The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXX.
THE EAST SAXONS, DURING A PESTILENCE, RETURNING TO IDOLATRY,
ARE IMMEDIATELY BROUGHT BACK FROM THEIR ERROR BY THE
BISHOP JARUMAN.

At the same time, the Kings Sighere and Sebbi, though subject to Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, governed the province of the East. Saxons after Suithelm, of whom we have spoken above. That province labouring under the aforesaid mortality, Sighere, with that part of the people that was under his dominion, forsook the mysteries of the Christian faith, and turned apostate. For the king himself, and many of the commons and great men being fond of this life, and not seeking after another, or rather not believing that there was any other, began to restore the temples that had been abandoned, and to adore idols, as if they might by those means be protected against the mortality. But Sebbi, his companion and coheir in the kingdom, with his people, very devoutly preserved the faith which he had embraced, and, as we shall show hereafter, ended his faithful life with much felicity. King Wulfhere, understanding that the faith of the province was partly profaned, sent Bishop Jaruman, who was successor to Trumhere, to cotrect thaf error, and restore the province to the truth. He proceeded with much discretion (as I was informed by a priest who bore him company in that journey, and had been his fellow-labourer in the word) for he was a religious and good man, and travelling through all the country far and near, reduced both the aforesaid king and people to the way of righteousness, so that either forsaking or destroying the temples and altars which they had erected, they opened the churches, and rejoiced in confessing the name of Christ, which they had opposed, being more desirous to die in him with the faith of the resurrection, than to live in the filth of apostacy among their idols. These things being performed, the priests and teachers returned home with joy.

-192-

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