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MR. MOORE'S HISTORY OF IRELAND.
SIR,—The following observations on those parts of Mr. T. Moore's “ History of Ireland," * which relate to the introduetion of Christianity into that country, are offered for insertion in the British Magazine, with the hope that they may in some degree serve the cause of truth.
It would be needless to inform such of your readers as are aware that Mr. M. is a Roman Catholic, that he considers the “mission of St. Patrick to form the principal feature" in the early history of the Irish church. Nor will it be necessary to canvass the truth or falsehood of the glowing description which Mr. M. gives (p. 203) of his, St. Patrick's, ministry among the Irish, because all who have read the observations to be found on this subject in the two last numbers of your Magazine, must be satisfied that the saint of Mr. M. and the true apostle of Ireland are totally distinct personages. Preliminary, therefore, to an examination of some of Mr. M.'s statements and quotations, it shall suffice to protest against the unchristian principle involved in the following passage and note :
“ The same policy by which Christianity did not disdain to win her way in more polished countries, was adopted by the first missionaries in Ireland; and the outward forms of past error became the vehicle through which new and vital truths were conveyed. The days devoted from old times to pagan festivals, were now transferred to the service of the Christian cause. The feast of Samhin, which had been held annually at the time of the vernal equinox, was found opportunely to coincide with the celebration of Easter; and the fires lighted up by the pagan Irish to welcome the summer solstice, were continued afterwards, and even down to the present day, in honour of the eve of St. John.” (pp. 204, 205.)
If in this passage for the words “ Christianity” and “ Christians," we substitute “popery” and “ papists,” Mr. M. may be considered as giving a very fair representation of the practices of the church to which he belongs; but of such a palpable compromise between Christ and Belial the « early Christians knew nothing. In justice to Gregory, however, it ought to be stated, that in a letter to Ethelbert, which Bede gives two chapters further on, the pope exhorts that king to root out the worship of idols, and to destroy their temples—“idolorum cultus insequere ; fanorum ædificia everte" (Bede, lib. i., c. 32): whence we may conclude, either that Gregory did not always recommend the policy attributed to him by Mr. M., or that (like a true papist) he gave secret instructions to his agents which were in direct opposition to the advice tendered by him to the king. But be this as it
may, it has ever been a fixed principle with the Romish church to
*.« The History of Ireland,” by Thomas Moore, Esq., Vol. I.
+ “ 'The very same policy was recommended by Pope Gregory to Augustine and his fellow-labourers in England. See his letter to the Abbot Mellitus in Bede, (lib. i. c. 30,) where he suggests that the temples of the idols in that nation ought not to be destroyed.” [Then follows a translation of part of the letter in question, and a reference to Hume's “Remarks on the Policy of the first Missionaries,” vol. i., chap. 1 ; and Mr. M. proceeds :] “ With similar views, the early Christians selected, in general, for the festivals of their church, such days as had become hallowed to the pagans by the celebrations of some of their religious solemnities.”
other consideration yield to the establishment of the pope's supremacy over those nations which, in evil hour, may have been visited by popish missionaries. Hence, whether we regard the labours of those missionaries in former or modern times, we shall be at no loss for examples of their toleration of all kinds of idolatrous rites among their heathen converts, provided the latter were willing to yield implicit obedience to “ Christ's vicar upon earth.” Nay, the use of incense and holy water, and shrines and images, and wax lights and votive offerings, and the many other superstitious practices which the Romish church revived from the ceremonial of the defunct heathenism of the empire, would seem to indicate that allegiance to the holy see is only to be expected in proportion as the religion of a nation is assimilated to paganism.*
That the effect of a mode of conversion which leaves "ancient ceremonies and symbols of faith” unmolested, should prove somewhat extensive, is not to be wondered at; for when heathens are permitted to retain the substance of their idolatrous rites, the new name under which idolatry is perpetrated is not very likely to create opposition. When Mr. M., therefore, tells us, that his “ great apostle" of Ireland employed such gentle methods and skilful, to procure converts, as left the ancient Irish in possession of their pagan
festivals and ceremonies, we are prepared to credit such glowing language as, “ Christianity burst forth at the first ray of apostolic light, and, with the sudden ripeness of a northern summer, at once covered the whole land,” (p. 203); or the assertion of old Giraldus Cambrensis, “ Baptizatis itaque catervatim populis" (Topog. Hib., Dist. iii. 16.)
eed we be surprised that there was not one drop of blood shed on account of religion throughout the course of this mild Christian revolution,” (p. 203); for why should there be any resistance to the labours of an apostle who, according to Mr. M., carefully abstained from touching “ that prejudice in favour of old institutions which is so inherent in the Irish,” (p. 204.) Mr. M., however, is in a great wrath with the old writer above mentioned, for adducing this “ bloodless triumph of Christianity” as a serious fault in the Irish nation. In a note, page 204, he observes
“ Giraldus Cambrensis has been guilty of either the bigotry or stupidity of adducing this bloodless triumph of Christianity among the Irish as a charge against that people :-Pro Christi ccclesia corona martyri nulla. Non igitur inventus est in partibus istis, qui ecclesiæ surgentis fundamenta sanguinis effusione cementarat : non fuit qui facerit (i. e. facerct] hoc bonum; non fuit usque ad unuin. Topog. Hib., dist. iii., cap. 29."
Now, independently of this reference to Giraldus being given wrong, there is a want of good faith in the use made of the quotation itself. In the Topog. Hib., Dist. ii., c. 28, Giraldus Cambrensis is not discussing the "bloodless triumph of Christianity," but the great negligence of
* It is scarcely necessary to remind your readers of the fifth of Pascal's Prorincial Letters ; of the accounts contained in the celebrated Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses; and of the Abbe Dubois's Lettres, &c., on the conversions to Christianity in the East Indies.
the bishops and others, who left unreproved and uncorrected a people guilty of such enormous offences as were chargeable upon the Irish. He asserts that there was not an individual who would lift up his voice like a trumpet-none who would contend to banishment and death in behalf of that church which Christ had purchased with his precious blood. “Mirum itaque," he adds, “quod ubi gens crudelissima et sanguinis sitibunda, fides ab antiquo fundata et semper tepidissima, pro Christi ecclesia corona martyri nulla, &c. . . . Sunt enim pastores, qui non pascere quærunt, sed pauci sunt prælati, qui non prodesse cupiunt, sed præesse. Sunt episcopi, qui non omen, sed nomen; non onus, sed honorem amplectuntur.” It may, therefore, be now demanded, What other conclusion could the most liberal and quickwitted person deduce from such premises, other than that arrived at by Giraldus? And what “stupidity or bigotry” is there in bringing the “ bloodless triumph of” such “ Christianity” as that described by Giraldus, in the form of a “charge,” not “ against the people” generally, as Mr. M. would lead his readers to suppose, but against their superior clergy-that class of persons among whom martyrs were, in other nations, plentifully found? One can conceive many reasons why a writer, attached to a party which professes to entertain a righteous horror of a “sinecure church,” should have no pleasure in the contemplation of such a priesthood as that which Giraldus reproves, or why “that sort of retrospective imagination which for ever yearns after the past,” (p. 203,) should be disappointed to find that “ the finest peasantry in the world” has not been rendered 6 exceedingly cruel and blood-thirsty” by any modern device; but it is scarcely to be credited that even Mr. M. would in this instance have hazarded his reproof of Giraldus Cambrensis if he had happened to have read that author for himself. Nor can Mr. M. be considered more fortunate in fixing on the “ Feast of Samhin," (which occurred on the first of November,) as “opportunely coinciding with the celebration of Easter;" and it may be added, in passing, that few advocates for the Romish original of the church in Ireland would care to number among their proofs in favour of such an opinion, the lighting up of fires“ in honour of the eve of St. John.”
C. E. G.
DISSENTERS' FUNERALS. MY DEAR SIR,—Through the pages of your Magazine I asked the following questions :
(1.) Whether or not & clergyman ought to refuse to permit dissenters to sing a hymn in the churchyard after a funeral ? Since that, the opinion of Dr. Lushington, as I find by the papers, has been taken on the subject. This, I suppose, will be considered as setting the matter at rest, as to the right of the dissenters' claim, but does it follow that we ought to refuse to permit such a performance to take place after we have finished the service and left the grave ?* And if
• The only answer to this question must be, that the clergyman who gives such permission to sectaries as this question contemplates, voluntarily encourages irregular
so, does this responsibility fall on the officiating minister, whether incumbent or curate, or on the person (whether clerical or lay) in whom the freehold of the churchyard is vested ?
(2.) My second question remains altogether unanswered, as to whether a clergyman may permit a psalm to be sung in the church on such an occasion.
Yours, faithfully, D. I. E.
POPERY IN ENGLAND.
Popery IN ENGLAND. - We feel pleasure in announcing to our readers, that a ne catholic chapel was opened for Divine service at Weobly, in Herefordshire, on Thursday, the 15th instant. The Rev. Richard Boyle delivered a strong and impressive discourse from Matt. xxi. 13, to a respectable assembly, the greater proportion of whom were Protestants, who had come from a considerable distance to witness the imposing ceremony. The mass was celebrated by the Rev. Leonard Calderbank, the much-respected pastor of the congregate tion. This is the first catholic chapel which has been solemnly opened in this country since the days of the Reformation,”-Andrews' Orthodox Journal, To the sincere friends of Protestant Christianity, it must ever be a subject of the deepest regret to behold their Protestant brethren coun. tenancing and encouraging, by word or deed, the extension of a religion, to which every rightly-informed Christian must feel such insuperable objections. They who, by their conduct, render themselves amenable to the above imputation, either are sincere Protestants, or they are not ; either they are the adversaries of popery, or they are its advocates. If the latter character be theirs, what avails it to wear the flimsy mantle of hypocrisy? Why, outwardly, and to the eye of the world, be Protestants, when, in their inmost hearts, and in the eye of God, they are, to all intents and purposes, papists? “ How long will such as they halt between two opinions ?” E'en let them adopt the advice of the prophet—" If the Lord be God, to follow him, but if Baal, then to follow him.” If, on the other hand, they, to whom I refer, include themselves among the number of sincere Protestants, let them reflect calmly and dispassionately on the unavoidable result of this seeming approbation, on their part, of a system, to which, if Protestants, they must necessarily be adverse and opposed ; let them consider, that the outward countenance given to an unscriptural and idolatrous faith will be construed, by the world, as an inward approval of it; with the world, the wish will be assigned as “father to the deed." Let them consider, that each recurrence of such conduct gives a fresh stimulus to the instruments of Rome, who are even now “compassing sea and land to make proselytes;" the incessant object of whose exertion is again to establish in these realms the tyrannical sway which was destroyed at the Reformation. Let them read, reflect upon, and act according to the reply given by God's chosen people by their heavenly-commissioned leader, Joshua, when exhorting them to religious obedience :-" If it seem evil unto you to
practices, whieh the law does not sanction. The consequence can hardly be doubtful. Doubtless, on the occasion of a funeral, one would wish to gratify all reasonable wishes. But if there are persons dissatisfied with our services, and wishing to add to them, why do they not bury in their own grounds ?--Ev.
serve the Lord, choose you, this day, whom ye will serve ; whether the gods which your fathers served, which were on the other side of the Hood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell. And the people answered, and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods: we will serve the Lord.”
CHANGE OF LESSONS.
SIR-Can you, or any of your numerous correspondents, point out to me an authority for the following deviation from the directions laid down in our Book of Common Prayer ?
Some time since I attended the church of a fashionable and populous parish, situate at no great distance from the place where I reside, during evening service on the Sunday, and was much surprised to find that instead of the first Lesson appointed for the service of that evening, the clergyman read a chapter from the book of Daniel. An extemporary exposition of the chapter (evidently not the first of a course,) was afterwards delivered from the pulpit. My desire is, to know upon what authority (if any) the minister took upon himself to alter the usual arrangement.* Requesting you to give mention to this, I am, Sir, with all consideration, your obedient servant,
A GLOUCESTERSHIRE SUBSCRIBER.
SIR-May I beg the favour of your inserting the following question in your Magazine. Perhaps some of your correspondents will notice it, and be kind enough to send you an answer to it.
Why does the Church of England appoint Acts, vi. 2—7, to be read at the ordination of deacons ?
You are aware, no doubt, that in the controversy which is carried on between dissenters and churchmen in the present day, this passage is referred to by dissenters as proving the right of the people to elect their own spiritual ministers, and the propriety of the reference is denied by churchmen, inasmuch as this passage records the election, not of spiritual ministers, but of persons to be appointed over a “ business” which was, strictly speaking, secular. The word deacons does not occur in the text; but our church, by appointing this passage to be read at the ordination of deacons, considers, of conrse, that the “ seven” were ordained to this office. Hooker is of the same opinion, (see book v., sect. 78.) If the church and her ablest defender are right in the application which they make of this passage of scripture
Similar questions to this have been repeatedly answered. Such practice is extremely irregular, and it is a sad pity that wherever it occurs it is not stopped in the only way in which such wilful irregularities ever are stopped-by a complaint to the ordinary, with the names of the parties who will authenticate the complaint.--En.