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followed, that the Catholic institutions daily gained A.D. 665. strength, and all the Scots that dwelt in England either .conformed to these, or returned into their own country.
CHAP. XXIX.-HOW THE PRIEST WIGHARD WAS
FROM BRITAIN TO ROME,
TO BE BISHOP, OF HIS DEATH THERE, AND
OF THE LETTERS OF
THE APOSTOLIC POPE GIVING AN ACCOUNT THEREOF.
sent to Rome crated.
At this time the most noble King Oswy, of the pro- Wighard vince of the Northumbrians, and Egbert of Kent, having to be conseconsulted together about the state of the English A.D. 665. Church, (for Oswy, though educated by the Scots, perfectly understood that the Roman was the Catholic and Apostolic Church,) with the consent of the holy church of the English nation, accepted of a good man, and fit priest, to be made a bishop, called Wighard, one of Bishop Deusdedit's clergy, and sent him to Rome to be ordained bishop, to the end that he, having received the degree of an archbishop, might ordain Catholic prelates for the churches of the English nation throughout all Britain. But Wighard, arriving at Rome, was cut off by death, before he could be consecrated bishop, and the following letter was sent back into Britain to King Oswy
" To the most excellent Lord, our son, Oswy, king of Vitalian's the Saxons, Vitalian, bishop, servant of the servants of Oswy. God. We have received your excellency's pleasing letters; by reading whereof we understood your most pious devotion and fervent love to obtain everlasting life; and that by the protecting hand of God you have been converted to the true and apostolic faith, hoping that as you reign in your nation, so you will hereafter reign in Christ. Blessed be the nation, therefore, that has been found worthy to have such a wise king and worshipper of God; forasmuch as he is not himself alone a worshipper
Dei cultor exstitit, sed etiam omnes subjectos suos meditatur die ac nocte ad fidem catholicam atque apostolicam pro suæ animæ redemtione converti. Quis enim audiens hæc suavia non lætetur ? Quis non exultet et gaudeat in his piis operibus? Quia et gens vestra Christo omnipotenti Deo credidit, secundum divinorum prophetarum voces, sicut scriptum est in Isaïa, (xi. 10,] In die illa radix Jesse, qui stat in signum populorum, ipsum gentes deprecabuntur. Et iterum, [xlix. 1,] Audite insule, et attendite populi de longe. Et post paululum, [xlix. 6,] Parum, inquit, est, ut mihi sis servus ad suscitandas tribus Jacob, et faces Israel convertendas. Dedi te in lucem gentium, ut sis salus mea usque ad extremum terre. Et rursum, [xlix. 7,] Reges videbunt, et consurgent principes, et adorabunt. Et post pusillum, [xlix. 8,] Dedi te in fædus populi, ut suscitares terram, et possideres hereditates dissipatas, et diceres his, qui vincti sunt, “Exite," et his, qui in tenebris, “Revelamini.” Et rursum, [xlii. 6, 7,] Ego Dominus vocavi te in justitia, et apprehendi manum tuam, et servavi; et dedi te in lucem gentium et in fædus populi, ut aperires oculos cæcorum, et educeres de conclusione vinctum, de domo carceris sedentes in tenebris.
“Ecce, excellentissime fili, quam luce clarius est, non solum de vobis, sed etiam de omnibus prophetarum gentibus, quod sint creditura in Christo omnium conditore. Quamobrem oportet vestram celsitudinem, utpote membrum exsistens Christi, in omnibus piam regulam sequi perenniter principis apostolorum, sive in Pascha celebrando, sive in omnibus, quæ tradiderunt sancti apostoli Petrus et Paulus, qui, ut duo luminaria cæli illuminant mundum, sic doctrina eorum corda hominum quotidie illustrat credentium.”
of God, but also studies day and night the conversion of A. D. 665. all his subjects to the Catholic and apostolic faith, to the redemption of his own soul. Who will not rejoice at hearing such pleasant things? Who will not be delighted at such good works? Because your nation has believed in Christ the Almighty God, according to the words of the Divine prophets, as it is written in Isaiah, ' In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to him shall the Gentiles seek. And again, 'Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far.' And a little after, “It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayst be my salvation to the ends of the earth.' And again, “Kings shall see, princes also shall arise and worship.' And presently after, “I have given thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, and possess the desolate heritages ; that thou mayst say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.' And again, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a light of the Gentiles, and for a covenant of the people; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness from the prison-house.'
Behold, most excellent son, how plain it is, not only of
you, but also of all the nations of the prophets, that they shall believe in Christ, the Creator of all things. Wherefore it behoves your highness, as being a member of Christ, in all things continually to follow the pious rule of the prince of the apostles, in celebrating Easter, and in all things delivered by the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, whose doctrine daily enlightens the hearts of believers, even as the two heavenly lights, the sun and moon, daily illumine all the earth.”
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Et post nonnulla, quibus de celebrando per orbem totum uno vero Pascha loquitur ;
“Hominem denique,” inquit, “ docibilem, et in omnibus ornatum antistitem, secundum vestrorum scriptorum tenorem, minime valuimus nunc reperire pro longinquitate itineris.
Profecto enim dum hujusmodi apta repertaque persona fuerit, eum instructum ad vestram dirigemus patriam, ut ipse et viva voce, et per divina oracula, omnem inimici zizaniam ex omni vestra insula cum divino nutu eradicet. Munuscula a vestra celsitudine beato principi apostolorum directa, pro æterna ejus memoria suscepimus, gratiasque ei agimus, ac pro ejus incolumitate jugiter Deum deprecamur cum Christi clero. Itaque qui hæc obtulit munera de hac subtractus est luce, situsque ad limina apostolorum, pro quo valde sumus contristati cum hic esset defunctus. Veruntamen gerulis harum nostrarum literarum vestris missis, beneficia sanctorum, hoc est, reliquias beatorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et sanctorum martyrum Laurentii, Joannis et Pauli, et Gregorii atque Pancratii eis fecimus dari, vestræ excellentiæ profecto omnes contradendas. Nam et conjugi vestræ, nostræ spirituali filiæ, direximus per præfatos gerulos crucem clavem auream habentem, de sacratissimis vinculis beatorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli; de cujus pio studio cognoscentes tantum cuncta sedes apostolica una nobiscum lætatur, quantum ejus pia opera coram Deo fragrant et vernant.
“Festinet igitur, quæsumus, vestra celsitudo, ut optamus, totam suam insulam Deo Christo dicare. Habet enim profecto protectorem, humani generis Redemtorem, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, qui ei cuncta prospera impertiet, ut novum Christi populum coacervet, catholicam ibi et apostolicam constituens fidem. Scriptum est enim, [Mat. vi. 31,] Quærite primum regnum Dei, et justitiam ejus, et hæc omnia adjicientur vobis. Nimirum
And after some lines, wherein he speaks of celebrating A.D. 665. Easter uniformly throughout all the world, he adds
“ We have not been able now to find, considering the ength of the journey, a man, docile, and qualified in all respects to be a bishop, according to the tenor of your letters. But as soon as such a proper person shall be found, we will send him well instructed to your country, that he may, by word of mouth, and through the Divine oracles, with the assistance of God, root out all the enemy's tares throughout your island. We have received the presents sent by your highness to the blessed prince of the apostles, for an eternal memorial, and return you thanks, and always pray for your safety with the clergy of Christ. But he that brought these presents has been removed out of this world, and is buried at the church of the apostles, for whom we have been much concerned, because he died here. However, we have ordered the blessed gifts of the holy martyrs, that is, the relics of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, and of the holy martyrs, Laurentius, John, and Paul, and Gregory, and Pancratius, to be delivered to the bearers of these our letters, to be by them delivered to you. And to your consort also, our spiritual daughter, we have by the aforesaid bearers sent a cross, with a gold key to it, made out of the most holy chains of the apostles, Peter and Paul; at whose pious endeavours all the Apostolic See rejoices with us, as much as her pious works shine and blossom before God.
“We therefore desire your highness will hasten, according to our wish, to dedicate all your island to Christ our God; for you certainly have for your protector, the Redeemer of mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will prosper you in all things, that you may bring together a new people of Christ ; establishing there the Catholic and apostolic faith. For it is written, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.' Truly your highness