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others which are to follow; which will continue to be included in the general series.
On the other hand, there are historical subjects, which, though they fall naturally enough into a series, have no essential dependence one on another, and can be treated of separately without any detriment to the unity of the whole; persons, events, or institutions, for instance, that are popularly known and have a popular character to be established or destroyed, such as the Reformation, Henry VIII., Cranmer, Luther, the Reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, Gunpowder-Plot, the Inquisition, Massacre of St. Bartholomew, the Penal Laws, &c. &c. These therefore will continue to form part of the ordinary series; as will also accounts of Catholic martyrdoms and missionary labours; some of which will shortly appear, under the heading of “The Catholic Missionary.”
In conclusion, the Editors beg the prayers of all good Catholics, more especially of their Brothers of St. Vincent of Paul, that the important work which has been commenced under the patronage of their common Father may be abundantly blessed to the instruction of the ignorant, the enlightenment of those in error, the edification of the humble and devout, and above all to the glory of God and the spread of true religion in this their beloved Country.
Advent Sunday, 1851.
The Church of our fathers.
III. ENGLAND EVANGELISED.
It has been remarked by a clever Protestant writer, that the portion of the history of our country which is the most really interesting, is the one most carelessly treated by our historians, and of which our people are the most ignorant; that, while the minutest details of one battle after another, and all the particulars of the most insignificant court-scandal are repeated again and again, and thoroughly learnt, the history of the most important event which ever happened to this country—its conversion to Christianity-is scarcely known at all; all that we are generally told about it being summed up in the one fact, that England was converted by St. Augustin.
And after all, even this small amount of information on the subject is not altogether correct, as far as it goes ; for it cannot truly be said that St. Augustin converted England, when in fact he only began the work, and at the time of his death left by far the larger portion of the country yet buried in idolatry--perhaps never having heard his name, and certainly in total ignorance of the doctrine he came to preach. The conversion of a nation such as England then was is no such easy matter, that it is likely to have been accomplished in the lifetime of a single individual; and though it proceeded with a rapidity which shewed that the wonder-working grace of God was with His Church, yet still St. Augustin and his companions had entered into their rest long before its completion ; and it was not till about a hundred
years had elapsed from the time when that holy band of missionaries first landed in the island of Thanet, that England could be said to be really Christian from sea to sea.
It must be remembered that the country was not then,
as it is now, all one kingdom, but was divided into seven kingdoms, which were called the Saxon Heptarchy. Now of these only two were converted during the life of St. Augustin, namely, the kingdom of Kent, whose capital city, Canterbury, was made the seat of his archbishopric, and that of the East Saxons, which bordered upon it, and seems to have been in some way subject to it; at least at that time, when its king, Saberet, was nephew to King Ethelbert. All the other kingdoms of England were still pagan at the time of St. Augustin's death; and it is our purpose in these pages to give a slight sketch of the means by which they were ultimately brought to the faith of Christ.
The kingdom of Kent itself very nearly missed falling back into idolatry after the death of its holy Bishop Augustin, and its good king Ethelbert; for the king who then came to the throne, Eadbald, the son of Ethelbert, was a pagan, and, moreover, a man of immoral life; and numbers of the people, who had been led by Ethelbert's example to profess themselves Christians, without, it may be, much real earnestness on the subject, were glad to throw off the yoke of Christ, and to take up again their own easier religion. The Archbishop Laurentius, who had succeeded St. Augustin in the see of Canterbury, and Justus, who had been ordained Bishop of Rochester, consulted together what was to be done, and agreed that it was better to retreat into France, and there serve God in peace, than to spend their lives without fruit among a people of barbarians; and accordingly the Bishop of Rochester departed, and the Archbishop was about to do the like, when, on the very night before he intended to embark, St. Peter, the prince of the Apostles, appeared to him, as we are told, in his church at Canterbury, and scourging him with many stripes, warned him by no means to forsake the flock committed to his charge. Laurentius recounted this vision to the king, and declared to him his intention to remain faithful; and the grace of God touched the heart of the king, so that he was converted, and by degrees his whole people once more received the faith, which they never again lost.
The kingdom of the East Saxons, which also, as we have said, became Christian at the preaching of St. Au