Of the Work of Monks.

 1. Thy bidding, holy brother Aurelius, it was meet that I should comply withal, with so much the more devotion, by how much the more it became clear u

 2. First then, it is to be seen, what is said by persons of that profession, who will not work: then, if we shall find that they think not aright, wha

 3. Nor do they attend to this, that if another should say, that the Lord indeed, speaking in parables and in similitudes concerning spiritual food and

 4. First then we ought to demonstrate that the blessed Apostle Paul willed the servants of God to work corporal works which should have as their end a

 5. I would, however, proceed to a more searching and diligent consideration and handling of these words, had I not other places of his Epistles much m

 6. Which thing whoso thinks cannot have been done by the Apostles, that with them women of holy conversation should go about wheresoever they preached

 7. But lest any should fancy that this was granted only to the twelve, see also what Luke relateth: “After these things,” saith he, “the Lord chose al

 8. But let us return to the order of our discourse, and the whole of the passage itself of the Epistle let us diligently consider. “Have we not,” sait

 9. But he speaks more openly in the rest which he subjoins, and altogether removes all causes of doubting. “If we unto you,” saith he, “have sown spir

 10. And he comes back again, and in all ways, over and over again, enforceth what he hath the right to do, yet doeth not. “Do ye not know,” saith he,

 11. And he goes on, and adjoins, lest perchance any should imagine that he only therefore received not, because they had not given: “But I have not wr

 12. But now, that as bearing with the infirmity of men he did this, let us hear what follows: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myse

 13. Of this weakness of his, he saith in another place, “We made ourselves small among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children.” For in that pass

 14. Here peradventure some man may say, “If it was bodily work that the Apostle wrought, whereby to sustain this life, what was that same work, and wh

 15. But when he might use to work, that is, in what spaces of time, that he might not be hindered from preaching the Gospel, who can make out? Though,

 16. For he himself also, with an eye to the like necessities of saints, who, although they obey his precepts, “that with silence they work and eat the

 17. On account then of these either occupations of the servants of God, or bodily infirmities, which cannot be altogether wanting, not only doth the A

 18. And a little after he saith, “For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you. For I know the forwardness

 19. As therefore the Apostle, nay rather the Spirit of God possessing and filling and actuating his heart, ceased not to exhort the faithful who had s

 20. For what these men are about, who will not do bodily work, to what thing they give up their time, I should like to know. “To prayers,” say they, “

 21. Moreover, if discourse must be bestowed upon any, and this so take up the speaker that he have not time to work with his hands, are all in the mon

 22. There also is said at what work the Apostle wrought. “After these things,” it says, “he departed from Athens and came to Corinth and having found

 23. Hence arises another question for peradventure one may say, “What then? did the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas, sin, in

 24. This question I should briefly solve, if I should say, because I should also justly say, that we must believe the Apostle. For he himself knew why

 25. If at the least they once had in this world wherewithal they might easily without handiwork sustain this life, which property, when they were conv

 26. That, namely, befalleth them which in undisciplined younger widows, the same Apostle saith must be avoided: “And withal they learn to be idle and

 27. As it is, however, they, against the Apostle of Christ, recite a Gospel of Christ. For so marvellous are the works of the sluggards, hindered that

 28. Here then shall these persons in their turn be in another more sublime degree of righteousness outdone, by them who shall so order themselves, tha

 29. But let us grant this also, that the whole year round there may in the fields be found either of tree or of herbs or of any manner of roots, that

 30. Wherefore, that I may briefly embrace the whole matter, let these persons, who from perverse understanding of the Gospel labor to pervert apostoli

 31. For if they be urged from the Gospel that they should put nothing by for the morrow, they most rightly answer, “Why then had the Lord Himself a ba

 32. Some man will say: “What then does it profit a servant of God, that, having left the former doings which he had in the world he is converted unto

 33. Wherefore even they which having relinquished or distributed their former, whether ample or in any sort opulent, means, have chosen with pious and

 34. But then the Lord saith, “Be not solicitous for your life what ye shall eat, nor for the body, what ye shall put on.” Rightly: because He had said

 35. And that which follows concerning birds of the air and lilies of the field, He saith to this end, that no man may think that God careth not for th

 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 an

 37. We are not binding heavy burdens and laying them upon your shoulders, while we with a finger will not touch them. Seek out, and acknowledge the la

 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 Wh

 39. For there is less sin, if people do not praise the sinner in the desires of his soul, and speak good of him who practiseth iniquities. Now what is

 40. And then that further device of theirs, (if words can express it), how painfully ridiculous is it, which they have invented for defense of their l

 41. Wherefore, they which will not do right things, let them give over at least to teach wrong things. Howbeit they be others whom in this speech we r

6. Which thing whoso thinks cannot have been done by the Apostles, that with them women of holy conversation should go about wheresoever they preached the Gospel, that of their substance they might minister to their necessities, let him hear the Gospel, and learn how in this they did after the example of the Lord Himself. Our Lord, namely, according to the wont of His pity, sympathizing with the weak, albeit Angels might minister unto Him, had both a bag in which should be put the money which was bestowed doubtless by good and believing persons, as necessary for their living, (which bag He gave in charge to Judas, that even thieves, if we could not keep clear of such, we might learn to tolerate in the Church. He, namely, as is written of him, “stole14    “Auferebat.” what was put therein:”) and He willed that women should follow Him for the preparing and ministering what was necessary, showing what was due to evangelists and ministers of God as soldiers, from the people of God as the provincials; so that if any should not choose to use that which is due unto him, as Paul the Apostle did not choose, he might bestow the more upon the Church, by not exacting the pay which was due to him, but by earning his daily living of his own labors. For it had been said to the inn-keeper to whom that wounded man was brought, “Whatever thou layest out more, at my coming again I will repay thee.”15    Luke x. 35 The Apostle Paul, then, did “lay out more,”16    1 Cor. ix. 7–15; and 2 Cor. xi. 7 in that he, as himself witnesseth, did at his own charges go a warfare. In the Gospel, namely, it is written, “Thereafter also Himself was making a journey through cities and villages preaching and evangelizing of the kingdom of God; and the twelve with Him, and certain women which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who is called Magdalene, out of whom seven devils had gone forth, and Joanna wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered unto Him of their substance.”17    Luke viii. 1–3. [See R.V.] This example of the Lord the Apostles did imitate, to receive the meat which was due unto them; of which the same Lord most openly speaketh: “As ye go,” saith He, “preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out devils. Freely have ye received, freely give. Possess not gold nor silver nor money in your purses, neither scrip on your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, neither staff: for the workman is worthy of his meat.”18    Matt. x. 7–10 Lo, where the Lord appointeth the very thing which the Apostle doth mention. For to this end He told them not to carry all those things, namely, that where need should be, they might receive them of them unto whom they preached the kingdom of God.


6. Apostolis permissum mulieres sibi ministrantes secum habere exemplo Christi. Quod quisquis putat non potuisse ab Apostolis fieri, ut cum eis sanctae conversationis mulieres circuirent, quacumque Evangelium praedicabant, ut eis de sua substantia ministrarent necessaria, Evangelium audiat, et cognoscat quemadmodum hoc ipsius Domini exemplo faciebant. Dominus enim noster more misericordiae suae infirmioribus compatiens, cum ei possent Angeli ministrare, et loculos habebat, quo mitteretur pecunia, quae conferebatur utique a bonis fidelibus eorum victui necessaria: quos loculos Judae commendavit, ut etiam fures si evitare non possemus, tolerare in Ecclesia disceremus. Ille enim ea quae mittebantur, sicut 0553 de illo scriptum est, auferebat (Joan. XII, 6). Et mulieres voluit ut se ad praeparanda et ministranda necessaria sequerentur, ostendens quid evangelistis et ministris Dei tanquam militibus, a plebibus Dei tanquam provincialibus deberetur; ut si quis eo quod sibi deberetur, uti nollet, sicut Paulus apostolus noluit, amplius impenderet Ecclesiae, non exigendo stipendium debitum, sed quotidianum victum de suis laboribus transigendo. Audierat enim stabularius, ad quem vulneratus ille perductus est: Si quid amplius erogaveris, in redeundo reddam tibi (Luc. X, 35). Amplius ergo erogabat apostolus Paulus, qui suis, ut ipse testatur, stipendiis militabat (I Cor. IX, 7-15, et II Cor. XI, 7). In Evangelio enim scriptum est: Deinceps et ipse iter faciebat per civitates et castella praedicans et evangelizans regnum Dei; et duodecim cum illo, et mulieres aliquae quae erant curatae a spiritibus malignis et infirmitatibus: Maria quae vocatur Magdalene, de qua daemonia septem exierant , et Joanna uxor Chuzae procuratoris Herodis, et Susanna, et aliae multae, quae ministrabant eis de facultatibus suis (Luc. VIII, 1-3). Hoc exemplum Domini imitabantur Apostoli, ad accipiendum sibi debitum cibum; de quo idem Dominus apertissime loquitur: Euntes, inquit, praedicate dicentes, quia appropinquavit regnum coelorum. Infirmos curate, mortuos suscitate, leprosos mundate, daemonia ejicite. Gratis accepistis, gratis date. Nolite possidere aurum, neque argentum, neque pecuniam in zonis vestris, neque peram in via, neque duas tunicas, neque calceamenta, neque virgam: dignus est enim operarius cibo suo (Matth. X, 7-10). Ecce ubi constituit Dominus quod idem apostolus commemorat. Ad hoc enim dixit illa omnia ne portarent, ut ubi opus esset, ab eis acciperent quibus annuntiabant regnum Dei.