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THE pall of heathen darkness veils our land:
In temples rude and vast, on mount and moor, Grim Druid priests before dumb idols stand, And serve at altars wet with human gore. Rome's legions come and burst into the night; But from the mighty Cæsar's flashing sword There gleams no ray of heaven,—no saving light
Of peace no tidings, nor of hope one word. Meek messengers from far arrive and tell Of One who light and life from God hath brought ; Their words of truth the shrouding gloom dispel, And wonders by the Cross of Christ are wrought.
Turning from idol shrines with holy shame,
peace and life through faith in Jesu's name, Walks in His light, and lives to Him alone.
“Who brought the lamp, that with awaking beams
T the west end of the north aisle of Gloucester Cathedral A KING LUCIUS. It is the gift of William Viner Ellis, Esq., and is designed to commemorate some interesting events connected with the early history of Christianity in Britain.
There has been much controversy as to the first introduction of the Christian faith into this land. The facts are shrouded in obscurity ; but, while authentic records are few and scant, traditions and fables abound. Monkish legends tell us that Joseph of Arimathea, and Peter, and Paul, came as messengers of salvation to our shores ; and that Simon Zelotes not only preached the Gospel here, but also found a martyr's grave. Lazarus and his sister Martha, Mary Magdalene, and others, are said to have been driven here as exiles; and Aristobulus is represented as Bishop of Britain !
With some of these traditions more trustworthy testimonies agree. It is asserted by writers of credit that some of the Apostles passed over to these isles : by others the Britons are mentioned among the nations who received the Gospel by Apostolic ministry; and Paul is expressly said to have visited “the utmost bounds of the west,” by which these islands may be meant.
This early introduction of the Christian faith receives some
support from several facts, which are thus presented by Mr. Lysons :
“At the incasion of this island by the Roman Emperor Claudius, in the year 43, its inhabitants were all heathen idolaters. The general by whose abilities this country was subdued, Aulus Plautius, married a lady named Pomponia, considered by most writers to have been a Briton. By what means she became converted to the Christian faith is not exactly known ; but it is a matter of history, recorded by Tacitus, that on Plautius' return to Rome after his triumph, his wife was brought to trial for being a Christian.* Now at Plautius' court, which was kept at Glevum (Gloucester), and sometimes at Corinium (Cirencester), there was a young female, a relative of the British Chief, whose name was Claudia. She was married to Rufus Pudens, an officer of Plautius' army, residing with him in this county. One of the sons of this marriage was Linus. Now all these personages are brought together, under the denomination of Christians, by two writers of such different characters and tendencies that there can be no room to doubt the truth of their assertions; the one being no less than the Apostle Paul, in his Second Epistle to Timothy, chap. iv. verse 21 ; the other being the noted, witty, but profligate, contemporary poet Martial. Here, then, we arrive at the fact that there were British Christians resident in Gloucester in the year 43, just ten years after our Saviour's death, and two years only after the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch."-Gloucestershire Achievements.
that it was at the solicitations of Claudia that Paul undertook a mission to Britain," and if so," Mr. Lysons reasons, “undoubtedly he came to the country of Claudia's nativity, among the Dobuni, or inhabitants of Gloucestershire.', Such are some of the legends, facts, and conjectures relative to this interesting subject.
It is not till more than a century after these events that the name of Lucius, son and successor of King Coillus, appears in the roll of British princes. The scenes in the memorial window are intended to illustrate the chief facts of his history.
The first is that of his coronation. Seated on his throne, he receives his crown from Druidical priests while warriors bend at his feet and trumpeters proclaim him King. When or where
* «The proofs of Pomponia's Christianity are given in 'The Romans in Gloucestershire,' and in Claudia and Pudens,' both by the Rev. 8. Lysons."
+ " It may be remarked of this same Linus that he was the first Bishop of Rome (not Pope, recollect, for there were no Popes in those days, but Bishop), and being a Briton by his mother's side, I think there is stronger reason, so to say, that Rome owes its Christianity to England (not to say Gloucestershire) than England does to Rome. But I am not going to enter into controversy-persons who have the opportunity of reading must judge for themselves—all that I would request in a case of this sort is that they should read both sides,"
this took place is unknown. Various dates, ranging through the last half of the second century have been given as the time of his accession. He was most likely one of those petty British chiefs who, under the permission of the Romans, exercised a limited rule in some province, but where that was is uncertain. Chroniclers extol his character as a ruler. Coillus would appear to have been a model prince, and Lucius is described as “imitating all his father's acts of goodness, and seeming to his people to be no other than Coillus himself alive again.'
In scene second he appears despatching messengers to Rome. “ It was," says Bede, “when that holy man Eleutherius presided over the Church at Rome that Lucius sent messengers, desiring at his command to be made a Christian." Camden, following “the old martyrologies which were wont to be read in churches," relates that Lucius, admiring the integrity and holiness of Christians, was led to send two of his Christian subjects, Eluanus and Meduanus, to obtain from Rome a fuller and more authentic account of Christianity than he thought he could receive from any of its disciples in his own land. Geoffrey of Monmouth adds that “the miracles which Christ's disciples performed in several nations wrought a conviction in his mind, and inflanied him with an ardent love of the true faith."
The messengers' visit was successful. Teachers were immediately sent by Eleutherius ; and the third scene represents Lucius being baptised by Faganus and Duvanus, "two most religious doctors, who," says Geoffrey's chronicle, "after they had preached concerning the incarnation of the Word of God, administered baptism to him, and made him a proselyte to the Christian faith.” The Church of Rome had already begun to depart from the simplicity of the Gospel, and in making converts the observance of forms was often substituted for faith in Christ and newness of heart; but we would fain hope that in this case the truth was faithfully taught and spiritually received. So Speed hoped when he wrote, “ Britain has the glory to bee graced with the first Christian King that ever raigned in the world, who was our renouned Lucius, ye first fruits of all the Kings that ever laid their crowns at the foote of our Saviour's crosse."
The song, “Old King Cole,” is thought to be, a corruption of some better composition in honour of Coillus.