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

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.129    Ps. x. 3 [ix. 24] 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 disputing at all, saying, “If any chooseth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the Church of God.130    1 Cor. xi. 16, 17 Now this I command;”131    E.V. follows text rec. τοῦτο δὲ παραγγελλων οὐκ ἐπαινῶ, but good mss. and Versions besides the Ital. and Vulg, have τοῦτο δὲ παραγγελλω ουκ ἐπαινῶν, hoc autem prœcipio non laudans. 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 unto. 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 are 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 be held cheaper than long-haired; because forsooth he who sees them shall call to mind those ancients whom we read of, Samuel and the rest who did not cut off their hair.132    Numb. vi. 5 And they do not consider what is the difference between that prophetic veil, and this unveiling which is in the Gospel, of which the Apostle saith, “When thou shall go over133    Cum transieris. Gr. ἡνίκα δ᾽ ἄν ἐπιστρέψη, sc. ὁ Ἰσραὴλ Chrys. Theod. or τὶς Origen. unto Christ, the veil shall be taken away.”134    2 Cor. iii. 16 That, namely, which was signified in the veil interposed between the face of Moses and the beholding of the people Israel,135    Exod. xxxiv. 33 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 long 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-importance.136    Venalem typhum Just as if the Apostle were teaching pride when he says, “Every man praying or prophesying with veiled head shameth his head;”137    1 Cor. xi. 4 and, “A man ought not to veil his head, forsomuch as he is the image and glory of God.”138    1 Cor. xi. 14 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 meaning139    Sacramentum in time of Prophecy, be by these 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 trade,140    Species illa venalis because Samson was veiled not with haircloth, but with his long hair.

39. Minus enim peccatur, si non laudetur peccator in desideriis animae suae, et qui iniqua gerit benedicatur (Psal. IX, 24).


In Monachos crinitos. Quid autem iniquius, quam velle sibi obtemperari a minoribus, et nolle obtemperare majoribus? Apostolo dico, non nobis, in tantum ut etiam comam nutriant: unde ille nec disputari omnino voluit, dicens, Si quis vult contentiosus esse, nos talem consuetudinem non habemus, neque Ecclesia Dei. Hoc autem praecipio: ut scilicet non disserentis solertia requiratur, sed praecipientis auctoritas attendatur. Nam et hoc quo pertinet, quaeso, tam aperte contra Apostoli praecepta comari ? An ita vacandum est, ut nec tonsores operentur? An quia evangelicas volucres imitari se dicunt, quasi depilari timent, ne volare non possint? Vereor in hoc vitium plura dicere, propter quosdam crinitos fratres, quorum praeter hoc multa et pene omnia veneramur. Sed quo magis eos in Christo diligimus, eo sollicitius admonemus. Neque enim metuimus ne humilitas eorum respuat admonitionem nostram; quandoquidem et nos a talibus, ubi forte titubamus aut aberramus, cupimus admoneri. Hoc ergo admonemus tam sanctos viros, ne stultis vanorum argumentationibus moveantur, et eos in hac perversitate imitentur, quibus sunt in caeteris longe dissimiles. Illi enim venalem circumferentes hypocrisim, timent ne vilior habeatur tonsa sanctitas quam comata, ut videlicet qui eos videt, antiquos illos quos legimus cogitet, Samuelem et caeteros qui non tondebantur (Num. VI, 5). Nec cogitant quid intersit inter illud propheticum velamentum, et hanc Evangelii revelationem, de qua dicit Apostolus: Cum transieris ad Christum, auferetur velamen (II Cor. III, 16). Quod enim significabat velamen interpositum inter faciem Moysi et aspectum populi Israel (Exod. XXXIV, 33), hoc significabat illis temporibus etiam coma sanctorum. Nam idem apostolus etiam comam pro velamento esse dicit, cujus auctoritate isti urgentur. Aperte quippe ait: Vir quidem si comatus sit, ignominia est illi. Ipsam ignominiam, inquiunt, suscipimus merito peccatorum nostrorum: ad hoc obtendentes simulatae humilitatis umbraculum, ut sub eo 0579 proponant venalem typhum ; quasi Apostolus superbiam doceat, cum dicit, Omnis vir orans aut prophetans velato capite, confundit caput suum; et, Vir quidem non debet velare caput, cum sit imago et gloria Dei (I Cor. XI, 4-16). Qui ergo dicit, non debet, nescit forte docere humilitatem. Sed si hanc ignominiam tempore Evangelii, quod erat sacramentum tempore prophetiae, pro humilitate isti appetunt; tondeant, et cilicio caput velent. Sed non erit tunc species illa venalis, quia Samson non cilicio, sed coma velabatur (Judic. XVI, 17).