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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 59



the labours of famine, fasting, and watching, after incessant care over all the churches, after his trouble for such *as scandalized, after his infirmity for the weak, after his wonderful travels over almost the whole world in preaching the gospel of Christ, lost his head at last by the stroke of the descending sword ?" § 74. Which of you, like the holy martyr Ignatius, bishop of the city of Antioch, hath after his miraculous actions in Christ, for testimony of him been torn by the jaws of lions, as he was once at Rome ? whose words, as he Was led to his passion, when you shall hear (if ever your countenances were overcome with blushing), you will not only, in comparison of him, esteem yourselves no priests, but not so much even as the meanest Christians ; for in the epistle which he sent to the church of Rome, he writeth thus : " From Syria even unto Rome, I fight with beasts, by land and sea, being bound and chained unto ten leopards, I mean the soldiers appointed for my sustody, who for our benefit bestowed upon them become more cruel ; but I am the better instructed by their wickedness, neither yet am I in this justified; oh! when shall those beasts come the workers of my salvation, which are for me prepared ? when shall they be let loose at me ? when shall it be lawful for my carcass to enjoy them? whom I do most earnestly wish to be eagerly enraged against me, and truly I will incite them to devour me ; moreover, I will humbly pray, lest perchance they should dread to touch my body (as in some others they have before done), yea also, if they hesitate, I will offer violence, I will force myself upon them. Pardon me, I beseech you, I know what is commodious for me, even now I begin to be the disciple of Christ ; let all envy, whether of human affection or spiritual wickedness cease, that I may endeavour to obtain Christ Jesus ; let fires, let crosses, let cruelty of beasts, let breaking of bones, and rending of limbs, with all the pains of the whole body, and all the torments devised by the art of the devil, be together poured out on me alone, so that I may merit to attain unto Christ Jesus." Why do you behold these things with the sleepy eyes of your souls ? why do you hearken unto them with the deaf ears of your senses? Shake off, I beseech you, the dark and black mist of slothfulness from your hearts, that so you may see the


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