KING ALFRED: THE KINGDOM CHALLENGE
ALFRED the Great recognised that the Christian behavior was a fundamental necessity in the life of his people. With the approval of the "Witan" Alfred changed the existing Anglo-Saxon code by the removal of many additions which had been imposed since Ecclesiasticism had come into power and he reinstated
some of the laws of his forefathers: The following is an extract from Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, printed by the command of King William the Fourth, in 1840.
"These are the dooms which Almighty God Himself spake unto Moses, and commanded him to keep: and after the only begotten son of the Lord, our God, that is,
our Saviour Christ, came to earth. He said that He came not to break nor to forbid these commandments, but with all good to increase them: and mercy and humility
He taught. Then after His Passion, before His Apostles were dispersed throughout all the earth, teaching, and while they were yet together, amongst many heathen
nations, they turned to God. When they were all assembled, they sent messengers to Antioch and to Syria, to teach the law of Christ. But when they understood that it speeded them not, then sent they a letter unto them. Now this is the letter which all the Apostles sent to Antioch, and to Syria, and to Cilicia, which now from heathen nations are turned to Christ.
"The Apostles and the elder brethren wish you health: and we make known unto you, that we have heard that some of our fellows have come to you with our words, and have commanded you to observe a heavier rule than we commanded them, and have too much misled you with manifold commands, and have subverted more of your souls than they have directed. Then we assembled ourselves concerning that; and it then seemed good to us all that we should send Paul and Barnabas, men who desire to give their souls for the name of the Lord With them we have sent Judas and Silas,that they might say the same to you. It seemed to the Holy Ghost and to us, that we should set no burden upon you above that which it was needful for you to bear: now that is, that ye forbear from worshipping idols, and from tasting blood or things strangled, and from fornication: and that which ye will that other men do not unto you, do ye not that to other men."
"From this one doom a man may remember that he judge everyone righteously; he need heed no other doom-book. Let him remember that he adjudge to no man that which he would not that he should adjudge to him, if he sought judgment against him.
"After this, then happened it that many nations received the faith of Christ; then were many synods assembled throughout all the earth, and also among the English race, after they had received the faith of Christ, of holy bishops, and also of other exalted 'witan'. They then ordained, out of that mercy which Christ had taught, that secular lords, with their leave, might, without sin, take for almost every misdeed, for the first offence, the money 'bot' which they then ordained; except in cases of treason against a lord, to which they dared not assign any mercy, because God Almighty adjudged none to them who despised him, nor did Christ the son of God adjudge any to him who sold him to death: and he commanded that a lord should be loved as one's self. They then in many synods ordained a 'bot' for many human misdeeds; and in many synodbooks they wrote, at one place one doom, at another another.
"I, then, Alfred, king, gathered these together and commanded many of those to be written which our forefathers held, those which to me seemed good; and many of those which seemed to me not good I rejected them, by the counsel of my 'witan', and in other wise commanded them to be holden; for I durst not venture to set down in writing much of my own, for it was unknown to me what of it would please those who should come after us. But those things which I met with, either of the days of Ine my kinsman, or of Offa king of the Mercians, or of Aethelbryht, who first among the English race received baptism, those which seemed to me the rightest, those I have here gathered together, and rejected the others.
"I, then, Alfred, king of the West-Saxons, shewed these to all my 'witans', and they then said that it seemed good to them all to be holden."
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