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Century VIII, Chapter IV


The Propagation of the Gospel in this Century, including the Life of Boniface, Archbishop of Mentz.

WlLLIBROD,t with other English missionaries, continued to labour with success in the conversion of the Frisons. His episcopal seat was, as we have seen, at Utrecht;J for fifty years he preached, founded churches and monasteries, and appointed new bishops. The consequence of his labours was, that great numbers of pagans were received into the pale of the church.

The § great light of Germany in this century was an Englishman named Winfrid, born at Kirton in Devonshire, about the year 680. He was brought up in the monastic life from infancy. His residence was in the monastery of Nutcell, in the diocese of Winchester, which was afterwards destroyed by the

• Should any persons startle, that I call image worship by no better name than idolatry, and rank pagan and papal practices in the same class, 1 would refer such to the censure of St. Paul on the Galatians, iv. 8, 9. Idolatry being with them merely mental, originated in a selfrighteous principle, and the apostle looks on them as worshippers of false gods, and informs them that they were returning again to bondage. How much more justly may image worship be called " the doing service to them whjch b\ nature are no gods," where the idolatry is botfi mental and external.

\ Fleury, fifth vol. xli. 1.

\ See page 118 of this volume.

\ Fleury, xli. 35, &c. Alban Butler, vol. &

Danes, and was never rebuilt. Here he was made acquainted with the sacred and secular learning of the times. At the age of thirty, he was ordained priest, on the recommendation of his abbot, and laboured with much zeal in preaching the word of God. His spirit was ardent, and he longed to be employed as a missionary in the conversion of pagans. The example of a number of pious persons of his own country might, no doubt, have great influence with him; for we have seen already, that the zeal of spreading the gospel was peculiarly strong in the British isles. He went over with two monks into Friezeland about the year 716. He proceeded to Utrecht, " to Water, where Willibrod had Planted;" but finding that circumstances rendered it impracticable at present to preach the gospel there, he returned into England, with his companions, to his monastery.

On the death of the abbot of Nutcell, the society would have elected Winfrid in his room; but the monk, steady to his purpose, refused to accept the presidency; and, with recommendatory letters from the bishop of Winchester, went to Rome, and presented himself to the pope, expressing a desire of being employed in the conversion of infidels. Gregory II. encouraged his zeal, and gave him a commission of the most ample and. unlimited nature in the year 719.

With this commission Winfrid went into Bavaria and Thuringia. In the. first country he reformed the churches, in the second he was successful in the conversion of infidels. Here also he observed, how true religion, where it had been planted, was almost destroyed by false teachers: some pastors, indeed, were zealous for the service of God, but others were given up to scandalous vices: the English missionary beheld their state, and the ill effects of it on the people, with sorrow; and laboured, with all his might, to recover them to true repentance.

It was with sincere delight, that he afterwards learned, that the door, which had been shut against his first attempts in Friezeland, was now opened for preaching the gospel in that country. Ratbod, king of the Frisons, who had planted idolatry afresh among his subjects, was dead, and the obstacles were removed. Winfrid returned into Friezeland, and for three years cooperated with Willibrod. The pale of the church was hence enlarged: churches were erected: many received the word of God; and idolatry was more and more subdued.

Willibrod, declining in strength through old age, chose Winfrid for his successor. I have before observed, that the duration of his pastoral labours, in his mission, was no less than fifty years. The example of this great and holy person had long before this stirred up others to labour in the best of causes. Soon after that, he, with eleven companions in 690, had begun to preach the gospel in Friezeland, two brothers of the English nation went over into the country of the ancient Saxons, in order to preach to the idolaters. They were both called Ewald. They arrived in this country about the year 694, and meeting with a certain steward, desired him to conduct them to his lord. They were employed all the way in prayer, in singing psalms and hymns. The barbarians fearing lest these men might draw their lord over to christianity, murdered both the brothers; and thus, toward the close of the foregoing century, it pleased God to take to himself two persons who had devoted themselves to preach the gospel of his Son among the heathen. The time of the more peculiar visitation of Germany was reserved for the age which we are now reviewing.

It must have been extremely delightful to Willibrod, to have met with a coadjutor so zealous and sincere as Winfrid. However, the latter declined the offer, because the pope had enjoined him to preach in the eastern parts of Germany; and he felt himself bound to perform his promise. It is not possible, indeed, to conce ive such a man as Gregory to have had any other views than those of secular ambition in exacting this promise from Winfrid. But it seems also

Vol. III. 23

equally apparent, that the motives of the latter were holy and spiritual. Willibrod acquiesced in Winfrid's desires, and dismissed him with his blessing. The younger missionary departed immediately, and came into Hesse, to a place called Omenbourg, belonging to two brothers, who were nominal christians, but practical idolaters. Winfrid's labours were successful, both on them and their subjects: and, throughout Hesse, or at least a very great part of .it, even to the confines of Saxony, he erected the standard of truth, and upheld it with much zeal, to the confusion of the kingdom of Satan. It ought not, however, to be concealed, that Winfrid suffered great hardships in a country so poor and uncultivated as the greater part of Germany then was; that he supported himself at times by the labour of his hands, and was exposed to imminent peril from the rage of the obstinate pagans.

After some time he returned to Rome, was kindly received by Gregory II, and was consecrated bishop of the new German churches, by the name of Boniface. There seems, even in that little circumstance, something of the policy of the Roman see. A Roman name was more likely to procure from the German converts respect to the pope, than an English one. Gregory, moreover, solicitous to preserve his dignity, exacted from the new bishop an oath of subjection to the papal authority, conceived in the strongest terms; a circumstance, remarkably proving both the ambition of Gregory and the superstition of the times. Boniface armed with letters from the pope, and, what was far better, encouraged by the addition of fresh labourers from England, returned to the scenes of his missionComing into Hesse, he confirmed, by imposition of hands, several* who had already been baptized, and exerted himself with much zeal against the idolatrous superstitions of the Germans. An oak of prodigious size had been an instrument of much pagan delusion: his sincerest converts advised him to cut it down; and

he followed their counsel. It ought to be observed, that the famous Charles Martel protected him with his civil authority; for the dominion of the French extended a considerable way into Germany. It does not appear, however, that Boniface made any other use of this circumstance, than what the most conscientious ecclesiastic may do, wherever the christian religion is established by the laws.

Daniel, bishop of Winchester, about the year 723, wrote to Boniface concerning the best method of dealing with idolaters. " Do not contradict," says he, " in a direct manner their accounts of the genealogy of their gods; allow that they were born from one another in the same way as mankind are; this concession will give you the advantage of proving, that there was a time when they had no existence. Ask them, who governed the world before the birth of their gods; ask them, if these gods have ceased to propagate. If they have not. show them the consequence; namely, that the gods must be infinite in number, and that no man can rationally be at ease in worshipping any of them, lest he should, by that means, offend one, who is more powerful. Argue thus with them, not in the way of insult, but with temper and moderation; and take opportunities to contrast these absurdities with the christian doctrine: let the pagans be rather ashamed than incensed by your oblique mode of stating these subjects. Show them the insufficiency of their plea of antiquity: inform them that idolatry did anciently prevail over the world, but that Jesus Christ was manifested, in order to reconcile men to God by his grace." Piety and good sense appear to have predominated in these instructions, and we have here proofs, in addition to those already given, of the grace of God conferred on our ancestors during the Heptarchy.

Boniface preserved a correspondence with other friends in England, as well as with Daniel. From his native country he was supplied also, as we have seen, with fellow labourers. In Thuringia he confirmed the churches, delivered them from heresies, and false brethren, and the work still prospered in his hand.

In the mean time, like all upright and conscientious men, he found himself often involved in difficulties, and doubted in what manner he should regulate his conduct in regard to scandalous priests, who gready obstructed his mission. He laid his doubts before his old friend the bishop of Winchester.* Should he avoid altogether their communication? he might offend the court of France, without whose civil protection he could not proceed in his mission. Should he preserve connexion with them? he was afraid of bringing guilt upon his conscience. Daniel advises him to endure with patience, what he could not amend: he counsels him not to make a schism in the church, under pretence of purging it; and, at the same time, exhorts him to exercise church discipline on notorious offenders.

Boniface desired Daniel also to send him the book of the prophets, " which," says he, " the abbot Winbert, formerly my master, left at his death, written in very distinct characters. A greater consolation in my old age I cannot receive; for I can find no book like it in this country; and, as my sight grows weak, I cannot easily distinguish the small letters, which are joined close together, in the sacred volumes, which are at present in my possession." Do these things seem to belong to the character of an ambitious and insidious ecclesiastic, or to that of a simple and upright servant of Jesus Christ?

The reputation of this saint, (such I shall venture to call him from the evidence of facts,) was spread through the greatest part of Europe; and many from England poured into Germany, to connect themselves with him. These dispersed themselves in the country, and preached in the villages of Hesse and Thuringta.

In 732, Boniface received the title of archbishop,

• Bonif. ep. 3. Fleury, b. xli. toward the end.

from Gregory III, who supported his mission with the

same spirit, with which Gregory II had done. Encouraged by a letter sent to him from Rome, he proceeded to erect new churches, and to extend the profession of the gospel. At this time, he found the Bavarian churches disturbed by an heretic, called Eremvolf, who would have seduced the people into idolatry. Boniface condemned him, according to the canons, freed the country from his devices, and restored the discipline of the church.

About the year 732, Burchard and Lullus were invited from England by Boniface, who made the former bishop of Wurtzburg, where Kilian had preached, and suffered martyrdom, about fifty years before. He was abundantly successful during the labours of ten years, by which his strength was exhausted: he gave up his bishopric in 752, and died soon after. Butler, Vol. X.

Some time after, Boniface wrote to Northelme, archbishop of Canterbury, in a strain, which equally shows the charity and sincerity of his spirit, and the superstition of the times.* In 738, he again visited Rome, being far advanced in life; and, after some stay, he induced several Englishmen, who resided there, to join with him in his German mission. Returning into Bavaria, by the desire of duke Odilo, he restored the purity of the faith, and prevailed against the artifices of some seducers, who had done much mischief both by false doctrine and flagitious example. He established three new bishoprics in the country at Saltzburg, Frisinghen, and Ratisbon. That of Passaw had been fixed before. It must, however, be observed, that the successes and conquests of the Carlovingian princes much facilitated his labours in Germany.

In writing to Cuthbert, archbishop of Canterbury,f after testifying his zealous adherence to the see of Rome, and his submission to its authority, he exhorts

• Ep b. v. See Floury, xlii 22.
t Bonif. ep. 105. Fleury, xlii. 37.

him to discharge his duty faithfully, notwithstanding the difficulties to which good pastors were exposed. " Let us fight," says he, " for the Lord; for we live in days of affliction and anguish. Let us die, if God so please, for the laws of our fathers, that with them we may obtain the heavenly inheritance. Let us not be as dumb dogs, sleepy watchmen, or selfish hirelings, but as careful and vigilant pastors, preaching to all ranks, as far as God shall enable us, in season and out of season, as Gregory writes in his Pastoral."

Adalbert,* a Frenchman, a proud enthusiast, and Clement, a Scotchman, pretended that Christ, by his descent into hell, delivered the souls of the damned. The former was deceived by the most absurd and extravagant delusions, and the latter was infamous in life and conversation. Gevilieb also, a German bishop, who associated with them, had actually committed murder; but so ignorant and depraved were the rulers of the German christians, that he was still allowed to continue a bishop without infamy. Boniface, who saw the evil of these things more deeply than others, desired that the two former might be imprisoned by the authority of duke Carloman, and be secluded from society, that they might not corrupt others by their poisonous sentiments, and that Gevilieb might be deposed from his bishopric. He gained his point in the condemnation and imprisonment of the two former, and in the deposition of the latter. He, who has no charity for souls, and no prospects beyond those of this life, may harshly condemn the missionary; but every serious and candid mind will applaud the sincerity and uprightness of his intentions, and will wish for the exercise of discipline, though in a manner somewhat irregular, provided substantial justice be done, rather than that men should be allowed to corrupt their fellow creatures, without mercy and without control. The guilt of these three men seems to have been evi

• Butler's Lives, Boniface. Fleury.xlii. 52.

denced by a detail of circumstances, which are too uninteresting to be related at large.

Boniface, at length, was fixed at Mentz, and he is commonly called archbishop of that city. The increase of his dignity does not, however, seem to have diminished his zeal and laboriousness. His connexion with England was constantly preserved; and, it is in the epistolary correspondence with his own country, that the most striking evidence of his pious views appears. In one of his epistles,* he mentions his sufferings from pagans, false christians, and immoral pastors: he feels as a man these hardships, but intimates his desire of the honour of dying for the love of Him, who died for us. He often begged for books from England, especially those of Bede, whom he styles the lamp of the church. He wrote also a circular letter to the bishops and people of England, entreating their prayers for the success of his missions.

Many persons, while in obscure life, have professed much zeal for the service of God, but have declined in earnestness, as they advanced in years, particularly if they acquired honour and dignity in the world. This was not the case with Boniface. Though oppressed with age and infirmities, and greatly revered in the whole christian world, he determined to return into Friezeland. Before his departure, he acted in all things, as if he had a strong presentiment of what was to happen. He appointed Lullus, an Englishman, his successor, as archbishop of Mentz, and wrote to the abbot of St. Denys, desiring him to acquaint the king, Pepin, that he and his friends believed he had not long to live. He begged, that the king would show kindness to the missionaries whom he should leave behind him.f " Some of them," said he, " are priests dispersed into divers parts, for the good of the church: others are monks, settled in small monasteries, where they instruct the children. There are aged men with me, who have long assisted me in my labours. I fear,

16 Ep. Alban Butler. t Ep- 92

lest after my death, they be dispersed, and the disciples, who are near the pagan frontiers, should iose the faith of Jesus Christ. I beg that my son Lullus, may be confirmed in the episcopal office, and that he may teach the priests, the monks, and the people. I hope that he will perform these duties. That, which most afflicts me, is, that the priests, who are on the pagan frontiers, are very indigent. They can obtain bread, but no clothes, unless they be assisted, as they have been by me. Let me know your answer, that I may live or die with more cheerfulness."

It is most probable, that he received an answer agreeable to his benevolent spirit, as, before his depar ure, he ordained Lullus his successor, with the consent of king Pepin.* He went by the Rhine into Friezeland, where, assisted by Eoban, whom he had ordained bishop of Utrecht, after the death of Willibrod, he brought great numbers of pagans into the pale of the church. He had appointed a day to confirm those, whom he had baptized. In waiting for them, he encamped with his followers on the banks of the Bordne, a river which then divided East and West Friezeland. His intention was to confirm, by imposition of hands, the converts in the plains of Dockum. On the appointed day, he beheld, in the morning, not the new converts, whom he expected, but a troop of angry pagans, armed with shields and lances. The servants went out to resist, but Boniface, with calm intrepidity, said to his followers, children, forbear to Jight; the scripture forbids us to render evil for evil. The day, which I have long waited for, is come; hope in God, and he will save your souls." Thus did he prepare the priests and the rest of his companions for martyrdom. The pagans attacked them furiously, and slew the whole company, fifty-two in number, besides Boniface himself. This happened in the year 755, in the fortieth year after his arrival in Germany, and in the 75th of his age. The manner, in which his death

was resented by the christian Germans, shows the high veneration, in which he was held through the country, and sufficiently confutes the notion, which some have held of his imperious and fraudulent conduct. They collected a great army, attacked the pagans, slew many of them, pillaged their country, and carried off their wives and children. Those, who remained pagans in Friezeland, were glad to obtain peace by submitting to christian rites. Such a method of showing regard for Boniface, might be expected from a rude and ill informed multitude. But, rude as they were, they had the gift of common sense, and could judge whether the apostle of the Germans was their sincere friend or not; and their judgment is with me decisive.

A collection of Boniface's letters has been preserved, some of which have already been mentioned. That the reformation of the clergy, and the conversion of infidels, were the objects of his zeal, appears from his literary correspondence, no less than from the whole tenor of his life.* In the first letter to Nithardus, in which he takes the name of Winfrid, he exhorts him to contemn the things of time and sense, and to devote himself to the study of the scriptures, which he recommends as the highest wisdom. " Nothing," says he, " can you search after more honourably in youth, or enjoy more comfortably in old age, than the knowledge of holy scripture."

In another letter, he exhorts the priest Herefrede, in his own name, and in that of eight bishops, who were with him, to show the memoir, which they sent him, to the king of the Mercians. The purport of it was to implore that prince to cheek the debaucheries and disorders of his kingdom.

Excessively attached as he was, both to the Roman see and to monastic institutions, he knew how to subdue these attachments, and make them obedient to a stronger passion for genuine piety and virtue. He

• Du Pin. 8th Cent. Bonif.

Vol. III. . 24

wro&e to Cuthbert, archbishop of Canterbury, desiring him to restrain the women of England from going in such numbers to Rome: " The greatest part of them," says he, " live in lewdness, and scandalize the church; as there is scarce a city in Lombard)' and France, where there are not some English women of flagitious life and manners."

That association of ideas, which Mr. Locke describes, and which has been in all ages a powerful source of error and absurdity, both in principles and practice, accounts for the acrimonious expressions with which protestant writers have too often indulged themselves in the relation of matters connected with the see of Rome. The Magdubergensian centuriators seem, by their treatment of the character of Boniface, to have largely imbibed this prejudice. I was surprised to find them giving sanction to the account of an old chronicle,* which describes Boniface as raising soldiers to invade the Thuringians, absolving them from the payment of taxes to their civil governors, and justifying this extraordinary conduct by the recital of a divine vision. The manners of the eighth century certainly did not allow such an union of the military and sacerdotal character: moreover, the circumstances of Boniface's proceedings, as attested by the most credible accounts, and, above all, the unquestionable memorials of his evangelical labours, forbid me to entertain such sentiments of the apostle of Germany. If he had had soldiers at his devotion, he surely might have avoided those hardships which he endured, and have prevented the murder of himself, and of his companions, in the plains of Dockum. The account seems to have been forged, in order to justify the conduct of military prelates, and of papal tyranny in after ages. The censures also, which Boniface passed upon Adalbert and Clement, seem to have been arraigned by the centuriators, without foundation. It looks like an instance of great partiality to call such men " good per

• Cent. 8th. De Propagatione Ecclcsire, De Bonifacio.

sons," who were convicted of scandalous wickedness. But it would be tedious to particularize the charges, which these writers have formed against Boniface, supported chiefly by mere suspicions and conjectures.

That Mosheim should inveigh against this missionary, is what might be expected from his prejudices. But he should have written with consistency. He speaks of the pious labours of Boniface, of his finishing with glory the task he had undertaken, and of the assistance which he received from a number of pious men, who repaired to him from England and France.* " His piety, he adds, was ill rewarded by that barbarous people, by whom he was murdered. If we consider the eminent services he rendered to christianity, the honourable title of the apostle of the Germans will appear to have been not undeservedly bestowed." Who could imagine that this pious pastor should, by the same writer, be accused, without warrant, of often " employing violence and terror, and sometimes artifice and fraud, in order to multiply the number of christians." He ascribes to him also " an imperious and arrogant temper, and a cunning and insidious turn of mind."

Which of these two accounts shall we believe? for, it is as impossible, that both should be true, as that piety should be consistent with a spirit of violence, arrogance, and fraud. But, it is thus, that men zealous to propagate divine truth in the earth, are often described by those, who arrogate to themselves the whole praise of judgment and candor. There has seldom existed an eminent and useful missionary, who has not, in this way been aspersed. In the mean time, I am sensible, that the foundation of the strong prejudices against Boniface, is his attachment to the Roman see. 1 cannot observe, however, that he either practised idolatry or taught false doctrine. Removed from the scene of controversy, he seems to have taken no part in the debate concerning images: he was ever invaria

* Mosheim, cent. viii.

ble in opposing idolatry and immorality: he lived amidst many dangers and sufferings; and he appears to have supported, for many years, an uniform tenor of zeal, to which he sacrificed all worldly conveniences, and, in fine, to have finished his course in martyrdom, and in the patience and meekness of a disciple of Christ. I shall leave it to the reader's judgment, what estimate ought to be formed of the man, after having observed, that God made large use of his labours by extending, in the north of Europe, the bounds of the church, at the same time that they were so much contracted in Asia and Africa.

Virgilius, an Irishman, was appointed bishop of Saltzburg, by king Pepin. His modesty prevented him from entering upon the office for two years; but he was at length prevailed upon to receive consecration. He followed the steps of Boniface in rooting out the remains of idolatry in his diocese, and died in the year 780.*

Winebald, the son of a royal English Saxon, shared with Boniface in his labours in Germany; his life was preserved, though in imminent danger from idolaters, and God blessed his work among the heathen: he died in 760.

• A misunderstanding had once taken place between this missionary and Boniface. The latter accused him to the see of Rome, of teaching. " that there was another world, and other men under the earth, or another sun and moon." Bonif. ep. 10. To the pious spirit of Boniface a difficulty of solving; the question arose, on this v iew of the tenets of Virgilius, how such ideas were compatible with the mosaic account of the origin of all mankind from Adam, and of the redemption of the whole species by Jesus Christ. After all, it appears that Boniface was mistaken, and that Virgilius, being better acquainted with the true figure of the; earth, than most of his contemporaries in that ignorant age, only held the opinion of the antipodes, a notion as sound in philosophy, as it is innocent in regard to christianity. As Virgilius was afterwards made bishop of Saltzburg, he continued to labour in the same cause with Boniface, and to tread in his steps. It is more than probable, that both Boniface and the pope were satisfied of his soundness in the faith, and dismissed the accusation. It seemed worth while to state this matter in a true light, from the evidence of Boniface's letter. It appears, that Virgilius was not condemned for holding the doctrine of the antipodes, and that the charge of Bower, against Boniface, is as malicious, as it is ill founded. See Histof the Popes. Zachary,—where the historian, without warrant, accuses Boniface of bearing a secret grudge to Virgilius, and of being actuated by a spirit of revenge.

In Friezeland, the church of Utrecht was governed by Gregory, who, from the fifteenth year of his age, had been a follower of Boniface. Two of his brothers having been murdered in a wood, the barons, whose vassals they were, delivered the murderers bound into his hands. Gregory, after he had treated them kindly, bade them depart in peace, saying, sin no more, lest a worse thing befal you. He was assisted in his ministerial labours by several disciples of various nations; some were of his own nation, the French, others were English, Frisons, newly converted Saxons, and Bavarians. Scarce a day passed, but early in the morning he gave them spiritual instruction. This man affected no singularity either in habit or in diet. That he was not carried away by the torrent of popular superstition, is a strong proof either of great understanding, or of eminent piety, or of both. But he recommended sobriety among his disciples; was not to be moved from the path of duty by slander, and was boundless in his liberality to the poor. He died about the year 776.

Liefuvyn, an Englishman, one of his disciples, was distinguished by his labours among the missionaries of Germany. He ventured even to appear before the assembly of the Saxons held upon the Weser; and, while they were sacrificing to their idols, he exhorted them with a loud voice to turn from those vanities to the living God. As an ambassador from Jehovah, he offered them promises of salvation. And here his zeal Seemed likely to have cost him his life; but he was at length suffered to depart, on the remonstrances* of Buto, one of their chiefs, who expostulated with them on the unreasonableness of treating an ambassador of the great God with less respect than they did one from any of the neighbouring nations, f In the mean time,

* Fleury, xliv. xi.

t Buto seems, in part at least, to have felt the power of the divine word commending itself to his conscience in the sight of God; and to have reported that God was of a truth with real christian pastors. 1 Cor. xiv. 25. Effects of the kind, mentioned by the apostle, have, in all ages, been very common, wherever the real gospel is plainly and faithfully delivered. The

the arms of Charlemagne prevailed over the Saxons, and eventually, at least, facilitated the labours of Liefuvyn, who continued to preach among this people till his death.

Villehud, an English priest, born in Northumberland, was abundantly successful in the conversion of the Saxons. It is true, that he taught under the protection and auspices of Charlemagne. But, whatever may be thought of the motives of the latter, the views of the missionary might be, and probably were, upright and spiritual. Certainly he underwent great hazards,* overcame the ferocious spirits of the infidels by his meekness, and spread among them the knowledge of the gospel. A persecution drove him once out of the country; but, by the power of the emperor, he again returned and prosecuted his labours. After various contests, the Saxons were obliged to submit to Charlemagne, and to become nominal christians in general. But, that this was universally the case, or even nearly so, the pious laboriousness of a number of missionaries renders very improbable.

Villehad was bishop of Bremen, and was called the apostle of Saxony. He had begun his mission in Dockum, where Boniface was murdered. He was the first missionary, who passed the Elbe. His attention to the scriptures appears from his copying the epistles of St. Paul. He died in Friezeland, after he had laboured o5 years, and had been bishop of Bremen upwards of two years. To his weeping friends, he said in his dying moments, " Withhold me not from

message from God convinces and overawes the serious hearer, and, by its internal excellence, makes itself a way into the conscience. If Liefuvyn had preached mere morals, I should no more have expected such consequences to have attended his harangues, than they did the lectures of the Greek philosophers.

* Once when he was in danger of being put to death by the pagan prisons, some of them, struck with his innocence and probity, and doubting whether the religion which he preached might not be divine, said, " let tis cast lots whether we shall put him to death, or dismiss him." It was done so, and the lot decided in his favour. Fleury, xlv. 15. The custom of deciding cases of this nature by lot, was remarkably German. The classical reader may recollect a similar instance in Cesar's Comm. toward 'he end of lib. i. Dc Bell. Gall.

going to God: these sheep I recommend to him, who intrusted them to me, and whose mercy is able to protect them." See Alban Butler, vol. xi.

This was an age of missionaries: their character and their success form, indeed, almost the only shining picture in this century. Firmin, a Frenchman, preached the gospel, under various difficulties,* in Alsace, Bavaria, and Switzerland, and inspected a number ol monasteries. After all, the arms of* Charlemagne contributed more than any thing else to the external reception of christianity; and Alcuin, his favourite, laments, that more pains were taken to exact from the Saxons the payment of tithes, than to inform them oi the nature of true religion. Teachers, who were merely secular, drenched in the vices of human nature and of the times, would doubtless act in this manner. But, I have atttempted, from very confused and imperfect memoirs, to present to the reader, thdse, who were indeed sent of God, and laboured, in demonstration of the Spirit, in the north of Europe.

Rumold, a native either of England or of Ireland, should be added to the list. He travelled into Lower Germany, went into Brabant, diffused much light in the neighbourhood of Mechlin, and was made an itinerant episcopal missionary. In 775, he was murdered by two persons, one of whom he had reproved for adultery.f

Silvin, of Auchy, born in Toulouse,| was first a courtier, then a religious person, and afterwards appointed bishop among the infidels. His labours were, chiefly, in Terouanne, the north of France, which was, in this century, full of pagans and merely nominal christians. He gathered in a large harvest, having preached for many years. He died at Auchy, in the county of Artois.

• Mosh cent. viii. f A. Butler, vol. vii.

{ See Alban Butler's Lives of Saints.

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