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England through the landing of Julius Cæsar, of the heroic brothers Hengist and Horsa, and of William Duke of Normandy. The narrowness of the channel at this part of the coast, which is here sheltered by chalk cliffs and deep land-locked bays, naturally gave occasion to such a preference.

Augustine had, moreover, a special reason for selecting this small island as the place of his disembarkation; for he had to provide for his own safety, and that of his followers, until he could obtain the necessary information in regard to the disposition of Ethelbert, the Æscing, who was at that time the ruler of Kent. He and his subjects, like all the other Saxon princes and inhabitants of England, were still heathens; although he must have been regarded as the most distinguished among the pagan rulers, since he exercised a sort of suzerainship over all the others, while his power extended as far as the Humber. He had, however, as the Pope had long since heard, married Bertha, a Merovingian princess of the race of Clovis, who was permitted by this tolerant worshipper of Woden to exercise her orthodox faith without hindrance, and who had even been suffered. to bring with her, as her chaplain, a Christian countryman of her own, Bishop Ludhard, who, as Bede circumstantially relates, was allowed to perform mass in her presence in a small chapel in the eastern part of Canterbury. Arrangements for the first meeting with the king were speedily settled, and without further delay, the conference took place on the small island, and in the open air-a precaution insisted upon by the men of Kent, from the fear that the foreign strangers might make use of certain charms or spells. The prince, attended by his

haughty followers, all of whom were armed, took his seat beneath an ancient oak, where he awaited the approach of the monks, who advanced towards him, preceded by two of their number bearing aloft a silver cross and a picture of the Saviour, painted on a golden ground. The interview was carried on by help of interpreters, who, after announcing the message of Augustine, repeated the answer of the Escing prince, who expressed a truehearted confidence in the good intentions of his new acquaintance, to whom he accorded the most hospitable welcome. Soon after this, the monks proceeded on their way to Canterbury, which they entered, singing aloud the "Halleluia" in one of the chants of praise that had been composed by Gregory.

The wife, in this case, as has so often happened both in ancient and modern times, was the principal agent in the conversion of her husband; and the strange guests had not long recovered from the fatigues of their travels, and had only lately begun to celebrate the services of their Church within Queen Bertha's chapel, when the king caused them to be informed that he was disposed to adopt their faith. All his thoughts had been turned. to that consecrated spot of ground outside the city gate, where, even in the present day, there still stands, in the midst of its ancient burying-ground, the small church of St. Martin, and where, according to Bede, a church had been founded by the early British Christians during the time of the Roman occupation of the island, although it is very probable that it received the name of the saint of Tours from its subsequent connexion with the Frankish princess. Here, on the only piece of ground that had remained consecrated to Christian worship,

Ethelbert was baptized by Augustine on the 2d of June, in the year 597-a day that has been conscientiously and gratefully incorporated by the Saxons in their calendar. The building from which this victory of Romish orthodoxy extended over the north of Europe, although small and unimposing, was of a peculiar character, and well worthy of arresting the attention of the spectator. On a singularly formed hill, which, in the dark ages, had undoubtedly served as a place of sacrifice for the Celtic Druids, and where probably, in after times, Jutes and Saxons had invoked their gods, Thor and Woden, stand the ancient and strong foundation walls of a building of small dimensions, scarcely larger than many a private burying vault or pilgrim's chapel. Roman bricks project between the stones, and these very stones were probably the witnesses of that world-renowned and most important ceremony of baptism, which in its results, was nearly as momentous an event as the conversion of Constantine the Great, or of Clovis, the Franco-Gallic prince. We are scarcely disposed, however, to grant that the remarkable font, which, at most, can only be referred to the later Saxon period, is the identical one employed by Augustine on this memorable occasion. It is sufficient for us that the spot where the first Anglo-Saxon prince became a Christian is as thoroughly and satisfactorily authenticated as the site where once stood the Capitol of ancient Rome. To the present time the church of St. Martin-in-the-East has fulfilled its destination of serving as a parish church to the suburbs of Canterbury.

The diffusion of Christianity, like the progress of civilization generally, has usually followed a western direc

tion; and this tendency may be traced even in regard to details in the ruined buildings of Canterbury. A short distance outside the city walls rises another elevation, on which the ruins of an ecclesiastical building project from the soil. Ancient histories and more recent traditions record that here, long before the arrival of Augustine, had stood an ancient British Christian temple, in which the Saxons, at a subsequent period, worshipped their gods. The building was now given by the converted king to the bishop, who dedicated it to St. Pancras. He had selected for the patron-saint of his church the youthful martyr who had been put to death for his faith during the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, in order that, by the selection of this saint, he might keep in memory the spot where he had himself lived for so long a time at Rome; for the monastery of St. Andrew was situated on the ground which had once been the property of the noble family to which St. Pancras belonged. Thus, the hill and the church at Canterbury were intended to remind the monks of their pleasant home on the Cœlian Mount, while, at the same time, the Pope's special injunction to win the affections of the people, by studiously adhering to spots that had been hallowed to them by their earlier heathen worship, was obeyed, and the pagan fane converted by purification and consecration into a Christian temple.

At the same time, within the city itself, the spot on which the royal residence had hitherto stood was selected for the site of the first English cathedral, which, as the sequel showed, was destined to be the most renowned of any ever erected in the island. Gregory the Great alludes, in one of his letters on this occasion, very

pointedly to the memorable gift which, according to the legend, Constantine is said to have made to Pope Sylvester. The building was dedicated to the Saviour, and it bears to this day the name of Christ Church Cathedral. The original church, of which not a trace now remains, is said, in many of its features, to have been an exact likeness of the old St. Peter's at Rome. And here, as in that ancient Basilica, the altar was originally at the west end, while, moreover, there was also a crypt which had been carefully planned to imitate the ancient catacombs. There was yet another peculiarity, which existed then as it does now, for the chief entrance into the cathedral was, from the first, on the southern sidea practice which seems to have been derived from the ancient British Churches.

The most important building founded by Ethelbert and Augustine was the great monastery, dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul, and situated close to the city walls, but outside them. It was destined to be the principal abode of the new brotherhood, and it formed henceforward the centre of the mission which was sent from thence to all parts of the island, and at a later period, even to the German continent. Here, within the abbey, which, several centuries later, was named after St. Augustine himself, the monks zealously prosecuted all the studies that were indispensable to their sacred calling. Gregory himself provided the materials for their first library, the ecclesiastical works of which have been minutely described to us, and of which some were still in excellent preservation in the fifteenth century. Of these works we still possess two venerable relics, in the shape of manuscript gospels, written in Roman uncials

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