Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/166

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and approbation of all, made him abbot of both monasteries; thinking it expedient in every respect to preserve peace, unity and concord between the two, if they should have one father and ruler for ever, after the example of the kingdom of Israel, which always remained invincible and inviolate by foreign nations as long as it was ruled by one and the same governor of its own race; but when for its former sins it was torn into opposing factions, it fell by degrees, and, thus shorn of its ancient integrity, perished. He reminded them also of that evangelical maxim, ever worthy to be remembered,—"A kingdom divided against itself shall be laid waste."

Death of Abbot Sigfrid
AD. 689
§ 14. Two mouths after this, God's chosen servant, the venerable Abbot Sigfrid, having passed through the fire and water of temporal tribulation, was carried to the resting-place of everlasting repose: he entered the mansion of the heavenly kingdom, rendering up whole offerings of praise to the Lord which his righteous lips had vowed; and after another space of four months, Benedict, who so nobly vanquished sin and wrought the deeds of virtue, yielded to the weakness of the flesh, and came to his end. Night came on chilled by the winter's blasts, but a day of eternal felicity succeeded of serenity and splendour. The brethren met together at the church, and passed the night without sleep in praying and singing, consoling their sorrow for their father's departure by one continued outpouring of praise. Others clung to the chamber in which the sick man, strong in mind, awaited his departure from death and his entry into eternal life. A portion of Scripture from the Gospels, appointed to be read every evening, was recited by a priest during the whole night, to relieve their sorrow. The sacrament of our Lord's flesh and blood was given him as a viaticum at the moment of his departure; and thus his holy spirit, chastened and tried by the lengthened gallings of the lash, operating for his own good, abandoned the earthy tenement of the flesh, and