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The Editor is much indebted to “J. G. A.,” but fears that the Biography in question would not have any connexion with the objects of the British Magazine,
" A Constant Reader,” after some remarks in commendation of Mr. Gresley's “ Eccle. siastes Anglicanus,” goes on as follows:-“But the object of my present letter is to offer a few remarks on the general usefulness of didactic treatises. Whether any one ever studied a didactic treatise in order to know how to become a poet or an orator ? and whether, if they did, it did them any good ?' are questions which, with yourself, I should be inclined to answer in the negative Poeta nascitur non fit;' and the same may be said, perhaps, of orators, and of a few preachers. But, surely, if there were a poet-laureate in every parish, who was bound to furnish an ode once a week, there would be need of some new treatise, de Arti Poeticâ,' to suggest even the first principles of versification. I cannot but think that our young clergymen need some help of this sort. How many are totally unacquainted with their office when they begin to preach, and are settled in parishes where there is no one competent to give them the slightest hint, and where they hear their own voice only from one year's end to another. It is true that common sense will suggest inany rules to a preacher, but I apprehend that many flounder on for years before they even discover their manifold deficiencies, which a plain and sensible treatise would at once point out to them. Perhaps one of the principal uses of a didactic treatise is, to turn the attention of young preachers to the different branches of their office, and this seems to be sufficiently done in the « Ecclesiastes Anglicanus." Without being, or professing to be, a precise and formal treatise, it unfolds the subject in a plain and intelligible manner, and presents it to the good sense of the reader to form his own judgment upon. If any divine of acknowledged ability and piety would furnish the younger clergy with a more perfect work, the “ Ecclesiastes Anglicanus" must, of course, retire into the
but in the absence of such a work, I think it a pity that your influential Review should check its circulation.
The following letters have been received :-"W. P.,” “B. A. Cant.," "A Curate,” “ An Undergraduate of Cambridge."
The following are in type :—“On the Days of Creation,” “Musical Festivals,” “ Parochial Psalmody,” “ Leslie on Ecclesiastical History,” “ Sabbath and other Levitical Ordinances," “Society for Propagation of the Gospel.”
It would be a great kindness if correspondents would study brevity. The first of the above letters in type makes five pages and three-quarters. Of course, such length is most inconvenient.
An extra half-sheet of letter-press is given with the present Number in consequence of the Proprietors being disappointed in receiving a plate.
DEC. 1, 1835.
THE WRITINGS OF ST. PATRICK.
It is not, I believe, very generally known, that several short works are extant, some of which perhaps falsely, but others with great probability, are attributed to St. Patrick, the apostle of Ireland. As a sequel to the valuable paper “On the Introduction of Christianity into Ireland, and on the Life of St. Patrick,” which appeared in the September Number of the “ British Magazine,” (p. 259), I have drawn up the following account of these remains, (including the canons of synods at which St. Patrick is said to have presided,) which, I trust, will prove acceptable to those who have been interested by the
paper alluded to:
In the year 1656, Sir James Ware,* to whom Irish antiquities and Irish church history are so deeply indebted, published these remains of St. Patrick in a small volume, which is now become scarce ; and, in the beginning of the present year (1835), a new and very valuable edition of them, accompanied by notes replete with learning and deep knowledge of ecclesiastical antiquity, was published in Dublin by a Spanish Roman-catholic priest,+ who is now a resident of that city, having been compelled, as it is said, to leave his own country in consequence of his political opinions. From these works I have drawn the chief materials for the following account of the extant writings of St. Patrick.
S. Patricii, qui Hibernos ad fidem Christi convertit, adscripta Opuscula, &c. opera et studio Jacobi Waræi Equi Aurati. Lond. 1656.
+ The title of this work is as follows—“ Sancti Patricii Ibernorum Apostoli, Synodi, Canones, Opuscula, et Scriptorum quæ supersunt fragmenta ; Scholiis illustrata a Joachimo Laurentio Villanueva, Presbytero."
VOL. VIII.- Dec. 1835.
I shall begin with the canons of the synods at which St. Patrick is said to have presided.
I. The first of these is a collection of thirty-four canons, entitled, “Synodus episcoporum id est, Patricii, Auxilii, et Ísernini," which was first published in 1639 by Henry Spelman in his Concilia Magne Brit. et Hib., from a MS. of considerable antiquity in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. This synod is assigned to the year 450, as agreeing best with the fact that Auxilius and Iserninus were united with St. Patrick in holding it,* and contains internal evidence of high antiquity. For-1. Can. 6 excommunicates all ecclesiastics whose wives appear unveiled in public—“Si uxor ejus non velato capite ambulaverit,” from which it appears that celibacy was not then enjoined to the clergy.† 2. Some of the canons imply the existence of heathenism in the country. As Can. 8, which provides a penalty for an ecclesiastic who becomes surety for a Gentile ; and Can. 14, which imposes a penance on such Christians as consult augurs, “ more gentilium.”+ The learned and copious notes of M. Villanueva have pointed out in these canons many remarkable usages and peculiarities of the primitive church of Ireland.s Of the two bishops who were united with St.
• Harris assigns it to the year 448, (Ware's Bishops, p. 20,) and others, with still less probability, to the year 439. (See M. Villanueva's Scholia, No. 1, p. 6, et seq., and Ware's notes Opusc. S. Patr. p. 122.)
+ It is curious that M. Villanueva takes no notice of this passage, although he attempts to explain the circumstance of St. Patrick's father being a deacon, and his grandfather a priest, by supposing them to have taken orders after their marriage. In the copy of this canon, printed by Martene, ( Thesaur. Anecdot., tom. iv., col. 5,) the word ejus is left out—“Et uxor si non velato capite ambulaverit."
See also Can. 13 and 16. § One very remarkable peculiarity of the Irish church, introduced by St. Patrick, was the practice of annual synods or councils of the bishops; and hence the number of canons attributed to early periods of the church of Ireland which have come down to our times. Another peculiarity was the great number of episcopal sees. The author of the Tripartite Life tells us that St. Patrick consecrated 370 bishops, ( Vit. Trip., p. iii., c. 97.) Nonnius ( Hist. Walens.) says 355, and Jocelin 350, ( Vit. S. Pat., cap. 185.) From Can. 6 of the foregoing collection, it appears that St. Patrick either introduced the tonsure into Ireland, or changed the form of it-“Quicunque clericus, ab ostiario usque ad sacerdotem......si non more Romano capilli ejus tonsi sunt......pariter a laieis contempnentur, et ab ecclesia separentur." Lanigan (Becl. Hist. of Ireland, vol. iv., cap. 32, p. 361, &c.) doubts the genuineness of the clause relating to tonsure, which he thinks was not received in Ireland before the seventh or eighth century. M. Villanueva, bowever, maintains its genuineness, and en deavours to prove that the Roman form of tonsure was introduced by St. Patrick. This was sometimes called the form of St. Peter, being supposed to have been devised by that apostle—“ Ad similitudinem spineæ coroneæ Domini.” (Alcuin de Div. Off., apud Villan., p. 34.) There was another form of tonsure attributed to St. Paul, which was used in the eastern church, and probably in Ireland before the introduction of the Roman. But it is certain that in St. Jerome's time the shaven crown was peculiar to the priests of the heathen. (Bingham Antiq., book vi., ch. 4, $ 16.)
Patrick in drawing up these canons,* it may be necessary to say, that St. Auxilius was the son of St. Patrick's sister, and was Bishop of Ceall-usaille, or Kill-vasille, or Kill-aurille, [i. e., cella Auxilii,] near Kildare. He died A.D. 459 or 460. (See his Life, published by Colgan, Acta SS. Hiberniæ, ad 19, Martii.) St. Iserninus, also called Esserinus, Esserninus, and sometimes Serenus, was Bishop of Kill-chuilinn, and died about the year 470.
II. Another collection of thirty-one canons or capitula, is also extant, and ascribed to St. Patrick. A copy of it was sent to Archbishop Ussher from a MS. at Angers, in France, by the celebrated Sirmondi, and was published in 1639 by Spelman, in his “ Concilia Britanniæ." The date of this synod cannot be determined with any certainty, and the text is very corrupt.
III. Three canons, ascribed to St. Patrick, in an ancient Anglo-Saxon MS. collection of canons, (Coder Canonum Titulorum, lxvi.), which formerly belonged to the Augustinian monastery at Canterbury, and is now preserved in the Cotton Library, were first printed by Ware, in 1656, and afterwards by Wilkins, in his “ Concilia Anglia et Hibernie ;”+ they are entitled “ De Unitate Subditorum, « De Furto in Ecclesia Peracto," and “ De Veris Viduis." From this last it would seem, that the office of deaconess was then in use in the Irish church. (See Bingham Antiq., book ii., chap. 22.)
To these M. Villanueva has added two canons relating to divorce and adultery, from the same MS. in Corpus Christi College library from which Spelman edited the synod of St. Patrick, St. Auxilíus, and St. Iserninus, already noticed. The MS., however, does not distinctly say whether they are St. Patrick's or not.
M. Villanueva has also annexed two canons, De Excommunicatione, and De Abstinentia Ciborum, which are attributed to St. Gildas, an Irish abbot, and Professor in the ancient school of Armagh in the fifth and beginning of the sixth century. The latter of these appears (but with some variations) in the collection of canons made in Ireland in the eighth century, published by D'Achery.I M. Villanueva speaks of Gildas as identical with Gildas called 'Albanius, and Badonicus, without seeming to be aware that their identity has been questioned, and apparently on
Some of these canons are found in a MS. collection, which will be mentioned hereafter, entitled, “ Codex Canonum Titulorum,” lxvi., in the Cotton Library, and are there ascribed to St. Patrick, without any mention of the other bishops. (Ware, Annot., p. 123.)
+ Although Ware gives those canong as existing in the MS. at Bene't College, Cambridge, yet, as M. Villanueva remarks, he appears to have transcribed them from the Cotton MS., which he follows in his text.
| Spicileg., tom. ix., lib. xii., cap. 14.
very sufficient grounds. But this is not the place to discuss the point.*
IV. The next is a collection of nine canons, ascribed to St. Patrick, in the Cotton MS. already noticed. Two of them (the fifth and sixth) were first published by Ussher, and the rest by Ware. They are assigned to the year 456.
V. The next is a short fragment, entitled, Fragmentum Synodi Ibernensis," which determines the punishment of such as may have shed the blood of, or robbed a bishop, a chieftain,t or a scribe.
The first sentence is, perhaps, worth quoting, as containing apparently an allusion to the judges or brehons of Ireland, and also as shewing the esteem in which a scribe was then held—“Synodus Ibernensis decrevit : sanguis episcopi vel excelsi principis, vel scribæ, qui ad terram effunditur, si collirio indiguerit, eum qui effuderit sapientes crucifigi judicant, vel vii. ancillas reddat.”| This and another synod, called Synodus Sapientia, which consists of seven canons concerning the payment of tithes, are supposed by Martene to be the same, and to have been celebrated in St. Patrick's times. They are both edited by Martene, (Thesaur. Nov. Anecdot., tom. iv.,) from a MS. eight hundred years old. The canons on tithes enforce the duty of their payment ex jure naturali, as well as ex institutione ecclesia. It speaks also of the payment of first fruits, which are thus defined—“ Primus fructus omnis rei, et animal quod primùm nascitur in anno.” M. Villanueva remarks,“ Singularia quidem sunt, et notatu digna quæ de solvendarum decimarum et primitiarum in Ibernia ratione ab hac synodo sanciuntur.” So that it appears that the Irish were always " singular" in their mode of paying tithes. What would St. Patrick say to the manner in which they are paid now?
VI. The next piece is entitled “ Proverbia S. Patricii," which, though not properly canons, are of the same character, and perhaps were collected from some of his synodical enactments. Joceline speaks of a book of Proverbs, (libellus Pro
See Ware's Writers of Ireland, by Harris; Butler, Lives of the Saints, in Jan. 29; O'Connor, Rer. Hib. Scriptores, vol. i. ; Ussher, Brit. Eccl. Primord,, car. xiii. and xv.
† So I at first thought the word princeps ought to be understood; but on consideration I suppose that it rather means an ecclesiastical superior, as Ware seems to have proved, in his note on Can. 2 and 3 of the collection of nine canons ascribed to St. Patrick, (p. 119). See also M. Villanueva's notes, p. 162. From the mention of the sapientes, Martene concludes that this fragment is a part of the Synodus Sapientia. I know not whether I am right in supposing the brehons to be alluded
I To explain this apparently curious alternative, the reader must be reminded that vii. uncilla meant the price or ransomn of seven female slaves. Collirium probably incans a tomb, or mound of stones or carth, such as are common in Ireland. The word is not mentioned by Du Cange; but sec Gesner.
Villanueva, Op. S. Patr., p. 170.