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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 61



to death, answered, as it is reported, " I will be to-morrow the same as to-day, and for thee, I do not wish thee to change thy determination." And again, "Would thathad some worthy reward to bestow on him that would discharge Basil from the bands of this breathing bellows." Which one of you doth endeavour to daunt the menaces of tyrants, by inviolably keeping the rule of the apostolical speech, which in all times and ages hath been observed by all holy priests, to suppress the suggestion of men when they sought to draw them into wickedness, saying in this manner ; " It behoveth us to obey God rather than men." § 76. Wherefore after our accustomed manner, taking refuge in the mercy of our Lord, and in the sentences of his holy prophets, that they on our behalf may now level the darts of their oracles at imperfect pastors (as before at tyrants), so that thereby they may receive compunction and be amended, let us see what manner of threats our Lord doth by his prophets utter against slothful and dishonest priests, and such as do not, both by examples and words, rightly instruct the people. For even Eli, the priest in Shilo, because he did not severely proceed, with a zeal worthy of God, in punishing his sons, when they contemned our Lord, but, as a man overswayed with a fatherly affection, too mildly and remissly admonished them, was sentenced with this judgment by the prophet speaking unto him: "Thus saith our Lord ; I have manifestly showed myself unto the house of thy father, when they were the servants of Pharaoh in Egypt, and have chosen the house of thy father out of all the tribes of Israel, for a priesthood unto me." And a little after, " Why hast thou looked upon mine incense, and upon my sacrifice, with a dishonest eye ? and hast honoured thy children more than me, that thou mightest bless them from the beginning in all sacrifices in my presence ? And now so saith our Lord : Because whoever honoureth me I will honour him again ; and whoso maketh no account of me shall be brought to nothing. Behold the days shall come, and I will destroy thy name, and the seed of thy father's house. And let this be to thee the sign, which shall fall upon thy two sons, Hophni and Phineas, in one day shall they both die by the sword of men." If thus therefore they shall suffer, who correct them that are under their charge, with words only,


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