Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/138

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66
THE MINOR HISTORICAL WORKS

come upon you this last night"—" Yes," said he, "indisposition has come upon me." I thought that he was speaking of an old complaint, which vexed him almost every day, and not of a new malady; so, without making any more inquiries, I said to him, "Give us your blessing, for it is time to put to sea and return home."—" Do so," replied he; "go on board and return home in safety. Directions for his funeral. But, which the Lord shall have taken my spirit, bury me in this house, near, my oratory, towards the south, over against the eastern side of the holy cross, which I have erected there. Towards the north side of that same oratory is a sarcophagus covered with turf, which the venerable Abbot Cudda formerly gave me. You will place my body therein, wrapping it in linen, which you will find in it. I would not wear it whilst I was alive, but for the love of that highly favoured woman, who sent it to me, the Abbess Verca. I have preserved it to wrap my corpse in." On hearing these words, I replied, "I beseech you, father, as you are weak, and talk of the probability of your dying, to let some of the brethren remain here to wait on you."—"Go home now," said he; "but return at the proper time." So I was unable to prevail upon him, notwithstanding the urgency of my entreaties; and at last I asked him when we should return to him. "When God so wills it," said he, "and when he himself shall direct you." We did as he commanded us; and having assembled the brethren immediately in the church, I had prayers offered up for him without intermission; for, said I, it seems to me, from some words which he spoke, that the day is approaching on which he will depart to the Lord.

§ 61. I was anxious about returning to him on account of his illness, but the weather prevented us for five days; and it was ordered so by God, as the event showed. For God Almighty, wishing to cleanse his servant from every stain of earthly weakness, and to show his adversaries how weak they were against the strength of his faith,