my eyes and said, ‘I do; you are my beloved bishop.’—‘Can you live?’ said he. I answered, ‘I may, through your prayers, if it shall please our Lord.’
“He then laid his hand on my head, with the words of blessing, and returned to prayer; when he came again to see me, in a short time, he found me sitting and able to talk; and, being induced by Divine instinct, as it soon appeared, began to ask me, ‘Whether I knew for certain that I had been baptized?’ I answered, ‘I knew beyond all doubt that I had been washed in the laver of salvation, to the remission of my sins, and I named the priest by whom I knew myself to have been baptized.’ He replied, ‘If you were baptized by that priest, your baptism is not perfect; for I know him, and that having been ordained priest, he could not, by reason of the dulness of his understanding, learn the ministry of catechising and baptizing; for which reason I commanded him altogether to desist from his presumptuous exercising of the ministry, which he could not duly perform.’ This said, he took care to catechise me at that very time; and it happened that he blew upon my face, on which I presently found myself better. He called the surgeon, and ordered him to close and bind up my skull where it was cracked; and having then received his blessing, I was so much better that I mounted on horseback the next day, and travelled with him to another place; and being soon after perfectly recovered, I received the baptism of life.”
He continued in his see thirty-three years, and then ascending to the heavenly kingdom, was buried in St. Peter’s Porch, in his own monastery, called Inderawood, in the year of our Lord’s incarnation 721. For having, by his great age, become unable to govern his bishopric, he ordained Wilfrid, his priest, bishop of the church of York, and retired to the aforesaid monastery, and there ended his days in holy conversation.
CHAP VII. —
CEADWALLA, KING OF THE WEST-SAXONS, WENT TO ROME TO BE BAPTIZED; HIS SUCCESSOR INA ALSO DEVOUTLY REPAIRED TO THE SAME CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES.
Ceadwalla resigns his crown and goes to Rome. Dies, April 20, 689.
IN the third year of the reign of Alfrid, Ceadwalla, king of the West-Saxons, having most honourably governed his nation two years, quitted his crown for the sake of our Lord and his everlasting kingdom, and went to Rome, being desirous to obtain the peculiar honour of being baptized in the church of the blessed apostles, for he had learned that in baptism alone, the entrance into heaven is opened to mankind; and he hoped at the same time, that laying down the flesh, as soon as baptized, he should immediately pass to the eternal joys of heaven; both which things, by the blessing of our Lord, came to pass according as he had conceived in his mind. For coming to Rome, at the time that Sergius was pope, he was baptized on the holy Saturday before Easter Day, in the year of our Lord 689, and being still in his white garments, he fell sick, and departed this life on the 20th of April, and was associated with the blessed in heaven. At his baptism, the aforesaid pope had given him the name of Peter, to the end, that he might be also united in name to the most blessed prince of the apostles, to whose most holy body his pious love had brought him from the utmost bounds of the earth. He was likewise buried in his church, and by the pope’s command an epitaph written on his tomb, wherein the memory of his devotion might be preserved for ever, and the readers or hearers might be inflamed with religious desire by the example of what he had done.
The epitaph was this:—
High state and place, kindred, a wealthy crown, Triumphs, and spoils in glorious battles won, Nobles, and cities walled, to guard his state, High palaces, and his familiar seat, Whatever honours his own virtue won, Or those his great forefathers handed down, Ceadwal armipotent, from heaven inspir’d, For love of heaven hath left, and here retir’d; Peter to see, and Peter’s sacred chair, The royal pilgrim travelled from afar, Here to imbibe pure draughts from his clear stream, And share the influence of his heavenly beam; Here for the glories of a future claim, Converted, chang’d his first and barbarous name. And following Peter’s rule, he from his Lord Assumed the name at father Sergius’ word, At the pure font, and by Christ’s grace made clean, In heaven is free from former taints of sin. Great was his faith, but greater God’s decree, Whose secret counsels mortal cannot see, Safe came he, e’en from Britain’s isle, o’er seas,