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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

§ 20. ABOUT the same time, as he was preaching the word of life to a number of persons assembled in a certain village, he suddenly saw in the spirit our old enemy coming to retard the work of salvation, and forthwith began by admonitions to prevent the snares and devices which he saw were coming. “Dearest brethren,” said he, “as often as you hear the mysteries of the heavenly kingdom preached to you, you should listen with attentive heart and with watchful feelings, lest the devil, who has a thousand ways of harming you, prevent you by superfluous cares from hearing the word of salvation.” As he said these words, he resumed the thread of his discourse, and immediately that wicked enemy, bringing supernatural fire, set light to a neighbouring house, so that flakes of fire seemed to fly through the air, and a storm of wind and thunder shook the sky. Nearly the whole multitude rushed forward, to extinguish the fire, (for he restrained a few of them himself,) but yet with all their real water they could not put out the false flames, until, at Cuthbert’s prayer, the author of the deceit was put to flight, and his fictitious fires dispersed along with him. The multitude, seeing this, were suffused with ingenuous blushes, and, falling on their knees before him, prayed to be forgiven for their fickleness of mind, acknowledging their conviction that the devil never rests even for an hour from impeding the work of man’s salvation. But he, encouraging them under their infirmity, again began to preach to them the words of everlasting life.








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