« PředchozíPokračovat »
to think of desisting from that which has been begun, it behoves you (most beloved sons) to fulfil the good work which by the help of our Lord you have undertaken. Let not, therefore, the toil of the journey, nor the tongues of evil-speaking men deter you; but with all possible earnestness and fervour perform that which you have undertaken by God's direction, being assured that much labour is followed by a reward of eternal glory. When Augustin, your chief, returns, whom we also constitute your Abbot, humbly obey him in all things; as knowing that whatsoever you shall do by his direction, will, in all respects, be available to your souls. Almighty God protect you with his grace, and grant that I may, in the heavenly country, see the fruits of your labour. Inasmuch as, though I cannot labour with you, I shall partake in the joy of the reward, because I am willing to labour. God keep you in safety, most beloved sons.”
Augustin, being strengthened by the Confirmation of the blessed Father Gregory, returned to the work of the Word of God, with the servants of Christ, and arrived in Britain. Ethelbert was at that time the most potent king of Kent, who had extended his dominions as far as the great river Humber, by which the southern Saxons are divided from the northern. On the east side of Kent is the Isle of Thanet, considerable large, that is, containing, according to the English way of reckoning, 600 families, divided from the other land by the river Wantsum, which is about three furlongs over, and fordable only in two places, for both ends of it run into the sea. In this island landed the servant of our Lord, Augustin, and his companions, being, as is reported, near forty men. They had, by order of the blessed Pope Gregory, taken interpreters of the nation of the Franks, and, sending to Ethelbert, signified that he was come from Rome, and brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured all that took the advantage of it everlasting joys in heaven, and a kingdom that would never end, with the living and true God. He, having heard this, ordered them to stay in that island where they had landed, and that they should be furnished with all necessaries, till he should consider what to do with them. For he had before heard of the Christian religion, as having a Christian wife of the royal family of the Franks, called Bertha; whom he had received from her parents upon condition that she should be permitted to practise her religion with the Bishop Lindhard, given her to preserve the faith. Some days after, the king came into the island, and, sitting in the open air, ordered Augustin and his companions to be brought into his presence. For he had taken precaution that they should not come to him in any house, according to the ancient superstition, lest, if they had any magical arts, they might at their coming impose upon and get the better of him. But they came furnished with divine virtue, not with diabolical (power], bearing a silver cross for their banner, and the image of our Lord and Saviour painted on a board, and, singing the litany, offered up their prayers to the Lord for their own and the eternal salvation of those to whom they were come. Having, pursuant to the king's commands, after sitting down, preached to him and all his attendants there present the Word of Life, he answered thus :-" Your words and promises are very taking, but, in regard that they are new and uncertain, I cannot approve of them, forsaking that which I have so long followed with the whole English nation. But because you are come from far into my kingdom, and, as I conceive, are desirous to part to us those things which you believe to be true, and most beneficial, we will not molest you, but rather give you favourable entertainment, and take care to supply you with your necessary sustenance; nor do we forbid you by preaching to gain as many as you can to your religion.” Accordingly he gave doctrine. There was on the east side, near the city, a church dedicated to the honour of St. Martin, formerly built whilst the Romans were still in the island, wherein the queen, who, as has been said before, was a Christian, used to pray. In this they at first began to meet, to sing, to pray, to say mass, to preach and to baptize, till, the king being converted to the faith, they had leave granted them more freely to preach, and build or repair churches in all places. When he, among the rest, being taken with the unspotted life of these holy men, and their most agreeable promises, which they proved to be most certain by working of many miracles, believed and was baptized, greater numbers began daily to flock together to hear the word, and, forsaking their heathen rites, to associate themselves, by believing, to the unity of the Church of Christ. Whose faith and conversation the king so far encouraged as that he compelled none to embrace Christianity, but only showed more affection to the believers as to his fellow citizens in the heavenly kingdom. For he had learnt from his instructors and leaders to salvation, that the service of Christ ought to be voluntary, not by compulsion. Nor was it long before he gave his teachers a settled place in his metropolis of Canterbury, with the necessary possessions in several sorts.
them a dwelling-place in the city of Canterbury, which was the metropolis of all his dominions, and pursuant to his promise, besides allowing them their diet, permitted them to preach. It is reported, that as they drew near to the city, after their manner, with the holy cross, and the image of the Great King, our Lord Jesus Christ, they, in concert, sung this litany or prayer :—“We beseech thee, O Lord, in all thy mercy, that thy anger and wrath be turned away from this city, and from thy holy house, because we have sinned. Hallelujah."
As soon as they entered into the dwelling-place assigned them, they began to imitate the course of life practised in the primitive church ; that is, applying themselves to frequent prayer, watching, and fasting; preaching the word of life to as many as they could ; despising all worldly things, as not belonging to them, receiving only what was necessary for food of those they taught; living themselves in all respects conformable to what they prescribed to others, and being always disposed to suffer any adversity, and even to die, for that truth which they preached. In short, some believed, and were baptized, admiring the simplicity of their innocent life, and the sweetness of their heavenly
142.--THE CHARACTER OF POLYBIUS, THE HISTORIAN.
DRYDEN [JOHN DRYDEN is one of the most familiar names in English literature: but how many readers of the present day can be said to make a study of his works? His plays, with one or two exceptions, are forgotten and neglected. His tragedies are formed upon the mockheroic French model, which has no claim to be a reflection of nature, and which therefore can have no endurance.
His comedies are revolting in their gross licentiousness. But we turn to his Satires and his Translations, and we find many of the characteristics of a great poet; not the highest invention, but vigour almost unrivalled, and a mastery of the real power of the English language, which shows us how much that language has been vitiated by the patchwork of a century and a half. Dryden's prose is necessarily less read than his poetry, for it consists chiefly of critical prefaces to his plays, and to works, principally translations, in which he was from time to time engaged in the course of a long literary life. Careless readers have