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Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book One, Chapter Twenty-Nine

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter XXIX

The same holy Pope sends more Missionaries to assist St.Austin, and with them a Letter and the Pall.

Soon after St. Austin had been ordained Bishop, he sent a message to St. Gregory, intimating to him, that the harvest was great but the labourers few. Upon which the holy Pope sent several Preachers to assist him, the principal of whom were Mellitus, Justus, Paulinus, and Rufinianus.With them he also sent all those things which are generally used in the church service, viz. sacred vessels and vestments for the priest and clergy, altar-clothes, and ornaments for churches; also relics of the holy Apostles, Martyrs, and many books. At the same time he wrote a letter to him, in which he signified that he had honoured him with the pall, and instructed him what order he should observe in constituting Bishops in different parts of Britain. We shall here transcribe the letter:

"To our holy Brother, the Most Reverend Bishop Austin; Gregory, the Servant of the Servants of God.

"Although it be certain that Almighty God has prepared rewards, which cannot be expressed, in his eternal kingdom, for those who labour to promote his glory, nevertheless we deem it our duty to reward them also, by conferring such honours upon them, as may excite them to pursue their pious design with still greater zeal and vigour. Wherfore, as, by your labours and by the blessing of the Lord, the English Church has lately been brought to the grace of Almighty God, we grant you the Pall to be used only at solemn masses. It is also our will that you ordain twelve bishops for different places, who will all be subject to your jurisdiction; in such a manner however that the Bishop of London shall always for the future be consecrated by his own synod, and receieve from this holy and apostolic See, to which I have been appointed by the authority of God, the honour of the Pall. We would have you likewise to send whomsoever you shall judge proper to ordain bishop to the city of York, yet so that, if that city and the neighbouring shall receieve the word of God, he shall also ordain twelve bishops, and enjoy the honour of a Metropolitan. For we intend, if the Lord shall grant us a continuation of life, to give him the Pall also, and yet it is our will that he be subject to your authority, Brother. But after your decease he shall so preside over the bishops ordained by him, as to be no way subject to the Bishop of London. Now, for the future, the only distinction of rank between the Bishops of the cities of London and York shall be, that he who was first ordained shall be honoured with the precedency: but let them take advice one of the other, and unanimously determine on what they shall judge best to do, and after mature deliberation let them with perfect concord pursue the same method, in performing whatsoever they shall undertake for the glory of God, and through a zeal for his honour. But to you, Brother not only those bishops and priests whom you shall ordain, but also those who shall be ordained either by the bishops at York or at any other place in Britain, shall be subject by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they may learn by the example of your holy life and conversaton how they ought to live and instruct their respective flocks, that by so doing they may at length, when it shall please the Lord to call them out of this life, attain to his heavenly kingdom.God keep you in health most reverend Brother. Given this twentyeighth of August, the twenty- ninth year of the reign of our sovereign lord and emperor Mauritius Tiberius, the eighteenth year after his consulship; the fourth indiction."

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Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book One, Chapter Thirty-One

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter XXXI

A letter of the Pope to St. Austin, in which he exhorts him not to take pride in the miracles which he performed.

St. Gregory having about this time received information that many miracles had been wrought by the holy archbishop, sent him the following letter, as a caution against the danger of vanity to which he was exposed, on account of their multiplicity.

"Dearly beloved Brother,

"I know that it has pleased the Almighty God to shew great wonders by you, to the nation which he has chosen for himself. Wherefore, we judge it our duty to remind you of the necessity of preserving a humble fear in your mind, whilst you rejoice at this heavenly gift which has been bestowed on you. There is undoubtedly sufficient reason to rejoice at the conversion of so many souls, who through the external prodigies which happen amongst them, are made partakers of the internal grace of God: but, at the same time, there is equal reason to fear, lest yourself should lose that same grace by presumption, pride, and vanity. For we ought to recollect, that, when the Disciples of our Lord, returning from preaching, said to him, 'Lord, even the devils are subject to us in thy name,' he immediately answered, 'Do not rejoice at this, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven,' [St. Luke x, 17-20]. They had fixed their minds on a private and temporal joy, by rejoicing at the miracles which they did; but he taught them that they ought to recall their attention to the public good, and to seek for that joy which will be eternal.

For, though all the elect do not work miracles, yet all their names are written in heaven. The disciples of the truth should take pleasure only in those blessings which are common to all, and which never fail. Take care, therefore, dearest brother, that, whilst you externally perform miracles, by the powers which you have received from God, you call yourself to a strict account, that you may thoroughly understand and know what you are of yourself, and how great is the grace granted to the English nation, for the conversion of which you have been favoured with the gift of working such miracles. And, if you remember that you have at any time offended our Creator, either by work or word, constantly recall it to your remembrance, that the recollection of your guilt may suppress any pride which you may feel rising in your heart; and whatsoever miraculous powers you have, or shall hereafter receive, do not esteem them as given to yourself, but to those for whose salvation they are conferred upon you."

Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum:
The History of the Primitive Church of England.
Book One, Chapter Thirty-Two

Translated by Rev. William Hurst, 1814.

Chapter XXXII

St. Gregory sends a letter and presents to King Ethelbert.

The same holy Pope sent also several handsome presents, of different kinds, at the same time to King Ethelbert, thus studying to honour him with temporal honours, whom he rejoiced to have taught to aspire after such as are eternal. The following is a copy of the letter.

To our most excellent son Ethelbert, the sovereign lord and most renowned king of the English: Gregory, Bishop.

" Almighty God raises good men to the government of nations, that by them he may distribute the riches of his mercy and goodness to his chosen people. This is what we know he has done to the English nation by appointing you to govern it, that you might communicate to your people those heavenly blessings, of which you have been made a partaker.

"Wherefore, O illustrious son, preserve with great care the grace which you have received, and sedulously apply yourself to extend the knowledge of the Christian faith amongst your subjects; exert your pious zeal in promoting their conversion, suppress the worship of idols, destroy their temples, and edify your people by the example of all good works; by a great purity of life, by terrifying and punishing the wicked, and encouraging and exhorting the virtuous, that so you may find him your rewarded in heaven, the knowledge of whose name you shall have extended on earth. For he shall transmit your glorious name with still greater lustre and fame to posterity, whose honour you shall have laboured to promote and establish amongst unbelieving nations. Thus formerly did Constantine, a very pious emperor, recall the Roman people from the perverse worship of idols, and subject them with himself to Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ; and was himself with his subjects entirely converted to him. Whence it followed, that his name transcended that of all former emperors: and he as much excelled his predecessors in renown, as he did in good works.

"Now, therefore, magnanimous Prince, hasten to infuse into the minds of the kings and people, subject to you, the knowledge of one God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that you may both surpass all the ancient kings of your nation, in merit and fame, in this life, and appear at the terrible judgment of Almighty God in the next, with so much the greater confidence of obtaining pardon for your own sins, by how much more diligently you shall have laboured to efface those of your subjects.

"Gladly listen to, carefully retain in mind, and devoutly perform, whatsoever shall be taught you, by our most reverend brother Bishop Austin, who has been educated according to the rules of a monastic life, has acquired a complete knowledge of the sacred scriptures, and, by the assistance of God, has performed many good works. For, if you hearken to what he says to you on the part of the Almighty, the same Almighty God will the sooner attend to him, when he shall offer up his prayers to him for you. But if (which God forbid) you should refuse to give ear to his words, how can you expect that the Almighty, who commissioned him to preach his word to you, will hear him in your behalf? Unite, therefore, your efforts with his, and exert that authority which you have received from the Deity, with all the fervour of your heart, that he make you partaker of his kingdom, whose faith you propagate and establish in your kingdom.

"Moreover, we desire you to consider that the end of this present world is near, that the kingdom of the Saints, which will never end, is coming, as we learn from the words of our Almighty Lord, written in the sacred scriptures. Now, we have been taught to expect many extraordinary presages of this great event, viz. changes of the air, terrible signs from heaven, tempests in those seasons of the year when they do not usually happen, wars, famines, plagues, and earthquakes in several places. All these things will not, indeed take place in our days but, if you should experience some of them in your country, let not your mind be disturbed, for all those signs of the end of the world approaching are sent to admonish us to be careful to save our souls, to watch for the hour of death, and prepare ourselves by good works for the coming of the Judge.

"These things have we written to you, illustrious Son, in a few words, purposing to write more copiously hereafter, in proportion as we shall find occasion to congratulate with you on the propagation of the Christian faith in your dominions. We have also sent you a few small presents, which yet will not seem small to you, when you accept of them as from the blessing of St Peter the Apostle. May Almighty God perfect that grace which he has begun in you, and, after prolonging your life for many happy years in this world, admit you to the blessed society of his saints, in his heavenly kingdom. The blessing of God be with you, dear Son. Given this twenty second day of June, the nineteenth year of the reign of our sovereign lord the most pious emperor Mauritius Tiberius, the eighteenth since his consulship; the fourth indiction."