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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 395



386 MATTHEW OF WE8TMIKSTEB. A.D. 800. solemn duties in which he had been engaged, while he was sitting in the conclave, suddenly cut off his hand, according to that gospel» " if your foot or your hand shall offend you, cut it off and cast it from thee," &c. &c. And afterwards, as he was often invited to officiate, and constantly excused himself, and yet as the brethren would give him no respite, because they did not know that he was mutilated, the pope withdrew himself into a secret place, and prostrating himself in devout prayer before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, he said, " 0 most merciful virgin, you have hitherto promoted me and raised me up ; look now upon me, miserable that I am, now that I have taken vengeance on my transgressions, that I may not be confounded at the last ; now therefore do you give me comfort, lest I complain, and say you have crushed me by raising me." Therefore the blessed mother of mercy restored a new hand to the mutilated asm. Accordingly, the pope, who had hitherto preserved his former hand which he had cut off, having convened the brethren, explained to them in order all the events which had happened, that the glory of the holy Virgin might not be concealed. And he showed to them, aye, and to the whole church, the hand which he had formerly cut off, and he did not conceal the cause ; and he told them how, while he was prostrate in prayer, the blessed Virgin appeared to him and restored his hand to his mutilated arm. And a rule was then made, that from that time forward those who brought offerings should not kiss the hand of the pope, but bis foot ; though it had formerly been the custom that the hand should be kissed, and not the foot. In memory of this miracle, the hand which was cut off is still preserved in the Lateran treasury, and it is kept free from decay by the Lord, in honour of bis mother. A.D. 799. The Romans being at variance among themselves, seized pope Leo, a holy man, and one worthy of all praise, and bound him, and cut out his tongue, and tore out his eyes, and at last expelled him from the Roman see, and leaving him half dead amid the blasphemies of the executioners, they committed a foul crime. But the piteous and merciful Lord, who does not forsake those who hope in him, mercifully restored him his tongue and his eyes, and enabling him to see and to preach the word of faith better than he had done before, restored him to his former dignity. A.D. 800. A most wicked army of pagans cruelly plundered


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