Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/223

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OF VENERABLE BEDE.

heart they ought to believe in God; with what devotion to supplicate the Divine mercy; with what frequent diligence to use the sign of the Lord's cross, and so to fortify themselves and all they have against the continual snares of unclean spirits and how salutary it is for all classes of Christians to participate daily Daily communion recommendedin the body and blood of our Lord, as you well know is done by Christ's Church throughout Italy, Gaul, Africa, Greece, and all the countries of the East. Now, this kind of religion and heavenly devotion, through the neglect of our teachers, has been so long discontinued among almost all the laity of our province, that those who seem to be the most religious among them, communicate in the holy mysteries only on the day of our Lord's birth, the Epiphany and Easter, whilst there are innumerable boys and girls, of innocent and chaste life, as well as young men and women, old men and old women, who without any scruple or debate are able to communicate in the holy mysteries on every Lord's day, nay, on all the birth-days of the holy Apostles or Martyrs, as you yourself have seen done in the Holy Roman and Apostolic Church. Morever, if married, let any one point out to them the measure of continence, and hint to them the virtue of chastity; and that in this both may have power to act, and be ready to submit.

§ 16. Thus much, most Holy Prelate, have I attempted briefly to express, both for the love of you, and for the sake of general utility, with many wishes and exhortations that you endeavour to rescue our nation from its old errors, and bring it back to a more certain and direct path; and that, mindful of a heavenly reward, you persist in bringing to perfection this holy and excellent work, whatever be the rank or condition of those who attempt to impede or hinder your good exertions. For I know that there will be some who will oppose these my exhortations, and especially those who feel that