11. Who was the successor of Ahaz?
12. Who was the last King of Samaria?
13. What partial reformation took place in Israel?
14. What was the punishment of the Israelites?
15. Where were the Israelites placed?
16. What was the next conquest attempted by the Assyrians?
17. How was the danger turned away?
18. What apocryphal book mentions the history of an Israelite captive?
19. What great mercy was vouchsafed to Hezekiah?
20. How did he show that he was uplifted?
21. What was the rebuke for his display? 22. Who was the King of Nineveh
after Sennacherib? A. Esarhaddon, also called Sardocheus, and Asnapper.
23. What apocryphal history is supposed to have taken place at this
24. How did Esarhaddon fill the empty land of Samaria?
25. What request was made by these heathen colonists?
26. Of what race were they the parents?
27. What additions were made to the Holy Scriptures in Hezekiah's time?
28. What is Micah's chief prophecy?--_Micah_, v. 2, 3, 4.
29. Who reigned after Hezekiah?
30. How were the crimes of Manasseh punished?
31. What was the end of Nineveh?
32. What is the present state of Nineveh?
1. What was the character of Amon?
2. What reformation did Josiah make?
3. What discovery was made in cleansing the Temple?
4. Why was the Law of Moses so awful to Josiah?
5. What answer did Huldah make to Josiah's inquiries?
6. What was the great merit of Josiah?
7. What prophecy did Josiah exactly fulfil?--1 _Kings_, xiii. 2. 31, 32,
8. Who were the prophets of Josiah's time? A. Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and a
little later, Habbakuk.
9. What was Josiah's situation with regard to his neighbours?
10. Why was he forced to go out to battle?
11. How does Jeremiah speak of Josiah's death?---_Jer_. xxii. 10.
12. How had Isaiah foretold it?--_Isaiah_, lvii. 1.
13. What two names had the successor of Josiah?
14. What fate did Jeremiah foretell for him?--_Jer_. xxii. 11, 12.
15. Whither was Jehoahaz carried captive?
16. Who was set up instead of Jehoahaz?
17. What did Jeremiah predict concerning Jehoiakim? _Jer_. xxii. 18, 19.
18. By whose favour had Jehoiakim been set up?
19. Who was Jehoiakim's enemy?
20. What injury did Nebuchadnezzar inflict in 606?
21. What prophet was then carried captive?
22. What was the promise of Jeremiah?--_Jer_. xxv. 12.
23. Why was Jeremiah persecuted?
24. What was the great wilfulness of these kings?
25. What was the end of Jehoiakim?
26. By what names was his son called?
27. What does Jeremiah say of Jehoiachin?--_Jer_. xxii 24 to 30.
28. Was he really childless?
_A_. Either he was childless, and Salathiel was his adopted son of
another branch of David's family, or else it meant that his son should
29. What became of Jehoiachin?
30. What prophet was carried off in this captivity?
31. Who was the last King of Judah?
32. What message did Ezekiel send Zedekiah?--_Ez_. xxii. 25, 26, 27.
33. What was Ezekiel's lamentation for the sons of Josiah?
--_Ez_. xix. I-9.
34. What were Ezekiel's chief prophecies of the Redeemer?
--_Ez_. xxxiv. 23, 24.--xxxvii. 24, 25, 26.
35. What was Zedekiah's duty?
36. How did he show his want of faith?
37. What was the consequence?
38. What was the prophecy of Ezekiel that Zedekiah thought
impossible?--_Ez_. xii. 13.
39. What were the sufferings of Jeremiah in the siege of Jerusalem?
40. What prophecies of Moses had their first fulfilment in this
siege?--_Deut_. xxviii. 52, 53.
41. Who boasted over Jerusalem?
42. What was the desolation of Jerusalem?
43. Which book in the Holy Scripture mourns over it? A. The book of
Lamentations of Jeremiah.
44. What became of Jeremiah?
45. How did the remnant act who were left in Judea?
46. Who was the prophet who spoke against Edom? A. Obadiah.
47. What was the great prophecy of Jeremiah?--_Jer_. xxiii. 5, 6.
48. What was the year of the taking of Jerusalem?
1. Who were the Chaldeans?
2. What does Isaiah say of the origin of the Chaldeans?--_Is_. xxiii.
3. Who was their chief god, and how was he worshipped?
4. Describe Babylon.
5. What were the prophecies of the state of the Jews in
captivity?--_Lev_. xxvi. 33, 34.--38, 39.--_Jer_. v. 19.
6. What change for the better passed over the Jews?
7. Who were the royal children brought up as slaves?
8. How had their slavery been foretold?--_Is_. xxxix. 7.
9. What instance of self-denying faith was given by them?
10. How was Daniel's inspiration first made known?
11. What was the first dream of Nebuchadnezzar?
12. What was the interpretation?
13. What judgment is recorded of Daniel in the Apocrypha?
14. What proof did the other princes give of their faith?
15. What is the hymn of praise said to have been sung by them in the
16. What was the effect on Nebuchadnezzar?
17. Where had Edom's fell been foretold? A. _Numb_. xxiv. 18-21,
22.--_Jer_. xlix. 7-22.--_Obadiah_.
18. What other conquest did Nebuchadnezzar effect? 19. Where had the
fall of Tyre been predicted? A. _Is_. xxiii.--_Ez_. xxvi. xxvii. xxviii.
20. How soon was a new Tyre built?
21. What was to be the recompence for the toils of the siege of Tyre?
22. Where is the ruin of Egypt foretold? _A. Is_. xix. 1 to 20.--_Jer_.
xliii. 8 to 13.--xlvi.--_Ez_. xxx. xxxi. xxxii.
23. What was the end of the Pharaohs?
24. What was Nebuchadnezzar's second dream?
25. What was the meaning and the fulfilment?
26. What acknowledgment did Nebuchadnezzar make?
27. In what year did he die?
28. Who was his successor?
29. What was the first vision of Daniel?
30. What was the interpretation?
31. What was the second vision of Daniel?
32. What was the meaning?
33. How were the visions explained to Daniel?
1. What was the power which was to overcome the Assyrian?
2. How had the Persian power been figured in the visions?--_Dan_. ii.
32.--vii. 5.--viii. 3, 4.
3. What was the meaning of the two horns of the Ram?
4. What was the difference between the Medes and Persians?
5. What was the religion of the Persians?
6. What was the character of Cyrus?
7. Who was the reigning King of Babylon?
8. What was the trust of the Babylonians?
9. But what had been foretold concerning Cyrus?--_Is_. xlv. I, 2, 3.
10. How did Cyrus attempt to gain an entrance?
11. How were the Babylonians prevented from being on the watch?
12. What awful warning interrupted Belshazzar's feast?
13. Who interrupted the writing?
14. How had Jeremiah foretold the taking of Babylon by the Medes?
--_Jer_. l. 35 to li.
15. How long was the captivity to last?--_Jer_. xxv. 11.--xxix. 10.
16. What had been the promise of Moses?--_Lev_. xxvi. 44.
17. What had been the prayer of Solomon?--1 _Kings_, viii. 46 to 50.
18. What had Isaiah said of Cyrus?--_Is_. xliv. 28.--xlv. 13.
19. Who made intercession for the fulfilment of these prophecies?
20. How was Daniel's prayer answered?
21. What great promise was made to Daniel?--_Dan_. ix. 24 to 27.
22. In what year was the decree for the restoration of Jerusalem given?
23. Who governed Babylon?
24. What was the proof of Daniel's faith?
25. What story is told of his destroying the worship of Bel?
26. How had Isaiah foretold this overthrow?--_Is_. xlvi. 1,2.
27. What was revealed to Daniel in his last vision?
28. What was Daniel called? _A_. The man greatly beloved.
1. How many Jews returned from the captivity?
2. Who were the leaders of the return?
3. Who was Zerubbabel?
4. Why is it supposed that his father was only the adopted son of
Jehoiachin? _A_. Both because Jeremiah sentenced Coniah to be childless,
and in Luke iii. Zerubbabel's descent is derived from David, through
5. What story is told of Zerubbabel's gaining favour with Darius?
6. What title did Zerubbabel bear?
7. What was the only inheritance left for him?
8. What was the blessing of God to Zerubbabel for his faith?--_Hag_. ii.
21 to 23.--_Zech_. iv, 6 to 10.
9. What were the prophetic blessings to Joshua the priest?--_Zech_. vi.
11-15.--_Hag_. ii. 4, 5.
10. Of what typical vision was Joshua the subject?--_Zech_. iii.
11. What are Zechariah's other remarkable prophecies of
Redemption?--_Zech_. ix. 9 to 12.--xi. 12, 13.--xii. 8-10.--xiii. 1, 6,
12. What was the condition of Jerusalem?
13. What was the promise of restoration?--_Zech_. viii. 3, 4, 5.
14. What was the first measure of Zerubbabel and Joshua?
15. Where had directions been given for the new Temple?
A. In the latter chapters of Ezekiel, but these were a further prophecy
of the New Tabernacle in Heaven.
16. How soon was the Temple begun?
17. What were the feelings of the people?
18. What promise did Haggai give?--_Hag_. ii. 6, 7-9.
19. What rebuke did Haggai give the Jews?
20. What interference befell the Jews?
21. Why was all intercourse with the Samaritans forbidden?
22. How did the Samaritans revenge themselves?
23. What was the state of the Persian court?
24. What was the end of Cambyses?
25. What was the story of the impostor, Smerdis?
26. Who became King of Persia?
27. What history did Darius's governors send to him?--_Ezra_, v. 7, &c.
28. How were they answered?--See _Ezra_, vi.
29. What revolt took place in the time of Darius?
30. What prophecies were here fulfilled?--_Ps_. cxxxvii. 8, 9. _Is_.
xlvii. 7, 8, 9.
31. What were Darius's two vain expeditions?
32. What was the great expedition of Xerxes?
33. How had it been predicted?--_Dan_. xi. 2.
1. Who is Ahasuerus supposed to have been?
2. What was his great act of tyranny?
3. By what means did he try to repair the loss of Vashti?
4. Of what race was Esther?
5. Why would not Mordecai bow down to Haman?
6. What benefit did Mordecai do the king?
7. How did Haman seek revenge for Mordecai's scorn?
8. How did Esther conduct her intercession?
9. What great deliverance was given to the Jews?
10. What fresh aid was given to the building at Jerusalem?
11. What was the date of Ezra's arrival?
12. What is counted from this date?
13. Who was the other assistant who arrived?
14. How had Nehemiah obtained leave to come and assist?
15. In what state did he find the city?
16. What prophecies were' there of her desolation?--_Ps_. lxxx. _Is_.
xxxii. 13, 14.
17. What was Nehemiah's great work?
18. How were the Jews obliged to build?
19. How had this been foretold?--_Dan_. ix. 25.
20. What blessing had been laid up for Nehemiah?--_Is_. lviii. 12, 13.
21. What reformations did Ezra and Nehemiah bring about?
22. What became of the schismatical priest?
23. Where was the Samaritan temple?
24. Who was the last of the prophets?
25. What were his great predictions?--_Mal_. iii. I, 2, 3.
--iv. 2, 5, 6.
26. What books are thought to have been compiled by Ezra?
27. What Psalms were collected by Ezra?--From cvii. to the end.
28. What prophetic verse is ascribed to the time of Ezra?--cxviii. 22.
29. What were the songs of degrees?--_Ps_. cxx. to cxxxiv. 30. Who had
the keeping of the Scriptures?
31. In what tongue were the early Scriptures?
32. What tongue was commonly spoken after the captivity?
33. What was therefore done when the Law was read?
34. What arrangement did Ezra make for public worship?
35. What was the synagogue service?
36. How were the Jews dispersed?
37. In what state was the Persian Empire?
1. Who were the Greeks?
2. Who was the chief Greek god?
3. What were the Greek philosophers trying to find out?--See _Acts_,
xvii. 27, 28.
4. What were the Greek games?--See I _Cor_. ix. 24, &c.
5. Which were the two chief Greek cities?
6. What was the most learned of all cities?
7. Who subdued all the rest of Greece?
8. What was the name of the great King of Macedon?
9. How was Macedon figured in Daniel's visions?--_Dan_. vii. 6.--viii.
5, 6, 7.
10. What yet older prophecy was there of the Greek invasion?--_Num_.
11. What was Chittim?
_A_. The east end of the Mediterranean.
12. In what year did Alexander enter Asia?
13. How was the swiftness of his conquests shown?
14. How did Darius go out to battle with him?
15. What cities did Alexander take in Palestine?
16. What was Zechariah's prophecy about Tyre?--_Zech_. ix. 2, 3, 4.
17. What was his prophecy about the Philistine cities?--_Zech_. ix. 5,
18. What about Jerusalem?--_Zech_. ix. 8.
19. How was Alexander received at Jerusalem?
20. What did he declare that he had seen?
21. What city did Alexander build in Egypt?
22. What became of Darius? 23. How far did Alexander spread his
24. What city did he wish to make his capital?
25. How did the Jews at Babylon show their constancy?
26. What befell Alexander at Babylon?
27. How had this been foreshown?--_Dan_, viii. 8.--xi. 3,4.
28. What was the year of Alexander's death?
29. What difference did his conquest make to the East?
30. What language was much learnt from his time?
31. What became of Babylon after his death?
32. How had the ruinous waste of Babylon been fore- told?--_Isaiah_,
xiii. 19 to 22.--_Jer_. li. 43.
1. How was the division of Alexander's empire foreshown?--_Dan_. vii.
2. What were the four horns?
3. What was the Greek power in Nebuchadnezzar's dream?
4. Which of the Greek princes came in contact with Palestine?
5. What did the Angel call them in Dan. xi.?
6. What was the name of all the Greek kings of Egypt?
7. What were the names of the Greek kings of Syria?
8. To which of them did the Jews belong at first?
9. What colony did Ptolemy Lagus bring into Egypt?
10. What prophecy was thus fulfilled?--_Isaiah_, xix. 18.
11. How were the Jews treated?
12. Who was the high priest?
13. How is he spoken of in Ecclesiasticus?--_Ecclus_. I.
14. What was Simon's work with regard to the Holy Scripture?
15. What translation was made in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus?
16. What is the Greek translation called?
17. By how many persons was it made?
18. What marriage took place between the royal families of Egypt and
19. How had it been foretold?--_Dan_. xi. 6.
20. What revenge was taken for the murder of Berenice?
21. How was the expedition of Euergetes foretold?--_Dan_. xi. 7, 8.
22. How were the Jews becoming corrupted?