life to the English nation, they should at their hands undergo the vengeance of death"

Very Ekely Augustine, in the anger of his disappointment, said words to that effect. They were the obvious things for an angry man to say in the circumstances. It was the future event which made men recall his words to mind, and assign to them the character of prophecy. A few years afterwards (613 A.D.), when, as we have already had occasion to say, the Northumbrians made another great movement westward, and conquered Bath, Gloucester, and Cirencester, the Britons made a last stand near Chester, and one of the decisive battles of the English conquest was fought, which resulted in the intrusion of the West Saxon territory between Wales and Cumbria. The Welsh authorities say that four princes of the native race had united their force to resist the aggression, viz. Brocmail, the Prince of Powis; Cadvan, King of Britain; Morgan, King of Demetia; and Bledericus, King of Cornwall. One of the incidents of the battle is thus narrated by Bede:-"A great number of priests and monks had come on the field to pray for the success of their fellow-countrymen in the battle." Most of them were of the neighbouring Monastery of Bangor, in which it is reported there was so great a number of monks, that "the monastery was divided into seven parts, with a ruler over each; and none of these parts contained less than three hundred men, who all lived by the labour of their hands." It is a very interesting side-light upon the organisation of the vast Celtic monasteries.

Many of these, having observed a fast of three days, resolved among others to pray at the aforesaid

battle; and Brocmail, the Prince of Powis, had been appointed with his followers to protect them.

Ethelred, King of Northumbria, the leader of the English army, inquired who these men were, and, being told of the purpose of their coming, said: "If they cry to their God against us, then, though they do not bear arms, they fight against us with their prayers," and he commanded the first assault to be made against them. Brocmail, seeing his detached post thus attacked by the whole force of the enemy, withdrew his men, and left the hapless monks to be massacred. About twelve hundred of them were slain, and only about fifty escaped by flight; and their monastery fell into the hands of the enemy. The superstition of the time recalled the words of Augustine, and gave to them the character of a prophecy.

We cannot acquit Gregory of having made a great mistake in the light-hearted way in which, in the first instance, he took upon himself to command the British bishops to be instructed and ruled by Augustine. We have had occasion to note other evidences that Gregory knew little or nothing of the actual condition of the British Church of the time.

Augustine, with his local knowledge, better understood the situation, and approached the British Church with a certain amount of diplomatic skill, but his haughty reception of the British bishops and their companions was a lamentable blunder; and it is to be feared that it was characteristic of his temper, and of his view of the relations which were to exist between himself and them. We have very few personal traits of Augustine all through the history, and this is one of the most important of them; and


it cannot but influence our general estimate of his character.

We observe that Augustine did not demand the submission of the British Church to the authority of the Roman See as of divine right, or pass any sort of sentence of excommunication upon the bishops for their refusal to accept his proposal. The pretensions of Rome had not yet grown to such a height.



UPON the failure of the Synod of the Oak, the King and Archbishop turned their attention to the extension of the Church to the other nations of the English by their own resources. Throughout the English conversion, political influence and family relations played a very unusually important part in the extension of the work. It was Queen Bertha's Christianity which induced Ethelbert to give a friendly reception to Augustine's mission, and a favourable ear to his teaching. Now it is Ethelbert's political influence as Bretwalda which makes a way for the extension of the good work to the neighbouring kingdoms. In the year 604, says Bede, Augustine, Archbishop of Britain, ordained two bishops, viz. Mellitus and Justus, to Episcopal Sees at London and at Rochester.

The Saxons who conquered and settled in the part of the country between the Thames and the Stour, and who penetrated for some miles westward of London, probably came under several independent leaders, but for some generations they had been united into one Kingdom of the East Saxons, with a tribal division into East Saxons (Essex) and Middle Saxons (Middlesex), and London was the capital of the kingdom.

London had been a Roman town, not a great fortress, but a considerable emporium of of trade. Whether the invaders sacked and burnt it and left it waste, or whether the tide of invasion flowed round it and left it uninjured, no ancient history has recorded, and the modern historians are not agreed upon the subject. But if the former were the case, the site was one which offered commercial advantages so great that it would not long be left unoccupied. In those days, the Thames below London spread over the low lands on each side of its present confined bed, and presented the appearance at high tide of a great arm of the sea, into which the river entered at about the point where London stands; and there a rising ground above the marshes afforded a good site for a town. Moreover, it was the first place where travellers who had landed at Richborough and coasted the south side of this arm of the sea, could conveniently cross to the northern side of the barrier and gain access to the heart of the country. It is probable that there was a bridge here as early as the Roman times. Bede says that at this time it was "the mart of many nations, resorting to it by sea and land." It would therefore be an important position for the establishment of a new centre of missionary work. The late King, Sledda, had sought Ricula, a sister of Ethelbert, in marriage; Seberht was therefore Ethelbert's nephew. Bede says that Ethel

bert had placed him upon the throne, which looks as if Ethelbert had made himself master of the East Saxons by force of arms, and had continued Seberht as sub-King, according to the usual policy of the times.

We are told nothing of the details of the conversion, but we seem to gather that Seberht was invited to the

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