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that either St. Peter or St. Paul did first preach this Religion to the Britains. Bishop Stillingfleet, after the Reverend Dr. Cave, gives it clear. ly for the latter, the Apostle of the Gentiles, who is said by St. Clement, in his first Ep. ad Cor.c. 5. to bave preach'd to the utmos Bounds of the Weft. See Still
. Or. Brit, p. 38, 39. It is reported by Bede, who wrote in the be. ginning of the eighth Century, that Lucius, a British King, was converted to Christianity, A.D. 156. and Archbishop Usher, de Primord. mentions two Coins with the Effigies of a King, and a Cross, and the Letters LUC, so far as could be difcerned.
About the Year 407. Christianity began to decline apace in this Country, by reason of the Heresy of Pelagius (a Britain born, but who fpent most of his Life in Maly, Africa, and the East) which, as it spread its Venom far and near, fo particularly amongst his own Country, men: by this means the British Christians were divided amongst themselves; and at the same time they were invaded by the Picts and Scots, who inhabited the Nothern Parts of the Isle. Honorius, the Roman Emperor, had just before recall'd hís Legions, which had formerly kept the Britains in fubjection to the Empire, but protected them against all other People; the Britains then were not able to defend thein. selves : The Emperor did indeed send them Succours once and again, but they were soon commanded Home; for he had enough for them to do there to put a stop to the Incursions of the Gorbs and Vandals,
The Britains being reduced to these Straits, are forced to accept the Help of the English Saxons, (who inhabited Holstein and 7 utland) a Heathen but Warlike People, who Toon subdu'd the Picts and Scots, but then made a League with them against the Britains; and fo made themselves Masters of the Country, and drove the Britans into Wales and Cornwal; to which Countries consequently Christianity was then confin'd, while Heathenism and Idolatry spread itself over the rest of the Kingdom.
A. D. 596, and 150 Years after the English Saxons first came into this Country, Pope
Gre. gory the Great fent Auftin, the Head of a Roman Monastery, with forty Monks, to inftru& this Nation in the Christian Religion. The main, Body of the People were converted in about 70 Years time, the Isle of Wight being the last Place that was reduc'd. Bed. Hif. 1. 4. c. 16.
For near 950 Years we reinaind in Commu. nion, or rather Subje&ion to the Church of Rome. Austin began to erect this Spiritual Tyranny, and Archbishop Becket, by dying a Martyr in the Pope's Caule, A.D. 1170, gave the finishing Stroke.
From the latter end of the Eighth Century, till the Reign of H.VIII.every House throughout England paid a Peny every Year to the Pope, this the Englisə call?d Rome-Scot and PeterPence; the Latins Denarius Romanus.
It had been much better if the English had received Christianity from the Britains, if it had not been below Conquerors to be taught by those whom they had subdu'd. For they would have deliver'd this Religion to us without making us
Slaves to the Pope, whose Creature Austin was; and the Britijh Bishops were aware of this, and therefore opposed him, and adher'd to their old Custoins of keeping Easter, and Baptizing in a manner somewhat different from that of Rome, and they continued their former Practice in the Year 731, when Bede finished his Hiftory; but in a thort time after, the Welsh, as well as English, became entirely Romanists.
But by degrees we becaine sensible of our Ser. vitude, and several hundred Years before the Reformation, many Laws were made to restrain the Pope's Power here in England: And at last, viz. in 1535, Henry VIII. a Prince of great Courage and Resolution, wholly renounced the Pope's Supremacy, as several German Princes had done before.
There were many other Errors which we had receiv'd from the Church of Rome, which were for the most part retain'd, and enforc'd with fe. vere Penalties, during the Reign of Hen. VIII. But the same Year that he renounc'd the Pope's Supremacy, the whole Bible was publish'din the English Tongue, as the Testament had been be. fore in the Year 1527. and this had so good ef. fect, that by the Year 1548, the ad of Ed. VI. the generality of all Ranks of Men in England were convinced of the Errors of the Church of Rome, insomuch that an Act of Parliament pass'd for the English Service, and for Abolishing the Roman Worship. There was one thing which very much contributed to the speediness of our Reformation here in England, which was, that the People began to be very sensible of the value ct Money : for many of the Romish Errors were
very chargeable and expensive. But on the other side, they are very much to blame who represent our Reformers as Men who were acted with a dehre of Riches, which they hoped to get by the Spoil of the Monasteries and Church-Lands, rather than with the love of Truth. For Monasteries were suppress’d, and the greatest Ravages on the Church committed in the time of H. VII. in whole Reign nothing was done towards a Reformation, but only that he had assumed to him. self the Headship of the Church, and cominand. ed the Lord's Prayer, Ten Commandments, and Creed to be taught the People in English, and the English Bible to be fet up in Churches, and lie who was the chief Mover in the Business of fup. prefling Monasteries, was the Lord Cromwel,who. had learn'd this from his old Master Cardinal Wolfey, who had, by License from Pope Clement VII. pulld down forty Monasteries, in order to ere&t and endow his Colleges at Oxford and Ipswich. But that you may know how far we were from Reformation in his Reign, 'twill be sufficient to mention the Six Articles, which every one that deny'd was burnt, by Stat. 31. H. 8. c. 4. 1. Transubstantiation. 2. Cominunion in one kind. 3. Unlawfulness of Priefis Marriage. 4. Unlawfulness of breaking a Vow of Chaltity. 5: The Lawfulness and Necessity of Private Maffes,
6. The expediency of Aưricular Confeflion.
Indeed the Reformation was never begun in earnest till the Reign of Edward VI. and then it was established. Queen Mary used all pofli. ble Means to nip it in the Bud; but her Time was fhort, and the Reign of her Succellor Queen
Elizabeth very long, in which the Reformatie on took fuch deep Root in English Hearts, that nothing (under God) will ever be able to subvert it, except our own Divisions.
CH A P. II.
Of the Doctrine of the Church of England.
Bishops at the Council of Nice: but 'tis fufficient that we are assured, from St. Atba. nasius, Cbryfoftom, Jerom, &c. that this Church receiv'd the Doctrine of that Council. See Stil. Or. Brit. p. 175.
There is no reason to doubt but that the British Bishops, who were at the Council of Ariminum, were Orthodox when they came thither, as the great majority of that Council declar'd them. felves to be, while they were left to themselves; and what theydid afterwards was extorted froin them by the politick and oppressive Arts of the Emp. Conftantius, and his Prefe&t Taurus; and our British Bishops were more expos’d to them than others, as being so poor that they were forced to accept of a Maintenance from the Empe. ror, during the time of their attending the Coun. cil; and yet probably their Bishopricks might at least equalthe generality of our present English Bishopricks in their Income and Revenue: For too many of these latter are fo very mean, that they are not suflicient to maintain those who are pofseft of them, here at home. The Consequencesof which may in time prove very fatal.