Page images
PDF
EPUB

is impossible, 42—44.

Appendix, 45–48.

THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, APOSTO

LICAL IN ITS ORIGIN, ETC.

SECTION I.

The Church of England, Apostolical in its Origin.

Century I. Our Sıviour's command, 4.-The universal diffusion of the Gospel, attested by Holy Scripture, and ancient Church writers, 4, 5.-The Church of England, Apostolical in its Origin.--Its first Teachers ; St. Paul especially spoken of, 4–8. Century II. Lucius, the first Christian king ; his history, 9-10,- Century III. Alleged persecution, 10.-Tertullian and Origen on Christianity in Britain, 10, 11.-Druidical worship, 11. -Century IV. The Diocletian persecution ; and its victims in Britain, 11.-Constantine, the first Christian em peror, a Briton, 11.—Councils enumerated, and their Canons ; British bishops, when present, 12, 13.–Arianism in Britain, 13. -Orthodoxy of the British bishops, 14, 15.Century V. Pelagias, a Briton ; Councils against his heresy in Britain, at which Gallic bishops assist, 15, 16.-Rome taken, 16.–Saxons arrive in Britain, 16.-Roman walls and forces in Britain, 16, 17. — Anglo-Saxon persecution, and eventual flight of British bishops, 17.-British and Scottish preachers, at various times, estublish Christianity in North Britain and Ireland, 18. · The British Liturgy noticed, 18, 19, Arnobius on Christianity in Britain, 19. - Century VI. Gildas, Kentigern, and other Britons, preach to the heathen Saxons, 19.- Christianity openly professed by the Princess Bertha, in Kent, 19.-St. David, the British metropolitan, overthrows Pelagianism, 20.--Bertha, attended by Bishop Luidhard, at Canterbury, 20.- The Roman mission, under Augustine, and King Ethelbert's conversion, 20, 21.-Century VII. Extension of the Anglo-Saxon Church, 21.-Augustine's conferences with the British clergy ; his demands, and their refusal and massacre, 21—24.-The remarkable decline of the Roman mission, 24, 25.-Wini, the only canonical bishop, surviving, 25.

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 45 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

3 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. 5 Usser. I., 2 ; Stilling fleet, 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 attempted 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. & 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.

9 Acts xxviii. 30, 31; Romans i. 11, 13, 15; xv. 19-24; 2 Timothy iv. 16 ; Stillingfleet, ibid.

9 Romans xi. 13.
10 Philippians iv. 3.

« PreviousContinue »