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whereas you write, that since that time, among other provinces, Italy hath been most afflicted; you ought not to object that unto it as a reproach, because it is written, Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son that he receiveth." Then having spoken of the book that pope Pelagius did write of this controversy (which indeed was penned by Gregory himself), he addeth, "Ifd after the reading of this book you will persist in that deliberation, wherein now you are, without doubt you shew that you give yourselves to be ruled not by reason, but by obstinacy." By all which you may see, what credit is to be given unto the man who would bear us in hand, that this epistle of St. Gregory was sent as an answer unto the bishops of Ireland that did submit themselves unto him: whereas (to say nothing of the copies", wherein this epistle is noted to have been written to the bishops of Iberia, and not in Hibernia) the least argument of any submission doth not appear in any part of that epistle; but the whole course of it doth clearly manifest the flat contrary.
In the next place steppeth forth 0'Sullevan Beare, who in his Catholic history of Ireland would have us take knowledge of this, that "whenf the Irish doctors did not agree together upon great questions of faith, or did hear of any new doctrine brought from abroad, they were wont to consult with the bishop of Rome, the oracle of truth." That they consulted with the bishop of Rome when difficult questions did arise, we easily grant; but that they thought they were bound in conscience to stand to his judgment, whatsoever it should be, and to entertain all
'' Porroautem si post hujus libri lectionem in ea, qua estis, volueritis deliberatione persistere; sine dubio non rationi operam, sed obstinationi vos dare monstratis. Greg. Regist. lib. 2. epist. 51. op. tom. 2. pag. 616.
6 Vid. Roman. correct. in Gratian. de consecrat. distinct . 4. cap. 144. Ab antiqua.
'Quando vero doctores Ibernici de gravibus fidei qusestionibus minime consentiebant, vel aliquid novi dogmatis peregre allati audiebant; soliti erant Romanum pontificem veritatis oraculum consulere. Philip 0'Sullevan. Bear. hist. Catholic. Ibern. tom. 1. lib. 4. cap. 6.
his resolutions as certain oracles of truth, is the point that we would fain see proved. For this he telleth us, that "when8 questions and disputations did arise here concerning the time of Easter and the Pelagian heresy, the doctors of Ireland referred the matter unto the see apostolic. Whereupon, the error of Pelagius is reported to have found no patron or maintainer in Ireland; and the common course of celebrating Easter was embraced both by the northern Irish and by the Picts and Britons, as soon as they understood the rite of the Roman Church: which (saith he) doth not obscurely appear by the two heads of the apostolic letters related by BedeV
But that those apostolic letters (as he calleth them)had that success which he talketh of, appeareth neither plainly nor obscurely by Bede, or any other authority whatsoever. "The error of Pelagius," saith he, "is reported to have found no patron or maintainer in Ireland." But who is he that reporteth so, besidePhilip O'Sullevan? a worthy author to ground a report of antiquity upon: who in relating the matters that fell out in his own time, discovereth himself to be as egregious a liar as any (I verily think) that this day breatheth in Christendom. The apostolic letters he speaketh of were written (as before hath been touched) in the year of our Lord DCXXXIX. during the vacancy of the Roman see, upon the death of Severinus. Our countryman Kilianus repaired to Rome forty-seven years after that, and was ordained bishop there by pope Conon in the year DCLXXXVI. The reason of his coming thither is thus laid down by Egilwardus, or who
t Namquc dc tempore agendi Paschatis solennia (de quo alise quoque Catholics gentes ssepc ambegerunt) et de Pelagiana haeresi ubi fuit in qusstionem disputationemque deducta; doctores Iberni ad Sedem apostolicam retulerunt. Ac ita miseri Pelagii error nullum in Ibernia patronum vel assertorem invenisse fertur; vel insula- aditu interclusus, vel ab ea protinus explosus, ubicontagiosam faciem aperuit, seseque cognoscendum prsbuit: et ratio communis et ab Ecclesia usitata celebrandi redivivi Domini festum ab australibus Ibernis fuit semper observata; et a septcntrionalibus quoque et Pictis et Britonibus, qui doctoribus Ibernis fidem acceperunt, amplexa, ubi Ecclesiae Romans ritum cognoverunt. Quod ex apostolicarum literarum duplicicapite a Beda relato non obscure constat. O'Sullevan. Bear. hist. Cathol. Ibern. tom. 1. lib. 4. cap. 6. h lib. 2. cap. 19.
ever else was the author of his life. "For' Ireland had been of olddefiled with the Pelagian heresy, and condemned by the apostolical censure, which could not be loosed but by the Roman judgment." If this be true, then that is false which 0'Sullevan reporteth of the effect of his apostolical epistle, that it did so presently quash the Pelagian heresy, as it durst not once peep up within this island.
Hibernia siquidem olim Pelagiana fieedata fucrat hasresi, apostolicaque censura damnata, quae nisi Romano judicio solvi non poterat . Author antiqu. vit. Kilian.
Of the controversy which the Britons, Picts, and Irish maintained against the Church of Rome, touching the celebration of Easter.
The difference betwixt the Romans and the Irish in the celebration of Easter, consisted in this: the Romans kept the memorial of our Lord's resurrection upon that Sunday which fell betwixt the fifteenth and the twentyfirst day of the moon (both terms included) next after the twenty-first day of March, which they accounted to be the seat of the vernal aequinoctium, that is to say, that time of the spring wherein the day and the night were of equal length; and in reckoning the age of the moon they followed the Alexandrian cycle of nineteen years, (whence our golden number had his original) as it was explained unto them by Dionysius Exiguus, which is the account that is still observed, not only in the Church of England, but also among all the Christians of Greece, Russia, Asia, Egypt, and Ethiopia; and was (since the time that I myself was born) generally received in all Christendom, until the late change of the kalendar was made by pope Gregory XIII. The northern Irish and Scotish, together with the Picts, observed the custom of the Britons, keeping* their Easter upon the Sunday that fell betwixt the fourteenth and the twentieth day of the moon; and following in their account thereof not the nineteen years computation of Anatolius, butb Sulpicius
* Non enim Paschae diem Dominicum suo tempore, sed a decimaquarta usque ad vicesimam lunam observabant. Quae computatio 84. annorum circulo continetur. Bedelib. 2. hist. cap. 2.
b Porro isti secundum decennem novemque Anatolii computatum, aut potius juxta Sulpicii Severini regulam, qui lxxxiv. annorum cursum descripsit, xiv. luna cum Judaeis paschale sacramentum celebrant: cum neutrum Ecclesis RoSeverus his circle of eighty-four years; for howsoever they extolled Anatolius for0 appointing (as they supposed) the bounds of Easter betwixt the fourteenth and the twentieth day of the moon, yet Wilfrid in the synod of Strenshal chargeth them utterly to have rejected his cycle of nineteen years: from which therefore Cummianus draweth an argument against them, that "theyd can never come to the true account of Easter, who observe the cycle of eighty-four years.
To reduce the Irish unto conformity with the Church of Rome in this point, pope Honorius, the first of that name, directed his letters unto them, "Exhorting* them that they would not esteem their own paucity, seated in the utmost borders of the earth, more wise than the ancient or modern churches of Christ through the whole world; and that they would not celebrate another Easter contrary to the paschal computations, and the synodal decrees of the bishops of the whole world;" and shortly after, the clergy of Rome (as we have said) upon the death of Severinus, wrote other letters unto them to the same effect. Now where O'Sullevan avoucheth, that " the common custom used by the Church in celebrating the feast of the Lord's resurrection was always observed by the southern Irish, and now embraced also by the northern, together with the Picts and Britons (who received the faith from Irish doctors) when they had knowledge given them of the rite of the Church of Rome;" in all this (according to his common wont) he speaketh never a true word. For neither did the southern Irish always observe the celebra
mana e pontifices ad perfectam calculi rationem sequantur. Aide Im. epist. ad Geruntium regem et Domnonios: inter epistolas Bonifacii, num. 44.
c Bed. lib. 3. hist. cap. 3. et 25. vid. Dionysii Petavii notas in Epiphan. pag. 194,195.
d Ad veram Paschae rationem nunquam pervenire eos, qui cyclum Lxxxiv. annorum observant. Cummian. epist. ad Segienum abbat. de disputatione lunae, MS. in bibliothec. Cottonian.
c Exhortans, ne paucitatem suam in extremis terra' finibus constitutam, sapientiorem antiquis sive modernis, qus per orbem terra erant, Christi Ecclesiis sstimarent: neve contra paschales computos, et decreta synodalium totiv orbit pontificum aliud Pascha eclebrarent. Bed. lib. 2. hist. cap. 19.