The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

cold." And when they said, "It is strange that you will endure such austerity;" he replied, "I have seen more austerity." Thus he continued, through an indefatigable desire of heavenly bliss, to subdue his aged body with daily fasting, till the day of his being called away; and he forwarded the salvation of many by his words and example.


CHAPTER XIII.
OF ANOTHER, WHO BEFORE HIS DEATH SAW A BOOK CONTAINING
ALL HIS SINS, WHICH WAS SHOWED HIM BY DEVILS.

It happened quite the contrary with one in the province of the Mercians, whose visions and words, and also his behaviour, were neither advantageous to others nor to himself. In the reign of Coenred, who succeeded Ethilred, there was a layman in a military employment, no less acceptable to the king for his worldly industry, than displeasing to him for his private neglect of himself. The king often admonished him to confess and amend, and to forsake his wicked courses, before he should lose all time for repentance and amendment by a sudden death. Though frequently warned, he despised the words of salvation, and promised he would do penance at some future time. In the meantime, falling sick, he was confined to his bed, and began to feel very severe pains. The king coming to him (for he loved the man), earnestly exhorted him, even then, before death, to repent of his offences. He answered, "He would not then confess his sins, but would do it when he was recovered of his sickness, lest his companions should upbraid him of having done that for fear of death, which lie had refused to do in health." He thought he then spoke very bravely, but it afterwards appeared that he had been miserably deluded by the wiles of the devil. The distemper

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