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murder him. As an earnest of his sincerity, he gave to Bishop Paulinus the daughter who had just been born to him, to be consecrated to Christ; and she was accordingly baptised on Whitsunday following, the first among the Northumbrians, with eleven of the king's household.
The king returned victorious from his enemies; but he did not receive Christian baptism at that time, he only left off serving his idols, and asked questions of Paulinus about the Christian faith, taking with him such of his nobles as he knew to be men of wisdom to converse with the bishop. Often, too, be sat in silence and alone, meditating what he should do.
At length he called his counsellors together, to give their opinions on the new faith offered to their acceptance. The first to speak when they were assembled was Coifi, the chief-priest of the Northumbrians. “It is your part," he said to the king, "to see what is this new doctrine which is preached to us. This, at least, I know, that there is neither virtue nor profit in what we have hitherto held and taught. If these gods whom we served were of any power, they would have helped me to honour and advancement from you, rather than others whom you have ad. vanced; since I have served them most. But since they cannot protect their most zealous worshippers, my advice is, that if what is now preached to us stands on better and stronger proofs, let us receive it at once."
Another of Edwin's nobles made a speech more fitted to such a serious occasion.
“ The present life, O king, weighed with the time that is unknown, seems to me like this. When you are sitting at a feast, with your earls and thanes, in winter-time, and the fire is lighted, and the ball is warmed, and it rains and snows, and the storm is loud without, then comes a sparrow and flies through the house. It comes in at one door and goes out at the other. While it is within it is not touched by the winter's storm; but it is but for the twinkling of an eye; for, from winter it comes, and to winter it soon again returns. So, also, this life of man endureth for a little space; what goes before, or what follows after, we know not. Wherefore, if this new learning bring any thing more certain or more profitable, it is fit that we should follow it.” Others having spoken to the same purpose, Coifi at length proposed that they should hear Paulinus speak of the God whom he preached to them; and when they had heard the bishop's discourse, he was the first to propose that the idols which they had worshipped should be destroyed. With the king's permission, he mounted the king's own war-horse, girded with a sword, and brandishing a spear; and thus furnished, he rode to the sacred enclosure around the temple, which was the highest place of heathen worship in Northumbria. This was at God. mundingham, “the home protected by the gods," now called Goodmanham, near Market Weighton, in Yorkshire. It was unlawful for the Saxon priests to bear arms or ride a war horse; so that the people, when they saw Coifi, thought that he was seized with madness. Their surprise was still greater, when they saw him throw his spear, and fix it fast in the temple-wall. His followers then quickly set fire to the wooden building, broke down the fences round, and thus publicly put an end to the heathen worship of Northumbria.
King Edwin was baptised at York, on Easter-day, A.D. 627, in a small church built of timber, and dedicated by the name of St. Peter's. From this beginning arose the present beautiful church called York Minster. After his baptism the king made York the seat of a bishopric for Paulinus, and began to build a church of stone around the wooden walls already built; but this was not finished till the next king's reign. The old Saxon kings commonly lived in country villages, where they had their halls and hunting-seats; and changed from one of these dwellingplaces to another. Paulinus removed with Edwin from place to place, preaching and baptising wherever he went; and such numbers of people flocked to him, that for thirtysix days he was engaged in one place, from morning to evening, in giving them instruction.
When they could say the answers to the catechism that he taught, they were baptised in the little river Glen, and in the clear waters of the Swale; “ for as yet there were no houses of prayer or baptisteries built," says Bede, “in the first years of the infant Church."
Paulinus crossed the Humber to preach the Gospel at Lincoln; and his first convert there was the governor of the city, who, after he had received baptism, with all his family, devoted part of his substance to build a handsome
stone church. The bishop also visited the banks of Trent, and baptised near Southwell, where, in Bede's time, about one hundred years afterwards, he was remembered as being a tall man, with dark hair, a high nose, and pale and dignified countenance.
At these public baptisms the king was usually present; and from the time of his conversion to the breaking out of the war in which he lost his life, his kingdom is said to have enjoyed prosperity and peace. And so watchful was he in maintaining justice, that it became a proverb in aftertime, to describe a good government as like King Edwin's reign, when a mother with a tender infant might have travelled in safety from one sea to the other. It is also recorded, that wherever a fountain of clear water welled forth beside the public way, he provided for the refreshment of wayfarers an iron jack or drinking-vessel, fastened to a post set in the ground; and such was the love and fear of his name, that none of his subjects would remove these vessels, or touch them for any purpose but that for which they were meant.
Edwin endeavoured to introduce Christianity among the kings his neighbours; and he succeeded in the kingdom of East Anglia ; but he could not preserve peace among all his heathen neighbours, and one of these fought against him, and killed him, in 633, six years and a half after his baptism. Paulinus, taking with him Ethelburga, Edwin's widow, with her children, guarded by one of the bravest of the king's noblemen, escaped from the calamities brought on the kingdom by its enemies, after Edwin's death, and made his way into Kent. The Christian soldiers who guarded him from Northumberland, not only preserved his life, and the women and children under his charge, but also brought safely the precious vessels and ornaments presented by Edwin for the service of his church, particuTarly a large cross of gold, and a golden chalice or cup for the communion. He left behind him, in the north, his deacon James or Jacob, the companion of his labours, who continued to preach and baptise; and who afterwards, when peace was restored, taught the Christians at York the use of chanting, as it was already practised at Canterbury, in the manner which Augustine had learnt at Rome. Paulinus did not himself return any more to York; but the see of Rochester being then without a bishop, he was
invited to that charge by the king of Kent, Ethelburga's brother, and by the Archbishop of Canterbury; and he died there in a good old age about ten years afterwards. A faithful servant of Edwin carried his head from the field of battle to York, where it was honourably buried in a porch of St. Peter's Church, called St. Gregory's porch, after the good bishop of Rome, from whose disciples Edwin had received the word of life : his name was long honoured by our forefathers, and has become a common Christian name in England. His widow, Ethelburga, retired from the world into a convent in Kent, founded for her by the king, her brother; and she died there, much honoured, in A.D. 647.
By the dusty wayside drear
Of the greenest, darkest tree,
All may hear, but none may see.
Weathens and Christians. THERE was a beautiful valley, where the grass grew green and fresh, and the corn-fields brought forth plentifully, and the vineyards were full of grapes ; the flocks fed on the short close turf upon the sides of the hills that shut it in, and the trees grew thick, and large, and shady, between the open spaces of the down. No one could have looked at the beautiful valley without admiring it; and the people of the country came there to feed their flocks, and to sow and reap their corn, and to gather their grapes. They climbed the mountains above it to hew stone out of their steep sides, and they dug out metals which were hidden under the earth. They pleased themselves in the fine weather with resting under the shade of the trees; and when they were merry, they sung to the sound of their musical instruments. A clear stream springing from the rock ran among the grass; and to it they came that they might drink its fresh waters, and bathe themselves in its coolness. They saw every thing beautiful around them. They watched the rising sun, and saw him run his course, and then set glowing in the west. They watched the changes of the moon from her first