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Unformatted text preview: arbarous ages. There were some intricacies, observed by all the Christian churches, in adjusting the day of keeping Easter; which depended on a complicated consideration of the course of the sun and moon: And it happened that the missionaries, who had converted the Scots and Britons, had followed a different calendar from that which was observed at Rome, in the age when Augustine converted the Saxons. The priests also of all the Christian churches were accustomed to shave part of their head; but the form given to this tonsure, was different in the former from what was practised in the latter. The Scots and Britons pleaded the antiquity of their usages: The Romans, and their disciples, the Saxons, insisted on the universality of theirs. That Easter must necessarily be kept by a rule, which comprehended both the day of the year and age of the moon, was agreed by all; that the tonsure of a priest could not be omitted without the utmost impiety, was a point undisputed: But the Romans and Saxons called their antagonists schismatics; because they celebrated Easter on the very day of the full moon in March, if that day fell on a Sunday, instead of waiting till the Sunday following; and because they shaved the fore-part of their head from ear to ear, instead of making that tonsure on the crown of the head, and in a circular form. In order to render their antagonists odious, they affirmed, that, once in seven years, they concurred with the Jews in the time of celebrating that festival:y And that they might recommend their own form of tonsure, they maintained that it imitated symbolically the crown of thorns worn by Christ in his passion; whereas the other form was invented by Simon Magus, without any regard to that representation.z These controversies had, from the beginning, excited such animosity between the British and Romish priests, that, instead of concurring in their endeavours to convert the idolatrous Saxons, they refused all communion together, and each regarded his opponent as no better than a Pagan.a The dispute lasted more than a century; and was at last finished, not by men’s PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 53 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 discovering the folly of it, which would have been too great an effort for human reason to accomplish, but by the entire prevalence of the Romish ritual over the Scotch and British.b Wilfrid, bishop of Lindisferne, acquired great merit, both with the court of Rome and with all the southern Saxons, by expelling the quartodeciman schism, as it was called, from the Northumbrian kingdom, into which the neighbourhood of the Scots had formerly introduced it.c Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, called, in the year 680, a synod at Hatfield, consisting of all the bishops in Britain;d where was accepted and ratified the decree of the Lateran council, summoned by Martin, against the heresy of the Monothelites. The council and synod maintained, in opposition to these heretic...
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- Spring '08