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had been assigned her for the offices of her faith, the free exercise of which had been specially reserved to her in the marriage-contract; and it is probable that Augustine found others who had already become disciples of the Cross even in the Saxon Cæsar's household.
It was within these walls, then, already consecrated to the simple worship of the early Britons, which had now been succeeded-probably after no long interval-by the Gallican liturgy, from which it differed little except in language, that for the first time the splendours of the Roman ritual found place in England. For this Italian mission was perfectly disciplined and appointed for its purpose, that of converting, through their chiefs, a tribe of successful warriors, easily impressible through their outward senses, and ready to give assent to the imposing and authoritative in questions of religion. Even then, Rome had the art in which other Christian churches have so often been lamentably wanting, of choosing her instruments and her mode of operation wisely for their ends. Augustine went forth to his work of conversion with other apostolic furniture besides scrip and staff. He had many high qualifications for his office; but he was an evangelist of a different type from Ninian or Columba. Neither he nor any of his forty monks would have liked to cross the channel with the Irish saint in his ox-hide boat. Pope Gregory had provided them well with all the appliances which the Roman Church could furnishsilver crosses, vivid paintings of the Sacred Passion which might attract the barbarian's eye, and appeal to his rude sensibilities, harmonised litanies which might charm his ears, and interpreters who might explain the solemn message. More than all, they brought with them what Rome could then give-sound doctrines, not indeed wholly free from superstitions, but in which superstition had not yet overlaid the truth. One thing Gregory failed to give them,
the honest enthusiasm and faith in their high purpose which he felt himself. They had all but turned back in their passage through France, terrified at the length and difficulties of the journey. Augustine himself returned to Rome, and asked to be released from an engagement of which he had not counted the cost; and nothing but the firmness of the Pope himself, and the influence of his personal encouragement, prevented this Anglo-Saxon mission from being a failure in the very outset.
They made a brave show, however, when at last they landed at Ebbe's Fleet, between Ramsgate and Pegwell Bay, and marshalled their procession to meet King Ethelbert. Augustine himself was one of nature's princes, like Saul"from his shoulders upward," says the chronicler, “higher than any of the people." Before him went a verger carrying a massive silver cross, and another who bore what served for the banner of the mission
a large painting of the Saviour on a board, "beautiful and gilded;" whilst the choir of brethren, led by Honorius, Gregory's own pupil, chanted a litany to those sweet "Gregorian tones" which, after so many ages, are still found to have such a wondrous charm alike for the rudest ear as for the most scientific. Some of the words have been traditionally preserved by Bede :— "We beseech Thee, O Lord, for Thy mercies' sake, that Thy wrath and Thine anger may be turned away from this city, and from Thy holy house,-for we have sinned. Allelujah."
The immediate results of the mission are too well known to be told again here. In that little British church of St Martin the king of the Anglo-Saxons received baptism from Augustine. The font used at the ceremony is still shown to Canterbury pilgrims; but unimaginative archæologists point to the mouldings, and refuse to countenance the illusion. It is a pious fiction, they say, like the impress
of Augustine's footstep which was long shown on the rock where he landed, or the mark still pointed out on the ruined wall of St Pancras-another Celtic church reconsecrated by the Roman missionary -the last hold of the "devil's claw" in his attempts to retain possession; for the building, under the Saxons, had been converted into a pagan temple. The new faith soon spread, when it became known that the Bretwalda and his witan had formally adopted it; and on the Christmas after Augustine's landing, ten thousand Saxons were baptised at once in the river Swale. The chroniclers assure us that nothing like undue influence was used; but when we read that the "Dooms of Ethelbert "-laws at this time enacted by the Bretwalda in full council-declared Christianity to be the adopted religion of the nation, we are left at liberty to attach what value we please to these wholesale conversions; and we are not surprised to find that, in the next succeeding reign, a change of ruler produced a large reaction to wards paganism.
they were held to confer upon their resting-place, led in after years, as we shall presently see, to very indecorous contests at the burial of future archbishops.
Ethelbert himself, however, was a sincere convert, according to his light. He presented his new archbishop (who had gone for consecration to the Archbishop of Arles) with his own palace at Canterbury for a residence, and withdrew himself to Reculver, the old Roman fortress of Rutupium. He granted to him, also, a piece of ground outside the city walls, where was built the great monastery of St Peter and St Paul, afterwards known as St Augustine's, and now once more the site of a missionary college, and still bearing his name. Outside the walls, because one great object was to provide a consecrated spot for the burial of faithful kings and bishops, and the customs of Christian Rome, as of Pagan Rome, forbid burial within the gates of the city. There Ethelbert and Augustine both had their bones laid; and the value attached to such relics of the faithful, and the sanctity which
The Italian prelate, who now found himself firmly established at Canterbury, whether from personal ambition or from zeal for his motherchurch, desired to assert the supremacy of Rome in matters ecclesiastical, to an extent which Gregory himself appears never to have claimed or desired. He wished to unite the newly-formed Saxon Church with the ancient British one; but his notions of union implied that the Celtic bishops should acknowledge him as their metropolitan. They, on the other hand saw in him only an equal. The pallium which the Pope had lately sent to his new archbishop conveyed with it no mysterious rights in their eyes. There was a difference, too, in their practice as to the correct time of keeping Easter: one of those differences in formal points which seem so unimportant, but about which, we know from all experience modern and ancient, men will do battle to the death, and for which they will sacrifice, with all the complacency of martyrs, the weightier matters of justice and charity. We are not going to discuss the controversy either as to metropolitan rights or the calculation of Easterday. But there is one story recorded by Bede and others which reads like truth, which supplies a key to the real causes which turn such discussions into bitter feuds, and which, even if it be a fable, is worth preserving for the lesson which it bears, that a gentle word might decide a controversy which confident assertion and learned arguments only push to extremities. There appears to have been no archiepiscopal dignity claimed at this time by any of the seven British bishops who were assembled to discuss their line of action previous to a second conference with Augustine on the questions in dispute. They were not unwilling, for the sake of the
unity of the Church in the island, to acknowledge the new Archbishop of Canterbury as their metropolitan. Even on the Easter question, they might have been prepared to give way then as they did afterwards. But in their first interview with Augustine, they had remarked something in his tone which made them hesitate to submit themselves to his rule as an ecclesiastical superior. Their impression of his character is corroborated, as Dr Hook observes, by the fact that his friend Pope Gregory took occasion twice in his pastoral letters to warn him against being puffed up with vainglory. The British prelates took counsel with a certain anchorite, highly reputed for saintliness and wisdom.
"The anchorite advised them to ac
cept Augustine as their metropolitan, if he were a man of God.
superior, and took the vow of canonical obedience?"
Lingard dismisses the whole story with a sneer, remarking that such advice was an easy mode of avoiding responsibility by "leaving to accident the decision of the controversy." Be that as it may, it was
course adopted nine hundred years afterwards-whether with a recollection of Augustine or not
by St Philip Neri, perhaps as wise a man as Dr Lingard. A certain nun had laid claim to a miraculous gift of inspiration. Her abbess sent to inform the Pope of the treasure she possessed in her establishment. The holy Father requested Philip to examine the case. It is Mr Emerson who tells the story :
"He threw himself on his mule, all travel-soiled as he was, and hastened through the mud and mire to the distant
convent. He told the abbess the wishes
'But how are we to know that he is a man of God?' "The Lord,' continued the anchorite, "hath said: "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart." If Augustine be meek and lowly of heart, he bears the yoke of Christ, and the yoke of Christ is all that he will seek to lay on you. But if, instead of being meek, he is a proud haughty man, it is clear that he is not of God, and his proposals may be rejected by us.' On further consultation, it was determined to put him to the test. It was to be so arranged as to permit Augustine and his little party to arrive first at the place of meeting; then the seven British bishops, with Dinost and their men of learning, were in an imposing procession to draw near. If Augused
tine,' said the anchorite, 'shall rise up to meet you as you draw near to him, then accede to his proposals, and accept him for your leader; but if he shall treat you with contempt, and not rise to meet you, let him be by us contemned.'
They came. Augustine was seated, and the British prelates were permitted to enter the place of conference, not as if they were equals, but as if they were inferiors, summoned into the presence of one who had a right to lay down the law. They were justly indignant. They would concede nothing. They positively refused to receive Augustine as their metropolitan. They assigned their reason: If, while they were equals, he would not treat them with respect, what were they to expect if they elected him their
Augustine showed that they were not far wrong in their judgment of his character. He threaten
them, in his excitement, with the vengeance of heaven for their obstinacy; and when, a few years after the archbishop's death, the memorable slaughter of the monks of Bangor Iscoed by the Saxon army took place, the Saxon chroniclers pointed to it triumphantly as the fulfilment of prophecy. The feeling which Bede shows on the subject is quite sufficient to mark him as a bitter enemy of the Celtic Church.
New missionaries had arrived from Rome to strengthen Augustine's hands; and they brought with them from Pope Gregory the scheme of a complete church estab
lishment for England. There were to be two archbishops, with twentyfour suffragans; and so little elasticity has shown itself in the system, that it remained unaltered as to numbers for above twelve hundred years, and, with one single addition, has remained so ever since. It was long, however, before the scheme was worked out into practice. Augustine himself lived to see only the sees of Rochester and London established, and filled by bishops of his own nomination.
Four of the companions of his mission succeeded him in the see of Canterbury. When the last of these, Honorius, was laid with his predecessors in St Augustine's, he left his own branch of the Church Catholic in England decaying, so far at least as outward progress was a sign, and the rival Celtic episcopate increasing in numbers and activity, and carrying on the work of evangelisation on its own account with great zeal and success in the northern, eastern, and even the midland districts of England. The new archbishopric of York, to which the Italian Paulinus had been consecrated upon his conversion of the King of Northumbria, had only a precarious and almost nominal existence for a few years. The splendid pall which was sent from Rome in 634 was never worn by Paulinus as metropolitan of York, though he thought it a harmless ornament when he retired to the see of Rochester; the Pope's letters, if they reached him at all, found him a fugitive from his diocese; King Edwin had fallen in Hatfield Chase, and Penda the pagan, a name of terror to all Christians, was ravaging the kingdom. If Paulinus had baptised his tens of thousands like Augustine, the facile converts went back to their old faith with the change of circumstances; and when Christianity revived again in Northumberland, it was under a king who
sought his bishop from the Celtic Church instead of from Canterbury, and who fixed his restored see, not at York, but at Lindisfarne. A bishop of Celtic consecration also occupied the see of London. For nearly two years-for Honorius had recommended no successor the see of Canterbury was in abeyance. A Saxon was at last consecrated Frithona, better known as Deusdedit, the Latin appellation which he assumed to meet the taste of the Italian Church. By his good offices at the great Synod of Whitby, something like a union was effected between the two rival churches. The great Easter question was decided in favour of Rome by King Oswi, who seems to have acted as umpire on the occasion; and the decision was submitted to, according to the chroniclers, by all the Celtic church except a small minority, who still held with Bishop Colman of Lindisfarne, who resigned his bishopric rather than sanction the new usage. The recusants in Scotland maintained their ground for another generation, when they too gave way; but in Cornwall they continued the old British usage, probably up to the time when their kinsmen in Wales at last adopted the reckoning of the strangers. With characteristic obstinacy, these last held out until A.D. 770; and the commotion which the change excited amongst them may be estimated from the fact, that it forms one of the items of record, few and far between, in the earlier pages of the Chronicle of the Princes.*
Deusdedit died of the yellow pestilence, which carried off kings, abbots, and bishops, and desolated half England in 664; and a fatality might have seemed to hang over the Church when his successor, going to Rome for consecration, died there, with most of his company, of the plague. Its fortunes rose again under Theodorus of Tarsus-the "Philosopher,"
Brut y Tyrysogion (Williams), p. 7.
"Seven hundred and seventy was the
year of Christ when the Easter of the Britons was altered by the command of Elbod, a man of God." Elbod is called subsequently "Archbishop of Gwynedd.”
as he was called-a Greek Churchman, who had conformed to the Latin usages, and who was probably the greatest scholar of his age. He was sixty-four years old when he was consecrated; but he lived to administer his see for more than twenty years, and he did more for the English Church than perhaps any one of his predecessors or successors. "He converted what had been a missionary station into an established church." He undertook a personal tour of his large diocese; he laid the foundation of the parochial system, which is still the blessing of England-"the cheapest and best police," as even politicians have called it; he increased the numbers of the episcopate; his book of canons contains the elementary principles of our ecclesiastical order; and English scholarship owes its rise to the school which he at once established in Augustine's monastery at Canterbury, under the presidency of Benedict Biscop, and afterwards of Hadrian-an African churchman, who had declined the archbishopric in favour of Theodore, and whom William of Malmsbury describes as "a fountain of letters and river of arts.'
The system of education pursued at the College of St Peter and St Paul was not so different from that now in use at our public schools as might be supposed. Of course the want of books at this time implied that the instruction should consist almost entirely of catechetical lecturing. It is singular that, after the lapse of twelve hundred years, a return to the form of teaching which was then a necessity should have appeared to some, who ought to be competent judges, a panacea for the shortcomings of modern universities. But a great proportion of the subject-matter of the teaching was the same as now. It will shock some readers, no doubt, and comfort others, to find that Latin verse-making was a prominent feature in the school at Canterbury, and that no less than a hundred
different kinds of metre were mastered by diligent scholars like Adhelm, afterwards Abbot of Malmsbury and Bishop of Shelburne. No wonder that when, after trying cloister life for a while as a monk, he went back to his cherished studies under Hadrian, he worked himself into a fever which nearly cost him his life. Our modern public schoolboys may congratulate themselves that some of the hundred measures have become obsolete, and that it is possible, of late, to reach a bishopric without such a terrible amount of learning. There is reason to hope, also, that other good old-fashioned helps to knowledge had not yet fallen into disrepute; at least Dr Hook informs us that, in the monastery on the Coelian Mount at Rome, there was preserved, in "affectionate remembrance" of Pope Gregory, amongst other precious relics, "the rod with which he would correct the inattentive;" and no doubt there were equally interesting reminiscences at Canterbury. Other more popular branches of education, however, were not neglected. Mental arithmetic is by no means a modern art: it was practised diligently in Theodorus's schools, as was also a somewhat complicated digital system of calculation; for the convenient Arabic numerals, it must be remembered, had not yet reached English schools, any more than printing and paper. There were brave attempts made, also, to teach what we now call special subjects, and useful knowledge: music, astronomy, natural philosophy, and medicine, had each their turn. The music was good of its kind; of the natural philosophy and astronomy, it can only be said that they kept pace with the theories of the day; and medicine is still so much an experimental art amongst ourselves, that it seems quite possible that our own theory and practice may appear as barbarous, in the light of future discoveries, as that of the seventh century now does to us. If Archbishop Theodore declared it to