Reigion is not to be inforced but perswaded and preached, Augustine is made archbishop of England, Gregorie informeth Augustine of certeine ordinances to be made and obserued in the new English church, as the reuenewes of the church to be diuided into foure parts, of liturgie, of mariage, of ecclesiasticall discipine and ordeining of bishops; trifling questions obiected by Augustine to Gregorie, fellow helpers are sent ouer to assist Augustine in his ministerie, he receiueth his pall, reformation must be doone by little and little, not to glorie in miracles, the effect of Gregories letters to K. Ethelbert after his conuersion to christianitie.
The Xx. Chapter.
KING Ethelbert reioised at the conuersion of his people, howbeit he would not force anie
Beda. lib. 1. cap. 26. and 27.
man to be baptised, but onelie shewed by his behauiour, that he fauored those that beléeued more than other, as fellow citizens with him of the heauenlie kingdome: for he learned of them that had instructed him in the faith, that the obedience due to Christ ought not to be inforced, but to come of good will. Moreouer he prouided for Augustine and his fellowes a conuenient place for their habitation within the citie of Canturburie, and further gaue them necessarie reuenewes in possession for their maintenance. After that the faith of Christ was
Augustine ordeined archhishop of the English nation.
thus receiued of the English men, Augustine went into France, and there of the archbishop of Aries named Etherius was ordeined archbishop of the English nation, according to the order prescribed by Gregorie before the departure of the said Augustine from Rome.
After his returne into Britaine, he sent Laurence a priest, and Péeter a moonke vnto
Laurence a priest.
Rome, to giue knowledge vnto Gregorie the bishop, how the Englishmen had receiued the faith, and that he was ordeined archbishop of the land, according to that he had commanded, if the woorke prospered vnder his hand as it had doone. He also required to haue Gregories aduice touching certeine ordinances to be made and obserued in the new church of England. Wherevpon Gregorie, sending backe the messengers, wrote an answere vnto all his demands. And first touching the conuersation of archbishops with the clergie, and in what sort the church goods ought to be imploied, he declared that the ancient custome of the apostolike see was to giue commandement vnto bishops ordeined, that the profits and reuenewes of
The reuenewes of the church to be diuided into 4. parts.
their benefices ought to be diuided into foure parts, whereof the first should be appointed to the bishop and his familic for the maintenance of hospitalitie: the second should be assigned to the clergie: the third giuen to the poore: and the fourth imploied vpon repairing of temples.
And whereas in the church of Rome one custome in saieng masse or the liturgie was
obserued, and another custome in France; concerning such church seruice, Gregorie aduised
Austine that if he found anie thing either in the church of Rome, either in the church of France, or in anie other church which might most please the almightie God, he should diligentlie choose it out, and instruct the church of England (now being new) according to that forme which he should gather foorth of the said churches: for the things are not loued for
Such as did steale.
the places sake, but the places for the things sake. Also for punishing of such as had stolen things out of churches, so néere as might be, the offendor should be chastised in charitie, so as he might know his fault, and (if it were possible) restore the thing taken away.
And touching degrées in manage, Englishmen might take to their wiues, women that touched them in the third and fourth degrée without reprehension, and if any vnlawfull mariages were found amongst the Englishmen, as if the sonne had maried the fathers wife, or the brother the brothers wife, they ought to be warned in anie wise to absteine,, and vnderstand it to be a gréeuous sinne: yet should they not for that thing be depriued of the communion of the bodie and bloud of our Lord, least those things might séeme to be punished in them wherein they had offended (before their conuersion to the christian faith) by
Discipline of the church.
ignorance: for at this season the church (saith he) correcteth some things of a feruent earnestnesse, suffreth some things of a gentle mildnes, and dissembleth some things of a prudent consideration, and so beareth and winketh at the same, that oftentimes the euill which she abhorreth by such bearing and dissembling, is restreined and reformed.
Ordeining of bishops.
Moreouer touching the ordeining of bishops, he would they should be so placed, that the distance of place might not be a let, but that when a bishop should be consecrated, there might be thrée or foure present. Also touching the bishops of France, he willed Augustine in no wise to intermeddle with them, otherwise than by exhortation and good admonition to be giuen, but not to presume anie thing by authorities sith the archbishop of Arles had receiued the pall in times past, whose authoritie he might not diminish, least he should séeme to put his sickle into another mans haruest. But as for the bishops of Britaine, he committed them vnto him, that the vnlearned might be taught, the weake with wholesome persuasions
Women with child.
strengthened, and the froward by authoritie reformed. Moreouer, that a woman with child might be baptised, and she that was deliuered after 33 daies of a manchild, and after 46 daies of a womanchild, should be purified, but yet might she enter the church before, if she would.
Matters in question about trifles.
The residue of Augustines demands consisted in these points, to wit:
- Within what space a child should be christened after it was borne, for doubt to be preuented by death?
- Within what time a man might companie with his wife after she was brought to bed?
- Whether a woman, hauing hir floures, might enter the church, or receiue the communion?
- Whether a man hauing had companie with his wife, mightenter the church, or receiue the communion before he was washed with water?
- Whether after pollusion by night in dreames, a man might receiue the communion: or if he were a priest, whether he might say masse?
To these questions Gregorie maketh answere at full in the booke and place before cited, which for bréefenesse we passe ouer. He sent also at that time with the messengers aforesaid, at their returne into England, diuers learned men to helpe Augustine in the haruest of
Assistance to Augustine. The pall.
the Lord. The names of the chiefest were these, Melitus, Iustus, Paulinus, and Ruffinianus. He sent allso the pall, which is the ornament of an archbishop, with vessels and apparell which should be vsed in churches by the archbishop and other ministers. He sent also with the pall other letters to Augustine, to let him vnderstand what number of bishops he would haue him to ordeine within this land. Also after that Melitus, and the other before mentioned persons were departed from Rome, he sent a letter vnto the same Melitus, being yet on his way toward Britaine, touching further matter concerning the churches of England,
Bearing with them that had newlie receiued the faith, whereof superstition grew and increased.
wherein he confesseth that manie things are permitted to be vsed of the people latelie brought from the errors of gentilitie, in keeping feasts on the dedication daies, which haue resemblance with the old superstitious rites of the Pagan religion. For to hard and obstinate minds (saith he) it is not possible to cut away all things at once, for he that coueteth to the highest place, goeth vp by steps and not by leaps.
At the same time Gregorie did send letters vnto Augustine touching the miracles, which
by report he vnderstood were shewed by the same Augustine, counselling him in no wise to glorie in the same, but rather in reioising to feare, and consider that God gaue him the gift to worke such signes for the wealth of them to whom he was sent to preach the gospell: he aduised him therefore to beware of vaine-glorie and presumption, for the disciples of the truth (saith he) haue no ioy, but onlie that which is common with all men, of which there is no end, for not euerie one that is elect worketh miracles, but euerie of the elect haue their names written in heauen. These letters, with the other which Gregorie sent at this time vnto Augustine, were dated the tenth day of the kalends of Iulie, in the yéere of our Lord 602, which was the 19 yeere of the emperour Mauricius. Moreouer he sent most courteous
letters by these messengers to king Ethelbert, in the which he greatlie commended him, in that he had receiued the christian faith, and exhorted him to continue in that most holie state of life, whereby he might worthilie looke for reward at the hands of almightie God.