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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 25



adulterers can be partakers of the kingdom of heaven, esteem her detestable sister, who had vowed unto God the everlasting continency, as tjte very flower (in the language of the poet) of the celestial nymphs? Why dost thou provoke with thy frequent injuries the lamentations and sighs of saints, by thy means corporally afflicted, which will in time to come, like a fierce lioness, break thy bones in pieces ? Desist, I beseech thee (as the prophet saith) from wrath, and leave off thy deadly fury, which thou breathest out against heaven and earth, against God and his flock, and which in time will be thy own torment ; rather with altered mind obtain the prayers of those who possess a power of binding over this world, when in this world they bind the guilty, and of loosing when they loose the penitent. Be not (as the apostle saith) proudly wise, nor hope thou in the uncertainty of riches, but in God who giveth thee many things abundantly, and by the amendment of thy manners purchase unto thyself a good foundation for hereafter, and seek to enter into that real and true state of existence which will be not transitory but everlasting. Otherwise, thou shalt know and see, yea, in this very world, how bad and bitter a thing it is for thee to leave the Lord thy God, and not have his fear before thine eyes, and in the next, how thou shalt be burned in the foul encompassing fiâmes of endless fire, nor yet by any manner of means shalt ever die, For the souls of the sinful are as eternal in perpetual fire, as the souls of the just in perpetual joy and gladness. § 33. And likewise, Ο thou dragon of the island, who hast deprived many tyrants, as well of their kingdoms as of their lives, and though the last-mentioned in my writing, the first in mischief, exceeding many in power, and also in malice, more liberal than others in giving, more licentious in sinning, strong in arms, but stronger in working thine own soul's destruction, Maglocune,* why art thou (as if soaked in the wine of the Sodomitical grape) foolishly rolling in that black pool of thine offences ? Why dost thou wilfully heap like a mountain, upon thy kingly shoulders, such a load of sins ? Why dost thou show thyself unto the King of kings (who hath made thee as well in kingdom as in stature of body higher than almost all the other chiefs of Britain) not better * Probably Maelgwn Gwynedd, king of North Wales.


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