« PredošláPokračovať »
and silenced the rest of their opposers, their victory appears by no means complete or decisive; for the reputed heresy was soon found to be very far from being suppressed or eradicated. In time, its formidable appearance excited so much aların among the zealous Catholics abroad, that orthodoxy and the Church were thought to be in no small danger. It was therefore judged necessary to set on fout another mission to Britain, of which Germain again appeared as a principal. This took place, as was before observed, in 447. Like his former mission or visit, it appears to have been but short; its whole duration, probably, not much above a year; for we are told that after his return home from hence, he set out immediately for Italy, and died at Ravenna, July 31, 448, having been possessed of the bishopric of Auxerre about 30 years. Other accounts, indeed, place his death in 450, in which case his stay here might take up two or three years; and this would seem the most probable, considering the extent of the work he is said to have accomplished here before his departure.
St. Germain seems to have united the characters of politician and warrior with that of a Christian missionary; for le appears not only to have encouraged the Britons to military exertions while he was among them, but also, in one instance, at least, even to have led them hiinself to battle against the united forces of the Picts and Saxons, when the Britons obtained
decisive victory at a place since called Maes Garmon (or Germain's field) near Mold in Flintshire *. This, of course, would effectually recommend him to the favour and esteem of the rulers of the country, and of the nation at large; and we may be pretty well assured that he owed to these circumstances no small part of his popularity, and of the advantages he gained over the Pelagians. The latter seein to have been a passive and unwarlike sect, somewhat resimbling our modern quakers; so that it can be no great wonder the higher powers should dislike them and favour their opponents, especially as the latter were aiming at forming a hierarchy, in alliance with the state and subservient to its views. The prevailing opinion of the superior sanctity of St. Germain and of his possessing the power of working miracles, is a proof of the great popularity he had acquired, and how dexterously he must have acted his part in promoting the cause committed to his n:inagement, as well as how sagely his countrymen had judged in placing him at the head of the mission.
* This has been called “ the III:lujah victory," from the use which the Britons, by the direction of Germain, arc said to have rade of that word on that memora abic day.
Having obtained and sccured the countenance and patronage of the rulers, he set himself in good earnest about improving his advanta res, by contriving and pursuing such measures as he thought best calculated to answer the great ends which he had in view, the establishment of his own faith and the suppression of that of his opponents: and it must be confessed that he here discovered no small or mean abilities. He established bishoprics and colleges, under the patronage of the civil power, in different parts of the country, and especially among the Silurians, whose princes had long taken the lead as patrons of Christianity and of foreign missionaries. In those bishoprics, and at the head of those colleges, as was before intimated, he placed his most able and trusty disciples, who afterwards rivalled him in renown and pursued the plans he had formed with reputation and success. Vast numbers of students were carefully and orthodoxly trained up in those seminaries, and became soon distinguished by their zeal, activity and popularity. If the harvest was great, the workmen were neither few nor slothful; and being patronized by the government, while their opponents were discountenanced, interdicted and proscribed, their causc rapidly gained ground and soon became firmly established. Thus was the foundation laid for that hierarchy, or national church in Wales, which, without any very considerable or material changes, has continued there ever since, and will probably continue yet for a long time to come.
The old religion, called Pelagianism, however, was not very speedily or easily eradicated. It continued to exist and struggle against its adversaries, long after the departure of St. Ger. main. The famous synod held at Llanddewi-brevi, avowedly against it, in the time of St. David, is a standing proof that its adherents were then neither few nor feeble. That synod, it seems, was held in 519, (though some have given it an earlier date,) and was distinguished, acccording to Giraldas and others, by certain miraculous events in favour of the orthodox party ; such as the restoration of a dead man to life, and the swelling of the earth into a high hill under the feet of St. David, while he was there preaching. These wonders are said to have powerfully operated (and well they might) to the confusion of the here-tics, and the confirmation, establishment and triumph of orthodox bclicvers. Their saving so, however, is no proof that these supernatural events did actually take place: it only proves how high St. David stood in the opinion of his contrymen, long after he had departed this mortal life; so high, forsooth, that they would readily believe any marvellous talc in his commenuation that the monkish historians thought proper to invent. No matter how extraordinary or improbable the tale might be, it was sure to meet with implicit credit, provided it
tended to extol or magnify his superior wisdom and sanctity. Except perhaps his nephew, king Arthur, no one among the good people of Wales ever acquired so much popular fame as did St. David. That fame, however, has been much on the decline now for some ages; and his memory, at present, is as little regarded in Wales as in England.
Among all the tales fabricated respecting him, one of the most remarkable is that which states, that in order that his countrymen, especially those of his diocese, might be forewarned and prepared for their approaching dissolution, he prayed to God that corpse candles and funereal apparilions* might precede every death that should happen through all succeeding generations; which pious request was readily and instantly granted. At lcast so goes the story; and though it is at present in a great measure forgotten, as far as it relates to St. David, yet the firm belief of the existence or rcality of funereal apparitions and corpse candles still obtains among the greatest part of the inhabitants, dissenters as well as churchmen, who dcem the tales that are told about such pretended sights to be as true as the gospel, and are ready to class all who disbelieve, or are in any doubt concerning them, anong infidels, Sadducees or atheists. The disbelievers of them are chiefly found among heretical Arminians, Arians and Socinians, whose disbelief serves only to confirm the others the more in their stupid credulity. Here let not the English'exult over the superstitious wcakness of their Welsh neighbours: they themselves also have their weak side, and are as often the dupes of blind credulity and artful imposition, as the Welsh or any other peoplet.
As St. David was nearly related to the chief rulers of the country, being the brother-in-law of Meirig ab Tewdrig, commonly called Uthyr Pendragon, and uncle to Arthur, it must have given him a decided advantage over his opponents in the religious contest he had with them. Nor is it to be doubted that he owed to that, in a great measure, the successful issue of that contest.' Their being the national or established clergy must also have placed him and his brethren on a strong ground,
The corpse candle is said to be a small light, like that of a candle, proceeding, in the night time, from the house or place where a person is to die, to the church or burying-yard. It is also commonly thought that this same candle is carried along by the ghost of the person that is to die, who might be seen if any had courage to go near enough while the candle is passing. A fundreul apparition is the exact ap. pearance of a funeral that is soon to happen, which exhibits the ghost of every thing that will appear at that funeral, to the very bier, or hcarse and horses: the very colour of the latter and of the people's clothes, they say, have been often perceived.
+ Witness the facility with which they are generally taken in by quack doctors, quack parsous, and quack statesmen, with the heaven-born Pitt, at their head.
where their opponents could not engage them but at great odds and manifest disadvantage. Pelagianism was, at last, borne down, or rather, its adherents became an obscure, private, and as it were an invisible sect, existing chiefly among the bards or druids of Siluria.
The new or catholic faith, in the mean time, kept rapidly gaining ground, and soon became firmly established by means of increasing numbers of active and zealous teachers, educated at the numerous seminaries that existed in different parts of the country. Of those seminaries some of the chief were those of Henllan and Mochros, situated somewhere about the banks of the Wye, and under the direction of Dyfrig, or Dubricius, who had sometimes no less than a thousand scholars. At Caerworgorn also, or Llan-Il tyd- Vawr, in Glamorgan, was another very notable college, where Illtyd, or Iltutus presided. [Flere indeed is said to have been a still more ancient college, called Cor Tewdre's, or the choir of Theodosius, from the Roman emperor of that name, its reputed founder, and whom the Britons, it seems, called Texda's*.} At Llancarvan also, not far from Caerworgorn, was established another college, which acquired no small celebrity under the care of Cawg, or Cadog the Wise, as he is sometimes called. At Tygwyn, or IV'hillind on the Tâv, in Dyved, was another celebrated college, founded by Pawl Hên, or Paulinus, who placed at the head of it two learned brothers, Flex'yn and Gredivel, the sons of Ithelhael, or Ithel the generous.
Here David and Teilo are said to have studied many years. To these colleges may be added those of Bangor in Flintshire, and Bangor in Caernarvonshire. Also that of
The college of Caerworforn, or Cor Tewdws was founded, it seems, by Cystenhyn Llydaw, or Cystennyn ab Cynvor, (surnamed the blessed, king of Siluria, and grandfather of king Arthur, under the auspices and direction of the emperor Theodo ius, in whose time Britain was still a part of the Roman empire. We are told that the new college was regulared by a Roman, of the name of Balcrus, ape! pointed perhaps by the emperor for that purpose, and that Padrig ab Maxon, or Padrig Maeninyn of Gowerland, was the president or principal of it. The Irish invading Wales in the meantime, ard over-rurring Glamorgan, carried Padrig off with them to their own country, where he exerted himself in the conversion of the inhabitants, and has been ever since greatly celebrated under the nanie of joint patrick, the apostle of Ireland. Being himself a learned man, he is suppo-ed to have been an eminent instrument in enlightening and civilizing the Irish, as well as in laying the foundation ofthat ancient character of that island, as the seat of learning, which it is known long to have borne. His captivation by those Irish invaders is mentioned in an ancient British record, called the Geneelogy of the British Suini, and the truth of it is corroborated by the remarkable fact in the history of Wales, that the Irish succecded in seeling themselves along nearly the whole extent of its coat in the beginning of the sth century, and continued there till nearly the middle or the same era, when they were entirely expelled by the natives under the conduct of Crico, Ceredig, and other abie leaders. Vid. Owen's Cambrian Biog. ara Padrig.
Enlli, or Bardsey-island, and that of Llangennydd in Gwyr.
From the preceding account, a tolerable idea may be formed of the state of Christianity in Wales, for a good while after the time of Pelagius. The character of St. Germain also, it is hoped, has been held out here in no improper light; nor ret that religious revolution which he and his associates effected in Britain. To what has been already said of St. David, it may be proper here to add, that he was the son of Sandde ab Cedig, ab Ceredig, who resided in that part of the country called froin him Ceredigion, now Cardiganshire, (but whose former name was Tuno Coch,) of which he was the prince or chieftain in the 5th century. The mother of St. David was Non, daughter of Gynyr of Caer Gawch in Pembrokeshire, who was lord of Mrawy, now Cybydiog, or Dewsland in that country. Both Gynyr and his daughter bore a very high religious character.. David, as before noted, was educated under Flewyn and Gredivel, at the college of Ty-gwyn-ar-dâv,the origin of Whitland Abbey. He afterwards became bishop of Caerleon-upon-Usk, where he continued till the death of his kinsman king Arthur, and of his grandfather Gynyr, when he removed and settled at Mynyw, called from him 'Ty-Ddews, and in English St. David's, which was then erected into an episcopal seat, of which he became - the first bishop. He and his two contemporaries Teilo and Padarn, are in the Triads called the Three Holy Visitors, because they went about the country as itinerants, preaching the gospel' to all, without accepting any kind of reward, but on the contrary expending their own patrimonies in administering to the necessities of the poor. If they did so their memories ought to be highly respected, and the wealthy men among the itinerant preachers that still abound in that country would do well to follow their example, according to that saying of Christ, “ It is more blessed to give than to receive." St. David's treatmert of his religious opponents is understood to have been unforbearing and rigorous ; in other respects he appears to have been a good and eminent man who deserved well of his country. As to the miracles ascribed to him, they were all probably the inventions of later or inonkish times, and monkish knavery. He is said to have lived to the very advanced and extraordinary age of 147 years.
From the time of St. David till the arrival of AUSTIN THE Monk, about the close of the 6th century, the religion of the Welsh people is thought to have continued much the same. That missionary had two interviews or conferences with the bishops or ecclesiastics of Wales, and as he could not prevail with them to accede to his proposals he is said to have instigatVOL. II.