Guthlac A, lines 752-818

The poet says that no one should doubt the story of Guthlac because the events happened within “our lifetimes.”  God so loves all people that He wants us to always take in wisdom so that His truth may conquer.

Guthlac’s soul was brought to heaven by angels and the saint was granted a throne in heaven.  And similarly the souls of those who hold to truth will be able to ascend to heaven.  These people are the chosen warriors of Christ.  The love to fast, avoid doing evil, and the pray; they struggle against sins and hold to truth.  They depart from the earth and pass onto the heavenly Jerusalem and there they will always gaze upon the face of God.

Guthlac A, lines 651b-751

Guthlac says that the devils will be always miserable because God will never grant them any light and they will always be separated from Him and remain in hell.

Then a messenger from heaven comes and commands the devils to return Guthlac unharmed to his tumulus. The angel says that there shall be no wounding of Guthlac. He (the messenger) is the judge and he tells the devils that not only must they heal Guthlac of any of his hurts, but they must now obey his commands. The messenger is one of the twelve disciples [we learn immediately that he is Bartholomew].

Guthlac’s spirit soars as he is carried by the obedient devils back to his tumulus. The birds bless him with their songs and often bring food to him so that he can remain happy in the wilderness.

Guthlac A, lines 552-651a

The devils obviously knew that God was protecting Guthalc. Nevertheless, they drag the saint to the hellmouth and speak to him, telling him that he was not worthy of God’s love and would now sink down deep into hell.

Guthlac tells them to go ahead and lead him into hell. If God wills it, Guthlac submits to it. He sings the praise of God by day and by night. He promises to do reverence to God at all times, and notes that the devils are themselves betrayers of trust who have been punished by having to live in exile in the wilderness. Guthlac believes that God will never desert him and believes that the devils will never be allowed to drag him to torment.

Guthlac A, lines 470-551

Now the time had come when God would reward Guthlac, who speaks to the demons, saying:

“You are completely separated from the Lord and will only remain guilty. But I could see the radiance of the heavens even while I was suffering. You were able to reproach me because I had tolerated bad behavior in the churches of God.”

[ There is then a wisdom passage similar to those found later in the Exeter Book] Young men will go through phases in which they indulge in the world’s joys. But then they grow out of this behavior and serve God.

Guthlac let the devils seize him again, and Guthlac himself visited the world and poured out his blood at the hands of murderers.

Guthlac retained no doubt in his heart even though his tormenters continued to threaten him.

Guthlac A, lines 370-469

Guthlac tells the devils that no matter what happens to his body, his soul will always survive and eventually dwell in bliss.

The devils get even angrier and make even angrier noises, But God protected Guthlac.

Then the devils lift Guthlac high in the air and grant him power to see everything that is happening.  In particular he sees into monasteries where men were enjoying possession and vanities and adornmennts.

The devils then lead Guthlac back to his tumulus.  God had rewarded him for his courage.

The devils speak to Guthlac, telling him that they have shown him how many men serve the pleasures of their bodies when they should be serving the Lord. “You have not been able to prove otherwise,” they say.

Guthlac A, lines 262-369

The devils gather around the tumulus and raise a ruckus.

The lead devils speaks: “We have never met anyone as arrogant as you. You will suffer from hunger and thirst if you stay here. But if you will listen to us and leave, we will be friendly to you. Otherwise we will come again with a greater company. We will destroy this place in which you live when we come in with companies of horses and armies.”

Guthlac answers: “Even if you call on every devil in the wilderness you still cannot win. Although I will not shed blood to take this place for God, my heart is not frightened because God keeps watch over me. Every day He provides for everything I want.”

Guthlac remains on the tumulus and prays for the salvation of many other souls. He keeps his body from pleasures as a warrior should. The devils hopes that a desire for human companionship on the part of Guthlac would help them in their task of chasing him away. But this did not happen. Guthlac says that he who is guided by the Holy Spirit must obey God’s commands.

[there is then a missing leaf in the manuscript]

Guthlac A, lines 170-261

Guthlac was good and close by him was an angel. He armed himself with spiritual weapons and he had God’s protection when a host of devils attacked him. The angel gave him courage when the devils said that Guthlac would be burned on his tumulus and his death would upset his kin unless Guthlac gave up his struggle against the devils and went back to civilization.

But Guthlac did not give in.  The demons claimed that Guthlac had done evil to them when he came out into the hills where they had previously dwelled.

The demons were upset because they are not allowed to live on the ground or in the air. They could also not harm Guthlac, but they still attempted to harass him.  They said that he would be killed if he continued to persist, as they would return with a larger group of demons who would kill him.

Guthlac spoke to the demons, saying that God would protect him from them and that he could retain his place in the wilderness.  “Be gone!  This dwelling place is mine, not yours.”

Guthlac A, lines 93-169

Now we will tell how Guthlac renounced all earthly things and dwelled alone at his tumulus.

He was watched over by an angel, but a demon also was there. The angel told him that the whole earth was fleeting and praised the heavens. The demon encouraged him to look for criminals and seek earthly rewards.

Both spirits struggled until the Lord caused the angel to win.

Guthlac came to love his tumulus, but multiple demons continued to come before him.

The demons appeared, flying through the air.

The place of Guthlac’s tumuls was in the countryside, hidden from people. Guthlac remained there so he could keep watch over the area. Guthlac praised the Lord and preached about the martyrs. He fasted and denied himself bodily pleasures, including fancy dress.

Guthlac A, lines 1-92

When an angel and a soul meet, the angel tells the soul that it may now journey to heaven, where the souls of the steadfast will come after death.

There are many states of being for men in the world.  As the world grow older, the fruit of the offspring is weaker. Every day the Lord sees the number of those who keep his law get smaller.

Some care more about worldly wealth than about heaven and they mock the saints who know that those who serve the Lord will have heaven eternally.  But the saints give up worldly wealth for heavenly glory.  They dwell in the waste places by their own choice.  Here the devil shows them terrifying visions or tempting splendor.  But angels guard the saints.  They are the true warriors.