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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 31



324 THE WORKS OP GILDAS* [ecc.3& pared thy reign over Israel for ever, but thy kingdom shall no farther arise." And what did he commit, whether it were adultery or murder, like to the offences of the present time ? No, truly, but broke in part one of God's commandments, for, as one of our writers says, " The question is not of the quality of the sin, but of the violating of the precept." Also when he endeavoured to answer (as he thought) the objections of Samuel, and after the fashion of men wisely to make excuses for his offence in this manner : " Yea, I have obeyed the voice of our Lord, and walked in the way through which he hath sent me ;" with this rebuke was he corrected by him : " What ! will our Lord have burnt offerings or oblations, and not rather that the voice of our Lord should be obeyed ? Obedience is better than oblations, and to hearken unto him, better than to offer the fat of rams. For as it is the sin of soothsaying to resist, so is it the offence of idolatry not to obey ; in regard, therefore, that thou hast cast away the word of our Lord, he hath also cast thee away that thou be not king." And a little after, " Our Lord hath this day rent the kingdom of Israel from thee, and delivered it up to thy neighbour, a man better than thyself. The Triumpher of Israel truly will not spare, and will not be bowed with repentance, neither yet is he a man that he should repent ;" that is to say, upon the stony hearts of the wicked : wherein it is to be noted how he saith, that to be disobedient unto God is the sin of idolatry. Let not, therefore, our wicked transgressors (while they do not openly sacrifice to the gods of the Gentiles) flatter themselves that they are not idolaters, whilst they tread like swine the most precious pearls of Christ under their feet. § 39. But although this one example as an invincible affirmation might abundantly suffice to correct the wicked ; yet, that by the mouths of many witnesses all the offences of Britain may be proved, let us pass to the rest. What happened to David for numbering his people, when the prophet Gad spake unto him in this sort? Thus saith our Lord : " The choice of three things is offered thee, choose which thou wilt, that I may execute it upon thee. Shall there befall thee a famine for seven years, or shalt thou flee three months before thine enemies, and they pursue thee, or shall there be three days' pestilence in thy land?" For be


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