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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

BY this miracle the man of God acquired great credit and support among the people; and he now explored the whole city, to see if there were any vestiges of an ancient church to be found. For he knew that in former times the place had professed the faith of Christ, but for the sins of its inhabitants, the secret, though righteous judgment of God had given it over for devastation with the other cities of Gaul or Germany, to that perfidious pagan, Attila, king of the Huns, who, out of the exceeding fierceness of his soul, had shown neither honour to God’s priests, nor reverence to his churches; but, like a devouring pestilence, laid waste every thing with fire and sword. Then it was, as in the destruction of Jerusalem by the impious king of Babylon, that the nations came into the inheritance of the Lord, and with polluted hands defiled the temples of Christ, shedding the blood of his servants before the altars of the Most Highest. It was not the bravery of the pagans, but the sins of Christ’s people that did this. At length Christ’s servant found the ruins of an old church among the fragments of walls, surrounded by briars and thicket; where once were companies of singers, but now were the dens and lurking places of wild beasts, full of their filth and all uncleanness, so that scarcely a vestige of the walls remained. At this sight he groaned from his inmost soul, saying, “O Lord, these things have come upon us, because we have sinned with our fathers, have acted unjustly and done iniquity; but Thou, Lord, be mindful of Thy mercy, spare our offences, and do not forget Thy poor people for ever.” As he uttered these words in tears, a bear suddenly sprang out of the ruinous den, to which the man of God, in anger, gave command that it should retire into the desert, and never again cross the banks of the river. Terrified at this admonition, the animal fled, and never again was seen in those parts. O for the wonderful power of Almighty God, in his holy saints, to whom the fiercest beasts show obedience! O for the wonderful boldness of mankind, who do not fear to despise the words of wholesome instruction delivered by his holy teachers! The irrational beast in a way uses human reason, by showing obedience to the commands of his saints; but man, formed after the likeness of God, and endued with reason, is compared with the foolish beasts, and being made like unto them, understands not his own honour.








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