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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 84



PAUL. esc loft.] THE APOSTLE377 went to the Jews to make a market of God, ye pass to the tyrants, and their father the devil, that ye may despise Christ. He set to sale the Saviour of the world for thirty pence, and you do so even for one poor half-penny. § 108. What need many words ? The example of Matthias is apparently laid before you for your confusion, who was chosen into his place, not by his own proper will, but by the election of the holy apostles, or rather the judgment of Christ, whereat ye being blinded, do not perceive how far ye run astray from his merits, while ye fall wilfully and headlong into the manners and affection of Judas the traitor. It is therefore manifest that he who wittingly from his heart termeth you priests, is not himself a true and worthy Christian. And now I will assuredly speak what I think : this reprehension might have been framed after a milder fashion, but what availeth it to touch only with the hand, or dress with gentle ointment, that wound which with imposthumation or stinking corruption is now grown so horrible, that it requireth the searing iron, or the ordinary help of the fire, if happily by any means it may be cured, the diseased in the meanwhile not seeking a medicine, and the physician much erring from a rightful remedy ? 0 ye enemies of God, and not priests ! Ο ye traders of wickedness, and not bishops ! Ο ye betrayers, and not successors of the holy apostles ! Ο ye adversaries, and not servants of Christ ! Ye have certainly heard at the least, the sound of the words, which are in the second lesson taken out of the apostle Saint Paul, although ye have no way observed the admonitions and virtue of them, but even as statues (that neither see nor hear) stood that day at the altar, while both then, and continually since he hath thundered in your ears, saying: "Brethren, it is a faithful speech, and worthy of all acceptance." He called it faithful and worthy, but ye have despised it as unfaithful and unworthy. "If any man desireth a bishopric, he desireth a good work.** Ye do mightily covet a bishopric in respect of avarice, but not for spiritual convenience and for the good work which is suitable to the place, ye want it. " It behoveth therefore such a one to be free from all cause of reprehension." At this saying we have more need to shed tears than utter words ; for it is as much as if the apostle had said, he ought to be of all others most free from occasion of rebuke. " The


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