38. These things, my brother Aurelius, most dear unto 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 license of vacation from labor, and the false name of sanctity? Let it be known then to the rest, our brethren and sons, who are accustomed to favor such men, and through ignorance to defend this kind of presumption, that they need themselves most chiefly to be corrected, in order that those may be corrected, nor that they become “weary in well-doing.”128 2 Thess. iii. 13 Truly, in that they do promptly and with alacrity minister unto the servants of God the things they 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.
38. Timet ne desidia malorum pigrescentes boni corrumpantur. Haec, mi charissime, et in Christi visceribus venerande frater Aureli, quantum donavit ut possem, qui per te mihi jussit ut facerem, de opere monachorum non distuli scribere; id maxime curans, ne boni fratres apostolicis praeceptis obedientes, a pigris et inobedientibus etiam praevaricatores Evangelii dicerentur: ut qui non operantur, saltem illos qui operantur sibi anteponendos esse non dubitent. Caeterum quis ferat homines contumaces 0578 saluberrimis Apostoli monitis resistentes, non sicut infirmiores tolerari, sed sicut etiam sanctiores praedicari; ut monasteria doctrina saniore fundata, gemina illecebra corrumpantur, et dissoluta licentia vacationis, et falso nomine sanctitatis? Sciant ergo etiam caeteri fratres et filii nostri, qui favere talibus, et hujusmodi praesumptionem per ignorantiam defendere consuerunt, se potissimum corrigendos, ut illi corrigi possint, non ut infirmentur, benefacere. Sane in eo quod servis Dei prompte atque alacriter necessaria subministrant, non solum non reprehendimus, sed etiam suavissime amplectimur: sed ne perversa misericordia magis eorum futurae vitae noceant, quam praesenti subveniant.