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CHAPTER IX

ALFRED THE GREAT, KING OF THE WEST SAXONS

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Twould be impossible to leave Anglo-Saxon history

without some reference to the most striking personality

in that history, Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, creator of the British Navy, founder of Oxford University, ruler, warrior, law-giver, singer, translator.

So great, and wise, and talented, was he, so near to God, that his only prototype is to be found in David, King of Judah. In the earnestness of his purpose, in the dramatic intensity of his action, in the depth of his religious feeling while face to face with the most serious situations, and exigencies, he proved himself to be kith and kin with the great psalmist of the Old Testament. Both kings, the one in his conflicts with the men of Saul, the other in his desperate struggles against hordes of invading Danes, sounded the depths of strife and peril, and scaled the heights of victory, portrayed in the sixty-sixth psalm:

“O bless our Lord, ye peoples,
And make the voice of his praise to be heard:
Which holdeth our soul in life,
And suffereth not our feet to be moved.
For thou, O God, hast proved us:
Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
Thou broughtest us into the net;
Thou laydest a sore burden upon our loins.
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water;

But thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.” Alfred even exceeded David in the measure of his wisdom and scholarship, and may be compared with Solomon,

while the Christianity which he embodied, and which the Kings of Jersualem could only feel in an instinctive, prophetic, far-off sense, gave him a widespread philanthropy, a balanced steadfastness of purpose, and preserved his court from all those excesses to which the eastern monarchs fell a prey.

He stands out free and unsullied, in the fine, clear, atmosphere of Anglo-Saxon England, just as his statue stands out in bold relief today in the market square of his birthplace, Wantage, in Berkshire; a magnificent royal figure, grave and kindly, leaning on his mighty battle-axe, and holding a roll of parchment, in his left hand; for he not only delivered his people from their enemies, but made out of Wessex and part of Mercia the nucleus of England herself; collecting the old laws of the English and adding to them the ten commandments and some of the laws of Moses. He persuaded the Witan (as the early beginnings of Parliament was called) to adopt them as the law of the land, and insisted upon justice being done to rich and poor alike. Indeed he had the welfare and the enlightenment of his people so much at heart that he wished everyone to learn to read and write, and to this end he began to make translations from Scripture and other writings in order to create an Anglo-Saxon literature. In his Law Book, after translating the Ten Commandments and adding some words on the Mosaic Laws, the great man inserted the letter sent by the Apostles to the Church after the Council at Jerusalem; after which he quotes: “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; for this is the law and the prophets,” and he tells every judge that to "Judge so as ye would be judged,” is the very foundation of their duty.

Mrs. Eddy makes twenty-nine references to the Golden

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Rule in her writings. It is to her the dearest, most effective, most reliable rule for the conduct of human affairs. In her message for the Dedication of the Mother Church Extension in 1906, (Miscellany, page 5,) she writes,

"The First Commandment of the Hebrew Decalogue, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' and the Golden Rule are the all-in-all of Christian Science. They are the spiritual idealism and realism which, when realized, constitute a Christian Scientist, heal the sick, reform the sinner, and rob the grave of its victory. . . . Forgetting the Golden Rule and indulg

ing sin, men cannot serve God.” In Miscellaneous Writings she says (p. 282):

“The direct rule for practice of Christian Science is the Golden Rule, 'As ye would that men should do to you, do ye.'”

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She and King Alfred are absolutely of the one Mind, and their similarity of thought is seen elsewhere.

One of the books which Alfred translated into Saxon was De Consolatione Philosophiae by Boethius. This philosopher wrote these meditations while imprisoned on a charge of conspiracy by Theodoric the Goth, and his thought is so close to Christianity that he forms a bridge between dying paganism and the living Christ. Alfred interprets him in the light of Christianity, but it is our King's own additions to the original text, his own judgments and conclusions which are interpolated throughout the translation, which make it of such special interest. So we hear Alfred saying: "Riches are better given when withheld. No man can have them without making his fellowmen poorer. A good name is better than wealth.

It is not lessened as it goes from heart to heart among men.
No sword can slay it, no rope can bind it.”
Directly echoing the same conclusion, Mrs. Eddy writes:

“Giving does not impoverish us in the service of our Maker, neither does withholding enrich us." “Imparting has not impoverished, can never impoverish, the divine Mind. No exhaustion follows the action of this Mind, according to the apprehension of divine Science.” (Science and Health, pp. 79, 519.)

“He that will have eternal riches,” declares the grave, wise King, “let him build the house of his mind on the footstone of lowliness. Not on the highest hill where the raging wind of trouble blows, or the rain of measureless anxiety.”

Writing also in a grave and sober strain, of those false religionists to whom Christ is a stranger, Mrs. Eddy says:

"They have small conceptions of spiritual riches, few cravings for the immortal, but are puffed up with the applause of the world.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 325.)

"Let your watchword always be: 'Great, not like Caesar, stained with blood, but only great as I am good. You are not setting up to be great; you are here for the purpose of grasping and defining the demonstrable, the eternal. Spiritual heroes and prophets are they whose new-old birthright is to put an end to falsities in a wise way and to proclaim Truth so winningly that an honest, fervid affection for the race is found adequate for the emancipation

of the race.” (Miscellany, p. 248.) The Monarchial form of Government is deeply embedded

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