36. Since these things are so, suffer me 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 odor of Christ, lest good souls should say, “We will run after the odor of thine ointments,”117 Cant. i. 3, 4 and so should escape his snares, and in every way desiring to obscure it with his own stenches, hath dispersed on every side so many hypocrites under the garb of monks, strolling about the provinces, no where sent, no where fixed, no where standing, no where sitting. Some hawking about limbs of martyrs, if indeed of martyrs; others magnifying their fringes and phylacteries;118 Reg. S. Ben. c. l. Cass. Coll. xviii. 7. others with a lying story, how they have heard say that their parents or kinsmen are alive in this or that country, 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,119 Ps. xxxix. 3. [See R.V.] that these men’s evil works ye should pursue with good works, that ye should cut off from them occasion of a foul trafficking, by which your estimation is hurt, and a stumbling-block put before the weak? Have mercy then and have compassion, and show 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 odor may be refreshed.
36. Graphice describit monachos otiosos et vagos. Quae cum ita sint, sine me paululum, sancte frater (dat enim mihi Dominus per te magnam fiduciam), eos ipsos alloqui filios et fratres nostros, quos novi quanta nobiscum dilectione parturias, donec in eis apostolica disciplina formetur. O servi Dei, milites Christi, itane dissimulatis callidissimi hostis insidias, qui bonam famam vestram, tam bonum Christi odorem, ne dicant animae bonae, Post odorem unguentorum tuorum curremus (Cant. I, 3), et sic laqueos ejus evadant, omni modo cupiens obscurare putoribus suis, tam multos hypocritas sub habitu manachorum usquequaque dispersit, circumeuntes provincias, nusquam missos, nusquam fixos, nusquam stantes, nusquam sedentes. Alii membra martyrum, si tamen martyrum, venditant; alii fimbrias et phylacteria sua magnificant; alii parentes vel consanguineos suos in illa vel in illa regione se audisse vivere, et ad eos pergere mentiuntur; et omnes petunt, omnes exigunt, aut sumptus lucrosae egestatis, aut 0576 simulatae pretium sanctitatis: cum interea ubicumque in factis suis malis deprehensi fuerint, vel quoquo modo innotuerint, sub generali nomine monachorum vestrum propositum blasphematur, tam bonum, tam sanctum, quod in Christi nomine cupimus, sicut per alias terras, sic per totam Africam pullulare. Nonne ergo inflammamini zelo Dei? Nonne concalescit cor vestrum intra vos, et in meditatione vestra exardescit ignis (Psal. XXXVIII, 4), ut istorum mala opera bonis operibus persequamini, ut eis amputetis occasionem turpium nundinarum, quibus existimatio vestra laeditur, et infirmis offendiculum ponitur? Miseremini ergo et compatimini, et ostendite hominibus, non vos in otio facilem victum, sed per angustam et arctam viam hujus propositi, regnum Dei quaerere. Eadem vobis causa est quae Apostolo fuit, ut amputetis occasionem iis qui quaerunt occasionem (II Cor. XI, 12), ut qui illorum putoribus praefocantur, in odore vestro bono reficiantur.