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Of the Work of Monks

that they could do; but when He put flight in their power, although they were thereby delivered, yet were they not delivered but by Him: so likewise to servants of God having time and strength after the example and precept of the Apostle to get their living by their own hands, if any from the Gospel shall raise a question concerning the birds of the air, which sow not nor reap nor gather into stores, and concerning lilies of the field that they toil not neither do they spin; they will easily answer, ' If we also, by reason of any either infirmity or occupation cannot work, He will so feed and clothe us, as He doth the birds and the lilies, which do no work of this kind: but when we are able, we ought not to tempt our God; because this very ability of ours, we have it by His gift, and in living by it, we live by His bounty Who hath bounteously bestowed upon us that we should have this ability. And therefore concerning these necessary things we arc not solicitous; because when we are able to do these things, He by Whom mankind are fed and clothed doth feed and clothe us: but when we are not able to do these things, He feeds and clothes us by Whom the birds are fed and the lilies clothed, because wc are more worth than they. Wherefore in this our warfare, neither lor the morrow take we thought: because not for the sake of these temporal things, whereunto pcrtaineth To-morrow, but for the sake of those eternal things, where it is evermore

2 Tim. To-day, have we proved ourselves unto Him, that, entangled

in no secular business, we may please Him.

xxviii. 36. Since these things are so, suffer mc awhile, holy brother, (for the Lord giveth me through thee great boldness,) to address these same our sons and brethren whom I know with what love thou together with us dost travail in birth withal, until the Apostolic discipline be formed in them. O servants of God, soldiers of Christ, is it thus ye dissemble the plottings of our most crafty foe, who fearing your good fame, that so goodly odour of Christ, lest good souls should

Cant. I, say, We will run after the odour of thine ointments, and so

3 4

should escape his snares, and in every way desiring to obscure emissaries in iheir garb. Bishops' life laborious. 509

it with his own stenches, hath dispersed on every side so Db many hypocrites under the garb of monks, strolling about m0NA. the provinces, no where sent, no where fixed, no where stand- CHo

. . . RUM.

ing, no where sitting. Some hawking about limbs of martyrs, jj~v~g~ if indeed of martyrs; others magnifying their fringes andBen.c.i. phylacteries; others with a lying story, how they have heard Coli" say that their parents or kinsmen are alive in this or that "'»• 7country, and therefore be they on their way to them: and all asking, all exacting, either the costs of their lucrative want, or the price of their pretended sanctity. And in the meanwhile wheresoever they be found out in their evil deeds, or in whatever way they become notorious, under the general name of monks, your purpose is blasphemed, a purpose so good, so holy, that in Christ's name we desire it, as through other lands so through all Africa, to grow and flourish. Then are ye not inflamed with godly jealousy? Does not your heart wax hot within you, and in your meditation a fire kindle, pa. 39, that these men's evil works ye should pursue with good3works, that ye should cut off from them occasion of a foul trafficking, by which your estimation is hurt, and a stumblingblock put before the weak? Have mercy then and have compassion, and shew to mankind that ye are not seeking in ease a ready subsistence, but through the strait and narrow way of this purpose, are seeking the kingdom of God. Ye have the same cause which the Apostle had, to cut off occasion from them which seek occasion, that they who by their stinks are suffocated, by your good odour may be refreshed.

37. We are not binding heavy burthens and laying them xxix. upon your shoulders, while we with a finger will not touch them. Seek out, and acknowledge the labourof our occupations, and in some of us the infirmities of our bodies also, and in the Churches which we serve, that custom now grown up, that they do not suffer us to have time ourselves for those works to jvhich we exhort you. For though we might say, Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges t Who I Cor. 9, planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof?"' Who feedeth a flock, and partaheth not of the milk of the flock? yet I call our Lord Jesus, in Whose name I fearlessly say these things, for a witness upon my soul, that so far as it


510 Judging causes, harder than manual labour. Db concerns mine own convenience, I would much rather every


Mona- day at certain hours, as much as is appointed by rule in wellCho- governed monasteries, do some work with my hands, and

B g have the remaining hours free for reading and praying, or

Ben. c. some work pertaining to Divine Letters, than have to bear these most annoying perplexities of other men's causes about secular matters, which we must cither by adjudication bring to an end, or by intervention cut short. Which troubles the same Apostle hath fastened us withal, (not by his own sentence, but by His who spake through him,) while yet we do not read that he had to put up with them himself: indeed his was not the sort of work to admit of it, while running to and fro in his Apostleship. Nor hath he said, 'If then ye have secular law-suits, bring them before us;' or, ' Appoint

1 Cor. 6, us to judge them:' but, Them which are contemptible in the 'Church, these, saith he, put ye in place. To your abashment I say it: is it so that there is not among you any vise man who can judge between his brother, but brother goeth to law with brother, and that before infidels? So then wise believers and saints, having their stated abode in the different places, not those who were running hither and hither on the business of the Gospel, were the persons whom he willed to be charged with examination of such affairs. Whence it is no where written of him that he on any occasion gave up his time to such matters; from which we are not able to excuse ourselves, even though we be contemptible; because he willed even such to be put in place, in case there were lack of wise men, rather than have the affairs of Christians to be brought into the public courts. Which labour, however, we not without consolation of the Lord take upon us, for hope of eternal life, that we may bring forth fruit with patience. For we are servants unto His Church, and most of all to the weaker members, whatsoever members we in the same body may chance to be. I pass by other innumerable ecclesiastical cares, which perchance no man credits but he who hath experienced the same. Therefore we do not bind heavy burdens and place them on your shoulders, while we ourselves touch them not so much as with a finger; since indeed if with safety to our office we might, (He sceth it, Who tries our hearts!) we would rather do these things which we exhort


Obedience to Bishops claimed as in any case due. 51l

you to do, than the things which we ourselves are forced to Or

do. True it is, to all both us and you, while according to

our degree and office we labour, both the way is strait in 0Ho

labour and toil; and yet, while we rejoice in hope, His yoke

is easy and His burden light, Who hath called us unto rest, Who passed forth before us from the vale of tears, where not Himself either was without pressure of griefs. If ye be our brethren, if our sons, if we be your fellow-servants, or rather in Christ your servants, hear what we admonish, acknowledge what we enjoin, take what we dispense. But if we be Pharisees, binding heavy burdens and laying them on your shoulders; yet do ye the things we say, even though yeMat.23, disapprove the things we do. But to us it is a very small3thing that we be judged by you, or of any human assize'. 1 Cor.4, Of how near and dear2 charity is our care on your behalf, let i "ab hu_ Him look into it Who hath given what we may offer to be TMano looked into by His eyes. In fine: think what ye will of us: * ger. Paul the Apostle enjoins and beseeches you in the Lord,manathat with silence, that is, quietly and obediently ordered, ye2Thesa. do work and eat your own bread. Of him, as I suppose, ye'' believe no evil, and He who by him doth speak, on Him have ye believed.

38. These things, my brother Aurelins, most dear unto xxx. me, and in the bowels of Christ to be venerated, so far as He hath bestowed on me the ability Who through thee commanded me to do it, touching work of Monks, I have not delayed to write; making this my chief care, lest good brethren obeying apostolic precepts, should by lazy and disobedient be called even prevaricators from the Gospel: that they which work not, may at the least account them which do work to be better than themselves without doubt. But who can bear that contumacious persons resisting most wholesome admonitions of the Apostle, should, not as weaker brethren be borne withal, but even be preached up as holier men; insomuch that monasteries founded on sounder doctrine should be by this double enticement corrupted, the dissolute licence of vacation from labour, and the false name of sanctity? Let it be known then to the rest, our brethren and sons, who are accustomed to favour such men, and through ignorance to defend this kind of presumption, that

512 Si. Paul's rule against men's uearing long hair. Db they need themselves most chiefly to be corrected, in order


Mona- that those may be corrected, not that they become weary in

CH0' well-doing. Truly, in that they do promptly and with

2 Thesa alacrity minister unto the servants of God the things they

3, 13. need, not only we blame them not, but we most cordially

embrace them: only let them not with perverse mercy more

hurt these men's future life, than to their present life they

render aid.

39. For there is less sin, if people do not praise the sinuer Ps.9, the desires of his soul, and speak good of him who pracxxxi ^set^ iniquities. Now what is more an iniquity than to wish to be obeyed by inferiors, and to refuse to obey superiors? The Apostle, I mean, not us: insomuch that they even let their hair grow long: a matter, of which he would have no l Cor. disputing at all, saying, If any chooseth to be contentious, we ij\ 'have no such custom, neither the Church of God. Now this I command*; which gives us to understand that it is not cleverness of reasoning that we are to look for, but authority of one giving command to attend uuto. For whereunto, I pray thee, pertaineth this also, that people so openly against the Apostle's precepts wear long hair? Is it that there must be in such sort vacation, that not even the barbers aie to work? Or, because they say that they imitate the Gospel birds, do they fear to be, as it were, plucked, lest they be not able to fly? I shrink from saying more against this fault, out of respect for certain long-haired brethren, in whom, except this, we find much, and well-nigh every thing, to venerate. But the more we love them in Christ, the more solicitously do we admonish them. Nor are we afraid indeed, lest their humility reject our admonition; seeing that we also desire to be admonished by such as they, wherever we chance to stumble or to go aside. This then we admonish so holy men, not to be moved by foolish quibblings of vain persons, and imitate in this perversity them whom in all else they are far from resembling. For those persons, hawking about a venal hypocrisy, fear lest shorn sanctity bo held cheaper than long-haired; because forsooth he who sees them shall

False pretence of humility in imitating Nazarites. 513

call to mind those ancients whom we read of, Samuel and the Dr rest who did not cut off their hair. And they do not consider MONA. what is the difference between that prophetic veil, and this CHounveiling which is in the Gospel, of which the Apostle saith, -^—^~ When thou shalt go over1 unto Christ, the veil shall be taken 6,6.

2 Cor 3

away. That, namely, which was signified in the veil inter-16 '' posed between the face of Moses and the beholding of theExodpeople Tsrael, that same was also signified in those times by the long hair of the Saints. For the same Apostle saith, that long hair is also instead of a veil: by whose authority these men are hard pressed. Seeing he saith openly, If a man wear lon,g hair, it is a disgrace to him. 'The very disgrace,' say they, ' we take upon us, for desert of our sins:' holding out a screen of simulated humility, to the end that under cover of it they may carry on their trade of self-importance1. 1 venaJust as if the Apostle were teaching pride when he says,J^^y" Every man praying or prophesying with veiled heal shame th, his head; and, A man ought not to veil his head, forsomuch*: .. as he is the image and glory of God. Consequently he who says, Ought not, knows not perchance how to teach humility! However, if this same disgrace in time of the Gospel, which was a thing of a holy meaning* in time of Prophecy, be by2saerathese people courted as matter of humility, then let them be shorn, and veil their head with haircloth. Only then there will be none of that attracting of people's eyes in which they trade3, because Samson was veiled not with haircloth, but3 species with his long hair. "Ia*Je"

40. And then that further device of theirs, (if words can xxxii. express it,) how painfully ridiculous is it, which they have invented for defence of their long locks !' A man,' say they, 'the Apostle hath forbidden to have long hair: but then they who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God are no longer men.' O dotage unparalleled! Well may the person who says this arm himself against Holy Scripture's most manifest proclamations, with counsel of outrageous impiety, and persevere in a tortuous path, and essay to bring in a pestiferous doctrine that not Blessed is the man whoVt.l,l. hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and in the

1 Cum transieris. Gr. nilxu V «» irirr(ii]/ti, sc. • 'lrgxnX Chrys. Theod. or r)» Origen.

514 Foolish presumption of disowning manhood.

De way qf sinners hath not stood, and in the chair of noisome

"TM wickedness1 hath not sat. For if he would meditate in God's Cho- law ciav aml night, there he should find the Apostle Paul

, -a[j.- himself, who assuredly professing highest chastity saith,

lentiie / would that all men uere even as I: and yet shews himself a man, not only in so being, but also in so speaking. For he, saith, When IHas a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, 1 put away childish things. But why should 1 mention the Apostle, when concerning our Lord and Saviour Himself they know not what they think who say these things. For of

Eph. 4, Whom but Him is it said, Until we come all to unity of faith and to knowledge of the Son of God, to the Perfect Man, to the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ; that we be no longer babes, tossed and carried about with every wind of doctrine, in sleight of men, in cunning craftiness for machination of error. Wilh which sleight these persons deceive ignorant people, with which cunning craftiness and machinations of the enemy both they themselves are whirled round, and in their whirling essay to make the minds of the weak which cohere unto them so (in a manner) to spin round with them, that they also may not know where they are. For they

Gal. 3, have heard or read that which is written, Whosoever of you

28- have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ: where is no

Jew nor Greek; no bond nor free; no male nor female.

And they do not understand that it is in reference to concu

2Cor.4, piscence of carnal sex that this is said, because in the inner man, wherein we are renewed in newness of our mind, no sex of this kind exists. Then let them not deny themselves to be men, just because in respect of their masculine sex they work not. For wedded Christians also who do this work, are of course not Christians on the score of that which they have in common with the rest who are not Christians aod with the very cattle. For that is one thing that is either to infirmity conceded or to mortal propagation paid as a debt, but another that which for the laying hold of incorrupt and eternal life is by faithful profession signified. That then which concerning not veiling of the head is enjoined to men, in the body indeed it is set forth in a figure, but that it is enacted in the mind, wherein is the image and glory of God, the words themselves The Image of God is in the renewed Mind. 515

do indicate: A man indeed, it saith, ought not to veil his Db head, forsomuch as he is the image and glory of God. For J'TM where this image is, he doth himself declare, where he saith, CHoLie not one to another; but stripping off the old man with Col3" his deeds, put ye on the new, which is renewed to the acknow-9-10. ledging of God, according to the image of Him who created him. Who can doubt that this renewing lakes place in the mind? But and if any doubt, let him hear a more open sentence. For, giving the same admonition, he thus saith in another place: As is the truth in Jesus, that ye put off con- Eph. 4, cerning the former conversation the old man, him which is21~24 corrupt according to the lust of deception -, but be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, him which after God is created. What then? Have women not this renewal of mind in which is the image of God? Who would say this? But in the sex of their body they do not signify this; therefore they are bidden to be veiled. The part, namely, which they signify in the very fact of their being women, is that which may be called the concupiscential part, over which the mind1 bears rule, itself also subjected to1 mens its God, when life is most rightly and orderly conducted. What, therefore, in a single individual human being is the mind and the concupiscence, (that ruling, this ruled; that lord, this subject,) the same in two human beings, man and woman, is in regard of the sex of the body exhibited in a figure. Of which sacred import* the Apostle speaks when he2sacrasays, that the man ought not to be veiled, the woman ought. For the mind doth the more gloriously advance to higher things, the more diligently the concupiscence is curbed from lower "things; until the whole man together with even this now mortal and frail body in the last resurrection be clothed with incorruption and immortality, and death be swallowed iCor 15, up in victory.

41. Wherefore, they which will not do right things, let xxxiii. them give over at least to teach wrong things. Howbeit they be others whom in this speech we reprove: but as for those who by this one fault, of letting their hair contrary to apostolic precept grow long, offend and trouble the Church, because when some being unwilling to think of them any thing amiss are forced to twist the manifest words of the



516 Earnest entreaty to the well-disposed Monks.

De Apostle into a wrong meaning, others choose to defend the sound understanding of the Scriptures rather than fawn upon

CHo- any men, there arise between the weaker and the stronger brethren most bitter and perilous contentions: which things perchance if they knew, these would correct without hesitation this also, in whom we admire and love all else. Those then we not reprove, but ask and solemnly beseech by the Godhead and the Manhood of Christ and by the charity of the Holy Ghost, that they no more put this stumbling-block before the weak for whom Christ died, and aggravate the grief and torment of our heart when we bethink us how much more readily evil men can imitate this evil thing for deceiving of mankind, when they see this in them whom on the score of other so great good we with deserved offices of Christian love do honour. If however, after this admonition, or rather this solemn entreaty of ours, they shall think fit to persevere in the same, we shall do nothing else but only grieve .and mourn. This let them know; it is enough. If they be servants of God, they have pity. If they have not pity, I will not say any thing worse. All these things, therefore, in the which peradventure I have been more loquacious than the occupations both of thee and of me could wish, if thou approve the same, make thou to be known to our brethren and sons, on whose behalf thou hast deigned to put this burden upon me: but if ought seem to thee meet to be withdrawn or amended, by reply of your Blessedness I shall know the same.