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A PRI L 1812.
Art. I.-- Tracts for all Places and all Times. Edited by Scot
tish Churchmen. Nos. I. and II. Edinburgh : Davidson. 1839, 1840.*
VI. • From whom,' asks Mr David Aitchison, (who styles himself
presbyter of the church in Scotland, and assistant pastor of St Andrew's Chapel, Glasgow,') in one of the most singularly ignorant sectarian and papistical productions which has appeared even from his own sect for many a long year, t- from whom have the present Scottish bishops derived their orders ?" And he answers, * From Augustine, archbishop of Canterbury, through the Anglican bishops.'
Augustine the monk being thus claimed, as indeed he must be granted to be, the father of English orders, and through them, of Scottish orders also,—if we can but prove that his mission into this country, and his own orders and jurisdiction, were uncanonical, we of course undermine and lay level with the dust all the pretended orders, powers, and jurisdiction which are founded upon the acts of Augustine and his successors. This is the point we have at pre
• This article is a continuation of a paper upon the same subject which appeared in our Number for July last, and proceeds upon the same principles.
+ . The Truth with Boldness,' (wbich we have heard rendered into the vulgar tongue, Falsehood with Impudence,) part i. p. 1). VOL. XV. NO. I.
sent before us, and which we purpose to establish in the shortest possible form. And
1st, Augustine was a crafty, cruel, arrogant, and unscrupulous monk, who came schismatically to sow dissension in a primitive church, from the very first independent of Rome, as it drew its origin, and derived its orders, not from the western, but from the eastern church, and consequently, on every principle of ecclesiastical jurisprudence, as well as from many express canons, he could possess no powers, nor exercise any functions in this country.
Whatever be the credibility of the tradition that Christianity was introduced into Britain by the apostle Paul, or by Joseph of Arimathea, or by Aristobulus, or any other apostolic missionary, it is certain that a church was established in this country in the second century, and almost equally certain that the missionaries came not from the west but from the east. This has been proved by Godwin, Ussher, Stillingfleet, and many others; nor is it indeed denied by papists themselves.
It is true the heathen Saxons, called in to their aid by the poor British, against the incursions of the Scots and the Picts, had by this time treacherously subjugated Kent, oppressed the rightful proprietors, and driven the native clergy from their cures. But this desolation, treacherously and cruelly effected by a foreign and antichristian power, could give Augustine no more right, on any principle recognised by high churchmen, or indeed on any principle whatever, civil or ecclesiastical, to take possession of these cures thus temporarily vacant, than the decapitation of Laud, for example, could give Hugh Peters a right to seize upon the see of Canterbury and the primacy of all England. Besides, there was at the court of Ethelbert, when Augustine arrived, a church, with Luidhard, a canonical bishop, as its pastor.* By the well-known authority of the fathers, all bishops, without regard to the extent of their cures, or anything extrinsic to themselves, are equal in honour and power.f Luidhard, consequently, as bishop, was equal to Pope Gregory, who sent Augustine, and on high church principles immensely superior to Augustine, who, when he first came to sow dissension, was only a presbyter. But if Luidhard was equal to Gregory in the church-general, at Canterbury he was immeasurably his superior, for, as we shall now show in the
2d place, Gregory had no canonical authority whatever within the realm of England. We have shown in our former paper, and now repeat, that by the canons a bishop has no power beyond his own diocese, and specially that he can exercise no function that pertains to the diocese of another bishop.* Gregory, indeed, who, like his successors, observed the canons only when they suited his own purposes, pretended to give Augustine • full jurisdiction over the British bishops.' But his power to grant such jurisdiction has very summarily been disposed of by Anglican divines. The learned translator of Du Pint thus demolishes the • full jurisdiction over the British bishops' which Gregory pretended to confer upon Augustine. • This was to give Austin what he (the pope) had no power to grant, like some of his successors in that see, (of Rome,) who very liberally bestowed the kingdom of England and Ireland upon the king of Spain; and therefore this pretended jurisdiction of the pope was vigorously opposed by the British bishops and monks in Austin's time, who refused to receive
* Bede, Eccl. Hist. lib. i. c. 25. + See the Authorities in Jameson's ' Nazienzeni Querela,' p. 216.
Romish custom different from those of their own church, ...' and the right of imposing them has been sufficiently disproved by our writers : ride Dr Basire on the exemption of the British patriarchate.'I The pope had then just as little right, by any law, human or divine, to intrude a primate upon a church, as he has now to impose a despot upon our nation. Gregory, consequently, by every ecclesiastical principle, usage, and law, could give Augustine no more jurisdiction in Canterbury, than the Anglican prelates of the present day can give to Bishop Alexander in Jerusalem. If, therefore, there be any authority in ancient canons, Augustine had no power in Britain, and Bishop Alexander can have no power in Syria, or anywhere out of England. If, indeed, we were disposed to stretch the canons to their full tension, we should depose Gregory, and the present Anglican primate and prelates who pretended to consecrate Mr Alexander to a foreign see, because in both cases there is as clear an instance of schism-rearing of altar against altar, setting up prelate against prelate, and withdrawing of subjects from canonical obedience, as ever was or could be perpetrated. Our present concern, however, is with Augustine only; and viewing his case as presented to us in history, no man who knows, and will impartially apply the laws and principles of the ancient church, can dissent from our conclusion that Augustine had and could have no authority or canonical powers whatever in this country, and therefore that the orders he pretended to confer, and the orders of our
• See Canon. Apost. 27, 28. Nicene 16. Sardican 15. + Eccl. Hist. v. 93. London, 1693.
To those who have not access to the work of that very high churchman, Basire, we would say vide Stillingfleet's Origines Britannicæ, chap. v., and of the London folio edition (1710) of bis Works, iji. pp. 221-6. Vide also Godwivus de Præsulibus Angliæ, Richardson's edition of 1713 (fol.) pp. 30-31. Vide moreover, Ussher's Religion of the Ancient Irish, c. 8 and 9, and as printed in the Cambridge edition, along with bis Answer to a Jesuit, pp. 585-609.
present English and Scottish prelatists, derived through them, are and must be utterly invalid.* But,
3d, As thus we have shown that Augustine had no canonical mission to England, so neither had he canonical consecration within it. Mr David Aitchison, following Bede,+ says that Augustine was consecrated by Etherius of Arles. Richardson, in his edition of Godwin, (p. 37,) says, on the authority of registers still extant, that he was consecrated by Eucherius of Arles. But Du Pin shows that there were no such bishops as Etherius or Eucherius then at Arles. There was an Etherius at that time, indeed, in Lyons, but the then prelate of Arles was Virgilius. Du Pin seems inclined to admit that Augustine was consecrated by the former, but Pope Gregory, who ought to know something of the matter, in a letter still extant, says that he was consecrated in Germany. The point is so dark, and the authorities so conflicting, that while Du Pin proves that Bede was mistaken, Baronius would show that Gregory also was at fault. It is in fact impossible to reconcile the conflicting authorities upon the subject, without admitting that some of them were in error, without its being now possible to know which of them it was, or whether they were not all mistaken. And yet it is upon such conflicting and mutually destructive statements, that we are now required to stake our eternal salvation, by an implicit uninquiring faith in the apostolical succession of our English and Scottish prelatists !
But let us grant that Augustine was consecrated at Arles, or at Lyons, or in Germany, or, if you will, in all the three; still, inasmuch as the prelates of these quarters had no canonical jurisdiction in England—and this by the mere absolute assurance that there were legitimate prelates there at the time-it follows that Augustine's consecration, and all his subsequent acts, and, consequently, the orders of our Anglican and Scottican prelatists, were and are null and void.
We might safely rest our cause upon these flaws in the orders of Augustine himself, but we will now show, that although Augustine
Our readers, of course, could not sympathise with, or perhaps comprehend the cause of that excitement which the recent appointment of a bishop to Jerusalem produced among the Puseyite faction in England. Let any one, however, read the recent pamphlets of Hook, (* Letter to a Friend' upon this subject,) Hope (* Bishopric of the United Churches of England and Ireland at Jerusalem Considered,') and Pal. mer of Magdalene College, Oxford, (* Aids to Reflection on the seemingly double character of the Established Church, with reference to the Bishopric at Jerusalem,') and apply besides the canons of ancient councils, and it must manifestly appear that there was no slight ground for that excitement, for in fact the appointment of Mr Alexander to Jerusalem is an act of pure schism, which places the Anglican establishinent beyond the pale of catholicity. + Lib. i. c. 27.
# Eccl. Hist. v. 90. note.
had had the most valid orders that were ever possessed, it could avail nothing to those who profess to derive their orders through him. We, therefore, in the
4th place, remark, That the pretended orders conferred by Augustine were invalid, because there were fatal flaws in the mode by which they were conferred. Our readers will remember that one of the canons we laid down in our former paper as essential to orders was, that three bishops are necessary, except in cases of the utmost necessity, when two are permitted to consecrate a brother. But when Augustine came to England, as he was disowned by the native prelates, and was himself the only Romish prelate in the island, he quietly laid the canons on the shelf, and not only ordained presbyters, but actually consecrated prelates, or pretended to do so, singly and alone. Mr David Aitchison either knew this fact or he did not. If he did not know it, what are we to think of his modesty in presuming to write upon a subject of which he is profoundly ignorant? And if he did know it, what are we to think of his candour in concealing it from his readers? No doubt, his temptations were strong; for to have acknowledged the fact that his orders are derived through consecrations so uncanonical, were to have at once confessed that he is guilty of the sin of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, which he and his party so often lay to the charge of our ministers. Let Mr David Aitchison, however, set himself right with the public in the best way he can ! we have only to establish the point that Augustine alone, in the very teeth of the canons, consecrated, or rather pretended to consecrate, prelates; and we need not go far for our proof, for that fact is established on the testimony of so warm a partizan of Rome as the venerable Bede himself, and is in fact not now denied, no, nor even doubted, by any competent authority whatever.*
Gregory himself seems to have felt that this most uncanonical course of procedure was altogether unwarrantable. In order to rectify the errors that had thus crept into the acts of Augustine, the pontiff recommends that, as soon as he had consecrated a sufficient number of prelates, he should place them in contiguous sees, that whenever occasion arose to consecrate others, he might summon them to assist him, in order, as he says, that no ordination of a bishop be performed without assembling three or four bishops ; 't just as if à return to canonical obedience could possibly homologate previous uncanonical proceedings;—as if, for example, the illegality of an act of bigamy could be legalized by the subsequent death of the first wife! All the consecrations performed by Augustine, consequently, were utterly uncanonical and invalid,
• Eccl. Hist., lib. i. c. 27, ii. 3.
+ Bede, ut supra.