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The Historical Works Of Venerable Bede

WHEN the man of God had found this ruined church, he took upon himself two labours of love; first, by his paternal care to bring to the knowledge of the light the people tainted with the errors of idolatry, and blinded with the darkness of ignorance; and secondly, to restore the church to its former honour. He appointed priests and deacons to assist him in the churches; and where there had lately been nothing but the caves of robbers, he now built houses of prayer, and he strove to adorn them rather with the praises of the Lord than with secular pomp and riches. But he was bountiful to the poor, and affable to the rich, that either by his gifts or kind words he might lead all into the way of truth. Knowing, therefore, that the proud of this world will with difficulty bend their necks to the humility of Christ’s religion, unless by admonitions of the sweetest love, he fortified himself by the example of the Apostle, and became all things to all men, that he might gain all. He showed honour to the old, and gave paternal admonitions to the young; continually, in his labours of charity, seeking not his own, but that which is God’s; and, in imitation of Christ himself, he despised not the banquets of the powerful; not for luxury’s sake, but under the plea of preaching, that by familiarity and concord, he might the more easily pour the word of God into the hearts of his fellow guests. Wherefore a certain powerful nobleman of the Franks, Hocinus by name, invited Clothaire, son of King Clovis, who at that time was the able king of the Franks, to an entertainment which he had prepared at his own house for the king and his nobles. Saint Vedast was invited to the feast, who, on entering, stretched out his right hand, as was his custom, and marked every thing with the sign of the cross. It happened that there were standing there some vessels full of beer, which, according to a heathen error, had been polluted with diabolical charms. These cracked and fell to pieces by the superior power of the cross of Christ, and the liquor which they contained was poured out upon the ground. The king and his nobles, in turn, asked the bishop what was the meaning of the miracle. The holy man answered, “By certain wicked charms practised to deceive the souls of the guests, the power of the Devil was concealed in this liquor: but the virtues of the cross of Christ have expelled it, and in its departure the liquor has been spilled upon the ground, as you see.” This miracle was profitable to the salvation of many. For many were set free from the trammels of the Devil’s secret agency, and abandoning foolish auguries and charms, took refuge in the purity of the true religion; seeing that the Divine power worked miracles through his servant, and that the machinations of the old serpent availed nothing against his holiness, and that what he had prepared for the destruction of a few, Christ’s grace had turned to the salvation of many.








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