Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/218

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examination, according to the canonical statutes, who shall be ordained bishop of that diocese. By following this suggestion, and with God's assistance, you will find no difficulty, I think, in fulfilling the appointment of the Apostolic See, and the Bishop of the church of York will become the metropolitan. And, if it appear necessary that any addition of land or property should be made to such a monastery, that it may be the better able to undertake the episcopal duties, there are, as we know well, many places calling themselves monasteries, but exhibiting no sign whatever of a monastic system; some of which I should much like to see transferred by synodical authority, that their present luxury, vanity, and intemperance in meat and drink might be exchanged for chastity, temperance, and piety, and that they may so help to sustain the episcopal see, which is to be created.

Monastic institutions which had got into disuse, to be appopriated. § 11. And, seeing that there are many such large establishments, which, as is commonly said, are of use neither to God nor man, because they neither observe regular monastic life, nor yet supply soldiers or attendants of the secular authorities to defend our shores from barbarians; if any one were, according to the necessities of the times, to erect an episcopal see in such places, he may be shown to incur no blame of prevarication, but rather to be doing an act of virtue. For how can it be accounted a misdeed, that the unjust decrees of former kings should be set right by the correct judgment of princes better than they I or that the lying pen of unrighteous scribes should be destroyed and nullified by the discreet sentence of wiser priests, according to the example of ancient history, which, in describing the times of the kings of Judah, from David and Solomon to Hezekiah, the last of them, shows that some of them were religious, but the greater number reprobate; and that at one time the wicked censured the deeds of the good who went before them, but at another time the good, with the aid of God's holy spirit, zealously corrected the hurtful deeds of their wicked