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History Of The Scottish Nation
Vol 3, Chapter 7 - Destruction of early Scottish Literature; The Columbites Metamorphosed


How comes it that we are without written record of these times? The day was not long past when Scotland could boast some hundreds of expert pens all busy at work, and to such good purpose that scarce was there glen or hamlet which had not its copy of the Bible. Columba is said to have placed a copy of Holy Scripture, written with his own hand, in every house which he founded. The first care of these sacred scribes was, doubtless, to multiply copies of the Word of God; but, over and above, following the example of Adamnan, it is probable that they compiled an occasional "life" or "chronicle" or "short history" of events. What has become of these compositions? A hundred enemies--the moth, the mildew, the flame--make war on the manuscript volume. To these foes of the early church history of Scotland, we have to add another, peculiar to the age of which we write—the Norseman, to wit. In his eyes these treasures had no value, and were left to perish in the same flames which consumed the monastery in which they had been written and were laid up.

Beset by so many dangers, it was hardly to be looked for that these fragile productions should preserve their existence for a period of time which suffices for twenty generations to run their course and disappear in the grave. Of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of MS. Bibles that undoubtedly existed in Scotland in these centuries, only some three or four remain to us; and is it wonderful that those other compositions so very much fewer, and so much less sacred, should have disappeared, and that the life of Columba by Adamnan should remain the one solitary exception to the universal destruction of early Scottish literature?

When we come down to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it is still more hopeless to look for information regarding the state of the early Columban Church. The writers in the times succeeding Malcolm Canmore knew not Columba. Or if they knew him, they knew him only as the founder of a schismatical sect, whose heads bore the tonsure of Simon Magus, who celebrated the eucharist with barbarous rites, and who walked not in the ways of Roman Christendom. They judged it a wise policy, therefore, to let Columba and his followers sink into oblivion, or to speak of them only in the language of apology and pity, as men who inhabited regions so remote from the centre of Christendom, that they were to be forgiven the errors of doctrine and the eccentricities of worship into which they had fallen. They forgot the man who possesses the Bible is at the centre of Christendom, let his dwelling-place be at the ends of the earth.

Since the days of Malcolm Canmore, Columba and his church have suffered a still greater wrong. Ecclesiastical writers of the Roman and Prelatic school have, in our own day, done worse than ignore the "Elders of Iona:" they have completely metamorphosed them. They have converted them into the partisans of a cause of which they were the avowed and strenuous opponents. From the day that Columba laid the foundation-stone of the Scottish Church onward to the time that Romanism gained the ascendency by the force of the royal authority, the disciples of Columba, inheriting the spirit of their great chief, ceased not to maintain the war against Rome, at times with signal and triumphant vigour, at other times more feeble, but all throughout they retained their attitude of protest and resistance. Even after Malcolm Canmore and his queen had summoned them to lay down their arms, they did not absolutely surrender. Their submission was partial. A remnant still kept up the faith, the traditions, and the name of their country’s once famous, free, and virtually Protestant Church. They dwelt in cloisters, in islands and in remote places of the land, but they continued a distinct body; they compelled recognition and toleration, and they thus made palpable the fact that Rome was not the country of their birth; that their lineage was distinct from that of the clerics who now occupied the edifices from which they had been thrust out, and that they were the children of a more ancient and purer faith. If there is anything true in our country’s history this is true; and to go on claiming these men as professing a theology and practising a worship substantially the same as that of Rome, differing, it may be, only in a few rites and customs owing to remoteness of position, yet in heart one with Rome, loving her and obeying her, is to exhibit a marvellous clinging to a fond hallucination, and a bold but blind fight against established and incontrovertible facts. This is a method of warfare which may bring wounds and death to the assailants, but cannot bring victory save to the cause that is assailed.

This subject of the entire contrariety of Iona to Rome has already come before us. However, we may be permitted here to supplement what we have already said upon it. We shall compare the Columban and the Roman Churches in two most essential points—their foundation-stone and their top-stone. Hardly could two things be more diametrically opposite than are these two churches in these two points.

The first foundation-stone of the Roman Church was the Bible. Next it was the Bible misinterpreted; and long before the time at which we are arrived, the tenth century, the Bible had been thrown aside, and the ruler of faith in the Roman Church was the decrees of Councils. The church had become a rule to herself, and so continues to this day. It is a human voice that speaks from the Seven Hills.

The voices of prophets and apostles, silent in Rome, were still speaking in Iona. The echoes of these voices filled the land. By these voices alone were the members of the Columban Church guided. The Bible was their alone rule of faith. This much we learn even from their accusers. We beg again to refer to an authority we have already quoted, the venerable Bede. After telling us that the great light, the "Church," to wit, had never risen on the pastors of Ion, and that they had to grope their way in dubious paths by the Bible alone, he charitably excuses these benighted men on the ground of remoteness from from the seat of councils. "For," says he, "dwelling far without the habitable globe, and, consequently, beyond the reach of the decrees of synods . . .they could learn only those things contained in the writings of the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles; while they diligently observed the works of piety and love."1 The unequivocal testimony of Bede then is, that in the Church of Iona and its branches, in the eighth century, the rule of faith was the Bible, and the Bible alone. The phrase, "the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles." Was the common one used to designate the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and the Epistles, that is, the whole inspired canon. And hence Bede adds, "that they had a zeal for God, but not altogether according to knowledge."

Were the divines of Iona really ignorant, as Bede supposes, of the decrees of the councils, and was it because they knew no clearer light that they followed that of the Bible alone? Why then did not Bede, who compassionated the condition of these men, and so earnestly desired to lead them into canonical paths, send a copy of the decrees of the Church to the monastery at Iona? All over the very district in which Bede lived, the Presbyters of Iona were going out and in teaching the natives. Why did not Bede put these doctors in the way of seeing these canons, and so temper and regulate their zeal, which he tells us was not "altogether according to knowledge"? In truth, the Columban evangelists knew well the synod decrees, but they rejected them because they believed the to be unscriptural. The missionary bands which traversed France and Switzerland and the north of Italy could not have avoided making acquaintance with these decrees, even had they wished to remain in the ignorance which Bede bewails. They were often subjected to persecution because they transgressed the canons in the matter of Easter. We find Columbanus, for instance, writing to Pope Gregory on the subject, and vindicating his own mode of celebrating Easter on the ground that it was strictly scriptural. Ridiculing as "frivolous and silly" the objection that "it was the same as that of the Jews," he warns the Pope, "that to add aught of our own the Scriptural path would be to incur the censure of that divine command in Deuteronomy, ‘Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it.’" And referring to the faith held by himself and his brethren, he tells Pope Gregory that it was in "all things indubitably grounds on the divine Scriptures."2 And once more Columbanus, in his letter to the local bishops, let it be known that he was not ignorant of the canons of the Church, which they accused him of violating, but that he owed no allegiance save to "the true and singular canons of our Lord Jesus Christ." And affirming that the churches of Scotland and Ireland grounded their faith on the Scriptures, he exclaims, "Our canons are the commands of our Lord and His Apostles; these are our faith; lo! Here are our arms, shield, and sword . . . in these we pray and desire to persevere unto death, as we have seen our elders also do."3 Anticipating the well-known saying of Chillingworth, the great Culdee missionary exclaims, "The Bible, the Bible is the religion of Columbites." So much for the foundation of the Columban Church.

We come to the other point. What of the crowning rite in the worship of the two churches—the eucharist and the mass. Was the eucharist of Iona substantially the same as the mass of Rome? An attempt has been made by recent ecclesiastical writers to establish, at least, strongly insinuate, that the Columban eucharist and the Roman mass were substantially the same. We find, for instance, a recent historian, not of the Romish communion, saying, "The doctrine of the Scottish Church, in regard to the eucharist, was in accordance with the ritual by which it was celebrated. Its sacrificial character was distinctly recognised, and it was believed that after consecration the bread became the body of Christ. This much is implied in the passages which allude to the eucharist, but in none of them is there any attempt to define the mystery."4

To what does this statement amount? It amounts to this even, that the two essential principles in the mass were constituent parts of the Columban theology; for when the writer uses the term "sacrifical," we must understand him as using it in the sense of expiatory, and when he speaks of the body of Christ, we must understand him as referring to that which becomes literal by consecration. If this is not the meaning of the terms, they have no bearing whatever on the point they are adduced to establish, and the passage is a platitude and nothing more.

An earlier writer, Father Innes, of the Roman Church, quoting a number of phrases which Adamnan and Ciminius make use of when speaking of the eucharist, 5 argues from them that the Columbite doctrine of the Supper was the same in substance with that of the Church of Rome in his own day, and in all former ages. In thus gravely affirming that the Elders of Iona in the days of Adamnan believed substantially in transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the mass, and expressed this belief in the rites of their worship, he assumes his readers to be ignorant, though he himself could not possibly have been so, that the dogma of transubstantiation was not even heard of till nearly two hundred years after Adamnan had gone to his grave, and not till other seven centuries had passed away was the mass decreed to be a propitiatory sacrifice. How these two notable doctrines of the Roman theology should have come to be known in Iona so many centuries before they were known in Rome, Father Innes does not explain.

This one consideration alone might be held to settle the question, Was the Columban eucharist and the Roman mass identical? For to show that it was impossible for a thing to have existed, is to show that it did not exist. But the writers to which we refer are not in the habit of permitting themselves to feel discouragement, much less dismay, in the presence of the most tremendous difficulties. They see no absurdity in maintaining that Columba took precedence of Boniface by five centuries, and that while the system of Popery was only in embryo on the Seven Hills, it had reached its maturity on the Rock of Iona, and blossomed into the crowning doctrines of transubstantiation and the mass. Hence the assertions to which we are so often called to listen, that the early Christianity of Scotland was Romanism, that we rendered evil for good at the Reformation when we cast down the altars of a church which had been our first instructress, and abjured a faith which our nation had been taught in its cradle. So stoutly is this maintained, that it becomes necessary to look at the kind of proof which is offered in its support.

The point has not been proved when it is shown that the early church sometimes called the sacramental symbols "the body and blood of Christ," or styled the Lord’s Supper "an offering," or spoken of Christ as "present in the sacrament." The question here is not, Did the ancient Church believe in a spiritual presence of Christ in the sacramental action, and in a spiritual presence of Christ in the sacramental action, and in a spiritual communication of Him to the worthy receiver? The writers to which we refer know well that this is not the question. The question is, Did the ancient Church believe the consecrated bread to be literally and corporately the Savior? Neither is the question, Did that Church call the elements the body and blood of Christ? For all antiquity called the consecrated elements so, as our Lord Himself did at the first Supper. Our Reformers called the bread and wine in the sacrament the body and blood of Christ; so did Calvin style them; and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the descendant, as we hold, of the Columban Church, speaks of them at this day as the body and blood of Christ," in themselves decide nothing. They may indicate a material fact or a spirutual doctrine; a change wrought by the priest’s potency, resulting in a physical product, or a change wrought by the recipient’s faith, resulting in a spiritual benefit. The question to be ascertained from history is, in which of the two senses, the figurative or the literal, were the words used?

They were used figuratively only. On this point the evidence is abundant. Let it be observed that the early church called everything presented to God or laid on His table an "offering," an "oblation," or a "sacrifice." Therefore, the use of these phrases by the early Scottish Church proves nothing. Commenting on Hebrews x. 3, Sedulius, the well-known theologian and commentator of the ninth century, 6 says: "A remembrance is made of sin, whilst every day, and year after year, a victim was offered for sins. But we offer daily for a remembrance of our Lord’s passion, once performed, and of our own salvation, the sacrifice of bread and wind." Nor is this all. In his commentary on the second chapter of Colossians he lays it down as a settled canon of exposition, "That were the truth is present there is no need of an image." 7 Expounding the institution of the Supper is contained in 1 Corinthians xi., Sedulius anticipates Zwingle, not in the substance of his doctrine only, but also in the figure which he employees to illustrate it: "Do this in remembrance of Me." Having quoted these words of Christ, he goes on: "He left us His remembrance, just as one setting out for a far away country leaves behind him some pledge to him whom he loves, that as often as he beholds it he may be able to call to mind his benefits and friendships." Again, on verse 29, he adds: "Not discerning the Lord’s body, that is, making no difference between it and common food."8 Here the rite is seen simply and holy, even as it was beheld at the first table, and as it was to be again beheld in the sixteenth century, when, emerging from the ghastly obscuration of the Middle Ages, it became once more the simple, beautiful, and touching memorial of the death of Christ it was designed to be.

We adduce the testimony of Claudius Scotus in the ninth century. "Our Savior’s pleasure," says he, "was first to deliver to His disciples the sacrament of His body and blood, and afterwards to offer up the body itself on the altar of the cross. For as bread strengthens the body, and wine works blood in the flesh, so the one is emblematically referred to Christ’s body, the other to his blood."9 There is here a plain distinction between the sacrament and the body The one is the sacrament of the body, that is, the sacred sign or instituted symbol of the body, the other is the body itself. Nor does the commentator leave us to mere inference: he tells us in express words that the one is the emblem of the other; even as Augustine had defined a sacrament to be "the sign of a sacred thing."10 Not less Protestant is the verse of Sedulius the poet. Celebrating the Supper in song, he asks, Who else is "present in it but its great Institutor, the true Melchizedeck, to whom are given gifts that are his own, the fruit of the corn, and the joys of the vine"? 11

In truth,  it was impossible for the divines of that age to think or write of the sacrament of the Supper in any other way. No one had yet hinted that the elements on the table were other than they seemed, simple bread and wine, though set apart from a common to a holy use, and not dreaming that their meaning could possibly be misunderstood, they spoke of them all the more freely at times as the "body and blood of Christ." But soon, like some phantom of the night, transubstantiation arose, challenging the belief of an amazed and stupified Christendom. The year 831 is a memorable one in the annals of ecclesiological development. In that year an enormity, which four hundred years after came to bear the barbarous name of transubstantiation, had its first conception in the human mind. In 831 it appeared the book of Paschasius Radbertus, a French monk, in which for the first time it was propounded to the world that the body of Christ in the sacrament is the very same which was born of the Virgin, and was nailed to the cross. The whole Western Church was astounded. The greatest theologians of the age declared the notion to be absolutely new, and offered it their most strenuous position. Nowhere was the repudiation of this stupendous novelty more emphatic than in the Scottish Church and her allied branches. In the front rank of its opponents were the Scoto-Irish divines, among whom was Johannis Scotus, Erigena, the founder of the University of Paris. Scotus was then residing at the Court of Charles the Bald of France, and that monarch called upon him to enter the lists against Paschasius. The great Culdee scholar responded to the royal call, and wrote a book in condemnation of the revolting dogma, for so did the French Church of that age regard it. Another distinguished divine, Bertram by name, took part with Scotus in his war against the new and monstrous proposition. The book of Bertram, written in refutation of Paschasius, is still extant, and occupies a distinguished place with the Bible in the Index Expurgatorius of Rome. The work of Johannis Scotus had ultimately a different though a not less honourable fate. About two hundred years after, when the doctrine of transubstantiation, strengthening as the darkness deepened, began to make way in Germany and France, Berengarius stood forth as its uncompromising opponent. To maintain himself in the storm of persecution which is bold defence of the truth drew upon him, he appealed to the work of Scotus, as showing that his own views of the sacrament were those of the Church of the ninth century. This drew the tempest upon the book of Scotus without diverting it from Berengarius. The work of our countryman had the honour of being committed to the flames by order of Pope Leo IX., A.D. 1050. But this title has been preserved in the records of the age, and remains to this day to witness to the orthodoxy of the Scoto-Irish Church, and of the Church universal, on the head of the sacrament, till towards the opening of the tenth century. That title runs thus: "The Sacraments of the Altar are not the real Body and Blood of Christ, but only the commemoration of his Body and Blood."12

Nor does the use of the term "altar" on the part of the early church in the least assist the Romanist in his argument. It is admitted that the phrase often occurs in the records of early Christianity, but the question is as before, In what sense was the phrase used? History furnishes us with an answer which is noways doubtful. The "altar" of the early church was a wooden table. The "mass" of the early church was a commemorative offering or sacrifice of bread and wine, and the "priesthood" that stood around the table on which this sacrifice was laid were the Christian people, their worship being led by the officiating minister. We find no Roman dogma under the "altar" of the primitive church when historically interpreted. We can see neither sacrificial meaning nor expiatory virtue in the simple offering of bread and wine on the wooden table, transubstantiation and the mass being yet a great way off, and neither in the sight nor in the thought of the early church. All as yet is natural, simple, and spiritual. How absurd, then, is it for the Romanist to maintain that these terms were used by the early church as expressions or symbols of ideas and dogmas which were then, and for many centuries afterwards, unheard of in the world! And it is equally absurd to attempt fastening upon the Columban Church the belief of these undiscovered theological enormities, simply because she made use of the same phraseology when speaking of her religious services which was employed by the whole early church of Christ, that church being ignorant of what unthought-of things the future was to bring forth. The argument of the Prelatist and the Romanist is really this, that seeing the Roman Church after her declension continued to apply to her newly-invented novelties of doctrine and worship the phraseology which the early church had employed concerning a very different doctrine and worship, therefore the Roman dogmas, though not yet promulgated, were the belief of the Primitive church; and of the church of Columba also. It is a hard task, verily, which these reasoners impose upon themselves. We will not say that they are arguing with conscious absurdity; on the contrary, we willingly admit that they believe in the soundness of their position, for otherwise we cannot account for the persistence with which they press their view upon others, and the boldness with which they maintain an argument which all outside their circle see to be preposterous

Let us mark how the picture which Cave gives us of the worship of the early church corroborates what we have said. The strict accuracy and truth of his "Primitive Christianity" have not been questioned, certainly not disproved. "As for ALTARS," says he, "the first Christians had no other in their churches than decent Tables of wood, upon which they celebrated the holy eucharist. These, ‘tis true in allusion to those in the Jewish temple, the fathers generally called altars; and truly enough might do so, by reason of those sacrifices they offered upon them, namely, the commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice, in the blessed sacrament, the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, and the oblation of alms and charity for the poor, usually laid upon these tables, which the apostle expressly styles a sacrifice. These were the only sacrifices, for no other had the Christian world for many hundreds of years, which they then offered upon their altars, which were much of the same kind with our communion tables at this day."13

The simplicity of the early church was retained at Iona. The "altar" in the monastery of Columba was a wooden table. The sacrifices offered upon it, of which Adamnan so often speaks, were the simple offerings of bread and wine. And so, too, as regards the altars of the Columban churches throughout Scotland: they were wooden tables. Even after King Malcolm Canmore had introduce popery with its stone altars and their rich symbolic embellishments, the Culdees stuck to their "honest wooden tables. We are told of the Culdees of St Andrews that they "celebrated the eucharist in a corner of the church," doubtless at their wooden table, and that "this was the Culdee manner of celebrating the sacraments."14 Dr Lindsay Alexander puts the right interpretation upon this statement when he says: "They administered the sacred ordinance in a way totally different from the Romish Ritual, not at the altar, but in a corner of the church—not with the ceremonial of the mass, but with simplicity and humility."15 And such, too, were the altars of the early church of Ireland. The bread and wine of the eucharist were presented on wooden tables. These continued in use in Ireland in many places, at least, down to the end of the twelfth century. When the bishops of Adrian IV. And the soldiers of Henry II. (1155) conquered Ireland, and bound the yoke of popery upon the necks of its sons, it is significant that the wooden tables were cleared out and altars of stone substituted.

We quote in proof the constitutions and canons made by John Comyn, Archbishop of Dublin, and confirmed by Pope Urban III. in 1186. The first canon "prohibits priests from celebrating mass on WOODEN TABLES, according to the usage of Ireland, and enjoins that in all monasteries and baptismal churches altars should be made of stone. And if a stone of sufficient size to cover the whole surface of the altar cannot be had, that, in such a case, a square entire polished stone be fixed in the middle of the altar, where Christ’s body is consecrated, and of a compass broad enough to contain five crosses and the foot of the largest chalice. But in chapels, chantries, and oratories, if they are necessarily obliged to use wooden altars, let the mass be celebrated on plates of stone, of the before-mentioned size, firmly fixed in the wood."16

With the change in the altar has come a change in the spirit of the worship. This sacrifice is no longer one of thanksgiving and commemoration: it is one of expiation, and can be fittingly offered on an altar of stone only—although the altar on Calvary was of wood. Neither are the materials of the sacrifice the same: the bread and wine have undergone a change strange and awful: they embody a stupendous mystery, for which Christendom has as yet found no name, and which it has not dared to define, but which continues to shape itself more and more into dogmatic form, till at last Innocent III., in the thirteenth century, gives it dogmatic decree, and, coining a new name for the new prodigy, calls it Transubstantiation, and commands it to be piously received and believed by all the faithful.

The use of the term "mass" in the early church would seem to favour even more the Romanist contention, yet, when examined, it is found to possess not one particle of weight in the argument. Nothing is more easy of explanation than the simple and natural, we might say Protestant, use of the term "mass" by the primitive church. When the sermon was ended, and the Supper was to be administered, the catechumens, and all others not members of the congregation, were bidden depart. The church was careful to exclude from participation in the eucharist all whose knowledge was defective or whose lives were unholy. This was called the dismissal, or the missio. In no long time the term—missio—was appropriated to the ordinance which followed immediately on the departure of the ordinary hearers, in which the "faithful" only were permitted to take part. Such was the origin of the term "mass," which was in use for ages before transubstantiation was decreed or the ceremonial of the Roman mass enacted. Let us hear Cave. Whose statement is in strict accordance with all ancient history on the point.

"No sooner was the service thus far performed," says Cave, "but all who were under baptism or under the discipline of penance, i.e., all that might not communicate at the Lord’s table, were commanded to depart, the deacon crying aloud, Osoi kathcoumeuoi  proelqete. Those that are catechumens go out. In the Latin Church the form was Ite MISSA EST; depart, there is a dismission of you: missa being the same with missio; as missio, oft used in some writers for remissio, and so the word missa is used by Cassian, even in his time, for the dismission of the congregation. Hence it was that the whole service, from the beginning of it until the time that the hearers were dismissed, came to be called Missa Catechumenorum, the mass or service of the catechumens, as that which was performed afterwards as the celebration of the eucharist was called Missa Fidelium, the mass or service of the faithful, because none but they were present at it; and in these notions and no other word is often to be met with in Tertullian and other ancient writers of the Church. ‘Tis true, that in process of time, as the discipline of the catechumens wore out, so that the title which belonged to the first part of the service was forgotten, and the name missa was appropriated to the service of the Lord’s supper, and accordingly was made use of by the Church of Rome to denote that which they peculiarly call the mass, or the propitiatory sacrifice of the altar, at this day. And the more plausibly to impose this delusion upon the people, they do with a great deal of confidence, muster up all those places of the fathers where the word missa is to be found, and apply it to their mass; though it would puzzle them to produce but one place where the word is used in the same sense in which they use it now, out of any genuine and approved writer of the Church for at least the first four hundred years."17

A shadow of this ancient custom has continued to linger in the Greek Church to our own day. We find a recent traveller in the East thus describing a scene which he witnessed in St. Sophia, the venerable cathedral of Justinian at Constantinople. "The Epistle and Gospel for the day having been read, the Liturgy of the common service proceeded to its close, when the catechumens, according to primitive eastern custom, were, with a blunt force, bidden depart, although, now, nobody stirs, or is at all expected to do so. The liturgy of the faithful, as it is called, or of the members of the church proper, then began, which bore from its commencement on the dispensation of the Holy Communion."18

One cannot help wishing that the age of miracles would return, and that Columba would rise from his grave and tell us what he thinks of those who put this strange sense into his words, and whether he judges them true interpreters of his meaning. We can imagine the warmth with which he would repudiate the belief of notions which were only then beginning to have their first feeble inception in certain minds, and which it required seven centuries to bring to dogmatic form and embody in church ritual. Not a little astonished, perhaps not a little indignant even would he be to find himself claimed as a disciple of doctrines which had not in his day found expression in human language, and which, when announced to the world three centuries afterward, startled and amazed it, and drew forth from an unanimous Christendom a declaration that till not these doctrines had been unheard of, and were as revolting as they were novel. But there is no need to bring up Columba or any of the Columban fathers to tender their evidence on the point.

These Fathers speak to us in the records of the past. The missionaries nurtured in the school of Columba and sent forth by his church, preached with one voice that Christ’s sacrifice was finished, that redemption was complete, and that the bread and wine on the communion table were the simple memorials of a death accomplished once for all, and never to be repeated. In their sermons and writings we hear the voice of Columba. The testimony of history is as decisive as a witness from the dead could be; and they who refuse to yield to its force would, we fear, remain equally unconvinced although Columba himself should rise from his tomb.


FOOTNOTES

1. Bede, Lib. iii. c. 4.

2. Columban. Epist. Ad S. Gregor Papam. In Biblioth. Vet. Pet.

3. Columban. Epist. Ad Patres Synodi cujusquam Gallicanae, super quaestione Paschae congregatae.

4. Ecclesiastscal History of Scotland, by George Grubb, A.M. Vol. i. 146. Edin., 1861.

5. We give a few samples: "Sacra eucharistiae mysteria," "Sacorosancta mysteria," "Sacrificale mysterium," "Sacrae oblationis mysteria," "Sacrae eucharistiae mystyeria consecrare," "Sacram oblationem consecrantis," "Christi corpus ex more conficere."—History, p. 167.

6. He was abbot of Kildare, and that he was the author of the "Commentaries of the Epistles of St. Paul" is the belief of the most eminent antiquarian historians, as Labbe, Mabillon, Bayle, Dr Lanigan, and others.

7. "Imagine non opus est, veritate presente."—Sedul. On Col. C. ii.

8. "Id est non discernens ipsuma a cibo communi."—Sedul., 1 Cor. xi.

9. Claudius on Matt. chap. Iii.

10. "Signum sacrae rei."

11Coelius Sedulius, Carmen Paschal, Lib. iv.

12. Dupio, Cent. Ix. C. 7. Besides the title, a few extracts from the work of Scotus have been preserved, as for instance: "The things that take place at the altar are done in show, not in reality." Specie geruntur ista, non veritate.

13. Cave’s Primitive Christianity, Part I. chap. vi. pp. 142, 143. Lond., 1672.

14. "Keledei namque in angulo quodam ecclesia quae modica nimis erat, suum officium more suo celebrabant."—Historia Beati Reguli. Pinkerton’s Enquiry, vol. i. p. 464.

15. Dr. W. L. Alexander’s Iona, pp. 115, 116. Prelatic and Romanist historians sometimes give themselves very high airs. They speak as if they had a monopoly of learning and historic insight, and were alone entitled to pronounce on any historic point. Their ipse dixit is delivered as if it were entitled to pass current without examination or challenge. Mr. Grubb, in his Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, sneers at Dr Lindsay Alexander (pp. 145, 146) for the statement quoted in the text, even that the Culdees "administered the sacred ordinance in a way totally different from the Romish ritual." And he gives this as an example of the "assertions of the most absurd description" which "have been made and repeated on this" (the administration of the Supper) "as on many other points connected with the doctrine and discipline of the Columbites." We are not aware that Mr. Grubb is entitled to sneer at Dr Lindsay Alexander on any ground. We know, at all events, that in the present case it is Mr. Grubb who is open to the charge of advancing an "assertion of the most absurd description" in connection with the doctrine and discipline of the Columbites. He refutes the statement of Dr Alexander by quoting the words of Adamnan and Cuminius: "Sancti Columbae, ante altare stantis, et sacram oblationem consecrantis." Behold holy Columba standing at the altar, and consecrating the sacred oblation. The words prove nothing as regards the question at issue, and as a refutation of Dr. Alexander they are utterly frivolous. All they prove is this, that Adamnan, along with the whole early church, called the communion table an altar, and the bread and wine an oblation. If Mr. Grubb shall insist that they prove more than this—that they have a Roman sense, that the terms. "altar" and "oblation" imply transubstantiation and sacrifice—then Mr. Grubb must show how that was possible in the case of words used centuries before either name or thing was invented. When Mr. Grubb had done this, they he will be entitled to rebuke Dr. Alexander for committing an absurdity.

16. Ware’s Bishops, by Harris, Dublin. Article Comyn.

17. Cave, Primitive Christianity, Part I. chap. ix. pp. 282-284

18. Christianity East and West: an Ecclesiastical Pilgrimage, by Thomas Grieve Clark, p. 277. London, 1889.