OF HIS SUPPOSED JOURNEY TO ROME.
The peaceful tenor of Bede's monastic life was apparently uninterrupted by absence or travel, and his own words might be thought to afford sufficient authority for the supposition. A controversy, however, on this subject has arisen from a letter first published by William of Malmesbury, which to this hour has not been satisfactorily decided. This historian says that Bede's learning and attainments were so highly esteemed, that Pope Sergius wished to see him at Rome and consult him on questions of importance and difficulty relating to the Church. He accordingly quotes a letter, addressed by Sergius to Abbot Ceolfrid, in which he is requested to send Bede without delay to Rome. Now it is argued, and apparently with truth, that Bede would not have dared to decline an invitation coming from so high a quarter; and yet it is all but certain that Bede never was out of England. He tells us distinctly that his whole life was spent in the neighbourhood of Jarrow; and that the letters, which he has inserted in his Ecclesiastical History, had been procured for him at Rome by Nothelm, which would certainly lead us to infer that Bede