Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/185

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113
OF VENERABLE BEDE.
Miraculous removal of the unsightly buildings.to overcome their obstinacy; but this was speedily brought about by the Divine interposition: for one night, when all were asleep, a conflagration suddenly arose from one of those same cells, and began to spread to the neighbouring houses, apparently gaining fresh strength every moment, and likely to consume all the houses far and near. Roused by the noise and the flames, the citizens flocked together to put out the fire, by throwing water upon it; or at all events to save their property from the houses. But they found all human aid was unavailing, and they began to turn their attention to prayer. Led by the bishop, they thronged to the church of St. Felix, and on bended knees supplicated for assistance from on high. They then proceeded to the adjoining church of the Apostles, and put up the same prayer. After this, the bishop returned home, and taking a small splinter of the wood of our Lord’s cross, threw it into the midst of the fire. Immediately the flames subsided, and this small fragment of wood effected what so many men, with abundance of water, had not been able to accomplish. Such, indeed, was its power, that the usual nature of things was changed; and fire, which usually consumes every thing, was itself consumed by the wood of our Lord’s passion. When the conflagration was over, the citizens came in the morning to see what havoc had been committed during the night, and expected to find that they were great losers: but they found that nothing had been burnt, except what deserved to be burnt. Of the two houses before-mentioned, which even themselves wished to destroy, one was utterly consumed by the flames. The owner was put to shame by the thing; for he perceived that he had lost his house all the same, without meriting any obligation from the holy father; and immediately afterwards the owner of the other house which remained began to pull it down with his own hands, that the whole space round the church might be cleared, and be rendered worthy the merits of the saint. When all the rubbish