« PreviousContinue »
The Author cannot, with certainty, conjecture how far his present work will meet the views and gratify the intellectual taste of the generality of readers ; but he can assure them, that in writing it he has anxiously endeavoured to elicit truth, and constantly aimed at a development of it. He considers truth as above all things to be desired, and has not knowingly deviated from her hallowed path. If a keener eye should discover any wanderings, he shall rejoice to be conducted into the right way. He is well aware that the brief method in which he has treated his subjects, must of consequence involve a partial obscurity ; though, by some, this will be preferred before a tedious prolixity. And the extent of his ministerial labours may form a sufficient basis on which to rest an apology, for this condensation of materials, which would seem to be capable of a much larger extension.
The following pages had their origin in a train of thought which suddenly entered into the mind of the Author, while on one occasion, in the course of a morning's ride, passing in view of a country Parish Church. Previously,
he had no intention of writing a work of this nature: but such was the impression then made upon his mind, that on his return to his study, he sat down and wrote what constituted the foundation of the present work. Such as it is, he now commends it to the candour of a discerning and indulgent public, soliciting the blessing of Almighty God to render it useful.
March 31, 1825.
THE PARISH CHURCH.
THE ORIGIN, LEARNING, RELIGION, AND CUSTOMS OF
THE ANCIENT BRITONS.
“ Majestic Pile! whose tower'd summit stands
On the site of this sacred edifice it is probable there once stood a temple for idolatrous worship. Though now, through the divine clemency, this land is become a Goshen of light, it was previously covered with moral darkness, and abounded in habitations of cruelty. Destitute of the Holy Scriptures, the authorised outward means of obtaining correct theological knowledge, the inhabitants lived in awful ignorance of the one only living and true God, and without any rational hope of a future state. They had altars, and temples, but not reared for the Almighty, nor consecrated to his service; they had officiating priests, but they were totally incompetent to