Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/182

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public, he was received by all with congratulations, as if he was come from Paradise; and he began from time to time to confirm their faith, which had been much shaken by the persecution. Meanwhile, God’s chosen servant, Bishop Maximus, died at an extreme old age, and Felix was at once, with the consent of all, elected to the bishopric. This most worthy confessor and teacher of the faith faithfully enacted in his own conduct, the precepts which he had taught. But, to show what exalted humility was Refuses the bishopric on the death of his heart, he excused himself from undertaking this office, saying, that his fellow priest, Quintus, was more worthy of it than himself, because he had been raised to priest’s orders seven days before himself. This suggestion was adopted, and Quintus was made bishop; but he, with great humility, deferred in every thing to Felix, and caused him to deliver the sermon to the people instead of himself; and whilst he ruled, as far as regarded outward authority, Felix was the fountain head of doctrine. To his constancy in behalf of the faith which he professed, and his distinguished humility, he added the merit of voluntary poverty. For he originally possessed, by inheritance from his father, many farms and houses, and much money: but when he was proscribed during the persecution, he lost all. When peace was restored to the church, and he had it in his power to resume his rights, he would not do so. His friends tried to persuade him that he might reclaim them with much interest, and spend the money or give it to the poor; but he would not be prevailed on, saying, "All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient; far be it from me, that I should set about recovering my earthly possessions, as if those in heaven, which I have preferred to them, are not sufficient. Rather let me be poor, and follow in spirit after Jesus, that I may reap a more abundant reward in his heavenly kingdom. Nor do I doubt that He who saved me from chains, and the dark prison, and so long sustained me away from the face of men, will feed me through the