e Gospel abroad. It crossed the sea to Iona, the sacred isle, still to religious memory sacred, from which the light of the Gospel shone to the wild islesmen and to the rovers of the Northern Sea. Irish missionaries preached to heathen Germany, colliding there, it seems, with a more regular episcopate. They played a part in the conversion of Britain not less important than that of the missionaries of Rome, before whose authority, however, the Irish Church in the person of Aidan was at last compelled to retire, the decisive struggle taking place on the mode of celebrating Easter.
In Ireland itself there arose in connection with the Church a precocious and romantic passion for learning which founded primitive universities. Its memory lingers in the melancholy ruins of Clonmacnoise. This was the delusive brightness of a brief day, to be followed by the darkness of a long night.
The Church of Ireland seems in its origin to have been national and neither child nor vassal of Rome. Its theology must ha