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Unformatted text preview: in a private station, had observed in the market-place of Rome some Saxon youth exposed to sale, whom the Roman merchants, in their trading voyages to Britain, had bought of their mercenary parents. Struck with the beauty of their fair complexions and blooming countenances, Gregory asked to what country they belonged; and being told they were Angles, he replied, that they ought more properly to be denominated angels: It were a pity that the Prince of Darkness should enjoy so fair a prey, and that so beautiful a frontispiece should cover a mind destitute of internal grace and righteousness. Enquiring farther concerning the name of their province, he was informed, that it was Deïri, a district of Northumberland: Deïri! replied he, that is good! They are called to the mercy of God from his anger, De ira. But what is the name of the king of that province? He was told it was Aella or Alla Alleluiah, cried he: We must endeavour, that the praises of God be sung in their country. Moved by these allusions, which appeared to him so happy, he determined to undertake, himself, a mission into Britain; and having obtained the PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 38 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 Pope’s approbation, he prepared for that perilous journey: But his popularity at home was so great, that the Romans, unwilling to expose him to such dangers, opposed his design; and he was obliged for the present to lay aside all farther thoughts of executing that pious purpose.k The controversy between the Pagans and the Christians was not entirely cooled in that age; and no pontiff before Gregory had ever carried to greater excess an intemperate zeal against the former religion. He had waged war with all the precious monuments of the ancients, and even with their writings; which, as appears from the strain of his own wit, as well as from the style of his compositions, he had not taste or genius sufficient to comprehend. Ambitious to distinguish his pontificate by the conversion of the British Saxons, he pitched on Augustine, a Roman monk, and sent him with forty associates to preach the gospel in this island. These missionaries, terrified with the dangers which might attend their proposing a new doctrine to so fierce a people, of whose language they were ignorant, stopped some time in France, and sent back Augustine to lay the hazards and difficulties before the Pope, and crave his permission to desist from the undertaking. But Gregory exhorted them to persevere in their purpose, advised them to chuse some interpreters from among the Franks, who still spoke the same language with the Saxons,l and recommended them to the good offices of queen Brunehaut, who had at this time usurped the sovereign power in France. This princess, though stained with every vice of treachery and cruelty, either possessed or pretended great zeal for the cause; and Gregory acknowledged, that to her friendly assistance was, in a great measure, owing the success of that undertaking.m Augustine, on his arrival in Kent in the year 597,n found the danger much less than he had apprehended. Ethelbert, already well-disposed towards the Christian faith, assigne...
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08