Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/211

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139
OF VENERABLE BEDE

Preaching and example inculcated.tise what is right. But he who faithfully does both, is that servant who shall with joy await the coming of the Lord, hoping soon to hear Matt xxv. 23."Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." But if any one, which God forbid, shall receive the rank of bishop, and shall take no pains, either by a righteous life, to save himself from evil, or his people by punishing and admonishing them; what shall happen to him when the Lord comes at an hour that he knew not of, is declared plainly in that Gospel sentence, addressed to the unprofitable servant, "Cast him into outer darkness: where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

§ 3. In particular, I advise your fatherly sanctity to abstain in your pontifical dignity from idle confabulations, and revilings, and other pollutions of the unrestrained tongue; and to occupy your tongue and mind in divine preachings and meditations on Scripture, and particularly in reading the epistles of the Apostle St. Paul to Timothy and Titus, and in the words of the blessed St. Gregory’s Pastoral Rule recommended.Pope Gregory, wherein he hath spoken much and curiously of the life and the faults of rulers, in his book of the Pastoral Rule, and in his homilies on the Gospel, that your language should always be seasoned with the salt of wisdom, elevated above the common diction, and more worthy of the Divine ear. For, as it is unbecoming that the holy vessels of the altar should ever be profaned by vulgar use and vile services, so is it in every respect untoward and lamentable, that he who is ordained to consecrate the Lord’s sacraments upon the altar, should at one moment stand ministering to the Lord at such ceremonies, and then, leaving the church, with the same mouth and the same hands, with which he had before been handling sacred things, should suddenly talk of trifles or do what will give the Lord offence.

§ 4. Purity of tongue, as well as of conduct, is best