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him, and had renounced idolatry, gave their fubjects the li⚫berty of as much idolatry as they pleafed. As they faw the Bifhop one day performing divine fervice, and giving the facrament to the people, they asked him why he would not • give them fome of that fine bread which their father used to • receive from him, and which he then diftributed among the people? Mellitus told them," that if they would be bap "tized, as their father was, they might partake of the fame "holy bread; but if they flighted that initiating facrament,
he could not admit them to the privilege of the other." They faid, "they had no need of baptifm, and, therefore, "would not be obliged to that ceremony and, neverthe
lefs, infifted on the confecrated bread. Being ftill denied by • the Bishop, they were much enraged; and telling him," if "he would not gratify them in fo eafy a matter, he fhould "ftay no longer in their dominions," ordered him immediately to be gone.
Mellitus, the good Bishop of London, and Juftus, Bishop of Rochester, after a confultation with the Archbifhop, immediately withdrew, and got over to France, as foon as they could; leaving the English Renegadoes to their former Paganifm.'-Lawrence, however, the Archbishop, who had fucceeded Auftin, had, we find, * a little more cou• rage and refolution, tho' not fo much as his character, and his caufe required; for tho' he ftaid behind them, it is true, yet having been determined to follow them, it feems, only that he might prepare the better for his departure. The night before he intended to withdraw, he took leave of his ⚫ church after a very new and furprizing manner. He caufed his bed to be brought into the cathedral, and laid himself down to fleep, intending to take up his lodgings in it for that night. But St. Peter, fays Bede, appeared to him; and having reproached him for his cowardice, fo fcourged the fhoulders of the Archbishop, as to leave the marks of his lafhes upon his Grace's body. The next day, fays the fame hiftorian, Lawrence went to the King, with an account of this miracle; and having fhewed him what he had fuffered, in the preceding night in his cathedral, the King was fo wrought upon, that he prefently changed his faith and morals, and became, at once, a Chriftian, and a new man. It must be observed, that the converfion of our Englih ancestors happened at a time when learning run very low; and when a general credulity, and want of thought, gave opportunity to the Ecclefiaftics, of coining their fables, • and
and obtruding them upon the world for facts. If there was ⚫ any truth in this ftory, that the Prelate had a scourging in the cathedral, it was a ftratagem, no doubt, concerted be⚫tween him and one of his Monks, and whofe name too, < might be Peter, in order to practife on the King's credulity, and to fee what effect a miracle would have upon him. The Archbishop might have zeal enough to undergo this penance, and might think too, as I believe the Reader will, that for the delign of quitting his ftation, he deserved it; ⚫ and tho' it was a fallacy intended to impose upon King Eadbald, yet they were common in thofe days among good men, when the end of them was, as in this cafe, to promote the • Chriftian intereft. A man must be wilfully blind not to fee this, and abominably partial not to own it. Thus far, however, is certain, that the artifice fucceeded; all hiftorians agree, that the King renounced his idolatry, and incestuous ⚫ marriage, and turning Chriftian, gave a check to the growth of Paganifm, and lent new zeal and courage to the defpairing Primate, and new life to the Chriftian cause.
The English Church had all this time been confined to the Kingdom of Kent; but it was now beginning to extend. its pale beyond the Humber, by a marriage between Edwin and Ethelburgn/Edwin was King of Northumberland, the most powerful, at that time, of all the English Kings; and Ethelburga was the daughter of Eadbald, King of Kent. The circumftances of this marriage, the articles upon which it was concluded, and the consequences of which it was productive, are so fimilar to what happened in the cafe of Ethelbert and Bertha, that we pafs them over, giving place only to the following circumftance. After weighing the
matter well, and being fully fatisfied of the truth of the • Christian doctrine, Edwin declared his readiness to embrace it. Bede, according to his cuftom of making miracles, has given us a long ftory of a vifion, that the King had formerly feen in the garden of Redowald, where he was concealed ⚫ from his enemies; in which fuccefs and profperity were promifed him, on condition, that when thefe things were accomplished, and he was reminded of it, by the token of a hand being laid upon his head, he fhould refign himself to that perfon's conduct, and perform what he required. Now Paulinus,' who had been confecrated a Bishop in the year 625, when he went into Northumberland, to attend the Queen, perceiving, favs the fame hiftorian, that the King • deferred declaring himfelf a Chriftian, that he was debating the matter within himself, without being able to come to a REV. Dec. 1756. • refo
refolution, and having had the circumstances of the vifion revealed to him, he came up to his Majefty one day, as he was fitting alone, in a thinking pofture, and laying his hand upon the King's head, afked him whether he understood the meaning of that token? The King being fenfibly furprized at the queftion, and recollecting the divine oracle, would have proftrated himself at the Bishop's feet: but Paulinus preventing him, put him in mind, with an air of fome authority, that fince God had efcued him from his, enemies, and made him a great King, it was his duty now to make good his promife; and that this was to be done by fubmitting to the inftitution, and obeying the commands of that fovereign Being, that had done fo great things for him already. Upon hearing this, it is faid, that Edwin told the Bifhop, he was now fully fatisfied, and ready to receive the Chriftian Faith."
And altho' Edwin, after having declared for Chriftianity, proved unfortunate in his undertakings, and was killed in battle, by Penda, King of the Mercians, and Cedwalla, a King of the Britons, who routed his whole army, over-run his dominions with their forces, fpared neither sex nor age, and fhewed no more regard to the Chriftians than the pagan English; yet, by the power and influence of converted Kings, and intermarriages, as above, betwixt the converted and unconverted, and the preaching of the Gospel by the above Miffionaries of Rome, and by thofe who came upon invitation, from the Scotch and Irish Churches, the Saxons, whom we may, now call English, were, at laft, generally reconciled to Chriftianity. But there was a great inconvenience in planting the Gofpel in feveral parts of England, by men of different Churches, and fo, of course, of different ufages and rites. The cafe of the kingdom of Kent, which owed its Christianity to the Miffionaries of Rome, and received the ufages of that Church, was the cafe of the Weft-Saxons, converted by Birinus and Agilbert, and, in a great measure, of the Eaft-Angles, who had received their religion from Felix, a Burgundian Bishop, affifted by Furfeus an Irish Monk. But all the other parts of England fubdued by the Saxons, containing, in a manner, the whole tract of ground, from the Friths of Edinburgh to the Thames, as they were generally brought to the Chriftian Faith, by the labours of the Scottish or Irish Clergy, or fuch English as had the advantage of an education under them, fo they generally followed the ufages of the Scotch and British Churches.', To conciliate, therefore, thofe oppofite
pófite miniftries, and to introduce an uniformity of worship, fentiment, and behaviour, Ofwy, the zealous Northumbrian King, to whom all the Saxon Monarchs, except the
King of Kent,' (whose daughter he had married) were tributary, appointed a fynod, or conference, between the contending parties, to be held at the monaftery of Whitby, in the county of York. Here the Scotch party, in defence of their inftitutions, appealed to the authority of St. John and Columba: but the Romanifts afcribing their's to St. Peter, to whom the keys of the gates of Heaven were given by our Lord; the King thus decided the controverfy. "I have 66 no intention to contradict the Porter of Heaven, but, ac"cording to my knowlege and power, I will beg his ordi"nances in all things, for fear, when I come to Heaven "gates, and he who keeps the doors be difpleafed with me, "there be none to open them, and let me in." Not long after, Deus-dedit, Archbishop of Canterbury, dying, Egbert, King of Kent, confulted his relation Ofwy, about filling up the See. By common confent they elected one Wighard, an Englishman, and fent him to Rome, to be confecrated. But Wighard dying at Rome, Pope Vitalian eagerly catched at this incident; and, without fending to England, to give the Kings an opportunity of appointing, or fo much as approving a fucceffor to Wighard,' fubftituted in his place, one Theodore, a native of Tarfus in Cicilia, who, to put the laft hand to the union of the English Churches, ingratiated him⚫ felf fo much with the Princes of the Heptarchy, that not• withstanding the death of his friends, the King of Kent, Land Ofwy, King of Northumberland, whofe fon Alfred too was loft to him, by being depofed, he got them to agree • to a fynod, in 673, at Heradford, according to Camden, a place in Hertfordshire, probably that which is now the capital town in that county. Here he himself prefided; and, in this fynod, we have the first view of a National English Church under one common Metropolitan.' Thus far the fecond book.
Having thus, in analyfing the two former books of this judicious Hiftorian, accompanied him, in fome measure, through thofe by-paths, and labyrinths, through which he was obliged to force his way, before he could put us in a fituation to command the prospect, it now remains, that we select some of the principal objects, for the entertainment of our Readers. The contents then of his third book will, on fuch a plan, appear in some fuch mifcellaneous form as this. The fecular pomp, and way of living,' of Wilfrid, Bifhop of York, Pp 2
his riches, and abbies, the magnificence of his houses, and the great multitude of his followers, cloathed and armed like the train of Princes, thefe, we are told, drew upon him the enmity of the King and Queen. They are reafons enough to awake the jealoufy of a Prince, and, in fome • measure, excuse his violence: for when a Churchman so far forgets his proper character, as to endeavour to equal the pomp and ftate of Kings, it is not fo blameable in Kings, if they fhould forget it too, and treat him like another man.
I have omitted the accounts of an infinite number of people of fashion, of both fexes, the daughters of Kings efpecially, who fecluded themselves from the world, and took the habit of the Religious.-Queen Etheldreda, who was poffeffed with the Enthusiasm fo much in fafion, and who was ftruck with the appearance of fuch tranfcendent humility, in deferting a crown to become a Nun, had avowed her inclination to quit the court, and to retire. She fet her heart at laft, it seems, fo much on chastity and retirement, and fo fteddily refufed the embraces of the King her husband, that his right, his authority, his perfuafions, and the injury done him in expofing him to temptations, made no impreffions upon her; but, without her husband's confent, the withdrew into a monaftery.-About the fame time Sebbi, King of the Eaft-Saxons, grew weary of the parade and fa tigue of a crown; and, according to the prevailing humour of the age, threw off the purple, and turned Monk. No wonder, therefore, that he should be spoke of by the hiftorians, as a Prince of extraordinary charity and devotion: and among fuch a multitude of females of royal birth, who left the blandifhments of a court, for a life of retirement, and meditation, it would be hard, if we could not sprinkle the hiftory, now and then, with royal Saints of our own fex, who had as much contempt for the world, and as much zeal for monkery as the Ladies. His Queen, it feems, was not of a spirit quite so celeftial as her husband, and withstood his inclinations to retirement for fome time; but finding the could not bring him back again to the world, 'fhe, at laft, confented to difengage him; and paffing thro the neceffary forms of a Religious, he received the habit ⚫ from the Bishop of London.
Erconwald, Bishop of London, had been remarkable from his infancy, for a grave and religious difpofition; and fucceeding to this See, upon the death of Chad, became a truly primitive Bishop, living up to every part of his inftructions. He enlarged the buildings, and augmented the