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of S. James, 21, should
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THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND-ITS CAUSES
THE CAUSES OF THE REFORMATION.
THE CAUSES of that great event by which the Church in England freed herself from the tyrannical yoke of the church of Rome, and a general reformation of the abuses which had, in the course of ages, crept into and corrupted the latter, was effected, may be traced back to a very early period. We learn from the records of the past, that great disturbances were made, and that frequent quarrels ensued from the pretensions of the Hierarchy of Rome, and the encroachments of the Popes. The latter considered themselves entitled to hold universal sway over the Christian world, not only in spiritual but in temporal matters. They, therefore, scrupled not even to stir up English subjects against their lawful sovereign, whenever they considered that he was ill-affected towards themselves.
THE THREE principal causes of the Reformation may briefly be stated as follows :-Firstly, the encroachments and unjust claims of the Bishops of Rome, such as “ Peters-pence, Bulls, appeals, annates, the right of investiture” &c.; and the innate spirit of independence in the English Church, which rendered
it particularly unwilling to submit to foreign aggression, Secondly, the state policy of Rome which obliged princes to resist in order to self-preservation. Thirdly, the arbitrary imposition of corrupt and newly-invented doctrines, as articles of Faith, necessaries to salvation, and terms of Communion.
The struggle between the Seculars and the Regulars may also be added. In the year of our Lord, 596, S. Gregory the Great, sent over into England S. Augustine the Monk, in order to attempt the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to the Christian faith. Romanists consider that the English Church was founded by him, and that in consequence the Church of England should be subject to the Bishop of Rome. But in truth there was a Church existing in England long before the days of S. Augustine ; by whom it was founded, indeed, is to a certain extent involved in obscurity; but there can be no doubt but that it was a true and living branch of the Holy Catholic Church. Some attribute the planting of the Faith in Britain to S. Peter, others to S. Paul. Clemens Romanus, a Father of the first century asserts that S. Paul travelled to the utmost bounds of the west;" and we are informed by Theodoret, that S. Paul was the means of bearing salvation to "the isles of the ocean.” On the other hand, we are told that Christianity was introduced by Caractacus in ibe year 52; while others attribute its first planting to certain converted Jews, who were banished from Rome in the same year, and dispersed abroad ; and Gildas informs us that the Gospel was being preached in England in the days of Boadicea, (A.D. 67). But, by whomsoever it was first planted, it is certain that Christianity was firmly established at a very early date ; for we find from the writings of Tertullian, who lived in the second century, that “even those places in Britain, which had been inaccessible to the Roman arms, were subdued by the Gospel of Christ.” The first British martyr, S. Alban, fell during the persecution of Diocletian; so England must at that time haye been an acknowledged seat of Christianity. We also learn from history that Helena, the mother of Constantius Chlorus, Emperor of Rome in the early part of the fourth century, was a Christian from Britain. And this British Church had the regular orders of the ministry, and its own peculiar bishops; for we find that in the year 314, three bishops, Eborius, of York; Restitutus, of London; and Adelphinus, of Lincoln, were present at a council holden at Arles; and British bishops attended councils at Sardica and Ariminum. In the year 429, S. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, and S. Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, came over into England to oppose the Pelagian Heresy, which had gained great ground there; they are said to have introduced the Gallican Liturgy into the English Church, which differed considerably from the Roman Missal, breviary and rituale. In the fifth century the Saxons gained entire possession of Britain, abolished Christianity, and introduced their own heathen customs and rites. The bishops and clergy fled into Cornwall, Wales, and Cumberland; and in those mountainous districts preserved the true Faith. Thus the British Church, although smothered for a while, was vot extinguished. Now it chanced in the year 596, that S. Gregory the Great, afterwards the Pope of Rome, conceived the design of converting the Saxons. He had been attracted by the beauty of some Anglo-Saxon boys whom he saw exposed for sale, in the streets of Rome, and having made inquiries about them and found that they were heathen, he resolved to do his utmost to bring over their country men to the faith.
ACCORDINGLY he sent over S. Augustine, together with forty Benedictine monks, and provided them with letters to the princes and bishops of France, who commended them to the favour of Ethelbert's queen, Bertha. He met with great success, and Ethelbert himself, became one of his disciples.
In this manner was the church restored to Britain. But its own church, independant of all foreign potentates, was still in existence in the coverts whither its bishops and members bad retreated ; and at the arrival of Augustine there were seven bishopricks, in or about Wales, and one in Cornwall.