Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/85

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13
OF VENERABLE BEDE.

CHAPTER IV.

HOW, IN COMPANY WITH SHEPHERDS, HE SAW THE SOUL OF BISHOP AIDAN CARRIED TO HEAVEN BY ANGELS.

Sees Aidan carried to heaven.
[A. D. 651]
§ 7. But whereas the grace of Christ, which is the directress of the lfe of the faithful, decreed that its servant should encounter the merit of a more rigid institution, and earn the glory of a higher prize, it chanced upon a time that he was tending a flock of sheep intrusted to his care on some distant mountains. One night, whilst his companions were sleeping, and he himself was awake, as he was wont to be, and engaged in prayer, on a sudden he saw a long stream of light break through the darkness of the night, and in the midst of it a company of the heavenly host descended to the earth, and having received among them a spirit of surpassing brightness, returned without delay to their heavenly home. The young man, beloved of God, was struck with the sight, and, stimulated to encounter the honours of spiritual warfare, and to earn for himself eternal life and happiness among God's mighty ones, he forthwith offered up praise and thanksgivings to the Lord, and called upon his companions, with brotherly exhortations, to imitate his example. "Miserable men that we are," said he, "whilst we are resigning ourselves to sleep and idleness, we take no thought to behold the light of God's holy angels, who never sleep. Behold, whilst I was awake and praying, during a moderate portion of the night, I saw such great miracles of God. The door of heaven was opened, and there was led in thither, amidst an angelic company, the spirit of some holy man, who now, for ever blessed, beholds the glory of the heavenly mansion, and Christ its King, whilst we still grovel amid this earthly darkness: and I think it