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Sok. God was not, tho' he was the first of all creatures :" in
which opinion many Bishops joined him, causing violent 5 disputes and animosities to the scandal of Christianity: Upon this, the Emperor convened a Council of the whole
Church at Nice, in the year 325. And tho' the subscriptions of that Synod now remaining, confused and imperfect
even in the best copies, make no mention of any British • Bishops; yet our Author imagines, that fome of them 6 were summoned, and did appear. But, be that as it may, it is plain, from the Canons of this Council, that the Bishops of a province had a power, among themselves, to constitute other Bishops, with the consent of the Metropolitan; that no person excommunicated by one Bishop, was to be received into communion by another; and that, to decide matters, in case of appeals, « Provincial Synods were to be held twice in ff a year, in Lent and Autumn;" and all this without the least mention of any superior authority then known.. Here then,' says our Author, we fix our right as to the British
Churches, that they were not under any Patriarchal Jurifdiction of the Bishop of Rome at this time: that is, that he never had the authority to consecrate the Metropolitans or
Bifhops of these Provinces ; that he never called them to his 6 Councils at Rome; that he had no appeals from hence ;
that the Britih Bishops never owned his jurisdiction over " them, and, therefore, that our Churches were still to enjoy
their former privileges, of being governed by their own provincial Synods.'»
Qur Author, however, thinking it became him to clear the British Church from the reproach of Arianism, which fome, it seems, have endeavoured to fix upon it at this early time, takes notice, next, of the Council of Ariminium, where
the British Bishops were present,' and where Arianism was established, "It is plain,' says the Doctor, - that the defini• tions there fubscribed in favour of Arianism, were extorted from them by the Emperor thro' fear; and, therefore, the
Bishops being returned, upon the death of Conftantius not long after, they settled the Nicene Faith in the Western Churches, by leffer assemblies of the several Bishops. This
is expressly said by Hilary of the Gallican Bishops, who 5 meeting at Paris, renounced the Council of Ariminium,
and embraced the Creed of Nice. The fame, we have reason to believe, was done in the Churches of Britain ; be cause, in the time of Jovian, Athanasius particularly takes no
tice, “ of the Britannic Churches as adhering to the Nicene 44 Faith.” But whatever imperial force was used to introduce
Arianism, the fame force, we apprehend, was violently retorted in subjugating the Church to admit Athanafianism ; and, however unexceptionable the evidence of Hilary may be, for the conduct of the Gallican Church, yet that of Athanafius, with reference to the British, comes from a person too remote, and too much interested, to be of any validity:
But Arianism was not the only herely the British Churches were charged with: Bede insinuates, that Pelagius being a Briton, and spreading his doctrine far and near, corrupted these churches with it,'The principles afcribed to Pelagius by the Church of Carthage, are summed up by our Author, who afterwards thus proceeds.
Lupus and Germanus, Bishops deputed by the Gallican Church, came over, by invitation into Britain ; and, in a
conference at Verulam with the Pelagians, defended the
Truth, in so strong and plain a manner, that they brought < off several from their errors, and left the Britons well let
tled, as they supposed, in the ancient Faith. But they wer no sooner returned to Gaul, than some of the Pelagians got ground again; which occasioned another message to Ger
manus, and another voyage from hini to Britain, in company ? with Severus. Despairing then to convince them any
more ! by arguments, because of their obftinacy and perverfness, • he procured their banishment, according to the edict of Va
lentinian; and from thence forward, says Bede, the British . Churches continued sound and orthodox.'.
But the Saxons, whom the Britons had called in to protect them from the ravages of the Picts and Scots, taking advantage of their own numbers, and of the distressful circumstances of their friends, stript them of their lands and property, persecuted them with the severest cruelty, and obliged them to take refuge in Wales. Here flourished the schools of learn'ing, set up by Dubricius, and Iltutus; and here were the
perfons of greatest reputation, for letters and religion, in " the British Churches, particularly St. David, whose name
continues in honour there to this day.' Let this then suffice as a summary of our Author's first book.
The Britons having been driven into Wales and Cornwal, by the Saxons, and Christianity every where insulted by these pagan invaders, the History of the Church affords nothing but a few traditionary events, without
order tion, till we come to the conversion of these Barbarians,' who remained in their primitive ignorance for more than one entire age, and some of them for more than two.
· This second book then contains an account of the converfion of these Saxons, of their relapses, and of their final recovery and settlement in the Faith ; till, at laft, almoft the whole Heptarchy became Christian; and such a coalition enfued among the several established Churches, as became the basis of what was afterwards denominated the Church of Eng. land.
Of the seven independent states, into which the Saxons had formed themselves, the kingdom of Kent was the first which was founded, and the first which was converted. The young and warlike Ethelbert, succeeding his father in thåt kingdom, demanded Bertha, a daughter of France, in marriage. Chilperic, King of the Franks, whose niece The was, refusing to enter into treaty for her, unless Ethelbert would engage to allow her the free exercise of her religion, and permit her to have her own priests about her ; these terms were complied with, and a church, built in the time of the Britons, near the east side of the city of Canterbury, and dedicated to St. Martin, was allotted for the place of her devotion.
In this favourable juncture, Pope Gregory the Great, about the latter end of the sixth century, sent into England, forty Benedictin Monks, with Austin, in quality of Abbot, at their head; who landing in the isle of Thanet, fent fome of his brethren to King Ethelbert. Shortly after this, the King,
accompanied with the Queen, and some of his court, went • into the island : and whether it was that the superstitions of the Pagan worship, had taught him to suspect some fafcination, or whether any part of Austin's conduct had given him a wrong idea of the Christian Faith, he was apprehenfive of charms and spells; and conducting himfelf by a received notion—as Creffy says, from an ancient prophecy of
their religion--that they could have no power over him in the ? open air, he took his seat in the field, and commanded Au
ftin to attend him there. The Abbot having received this ' command, put himself and his followers into the form of a • procession ; and erecting his silver cross, and carrying in his • banner the picture or image of our Saviour Christ, he and • his company, singing their Litany, came before the King. • Being asked, what they had to propose, and an intimation • from Ethelbert being given them to sit down, Austin open
ed his commillion; preaching the Gospel in a forcible and zealous manner. The King having beard, by the interpreter, an account of the nature and principles of Christianity, returned him an answer, which Bede has given us in
the following 'words. Your proposals are noble, and
your promises inviting ; but I cannot resolve upon quitting « the religion of my ancestors, for one that appears to me “ fupported only by the testimony of persons that are entire 6 strangers to me. However, since I perceive you have un« dertaken so long a journey, on purpose to impart to us u what you esteem of the most important, valuable confidera« tion, you shall not be sent away without some fatisfaction. “ I will take care that you are treated civilly in my domini« ons, and supplied with all things necessary and convenient: 4 and if any of my subjects, convinced by what
you “ to them, should desire to embrace your Faith, I will not be
against it.” When he was dismisfed from this audience, the King gave leave for the Missionaries to settle at Canterbury And thus began our fatal connections with the Papal See ; for as to the communication opened by Lucius, it seems to have dropt with himself.
Sometime, however, betwixt the year 597, in which AuItin arrived, and the year 601, King Ethelbert declared himfelf a Christian. The new converted Monarch was not & wanting, on his part, to promote the conversion of all his & fubjects, as far as it could be attained by instruction, and
good example; declaring, it seems, according to Bede, 5 that the religion of Christ was to make its way by argument . and persuasion, to be a matter of choice, and not of force
and violence. This is a sentiment which does honour to the « King's Instructor ; which thews, that he was himself of a
true Chriftian spirit ; and which it would have been well for ( the world, and for Christianity, if all the Princes of Christ ¢ endom, and the instructors in this religion would universally have imbibed.'
This success of Austin raised his hopes to the highest pitch. He haftened away to Arles, and there got himself consecrated Archbishop of the English. Gregory also sent him the Pall, and thus seized upon England as an appendage to his own Patriarchate.
This Pope having, in his letter to King Ethelbert, ada 4.vised him to demolish the places dedicated to idols, that no «marks of former superstition might remain ;' changed his opinion, on second thoughts: and, therefore, among other instructions to Austin at this time, there is a direction, forbidding him to destroy the temples used by the English for their pagan worship, and that having first cast out the
images of their deities, he thould with holy-water sprinkle 4 the walls, erect proper altars, furnish them with reliques,
and thus set them apart for the service of God. But what shall we fay to his instructions about the religious rites and usages
of the Pagans? Whereas," says he, they were wont to 66 kill many oxen in their sacrifices to devils, you may per“ fuade them to make this change in that solemnity; that on “the anniversary day of the dedication of their churches, in “ honour of the Saints whose names they bear, or whose re“ lists are deposited in them, they may raise tents or harbours « about the lamę,l, and celebrate the solemnity with merry feasting : at which time they must not immolate their beasts
to the devil, but kill them for meat to be eaten to the praise « of God, the giver of them. By this means, while we per'S mit them a continuance of their formeri external jollities, “ their minds will more easily be brought to entertain spiritual
joys. For it will be impoflible, at once, to draw such rude
untractable minds from all their former customs : they will “ not be brought to perfection by sudden leaps, but leisurely, “ by steps and degrees." -Thus, ever Ay, and deceitful, is Popery!
Qur Austin, out of the abundance of his zeal for the See of Rome, whence he derived his own metropolitical jurisdiction, took upon him to make the Britons. acknowlege
the Pope as Head of the whole Church.—The Historians, who deal in miracles, add moreover, that finding no good
was to be done by arguments, he caused a blind man to be s brought into the assembly, and when the Britons, had tried
in vain to restore his fight, he cured him by his prayers. But whether the miracle might not admit of some dispute ; or whether the Historians, who lived not till long after, might not be imposed upon, as in the case of miracles we know they almost always were, the Britons stood out against this evidence; and all that Austin could obtain, was, that they would advise on what was past, and meet again, and
determine the matter in another fynod.' They met, but disowned the Supremacy of Rome; and, in opposition to Auftin, maintained their own Independence.
After Boniface the fourth had succeeded Gregory in the Papacy, Ethelbert, King of Kent, died, in the year 613, or thereabouts. Upon his death, Eadbald, his son and fucceffor, permitted his subjects to restore the pagan worship, and the Christian intereft was reduced to very deplorable circumstances in the kingdom of Kent. But this was not
all: the calamity of the Church increased, and the storm
began to blow higher, upon the death of Sebert.'-No Tooner was he dead, than his three sons, who jointly succeeded