Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 19. THE COMING OF AUSTIN


    In the year then 598, Austin being sent from Gregory, came into England: the occasion whereupon Gregory sent him hither was this.

    In the days of Pelagius, bishop of Rome, Gregory chancing to see certain children in the marketplace of Rome, (brought thither to be sold out of England,) being fair and beautiful of visage, demanded out of what country they were. And understanding they were heathenish, out of England, lamented the case of the land, being so beautiful and angelical, so to be subject under the prince of darkness. And asking moreover out of what province they were, it was answered, out of Deira, a part of North Saxons; whereof, as it is to be thought, that which we now call Deirham taketh its name. Then he, alluding to the name of Deira, These people (saith he) are to be delivered tie Dei ira, which is, from God's wrath. Moreover, understanding the king's name of that province to be Alle, (above mentioned,) alluding likewise to his name, There (saith he) ought Alleluia to be sung to the living God. Whereupon he being moved and desirous to go and help the conversion of that country, was not permitted of Pelagius and the Romans for that time to accomplish his desire. But afterward, being bishop himself next after Pelagius, he sent thither the foresaid Austin, with other preachers, near about to the number of forty. But by the way, how it happened I cannot say, as Austin with his company were passing in their journey, such a sudden fear entered into their hearts, that (as Antoninus saith) they returned all. Others write that Austin was sent back to Gregory again, to release them of that voyage so dangerous and uncertain, amongst such a barbarous people, whose language they neither knew, nor were able to resist their rudeness. Then Gregory, with pithy persuasions confirming and comforting him, sent him again with letters both to the bishop of Arelatensis, willing him to help and aid the said Austin and his company in all whatsoever his need required. Also other letters he directed to the foresaid Austin unto his fellows, exhorting them to go forward boldly to the Lord's work; as by the tenor of the said epistle here following may appear.

    "Gregory, the servant of God's servants, to the servants of the Lord. Forsomuch as it is better not to take good things in hand, than after they be begun to think to revolt back from the same again; therefore now you may not nor cannot, dear children, but with all fervent study and labour must needs go forward in that good business which, through the help of God, you have well begun. Neither let the labour of your journey nor the slanderous tongues of men appal you, but that with all instance and fervency ye proceed and accomplish the thing which the Lord hath ordained you to take in hand, knowing that your great travail shall be recompensed with reward of greater glory hereafter to come. Therefore, as we send here Austin to you again, whom also we have ordained to be your governor; so do you humbly obey him in all things, knowing that it shall be profitable so for your souls, whatsoever at his admonition ye shall do. Almighty God with his grace defend you, and grant me to see in the eternal country the fruit of your labour; that although I cannot labour as I would with you, yet I may be found partaker of your retribution, for that my will is good to labour in the same fellowship with you together. The Lord God keep you safe, most dear and well-beloved children. Dated the tenth before the kalends of August, in the reign of our sovereign lord Mauricius most virtuous emperor, the fourteenth of his empire."

    Thus they, imboldened and comforted through the good words of Gregory, sped forth their journey till they came at length to the isle of Thanet, lying upon the east side of Kent. Near to the which landing-place was then the manory or palace of the king, not far from Sandwich, (eastward from Canterbury,) which the inhabitants of the isle then called Richbourgh; whereof some part of the ruinous walls is yet to be seen. The king then reigning in Kent was Ethelbert, as above appeareth, the fifth king of that province; who at that time had married a wife a French woman, being christened, named Berda, whom he had received of her parents upon this condition, that he should permit her, with her bishop committed unto her, called Lebardus, to enjoy the freedom of her faith and religion; by the means whereof he was more flexible, and sooner induced to embrace the preaching and doctrine of Christ. Thus Austin, being arrived, sent forth certain messengers and interpreters to the king; signifying that such a one was come from Rome, bringing with him glad tidings to him and all his people of life and salvation, eternally to reign in heaven with the only true and living God for ever, if he would so willingly hearken to the same, as he was gladly come to preach and teach it unto him.

    The king, who had heard of this religion before by means of his wife, within a few days after cometh to the place where Austin was, to speak with him; but that should be without the house, after the manner of his law. Austin against his coming, as stories affirm, erected up a banner of the crucifix, (such was then the grossness of that time,) and preached to him the word of God. The king, answering again, saith in effect as followeth: The words be very fair that you preach and promise; nevertheless, because it is to me uncouth and new, I cannot soon start away from my country law, wherewith I have been so long inured, and assent to you. Albeit, yet notwithstanding for that ye are come (as ye say) so far for my sake, ye shall not be molested by me, but shall be right well entreated, having all things to you ministered necessary for your supportation. Besides this, neither do we debar you, but grant you free leave to preach to our people and subjects, to convert whom ye may to the faith of your religion.

    When they had received this comfort of the king, they went with procession to the city of Dorobernia, or Canterbury, singing Allelujah with the Litany, which then by Gregory had been used at Rome in the time of the great plague reigning then at Rome, mentioned in old stories. The words of the Litany were these: Deprecamur te Domine in omni misericordia tua, ut auferatur furor tuus et ira tua a civitate ista, et de domo sancta tua, quoniam peccavimus, Alleluja: that is, We beseech thee, O Lord, in all thy mercies, that thy fury and anger may cease from this city, and from thy holy house, for we have sinned, Allelujah. Thus they entering into the city of Dorobernia, the head city of all that dominion at that time, where the king had given them a mansion for their abode; there they continued preaching and baptizing such as they had converted in the east side of the city in the old church of St. Martin, (where the queen was wont to resort,) unto the time that the king was converted himself to Christ. At length, when the king had well considered the honest conversation of their life, and moved with the miracles wrought through God's hand by them, he heard them more gladly, and, lastly, by their wholesome exhortations and example of godly life he was by them converted and christened in the year above specified, 586, and the six and thirtieth year of his reign. After the king was thus converted, innumerable other daily came in and were adjoined to the church of Christ, whom the king did specially embrace, but compelled none; for so he had learned, that the faith and service of Christ ought to be voluntary, and not coacted. Then he gave to Austin a place for the bishop's see at Christ's Church in Dorobernia, and builded the abbey of St. Peter and Paul in the east side of the said city, where after Austin and all the kings of Kent were buried, and that place is now called St. Austin.

    In this while Austin sailed into France unto the bishop Arelatensis, called Ethereus, by him to be consecrated archbishop by the commandment of Gregory, and so was. Also the said Austin sent to Rome Laurentius, one of his company, to declare to Gregory how they had sped, and what they had done in England; sending withal to have the counsel and advice of Gregory concerning nine or ten questions, whereof some are partly touched before.

    The tenor of his questions or interrogations, with the answers of Gregory to the same, here follow in English briefly translated.

The first interrogation.

    My first question, reverend father, is concerning bishops, how they ought to behave themselves toward their clerks; or, of such oblations as the faithful offer upon the altar, what portions or dividends ought to be made thereof?

The answer.

    How a bishop ought to behave himself in the congregation the Holy Scripture testifieth, which I doubt not but you know right well, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul to Timothy, wherein he laboureth to inform the said Timothy how to behave his conversation in the house of the Lord. The manner is of the see apostolic to warn and charge all such as be ordained bishops, of all their stipend, or that which is given to make four partitions: one to the bishop for hospitality and receiving comers in, another to the clergy, the third to the poor, the fourth to the repairing of the churches. But because your brotherhood, instructed with rules of monastical discipline, cannot live separated from your clerks about you, therefore in the English church (which now, through the providence of God, is brought to the faith of Christ) you must observe this insitution concerning your conversation, which was in the first fathers in the beginning of the primitive church; among whom there was not one which counted any thing to be his own proper of all that he did possess, but all was common among them.

The second interrogation.

    I desire to know and to be instructed whether clerks, that cannot contain, may marry; and if they do marry, whether then they ought to return to the secular state again or no?

The answer.

    If there be any clerks out of holy orders which cannot contain, let them have their wives, and take their stipends or wages without. For we read it so written of the foresaid fathers, that they divided to every person according as their work was. Therefore, as concerning the stipend of such, it must be provided and thought upon. And they must be also holden under ecclesiastical discipline, to live a godly conversation, to employ themselves in singing psalms, and to refrain their tongue, heart, and body (by the grace of God) from all things unseemly and unlawful. As for the vulgar and common sort, which live after the common condition of men, to describe what partitions to make, what hospitality to keep, or what works of mercy to exhibit, to such I have nothing to say, but to give (as our Master teacheth) in all our deeds of mercy of that which aboundeth: Of that (saith he) which aboundeth, or is overplus, give alms, and, behold, all things be clean unto you.

The third interrogation.

    Seeing there is but one faith, how happeneth it then the ceremonies and customs of churches to be so divers; as in the church of Rome there is one custom and manner of mass, and the French church hath another?

The answer.

    The custom of the church of Rome, what it is you know, wherein you remember that you have been brought up from your youth; but rather it pleaseth me better, that whether it be in the church of Rome, or any French church, where ye find any thing that seemeth better to the service and pleasing of God, that ye choose the same, and so infer and bring into the English church (which is yet new in the faith) the best and choicest things chosen out of many churches; for things are not to be beloved for the place sake, but the place is to be beloved for the things that be good; wherefore such things as be good, godly, and religious, those choose out of all churches, and induce to your people, that they may take root in the minds of Englishmen.

The fourth interrogation.

    I pray you, what punishment judge you for him that shall steal or pilfer any thing out of the church?

The answer.

    This your brotherhood may soon discern by the person of a thief, how it ought to be corrected. For some there be that, having sufficient to live upon, yet do steal. Others there be which steal of mere necessity. Wherefore, considering the quality and difference of the crime, necessary it is that some be corrected by loss of goods, some by stripes, some others more sharply, and some more easy; yea, and when sharper correction is to be executed, yet that must be done with charity, and with no fury; for in punishing offenders this is the cause and end wherefore they are punished, because they should be saved, and not perish in hell-fire. And so ought discipline to proceed in correcting the faithful, as do good fathers in punishing their children, whom both they chasten for their evil, and yet, being chastened, they look to have them their heirs, and think to leave them all they have, notwithstanding they correct them sometimes in anger. Therefore this charity must be kept in mind; and in the correction there is a measure to be had, so that the mind never do any thing without the rule of reason. Ye add, moreover, with what recompence of measure those things ought to be required again which be stolen out of churches? But God forbid that the church should ever require again with increase that which is lost in outward things, and to seek her gain by endamaging others.

The fifth interrogation.

    Item, Whether two brethren may marry two sisters, being far off from any part of kindred?

The answer.

    This in no part of Scripture is forbidden, but it may well and lawfully be done.

The sixth interrogation.

    Item, To what degree of kindred may the matrimony of the faithful extend with their kindred, or whether it is lawful to marry with the step-mother and her kinsfolks?

The answer.

    A certain terrene law amongst the old Romans doth permit, that either brother or sister, or the son and daughter of two brethren, may marry together. But by the experience we learn that the issue of such marriage doth never thrive nor come forward. Also the holy law of God forbiddeth to reveal the turpitude of thy blood or kindred. Wherefore necessary it is that in the third or fourth degree the faithful may lawfully marry; for in the second (being an unlawful) they must needs refrain. To be coupled with the step-mother is utterly abominable, for it is written in the law, Thou shalt not reveal the turpitude of thy father. Forsomuch then as it is so written in the law, And they shall be two in one flesh; the son then that presumeth to reveal the turpitude of his step-mother, which is one flesh with his father, what doth he then but reveal the turpitude of his own father? Likewise it was forbidden and unlawful to marry with thy kinswoman, which by her first marriage was made one flesh with thy brother; for the which cause John the Baptist also lost his head, and was crowned a martyr; who, though he died not for the confession of Christ, yet forsomuch as Christ saith, I am the truth, therefore, in that John Baptist was slain for the truth, it may be said his blood was shed for Christ.

The seventh interrogation.

    Item, Whether such as so be coupled together in filthy and unlawful matrimony ought to be separated, and denied the partaking of the holy communion?

The answer.

    Because there he many of the nation of English men which, being yet in their infidelity, were so joined and coupled in such execrable marriage, the same, coming now to faith, are to be admonished hereafter to abstain from the like; and, that they know the same to be a grievous sin, that they dread the dreadful judgment of God, lest for their carnal delectation they incur the torments of eternal punishment. And yet notwithstanding they are not to be secluded therefore from the participation of Christ's body and blood, lest we should seem to revenge those things in them which they before their baptism through ignorance did commit. For in this time the holy church doth correct some faults more fervently; some faults she suffereth again through mansuetude and meekness; some wittingly and willingly she doth wink at and dissemble, that many times the evil which she doth detest through bearing and dissembling she may stop and bridle. All they, therefore, which are come to the faith must be admonished that they commit no such offence. Which thing if they do, they are to be deprived of the communion of the Lord's body and blood. For like as in them that fall through ignorance, their default in this case is tolerable; so in them again it is strongly to be ensued, which, knowing they do naught, yet fear not to commit.

The eighth interrogation.

    Item, In this I desire to be satisfied, after what manner I should deal or do with the bishops of France and of Britain?

The answer.

    As touching the bishops in France, I give you no authority or power over them. For the bishops of Aralas, or Orleans, hath by the old time of our predecessors received the pall, whom now we ought not to deprive of his authority. Therefore when your brotherhood shall go unto the province of France, whatsoever ye shall have there to do with the bishop of Orleans, so do, that he lose nothing of that which he hath found and obtained of the ancient ordinance of our fore-elders. But as concerning the bishops of Britain, we commit them all to your brotherhood, that the ignorant may be taught, the infirm by persuasion may be confirmed, the wilful by authority may be corrected.

The ninth interrogation.

    Whether a woman being great with child ought to be baptized? Or after she hath children, after how long time she ought to enter into the church? Or else, that which she hath brought forth, lest it should be prevented with death, after how many days it ought to receive baptism? All which things must be declared and opened to the rude multitude of Englishmen.

The answer.

    The childing or bearing woman, why may she not be baptized, seeing that the fruitfulness of the flesh is no fault before the eyes of Almighty God? For our first parents in Pandise, after they had transgressed, lost their immortality by the just judgment of God, which they had taken before. Then because Almighty God would not mankind utterly to perish, because of his fall, (although he lost now his immortality for his trespass,) yet, of his benign pity, left, notwithstanding, to him the fruit and ge neration of issue. Wherefore the issue and generation of man's nature, which is conserved by the gift of Almighty God, how can it be debarred from the grace of holy baptism?

    As concerning the churching of women, after they have travailed, where ye demand after how many days they ought to go to the church, this you have learned in the old law, that for a manchild thirty-three days, after a woman-child sixty and six days, be appointed her to keep in; albeit this you must take to be understood in a mystery. For if she should, the hour after her travail. enter into the church to give thanks, she committed therein no sin; for why? the lust and pleasure of the flesh, and not the travail and pain of the flesh, is sin. Therefore, if we forbid the woman after her labour to enter into the church, then what do we else but count the same punishment given unto her for sin? Therefore for the woman after her labour to be baptized, either that which she hath travailed forth, (if present necessity of death doth so require,) yea, in the selfsame hour, either she that hath brought forth, either that which is born in the same hour when it is born, to be baptized we do not forbid.

    But now there is a lewd and naughty custom risen in the condition of married folks, that mothers do contemn to nurse their own children which they have borne, but set them to other women out to nurse, which seemeth only to come of the cause of incontinency; for while they will not contain themselves, therefore they put from them their children to nurse, &c.

    To return now to the story again. Gregory, after he had sent these resolutions to the questions of Austin, sendeth, moreover, to the church of England more coadjutors and helpers, as Melitus, Justus, Paulinus, and Ruffianus, with books and such other implements as he thought necessary for the English church. He sendeth moreover to the foresaid Austin a pall with letters, wherein he setteth an order between the two metropolitan sees, the one to be at London, the other to be at York. Nothwithstanding he granted to the said Austin, during his life, to be the only chief archbishop of all the land; and after his time, then to return to the two foresaid sees of London and York, as is in the same letter contained, the tenor whereof here followeth in his own words, as ensueth.

    " To the reverend and virtuous brother Augustine, his fellow bishop, Gregorius the servant of the servants of God. Although it be most certain that unspeakable rewards of the heavenly King be laid up for all such as labour in the word of the Almighty God; yet it shall be requisite for us to re ward the same also with our benefits, to the end they may be more encouraged to go forward in the study of their spiritual work. And forsomuch now as the new church of Englishmen is brought to the grace of Almighty God, through his mighty help and your travail, therefore we have granted to you the use of the pall, only to be used at the solemnity of your mass; so that it shall be lawful for you to ordain twelve bishops, such as shall be subject to your province. So that hereafter always the bishop of the city of London shall be ordained and consecrated by his own proper synod; and so to receive the pall of honour from the holy and apostolic see, wherein I here (by the permission of God) do serve. And as touching the city of York, we will send also a bishop thither, whom you may think meet to ordain. So that if that city, with other places bordering thereby, shall receive the word of God, he shall have power likewise to ordain twelve bishops, and have the honour of a metropolitan; to whom also, if God spare me life, I intend by the favour of God to send a pall; this provided, that notwithstanding he shall be subject to your brotherly appointment. But after your decease, the same metropolitan so to be over the bishops whom he ordereth, that he be in no wise subject to the metropolitan of London after you. And hereafter, betwixt these two metropolitans of London and York, let there be had such distinction of honour, that he shall have the priority which shall in time first be ordained. With common counsel, and affection of heart, let them go both together, disposing with one accord such things as be to be done for the zeal of Christ. Let them forethink and deliberate together prudently, and what they deliberate wisely let them accomplish concordly, nor jarring nor swerving one from the other. But as for your part, you shall be endued with authority, not only over those bishops that you constitute, and over the other constituted by the bishop of York; but also you shall have all other priests of whole Britain subject unto our Lord Jesus Christ, to the end that through your preaching and holiness of life they may learn both to believe rightly, and to live purely, and so in directing their life, both by the rule of true faith and virtuous manners, they may attain, when God shall call them, the fruition and kingdom of heaven. God preserve you in health, reverend brother. The tenth before the kalends of July, in the reign of our sovereign lord Mauricius most virtuous emperor."

    Besides this, the said Gregory sendeth also another letter to Melitus, concerning his judgment what is to be done with the idolatrous temples and fanes of the Englishmen newly converted, which fanes he thinketh not best to pluck down, but to convert the use thereof, and so let them stand. And likewise of their sacrifices and killing of oxen, how the same ought to be ordered, and how to be altered, disputing by the occasions thereof of the sacrifices of the old Egyptians, permitted of God unto the Israelites, the end and use thereof being altered, &c.

    He sendeth also another letter to the foresaid Austin, wherein he warneth him not to be proud or puffed up for the miracles wrought of God by him in converting the people of England, but rather to fear and tremble, lest so much as he were puffed up by the outward work of miracles, so much he should fall inwardly through the vain-glory of his heart; and therefore wisely exhorteth him to repress the swelling glory of heart, with the remembrance of his sins rather against God, whereby he rather hath cause to lament than to rejoice for the other. Not all the elect of God (saith he) work miracles, and yet have they their names written in the book of life. And therefore he should not count so much of those miracles done, but rather rejoice with the disciples of Christ, and labour to have his name written in the book of life, where all the elect of God be contained; neither is there any end of that rejoicing. And whatsoever miracles it hath pleased God by him to have been done, he should remember they were not done for him, but for their conversion, whose salvation God sought thereby, &c.

    Item, he directed another epistle to King Ethelbert, as is expressed at large in the Chronicle of Henry Huntington; in the which epistle, first, he praiseth God, then commendeth the goodness of the king, by whom it pleased God so to work such goodness of the people. Secondly, exhorteth him to persist and continue in the godly profession of Christ's faith, and to be fervent and zealous in the same; in converting the multitude, in destroying the temples and works of idolatry, in ruling and governing the people in all holiness and godly conversation, after the godly example of the emperor Constantine the Great. Lastly, comforting him with the promises of life and reward to come with the Lord that reigneth and liveth for ever; premonishing him besides of the terrors and distresses that shall happen, though not in his days, yet before the terrible day of God's judgment. Wherefore he willeth him always to be solicitous for his soul, and suspectful of the hour of his death, and watchful of the judgment, that he may be always prepared for the same when that judgment shall come. In the end he desireth him to accept such presents and gifts which he thought good to send unto him from Rome, &c.

    Austin thus receiving his pall from Gregory, as is above said, and now of a monk being made an archbishop, after he had baptized a great part of Kent, he afterward made two archbishops, or metropolitans, by the commandment of Gregory, as witnesseth Polychron., one at London, another at York.

    Melitus, of whom mention is made before, was sent especially to the East Saxons in the province of Essex, where after he was made bishop of London under Sigebert, king of Essex; which Sigebert, together with his uncle Ethelbert, first builded the church and minster of St. Paul in London, and appointed it to Melitus for the bishop's see. Austin (associate with this Melitus and Justus through the help of Ethelbert) assembled and gathered together the bishops and doctors of Britain in a place which, taking the name of the said Austin, was called Austin's Oak. In this assembly he charged the said bishops, that they should preach with him the word of God to the Englishmen, and also that they should among themselves reform certain rites and usages in their church, specially for keeping of their Eastertide, baptizing after the manner of Rome, and such other like. To these the Scots and Britons would not agree, refusing to leave the custom which they so long time had continued, without the assent of them all which used the same. Here the stories both of Beda, Cestrensis in Polychron., Huntingtonensis, Iornalensis, Fabianus, and others more, write of a certain miracle wrought upon a blind Englishman; whom when the Britons could not help, Austin kneeling down, and praying, restored the blind man to sight before them all, for a confirmation (as these authors say) of his opinion in keeping of Easter. But concerning the credit of this miracle, that I leave to the authors of whom I had it.

    Then Austin gathered another synod, to the which came seven bishops of Britain, with the wisest men of that famous abbey of Bangor. But first they took counsel of a certain wise and holy man amongst them what to do, and whether they should be obedient to Austin or not. And he said, If he be the servant of God, agree unto him. But how shall we know that? said they. To whom he answered again, If he be meek and humble of heart, by that know that he is the servant of God. To this they said again, And how shall we know him to be humble and meek of heart? By this, (quoth he,) seeing you are the greater number, if he, at your coming into your synod, rise up and courteously receive you, perceive him to be a humble and a meek man. But if he shall contemn and despise you, being (as ye are) the greater part, despise you him again. Thus the British bishops, entering into the council, Austin, after the Romish manner, keeping his chair, would not remove. Whereat they, being not a little offended, after some heat of words, in disdain and great displeasure departed thence. To whom then Austin spake, and said, that if they would not take peace with their brethren, they should receive war with their enemies; and if they disdained to preach with them the way of life to the English nation, they should suffer by their hands the revenge of death. Which not long after so came to pass by the means of Ethelfride, king of Northumberland; who being yet a pagan, and stirred with a fierce fury against the Britons, came with a great army against the city of Chester, where Brocmaile, the consul of that city, a friend and helper of the Britons' side, was ready with his force to receive him. There was at the same time at Bangor, in Wales, an exceeding great monastery, wherein was such a number of monks, as Galfridus with other authors do testify, that if the whole company were divided into seven parts, in every of the seven parts were contained not so few as three hundred monks; which all did live by the sweat of their brows, and labour of their own hands, having one for their ruler, named Dino. Out of this monastery came the monks of Chester to pray for the good success of Brocmaile, fighting for them against the Saxons. Three days they continued in fasting and prayer. When Ethelfride, the foresaid king, seeing them so intentive to their prayers, demanded the cause of their coming thither in such a company, and when he perceived it was to pray for their consul, Then, (saith he,) although they bear no weapon, yet they fight against us, and with their prayers and preachings they persecute us. Where upon, after that Brocmaile, being overcome, did fly away, the king commanded his men to turn their weapons against the silly unarmed monks, of whom he slew the same time, or rather martyred, eleven hundred; only fifty persons of that number did fly and escape away with Brocmaile, the rest were all slain. The authors that write of this lamentable murder declare and say how the forespeaking of Austin was here verified upon the Britons; which, because they would not join peace with their friends, he said should be destroyed of their enemies. Of both these parties the reader may judge what he pleaseth; I cannot see but both together were to be blamed. And as I cannot but accuse the one, so I cannot defend the other. First, Austin in this matter can in no wise be excused; who being a monk before, and therefore a scholar and professor of humility, showed so little humility in this assembly to seven bishops and an archbishop, coming at his commandment to the council, that he thought scorn once to stir at their coming in. Much less would his Pharisaical solemnity have girded himself, and washed his brethren's feet after their travel, as Christ our great Master did to his disciples; seeing his lordship was so high, or rather so heavy, or rather so proud, that he could not find in his heart to give them a little moving of his body, to declare a brotherly and a humble heart. Again, the Britons were as much or more to blame, who so much neglected their spiritual duty in revenging their temporal injury, that they denied to join their helping labour to turn the idolatrous Saxons to the way of life and salvation, in which respect all private cases ought to give place, and to be forgotten. For the which cause, although lamentable to us, yet no great marvel in them, if the stroke of God's punishment did light upon them, according to the words of Austin, as is before declared. But especially the cruel king in this fact was most of all to blame so furiously to fly upon them, which had neither weapon to resist him, nor yet any will to harm him. And so likewise the same or like happened to himself afterward. For so was he also slain in the field by Christian Edwin, who succeeded him, as he had slain the Christians before, which was about the year of our Lord 610. But to return to Austin again, who, by report of authors, was departed before this cruelty was done: after he had baptized and christened ten thousand Saxons or Angles in the West river, that is called Swale, beside York, on a Christmas day, perceiving his end to draw near, he ordained a successor, named Laurentius, to rule after him the archbishop's see of Dorobernia. Where note, by the way, (Christian reader,) that whereas Austin baptized then in rivers, it followeth there was then no use of fonts. Again, if it be true that Fabian saith he baptized ten thousand in one day, the rite then of baptizing at Rome was not so ceremonial, neither had so many trinkets at that time as it hath had since; or else it could not be that he could baptize so many in one day.

    In the mean season, about this time departed Gregory, bishop of Rome, of whom it is said, that of the number of all the first bishops before him in the primitive time he was the basest, of all them that came after him he was the best. About which time also died in Wales David, archbishop first of Kairleon, who then translated the see from thence to Menevia, and therefore is called David of Wales. Not long after this also deceased the foresaid Austin in England, after he had sat there fifteen or sixteen years; by the which count we may note it not to be true that Henry Huntington and others do witness, that Austin was dead before that battle of Ethelfride against the monks of Bangor. For if it be true that Polychronicon testifieth of this murder, to be done about the year of our Lord 609, and the coming of Austin first into the realm to be anno 596, then Austin, enduring sixteen years, could not be dead at this battle. Moreover, Galfridus Monumetensis declareth concerning the same battle, that Ethelbert, the king of Kent, being (as is said) converted by Austin to Christ's faith, after he saw the Britons to disdain and deny their subjection unto Austin, neither would assist him with preaching to the English nation; therefore stirred up he the foresaid Ethelfride to war against the Britons. But that seemeth rather suspicious than true, that he, being a Christian king, either could so much prevail with a pagan idolater, or else would attempt so far to commit such a cruel deed. But of uncertain things I have nothing certainly to say, less to judge.

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