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oft-repeated refutation, with a pertinacity worthy of a better cause. Christianity in her pure and Protestant form found her way into both England and Ireland before the end of the first century; and while in Britain she was soon compelled to seek a refuge in the fastnesses of Wales, from the withering blight of Saxon cruelty and oppression, in Ireland she was enabled to sit enthroned in the affections of an unopposing people, till she was cast down and trampled upon in the twelfth century by the persecuting emissaries of the papacy under Henry the Second.
That Augustine landed in England under the auspices of the pope, and substituted Romish superstitions for Saxon idolatries, is freely conceded; but we as resolutely maintain that Christianity prevailed in the country previous to the incursions of the Saxons, and was existing in Wales when Augustine arrived; and that in the year 314, more than two centuries before he was born, three inde. pendent British bishops were deputed to attend the synod of Arles in France, and there to defend the orthodox faith; while in the early part of the sixth century, long before the intrusion of Au. gustine, a Christian council of 118 bishops was held at St. David's, whose doctrines coincided with those of the Church of England in the present day, and whose successors resisted unto death the ecclesiastical encroachments of the Romish missionary.
But we grapple with the assumptions of Roman Catholic writers with regard to Patrick on still higher grounds. We boldly deny that he ever, directly or indirectly, received any commission from the pope, or that he ever was connected in any way, however remote, with the Church of Rome. When we therefore hear the flippant assertion that the United Church of England and Ireland is the daughter and offspring of the Church of Rome, whether flowing from the lips of the Dissenter or the Tractarian, we are prepared to meet the statement with an utter denial of its truth, in whole or in part. The apostolic Patrick was a native of North Britain, and was educated in Gaul. After his return home, he was seized with an irrepressible ardour to preach the gospel in Ireland, where he had formerly lived in captivity for seven years, and where he had been converted to the faith of Christ : and being consecrated for his high and holy office, under the tuition and superintendence of two French bishops, he devoted his ministerial labours to that country which gave him spiritual birth, and became, under God, one of the most successful Christian missionaries that ever blessed the land of Erin. .
After a life spent in the service of Christ, Patrick, in his extreme old age, and after many tedious and laborious wanderings, arrived at that spot where Armagh now stands; and having ob
tained a tract of land from the chief of the district, he founded a city, with a cathedral, schools, &c., and constituted it the primatical seat of the Irish Church. Here, in comparative repose, he passed his few remaining days, and at length resigned his departing spirit into the hands of his Redeemer on the 17th of March, a day still consecrated to his memory, though sadly abused by revelling, in Ireland.
There is an inexpressible interest in tracing the simple piety of this holy man, and in separating the genuine accounts of it from the absurd fables and pretended miracles and legendary traditions, by which Romish annalists, in their vain attempt to claim him as their own, and in their studied efforts to exalt him as a saint, have in reality degraded his reputation. The same love for souls, the same zeal for Christ, the same earnestness in contending for the faith, and in disseminating the gospel, which characterized the primitive disciples of Christianity, as developed in the pages of the New Testament, burned with a pure and steady flame through the entire life of the truly excellent Patrick.
For a most interesting account of this celebrated man, together with a dissertation on the conflicting opinions that have been held respecting him, we refer our readers to the work before us, where they will also find detailed memoirs of the numerous eminent individuals who, according to the impartial testimony of Dr. Mosheim and Bishop Burnet, “ were learned, able, and faithful opposers of Romish corruptions for centuries preceding the introduction of Romanism into Ireland.”
The Dean divides the History of Ireland and her Church into three parts: the first, from the second to the twelfth century; the second, from the twelfth to the sixteenth ; and the third, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century inclusive. With indefatigable research, he traces the vicissitudes of the church through all these epochs; and every lover of scriptural truth will be gratified with the result of his investigations. During the first period, he will find that the Church of Ireland, planted by apostolic zeal, and subsequently flourishing through the labours of St. Patrick, shone brightly with all the lustre of a Protestant Christianity; and that sending forth her evangelical missionaries to the remotest countries of uncivilized Europe, she was the blessed instrument of dispensing the truth of God to all the surrounding nations. The names of St. Cathaldus, Sedulius, St. Columba, Aiden, Finan, and Coleman, survive in our native churches,—while those of Fridolin, Columbanus, Gallus, Killian, Virgilius, Joannes Scotus Erigena, and
See his account of Johannes Scotus Erigena, in his work on the Thirty-nine Artieles. Art. XXVIII. on Transubstantiation.
Dungal, appear resplendent, in - the character of foreign missionaries. Emanating from that land, which was then entitled to the noble appellation of the Island of Saints, these devoted heroes of the cross enlightened Europe by their learning; and confronting idolatry in its strongest holds, they made it retire before the power of the everlasting gospel.
Having taken this hasty and general glance at that portion of the history of the Church of Ireland, which extends from the second to the twelfth century, we proceed to notice a few of many of those details into which our author enters, as illustrative of that period; and we propose to take up these as they occur to us, without strictly attending to chronological arrangement.
Let us commence by adverting to the proofs afforded us of the Eastern origin of the Irish Church. The first authority cited by the dean in confirmation of this remarkable fact, is introduced by him in the following extract :
“Grose, in his introduction to the monastic antiquities, states that Polycarp sent missionaries to spread the gospel in the western and northern parts of Europe, who settled episcopacy, and gave a pure and uncorrupted ritual to their converts. Their liturgy agreed with the Greek; and the religion of the Irish continued, for ten centuries, different from that of Rome; which is a strong evidence of their receiving the gospel, not from Roman, but from Greek missionaries.'"-(p. 17.)
Dr. O'Halloran, a distinguished Roman Catholic antiquary, but a virulent opponent of Protestantism, is next appealed to by the dean on this subject, in the following quotation.
“ I strongly suspect that by Asiatic or African missionaries, or, through them, by Spanish ones, were our ancestors instructed in Christianity ; because they rigidly adhered to their customs, as to tonsure and the time of Easter. Certain it is, that Patrick found an hierarchy established in Ireland.”
Nine short proofs are given by our author of the Eastern origin of the Church of Ireland. She
" Agreed with the Greek, whilst she differed from that of Rome,
" ist. In deferring baptism till the eighth day, a practice which is, I believe, still observed in Russia, if not in other oriental churches.
“ 2nd. One of the solemn times for administering baptism in Ireland was the Epiphany (besides Easter and Pentecost). In this respect the Irish agreed with the Eastern and African churches.
"3rd. Infant communion, which is practised at this day in the East, was observed in Ireland long after it had been discontinued in the different Western churches.
“ 4th. The Irish imitated the Greek Church in fasting on a Wednesday,
“ 5th. Abstinence from blood, according to Acts xv. 29, was strictly observed in Ireland. In this respect she also resembled the Greek Church.
“6th. The Cursus Scotorum, or Irish Liturgy, was of oriental origin, having been brought originally from Alexandria.
“ 7th. Choriepiscopi, or village bishops, existed as an order in Ireland, long after they had been discontinued in the Romish Church.
** 8th. The Easter observed by the Irish was the same as that which had been anciently celebrated in the Eastern Church.
*9th. From the case of Theodore (Bede, Hist. lib. iv. c. 1), the ecclesiastical tonsure used by the Irish was also of oriental origin."'-(pp. 17, 18.)
Another striking evidence of the eastern origin of the Irish Church is given by the Dean in these words :
* Before concluding this part of our subject, it may be well to notice the peculiarities of the seven churches, and the round towers existing so generally in Ireland; both striking manifestations of eastern origin. The Irish, it is evident, entertained a singular veneration for the number seven. Witness the seven churches of Glendalough, Clonmacnois, Inniscatry, Inchferran, Inniskeatra, and the seven altars of Clonfert, and Holy Cross. In fact, the country is studded with their remains, which are generally found situated in islands.
“This number seven, seems evidently to have been chosen in honour of him, from whose disciples they had received the gospel; and in humble imitation and remembrance of the seven primitive churches of the book of Revelation, to which this great apostle of the early saints in Ireland, addressed his seven epistles from the isle that is called Patmos."- (pp. 48, 49.)
The Dean next refers to a Roman Catholic authority, in the person of Dr. O'Connor, the learned writer of a History of Ireland, in proof of our present point.
“ It is stated by O'Connor, that there existed in Ireland, nearly an hun. dred years before the mission of St. Patrick, independent of the see of Rome, an order of monks called Culdees. Their rule was invented by St. Athanasius, a Greek father, and bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. Their office was the Greek, and not the Roman, and even in their mode of tonsure they differed from similar establishments in the Roman Church.”—(p. 51.)
Of this remarkable order was the far-famed St. Columba, or Columbkill, whose name is as familiar to every Irish ear as that of St. Patrick himself, and who founded, according to Joceline, one hundred monasteries, and established many churches.
The last proof to which we shall now advert, is found in the opposition of Coleman, bishop of Lindisfarne, an Irish Scot, to the Roman mode of celebrating Easter, as advocated by Wilfred, archbishop of York, in the presence of king Oswy.
“ According to Bede, king Oswy opened the conference by a speech in which he pointed out the necessity of unity; after which Coleman said, “The Easter which I celebrate I have received from my ancestors, and it is the same as that which St. John the Evangelist observed, with all the churches over which he presided.' In reply to this, Wilfred asserted, that the Roman Easter was observed throughout the whole world, with the single exception of the Irish, and the companions of their obstinacy, the Picts and Britons, who living in the remotest islands of the ocean, foolishly contested the point against the whole world.'"-(p. 61.)
King Oswy, swayed by the alleged supremacy of St. Peter, decided in favour of Wilfred. Whereupon
“ Coleman, when he found his opinions rejected, resigned his see, rather 1846.
than submit to this decision ; thus furnishing us with a remarkable proof, that the Irish bishops in the seventh century rejected the authority of the pope.' -(p. 65.)
The next fact that is naturally suggested in pursuing this subject, is the apostolical succession of the Irish Church, in a line which never had the most remote connection with the see of Rome.
“Here we may observe the apostolic succession of the Irish Church clearly pointed out. St. John the Evangelist; Ignatius, the immediate disciple of St. John; Polycarp, the disciple of Ignatius; Pothinus, Irenæus, and others, the disciples of Polycarp, who preached the gospel with success in Gaul, through whose means flourishing churches were established in Lyons and Vienne, of which Pothinus was the first bishop. From thence the gospel sounded forth throughout all the country, Bishops Lupus and Germanus, the descendants of these holy men, ordained St. Patrick, and made him chief bishop of their school among the Irish ; and from St. Patrick to the present day, we have our regular succession of bishops, not from Rome nor through Rome, but through the successors of the apostle John, the patron of the Irish Church."-(p. 49.)
After thus tracing the origin of the Church of Ireland, we are prepared to expect in her the plain manifestation of a Protestant character. Accordingly we find many satisfactory proofs of this great fact in the Dean's history. The earliest is afforded in the rejection of Palladius, the first missionary from the see of Rome to the Irish people.
“The account of this mission is given in Prosper's Chronicle, and the manner in which it is mentioned is peculiarly striking. The words are these :
Palladius was sent to the Scots [Irish] believing in Christ, as their first, or rather perhaps their chief, bishop. St. Celestine was the bishop who consecrated Palladius, and sent him, not so much to preach to the pagan Irish, as to strengthen and assist those of the nation who were already believers in Christ. The mission totally failed: after remaining a few months, or, as some say, only three weeks in the country, Palladius was obliged to retire, and died in Scotland in the January following.'”—(p. 14.)
We find the Romish writers, Nennius, Probus, and Joceline abusing the Irish for not receiving the doctrines of Palladius. But, as the Dean remarks,
“ Palladius was an intruder into a church which was complete and independent. The Irish clergy and people of that day would not listen to his foreign commission, and therefore they rejected the pope and bis delegate ; and such is the tenor of our ecclesiastical history from the second to the twelfth century.'-(p. 15.)
The Protestant character of the Irish Church " appears to have continued for ages. An attempt having been made in the seventh century by some missionaries sent over to assist Austin by Pope Gregory, to prevail on the Irish bishops to submit to the authority of the see of Rome, it proved as unsuccessful as their efforts in England for the same purpose. ..... Columbanus, the Irish missionary, on the same occasion,