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The Editor cannot insert any anonymous observations on the letters of Dr. Gilly or Mr. Palmer; the letter of " A. A. A." is therefore inadmissible. With respect to a Sermon on the escape of her Majesty, the Editor is much obliged to "A Constant Reader" for the hint; but he does not feel at liberty to suggest subjects to those who are kind enough to supply him with Sermons. He is anxious to call the attention of his readers to a most valuable extract from the Charge of Archdeacon Hale, on the subject of the Braintree Church Rate, which will be found in page 410. The Second Letter of "A Shepherd of the South" has been received. "J. W. G." and "T. M." are unexpectedly and unavoidably omitted for want of room.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
ART. I. The Early English Church. By EDWARD CHURTON, M.A., Rector of Crayke, Durham. London: Burns. 1840. Pp. x. 394. We may be sure that it is a critical time for a man, when he betakes himself to a careful examination of his pedigree, and of the title-deeds of his estate, after long and notorious indifference on the subject. We think it much more likely that his fears have awakened him, than that his curiosity has prompted him to so unfamiliar a pursuit ; and a very little more inquiry informs us of opposite claims, which he has lately heard of for the first time, and regards with no inconsiderable degree of vexation, if not of alarm. An impartial looker-on (supposing there were such a person) would come to the same conclusion, on a review of the theology of the present day. The better part of it, at least, is no longer a lifeless and inaccurate detail, at tenth or twelfth hand, of facts and opinions-no longer the self-indulgent use of conclusions which were won by the sweat of the brow of our laborious forefathers, and are employed without any reference either to their premises or to those who arrived at them; but it is drawn from original sources, and, accordingly, has all the clearness and freshness of waters drawn from the fountain. The deed-chest of the Church has once again been opened. Pedigrees, testaments, records, are carefully searched. And why? Because a pretender has started up. The Church of Rome is enabled, by circumstances, boldly to re-assert those claims which, however we might, in the hey-day of our security, have forgotten, she has never disavowed, even if she has allowed considerable intervals to pass without ostentatiously avowing them.
As a particular instance of this fact, we may adduce the careful attention which our divines are now paying to the history of the early Church of their country. Twice already our forefathers have been impelled, by the same urgency, to the same study. When-encouraged by our unhappy divisions, and enabled, by their scandal, as well as by the ignorance of antiquity whence they arose, and which again they generated, to employ arguments which were more than a match both for the head and heart of many that were not steeled in fanaticism-when, under these favourable circumstances, the Romanist came forward with VOL. XXII. NO. VIII.
his old pretensions that his was the original Church of this country, Archbishop Usher published his well-known work on the British Churches. Again: when, encouraged by the auspices of James II., Rome renewed her claims, Henry Wharton gave to the world his "Anglia Sacra." And now, once more, since the infatuated security of our nation has unbound this evil spirit, and he is the more active, from a secret misgiving that his time is short, our attention has been again turned in the same direction. The inconceivable indifference with which this most interesting and most important subject has been hitherto regarded, has now yielded not only to a strong curiosity, but even to a painful spirit of investigation. The ignorant and superficial manner in which it has been touched, whenever it was touched, would now be reckoned disgraceful.
Among these works of revival we may instance Soames's AngloSaxon Church, the history of which he has drawn from the original sources, and, of still later date, the late Mr. Rees's most valuable essay on the Welsh saints, the more valuable, because he avails himself of materials from the use of which Englishmen are excluded, and which might be increased both in quality and quantity, if his countrymen would only spend upon their collection and publication the tithe of that which they annually waste upon the solemn foolery of their pretended Bardic meetings, and on absurd attempts at reviving, (not maintaining) a language which is in such a state of corruption, as to be, to every purpose of literature, completely dead and gone. In justice, however, to the principality, we must not pass over the endeavours of a Society for publishing ancient Welsh MSS., and which we could wish to see much better supported. We are in daily expectation from it of a most valuable contribution to the documents of our early Ecclesiastical history, namely, the Liber Landavensis, which has hitherto lain in MS., and is scarcely known but through the extracts of the indefatigable Usher. Meanwhile printed documents are now coming forth in more accessible and convenient forms. That only original authority, for instance, for the history of the first century of the Anglo-Saxon Church, Bede's Ecclesiastical History, has been published, in octavo, by the English Historical Society, and has been followed by the publication of the histories of Gildas and Nennius. If the present spirit shall continue, we may hope to see much light thrown over a period of our history which has been commonly reckoned much more obscure than it really is.
But it is necessary not only that the student should turn his attention to this early period, but that the general reader should be admitted to it. His ignorance upon the subject is not only deep but dangerous, as leaving open ground upon which the Romish proselytist may build what edifice he pleases. We know, for fact, that many people suppose, and we believe that the great majority suppose, that the Church of England now present is but the continuation of an entirely new Church, the creature of men set up at the Reformation; that then it supplanted the Romish Church, just as the Presbyterians supplanted the Church in Scotland; and that the Romish Church, in all its present corruption too, was always the Church of this country. It is high time, indeed, that they should be disabused of so mischievous an error. And we
cannot sufficiently express our concern that there should be found any among our Protestant body that, from their narrow views, and slender theology, should set themselves up against all recurrence to the ages before the Reformation, and violently contend for that which the Romanist will most heartily grant them, but the Anglican will reasonably and confidently deny. With true satisfaction, therefore, did we hail the announcement of a volume which should teach sound views upon this subject; and, while it claimed confidence for having been composed from original sources, might win attention from a popular form. Nor have we been disappointed. Mr. Churton's book is precisely that of which we felt the public want. It exhibits a most interesting and faithful view of our national Church, from the earliest notices of the preaching of the Gospel in this country to the time of Henry III., when the Church of Rome at length succeeded, after most indefatigable perseverance, in the entire subjugation of our Church to her supreme dominion. Before, however, we proceed to notice it more particularly, we have a word to say about the true position which the question of our Early Church assumes.
Rome claims dominion over our national Church, not only generally, as the mistress of all churches, but also particularly, as having been the author of conversion to both Britons and Saxons, whose churches, therefore, derive their orders from her, and are, therefore, (she says) also under her patriarchal authority. Her conversion of the Saxons is indeed notorious, and with this she might have rested content. She, however, must needs have been mistress of the Church of our island from the first. Her advocates, in consequence, insist upon the story of the conversion of a British king, Lucius, of which the earliest mention is in Bede, about 600 years after the date of the pretended event. Besides being full of inconsistencies with the known state of things at that time, it bears a very suspicious appearance of having been fabricated upon the basis of the intercourse between the early Saxon kings and the Pope. And we cannot but think that those writers of our Ecclesiastical history who have thought that this story might have had some foundation in fact, pay it by far too high a compliment. Mr. Churton shows his judgment in suppressing all notice of it. But if Rome has been extravagant in employing unauthorised facts in the advocacy of her cause, she has not outdone her opponents, who have determined to mow the grass from beneath her feet, by maintaining an apostolic foundation, in the arrival of St. Paul in the island. This assertion relies entirely upon a mistaken view of a passage in the epistle of the Roman Clement, (chap. v.) where he speaks of St. Paul having taught righteousness to the whole world, and, in reference, no doubt, to his foundation of the Eastern Churches, says that he came to the boundary of the west, by which he certainly need not mean any region further west than Spain, (all remember " a Gadibus usque Auroram," et Gangem) which the Apostle mentioned an intention of visiting; and it is an expression never applied to our island by any writer. They try, indeed, to bolster up their hypothesis, by identifying the Pudens and Claudia, who are mentioned in 2 Tim. iv. 21. (and, it is important to remark, with Linus interposed, and not in immediate connexion, as man and wife would assuredly be) with the Claudia and Pudens whose marriage
is mentioned in an epigram of Martial, (iv. 13.) as if these names were not as common as Mary and William. But then she is called Claudia Peregrina, and Peregrina is not a name, but an epithet denoting her foreign origin; and then, on turning over to another epigram, (xi. 53.) they find a Claudia Ruffina mentioned as of British origin. And so the case is made out. Such solemn trifling is a fit accompaniment to the reception of the legend of Joseph of Arimathea having brought the Gospel into this island-a palpable forgery of the monks of Glastonbury, for the interested purpose of exalting their monastery, and bringing a rich harvest of pilgrims to their shrine. Mosheim has paid far too much deference to this story, as he has done, similarly, to that concerning Lucius, by supposing it to have an origin in the fact of one Joseph having come over from Gaul, and preached the gospel to the Britons, in the second century. Thus, it must be acknowledged, Rome has, for once, been more than paid in her own coin. To her one fable of Lucius, in the second century, are opposed three of Apostolic preaching in Britain. Had they disregarded such late authorities as they ought to have done, these controversialists need never have had recourse to similar statements. The fact is that no communication between the Roman and British churches can be traced before the arrival of Augustine. All that we know previously may be summed up in a few sentences. Tertullian testifies, at the close of the second century, to the notorious reception of the gospel in Britain; and the same general fact is stated by succeeding fathers, as Origen. We have something more particular in the subscriptions of the three British bishops of London, Lincoln, and York, to the canons of the first Council of Arles, and in the presence of British bishops at the Councils of Sardica and Ariminum. Then we have the mission of Germanus, in his life written by Constantius. And there we come to an end of all that we know of the anteAugustine period, on the faith of contemporary evidence. Even the account of the martyrdom of St. Alban, which no one has seemed inclined to dispute, is first mentioned by Bede. Such being the state of the history of the Early British Church, it is surely quite idle to move any controversy about its origin, and about any relations which it may have had with Rome. And here we may observe that we do not quite understand Mr. Churton in his starting with the assertion that "it is certain that a christian church was planted here in the time of the apostles, and, as it would appear, at the date of St. Paul's travels to the west, A.D. 63." That the Church was so early a guest with us he might infer not unreasonably, though far from certainly, from the evidence of Tertullian. But where he sees the appearance of which he speaks, we are quite at a loss to guess. Another passage in Mr. Churton's book puts us in mind of a thing which we had forgotten to state, as having to do in the aforesaid controversy with Rome. The eastern origin of the British Church has been contended for by the opponents of Rome, from the peculiarity of their observance of Easter; and Mr. Churton (p. 43) says, "Some old churches of the east had kept it (Easter) on the 14th day of the moon, which was the day of the Jews' Passover, on whatever day of the week it fell. The Britons seem to have had this custom, which they supposed to be observed in the Churches founded by St. John in Asia; but after the Council of