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amongst them to make an abode, they will not vouchsafe to admitt us to their fellowship till we be compelled to spend forty days in Pennance.”—(Addressing Geruntius and his subjects, Aldhelm says:)—" Since therefore the truth of these things cannot be denyed, we doe with earnest humble prayers and bended knees beseech and adjure you, as you hope to attain to the fellowship of Angels in Gods heavenly kingdom, that
you will no longer with pride and stubbornes abhorr the doctrines and Decrees of the Blessed. Apostle S. Peter, nor pertinaciously and arrogantly despise the Tradition of the Roman Church, preferring before it the Decrees and ancient Rites of your Predecessours. For it was S. Peter, who having devoutly confessed the Son of God, was honoured by him with these Words, “Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevayle against it: And to thee will I give the keyes of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' If therefore the Keyes of the kingdom of heaven were given to S. Peter, who is he, who, having despised the principall Statuts and ordinances of his Church, can presumingly expect to enter with ioy, through the gate of the heavenly Paradise ? And if he by a peculiar Priviledge and happines received the power of binding and the Monarchy of loosing in heaven and earth, who is he, who, having reiected the Rule of the Paschall Solemnity, and the Rite of the Roman Tonsure, will not rather apprehend to be indissolubly bound than mercifully absolved from his sins."
Than the above, no greater proof of separation can be required, the arguments for the supremacy of the Pope being precisely the same as a modern Catholic would employ against a Protestant; and in the following observation, Aldhelm seems to allude to the Welsh saints:-"What proffit can any
* Cressy, Book XIX, Chap. 17.
one receive from good works done out of the Catholick Church, although a man would be never so strict in Regular Observances, or retire himself into a desart to practise an Anachoreticall life of Contemplation.”—The priests of the Demetæ, or Diocese of St. David's, are noticed, probably because they were those with whom the writer was best acquainted, * for no other author has observed a distinction between them and the rest of the clergy of Wales ; and the charge brought against them may, therefore, be extended to their brethren generally. According to Bede, the exertions of Aldhelm were able to reduce to conformity, only so many of the Britons as were subject to the kingdom of Wessex ;t from which it may fairly be presumed that they owed their conversion to the influence of their conquerors: those who maintained their independence as a nation, continued to adhere to the religion of their fathers. The manner, in which Catholic cism was afterwards introduced, has been already explained.
The evidence that the Britons, at this time, rejected with indignation the spiritual authority of Rome is the best that can be desired, for it rests upon the testimony of contemporary writers, who themselves were Catholics, and who were not Britons but Saxons. These researches, therefore, close, leaving the Welsh in the possession of a National Church and in the enjoyment of religious liberty. Why they were permitted to lose these valuable privileges is best known to the Ruler of events, who disposes all things for good. Posterity, however, cannot fail to observe a species of historical justice. To the descendants of the ancient Britons the Reformation was not only a restitution of blessings, which He who gave had every right to take away, but it brought an overwhelming X
* The explanation—"inhabiting beyond the bay of Severn,” added after Demetæ, applies equally to the Diocese of Llandaff; and South Wales taken as a whole, was the portion of Wales nearest to Wessex where Aldhelm resided. + Hist. Eccl. V. 18.
# Ibid. II. 20; et V. 23. § Pages 65, 66, and 305.
|| Aldhelm, Eddius, and Bede.
recompense in a translation of the Scriptures, which until that ? time the Welsh do not appear to have possessed ; and while
it may be argued on the credit of history, that the Pope has no prescriptive claim to the supremacy of the Church in this island, for the religious liberty of the Britons may be asserted upon an older title, yet the Bible is the great charter of Protestants. Upon this record must they ground their reasons for refusing to join in communion with Romanists, and so long as an unrestricted perusal of the Sacred volume is permitted to the people in their own language, a safeguard against error is established, which had the Britons possessed, they might have resisted the aggressions of Popery with better success. May their descendants, therefore, appreciate the gift; and so long as they adhere faithfully to doctrines derived immediately from Scripture, they are assured their privileges shall never
The word of God remaineth for ever. Distant ages may look upon Catholicism as a short episode in the annals of the past, but the Bible, rendered into the vernacular tongue, unfolds to the illiterate a prospect far beyond the merits and the duration of contending Churches, displaying, as it does, to the weakest understandings, the sure hope of salvation and the glories of a happy immortality.
be taken away.
APPENDIX, No. I.
SAINTS OF BRITAIN, FROM CRESSY'S CHURCH HISTORY OF
1. Joseph of Arimathea; apostle of the Britons and founder of a church at Glastonbury. Commemorated March 17. Died at Glastonbury July 27, A. D. 82.
2. Mansuetus, a Caledonian Briton ; disciple of St. Peter at Rome, and afterwards bishop of Toul in Lorrain. Comm. Sept. 3. Died A. D. 89.
3. Aristobulus, a disciple of St. Peter or St. Paul; sent as an apostle to the Britons and was the first bishop in Britain. Comm. March 15. Died at Glastonbury A. D. 99.
4. Claudia, supposed to have been a daughter of Caractacus, and the wife of Pudens. Comm. Aug. 7. Died at Sabinum, a city of Umbria in Italy A. D. 110.
5. Beatus, converted in Britain, afterwards a disciple of St. Peter at Rome. His first name was Suetonius. He became the apostle of the Helvetians. Comm. May 9. Died A. D. 110, at Underseven in Helvetia.
6. Phagan ; successor to Joseph in his Prefecture at Glastonbury.
7. Marcellus, a Briton ; bishop of Tongres and Triers; the first British martyr, but he suffered out of the island. Comm. Sept. 4. Martyred A. D. 166.
8. Timotheus, a son of Pudens and Claudia, and born at Rome; apostle to the Britons. Martyred at Rome A. D. 166, and commemorated March 24.
9. Theanus, the first bishop of London, about the year 185.
10. Elvanus, successor to St. Theanus. Cressy mentions his companion Medwinus, but does not call him a saint.
11. Lucius, king of Britain, “the first among kings which received the faith of Christ.” Converted in his old age A. D. 182, and his baptism is commemorated by the Romish Church May 26. After having established Christianity over the whole of his dominions he became the apostle of Bavaria, Rhætia, and Vindelicia. He was slain near Curia in Germany A. D. 201. His martyrdom is comm. Dec. 3.
12. Emerita ; sister of Lucius, and his companion in Germany ; martyred at Trimas near Curia, A. D. 193. Comm. Dec. 4.
13. Fugatius or Phaganus;-and
14. Damianus or Diruvianus ;-Legates sent from Rome by Pope Eleutherius to baptize K Lucius. They both died in the year 191, and are commemorated together May 24.
15. Mello, Mallo, Melanius, or Meloninus, a Briton ; bishop of Rouen in France. Comm. Oct. 22. Died A. D. 280.
16. Albanus of Verolam, the first martyr in Britain. His memory is celebrated in the English Martyrology on the twenty second of July, and in the Gallican on the twenty second of June. Martyred A. D. 287.
17. Amphibalus, a native of Caerleon, and the instructor of St. Alban. Martyred at Rudburn A. D. 287. His translation is comm. June 25.
18. Julius ;-and
19. Aaron ;-natives of Caerleon, at which place they were martyred together, soon after the martyrdom of St. Amphibalus. Comm. together July 1.
20. Stephanus ;-and
21. Socrates ;—“two noble British Christians” and disciples of St. Amphibalus, martyred in the persecution of Dioclesian.
22. Nicholas, a bishop of North Britain, for his piety styled Culdæus. Mart, A. D. 296.
23. Stephanus, the seventh bishop of London, is called a martyr, though he died a natural death, A. D. 300.
24. Augulus, eighth bishop of London. Died in the year 305, and comm. Feb. 7.
25. Helena, wife of Constantius emperor of Rome, and the mother of Constantine. Died A. D. 326 ; comm. Aug. 18.
26. Constar ne, emperor of Rome. Died A. D. 337; comm. May 21.