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1. D. 1622. Thenceforward, (i. e. from the twelfth century,)
English influence and English names began to have an undue and unfortunate prevalence in the Irish Church. But at length, when the prelates of this Church, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, agreed in discarding the power of the pope and his doctrines also, it was deemed necessary by those who were in love with the old superstitions and former corruptions to found a new Church here ; which they accordingly did as we have seen, in the reign of King James I., about 1200 years after the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland; and thus, a part of the people separating themselves from the ancient Church and ancient line of bishops, placed themselves under the patronage and guidance of the bishop of Rome, and those other bishops ordained in foreign countries and sent over hither by his authority; none of whom could ever pretend to trace their ordination's to the ancient Church of Ireland. So much for the boasted antiquity of the pre
sent Roman Catholic Church of this country. Il effects of Whatever benefits may have accrued at any English influence.
time to the Irish Church and realm from the acts of our English rulers, or more commonly from the exertions of individuals of that nation influenced by a pious zeal for doing good, (which our gratitude and respect for the memory of those individuals will not permit us to gainsay or deny) it is only too certain that such occasional benefits A. D. 1622. have been heavily outweighed by the many and long continued injuries inflicted on our people, both in their temporal and spiritual concerns, by means of their connection with the inhabitants of the adjoining isle. To set forth at any length our reasons for such a conviction would be out of place here, as involving matter too extensive for the narrow limits of the present volume, and in its nature too much of a political character for a work relating exclusively, (as far as possible) to our ecclesiastical history. Enough however will have been found even in the preceding pages to justify our view of the subject ; were it only in the plain historic statements which shew how entirely we owe to the proceedings of the princes and people of England, the introduction into Ireland of the fatal and oppressive yoke of Romish supremacy, with all its train of attendant evils. One observation more however, connected Mischievous
abuse of the with this particular, before we close. The undue
phrase and excessive prevalence of English influence,
of England" and an English spirit among us, does indeed ap- noticed. pear to have been undoubtedly prejudicial to the interests of the Reformed Irish Church. The parliamentary designation of “the United Church of England and Ireland” would seem, at least in the minds of many, to have almost
A. D. 1622. wholly swallowed up our individuality; and that
to such an extent, that many Irishmen in protesting against the usurpation and errors of the Church of Rome, seem to have got into a habit of thinking of themselves, and speaking of themselves as members of the “ Church of England," although in reality they are, properly speaking, no more that, than members of the Church of India, or Nova Scotia, or Gibraltar, or New Zealand. Cherishing the tie which binds us together, in Church fellowship and godly communion, with the flock of our Saviour Christ in England, may we of both islands, love one another more warmly, pray for one another more constantly, bear one anothers' burdens more patiently, help one another
more effectually in the service of the Lord, and of England" in labours for His Name's sake. But still, keep neither mo- we all the while in mind, that we of this isle, ther nor mistress, are not, by any right, subject to the authority of but sister, the Church of England: that the relationship Ireland. existing is not one between mistress and hand
maid, nor yet between mother and daughter, but that of sisters. And although the Church of the other isle may be in actual possession of many of the prerogatives of an elder sister ; nay, altogether she were even able to prove her baptismal certificate to be of earlier date than ours; this we are to recollect does not bind our consciences by any means to obey and follow her
to that of
dictates in all things. Be it hers to rest content A. D. 1622. with sisterly affection and love in the Lord, without any unreasonable or contentious desire to have us agree in all our tastes and habits : and be it ours to display conduct and behaviour more and more worthy of such as are “children, not of a bondwoman, but of a free.” For the ecclesiastical supremacy of the English crown over our branch of the Church Catholic militates not so against its spiritual independence, as to make it in the least subject to the Church of England or to its primate. The archbishops of Armagh and of Canterbury, alike recognizing the queen as their supreme head on earth by divine right, are, of right, alike independent in their spiritual offices of any other superior authority, except that of Him, who is “head over all things to the Church” universal.
When the agreement of the two Churches in Archbishop doctrine had been settled in the Convocation of views on 1634, by the reception of the English Articles this matter, in Ireland, it was further proposed by Bramhall, by him in the famous English bishop of Derry, that the the Convocanons also of England might be adopted for A. D. 1634. the use of the Irish Church ; that so both might have the same rule of government as well as of belief. Whereupon, * "an objection to this
• Mant, i. 495, 496, and Carte's Life of Ormond, there cited.
1. D. 1622, proposal was made with great earnestness by
the Lord Primate, [Archbishop Ussher,] that it would appear to be the betraying of the privileges of a national Church; that it might lead to placing the Church of England in a state of absolute superintendence and dominion over that of Ireland ; that it was convenient for some discrepancy to appear, if it were but to declare the free agency of the Church of Ireland, and to express her sense of rites and ceremonies, that there is no necessity of the same in all Churches, which are independent of each other, and that different canons and modes might coexist with the same faith, charity, and communion. By these and similar arguments” we are informed that “the Lord Primate prevailed with the Convocation, in which the prepossessions of many of its members inclined them to a favourable reception of his reasonings.” But whatever may have been the prepossessions which then gave them a distaste for those English canons, the motive assigned by the learned primate was good and sufficient for his cause, and it is one worthy of serious and attentive consideration even in these recent times, and after the partial alterations in our ecclesiastical polity and relations with England which have been since introduced. It may not be even yet too late to look for the correction of the evils produced by the mis