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GILDAS On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain

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GILDAS
On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain
page 22



bound himself first before God, by a solemn protestation, and then called all the saints, and Mother of God, to witness* that he would not contrive any deceit against his country* men), he nevertheless, in the habit of a holy abbat amid the sacred altars, did with sword and javelin, as if with teeth, wound and tear, even in the bosoms of their temporal mother, and of the church their spiritual mother, two royal youths, with their two attendants, whose arms, although not cased in armour, were yet boldly used, and, stretched out towards God and his altar, will hang up at the gates of thy city, Ο Christ, the venerable ensigns of their faith and patience; and when he had done it, the cloaks, red with coagulated blood, did touch the place of the heavenly sacrifice. And not one worthy act could he boast of previous to this cruel deed; for many years before he had stained himself with the abomination of many adulteries, having put away his wife contrary to the command of Christ, the teacher of the world, who hath said : " What God hath joined together, let not man separate," and again : " Husbands, love your wives*" For he had planted in the ground of his heart (an unfruitful soil for any good seed) a bitter scion of incredulity and folly, taken from the vine of Sodom, which being watered with his vulgar and domestic impieties, like poisonous showers, and afterwards audaciously springing up to the offence of God, brought forth into the World the sin of horrible murder and sacrilege ; and not yet discharged from the entangling nets of hie former offences, he added new wickedness to the former. § 29. Go to now, I reprove thee as present, whom I know as yet to be in this life extant. Why standest thou astonished, Ο thou butcher of thine own soul ? Why dost thou wilfully kindle against thyself the eternal fires of hell ? Why dost thou, in place of enemies, desperately stab thyself With thine own sword, with thine own javelin ? Cannot those same poisonous cups of offences yet satisfy thy stomach ? Look back (I beseech thee) and come to Christ (for thou labourest, and art pressed down to the earth with this huge burden), and he himself, as he said, will give thee rest. Come to him who wisheth not the death of a sinner, but that he should be rather converted and live. Unloose (according to the prophet) the bands of thy neck*


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