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

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,” saith he, “leave20    Licentiam to eat and to drink? have we not leave to lead about a woman, a sister?” What leave meant he, but what the Lord gave unto them whom He sent to preach the kingdom of heaven, saying, “Those things which are (given) of them, eat ye;21    Luke x. 7. “Ea quæ ab ipsis sunt.” for the workman is worthy of his hire;” and proposing Himself as an example of the same power, to Whom most faithful women did of their means minister such necessaries? But the Apostle Paul hath done more, from his fellow-Apostles alleging a proof of this license permitted of the Lord. For not as finding fault hath he subjoined, “As do also the other Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas;” but that hence he might show that this which he would not accept was a thing which, that it was lawful for him to accept was proved by the wont of the rest also his fellow-soldiers. “Or I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?” Lo, he hath taken away all doubt even from the slowest hearts, that they may understand of what working he speaks. For to what end saith he, “Or I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?” but for that all evangelists and ministers of God’s word had power received of the Lord, not to work with their hands, but to live by the Gospel, working only spiritual works in preaching of the kingdom of heaven and edifying of the peace of the Church? For no man can say that it is of that very spiritual working that the Apostle said, “Or I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?” For this power to forbear working all those had: let him say then, who essays to deprave and pervert precepts Apostolical; let him say, if he dares that all evangelists received of the Lord power to forbear preaching the Gospel. But if this is most absurd and mad to say, why will they not understand what is plain to all, that they did indeed receive power not to work, but works bodily, whereby to get a living, because “the workman is worthy of his hire,” as the Gospel speaks. It is not therefore that Paul and Barnabas only had not power to forbear working; but that all alike had this power of which these availed not themselves in “laying out more” upon the Church; so as in those places where they preached the Gospel they judged to be meet for the weak. And for this reason, that he might not seem to have found fault with his fellow-Apostles, he goes on to say: “Who goeth a warfare at any time at his own charges? Who feedeth a flock, and of the milk of the flock partaketh not? Speak I these things as a man? Saith not the Law the same? For in the law of Moses it is written, Thou shall not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God care for oxen? Or saith he it for our sake altogether? For our sakes truly is it written, because he that plougheth ought to plough in hope, and he that thresheth in hope of partaking of the fruits.”22    1 Cor. ix. 7–10. [See R.V.] By these words the Apostle Paul sufficiently indicates, that it was no usurping unto themselves of aught beyond their due on the part of his fellow-Apostles, that they wrought not bodily, whence they might have the things which to this life are necessary, but as the Lord ordained, should, living by the Gospel, eat bread gratuitously given of them unto whom they were preaching a gratuitous grace. Their charges, namely, they did like soldiers receive, and of the fruit of the vineyard by them planted, they did, as need was, freely gather; and of the milk of the flock which they fed, they drank; and of the threshing-floor on which they threshed, they took their meat.


8. Potestatem non operandi datam Apostolis, esse intelligendam de opere corporali. Sed ad ordinem redeamus, ac totum ipsum Epistolae locum diligenter consideremus. Numquid, inquit, non habemus licentiam manducandi et bibendi? Numquid non habemus licentiam sororem mulierem circumducendi? Quam licentiam dixit, nisi quam Dominus dedit eis quos ad praedicandum regnum coelorum misit, dicens, Ea quae ab ipsissunt manducate: dignus est enim operarius mercede sua; et se ipsum proponens ad ejusdem potestatis exemplum, cui fidelissimae mulieres talia necessaria de suis facultatibus ministrabant? Amplius autem fecit apostolus Paulus, ut de coapostolis suis documentum adhiberet hujus licentiae a Domino permissae. Neque enim reprehendens subjecit, Sicut et caeteri Apostoli, et fratres Domini, et Cephas; sed ut hinc ostenderet hoc se accipere noluisse, quod ei licere accipere caeterorum etiam commilitonum ejus more probaretur. An ego solus et Barnabas non habemus potestatem non operandi? Ecce abstulit omnem dubitationem etiam tardissimis cordibus, ut intelligant de qua operatione dicat. Utquid enim ait, An ego solus et Barnabas non habemus potestatem non operandi? nisi quia omnes evangelistae et ministri verbi Dei habebant potestatem a Domino acceptam, ut non operarentur manibus suis, sed ex Evangelio viverent, operantes tantummodo spiritualia in praedicatione regni coelorum, et aedificatione pacis Ecclesiae. Neque enim quisquam potest dicere de ipsa spirituali operatione dixisse Apostolum, An ego solus et Barnabas non habemus potestatem non operandi? Hanc enim potestatem non operandi omnes illi habebant: dicat ergo qui conatur praecepta apostolica in sententiam suam depravare atque pervertere; dicat, si audet, omnes evangelistas a Domino accepisse potestatem non evangelizandi. At si hoc absurdissimum et insanissimum est dicere, cur nolunt intelligere quod omnibus pateat, accepisse quidem illos potestatem non operandi, sed opera corporalia quibus victum quaererent, quia dignus est operarius cibo suo et mercede sua, sicut Evangelium loquitur? Non ergo soli Paulus et Barnabas habebant potestatem non operandi; sed omnes pariter habebant hanc potestatem, qua isti non utebantur, amplius impendendo Ecclesiae, sicut in illis locis ubi evangelizabant, infirmis congruere judicabant. Et ideo, ne coapostolos suos reprehendisse videretur, subjungit et dicit: Quis militat suis stipendiis unquam? Quis pascit gregem, et de lacte gregis non percipit? Numquid secundum hominem haec loquor? An Lex non haec dicit? In lege enim Moysi scriptum est: Bovi trituranti os non infrenabis. Numquid de bobus pertinet ad Deum? An propter nos omnino dicit? Propter nos enim scriptum est, quia debet in spe 0555qui arat arare, et triturans in spe fructus participandi . His verbis satis indicat apostolus Paulus, non sibi aliquid usurpasse ultra debitum coapostolos suos, quia non operabantur corporaliter, unde haberent huic vitae necessaria , sed, sicut Dominus constituti, ex Evangelio viventes panem gratuitum manducarent ab eis quibus gratuitam gratiam praedicabant. Stipendium enim suum tanquam milites accipiebant, et de vineae per eos plantatae fructu, quod opus erat, libere decerpebant; et de gregis quem pascebant, lacte potabant; et ex area quam triturabant, cibum sumebant.