…But another fact must not be omitted, that by some poems composed in the Scotic language in praise of the same blessed man, and by the commemoration of his name, certain wicked men of lewd conversation, and men of blood, were saved from the hands of their enemies, who in the night had surrounded the house in which they were singing these hymns. They safely escaped through the flames, the swords, and the spears; and, strange to tell, a few of those only who despised these commemorations of the holy man, and refused to join in the hymns, perished in that assault of the enemy. It is not two or three witnesses, as the law requires, but even hundreds and more, that could be cited in proof of this miracle. Nor is it in one place or on one occasion only that the same is known to have happened, but even at different times and places, in both Scotia (Ireland) and Britain, it is proved beyond all doubt that the like security was obtained, in the same manner and by the same means. I have learned this for certain, from well-informed men in those very countries where similar miracles have taken place.
But, to return to the point in hand: among the miracles which this same man of the Lord, while dwelling in mortal flesh, performed by the gift of God, was his foretelling the future by the spirit of prophecy, with which he was highly favoured from his early years, and making known to those who were present what was happening in other places: for though absent in body he was present in spirit, and could look on things that were widely apart, according to the words of St. Paul, “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
Hence this same man of the Lord, St. Columba, when a few of the brethren would sometimes inquire into the matter, did not deny but that by some divine intuition, and through a wonderful expansion of his inner soul, he beheld the whole universe drawn together and laid open to his sight, as in one ray of the sun.
This account of the miracles of the holy men I have given here for this purpose, that my reader, in this brief sketch, may have a foretaste of the richer banquet which is before him, in the fuller narrative which is to be given, with the assistance of the Lord, in the three following books. Here it appears to me not improper, though it may be out of the usual order, to record some prophecies which the blessed man gave at different times, regarding certain holy and illustrious men.