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Christianity came to Britain - When? #1

And those who brought it!

THE APOSTLE PAUL IN BRITAIN #5

by R.W.Morgan


THE BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY AT ROME --- THE ARIMATHAEAN, OR FIRST
INTRODUCTION OF CHRISTIANITY INTO BRITAIN


     HAVING thus established the British king and his family in
the Titulus, we turn our attention to St.Paul, who arrived at
Rome for the first time on his appeal to Caesar, A.D.58. 
(Jerome states St.Paul was sent to Rome in the second year of
Nero, i.e. A.D.56. in which date agree Bede, Ivo, Freculphus
Platina, Scaliger, Capellus, Cave, Stillingfleet, Alford, Godwin
De Proesulibus, Rapin, Bingham, Stanhope, Warner, Trapp. We
believe this to be the true date, and its assumption would be
more favourable to the tenor of this essay, as it would allow
three years instead of one for the interview at Rome between St.
Paul and Caractacus. We prefer, however, not to insist upon it).


     A strong Christian Church, celebrated for its zeal and
fidelity, existed in Rome before the visit of St.Paul or any
other apostle to it. We know, from many passages in the Epistle
to the Romans itself, that at the time of its composition and
despatch St.Paul had not yet been to Rome. Amongst the members of
the Church, however, were some not only of the most intimate
fellow-labourers and friends, but relatives of the Apostle. Some
of the latter, such as Andronicus and Junia, had been converted
before him. Herodion is mentioned as another kinsman. In
connection with Rufus Pudens who is saluted by name, occurs
another salutation which originates an interesting question, the
right solution of which would throw a flood of light on this part
of the history both of Paul and Pudens "Salute Rufus chosen in
the Lord, and his mother and mine." Does this mean natural or
spiritual relationship? We are inclined to believe the former. A
spiritual father or mother is, in Gospel phraseology, the person
who converts another to Christ. St.Paul's conversion was effected
by Christ Himself by a direct miracle. With respect to him the
terms could not be applied to any human being. Was, then, the
mother of Rufus the mother also of Paul? Were Rufus and Paul
half-brothers-the latter, the elder, by a Hebrew, the former, the
younger, by a second marriage with a Gentile, or proselyte Roman?
This mother was a Christian, living with Rufus, and is termed
also his mother by St.Paul. In the palace of Rufus, when at Rome,
Paul spent most of his time, though he had also his own hired
house. (That the apostles having once been received into the
Palatium Pudentinum, should continue to make it their home in
Rome, is in conformity with our Lord's instructions, "Into
whatsoever city or town ye enter, inquire who in it is worthy,
and there abide till ye go thence." - Matthew x.ii. At the same
hospitium Justin Martyr was received. "Nobili revera atque
praecipua in urbe Christi familia."--Baron, vol.i. p.228).


     The children of Claudia and Pudens, as we learn from the
Roman Martyrologies, were brought up on his knees, and we find in
the last scene of his life preceding his martyrdom, the only
salutations sent by him to Timothy to be those of Eubulus,
Claudia, Linus, and Pudens - the same family evidently
ministering and attending to him to the last. There is, whichever
way we decide, a closeness in the connection between the Apostle
and the family of Pudens which has hitherto escaped observation,
and remains to be explained. And this continued even after death,
for the children of Pudens, all of whom suffered martyrdom, were
interred by the side of the Apostle, as in a common family
cemetery, in the Via Ostiensis. Leaving the question of the
nature of this affinity in abeyance, we now observe ---

1.  That Pudens was converted before St.Paul came to Rome,  and
by some other Christian than Paul.

2.  That Hernias Pastor appears at this very early date to have
been the pastor at the Titulus, which constituted the place of
meeting for the Gentile Church, or Church of the uncircumcision.
The Hebrew Church, or Church of the circumcision, met at the
House of Aquila and Priscilla. (Rom.16:5).

3.  That the household of Aristobulus is greeted, but Aristobulus
himself is not, being absent at the time from Rome. Hence arise
the questions - Who were the evangelizers of the family of
Claudia Britannica and Pudens ? Where was Aristobulus absent? Was
it in Britain? Was Britain evangelized in any degree before St.
Paul came to Rome? and if, so, by whom? An investigation of the
utmost interest.

     The fairest way of treating the subject of the first
introduction of Christianity into Britain seems to be to lay down
an affirmative statement, adduce what evidence there is in
support of it, and leave the reader to draw the conclusion
whether it makes good such statement or not. We write as
investigators, not as dogmatists, but our propositions must of
necessity often assume the affirmative form, or we should be mere
negationists of history.

     Our statement, then, will take the following form:

     Christanity was first introduced into Britain 'by Joseph of
Arimathaea, A.D.36-39; followed by Simon Zelotes, the apostle;
then by Aristobulus, the first bishop of the Britons; then by
St.Paul. Its first converts were members of the royal family of
Siluria--that is, Gladys, the sister of Caradoc, Gladys (Claudia)
and Eurgen his daughters, Linus his son, converted in Britain
before they were carried into captivity to Rome; then Caradoc,
Bran, and the rest of the family, converted at Rome. The two
cradles of Christianity in Britain were Ynys Wydrin, 'the Crystal
Isle,' translated by the Saxons Glastonbury, in Somersetshire,
where Joseph settled and taught, and Siluria, where the earliest
churches and schools, next to Ynys Wydrin, were founded by the
Silurian dynasty. Ynys Wydrin was also commonly known as Ynys
Avalon, and in Latin "Domus Dei," " Secretum Dei."

     Now for the consecutive evidences of this statement. They
have been collected at the cost of much research from various
quarters, but the reader will remember that they are not
presented as decisive. All historic evidence must be ruled by
times and circumstances. If it be such as the times and
circumstances of the era alone admit, it is entitled to be
received in court, and if there is no contrary evidence which can
be brought forward to cancel it, we must bring in, till such
evidence be produced, a verdict of proven. The testimony in other
historical cases may be stronger and more satisfactory, but we
must be content in all cases to give judgment by such evidence as
we can command. In ages when literature or written evidence had
but very limited existence, tradition and general belief are the
chief sources to which we can apply for the knowledge of broad
facts, their details being a minor consideration.

     The constant current of European tradition affirmed Briatin
to have been the first country in Europe which received the
Gospel, and the British Church to be the most ancient of the
Churches of Christ herein. The universality of this opinion is
readily demonstrated.

I. Polydore Vergil in the reign of Henry VII, and after him
Cardinal Pole (A.D.1555), both rigid Roman Catholics, affirmed in
Parliament, the latter in his address to Philip and Mary, that 
"Britain was the first of all countries to receive the Christian
faith." "The glory of Britain," remarks Genebrard, "consists not
only in this, that she was the first country which in a national
capacity publicly professed herself Christian, but that she made
this confession when the Roman empire itself was Pagan and a
cruel persecutor of Christianity."

2. This priority of antiquity was only once questioned, and that
on political grounds, by the ambassadors of France and Spain, at
the Council of Pisa, A.D.1417. The Council, however, affirmed it.
The ambassadors appealed to the Council of Constance, A.D.1419,
which confirmed the decision of that of Pisa, which was a third
time confirmed by the Council of Sena, and then acquiesced in.
This decision laid down that the Churches of France and Spain
were bound to give way in the points of antiquity and precedency
to the Church of Britain, which was founded by Joseph of
Arimathaea "immediately after the passion of Christ." 4 

     We may therefore accept as the general opinion of
Christendom, the priority in point of antiquity over all others
of the British Church. This opinion is well expressed by
Sabellius:-- "Christianity was privately confessed elsewhere, but
the first nation that proclaimed it as their religion, and called
itself Christian after the name of Christ, was Britain." 5

     It is certain that the primitive British, Irish, Scot, and
Gallic Churches formed one Church, one communion, and that on the
assumption of the Papacy, A.D. 06, by Rome, this great Celtic
Church, which had been previously in full communion with
primitive Rome, refused in the most peremptory terms to
acknowledge her novel pretensions

......

4 "Statim post passionem Christi." An account of the pleadings at
the Council of Constance will be found in a thin quarto,
"Disceptatio super Digni;atem Anglioe et Gallioe in Concilio
Constantiano," Theod. Martin (Lovar. 15I7).
Robert Parsons, the Jesuit, in his "Three Conversions of
England," admits, in common with the great majority of Roman
Catholic writers, that Christianity came into Britain direct from
Jerusalem. "It seems nearest the truth that the British Church
was originally planted by Grecian teachers, such as came from the
East and not by Romans." - Vol.i. p.15. The Eastern usages of the
British Church would alone attest the fact.

5 Sabell. Enno., lib. vii. c. 5.

......

     It is, of course, this primitive British Church, and not the
Roman Church introduced by Augustine, A.D.596, into Kent among
the Pagan Saxons, of which such priority must be understood. That
such a Church existed on a national scale, and was thoroughly
antagonistic to the Roman Church in its new form and usurpations
in the person of Augustine, is so notorious, that we may dispense
with all but a few testimonies in proof of the fact. "Britons,"
declares Bede, 6 "are contrary to the whole Roman world, and
enemies to the Roman customs, not only in their Mass, but in
their tonsure." The Britons refused to recognise Augustine, or to
acquiece in one of his demands. "We cannot," said the British
bishops, "depart from our ancient customs without the consent and
leave of our people." Laurentius, the successor of Augustine,
speaks yet more bitterly of the antagonism of the Scottish,
Church:

"We have found the Scotch bishops worse even than the British.
Dagon, who lately came here, being a bishop of the Scots, refused
so much as to eat at the same table, or sleep one night under the
same roof with us." 7

......

6 Bede's Hist. Frag., quoted by Usher, "Ancient Irish Church," c.
4, Hist.. lib. ii. c. 2. One demand of Augustine was that the
British Church should recognise him as Archbishop. "At illi,"
says Bede, lib. ii. p. 112, "nihil horum se facturos neque illum
pro Archiepiscopo habituros esse respondebant." Bede must
himself, one would suppose, from his own testimony in favour of
the British Church, and his knowledge of its extent and
institutions, have felt some astonishment at this demand of an
emissary whose only religious establishment in Britain was a
solitary church among the Pagans of Kent. "The Britons," he
writes, lib. i. c. 4, "preserved the faith which they had
received under King Lucius uncorrupted and entire in peace and
tranquillity, until the time of the Emperor Diocletian." Nicholas
Trivet says, "Abbot Dinothus, of Bangor, treated Augustine with
contempt."

7 Laurentii Epist. ad Papam; Bede, Eccles. Hist., ii. c. 4.

......

     And the protest of the British Church itself, signed on its
behalf by the Archbishop of St.David's, six bishops, and the
abbot of Bangor, who conducted the conference with Augustine at
Augustine's Oak, A.D.607, place in still clearer light the gulf
which the change of the primitive Roman Church into the Papacy
formed between the Churches hitherto in full communion, It ran as
follows:

"Be it known and declared that we all, individually and
collectively, are in all humility prepared to defer to the Church
of God, and to the Bishop of Rome, and to every sincere and godly
Christian, so far as to love every one according to his degree,
in perfect charity, and to assist them all by word and in deed in
becoming the children of God. But as for any other obedience, we
know of none that he whom you term the Pope, or Bishop of
Bishops, can demand. The deference we have mentioned we are ready
to pay to him, as to every other Christian, but in all other
respects our obedience is due to the jurisdiction of the Bishop
of Caerleon, who is alone, under God, our ruler to keep us right
in the way of salvation." 8

     It is plain from these and similar testimonies that Britain
- 1. Was a distinct diocese of the empire. 2. That it was subject
neither to the patriarch of Rome, nor to any foreign
ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 3. That it had its sovereignty
within itself. 4. That it never consulted the See of Rome nor any
foreign power in its rites, discipline, government, or
consecration of bishops and archbishops. 5.  That it recognised
no superior but God to its archbishop of Caerleon, or St.David. 9

     As late as the twelfth century no instance could be

......

8 Hengwrt MSS.; Humphry Llwyd; Sebright MSS.; Cottonian Library
(British Museum), Cleopatra, E. i. 1.
9 Spelmanni Concilia; Sir Roger Twysden, Historical Vindication;
Brerewood, p.113; Collier, vol. i. p.6, &c.; Bishop Lloyd's
Government, &c., &c.


......

produced of the British metropolitan receiving the pall from
Rome.
     The two British metropolitans of London and York, Theon and
Tediac, had retired from their Sees into Wales A.D.586, ten years
only before the arrival of Augustine.
     In the Diocletian persecution the British Church supplied
the following remarkable list of native martyrs : - Amphibalus,
Bishop of Llandaff; Alban of Verulam; Aaron and Julius,
presbyters of Caerleon; Socrates, Archbishop of York; Stephen,
Archbishop of London; Augulius, his successor; Nicholas, Bishop
of Penrhyn (Glasgow); Melior, Bishop of Carlisle, and above
10,000 communicants in different grades of society.

     Its  religious institutions were on an immense scale.
William, of Malmesbury describes the ruins of Bangor Iscoed
Abbey, in his days as those of a city - the most extensive he had
seen in the kingdom. Two other British foundations in England
retained their superiority over all others of a later date, under
every change of rulers till the Reformation - St.Alban and
Glastonbury. Of all the monasteries these continued the most
popular and highly venerated. 10

......

10 It is certain, states Spelman (p.18), that the people of that
province held no oath so sacred as that "by the old church"
(Glastonbury), fearing nothing so much as to incur the guilt of
perjury in taking it. "The church of Glastonbury, from its
antiquity called by the Angles 'Ealde Churche' savoured of
sanctity from its very foundation. Here arrive whole tribes of
the lower orders, thronging every path. Here, divested of their
pomp, assemble the opulent. It has become the crowded residence
of the literary and religious. There is no corner of the church
in which the ashes of some saint do not repose. The very floor
inlaid with polished stones, and the sides of the altar, and even
the altar itself, above and beneath, are laden with the multitude
of relics. The antiquity, and multitude of saints, have endowed
the place with such sanctity that at night scarcely any one
presumes to keep vigil there, or during the day to spit upon
the floor. St.Patrick is buried by the right side of the altar in
the 'old church.' The men of Ireland frequent it to kiss the
relics. St.David, that celebrated and incomparable man, built and
dedicated the second church here. He sleeps by St.Patrick."
William of Malmesbury, b. i. c. 2. St.Aidan was buried by the
side of St.David.

......

     Tracing our course back from the Diocletian era, a consensus
of authorities fixes the national establishment of Christianity
in Britain somewhere about the middle of the second century. From
A.D.33, then, to A.D.150, we have in round numbers a space of 120
years left for the propagation of the faith and the gradual
conversion of the nation.
     All accounts concur in stating that the person who baptized
Lucius, or Lleeuer Mawr, the monarch who thus established the
Church, was his uncle, St.Timotheus, the son of Pudens and
Claudia, who was brought up on the knees of the apostles.
     The infancy of Timotheus carries us back to Paul himself, to
Claudia, to Pudens, to Linus, Caractacus, Bran, and the other
members of the Silurian house in their captivity at Rome.
     But we have seen that Pudens and others were Christians
before Paul came to Rome, which carries the first British
conversions to an earlier date than A.D.58. 
     And thus we arrive within twenty-five years of the
Crucifixion. In which of these years, then, was the Gospel first
introduced into Britain?
     Gildas, the British historian, who flourished A.D.520-560,
states expressly that it was introduced the last year of the
reign of Tiberius Caesar. 11

     The Crucifixion took place in the seventeenth year of
Tiberius. The last year of Tiberius would be his twenty-

......

11 "We know that Christ, the true Son, afforded His light to our
island in the last year of Tiberius Caesaris." - "Histor. Briton"
- Usher terms Gildas "auctor veracissimus."
......

second. Consequently, if we fallow Gildas, Christianity
was introduced into Britain five years after the Crucifixion,
that is, A.D.38. (Actually and in fact Jesus was crucified in 30
A.D. hence Christianity came to Britain about 35 A.D. - Keith
Hunt).

     This is certainly an early period, but Gildas speaks
positively--- "ut scimus." It synchronizes with the first 
persecution of the Church by Saul of Tarsus, and its general
dispersion. "They were all scattered abroad except the apostles."
12 
     If all, then Joseph of Arimathaea among them. Regarding
Gildas' date as our starting-point, we have the following
testimonies, assigning the introduction of Christianity in or
about the same year to Joseph of Arimathaea:

1. Gregory of Tours, in the History of the Franks: 13 He
flourished "circiter" A.D.544-595. This is Gallic testimony.
2. The Pseudo-Gospel of Nicodemus, 14 supposed to be a
composition of the fourth century. This is Oriental tradition.
3. Maelgwyn of Llandaff, the uncle of St.David. His era is
"circiter" A.D.450. His words being remarkable, we insert them at
length:--- "Joseph of Arimathaea, the noble decurion, received
his everlasting rest with his eleven associates in the Isle of
Avalon. He lies in the southern angle of the bifurcated line of
the Oratorium of the Adorable Virgin. He has with him the two
white vessels of silver which were filled with the blood and the
sweat of the great Prophet Jesus. 15"

......

12 Acts viii.1. 
13 P. 133.
l4 Ad finem.
15 "Joseph ab Arimathea nobilis decurio in insula Avallonia cum
xi. Sociis suis somnum cepit perpetuum et facet in meridiano
angulo lineae bifurcatae Oratorii Adorandae Virginis. Habit enim
secum duovascula argentea alba cruore et sudore magni prophetae
Jesu perimpleta."---Thick vellum Cottonian MS., quoted also by
Usher, "Melchini Fragmentum." Joseph of Arimathaea is by Eastern
tradition said to have been the younger brother of the father of
the Virgin Mary. The records of Glastonbury, as cited by
Malmesbury and others, preserved the genealogy of his descendants
in Britain:- "Helias nepos Joseph genuit Josua, Josua genuit
Amminadab, Amminadab Castellor," &c.- "Historia de Glastonbury."

......


     This is British testimony, of one also personally acquainted
with the interior of the church of Avalon, or Domus Dei, and the
exact spot within it of the resting-place of Joseph. The greater
weight is due to Maelgwyn's evidence, as no fact is better
established than the reconstruction of the Domus Dei on a
cathedral scale by his nephew, St.David the Archbishop. 16

4. The Vatican manuscript, quoted by Baronius in his
"Ecclesiastical Annals," ad annum 35 (the same year in which the
Acts of the Apostles state all, except the apostles, were
scattered abroad from Judaea). The manuscript records that in
this year Lazarus, Maria Magdalene, Martha, her handmaiden
Marcella, Maximin a disciple, Joseph the Decurion of Arimathaea,
against all of whom the Jewish people had special reasons of
enmity, were exposed to the sea in a vessel without sails or
oars. The vessel drifted finally to Marseilles, and they were
saved. From Marseilles Joseph and his company passed into

......

16 In the two "vascula argentea alba," full of the Saviour's
blood and sweat shed on the cross and at Gethsemane, we have the
first nucleus of the celebrated legend and a quest of the Sant-
Greal. They gave the name of the Crystal Isle to Glastonbury. The
Britons commemorate (writes Forcatulus) that Joseph brought with
him the pledge and testimony of the sacred Eucharist, namely, the
chalice which was used by the Saviour, and placed before His most
holy guests the apostles, and which is preserved by them (the
Britons) as the pledge of the safety of Britain, as the palladium
was of that of Troy. - "Fortaculus de Gallor. Imperio et
Philos.," lib. vii. p.989. "Greal" in British is a collection of
elements; "Sant-Greal," the holy elements.

......

Britain, and after preaching the Gospel there, died. 17

5. The "Chronicon" of Pseudo-Dexter, the "Fragm enta of Haleca"
Archbishop of Saragossa, Freculphus and Forcatulus, 18 
deliver the same statement professedly from primitive sources of
unknown date. Cressy, Pitsaeus, Sanders, Alford, the Roman
Catholic historians, concur with Gildas in the year, and with the
above authorities in holding Joseph of Arimathaea to have been
the first who preached Christ in Britain.

6. We possess abundant proofs that Britain was studded with
Christian churches before the end of the second century, and
whatever direction our investigations take, we find authorities
unanimous in the statement that the church of Joseph in Avalon,
or Glastonbury, was the first and oldest of these churches, many
affirming it to be the oldest or senior Christian church in the
whole world. It will be useful to transcribe the conclusions
arrived at by the historians who have treated on this subject
before us.

"The church of Avalon in Britain no other hands than those of the
disciples of the Lord themselves built.--- "Publius Discipulus."
"The mother church of the British Isles is the Church in Insula
Avallonia, called by the Saxons Glaston."-- Usher. "
If credit be given to ancient authors, this church of Glastonbury
is the senior church of the world."--- Fuller. 
"It is certain that Britain received the faith in the first age
from the first sowers of the Word. Of all the churches whose
origin I have investigated in Britain, the church of Glastonbury
is the most ancient."--- Sir Henry Spelman.

......

17 The respective dates of A.D.35 and 38 allow three years
between the expulsion of Joseph from Judaea and his settlement in
Britain - undesigned harmony which goes far chronologically to
confirm the common record.

18 Lib. vii. p.989.

......
     
     Had any doubt existed on this point of priority, it
certainly would have been contested by some other church in our
island, for it was not a question of mere chronology, but one
which drew with it enormous privileges and advantages. It never
was disputed. It was universally conceded: and upon it the long
series of the royal charters of the church and monastery, from
that of King Arthur, the nephew of its second founder, St.David,
to that of Edward III, proceed. "The first church in the kingdom,
built by the disciples of Christ," says the charter of Edgar. 
"This is the city," states the charter of Ina, or Ivor, "which
was the fountain and origin of Christ's religion in Britain,
built by Christ's disciples."
     The tombs of Saxon and British kings, saints, bishops, and
abbots, buried in and around its confines, confirm the charters.
     Of the general truth of the Arimathaean mission there have
been numerous supporters.  No author, indeed, who has taken due
pains to examine its evidences, rejects its main facts. "We dare
not deny," writes the caustic Fuller, "the substance of the
story." Bishop Godwin, in his quaint style, writes, "The
testimonies of Joseph of Arimathaea's coming here are so many, so
clear, and so pregnant, as an indifferent man cannot but discern
there is something in it." 19 
     Archbishop Usher defends it with his usual display of 
erudition, and with unusual vehemency of manner, as if the honour
of ecclesiastical Britain rested on its truth. The reader will
form his own judgment.
     For our part, we cast aside the addenda and crescenda, the
legends, poems, marvels which after ages, monk, troubadour, and
historian piled high and gorgeously on the original foundation.
That foundation must indeed have originally possessed no mean
strength, depth, and solidity, to bear the immense superstructure

......

19 Godwin's "Catalogue of Bishops," Praesul., p.11.

......

which mediaeval superstition and literature emulated each other
in erecting above the simple tomb of the Arimathaean senator in
the Avalon Isle. This superstition was rising tide-high in the
time of Augustine, A.D.600. "In the western confines of Britain,"
he writes to the Pope, "there is a certain royal island of large
extent, surrounded by water, abounding in all the beauties of
nature and necessaries of life. In it the first neophytes of the
catholic law, God beforehand acquainting them, found a Church
constructed by no human art, but by the hands of Christ Himself,
for the salvation of His people. The Almighty has made it
manifest by many miracles and mysterious visitations that He
continues to watch over it: as sacred to Himself, and to Mary the
mother of God." 20 
     The same edifice of figments has been built in all ages,
more or less, on Christianity itself, but we do not therefore
demur to the primitive facts of Christianity. Leaving details.
out of the question, the cardinal features of the first, or
Arimathaean, mission of Christianity into Britain are, in our
opinion, entitled to historic, acceptance and registration.

     These cardinal features we consider to be the followin:

Joseph and his company, including Lazarus, Mary, Martha,
Marcella, and Maximin, came at the invitation of certain Druids
of high rank, 21 from Marseilles into Britain, circiter A.D.38,
39; were located at Ynys Avalon, the seat of a Druidic cor, which
was subsequently made over to them in free gift by Arviragus.
Here they built the first church, which became the centre and
mother of Christianity in Britain.  Here also they terminated
their mortal career, the gentle and conciliatory character of
Joseph securing the protection of the reigning family, and 

......

20 Epistolae ad Gregorium Papam.
21 "Negotium habuit cum Druidis quorum primi precipuique
doctores erant in Britannia." - "Freculphus, apud God.," p.10.

......

the conversion of many of its members. Joseph died and was
interred A.D.76.
     The church was 60 feet in length by 26 in breadth, built
"Gallico more" of timber pillars and framework doubly wattled
inside and out, and thatched with straw. 22 
     This simplicity might have been the effect of necessity or
design. The Druidic faith required three essentials in every
temple: 1. It must be circular; 2. Hypaethral, or roofless at
top, and open at the sides; 3. Its materials must be monoliths,
vast single stones unhewed, untouched by metal. 
     The Arimathaean church rose in direct though humble
antagonism to the old Cyclopean architecture - it was oblong, it
was of wood, it was roofed and covered in. The Druidic mind could
not, without a strong effort, connect such a building with the
ideas of religion and worship. It carried with it no image, no
symbolism of the One, the Infinite, and the Darkless. The Briton
on his way to one of the great cors--Amesbury or Stonehenge, with
their miles of obelisks - would smile with pity on the ecclesia,
or, as he rendered this new word from the East, the "eglwys" of
the "Wyr Israel" (men of Israel). But the Druidic religion knew
of no such monstrous abortions as intolerance and persecution.
There is no instance of Druidism persecuting conscience or
knowledge. Such crime was left for Rome, for a religion of
foreign importation. Casting his eye round the circle of the
horizon, and then upwards to the vast open dome of heaven, the
Briton saw the outer ring, as it were, the circumference of his
own Druidic cor; he would resume his march, trying to discover
some possible identification in nature between an oblong pitched
roof and the temple of the universe. 

......

22 And such also was the primitive Capitol of Rome:
"Quae fuerat nostri si quaeras Regia nati,
Adspice de Canna straminibusque Domum." 
Ovid, Faest. ad Fest. Roma.

                           ....................


To be continued


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