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ready to admire those who pursued the other paths of honour; that on the acquirements which belong to it, Alfredus, to whose accomplishments it would be hard to find a limit; and that on the outward condition attached to it, Bayardus, who lived and died without the goods of fortune. The Tancredus, although only, a general view of the religious spirit of Chivalry, required a supplement which would justify such of its positions as were contrary to the present opinions and disposition of many men; and while in this book the precept of Plato has been kept in view, 66 that a man's country is to be used as his parents are, that is, with humble persuasions, and not with contestations," it was deemed that no title could be selected with greater propriety than that which at once designates the object and commemorates the boast of learning as well as the glory of our nationSIR THOMAS MORE.
It may seem, indeed, to some and those would not be the most thoughtless) that the very allusion to subjects which are calculated
to remind men of their past follies or misfortunes is objectionable ; and, in reading Herodotus, it is certainly hard to condemn the Athenians when he relates that they set a fine upon Phrynicus for having composed a drama on the capture of Miletus. But then, not to remark how sacred a thing is truth, and how αληθές αφανίσαι ουδαμώς θέμις, as Plato saith, care has been taken in what follows to preserve in opposition to the stoical inhumanity and cynic licence, what Cicero terms, “ Platonis verecundiam ;” and besides, time as well as distance deadens the sense of anger, and makes crime assume the form of absurdity. tibi ridicula videntur," says Cicero to his friend,
non enim ades. Quæ si videres, lacrymas non teneres.'
Reasons with which it is needless to acquaint the reader have occasioned a disarrangement in the order of publishing these disputations, a measure, however, the less objectionable as, with the exception of a few sentences, the present sheets may be considered as forming
a separate and independant work. It
It may be submitted in this form, as a layman's view of the chief objections which have been brought against religion as it existed in Europe during the heroic age of Christianity.
HAVING concluded some observations on the religious character of our ancestors, an inquiry will present itself intimately connected with the subject of that review, arising out of the revolutions and circumstances of the world. Hitherto we have been treading the ground which must be venerable and dear to all heroic men, to all philosophers too, who are friends of the virtue and happiness of mankind. The Muse of History has appeared in all her serenity, in all her loveliness. We have visited the domestic hearths of our forefathers, and our hearts have been strengthened, and our imaginations exalted, by the vision. We have found them sanctified by that pure and lofty devotion which is inspired by the religion of Jesus Christ. We have seen, in a variety of affecting instances, what a wonderful effect that religion produced upon the hearts and conduct of immense numbers of successive men, of all ranks and orders, each endeavouring to approach the most perfect standard prepared to his degree; pursuing the paths which inspire men with heroism and sanctity,
hope and peace; cultivating that general mind which places them in harmony with themselves, with the laws and operations of nature and of grace; which removes all the difficulties that perplex and darken the scene of this mortal life. As a fine writer remarks of the classic worthies, the memory of those great men who laid the foundation of our European states, who exalted them by their valour, protected and defended them by their constancy, stands not alone, nor idly. They draw us after them; they place us with them; they remind us of that day when we shall be joined to their society—that happy day, when the wise and the holy, the humble and the brave, shall meet together, and when the world shall trouble them no more. But a subject still remains to be examined. I am your Host, my reader; and I grieve to be obliged to lead you from the cheerful light of a hall of chivalry, and cause you to exchange warmth and harmony and joy, for the chill of funeral vaults—for groans and darkness and terror, and towers that are still wet with the blood of murdered brothers ! How beautiful was that scene, how sublime were those emotions ! Alas! whither must I lead you? But a moment's reflection will suggest the obligations imposed upon me. You well know that from the beginning of the sixteenth century there has been operating a change in the opinions and principles which govern many men professing Christianity; and you must be aware that it is quite necessary we should endeavour to ascertain what may be the plan and effect of these changes, whether they have in any degree annulled