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to be wondered at, seeing that the Latin is in a reason
why, sugo some places so exceedingly difficult and obscure
gested. that it is quite impossible to determine the sense of the writer with any degree of certainty. This arises from the freedom of speech, volubility of expression, and highly figurative language made use of by Columbanus in those places, into which he also introduces many'words of impure Latinity, common perhaps in his day, but not occurring in the compositions of more classical writers. However, as I have given copious extracts from this epistle, and yet not all that may be interesting to the general student, (for the whole will repay a perusal,) I have thought it as well to give the document in this place in full, especially as there are some passages which are, or may appear, favourable to the enemies of our ancient ecclesiastical independence ; and it is as well to avoid all appearance of dealing unfairly with such a record, or setting forth a garbled view of the sentiments which it contains.
The passages which are difficult of transla- The system tion, and for that reason obscure or ambiguous in any degree, I have rendered as nearly as I could parts here
adopted, from conjecture, where able to do no better. explained. Such passages I have enclosed in brackets, with asterisks [*thus]. They might have been left out altogether (for the reader will easily see that they are neither very interesting nor of much
of rendering some
importance to the general subject,) but that it seemed likely to prove more satisfactory that nothing, so far as was possible, should be omitted from such a document. The words inclosed in simple brackets (thus] have been inserted in the usual manner, to complete the sense, and as being for the most part implied in the original. And the marginal references to the Scripture texts alluded to in the letter will be found to exhibit, in an interesting light, the writer's general acquaintance with the sacred Word of God, and his mode of applying its contents in a controversy such as that herein referred to. The Epistle itself is as follows:
“ To the most honoured head of all the Churches of ing address all Europe, that eminently exalted prelate, that pastor to Boniface.
of pastors, that most reverend watchman, that specially beloved pope (who at present fills the office); to [a personage] the most dignified one the most lowly (here] presumes to write; to him of highest rank one that is least of all; a rustic to an accomplished citizen; a stammerer to a master of eloquence; the last to him who is first; a stranger to the homeborn; a poor humble individual to the mighty potentate; [yea] strange [as it may be] to tell a thing unprecedented_a 'rara avis;' [it is) poor Palumbust (that presumes to write] to Fa
ther Boniface. An objec- “Which of our (*grave seniors*] will vouchsafe to tion to the nd an ear? Who (is there among them that] will not writing of
at once exclaim, 'What presumptuous, talkative being
+ Vid. p. 307, note, sup.
is this that ventures, uninvited, to write in such a strain ?' any such What [*criticising spirit*] will refrain from breaking letter on
the part of out immediately into that old expression of reproof, which St. Colum the Hebrew that was adoing a wrong to his brother hanus antimade use of in reply to Moses, viz., 'Who made thee a cipated. ruler or a judge over use?
Ex, ii, 14. “ In answer to such an objector I would first observe, His apology that it is no presumption [to adopt a course like this,] for such inwhere it is plain that a necessity exists, for the sake of terference. promoting the edification of the Church. And if he cavils at the person, (who offers these suggestions] let him consider, not, who I am that speak, but [rather,] what it is that I have to say. For why shall a Christian from another land observe silence, on a subject which has now for this long time past been affording matter of declamation to Arians nearer home? For better are the Proo, xxvii. wounds of a friend than the kisses of deceit from an enemy. Others, exulting (over the mischief,] are detracting in secret. I with pain and sorrow shall give utterance to my observations in a public form; not however on the advantages which attract unprincipled peace-makers, but on the evils of the unhappy schism (at present existing in the Church.]
It is not then from vanity or self-opinion that I, poor His motive, humble being of the very meanest condition, presume a godly zeal thus to address myself to persons of such exalted rank. for the For it is in sorrow rather than in self-esteem, that I feel myself obliged to express to you, in such a tone of the deepest humility as befits me, that the name of God is Rom. ii. 24. blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, contending sas you are] on both sides. For I am pained, I confess, at the infamy (that attaches] to the chair of St. Peter. I know to be sure that the matter is one rather too high for me, and that at the very outset I shall, as they say, expose my face to the coals. But then, what (signifies] to me a face before men, where a necessity exists for
Heb. xii. 1. making a display of zeal in defence of the faith? Before
founded before men is a glory, when it is in maintaining
the wages shall [in that case] be for myself [alone.] His purpose
“For it is as your friend, your disciple, your follower, to use free not as an ali that I shall speak, and therefore sball I
use freedom in my words, as (addressing myself ] to our speech, as
masters, and to [those that are] the governors and mysan earnest friend of the tic helmsmen of the
spiritual ship; saying to them, keep Church. a vigilant watch, for the sea is tempestuous, and its
waves are lashed wildly by the furious winds ; nor is it
sel is in danger.
Holy Scriptures,] according to the [inspiration of the] truth. Holy Ghost. We be men who receive nought beyond the
doctrine of the Evangelists and Apostles. There has been
• The title of “ Successors of the Apostles" was one commonly given
“On the strength of which considerations I have ga. st. Columthered confidence, and ventured, as having been pro- banus furvoked in a manner [to this act,] to rouse you against ther deprethose who are maligning your party, and exclaiming regarded as
cates being against them as receivers of heretics, and giving them of a contenthe name of schismatics, that my glorying, wherein I tious and arspake confidently in your defence, making reply to their rogant spirit
in writing objections, may not prove in vain ; and that they may be this letter. confounded, and not we. For I promised (to that party] on your behalf, that the Church of Rome would never defend a heretic in opposition to the Catholic faith; a sentiment which it is [but] proper for disciples to entertain concerning their master. Receive then with friendly spirit and gracious ear the suggestions proposed by an act of presumption which I could not avoid. For whatever I shall put forth either useful or orthodox, shall be reckoned to your account; since the merit of the master is estimated from the proficiency of the scholars Thus if the son shall have spoken with wisdom, the father will Prov. I. 1. have occasion to rejoice; and the credit [in this case] will be yours, inasmuch as it is from you, as I have intimated, that the occasion of it has proceeded. The purity [of the stream) must be attributed, not to the channel, but to the source. If bowever either in this epistle, or in the other against Agrippa, who provoked me to take up my pen, you shall find any unseasonable expressions, prompted as it were by a zeal exceeding due bounds, attribute them [I pray you] to a want of judgment on my part, not to the workings of an overbearing spirit.
" Awake then to vigilance, for the sake of the Church's He urges peace! Succour the sheep of your flock, excited to the pope to alarm as they now are, as through the terror of wolves, aion, in con
in the earliest ages to the Bishops of the Church, as succeeding to such