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triumphs, should be destined to relate, that while she stood forward alone against the most formidable tyranny which ever yet assailed the liberties of mankind, her rulers found leisure to think of the distresses of a forlorn and suffering people, and to provide for their welfare, without one selfish view—they who shall peruse the tale, will feel such an act as neither the least memorable nor the least glorious of those which will render her the light and the example of all ages to come.
Art. IV. The Antiquities of the Saxon Church. By the Rev.
.John Lingard. Two Vols. 8vo. Newcastle. THIS 'HIS is the work of a catholic priest, a man not unequal to his
undertaking either in intelligence or research, - but abounding in all that professional bigotry, which, after being suppressed in this country for a season by fear and caution, is now directing its attacks against the protestant world with a confidence excited by the possession of independence and the hope of power.
Ever since the appearance of Mr. Gibbon's great work, it has become a kind of fashion to decline the plain path of argumentation, and to make history an insidious channel for the conveyance of controverted principles. The style of the present volume proves our author's intimate acquaintance with the history of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and his sagacity has unquestionably suggested to him the adoption of a manner so attractive in itself, and so well adapted to the indolence and levity of modern reading. Under another form, it is really a controversial work. It was manifestly not the author's object to give a simple narrative of the Anglo-Saxon church, which during the whole of this period was unquestionably more or less dependant upon Rome; but to exalt the character of Augustine and his followers, to sink that of the primitive British churches, to prove the marriage of the secular priests a mere usurpation, to extol the monks and their patrons, to identify the most extravagant tenets of his own establishment with the doctrines of the Saxon church, and finally, to insult and vilify the church of England, and the most venerable of her prelates, for their departure from the faith and discipline of their ancestors. This plan, at once bold and crafty, which is carried on with little art or disguise, will suggest a few reflections.
It appears, in fact, to be a sort of argumentum ad verecundiam. Transubstantiation, we are told, was the authorized doctrine of this period; it was the religion of Odo and Duustan, and of all the pious and learned men who then adorned the cloisters and cathedrals of England. On this assumed fact the author descants so
triumphantly, triumphantly, and with so much self-complacency, that out of tenderness to his feelings we are for the present disposed to concede it to him:-be it then, that transubstantiation was the faith of our Saxon ancestors. Who were they? A set of pirates just emerging from barbarism, and scarcely capable of comprehending their own wretched systems. Yes, it is to the faith and practice of such an age that we are to be recalled,—to give in exchange for the cloudy sophistry of Scotus the luminous metaphysics of Locke, Clarke and Paley, and in a period when all the operations of intellect have been analized with an exactness, and carried to a perfection, unknown in former ages, to resign our understandings to the authority of dreaming priests who were hardly acquainted with the first principles of scientific reason.
Equally unimportant is it to us whether the marriages of the Saxon clergy were canonical or not :-they were natural and necessary, and therefore scriptural. But married or unmarried, why are the secular clergy of the church of Rome itself, to be for ever sunk in the comparison with their cloistered brethren? Why are the frozen and torpid virtues of the one to be preferred to the active and laborious exertions of the other? To the zeal and well-directed endeavours of many of these men we are willing to pay every tribute of applause. Unintelligible as their public ministrations are to the generality; in private instruction and admonition, in constant and vigilant inspection of their flocks, the secular clergy of that church have, in many instances, been a pattern, and perhaps a reproach to ourselves. They have done the work of evangelists—they have been instant in season and out of season: but these virtues have descended upon them in succession from an higher antiquity, and from a purer fountain than the institutes of Gregory or Benedict. Take the monastic life in its most favourable aspect; its abstractions and mortifications, its watchings, meditations, together with its everlasting round of tiresome fornis-what is it but a waste of devotion, a solitary and self-chosen path? Surely, unless the members of that church were given up to a reprobate taste in religion, some portion of their applause would be transferred to men whom they might justly commend—to the humble and devout Fenelon, to the intrepid and heroic Belsunce, and to the confessors and martyrs of the Gallican church during its last awful trial. We have been provoked by the petulance of the author to express a warmth to which we have not been accustomed—and we would challenge a comparison between the meddling and secular spirit, the pride and cruelty of his heroes Odo and Dunstan, not merely with the seculars of his own church, but with the learning and moderation of Parker, or the sanctity of Secker and Porteus, each of whom he insults. Could any thing short of the rancour and bigotry of his
church have tempted a Saxon scholar, (and no contemptible one) to speak of the offal of Archbishop Parker, to whose taste and liberality many of the most valuable remains in that language owe their preservation ? But the archbishop's offence was inexpiable. He had honestly vindicated the antiquity and independence of the British churches-he had censured, in the free and spirited language of the first reformers, the arrogance and superstition, the pomp and vanity of Augustine. We will, however, present the classical reader with a morsel of this offal.'
Gregorius enim ipsi Augustino ad missarum solennia celebranda, pallium, item vasa sacra, altarium vestimenta, ecclesiarum ornamenta, sacerdotilia atque clericalia indumenta, sanctorum apostolorum ac martyrum reliquias se misisse dicit: Ex quibus videmus, quantæ tum in Romanam ecclesiam cæcitates et errores irrepserant. Nec hujus modi solum malis sanctiora ecclesiæ instituta depravata sunt, sed ex illâ, de unius in ecclesiâ pastoris imperio atque potestate, contentione, quam Johannis Constantinopolitani patriarchæ ambitio, vivente adhuc & acerrimè reclamante Gregorio, excitavit, non modò ad superstitionem & sacrorum omnium profanationem, sed etiam ad impietatem atque Antichristi regnum, patefacta fuit janua: Antea enim inaudita erant et incognita illa superborum titulorum nomina; summus pontifex & unicum ecclesiæ in terris caput, Christi vicarius & similia, quibus insolescere cæpit Romanorum pontificum audacia, quibusque parere, sub æternæ mortis pænâ, omnes jubentur.'-Augustinus.
In opposition to these censures let it be remenubered how candidly the archbishop had spoken of the labours and successes of his first predecessor: Illi evangelium Jesu Christi regi & universo comitatui prædicant. Quid multis opus est? Multi Christo nomen dederunt, crediderunt, baptizati sunt, donec Rex ipse tandem conversus et universus populus Christo lucrifactus est. It was the religion therefore of Christ which was presented to Ethelbert and his people ; their faith is admitted to have been genuine, their conversion sincere, their baptism regular; concessions which would not have been made by a catholic to the claims of any protestant missionary. But upon such men concessions are thrown away. Acknowledgments of what yet remains in popery of genuine christianity are coldly and sullenly accepted. An exposure of its errors, however elegantly expressed, is coarsely denominatedofsal.
These observations may suffice as to the general temper and principles of the work before us; in the style there is little to censure, and excepting that the author has chastized and simplified his model, there is nothing greatly to commend; our concern, therefore, in the remaining part of this Review, must be with specific facts and positions.
And first we have to admire the flexible and accommodating spirit of our author, as a missionary: the Saxons,' he tells us,
'had been accustomed to enliven the solemnity of their worship by the merriment of the table. The victims which had bled on the altars of the gods, furnished the principal materials of the feast, and the praises of their warriors were mingled with the hymns chaunted in honour of the divinity. Totally to have abolished this practice, might have alienated their minds from a religion which forbade the most favourite of their amusements.' So thought and acted the Chinese missionaries, and so will ever think and act the propagators of a religion like that of Rome.
But when the apostles and first preachers of the word went forth in the power of the spirit' to convert the world, we find nothing of this compromise and conciliation, this medley of christian worship with * the elegant mythology, the captivating songs and dances' which constituted the great attractions of the heathen ritual. Had Paul and Barnabas acted upon these principles, the offence of the cross would in one sense have ceased, and the churches of the first century exhibited what these men have again and again been challenged to produce,' a gay religion, full of pomp and gold. The doctrine of Jesus would have found a ready reception at Corinth or at Antioch, and the grove of Daphne have exhibited an edifying spectacle of easy and accommodating christianity. Compared to the puritanism, with which this writer has branded the morality of Dr. Henry, how gentle in his language in speaking of the Saxon worship and manners ! Their acts of idolatry are termed • solemnities of worship,' their brutal intemperance heightened, like every species of excess, by its combination with religion,
the merriment of the table;' while the hymns chaunted to their idols are expressly said to be addressed to the divinity.' To the flexibility, however, of Gregory, in permitting this incongruous union, we are indebted for all the outrages on decency which take place in the religious festivals of the common people, and of which one of the evils was, that, in the seventeenth century, they produced a recoil of manners more hateful and mischievous than themselves.
But where is the wonder, if in the conception of this writer, the conduct of missions adınit of such a latitude, when the principle itself is radically defective ? · The rulers,' he says, “ of the barbarous nations had proved themselves not insensible to the truths of the gospel, and the influence of their example had been recently demonstrated in the conversion of the Franks, the Visigoths and the Suevi. Hence, the first object of the missionaries, Roman, Gallic, or Scottish, was invariably the same, to obtain the patronage of the prince : his favour ensured, his opposition prevented their success. In the primitive church, christianity prevailed against the powers of the world, and those excellent men who are, in our
days, days, undertaking missions more remote and perilous than that of Augustine, have learned to rely on the favour and protection of One who, in Mr. Lingard's account, is no party to the conversion of heathen nations. Of national conversions indeed we have always been jealous ; for the complaisance which embraces the christianity of the prince, will, with bim, relapse into idolatry, and even while it retains the external profession of religion, be either hypocrisy or nothing On these principles, the only instrument of conversion is policy, and the only effect an external compliance.
The following passage betrays a secret conviction that these missionaries were indebted for their freedom from persecution, to some abatement of that boldness and sincerity which distinguished the first preachers of christianity. If they neither felt nor provoked the scourge of persecution, they may at least claim the meritot pure, active, and disinterested virtue, and the fortunate issue of their labours is sufticient to disprove the opinion of those who imagine that no church can be firmly established, the foundations of which are not cemented with the blood of martyrs.' That is, the prudence and discretion of Augustine greatly surpassed that of the apostles and primitive martyrs: they, it seems, provoked the scourge—these men declined it; and with respect to success, till we know how many were really civilized, (a word which as being suited to the extent of his views Mr. Lingard generally uses,) and how many were really sanctified, (a word which he does not use;) we must be permitted to make some deductions from his flattering representations. Neither can we altogether accede to his opinion as to the disinterested exertions of Augustine and his followers. Men usually act upon a combination of motives. The character of a missionary was popular, the honours which awaited success were certain, and if, as appears, ecclesiastical ambition was the ruling principle of his heart, Augustine had his reward.' Meanwhile, we are not unwilling to concede to him a sincere and benevolent wish to' civilize the manners and correct the vices of a distant and savage people. The terms are happily chosen; they describe the conduct of the Jesuits in Paraguay; but they fall infinitely short of the views of an apostle. Doubtless a change of life and manners would occasionally take place even under great disadvantages in the mode of instruction; but these humble though important achievements of the missionaries were too private and unobtrusive to figure among the nominal conversions of princes, or nations, and accordingly the records of them are not to be sought upon earth.
The beneficial effects of christianity, however, upon the manners and temporal happiness of the Saxon converts, are pleasingly represented. "Such were the pagau Saxons. But their ferocity