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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

OH the wonderful mercy of Almighty God! oh how unspeakable is his goodness! who thus listens to, and never abandons, those who trust in Him. With what faith ought Christians to invoke his mercy, when a pagan king, by one single petition, obtained so great a victory! What ancient example is there of such Divine love, in that he recompensed the tears of one bitter moment by bestowing so great a triumph on his future servant? Unless it be the example of King Hezekiah, who in his tribulation, by one single prayer, not only saved his city by Divine aid from instant devastation, but also, that same night on which he had poured forth his prayers into the Divine ear, saw victory and freedom secured by the slaughter of one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the enemy. But this victory, which I have mentioned above, brought eternal salvation to the king and his people, and that St. Vedast, that shining light, might not be hidden under a bushel, but be placed upon a candlestick, and shine forth by precept and example in the house of God, to turn away as many as possible from the errors of idolatry and the darkness of ignorance, into the way of truth: when the enemy was subdued and peace re-established, by the addition of the Alemanni to his dominion, the king returned in triumph home; and that he might faithfully keep his promise to the giver of so great glory, he made haste to listen to the holy preaching of Christ’s servants, and to be washed by the holy sacrament of baptism. He came to the town of Tullum, where he knew that St. Vedast, with praiseworthy piety, served the only God, and enjoyed the sweet fruits of a life of holy meditation. He took this holy man as his companion on a journey which he was making to an illustrious priest and servant of Christ, Saint Remedius, at Rheims, in order that his salutary doctrine might refresh him at the different stages of his journey, and so a firm foundation of Christian faith might be laid, that when prepared by faith and a knowledge of virtue, he might be washed in the spiritual laver by so great a pontiff, who would thus confirm, by every spiritual gift, the work which St. Vedast, with the grace of God preventing him, had by his evangelic teaching begun. Thus the one guided the eager king to the fountain of everlasting life, the other washed him on his arrival in the stream. Both the holy fathers were almost equal in piety: the one by teaching, the other by baptizing, presented the temporal king an acceptable offering to the King of Heaven. These are the two olives; these the two shining lights, by which the aforesaid king was instructed in the way of the Lord, and snatched by God’s mercy from the snares of the Devil, entered the gate of eternal life together with his brave subjects the Franks, and adopted the faith of Christ. The nation was thus made holy, a peculiar people, that in them might be displayed the virtues of him, who called them out of darkness into marvellous light.








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