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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 60



•ne. 70.] EXAMPLES OF POLTCABP AND BASIL, 353 glorious light of truth and humility. A Christian, and he not mean, but a perfect one, and a priest not base, but one of the highest, a martyr of no ordinary sort, but one of the chiefest, saith : " Now I begin to be the disciple of Christ." And you, like the same Lucifer, who was thrown down out of heaven, are puffed up with words, and not with power, and after a sort do chew under the tooth, and make pretence in your actions, as the author of this your wickedness hath thus expressed : " I will mount up into the heavens, and be like unto the Highest." And again : " I have digged and drunk water, and dried up with the steps of my feet all the rivers of the banks." You would more rightly have imitated him and hearkened unto his words, who is without doubt the most true example of all goodness and humility, saying by his prophet, " I am verily a worm and not a man, the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people." Oh unspeakable matter ! that he called himself " the reproach of men," when he washed away the reproaches of the whole world. And again in the gospel ; " I am not able to do any thing of myself," when at the same time he was co-eternal with the Father, coequal with the Holy Ghost, and consubstantial with both, and created, not by the help of another, but by his own almighty power, the heaven and earth, with all their inestimable ornaments ; and ye nevertheless have arrogantly lifted up your voices, notwithstanding the prophet saith, "Why do earth and ashes swell with pride?" § 75. But let us return unto our subject Which of you, I say, like Polycarp, the famous bishop of the church of Smyrna, that witness of Christ, hath courteously entertained as guests at his table, those who violently drew him out to be burned? and when for the charity which he did bear unto Christ, he was brought to the stake, said, " He who gave me grace to endure the torment of the fire, will likewise grant me without fastening of nails to bear the flames with patience." And now passing over in this my discourse the mighty armies of saints, I will yet touch on one only, for example's sake, Basil the bishop of Caesaria, who when he was thus by the unrighteous prince threatened that, unless he would on the next day be as the rest, defiled in the dirty dunghill of the Arian heresy, he should be put A A


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