« السابقةمتابعة »
Christianity restored among the Anglo-Saxons, principally by bishops and other clergy of the British Stock, 25—30. Theodore, first metropolitan of the Anglo-Saxon Churches; the previous and consequent union of Bishops Cedda, Ceadda, and others, with those Churches, 30, 31.—The primacy of Canterbury, when fully acknowledged, 31.— The question of Easter noticed, 31.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, after he was risen from the dead, commanded his disciples, '“Go, teach all nations; - preach the Gospel to every creature." In the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles of Paul, of Peter, and in the Revelation of John, we observe the extension of the Gospel, both in Asia and Europe. In the earlier half of the century, following that of the Apostles, we hear Justin the Martyr, in his “ Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew," asserting,
? « there is not one nation alone, whether Greeks or barbarians, but all nations, whatever name they are known by, however wandering and unsettled their mode of life, among whom prayers and giving of thanks are not made unto the Father and Maker of the universe, in the name of the crucified Jesus.” Another eminent writer and martyr, Irenæus, a bishop of Gaul, speaks of “The Faith which the Church planted by the Apostles and their disciples had received throughout the whole world, eren to its very extremities." Tertullian, his contemporary, also of the second century, in his celebrated “ Apology," asserts of the Christians, “We are but of yesterday, yet have filled all that is yours ; your cities, islands, forts, towns, assemblies, camps, wards, companies, palace, senate, forum. We leave your temples alone to you ” who are unbelievers. Thus much for the general spread of Christianity in its earliest times.
But it is with the Church of England, as Apostolical in its origin, that we are more intimately concerned. By this expression I mean, that the Church, of which we are members, * traces, through its various gradai Matt. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. 15. Fabricii Salutaris Lux Evangelii
, II., 25, 26. Hamburgi, 1731, for Justin, Irenæus, and Tertullian.
See, in this Tract, 30, 31.
tions of the Tudor, Plantaganet, Norman, AngloSaxon, and British times, its origin upwards to the Apostolic age. Theodorit, a bishop, and one of the most learned writers of the ancient Church, in the earlier part of the fifth century, speaking of 3“Our fishermen, as Peter and others; our publicans, as Matthew; and the tent-maker, Paul,” asserts—" they have made known the laws of the Gospel to all nations,” whether under, or exempt from the dominion of the Romans ; and with the Cimbrians and Germans, he classes the Britons. And previous to Theodorit, Eusebius, the great Church historian, who flourished about A.D. 315, when speaking of the Apostles of our Lord, has also a like assertion; that, while some preached the Word within the bounds of the Roman empire, others travelled to the various extremities of the world ; and, especially, as it relates to ourselves, of these, some *“ passed over the ocean, to those which are called the British Isles.” To these authorities, we may add our ancient British writer, Gildas, of the sixth century ; his words are: 5“ In the meantime, Christ, the true sun, afforded his rays, that is, the knowledge of his precepts, to this island.” “ In the meantime,” 6« that is,” observes our learned Church historian, “before the defeat of Boadicea, and the British force, by the Romans, A.D. 61, and between that event and some other not long preceding it ;” an interval, as the same and other writers of our Church shew, of ten years. And that between the years of our Lord 51 and 61, the religion of Christ was introduced into Britain several circumstances, and, among the rest, the internal quiet of Britain, under the Roman rule, render highly probable. But here we must first speak of those
Usser. Britannic. Eccles. Antiq. I. 2. Londini, 1687. Stillingfleet's Origines Britannicæ ; or, the Antiquities of the British Churches, I., 54, Oxford, 1842.
* Usser. XVI., 386 ; Stillingfleet, 52, 53. * Usser. I., 2 ; Stillingfleet, 5, 6.
Stillingfleet, ibid., and 62, compared with Burgess's Tracts on the Origin and Independence of the Ancient British Church, 23, 72. London, 1815.
honoured instruments, who have been named, as first conveying the glad tidings of salvation to Britain.
The names of James, the son of Zebedee, Simon Zelotes, Simon Peter, and Paul, may be mentioned, as found in 7 historical and other documents. But in answer to several of these, which are mere pretences of writers passing under ancient names, we may reply, that St. James came not, as has been reported, even into Spain, much less into Britain ; for we read in the Acts of the Apostles, that he underwent martyrdom, even before the Apostles departed from Jerusalem, to preach the Word to the various nations of the earth ; while, as to Simon Zelotes, the authorities, for his exercising his missionary office in Britain, will be found, upon examination, of no value ; for those writers, more worthy of trust, have fixed the scene of his labours and martyrdom in Persia. That St. Peter preached the Word of God in Britain, is attenipted to be shewn from Metaphrastes, a Greek writer of the tenth century, by some of the writers of the Roman Church, shortly after the time of the Reformation ; but it happens, unfortunately for their cause, that Eusebius, whose authority is pretended on this occasion, neither in his “ Church History,” nor in any other of his voluminous works still extant, affords the least support to this supposed fact. In short, all antiquity is silent upon this subject.
To speak of the arguments adduced for the preaching of St. Paul in Britain, will require larger consideration. 8 The Acts of the Apostles, and St. Paul's various Epistles, shew not only that he preached the Gospel at Rome, before St. Peter was heard of, but that his labours in the West, as the “ Apostle of the Gentiles,” were truly abundant. Paul's 10 « fellowlabourer, Clement," in his Epistle to the Corinthians,
7 Usser. 3, 4 ; Stillingfleet, 66–71.
8 Acts xxviii. 30, 31; Romans i. 11, 13, 15; xv. 19--24 ; 2 Timothy iv. 16 ; Stillingfleet, ibid.
9 Romans xi. 13.
after eulogising that apostle, adds-11 « And so having taught the whole world righteousness, and for that end having travelled even to the utmost bounds of the West, he at last suffered martyrdom.” 12 St. Jerome speaks much to the same purpose. Theodorit, whom we have already heard speaking of the preaching of the Gospel in the Apostolical times, also assures us that St. Paul not only preached the Gospel in Italy, but in Spain, and in 13 « the isles which lie in the sea.” That these “isles which lie in the sea," and "the utmost bounds of the West,” denoted none other than the British Isles, we have the concurrent authorities of our Church writers, 14 Parker, Camden, Usher, Stillingfleet, Cave, Gibson, Nelson, and Collier, not to mention others. I will only here, in addition, observe, that Stilling fleet, in his “Antiquities of the British Churches," I. 55-57, Oxford, 1842, (as edited by myself for the Delegates of the Clarendon Press) shews, both from classical and ecclesiastical writers, in the words of Catullus, the Latin poet, and Arnobius, the Church commentator, that Britain is spoken of as " the utmost bounds of the west.”
Oar present opportunity will permit us only slightly to glance at others, who, in apostolic times, have been distinguished, whether correctly or not, in advancing, if not introducing, Christianity into Britain. Joseplı of Arimathæa, among these, holds a prominent place; but although the monks of Glastonbury, and others after them, have endeavoured to maintain the credit of this report, yet 15 Usher, in his Latin work, and Stilling fleet, in his English work on the British Churches, have shewn irrefragably, that this piece of information was first produced in the Norman times, during the eleventh century, and was consequently unknown to the Saxon kings, who had previously favoured the rising fortunes of that foundation. Yet, however, a although Joseph of Arimathæa was never at Glastonbury, it may be granted that an ancient British Church, as described by Sir Henry Spelman, existed there; while, as our industrious antiquary, Leland, conjectures, wherein he has been followed by others, that some eremitical person, named Joseph, with his companions, not only resided, but was interred there; which matters, were, at length, improved into the story of Joseph of Arimatha, whom the monks of that monastery “thought they might safely pitch upon, not being pretended to by any other Church.”
11 Usser. 4, not. m. ; Stillingfleet, 55,
Burgess, 55. 15 Usser. II., 7–17. Stillingfleet, 8-41.
16 In the “Britislı Triads,” an ancient, though, unfortunately, an interpolated production, Bran, the father of the celebrated but captive British prince, Caractacus, is stated to have introduced Christianity into Britain, upon his supposed return from captivity at Rome. The “ Triad” states, that, besides others, he was accompanied by one whom the Britons call Arwystli, a Roman; who, by some late writers, has been identified with Aristobulus, mentioned in St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans xvi. 10, and said, in various Greek writers, to be ordained by St. Paul for a bishop to the Britons. 17 Claudia, the accomplished British lady, celebrated by the Latin poet, Martial, and who, it has been insisted on, is identical with 18 the Claudia of St. Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, and with the captive daughter of Caractacus at Rome, and whose husband is said to have been Pudens, mentioned at the same time by St. Paul, has, together with her contemporary, Pomponia Græcina, the wife of Aulus Plautius, the lieutenant of the Emperor Claudius in Britain, her claims strongly advanced upon this interesting occasion ; especially in connexion with St. Paul's mission to Britain.
Stillingfleet, 37, 13, 11, 40, and notes. 16 Rees' Essay on the Welsh Saints, 1V.77–81. London, 1836. 17 Usser. I. 5, 6. Stillingfleet, 65 ; potes v, w, x.
2 Timothy iv, 21. 19 Stillingfleet, 64 ; note p.