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History for the Million.,

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History for the Million. III.—CHRISTIANITY ITS INTRO- DUCTION. [BY GWILDI DAVIES, MANORDILO.] In these days, when there arc over three hundred different sects in Britain, it is highly necessary that a clear idea should be formed as to the introduction of Christianity to our forefathers. As mentioned in our paper on What the Romans did for Britain," we have uncontrovertible reasons for believing that Christianity found its way here during the Roman occupation. When the English invaders came over they found Christians prominent, among whenn was Gildas. Our knowledge of the British church is very limited, but it is certain that one did exist. Tertullian tells us in his "Answer to the Jews" circ: 210 A.D., that the haunts of the Briton people which are inaccessible to the Romans [in their civil capacity] have been subjugated to Chii:A.' The question as to what year Christianity was introduced has been asked by various persons, recieving various answers. homines lot selileiliae, But since the British church is not mentioned by St. Iraenus in the list of existing churches in 177 it must have spread hither between this date and 210 A.D. In addition to the fact that the Bishops of London, York, and Caerlcon respectively attended the Council of Aries in 314 A.D., we find that Morgan—better known as Pelagius"—the famous heretic, lived in Britain about this time. During the fourth century British Missionary enterpiise commenced. St Ninian—"the Bishop or the Picts and Britons r- -went to Scotland, while St Patrick preached the gospel of Christ to the natives of Ireland. Then came the English Conquest. The English were a godless race, heathens pure and simple, and did all in their power to wipe out Christians and Christianity from the land. This policy had a two-fold effect (I) All facilities of communication between the Briton and the mother church at Rome were cut off; (2) Britons took up Christianity as a rallying force against the onslaughts of the invading heathens. In England, how- b ever, the church of St David soon died under the persecutions of the English, and it was found necessary to re-introduce Christianity from Wales and Ireland in 432 A.D. Towards the end of the sixth century Gregory, a deacon in the Roman church, was attracted by the beauty of some boys of Deira, who were on sale in the slave market. Being told that the boys were Angles, he replied, "Not Angles but Angels," Who is their king?" he asked. Aella,"was the reply. Then," said he, Alleluia shall be sung in the land of Aella." On becoming Bishop of Rome he despatched St. Augustine to England, in 597 A.D. It is worthy of note that they who did their best to give the church a grave, and he that was destined to give it its resurrection, landed at the very same spot, Ebbsfleet, Thanet. The Benedictine monks, with Augustine at their head, were kindly received, not, however, by the king of Deira, but by Ethelbert, king of Kent. Christ Church, Canterbury, was given them as a centre, and after their settling down Ethelbert himself and thousands of his subjects were baptized. From that day to this, Canterbury has remained the centre of English ecclesiasticism. Two churches—the Welsh and English—were at work in England, and a kind of Reunion of Christendom" was anxiously sought. A proposal of co-operation from the English church to the "Welsh Bishops fell through owing to Augustine's policy in insisting on Roman customs being adopted. At last the end came. A sharp contention took place at a Synod held at Whitby, in Yorkshire. King Oswy gathered the Welsh clergy under Colman to "Whitby in order that the matter should be thrashed out. Wilfrid, the champion of the English church, held that his mode of cutting the tonsure was correct, and that lie kept Easter at the proper time. Morevcr, he argued that the bishops of his church were the direct descendants of St Peter. Oswy asked the representative of the Welsh if he believed St. Peter held the keys of Heaven. Yes," answered Colman. "Then," said the wily Northum- brian king, I shall never offend the door- keeper of Heaven." Oswy's method of solving this tricky problem is at once practical and unique. Of course, it mattered but little indeed as to the time Easter was held, but the question whether the church in England was to be connected with the church on the Continent was of vital importance. Had Oswy given his voice with the Welsh church then England would have been cut off from enjoying any advancement made by Christendom in general. In 668, four years after the tug of war at Whitby, Theodore of Tarsus—an organizer to his finger tips—arrived in England. His prime motive was to set the English church in order. So successful was he that English Christianity was soon brought into a line with Rome. Theodore, after he had been consecrated Archbishop of Canteibury, assembled the clergy of England to a church council held at Hertford. This is the first church council on record. Thus was he instrumental in laying the foundation stone of a unified England, one and indivisible. Men came to the council not as Mercians, not as Northumbrians, not as East Anglians, but as representatives of the English Church, bent upon doing all that was best for the common- weal. Slowly, but surely, Christianity gained ground, the day of English heathenism was doomed, prince and peasant, ruler and ruled, embraced the new faith in the living Christ, and bowed their souls to the lesson so powerfully taught by ths Cross of Calvary.

A BEKG W I LI.

University of London.

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Llandilo Urban District Council.