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Gregory I
Gregory I Second Dialogue

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CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: OF TWO HUNDRED BUSHELS OF MEAL, FOUND BEFORE THE MAN OF GOD'S CELL.

At another time, there was a great dearth in the same country of Campania: so that all kind of people tasted of the misery: and all the wheat of Bennet's monastery was spent, and likewise all the bread, so that there remained no more than five loaves for dinner. The venerable man, beholding the monks sad, both rebuked them modestly for their pusillanimity, and again did comfort them with this promise: "Why," quoth he, "are you so grieved in your minds for lack of bread? Indeed, today some want there is, but tomorrow you shall have plenty": and so it fell out, for the next day two hundred bushels of meal was found in sacks before his cell door, which almighty God sent them: but by whom, or what means, that is unknown to this very day: which miracle when the monks saw, they gave God thanks, and by this learned in want, not to make any doubt of plenty.

PETER: Tell me, I pray you, whether this servant of God had always the spirit of prophecy, when himself pleased, or only at certain times?

GREGORY: The spirit of prophecy doth not always illuminate the minds of the prophets; because, as it is written of the Holy Ghost that "he breatheth where he will" [John 3:8], so we are also to know that he doth breathe likewise for what cause, and when he pleaseth. And hereof it cometh, that when king David demanded of Nathan whether he might build a temple for the honour of God, the prophet Nathan gave his consent; and yet afterward utterly forbad it. From hence likewise it proceedeth that, when Eliseus saw the woman weeping, and knew not the cause, he said to his servant that did trouble her: "Let her alone, for her soul is in grief, and God hath concealed it from me, and hath not told me." [4 Kings 4:27] Which thing almighty God of great piety so disposeth: for giving at some times the spirit of prophecy, and at other times withdrawing it, he doth both lift up the prophets minds on high, and yet doth preserve them in humility: that by the gift of the Spirit, they may know what they are by God's grace: and at other times, destitute of the same Spirit, may understand what they are of themselves.

PETER: There is very great reason for that you say. But, I pray you, let me hear more of the venerable man Bennet, if there be anything else that cometh to your remembrance.




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