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Nice, wishing to correct their practice, they had still begun one day too soon.” Now, though Neander (who, however, as a foreigner, did not look very minutely into this point) agrees with Mr. Churton as to this accordance of the British and eastern churches, we cannot find any authority for it. Bede has several passages which agree with the latter part of Mr. Churton's assertion, but not with the former. So far from it, that he distinctly tells us several times that the British and Irish Churches did not, as many, he says, supposed, keep Easter-day on the 14th day of the moon, whatever day of the week that was, but on a Sunday, varying from the 14th to the 20th day of the moon. Hence it was quite unknown to Bede that the Britons had ever used the Asian time of observation. And we may reasonably conclude that they never used it. Could the point be proved, it would indeed be a most interesting and—if our Anglican Church were really concerned in the forementioned controversy with Rome--important fact, inasmuch as it would prove that the founders of the British Church came immediately from Asia, and not even through the medium of the church of Gaul, since that church, colony though it was from the church of Smyrna, agreed in this point with that of Rome.
We trust, then, that we have made out one point as to the proper position to be taken in opposition to the claims of the Church of Rome upon our obedience. The British Church must be put out of the question altogether. It supplies no facts on which such a controversy can fasten ; though, if the Romanist will still insist, we can tell him that the only evidence, which is negative, makes against him. Much, therefore, do we regret the late very injudicious attempts to prove the apostolic foundation of the British Church, in which the late Bishop Burgess took a prominent part-a good honest christian, and a learned man, but very deficient in the critical discernment which is so essentially necessary to the treatment of any historical subject, and more particuJarly of one involved in so much fable and uncertainty, and at the same time likely to enlist prejudice, as the early history of Britain. If we once get to legends, we shall be no match for Rome, who has only to put her arm into her chest, and for our one, she will bring out a handful against us. The manner in which the history of the Early British Church is treated by Baronius, is a good specimen of the way in which she avails herself of legendary documents.
But still we have another point to make out, which equally sets aside all reference to the British Church. The Church whose independence we are most concerned to defend against Rome has no connexion with it. Even the Church in Wales itself is now entirely Anglican. The British succession of bishops there ceased probably soon after the conquest of the country, the bishops thenceforward being consecrated in England. At all events it must have ceased at the Reformation, when the succession passed through the narrowed channel of four Anglican bishops. We may therefore, as far as any argument with the church of Rome is concerned, as well maintain the independence of the extinct churches of Ephesus or Carthage. It has indeed been often said that the Anglican bishops derive from British succession as well as Roman. This is however quite a mistake; for it is clear from Bede, that no bishop of British orders was allowed to assist at the consecrations of the Anglican Church ; and moreover, that not a single bishop, consecrated from Iona, or the Irish Church, was surviving in England at the arrival of Archbishop Theodore, who, in the course of his episcopate, consecrated at least one bishop, in some instances two or three, to every see. Our present orders therefore are a mixture of Roman from him, and such as had Roman ordination before and after him, and of Gallican from the line of Augustine, and others, as Leutherius before Theodore, and his successor Berctwald.
These considerations quite put out of the question a line of argument which has often been taken, and goes upon the 6th canon of the council of Nice. By this they mean to prove that the British Church was independent of Rome. But the Anglican Church was not then in existence, and assuredly that council's legislation regarded only existent Churches, and those too within the limits of the Roman empire, the emperor being its summoner and executive. But on both these principles our Anglican Church has no more to do with the local arrangements of that council, than it has with the Theodosian code. The real question is, whether the fatherly relation in which the bishop of Rome stood to our infant Church, gave him a patriarchal authority over it, and such too that could never, on justifiable grounds, be shaken off. As to this, we may say, in the first place, that the bishops of Rome who lived during the early period of our Church, however they might have provided for its wants, never dreamed of such a supremacy, and if they had no such right, none of their successors could have. They would have been most alive to it who had actually earned it, and we may safely argue that a series of bishops who never urged that claim, never considered themselves as possessing it. In the next place, supposing that they had obtained a patriarchal right of supremacy over us, yet this is an affair of mere human arrangement, and although on the score of charity and keeping the unity of spirit in the bonds of peace, human arrangements of long standing, in spiritual matters, are not to be broken without the reluctance arising from a deep sense of responsibility for consequences; yet such considerations are as nothing compared with the conservation of the pure truth of the Gospel, which becomes impossible with such a connexion. Indeed, we might even go upon the footing, that the patriarchate, however exercised among churches, all of which were under one civil government, is quite incompatible with the government of mutually independent states, and never would have been dreamed of, if, in the times in which it arose, the churches which were thus connected had been under different and independent civil governments. Thus we hope to have made out our second point as to our true position against the claims of the Church of Rome.' We take our stand entirely upon the Anglican Church, as utterly distinct from the British, from whose independency of Rome we seek to draw no argument. We deny that any thing was ever due from our Church to Rome, save filial regard and consideration; and we maintain that even this has been forfeited by her, not only through the harsh step-mother's treatment which our Church has received ever since it admitted her exacting tyranny, but above all, by her obstinate maintenance of principles which are decidedly opposed to the word of God.
We beg Mr. Churton's pardon for being so long in coming to his book, but as every volume on its subject must be considered as coming upon controverted ground in these times, and as the position generally taken up upon this ground seems to us decidedly false, and therefore dangerous, we thought it right to preface with these remarks ;-not that Mr. Churton is among such imprudent combatants, or needs our advice. He nowhere, indeed, openly expresses an opinion by which we could judge of his sentiments on this matter. But we feel very sure, both from his judgment and the cast of his book, that he would take a very different line. It is not indeed doing him much credit to say that he has not adopted the unfounded notion that Augustine procured the massacre of the Monks of Bangor, which is a good instance of the way in which second-hand writers proceed. A writer from original sources throws out a suspicion against the passage in Bede, which acquits Augustine of any participation in such a crime, by the very satisfactory reason that he was dead some time before. The second-hand writer turns the suspicion into fact, his ignorance affording him the means of indulging his spirit of party. But this may serve as a trifling instance to show that Mr. Churton's book is of a different spirit from that of the compilations of the day. Everything has been accurately examined at the fountain-head, and is therefore stated with no less calmness than clearness. He has shown much judgment in his plan. To go through a regular and continued history of events, would have required a much larger work than suited the purpose of this publication, besides giving it an air of dryness ill adapted to a work which was intended to be popular. He has therefore, with great happiness, both of taste, no less than of judgment, selected the important and outstanding points, and clustered such as are of minor interest around them. Such points are sometimes the biographies of persons whose eminent characters illustrate the spirit of the times, while their actions influenced events. Among these we may instance the account of Thomas à Beckett, as given with exceeding clearness and interest, putting in an original light a most hackneyed subject, and doing impartial justice where prejudice has been deep and long on both sides. Sometimes they are the accounts of public institutions, such as monasteries, and introduce to us a large variety of information on the education of the day, and other interesting topics. We may say of such an arrangement, that it is not only best adapted for the purpose of popular instruction, which requires an apparently desultory manner, but that it is in a manner demanded by the very nature of the original materials, which are sometimes numerous and clear, sometimes scanty and obscure, according to the caprices of time in handing down to us the records of past ages. The style is well suited for narrative, being plain, but clear and pure. There is no diffuseness, no declamation, but it goes straightforward to the mark, and carries us easily onward along the tide of events. We think that the reader will be pleased with the simple, and yet picturesque character of the following extract.
With this view he promoted these religious societies about the East, having himself passed many years of his early religious life in visiting those which were then established in Egypt and other provinces, and afterwards having founded a monastery on an estate belonging to his own family in the neighbourhood of
his birth-place. It was a high mountain, clothed with deep woods, from which many waters cool and clear flowed down, and uniting at the foot of the steep formed a river, enclosing on one side a sloping plain, which was fenced in on all other sides by the rising heights of the mountain behind, or by precipices which raised it above the level country below. A natural belt of trees enclosed this space of ground, and on it, near the only outlet to the adjoining lands, Basil built a dwelling large enough to admit a society of his religious friends, and invited them by letters to come and share his retirement. Near to his door, the river, falling over a bridge of rock, rolled down into a deep basin, affording him the sight of one of the greatest natural beauties, and furnishing the inhabitants of the place with a plenteous supply of fish, which made a principal portion of their fare. In the neighbouring woods, where the deer and wild goats browsed without disturbance from the brothers of the convent, and whose quiet was only broken by a wandering hunter now and then, were trees of every kind, flowering and fruitful shrubs; and the climate and soil were such as to give them every kind of produce for cultivation; but, most of all, it was a spot which gave to Basil, who had passed his first years in the turmoil of the bar, the fruit of religious rest and peace of mind.
The eastern monks, whose habits were formed under his rule, were not for the most part priests, but laymen, but they had always one or more priests in the community, who guided their worship and administered the sacraments among them. They met together seven times a-day for a short prayer, and to sing a hymn or psalm ;—at day-break, at nine o'clock, at twelve, at three, and again at six in the evening, at nine, and at midnight. Their monastery was a house of hospitality to travellers, and they gave the same frugal fare, on which they lived, to rich and poor, that the one might see a pattern of christian poverty and plainness, and the other might not think of the hardship of his lot, when he saw that those who were born to more abundance had cheerfully embraced it. They were constantly employed at other times in such labours as gave them occupation without anxiety; for which reason those arts were preferred which combined cheapness with simplicity, not requiring costly materials, or minis tering to vanity. Building and carpentry, working in brass, weaving and shoemaking, were the most common. Others tended the flocks, for they commonly had flocks near the monasteries, or tilled the ground; and this kind of occupation Basil particularly encouraged. When the artificers had prepared a stock of clothing or other things for sale, they were sent in small companies to places where they were likely to be well received, and held a kind of charitybazaar. There were some convents which had these sales within their walls ; but this practice was less approved. Their own clothing was very plain, and belonged to a common stock, none being allowed to possess any property separate from the community ; but Basil discouraged any excess of plainness, justly observing that there may be a desire of popular praise, and somewhat of vanity, in affecting eanness of dress, as well as in needless ornament.—Pp. 96—99. Mr. Churton, we need not say, is not of that modern school of authors whose ignorance of former times prompts them to suppose that they produced really nothing worth knowing, and which seems to think that every useful invention and discovery has been produced by the age which produced themselves, not the least valued by them amongst its products. He is indeed quite of another class, and we are glad to see him running counter to this base spirit of superficial vanity in a work which will come into the hands of those who are most likely to be seduced by it. The retailers of the prevalent cant about the dark ages, which, as Mr. Churton well observes, are dark only because people have chosen to remain in the dark about them, will perhaps hardly believe the state of learning in those times, as shown in the following extract respecting Alcuin.
About two years and two months before his death, when he had filled the office of archbishop for thirteen years, he retired into the monastery, that he might have leisure to serve God alone. He was now full of days and honour; and calling to him his two favourite pupils, Eanbald and Alcuin, he gave up to the first the bishop's office, to which he had been appointed, and to the other, what he valued as much, his chair of instruction and his books. These were placed in a library, which he had built for their reception ; and a list of them is given by Alcuin, long enough to shew the character of the books which were studied in the early English Church. It is likely that at Lindisfarne, and Jarrow, and Hexham, and
perhaps also at Whitby, there were libraries of nearly equal value. There can be no doubt that there was one as large at Carfterbury; and probably at Rochester, at Winchester, and at Malmsbury, and Oxford, there were good stores of books before the Danish invasions. Alcuin does not give the names of all the volumes, but of those which he thought most valuable. First, what was of most esteem in the eyes of an old English bishop, next to the inspired writings, and what, it is to be hoped, will always be in high esteem with the ministers of the English Church, the library contained many of the works of the primitive fathers; St. Basil, St. Athanasius, St. Chrysostom, St. Hilary, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St Jerome, popes Leo and Gregory, Fulgentius, and Lactantius, Boethius, Prosper, and some of later date. There were also a few of the Roman historians, orators, and poets; the Greek philosopher Aristotle ;* a number of writings on grammar; and the works of Alcuin of Canterbury, Aldhelm, Bede, and Wilbrord, proving that the collector of these treasures had a just value for the writings of his own countrymen. — Pp. 175, 176.
Some of our liberal merchants will have a good deal of their selfsufficiency disabused, perhaps, on reading the following account of our inland commerce.
Another improvement which the monasteries brought in, was, with the advance of internal peace, an increase of communication between one part of the kingdom and the other. It may perhaps be a surprise to some of those who think that all such commerce has begun with canals and rai)-roads; but there were certainly persons living in the seventh and eighth centuries in England who saw the benefit of importations and exchange of produce between one part of the kingdom and another. And though they did not dream of turning earth into water, or hill into plain, yet they saw that the rivers flowing through the most inhabited parts of the country were many of them navigable, and that it would be useful if they could find conveyance for their heavy goods by water rather than by land. St. Mildred and her successors, abbesses of Minster in the isle of Thanet, had a vessel which regularly traded with the London markets about A. D. 747, and probably conveyed wheat, which that island so plentifully produces; for which the church in Bread Street is properly placed to preserve the memory of her supplies. But this was an easy voyage, the distance being so small. It was a much longer trip which was performed about the same time by two vessels of bishop Mildred's of Worcester, which appear to have sailed from the Severn, down by the Bristol Channel and round by Cornwall to London up the Thames. There were salt-works at this time at Droitwich and Salwarp, which the bishop's tenants occupied; there were also lead-works at Hanbury: and the Welsh are said to have had the art of making cider, which the Worcestershire and Herefordshire men were not slow to learn from them. It is possible that some part of their cargo consisted of these commodities; or they might have brought wool to exchange with foreign merchants, who at that time scarcely visited any part of England but London and the ports in Kent.
It has been often said that the learned men of modern Europe knew nothing of this Greek philosopher, till they heard of him through the Arabians, by means of the crusades. It is plain that Alcuin had studied his writings; and what is so likely as that Theodore brought them into England ?
VOL. XXII. NO, VIII.