by  BEDE

CHAPTER 12: King Edwin is moved to accept the Faith by a vision seen during his exile [A.D. 625]

Such was the letter written by Pope Boniface on the salvation of King Edwin and his people. But the principal factor influencing the king to study and accept the truths of salvation was a heavenly vision which God in his mercy had once granted the king when he was an exile at the court of Redwald, King of the Angles. For although Paulinus found it difficult to bring the king's proud mind to accept the humility of the way of salvation or to acknowledge the mystery of the life-giving Cross, he nevertheless continued, by words of exhortation addressed to men and words of supplication addressed to the divine compassion, to strive for the conversion of the king and his nation. It seems most likely that Paulinus finally learnt in the spirit the nature of the vision previously vouchsafed to the king. Whereupon he lost no time in urging the king to implement the promise that he had made at the time of the vision, and which he had undertaken to fulfil should he be delivered out of his troubles and ascend the throne of the kingdom.

Now the vision was this. 

When his predecessor Ethelfrid was persecuting him, Edwin wandered as an unknown fugitive for many years through many lands and kingdoms, until at length he came to Redwald and asked him for protection against the plots of his powerful enemy. Redwald gave him a ready welcome and promised to do everything he asked. But as soon as Ethelfrid heard that he had arrived in that province and that he and his companions were living at the king's court as his friends, he sent messengers, to offer Redwald a large sum of money to murder him. Obtaining no satisfaction, he sent a second and third time, offering even heavier bribes and threatening war if his demand were refused. At length Redwald, either intimidated by his threats or corrupted by his bribes, agreed to his demand and promised either to kill Edwin or to surrender him to Ethelfrid's envoys. This plot was discovered by a loyal friend of Edwin, who went to his room early one night when he was about to retire and, calling him out, warned him of the king's wicked intentions, adding: “If you are willing, I will guide you at this very hour out of this province and take you to some place where neither Redwald nor Ethelfrid can find you.” Edwin replied: “Thank you for your goodwill. But I cannot act as you suggest. I cannot be the first to break the agreement that I have made with so great a king, who has so far done me no harm nor shown any hostility towards me. If I must die, I would rather die by his hand than by a hand less noble. For what refuge remains for me, who have already wandered for so many years in every corner of Britain, trying to escape the machinations of my enemies?” When his friend had left, Edwin remained, sitting sadly alone outside the palace, tossed upon conflicting tides of thought, and not knowing what to do or where to turn.

He had remained for a long time in silent thought, tormented by inward fires that brought no light, when suddenly, at dead of night, he saw a man approaching whose face and appearance were strange to him and whose unexpected arrival caused him considerable alarm. But the stranger came up and greeted him, asking why he was sitting sadly on a stone, wakeful and alone at an hour when everyone else was at rest and asleep. Edwin asked what concern it might be of his whether he passed the night indoors or out of doors. In reply, the man said: 

“Don't think that I am unaware why you are sad and sleepless and why you are keeping watch outside alone. I know very well who you are, what your troubles are, and what impending evils you dread. But tell me this: what reward will you give the man, whoever he may be, who can deliver you from your troubles and persuade Redwald not to harm you or betray you to death at the hands of your enemies?” Edwin answered that he would give any reward in his power in return for such an outstanding service. Then the other went on: “And what if he also promised, and not in vain, that you should become king, crush your enemies, and enjoy greater power than any of your forbears, greater indeed than any king who has ever been among the English nation?” Heartened by these enquiries, Edwin readily promised that, in return for such blessings, he would give ample proofs of his gratitude. The stranger then asked a third question: “If the man who can truthfully foretell such good fortune can also give you better and wiser guidance for your life and salvation than anything known to your parents and kinsfolk, will you promise to obey him and follow his salutary advice?” Edwin at once promised that he would faithfully follow the guidance of anyone who could save him out of so many troubles and raise him to a throne. On this assurance, the man who addressed him laid his right hand on Edwin's head, saying: “When you receive this sign, remember this occasion and our conversation, and do not delay the fulfilment of your promise.” Hereupon, it is said, he vanished, and Edwin realized that it was not a man but a spirit who had appeared to him.

The young prince was still sitting there alone, greatly heartened by what he had heard, but puzzling over the identity and origin of the being who had talked with him, when his loyal friend approached with a cheerful greeting, and said: “Get up and come inside. You can now cast aside your cares and sleep without fear; for the king has had a change of heart. He now intends you no harm, and means to keep the promise that he made you. For when he privately told the queen of his intention to deal with you as I warned, she dissuaded him, saying that it was unworthy in a great king to sell his best friend in the hour of need for gold, and worse still to sacrifice his royal honour, the most valuable of all possessions, for love of money.” In brief, the king did as she advised, and not only refused to surrender the exiled prince to the envoys of his enemy but assisted him to recover his kingdom As soon as the envoys had gone home, he raised a great army to make war on Ethelfrid and allowing him no time to summon his full strength, encountered him with a great preponderance of force and killed him. In this battle, which was fought in Mercian territory on the east bank of the river Idle, Raegenhere, son of Redwald, also met his death. So Edwin, as his vision had foretold, not only escaped the plots of his enemy but succeeded to his throne at his death.

While king Edwin hesitated to accept the word of God at Paulinus' preaching, he used to sit alone for hours, as I have said, earnestly deliberating what he should do and what religion he should follow. On one of these occasions, the man of God came to him and, laying his right hand on his head, enquired whether he remembered this sign. The king trembled and would have fallen at his feet; but Paulinus raised him and said in a friendly voice: “God has helped you to escape from the hands of the enemies whom you feared, and it is through His bounty that you have received the kingdom that you desired. Remember the third promise that you made, and hesitate no longer. Accept the Faith and keep the commands of Him who has delivered you from all your earthly troubles and raised you to the glory of an earthly kingdom. If you will henceforward obey His will, which he reveals to you through me, he will save you likewise from the everlasting doom of the wicked and give you a place in His eternal kingdom in heaven.”

CHAPTER 13:  Edwin holds a council with his chief men about accepting the Faith of Christ. The high priest destroys his own altars [A.D. 627]

When he heard this, the king answered that it was his will as well as his duty to accept the Faith that Paulinus taught, but said that he must still discuss the matter with his principal advisers and friends, so that, if they were in agreement with him, they might all be cleansed together in Christ the Fount of Life. Paulinus agreed, and the king kept his promise. He summoned a council of the wise men, and asked each in turn his opinion of this strange doctrine and this new way of worshipping the godhead that was being proclaimed to them.

Coifi, the Chief Priest, replied without hesitation: “Your Majesty, let us give careful consideration to this new teaching; for I frankly admit that, in my experience, the religion that we have hitherto professed seems valueless and powerless. None of your subjects has been more devoted to the service of our gods than myself; yet there are many to whom you show greater favour, who receive greater honours, and who are more successful in all their undertakings. Now, if the gods had any power, they would surely have favoured myself, who have been more zealous in their service. Therefore, if on examination you perceive that these new teachings are better and more effectual, let us not hesitate to accept them.”

Another of the king's chief men signified his agreement with this prudent argument, and went on to say: “Your Majesty, when we compare the present life of man on earth with that time of which we have no knowledge, it seems to me like the swift flight of a single sparrow through the banqueting-hall where you are sitting at dinner on a winter’s day with your thanes and counsellors. In the midst there is a comforting fire to warm the hall; outside, the storms of winter rain or snow are raging. This sparrow flies swiftly in through one door of the hall, and out through another. While he is inside, he is safe from the winter storms; but after a few moments of comfort, he vanishes from sight into the wintry world from which he came. Even so, man appears on earth for a little while; but of what went before this life or of what follows, we know nothing. Therefore, if this new teaching has brought any more certain knowledge, it seems only right that we should follow it.” The other elders and counsellors of the king, under God's guidance, gave similar advice.

Coifi then added that he wished to hear Paulinus' teaching about God in greater detail; and when, at the king's bidding, this had been given, he exclaimed: “I have long realized that there is nothing in our way of worship; for the more diligently I sought after truth in our religion, the less I found. I now publicly confess that this teaching clearly reveals truths that will afford us the blessings of hife, salvation, and eternal happiness. Therefore, Your Majesty, I submit that the temples and altars that we have dedicated to no advantage be immediately desecrated and burned.” In short, the king granted blessed Paulinus full permission to preach, renounced idolatry, and professed his acceptance of the Faith of Christ.

And when he asked the Chief Priest who should be the first to profane the altars and shrines of the idols, together with the enclosures that surrounded them, Coifi replied: “I will do this myself; for now that the true God has granted me knowledge, who more suitably than I can set a public example and destroy the idols that I worshipped in ignorance?” So he formally renounced his empty superstitions and asked the king to give him arms and a stallion - for hitherto it had not been lawful for the Chief Priest to carry arms or to ride anything but a mare - and, thus equipped, he set out to destroy the idols. Girded with a sword and with a spear in his hand, he mounted the king's stallion and rode up to the idols. When the crowd saw him, they thought he had gone mad; but without hesitation, as soon as he reached the temple, he cast into it the spear he carried and thus profaned it. Then, full of joy at this knowledge of the worship of the true God, he told his companions to set fire to the temple and its enclosure and destroy them. The site where these idols once stood is still shown, not far east of York, beyond the river Derwent, and is known today as Goodmanham. Here it was that the Chief Priest, inspired by the true God, desecrated and destroyed the altars that he had himself dedicated.

CHAPTER 14: Edwin and his people accept the Faith and are baptized by Paulinus [A.D. 627]

So King Edwin, with all the nobility of his kingdom and a large number of humbler folk, accepted the Faith and were washed in the cleansing waters of Baptism in the eleventh year of his reign, which was the year of our Lord 627, and about one hundred and eighty years after the first arrival of the English in Britain. [ABOUT 450 A.D. THE ANGLO-SAXONS  CAME  TO  BRITAIN - Keith Hunt]. The king's Baptism took place at York on Easter Day, the 12th of April, in the church of Saint Peter the Apostle, which the king had hastily built of timber during the time of his instruction and preparation for Baptism; and in this city he established the see of his teacher and bishop Paulinus. Soon after his Baptism, at Paulinus' suggestion, he gave orders to build on the same site a larger and more noble basilica of stone, which was to enclose the little oratory he had built before. The foundations were laid, and the walls of a square church began to rise around this little oratory; but before they reached their appointed height, the cruel death of the king left the work to be completed by Oswald his successor. Thenceforward for six years, until the close of Edwin's reign, Paulinus preached the word in that province with the king's full consent and approval, and as many as were predestined to eternal life believed and were baptized. Among these were Osfrid and Eadfrid, sons of King Edwin, who were both born to him in exile of Coenburg, daughter of Cearl, King of the Mercians.

At a later date, other children or his by Queen Ethelberga were also baptized: these included a son, Ethelhun; a daughter, Ethelthryd; and another son, Wuscfrea. The two former were snatched from life while still wearing their white baptismal robes, and were buried in the church at York. Yffi, son of Osfrid, was also baptized, and many others of noble and princely rank. Indeed, so great was the fervour of faith and desire for baptism among the Northumbrian people that Paulinus is said to have accompanied the king and queen to the royal residence at AdGefrin1 and remained there thirty-six days constantly occupied in instructing and baptizing. During this period, he did nothing from dawn to dusk but proclaim Christ's saving message to the people, who gathered from all the surrounding villages and countryside; and when he had instructed them, he washed them in the cleansing waters of Baptism in the nearby River Glen. This residence was abandoned by the later kings, who built another at a place called Maelmin.

These events took place in the province of Bernicia. In the province of Deira, where Paulinus often stayed with the king,


1. Yeavering, in Glendale. 


he baptized in the River Swale, which flows near the village of Catterick; for during the infancy of the church in those parts it was not yet possible to build oratories or baptisteries. A basilica was built at the royal residence of Campodonum;1 but this, together with all the buildings of the residence, was burned by the pagans who killed King Edwin, and later kings replaced this seat by another in the vicinity of Loidis.2 The stone altar of this church survived the fire, and is preserved in the monastery that lies in Elmet Wood and is ruled by the most reverend priest and abbot Thrydwulf.


CHAPTER 15: The Province of the East Angles accepts the Christian Faith [A.D. 627]

So great was Edwin's zeal for the true Faith that he persuaded King Earpwald, son of Redwald, King of the East Angles, to abandon his superstitious idolatry and accept the Faith and Sacraments of Christ with his whole province. His father Redwald had in fact long before this received Christian Baptism in Kent, but to no good purpose; for on his return home his wife and certain perverse advisers persuaded him to apostatize from the true Faith. So his last state was worse than the first: for, like the ancient Samaritans, he tried to serve both Christ and the ancient gods, and he had in the same temple an altar for the holy Sacrifice of Christ side by side with an altar on which victims were offered to devils. Aldwulf, king of that province, who lived into our own times, testifies that this temple was still standing in his day and that he had seen it when a boy. This King Redwald was a man of noble descent but ignoble in his actions: he was son of Tytila, and grandson of Wuffa, after whom all kings of the East Angles are called Wuffings. Not long after Earpwald's acceptance of Christianity, he


1. Possibly Doncaster, or Slack near Huddersfield. 

2. Leeds.


was killed by a pagan named Ricbert, and for three years the province relapsed into heathendom, until Earpwald's brother Sigbert succeeded to the kingship. Sigbert was a devout Christian and a man of learning, who had been an exile in Gaul during his brother's lifetime, and was there converted to the Christian Faith, so that when he began his reign, he laboured to bring about the conversion of his whole realm. In this enterprise he was nobly assisted by Bishop Felix, who came to Archbishop Honorius from the Burgundian region, where he had been brought up and ordained, and, by his own desire, was sent by him to preach the word of life to this nation of the Angles. Nor did he fail in his purpose; for, like a good farmer, he reaped a rich harvest of believers. He delivered the entire province from its age-old wickedness and infelicity, brought it to the Christian Faith and works of righteousness and - in full accord with the significance of his own name - guided it towards eternal felicity. His episcopal see was established at Dunwich; and after ruling the province as its bishop for seventeen years, he ended his days there in peace.

CHAPTER 16: Paulinus preaches the Word of God in the Province of Lindsey. The reign of King Edwin [A.D. 628]

Paulinus also preached the word of God to the province of Lindsey, which lies immediately south of the Humber, and extends to the sea. His first convert was Blaecca, Reeve of the city of Lincoln, with all his family. In this city he also built a stone church of fine workmanship, which today, either through neglect or enemy damage, has lost its roof, although the walls are still standing. And each year miracles of healing occur in this place for the benefit of those who seek it in faith. When Justus had departed to Christ, it was in this church that Paulinus consecrated Honorius as bishop in his stead, as I will describe in due course.

The priest Deda, abbot of the monastery of Partney and a most reliable authority, when relating the story of the Faith in this province, told me that one of the oldest inhabitants had described to him how he and many others had been baptized by Paulinus in the presence of King Edwin, and how the ceremony took place at noon in the river Trent, close to the city which the English call Tiowulfingacaestir. He used to paint a verbal portrait of Paulinus as a tall man having a slight stoop, with black hair, an ascetic face, a thin hooked nose, and a venerable and awe-inspiring presence. Paulinus was also assisted in his ministry by the deacon James, a man of great energy and repute in Christ's Church, who lived until our own day.

So peaceful was it in those parts of Britain under King Edwin's jurisdiction that the proverb still runs that a woman could carry her new-born babe across the island from sea to sea without any fear of harm. Such was the king's concern for the welfare of his people that in a number of places where he had noticed clear springs adjacent to the highway he ordered posts to be erected with brass bowls hanging from them, so that travellers could drink and refresh themselves. And so great was the people's affection for him, and so great the awe in which he was held, that no one wished or ventured to use these bowls for any other purpose. So royally was the king's dignity maintained throughout his realm that whether in battle or on a peaceful progress on horseback through city, town, and countryside in the company of his thanes, the royal standard was always borne before him. Even when he passed through the streets on foot, the standard known to the Romans as a Tufa, and to the English as a Tuf, was carried in front of him.

CHAPTER 17: Pope Honorius sends a letter of encouragement to King Edwin, and the pallium to Paulinus [A.D. 634]

At this time, Honorius had succeeded Boniface as Bishop of the apostolic see. Learning that the Northumbrian people and their king had been converted to the Faith and confession of Christ by the labours of Paulinus, he sent him the pallium and with it a letter of encouragement to King Edwin, urging him with fatherly affection to ensure that his people maintained and made progress in the true Faith that they had received. This letter ran as follows:

To his most excellent son, the most illustrious Edwin, King of the English, from Bishop Honorius, servant of the servants of God, Greeting.

Your sincere Christian character, afire with ardent faith in the worship of your Creator, has shone out far and wide. It has been spoken of throughout the world and has reaped a rich harvest for your labours. For you who are kings acknowledge your kingship when by your worship of God you express belief in your own king and creator according to the true teaching which you have received about Him and, so far as human nature allows, serve Him with a sincere and devout mind. And what more can we offer God than our perseverance in doing good, our worship and confession of Him as Creator of the human race, and the zealous fulfilment of our vows? Accordingly, most noble son, our paternal love rightly moves us to urge you to labour with vigilant mind and constant prayer to preserve yourself wholly in that state of grace to which God in His mercy has called you. He who in this world has deigned to deliver you from all error, and led you to the knowledge of His Name, will thus also prepare a place for you in our heavenly home. Make a regular study of the writings of your teacher and my master Gregory of apostolic memory, and constantly bear in mind the loving teaching which he so gladly gave for the benefit of your souls, so that his prayers may obtain an increase in your kingdom and people, and bring you blameless to Almighty God.


We are glad to accede to your requests on behalf of your bishops without delay, and in so doing we pay tribute to the sincerity of your own faith, which has often been most highly praised by the bearers of this letter. Accordingly, we have sent two pallia, one to each of the Metropolitans, Honorius and Paulinus, so that, whenever either of them shall be summoned from this world to his Maker, the survivor may have our authority to appoint another bishop in his place. We have been induced to grant this privilege not only out of regard for you, but also in the realization of the great and wide provinces that separate us, so that we may show our recognition of your devotion in all matters and accede to your pious wishes.

May the grace of God preserve Your Majesty in safety.”


CHAPTER 18: On succeeding Justus in the See of Canterbury [A.D. 627-31], Honorius receives the pallium, and a letter from Pope Honorius [A.D. 634]

Meanwhile, Archbishop Justus was taken up into the heavenly kingdom on November the tenth, and Honorius was elected to the see in his place. He therefore came to Paulinus to be ordained and, meeting him at Lincoln, was there consecrated fourth successor to Augustine in the See of Canterbury. Pope Honorius sent him the pallium and a letter confirming the arrangement already made in his letter to King Edwin: namely, that on the death of either of the Archbishops of Canterbury or York, the survivor was to have authority to appoint a successor in place of the deceased archbishop, which privilege would obviate the necessity of a wearisome sea and land journey to Rome on every occasion for consecration. I have thought it proper to include the text of the letter in this history.

Honorius, to his well-beloved brother Honorius. Among the many good gifts which the mercy of our Redeemer has deigned to grant His servants, His generous love is never more evident than when He permits us to display our mutual love in brotherly converse, as it were face to face. For this blessing we constantly give thanks to His Divine Majesty and earnestly pray that He will confirm your loving labours in preaching the Gospel with constant and lasting results and that, in following the rule of your master and patron the holy Gregory, you may bear much fruit, so that, through your ministry, God will bless His Church with ever-increasing strength; that the souls already won by you and your predecessors, beginning with the Lord Gregory, may be established and grow ever stronger in faith and good works, and in reverence and love for God; and that in due time the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ may be fulfilled in you, and His voice summon you to eternal joy, saying: ‘Come to Me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ And again, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ Our constant love urges us to offer you these preliminary words of encouragement, dearest brothers, and we shall not fail hereafter to grant any privileges that we think likely to benefit your churches.

In response to your request and that of our sons your kings, we hereby, in the name of blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, grant that whenever God's mercy shall summon either of you to Himself, the survivor shall have authority to appoint a bishop in his place. As proof of this authority we have sent to each of your Lordships the pallium to wear at such a consecration, so that by our permission and direction you may perform it in a manner acceptable to God. The great expanses of land and sea that separate us make it necessary for us to grant you this authority, in order that troubles may not arise on every such occasion in your churches, but rather the devotion of the people committed to your charge may be further enlarged. God keep you in safety.

Given the eleventh day of June, in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of our Lord Heraclius Augustus, and the twenty-third after his consulship: and in the twenty-third year of his son Constantine, and the third after his consulship: and in the third year of the most illustrious Caesar Heraclius, his son: the seventh indiction: the year of our Lord 634.


CHAPTER 19: Pope Honorius [A.D. 634], and later Pope John [A.D. 640], write letters to the Scots about Easter and the Pelagian heresy

Pope Honorius also wrote to the Scots, whom he learned to be in error about the observance of Easter, as I mentioned earlier. He earnestly warned them not to imagine that their little community, isolated at the uttermost ends of the earth, had a wisdom exceeding that of all churches ancient and modern throughout the world, and he urged them not to keep a different Easter, contrary to paschal calculations and the synodical decrees of all the bishops of the world.

Similarly John [IV], who succeeded Severinus, successor to Honorius, while still pontiff elect, sent them authoritative and learned letters to correct this error, showing clearly how Easter Day must be sought between the fifteenth and twenty-first days of the moon, as was agreed at the Council of Nicaea. In this letter he particularly warned them to beware of and suppress the heresy of Pelagius, which, he learned, was reviving among them. The letter begins as follows:

To our well-beloved and holy Tomianus, Columbanutf, Cromanus, Dimnaus, and Baithanus, bishops: to Cromanus, Ernianus, Laistranus, Scellanus, and Segenus, priests: to Saranus and the other Scottish teachers and abbots. Greetings from Hilarus, Arch-priest and Guardian (during its vacancy) of the holy Apostolic See: John, deacon and (Pope) elect in the Name of God: John, First Secretary and Guardian of the holy Apostolic See: and John, servant of God, Counsellor of the Apostolic See.

Certain letters addressed to Pope Severinus, of blessed memory, remained unanswered at the time of his death. Therefore, lest any pressing matters should remain long unconsidered, we opened them and learned that certain persons in your province are attempting to revive a new heresy from an old one, contrary to the orthodox faith, and that in the dark cloud of their ignorance they refuse to observe our Easter on which Christ was sacrificed, arguing that it should  be observed with the Hebrew Passover on the fourteenth day of the moon.

From the beginning of this letter it is evident that this heresy had arisen only in very recent times and that the error was restricted to a limited number of persons in the nation. Having therefore explained the proper calculation of Easter, they add this on Pelagianism:

We learn also that the pernicious Pelagian heresy has once again revived among you, and we strongly urge you to expel the venom of this wicked superstition from your minds. You cannot be unaware that this detestable heresy has already been condemned; for not only has it been suppressed these two hundred years, but it is daily laid under the ban of our perpetual anathema. We therefore beg you not to rake up the ashes of controversies long since burned out. For who can do other than condemn the insolent and impious assertion that man can live without sin of his own free will and not of God's grace? In the first place, it is blasphemous folly to say that any man is sinless; for no one can be sinless save the one Mediator between God and man, the Man Jesus Christ, who was conceived and born without sin. All other men are born in original sin and bear unmistakeable evidence of Adam's fall, even when they are innocent of actual sin. For, as the prophet says, ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin aid my mother conceive me.’”

[WELL  IT  WAS  BESIDES  THE  PASSOVER/EASTER  ISSUE  ALSO  SOME  TEACHING  THAT  MAN  CAN  BE  SINLESS  PERIOD. FROM  WIKIPEDIA: (Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid. This theological theory is named after the British monk Pelagius (354–420 or 440), although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. Pelagius was identified as an Irishman by Saint Jerome.[1] Pelagius taught that the human will, as created with its abilities by God, was sufficient to live a sinless life, although he believed that God's grace assisted every good work. Pelagianism has come to be identified with the view (whether taught by Pelagius or not) that human beings can earn salvation by their own efforts.).  WE  ARE  NOT  BORN  INHERITING  SOMETHING  FROM  ADAM’S  ORIGINAL  SIN.  THE  HUMAN  WILL  TO  CHOOSE  TO  DO  EVIL  OR  GOOD  IS  NOT  STRONG  ENOUGH  TO  LIVE  IN  A  SINLESS  LIFE.  THE  APOSTLE  PAUL  SAID  “ALL  HAVE  SINNED  AND  COME  SHORT  OF  THE  GLORY  OF  GOD.”  JOHN  THE  APOSTLE  SAID,  “IF  WE  SAY  WE  HAVE  NO  SIN,  WE DECEIVE OURSELVES, AND  THE  TRUTH  IS  NOT  IN  US…..IF  WE  SAY  WE  HAVE  NOT  SINNED,  WE  MAKE  HIM  A  LIAR  AND  HIS  WORD  IS  NOT  IN  US” (1 JOHN 1: 8-10). READ  THE  CONTEXT.  THERE  IS  NO  SUCH  TEACHING  IN  GOD’S  WORD  THAT  SAYS  WE  HAVE  THE  POWER  TO  NEVER  SIN.  ONLY  JESUS  NEVER  SINNED,  AND  AND  IT  IS  WRITTEN  HE  HAD  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT  WITHOUT  MEASURE,  FROM  CONCEPTION  AND  BIRTH.  WE  HUMANS  DO  NOT  HAVE  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT  WITHOUT  MEASURE - Keith Hunt]

CHAPTER 20: King Edwin is killed, and Paulinus returns to Kent, where he receives the Bishopric of Rochester[A.D. 633]

The glorious reign of Edwin over English and Britons alike lasted seventeen years, during the last six of which, as I have said, he laboured for the kingdom of Christ. Then the British King Cadwalla rebelled against him, supported by Penda, a warrior of the Mercian royal house, who from then onwards ruled that nation with varying success for twenty-two years. In a fierce battle on the field called Haethfelth on the twelfth of October 633, when he was 48 years old, Edwin was killed, and his entire army destroyed or scattered. In the same battle, Osfrid, a gallant young warrior, one of Edwin's sons, was killed before his father. Another son, Eadfrid, was compelled to submit to Penda, who subsequently in breach of a solemn promise put him to death during the reign of Oswald.

At this time a terrible slaughter took place among the Northumbrian church and nation, the more horrible because it was carried out by two commanders, one of whom was a pagan and the other a barbarian more savage than any pagan. For Penda and all his Mercians were idol-worshippers ignorant of the name of Christ; but Cadwalla, although he professed to call himself a Christian, was utterly barbarous in temperament and behaviour. He was set upon exterminating the entire English race in Britain, and spared neither women nor innocent children, putting them all to horrible deaths with ruthless savagery, and continuously ravaging their whole country. He had no respect for the newly established religion of Christ. Indeed even in our own days the Britons pay no respect to the faith and religion of the English and have no more dealings with them than with the heathen. The head of King Edwin was carried to York and subsequently placed in the church of the blessed Apostle Peter, which he had begun to build, but which his successor Oswald completed, as I have 


1. Hatfield, near Doncaster.


related above. It rested in the porch dedicated to the holy Pope Gregory, from whose disciples he had received the word of life.

As a result of this disaster, the affairs of the Northumbrians were in such utter disorder that flight offered the sole hope of safety. Paulinus took Queen Ethelberga, whom he had previously accompanied to the province, and returned by sea to Kent, where he was most honourably received by Archbishop Honorius and King Eadbald. On his journey he was escorted by Bassus, a gallant warrior of King Edwin, and brought with him Eanfled, Edwin's daughter, and Wuscfrea his son; also Yffi, son of Osfrid his son, whom his mother, fearing Eadbald and Oswald, later sent over to Gaul to be brought up by her friend, King Dagobert. The two children, however, both died in infancy and were buried in church with the honour due to royal children and innocents in Christ. Paulinus also brought away with him many precious things belonging to King Edwin, among them a great cross of gold and a golden chalice hallowed for the use of the altar. These are still preserved and can be seen in the church at Canterbury.

At this time, the church of Rochester was in great need of a pastor, since Romanus its bishop, who had been sent by Archbishop Justus to Pope Honorius as his representative, had been drowned at sea off Italy. Therefore, at the request of Archbishop Honorius and King Eadbald, Paulinus assumed this charge, which he held until he too departed to the kingdom of heaven with the glorious fruit of his labours. When he died he left in the church of Rochester the pallium that he had received from the Roman Pontiff.

Paulinus left behind his deacon James to care for the church of York. James was a holy churchman who remained a long time in that church, teaching and baptizing, and snatching much prey from the clutches of our old enemy the Devil. The village close to Catterick, where he usually lived, bears his name to this day. He had a wide knowledge of church music; and when peace was at length restored to the province and the number of believers increased, he began to teach many people to sing the music of the Church after the uses of Rome and Canterbury. At last, old and full of days as the Scripture says, he went the way of his fathers.




Keith Hunt