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ROGER OF WENDOVER Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1

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ROGER OF WENDOVER
Flowers of history. The history of England from the descent of the saxons to A.D. 1235. vol.1
page 128



A.D. 699.] VISION OP DBICHTHELM. 123 judgment, by the prayers, alms, and fasting of the living, and especially by the celebration of masses. That fiery and stinking pit, which thou sawest, is the mouth of hell, into which whosoever falls shall never be delivered. The flowery region, in which thou sawest those beautiful young people, so bright and gay, is that into which the souls of those are received who depart from the body in good works, but who, nevertheless, are not so perfect as to be worthy of an immediate entrance into the kingdom of heaven; yet they shall all, at the day of judgment, be admitted to the vision of God and the joys of the heavenly kingdom; but those who are entirely perfect in thought, word, and deed, enter into the kingdom of heaven immediately on their departure from the body ; in the neighbourhood whereof is the place where thou heardest the sound of sweet singing, with the fragrant odour and bright light. As for thee, thou must return to the body and live again among men ; and if thou art careful nicely to examine thine actions, and to maintain thy speech and behaviour in uprightness and simplicity, thou shalt have a place among the happy companies of good spirits which thou sawest ; for when I left thee for a time, it was to know how thou wast to be disposed of.' When he had said this to me, I greatly abhorred returning to my body, being delighted with the sweetness and beauty of the place I had seen, and with the company of those I saw in it; but in the meanwhile, on a sudden, I know not in what way, I found myself alive among men.' For the rest, there was a stream in the neighbourhood of his cell, and, in his great desire to chasten his body, he would frequently get in, and there remain as long as he could endure it, singing psalms and praying, standing up to his middle in the water, and sometimes up to his neck; and, when he came out, he could never take off his clothes until they were dried by the warmth of his body. And in winter time, when the pieces of ice were floating around him, those who saw it would say, ' I wonder, brother Drithelm, that you can endure such excessive cold;' to which he would simply answer, ' I have seen greater cold.' And when they said, ' It is wonderful that you endure such rigorous austerity,' he would reply, Ί have seen greater austerity.' Thus he continued, through an irrepressible desire of heavenly bliss, to subdue his aged body with daily


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