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during thirty-five years of his mission, have more enlarged its. objects, may be accounted for, partly from his insulated situation, and the very imperfect state of navigation at that pe: riod; partly from the charge of his various seminaries in Scotland and Ireland, and, indeed, that of nearly the whole eccle. siastical concerns of both countries, which devolved on him; but chiefly, perhaps, from his solicitude being evidently greater to lay a solid foundation for future usefulness, in the mature preparation of his assistants, than superficially to oco cupy a wider and more splendid theatre of action. He appears to have thought no length of time misemployed, for the qualification of missionaries, io instruct and edify the heathen, by their example, as well as by their doctrine. With a marked discrimination he urged forward some, whose constitutions were unpromising for permanent exertions, and whose piety erinced their readiness for eternity; while others, whose selfconfidence prompted them to activity, were resolutely restrained by him till he saw their tempers and habits duly con, formed to the work in which they were to engage
... Hence the entire ion of the northern Picts, and the extension of the gospel to other European islands, together with the edification of the neighbouring Scots, and the Bri. tons of Strath-clyde, (with whose pious bishop, Kentigern, he maintained an affectionate intercourse) seem chiefly, beside the care of Ireland, to have occupied the attention of Columba. That 'the southern Picts were not, however, disregarded by him, appears from the establishment of a society of Čuldees at Abernethy, in the last year of his life; and that he had in view, when practicable, also the conversion of the Angles and Saxons, who had then desolated the British churches, is evident, as he collected several of their youths at I-colm-kill, to instruct them in Christianity, and to prepare them for use. fulness among their barbarous compatriots.
"In this object, the affėctionate zeal of the Roman patriarch, Gregory, anticipated the prudent measures of Columba, as much as the fruits of the Roman missions were inferior to those of the Culdees, in solid piety and permanent utility. Difficult as it had been found by Gregory to excite any of the Romani ecclesiastics to undertake so hazardous an enterprise, some missionaries from Rome gained access to Britain, the same year
in which Columba died; and they not only pre. vailed on the Kentish and East Saxon kings to profess Chris tianity, but obtained sinilar success, twenty-eight years afterwards, in the kingdom of Northumberland, which adjoined to that of the Picts. In the latter instance, however, the king of the Angles, who had wrested that district from the Britons and southern Picts, did not patronize Christianity till he was satisfied of the disposition of his subjects to embrace it, which had therefore, probably, been produced by the efforts of neighbouring Christians for their conversion. It is certain that Kenti. gern, Bishop of Strath-clyde, extended his benevolent labours to the Angles who bordered on his district; and it is very unlikely that the youths educated at I-colm-kill for the purpose, should not, during such an interval, have followed, and exceeded his steps. The East Angles, who had seized Lincoli), Norfolk, and Suffolk, followed the pattern of the Northumbrians, in receiving baptism from the Roman missionaries; but the superficial nature of the impression from their labours in both these districts; was indicated (as it had been also in Kent and in Essex) by the subsequent apostacy of the people. To renew, to reform, and to perpetuate its vestiges, was reserved for the more efficient exertions of the Culdees. Before, however, proceeding to the event which opened the path to their progress in the English states, it is requisite to notice some points of doctrine and form, by which, as well as by superior piety and simplicity, they were distinguished from the Roman clergy in England.
It is to this subject, and to the places and dates of subsequent settlements of the Culdees in Scotland, that Dr. Jamieson's work chiefly relates. To attain an adequate idea of their characters and exertions, our readers must have recourse to tlie life of Columba by Dr. Smith, of Cambletown, from whose very interesting work, and from Archbishop Usher's Primordia, the preceding sketch is mostly taken. Our author has noticed a few trifling inaccuracies in Dr. Smith's volume; but if his own is read with lively interest, it will most probably arise from that which every pious reader of the former must have felt, in whatever relates to a society like that of the Culdees. Forms of ecclesiastical government, and even systems of religious opinions, are as distinct from, and inferior to, the spirit and practice of genuine Christianity, as the valves of an oystershell, compared with the pearl wliich they enclose. But the intrinsic excellence of Columba, and of his disciples, stamps importance on all that belonged to them. We, therefore, feel our obligations to Dr. J. for having laboriously investigated the minuter parts of their history, and for having shewn the connexion of these with similar topics in the reformation from popery in Scotland, at the same time that we shall endeavour to elucidate a far more important influence, which the labours of the Culdees appear to us to have had on that eventful period.
We have already noticed the simplicity and purity with which the gospel was first transmitted to Britain, and its subsequent preservation in our country from early superstitions
which polluted it at Rome. Its practical influence, nevertheless, had so lamentably declined (according to the testimony of a contemporary writer), that the desolation of the British churches by the Saxon conquest may be ascribed, consistently with the usual course of Divine Providence, to an abuse of invaluable blessings, by which Britain had been distinguished above other countries of Europe. The evangelist of Ireland had himself been dissolute in his youth; but having been taught, by a series of distresses, the inestimable worth of the gospel, he imparted what he had learned with a consistent piety and zeal. Columba found Christianity as Patric had left it; and his opportunities of inspecting the state and form of religion in other countries, enabled him duly to appreciate that which it had retained in his own. He appears long to have contemplated, and maturely to have determined, his methods of proceeding; and the peculiarities by which his followers were distinguished from their contemporaries, may, therefore, most reasonably be attribnted, not to ignorance or bigotry, but to the veneration which they justly retained for the instructions and pattern of a teacher, who judged for him. self, and adopted in his practice that which he deemed most scriptural and profitable.
It must, consequently, be gratifying to a serious Protestant to find, that the doctrines of the Culdees closely resembled those of our reformers; and that, in their mode of government and religious offices, they seem to have adopted a medium between those of different Protestant churches. We are far from censuring Dr J, for being disposed to assimilate these, more especially, to the presbytery of Scotland; but the facts which he has very properly adduced, appear to us to demonstrate, that the Culdees, though usually gaverned by a presbyter, were not inimical to episcopacy. In fact, the form of government which they retained was adapted to the object of their institution. They were intended, not for parochial, but for missionary services; and wherever they accepted a local charge, they naturally looked to the parent society for their designation to the episcopal office; but when there was opportunity of being ordained hy other bishops, they did not scruple to refer to their authority. Whether they investigated the question about the difference of order, or of degree, appears no otherwise than from their conduct.
This mode of government, however, could not but seem irregular, and exceptionable to the Roman clergy, who pot only maintained their episcopal authority to have been derived, in uninterrupted succession, from the apostles, but also demanded universal submission to the bishop of Rome, as the ostensible successor of St. Peter., To these claims the British churches appear to have been always either strangers or opponents; and as such were accounted schismatical by the Roman missionaries in England: but to the Culdees they made the additional objection, that many of them had noti even been episcopally ordained. Another subject of contenai tion between the Roman churches and those of Britain and Ireland, arose from an inconvenient difference of the seasonisi at which they respectively solemnized the anniversary of our Lord's resurrection. The very early disputes between the Roman and the Greek churches on this question are well known ; but these had long before been composed; and the Romans had adopted a new method of fixing that festival, which occasionally varied the time of observing it several weeks from either of the ancient seasons of its celebrations The Culdees, as well as the Britons, professed to adhere to the original eastern mode; and refused to coalesce with other Christians in this punctilio, with a tenacity which migbt be deemed absurd, if inatters of greater consequence, and even an unlimited subjection to the authority of the Roman bishop, would not have naturally resulted from their acquiescence. Of their rejection of the priestly tonsure, the saine might be said, if so ridiculous a distinction could either have been urged or admitted on any plea of utility.
The Culdees rejected the superstition of the holy oil in baptism; and if they practised the confirmation of youth, evidently did not acknowledge it as a sacrament. Of. the Lord's supper, they appear to have had no other idea than that: of a solemn and grateful commemoration of our Lord's sacrifice i of himself for our síns'; and respecting the ground of our acceptance with God, through faith in him, they were prototypes of our reformers. Of course they rejected all notions) of supererogatory obedience, all intercessions for the dead, and all reliance on their mediation with God for us. They did not even name their places of worship otherwise than as de. dicated to the Holy Trinity; and they resolutely opposed the growing predilection for the introduction of images. Confes sion to their priests, and absolution by them, were unknown to the Britons and the Irish.
The early requisitions of the Roman missionaries, that they should submit in these respects, and in all others, to their delegated authority, not only were rejected with contempts but were resented by the more rigid, with offensive indignac tion. The Roman bishop of Canterbury, at the commences, ment of the seventh century, complained, both that Columba, when in France, and an Irish bishop, named Dagan,wha: visited England, treated him and his assistants as heathens, or excommunicated persons. A conduet so imprudent, if not
uncharitable, is not, however, to be generally imputed to the Culdees, On foreign missions they co-operated, in numerous instances, with the Roman clergy; and they appear, not unfrequently, to have accepted of Roman ordination in England, they seem to have conformed as far as they conscientiously could; in Ireland, they too readily acquiesced in Ro. mish superstitions; and in Scotland, they gradually submitted to a systematic oppression, to which, finally, every thing, but their integrity, became a sacrifice. The liberal urbanity which characterised Columba's behaviour, as well as that of other eminent founders of missions; was very unlikely to be reversed by his disciples and successors : several of whom, indeed, were eminent in this qualification for usefulness, and some even extended it too far.
The utility of the Culdees in England, and their consequent encounter with the Romanists, was brought on by a revolution of the Northumbrian state, which had preceded its adoption of Christianity. The three sons of a monarch who lost his. life with his dominions, A. D. 617, were conveyed by his sur-: viving adherents into Scotland, where, although their progenitors had greatly molested both the Picts and the Scots, they were hospitably entertained, and were educated in the profession of Christianity, by the successors of Columba. All the royal youths in succession, attained to the throne of their ancestors. The eldest of them soon relapsed into heathenişm; but the second, whose name was Oswald, became consistently pious; and the youngest, Oswy, remained stedfast and zealous in the profession of Christianity, though he betrayed too plainly the predominance of a secular policy in his conduct.
Oswald, on acquiring the entire dominions of his father, A. D. 634, found the people immersed in Pagan superstition, withiu eight years after their baptism by the Roman missionaries. Earnest for their recovery from apostacy, he applied for their assistance to the instructors of his youth, by whom, Aidan, a man every way qualified for the office, was appointed. Bishop of the Northumbrians. His. Roman predecessor had fixed on the metropolis, York, for his episcopal seat; but Aidan, either from partiality to the pattern of Columba, or for the purpose of training úp ministers in retirement, removed it to Lindisfarne, an insulated spot on the coast, thence called Holy Island. He assembled twelve native youths to prepare them for teachers; but his own residence could be only occasional; for his labours were extensive and effectual. To his character, and indeed, to that of most other Culdees, their very opponents have borne the most honourable testimony. By their assistance, Oswald was enabled not only to recover his own subjects to a firm profes. sion of the Gospel, but likewise to extend its influence in other