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, or by contraction Austin (St.), usually styled the Apostle of the English, and the first archbishop

, or by contraction Austin (St.), usually styled the Apostle of the English, and the first archbishop of Canterbury, was originally a monk in the convent of St. Andrew at Rome, and was educated under St. Gregory, afterwards pope Gregory I. who undertook the conversion of the island of Britain. His inducement to this, in the life of St. Gregory, written by John Diaconus, introduces us to a string of puns, which we must refer to the manners and taste of the times, without surely impeaching the seriousness of Gregory, who in his present situation, as well as when pope, had no other visible motive for his zea], than the propagation of Christianity. Walking in the forum at Rome, he haprfened to see some very handsome youths exposed to sale, and being informed that they were of the island of Britain, and that the inhabitants of that island were Pagans, he regretted that such handsome youths should be destitute of true knowledge, and again asked the name of the nation. “Angli” was the answer on which he observed, “In truth they have angelic countenances, and it is a pity they should not be coheirs with angels in heaven.” When informed that they came from the province of Deira (Northumberland), he observed, “It is well, de mz, snatched from the wrath of God, and called to the mercy of Christ and when, in answer to another interrogatory, he was told that the name of their king was Ella, he said,” Alleluia, should be sung to God in those regions." More seriously impressed with a sense of his duty on this occasion, he requested pope Benedict to send some persons to our island on a mission, and offered to be one of the number. He was himself, however, too much a favourite with the Roman citizens to be suffered to depart, and it was not until he became pope, that he was enabled effectually to pursue his purpose. After his consecration in the year 595, he directed a presbyter, whom he had sent into France, to instruct some young Saxons, of seventeen or eighteen years of age, in Christianity, to act as missionaries and in the year 597, he sent about forty monks, including perhaps some of these new converts, with Augustine at their head. Having proceeded a little way on their journey, they began to dread the attempt of committing themselves to a savage and infidel nation, whose language they did not understand. In this dilemma, doubtful whether to return or proceed, they agreed to send back Augustine to Gregory, to represent their fears, and intreat that he would release them from their engagement. Gregory, however/ in answer, advised them to proceed, in confidence of divine aid, undaunted by the fatigue of the journey, or any other temporary obstructions, adding, that it would have been better not to have begun so good a work, than to recede from it afterwards. He also took every means for their accommodation, recommending them to the attention of Etherius, bishop of Aries, and providing for them such assistance in France, that at length they arrived safely in Britain.