Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/200

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and with zealous piety about forty years, and during this time had, by his catholic doctrines, turned a multitude of persons to the purity of the Christian faith. The knowledge of God's law spread every where; the holy name of Christ was heard in the mouths of all; charity of life was visible in their conduct, love of their heavenly country burnt in the breasts of all; on appointed days the whole people thronged to the church, and celebrated with great joy the proper feast-days of our Saviour; alms were distributed abundantly to the poor, from house to house; the word of God was every where preached daily, and at the canonical hours the clergy sung in the churches hymns of praise. "Blessed," said they, "are the people who have these things: blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God!" For all lay down to rest in the beauty of peace, all took pleasure in the knowledge of truth, and delighted in the holiness of Christ's religion. But when this holy preacher and priest, ripe in virtues as in years, was now thought fit to receive from the Lord the reward of his labours, he was taken with a violent fever in the city of Atrebata; the Divine mercy so regulating it that where he had laboured so zealously, he might from thence arrive at eternal felicity, and in the arms of his brethren render up his soul to his Creator. The pillar of light rests on his house. But God, in order to signalize the departure of his servant, caused a pillar of light to shine in the night from the top of the house in which the holy man was lying; and it seemed to remain there two hours, and to reach even up to heaven. When this was told to the man of God, he immediately saw that it portended his own death: and he called to him his sons, that by their prayers his soul might be commended to his Creator. Having bestowed on them the sweet counsel of paternal love, and the last words of charity, he was strengthened by the holy viaticum of Christ's body and blood, and resigned his soul in the arms of his weeping brethren. O happy day for the holy priest! but most