on Friendship


 Ambrose, Milan, ca. 420. 

Abba Menas and Christ

AUDIO LECTURE: Ambrose and Cassian on Friendship)

 Ambrose on Friendship






Three Books on the Duties of the Clergy
BOOK 3 (NPNF 2ser. vol. 10) PL 16. 178-185












Esther in danger of her life followed the grace of virtue; nay, even a heathen king did so, when death was threatened to a man most friendly to him, For friendship must ever be combined with virtue, as the examples of Jonathan and Ahimelech show.

Esther vitae periculo honestatis decus secutam esse, immo et regem barbarum, illata nece viro amicissimo; amicitiam enim honestati semper conjungendam, ut Jonathae atque Alchimelech exempla probant.





123. WHY did Queen Esther (Esther 4:16) expose herself to death and not fear the wrath of a fierce king? Was it not to save her people from death, an act both seemly and virtuous? The king of Persia himself also, though fierce and proud, yet thought it seemly to show honor to the man who had given information about a plot which had been laid against himself, (Esther 4:10) to save a free people from slavery, to snatch them from death, and not to spare him who had pressed on such unseemly plans. So finally he handed over to the gallows (Esther 7:9, Esther 7:10) the man that stood second to himself, and whom he counted chief among all his friends, because he considered that he had dishonored him by his false counsels.

123. Quid Esther regina, nonne ut populum suum periculo exueret, quod erat decorum atque [179C] honestum, morti se obtulit, nec immitis regis trepidavit furorem (Esther IV, 16)? Ipse quoque rex Persarum ferox, atque tumido corde, tamen decorum judicavit indici insidiarum quae sibi paratae forent, gratiam repraesentare, populumque liberum a servitute eripere, eruere neci,  nec parcere ei, qui tam indecora suasisset (Esther VI, 3 et seq.). Denique quem secundum a se, ac praecipuum inter omnes amicos haberet, cruci tradidit, quod dehonestatum se ejus fraudulentis consiliis animadvertisset (Esther VII, 9).





124. For that commendable friendship which maintains virtue is to be preferred most certainly to wealth, or honors, or power. It is not wont to be preferred to virtue indeed, but to follow after it. (Cic. de Off. III:10, §43) So it was with Jonathan, (1 Sam. [1 Ki.] 30:27) who for his affection’s sake avoided not his father’s displeasure nor the danger to his own safety. So, too, it was with Ahimelech, who, to preserve the duties of hospitality, thought he must endure death rather than betray his friend when fleeing. (1 Sam. [1 Ki.] 22:17)

124. Ea enim   amicitia probabilis, quae honestatem tuetur, praeferenda sane opibus, honoribus, potestatibus: honestati vero praeferri non solet, sed honestatem sequi. Qualis fuit Jonathae, qui pro pietate [179D] nec offensam patris, nec salutis periculum refugiebat (I Reg. XX, 29 et seq.). Qualis fuit Abimelech, qui pro hospitalis gratiae officiis necem potius [180A] sui, quam proditionem fugientis amici, subeundam arbitrabatur (I Reg. XXI, 6).









Friendship is the guardian of virtues, which are not to be found but in men of like character. It must be mild in rebuking and averse to seeking its own advantage; whence it happens that true friends are scarce among the rich. What is the dignity of friendship? The treachery of a friend, as it is worse, so it is also more hateful than another’s, as is recognized from the example of Judas and of Job’s friends.

Amicitiam virtutum custodem esse, nec nisi in similium morum hominibus inveniri. Eamdem in corripiendo mitem, atque a propriis commodis alienam esse oportere; et inde quam rari divitibus veri amici! Quanta amicitiae dignitas; quae quo major, eo detestabilior amici perfidia, ut Judae atque amicorum Job exemplis cognoscitur.





No Compromise in Virtue




125. NOTHIING, then, must be set before virtue; and that it may never be set aside by the desire for friendship, Scripture also gives us a warning on the subject of friendship. There are, indeed various questions raised among philosophers; (Cic. de Off. 3:10) for instance whether a man ought for the sake of a friend to plot against his country or not, so as to serve his friend? Whether it is right to break one’s faith, and so aid and maintain a friend’s advantage?

[180B] 125. Nihil igitur praeferendum honestati, quae tamen ne amicitiae studio praetereatur, etiam hoc Scriptura admonet de  amicitia. Sunt enim pleraeque philosophorum quaestiones:  utrum amici causa quisquam contra patriam sentire necne debeat, ut 3amico obediat? Utrum oporteat ut fidem deserat, dum indulget atque intendit amici commoditatibus?





Friends Willing to Accept




126. And Scripture also says: “A maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow, so is a man that bears false witness against his friend.” (Prov. 25:18) But note what it adds. It blames not witness given against a friend, but false witness. For what if the cause of God or of one’s country compels one to give witness? Ought friendship to take a higher place than our religion, or our love for our fellow-citizens? In these matters, however, true witness is required so that a friend may not be assailed by the treachery of a friend, by whose good faith he ought to be acquitted. A man, then, ought never to please a friend who desires evil, or to plot against one who is innocent.

126. Et Scriptura quidem ait: Clava, et gladius, et sagitta ferrata, sic homo est testimonium dans falsum adversus amicum suum (Prov. XXV, 18). Sed considera quid astruat. Non testimonium reprehendit dictum in amicum, sed falsum testimonium. Quid enim si Dei causa, quid si patriae cogatur aliquis dicere testimonium? Numquid praeponderare debet  amicitia religioni,  praeponderare charitati civium? [180C] 139 In his tamen ipsis rebus requirenda est veritas testimonii; ne amicus appetatur amici perfidia, cujus fide absolvi debeat. Amicus itaque neque noxio gratificari debet, neque innocenti insidiari.





127. Certainly, if it is necessary to give witness, then, when one knows of any fault in a friend, one ought to rebuke him secretly—if he does not listen, one must do it openly. For rebukes are good, (Cic. de Off. I:17) and often better than a silent friendship. Even if a friend thinks himself hurt, still rebuke him; and if the bitterness of the correction wounds his mind, still rebuke him and fear not. “The wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of flatterers:” (Prov. 27:6) Rebuke, then, thy erring friend; forsake not an innocent one. For friendship ought to be steadfast (Cic. de Amic. 19, §67) and to rest firm in true affection. We ought not to change our friends in childish fashion at some idle fancy.

127. Sane si necesse sit dicere testimonium, si quid in amico vitii cognoverit,  corripere occulte; si non audierit, corripere palam. Sunt enim bonae correptiones, et plerumque meliores quam tacita  amicitia. Et si laedi se putat amicus, tu tamen corripe; et si amaritudo correctionis animum ejus vulneret, tu tamen corripe, ne verearis:  Tolerabilia sunt enim amici vulnera, quam adulantium oscula (Prov. XXVII, 6). Errantem igitur amicum corripe, innocentem amicum ne deseras.  Constans enim debet esse  amicitia, perseverare in affectu; [180D] non puerili modo amicos mutare vaga quadam debemus sententia.






128. OPEN your breast to a friend that he may be faithful to you, and that you may receive from him the delight of your life. “For a faithful friend is the medicine of life and the grace of immortality.” (Ecclus. 6:16)

128. Aperi  pectus tuum amico, ut fidelis sit tibi [181A] et capias ex eo vitae tua jucunditatem. Fidelis enim amicus medicamentum est vitae, et immortalitatis gratia (Eccli. VI, 16)

GIVE way to a friend as to an equal, and do not be ashamed to anticipate your friend in showing courtesy [doing kindness]. For friendship knows nothing of pride.

Defer amico ut aequali, nec te pudeat ut praevenias amicum officio;  amicitia enim nescit superbiam.

So the wise man says: “Do not blush to greet a friend.” (Ecclus. 22:25)

Ideo enim Sapiens dicit: Amicum salutare non erubescas (Eccli. XXII, 31)

DO not desert a friend in time of need, nor forsake him nor fail him, for friendship is the support of life. Let us then bear our burdens as the Apostle has taught: (Gal. 6:2) for he spoke to those whom the charity of the same one body had embraced together. If friends in prosperity help friends, why do they not also in times of adversity offer their support? Let us aid by giving counsel, let us offer our best endeavours, let us sympathize with them with all our heart.

 Nec deseras amicum in necessitate, nec derelinquas eum, neque destituas; quoniam  amicitia vitae adjumentum est. Ideo onera nostra portemus, sicut Apostolus docuit (Galat. VI, 2); dicit enim his  quos ejusdem corporis complexa est charitas. Etenim si amici secundae res amicos adjuvant, cur non et in adversis amici rebus amicorum adjumentum suppetat? Juvemus consilio, conferamus studia, compatiamur affectu.





129. IF necessary, let us endure for a friend even hardship. Often enmity has to be borne for the sake of a friend’s innocence; oftentimes revilings, if one defends and answers for a friend who is found fault with and accused. Do not be afraid of such displeasure, for the voice of the just says: “Though evil come upon me, I will endure it for a friend’s sake.” (Ecclus. 22:26) In adversity, too, a friend is proved, for in prosperity all seem to be friends. But as in adversity patience and endurance are needed, so in prosperity strong influence is wanted to check and confute the arrogance of a friend who becomes overbearing.

[181B] 129. Si necesse est, toleremus propter amicum etiam aspera. Plerumque inimicitiae subeundae sunt propter amici innocentiam, saepe obtrectationes, si restiteris vel responderis, cum amicus arguitur et accusatur. Nec te poeniteat ejusmodi offensionis; justi enim vox est: Etsi mala mihi evenerint propter amicum, sustineo (Eccli. XXII, 31). In adversis enim amicus probatur; nam in prosperis amici omnes videntur. Sed ut in adversis amici patientia et tolerantia necessaria, sic in prosperis auctoritas congrua est; ut insolentiam extollentis se amici reprimat et redarguat.





130. How nobly Job when he was in adversity said: “Pity me, my friends, pity me.” (Job. 19:21) That is not a cry as it were of misery, but rather one of blame. For when he was unjustly reproached by his friends, he answered: “Pity me, my friends,” that is, ye ought to show pity, but instead ye assail and overwhelm a man with whose sufferings ye ought to show sympathy for friendship’s sake.

130. Quam pulchre in adversis positus Job dicit: Miseremini mei, amici, miseremini (Job. XIX, 21). Non quasi abjecta vox ista est, sed quasi censoria. [181C] Nam cum injuste argueretur ab amicis, respondit: Miseremini mei, amici; hoc est, misericordiam debetis facere: opprimitis autem vos et impugnatis hominem, cujus aerumnis compati 140 pro  amicitia vos oportebat.









131. Preserve, then, my sons, that friendship ye have begun with your brethren, for nothing in the world is more beautiful than that. It is indeed a comfort in this life to have one to whom thou canst open thy heart, (Cic. de Amic. 6, §22) with whom thou canst share confidences, and to whom thou canst entrust the secrets of thy heart. It is a comfort to have a trusty man by thy side, who will rejoice with thee in prosperity, sympathize in troubles, encourage in persecution. What good friends those Hebrew children were whom the flames of the fiery furnace did not separate from their love of each other! (Dan. 3:16 ff) Of them we have already spoken. Holy David says well: “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant, inseparable in their life, in death they were not divided.” (2 Sam. [2 Ki.] 1:23)

131. Servate igitur, filii, initam cum fratribus amicitiam, qua nihil est in rebus humanis pulchrius.  Solatium quippe vitae hujus est, ut habeas cui pectus aperias tuum, cum quo arcana participes, cui committas secretum pectoris tui; ut colloces tibi fidelem virum, qui in prosperis gratuletur tibi, in tristibus compatiatur, in persecutionibus adhortetur. Quam boni amici Hebraei pueri, quos a sui [182A] amore nec fornacis ardentis flamma divisit (Dan. III, 16 et seq.)! De quo supra diximus (Supr. c. 9). Bene ait sanctus David: Saul et Jonathas speciosi et charissimi, inseparabiles in vita sua, et in morte non sunt separati (II Reg. I, 23).









132. This is the fruit of friendship; and so faith (Cic. de Off. III:10, §44). may not be put aside for the sake of friendship. He cannot be a friend to a man who has been unfaithful to God. Friendship is the guardian of pity and the teacher of equality, so as to make the superior equal to the inferior, and the inferior to the superior. (Cic. de Amic. 19, §69) For there can be no friendship between diverse characters, (Cic. de Amic. 14, §50) and so the good-will of either ought to be mutually suited to the other. Let not authority be wanting to the inferior if the matter demands it, nor humility to the superior. Let him listen to the other as though he were of like position—an equal, and let the other warn and reprove like a friend, not from a desire to show off, but with a deep feeling of love.

132. Hic est amicitiae fructus,  ut non fides  propter amicitiam destruatur. Non potest enim homini amicus esse, qui Deo fuerit infidus. Pietatis custos  amicitia est, et aequalitatis magistra; ut superior inferiori se exhibeat aequalem, inferior superiori. Inter  dispares enim mores non potest esse  amicitia; et ideo convenire sibi utriusque debet gratia. Nec auctoritas desit inferiori, si res poposcerit, nec humilitas superiori. Audiat quasi parem, quasi aequalem: et ille quasi amicus moneat, objurget, [182B] non jactantiae studio, sed affectu charitatis.





133. Let not thy warning be harsh, nor thy rebuke bitter, (Cic. de Off. I, 38, §137) for as friendship ought to avoid flattery, so, too, ought it to be free from arrogance. For what is a friend but a partner in love, (Cic. de Amic. 21, §80) to whom thou unitest and attachest thy soul, and with whom thou blendest so as to desire from being two to become one; to whom thou entrustest thyself as to a second self, from whom thou fearest nothing, and from whom thou demandest nothing dishonourable for the sake of thine own advantage. Friendship is not meant as a source of revenue, (Cic. de Amic. 15, §51) but is full of seemliness, full of grace. Friendship is a virtue, not a way of making money. It is produced, not by money, but by esteem; not by the offer of rewards, but by a mutual rivalry in doing kindnesses.

133. Neque monitio aspera sit, neque objurgatio contumeliosa; sicut enim adulationis fugitans  amicitia debet esse, ita etiam aliena insolentiae. Quid est enim amicus, nisi consors amoris,  ad quem animum tuum adjungas atque applices, et ita misceas, ut unum velis fieri ex duobus, cui te tamquam alteri tibi committas, a quo nihil timeas, nihil ipse commodi tui causa inhonestum petas?  Non enim vectigalis  amicitia est, sed plena decoris, plena gratiae. Virtus est enim  amicitia, non quaestus; quia  non pecunia paritur, sed gratia: nec licitatione pretiorum, sed concertatione benevolentiae.





Kenotic, Self-Outpouring Honesty

in Friendship



134. Lastly, the friendships of the poor are generally better than those of the rich, (Cic. Lact. 15, §53) and often the rich are without friends, whilst the poor have many. For true friendship cannot exist where there is lying flattery. Many try fawningly to please the rich, but no one cares to make pretence to a poor man. Whatsoever is stated to a poor man is true, his friendship is free from envy.

134. Denique meliores amicitiae sunt inopum plerumque quam  divitum: et frequenter divites sine [182C] amicis sunt, quibus abundant pauperes. Non est enim vera  amicitia, ubi est fallax adulatio. Divitibus itaque plerique assentatorie gratificantur: erga pauperem  nemo simulator est. Verum est quidquid defertur pauperi, hujus  amicitia invidia vacat.





135. What is more precious than friendship which is shared alike by angels and by men? Wherefore the Lord Jesus says: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that they may receive you into eternal habitations.” (Lk 16:9) God Himself makes us friends instead of servants, as He Himself says: “Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (Jn 15:14) He gave us a pattern of friendship to follow. We are to fulfil the wish of a friend, to unfold to him our secrets which we hold in our own hearts, and are not to disregard his confidences. Let us show him our heart and he will open his to us. Therefore He says: “I have called you friends, for I have made known unto you all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father.” (Jn 15:15) A friend, then, if he is a true one, hides nothing; he pours forth his soul as the Lord Jesus poured forth the mysteries of His Father.

135. Quid  amicitia pretiosius, quae angelis communis et hominibus est? Unde et Dominus Jesus dicit: Facite vobis amicos de iniquo mammona, qui recipiant vos in aeterna tabernacula sua (Luc. XVI, 9). Ipse nos Deus amicos ex servulis facit, sicut ipse 141 ait: Jam vos amici mei estis, si feceritis quae ego praecipio vobis (Joan. XV, 14). Dedit formam amicitiae quam sequamur, ut faciamus amici voluntatem, utaperiamus [183A] secreta nostra amico quaecumque in pectore habemus, et illius arcana non ignoremus. Ostendamus illi nos pectus nostrum, et ille nobis aperiat suum. Ideo, inquit, vos dixi amicos, quia omnia quaecumque audivi a Patre meo, nota feci vobis (Joan. XV, 14). Nihil ergo occultat amicus, si verus est: effundit animum suum, sicut effundebat mysteria Patris Dominus Jesus.





136. So he who does the will of God is His friend and is honoured with this name. He who is of one mind with Him, he too is His friend. For there is unity of mind in friends, and no one is more hateful than the man that injures friendship. Hence in the traitor the Lord found this the worst point on which to condemn his treachery, namely, that he gave no sign of gratitude and had mingled the poison of malice at the table of friendship. So He says: “It was thou, a man of like mind, My guide and Mine acquaintance, who ever didst take pleasant meals with Me.” (Ps:54 [55.]:13, Ps:54 [55.]:14) That is: it could not be endured, for thou didst fall upon Him Who granted grace to thee. “For if My enemy had reproached Me I could have borne it, (Ps:54 [55.]:12) and I would have hid Myself from him who hated Me.” An enemy can be avoided; a friend cannot, if he desires to lay a plot. Let us guard against him to whom we do not entrust our plans; we cannot guard against him to whom we have already entrusted them. And so to show up all the hatefulness of the sin He did not say: Thou, My servant, My apostle; but thou, a man of like mind with Me; that is: thou art not My but thy own betrayer, for thou didst betray a man of like mind with thyself.

136. Ergo qui facit mandata Dei, amicus est; et hoc honoratur nomine. Qui est unanimis, ipse amicus est: quod unitas animorum in amicis sit: neque quisquam detestabilior, quam qui amicitiam laeserit. Unde in proditore Dominus hoc gravissimum invenit, quod ejus condemnaret perfidiam, quod gratiae vicem non repraesentaverit, et conviviis amicitiae [183B] venenum malitiae miscuerit.  Itaque sic ait: Tu vero homo unanimis, dux meus et notus meus, qui semper mecum dulces capiebas cibos (Psal. LIV, 14)! Hoc est, non potest sustineri istud, quia unanimis appetisti eum, qui tibi donaverat gratiam: Nam si inimicus meus maledixisset mihi, sustinuissem utique (Ibid., 13); et ab eo qui me oderat, [184A] absconderem me. Inimicus vitari potest, amicus non potest, si insidiari velit. Illum cavemus cui non committimus consilia nostra: hunc cavere non possumus, cui commisimus. Itaque ad acervandam peccati invidiam non dixit: Tu vero servus meus, apostolus meus; sed: Unanimis meus; hoc est, non meus, sed etiam tuus proditor es, qui unanimem prodidisti.





137. The Lord Himself, when He was displeased with the three princes who had not deferred to holy Job, wished to pardon them through their friend, so that the prayer of friendship might win remission of sins. Therefore Job asked and God pardoned. Friendship helped them whom arrogance had harmed. (Job 43:7, Job 42:8)

137. Dominus ipse cum a tribus regibus offensus esset, qui sancto Job non detulissent, ignoscere his per amicum maluit, ut amicitiae suffragium remissio fieret peccatorum. Itaque rogavit Job, et Dominus ignovit. Profuit illis  amicitia, quibus obfuerat insolentia (Job, XLII, 7 et seq.).





138. These things I have left with you, my children, that you may guard them in your minds—you yourselves will prove whether they will be of any advantage. Meanwhile they offer you a large number of examples, for almost all the examples drawn from our forefathers, and also many a word of theirs, are included within these three books; so that, although the language may not be graceful, yet a succession of old-time examples set down in such small compass may offer much instruction.

CONCLUSIO. 138. Haec apud vos deposui, filii, quae custodiatis [184B] in animis vestris: quae utrum aliquid profectus habeant, vos probabitis; interim copiam multam exemplorum offerunt: nam prope omnia Majorum exempla, plurima quoque dicta his tribus inclusa libris tenentur; ut et si sermo nihil deferat gratiae, series tamen vetustatis quodam compendio expressa plurimum instructionis conferat.






Cassian Conference 16 






The First Conference of Abba Joseph
Quae est prima abbatis Joseph  DE AMICITIA

Cassian, Corvina, Paris, 1498







CHAPTER 1. What Abbot Joseph first asked us.

CAPUT I. Quid a nobis abba Ioseph primitus inquisierit



1. THE blessed Joseph, whose instructions and precepts are now to be set forth, and who was one of the three whom we mentioned in the first Conference, belonged to a most illustrious family, and was the chief man of his city in Egypt, which was named Thmuis, and so was carefully trained in the eloquence of Greece as well as Egypt, so that he could talk admirably with us or with those who were utterly ignorant of Egyptian, not as the others did through an interpreter, but in his own person. And when he found that we were anxious for instruction from him, he first inquired whether we were own brothers, and when he heard that we were united in a tie of spiritual and not carnal brotherhood, and that from the first commencement of our renunciation of the world we had always been joined together in an unbroken bond as well in our travels, which we had both undertaken for the sake of spiritual service, as also in the pursuits of the monastery, he began his discourse as follows.

I.  Beatus Ioseph, cuius nunc instituta ac praecepta pandenda sunt, unus e tribus quorum in prima conlatione fecimus mentionem , clarae admodum familiae ac primarius ciuitatis suae intra Aegyptum fuit, quae appellatur Thmuis, et ita non solum Aegyptia, sed etiam Graeca facundia diligenter edoctus, ut uel nobis uel his qui Aegyptiam linguam penitus ignorabant non ut ceteri per interpretem, sed per semet ipsum elegantissime disputaret. Qui cum institutionem suam nos desiderare sensisset, percontatus primum utrumnam essemus germani fratres audiensque a nobis quod non carnali, sed spiritali essemus fraternitate deuincti, nosque ab exordio renuntiationis nostrae tam in peregrinatione, quae ab utroque nostrum fuerat obtentu militiae spiritalis arrepta, quam in coenobii studio indiuidua semper coniunctione sociatos, tali usus est sermonis exordio.



CHAPTER 2. Discourse of the same elder on the untrustworthy sort of friendship.

CAPUT II. Disputatio ejusdem senis de infido amicitiarum genere.



2.1. THERE are many kinds of friendship and companionship which unite men in very different ways in the bonds of love.

II.  Amicitiarum ac sodalitatis multa sunt genera, quae diuersis modis humanum genus dilectionis societate conectunt.

[1] For some a previous recommendation makes to enter upon an intercourse first of acquaintance and afterwards even of friendship.

[2] In the case of others some bargain or an agreement to give and take something has joined them in the bonds of love.

[3] Others a similarity and union of business or science or art or study has united in the chain of friendship, by which even fierce souls become kindly disposed to each other, so that those, who in forests and mountains delight in robbery and revel in human bloodshed, embrace and cherish the partners of their crimes.

Quosdam enim praecedens conmendatio primum notitiae, post etiam amicitiae fecit inire conmercia.

In quibusdam uero contractus quidam seu dati acceptiue depectio caritatis foedera copulauit.

Quosdam negotiationis seu militiae uel artis ac studii similitudo atque conmunio amicitiarum uinculis nexuerunt, per quam ita etiam effera sibi inuicem corda mansuescunt, ut eitam hi qui in siluis ac montibus latrociniis gaudent et effusione humani sanguinis delectantur, suorum scelerum participes amplectantur ac foueant. 

[4] 2.2. But there is another kind of love, where the union is from the instincts of nature and the laws of consanguinity, whereby those of the same tribe, wives and parents, and brothers and children are naturally preferred to others, a thing which we find is the case not only with mankind but with all birds and beasts. For at the prompting of a natural instinct they protect and defend their offspring and their young ones so that often they are not afraid to expose themselves to danger and death for their sakes. Indeed those kinds of beasts and serpents and birds, which are cut off and separated from all others by their intolerable ferocity or deadly poison, as basilisks, unicorns and vultures, though by their very look they are said to be dangerous to every one, yet among themselves they remain peaceful and harmless owing to community of origin and fellow-feeling.

2. Est etiam dilectionis aliud genus, quod instinctu naturae ipsius et consanguinitatis lege conectitur, qua uel contribules uel coniuges uel parentes seu fratres ac filii naturaliter ceteris praeferuntur, quod non solum humano generi, uerum etiam omnibus alitibus atque animantibus inesse deprehenditur. Nam pullos uel catulos suos naturali affectu instigante sic protegunt ac defendunt, ut frequenter pro ipsis etiam obicere se periculis mortique non metuant. Denique etiam illa bestiarum uel serpentium uel alitum genera, quae intolerabilis feritas ac letale uirus ab omnibus separat ac secernit, ut sunt basilisci uel monocerotes uel grypes, cum etiam uisu ipso cunctis perniciosa esse dicantur, inter se tamen pro originis ipsius affectionisque consortio pacata et innoxia perseuerant. 

2.3. But we see that all these kinds of love of which we have spoken, as they are common both to the good and bad, and to beasts and serpents, certainly cannot last for ever. For often separation of place interrupts and breaks them off, as well as forgetfulness from lapse of time, and the transaction of affairs and business and words. For as they are generally due to different kinds of connexions either of gain, or desires, or kinship, or business, so when any occasion for separation intervenes they are broken off.

3. Sed haec omnia quae diximus genera caritatis sicut malis ac bonis, feris etiam atque serpentibus uidemus esse communia, ita etiam usque in finem certum est perseuerare non posse. Etenim interrumpit ea frequenter ac diuidit locorum discretio et obliuio temporalis et uerbi uel causae negotiorumque contractus. Vt enim ex diuersis uel lucri uel libidinis uel consanguinitatis ac necessitudinum uariarum societatibus adquiri solent, ita intercedente qualibet diuortii occasione soluuntur.



CHAPTER 3. How friendship is indissoluble.

CAPUT III. Unde indissolubilis amicitia sit.



3.1. AMONG all these then there is one kind of love which is indissoluble, where the union is owing not [:]

III.  In his igitur cunctis unum est genus insolubile caritatis,

[1] to the favour of a recommendation,

[2] or some great kindness or gifts,

[3] or the reason of some bargain, or the necessities of nature,

quod nec conmendationis gratia

nec officii uel munerum

magnitudo contractusue cuiusquam ratio uel naturae necessitas iungit,



This, I say, is what is broken by no chances, what no interval of time or space can sever or destroy, and what even death itself cannot part.

Haec, inquam, est quae nullis umquam casibus scinditur, quam non solum dissociare uel delere locorum uel temporum interualla non praeualent, sed ne mors quidem ipsa diuellit. 

3.2. This is true and unbroken love which grows by means of the double perfection and goodness of friends, and which, when once its bonds have been entered, no difference of liking and no disturbing opposition of wishes can sever. But we have known many set on this purpose, who though they had been joined together in companionship out of their burning love for Christ, yet could not maintain it continually and unbrokenly, because although they relied on a good beginning for their friendship, yet they did not with one and the same zeal maintain the purpose on which they had entered, and so there was between them a sort of love only for a while, for it was not maintained by the goodness of both alike, but by the patience of the one party, and so although it is held to by the one with unwearied heroism, yet it is sure to be broken by the pettiness of the other.

2. Haec est uera et indisrupta dilectio, quae gemina amicorum perfectione ac uirtute concrescit, cuius semel initum foedus nec desideriorum uarietas nec contentiosa disrumpet contrarietas uoluntatum. Ceterum multos nouimus in hoc proposito constitutos, qui cum pro caritate Christi flagrantissima essent sodalitate deuincti, non perpetuo eam nec indisrupte seruare potuerunt, quia, licet bono societatis principio niterentur, non tamen uno nec pari studio arreptum propositum tenuerunt fuitque inter eos quaedam temporalis adfectio, quia non aequali utriusque uirtute, sed unius patientia seruabatur : quae quamuis ab uno magnanimiter atque infatigabiliter retentetur, necesse est tamen eam alterius pusillanimitate disrumpi. 

3.3. For the infirmities of those who are somewhat cold in seeking the healthy condition of perfection, however patiently they may be borne by the strong, are yet not put up with by those who are weaker themselves. For they have implanted within them causes of disturbance which do not allow them to be at ease, just as those, who are affected by bodily weakness, generally impute the delicacy of their stomach and weak health to the carelessness of their cooks and servants, and however carefully their attendants may serve them, yet nevertheless they ascribe the grounds of their upset to those who are in good health, as they do not see that they are really due to the failure of their own health.

3. Infirmitates namque eorum qui tepidius perfectionis expetunt sanitatem, quantalibet fortium tolerantia sustententur, ab ipsis tamen qui infirmi sunt non feruntur. Habent enim insitas sibi conmotionum causas quae eos quietos esse non sinant : ut solent hi qui carnali aegritudine detinentur stomachi sui infirmitatisque fastidia coquorum uel ministrantium neglegentiis inputare, et quantalibet eis obsequentium sollicitudo deseruiat, nihilominus tamen sanis causas suae conmotionis adscribere, quas sibi utique uitio ualitudinis suae inesse non sentiunt. 

3.4. Wherefore this, as we said, is the sure and indissoluble union of friendship, where the tie consists only in likeness in goodness. For “the Lord makes men to be of one mind in an house.”(Ps. 67 (68):7) And therefore love can only continue undisturbed in those in whom there is but one purpose and mind to will and to refuse the same things. And if you also wish to keep this unbroken, you must be careful that having first got rid of your faults, you mortify your own desires, and with united zeal and purpose diligently fulfil that in which the prophet specially delights: “Behold how good and joyful a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”(Ps. 132 (133):1)

4. Quamobrem haec est amicitiae ut diximus fida insolubilisque coniunctio, quae sola uirtutum parilitate foederatur : dominus enim inhabitare facit unius moris in domo . Et idcirco in his tantum indisrupta potest dilectio permanere, in quibus unum propositum ac uoluntas, unum uelle ac nolle consistit. Quam si uos quoque cupitis inuiolabilem retentare, festinandum est uobis, ut expulsis primitus uitiis mortificetis proprias uoluntates et ut unito studio atque proposito illud quo propheta admodum delectatur gnauiter inpleatis : ecce quam bonum, et quam iucundum habitare fratres in unum . 

3.5. Which should be taken of unity of spirit rather than of place. For it is of no use for those who differ in character and purpose to be united in one dwelling, nor is it an hindrance for those who are grounded on equal goodness to be separated by distance of place. For with God the union of character, not of place, joins brethren together in a common dwelling, nor can unruffled peace ever be maintained where difference of will appears.

5. Quod non localiter, sed spiritaliter oportet intellegi. Nihil enim prodest si moribus ac proposito dissidentes una habitatione iungantur, nec obest parili uirtute fundatis per locorum interualla disiungi. Apud deum namque morum cohabitatio, non locorum, unita fratres habitatione coniungit, nec potest umquam pacis integritas custodiri, ubi uoluntatum diuersitas inuenitur.



CHAPTER 4. A question whether anything that is really useful should  be performed even against a brother’s wish.

CAPUT IV. Interrogatio, utrum utile aliquid etiam contra votum fratris effici debeat.



4. GERMANUS: What then? If when one party wants to do something which he sees is useful and profitable according to the mind of God, the other does not give his consent, ought it to be performed even against the wish of the brother, or should it be thrown on one side as he wants?

IIII.  GERMANVS : Quid ergo? Si uno uolente perficere aliquid, quod secundum deum conmodum et salubre perspexerit, alius non praestet adsensum, exsequendumne etiam contra uotum fratris est an pro eius arbitrio neglegendum?



CHAPTER 5. The answer, how a lasting friendship can only exist among those who are perfect.

CAPUT V. Responsio quod perpetua amicitia nisi inter perfectos stare non possit.



5. JOSEPH: For this reason we said that the full and perfect grace of friendship can only last among those who are perfect and of equal goodness, whose likemindedness and common purpose allows them either never, or at any rate hardly ever, to disagree, or to differ in those matters which concern their progress in the spiritual life. But if they begin to get hot with eager disputes, it is clear that they have never been at one in accordance with the rule which we gave above. But because no one can start from perfection except one who has begun from the very foundation, and your inquiring is not with regard to its greatness, but as to how you can attain to it, I think it well to explain to you, in a few words, the rule for it and the sort of path along which your steps should be directed, that you may be able more easily to secure the blessing of patience and peace.

V.  IOSEPH : Idcirco diximus plenam atque perfectam amicitiae gratiam nisi inter perfectos uiros eiusdemque uirtutis perseuerare non posse, quos eadem uoluntas unumque propositum aut numquam aut certe raro diuersa sentire aut in his quae ad profectum spiritalis pertinent uitae patitur dissidere. Quodsi animosis coeperint contentionibus aestuare, liquet utique eos numquam secundum regulam quam praediximus fuisse concordes. Sed quia nemo potest a perfectione habere principium, nisi qui ab ipso eius coeperit fundamento, et uos non quanta eius sit magnitudo, sed quemadmodum ad eam perueniri possit inquiritis, necessarium reor ut puacis regulam eius uobis ac tramitem quendam per quem gressus uestri dirigantur aperiam, ut patientiae ac pacis bonum facilius obtinere possitis.



CHAPTER 6. By what means union can be preserved unbroken.

CAPUT VI. Quibus modis inviolabilis possit societas retentari.



[1] 6.1. THE FIRST FOUNDATION then, of true friendship consists in contempt for worldly substance and scorn for all things that we possess. For it is utterly wrong and unjustifiable if, after the vanity of the world and all that is in it has been renounced, whatever miserable furniture remains is more regarded than what is most valuable; viz., the love of a brother.

VI.  Prima igitur sunt uerae amicitiae in contemptu substantiae mundialis et omnium quas habemus rerum despectione fundamina. Perquam enim iniustum atque inpium est, si post abrenuntiatam mundi et omnium quae in eo sunt uanitatem pretiosissimae fratris dilectioni supellex uilissima quae superfuit praeferatur.

[2] THE SECOND is for each man so to prune his own wishes that he may not imagine himself to be a wise and experienced person, and so prefer his own opinions to those of his neighbour.

Secundum est ut ita suas unusquisque resecet uoluntates, ne sapientem atque consultum esse se iudicans suis malit quam proximi definitionibus oboedire. 

[3] 6.2. THE THIRD is for him to recognize that everything, even what he deems useful and necessary, must come after the blessing of love and peace.

2. Tertium est ut sciat omnia, etiam quae utilia ac necessaria aestimat, postponenda bono caritatis ac pacis.

[4] The fourth for him to realize that he should never be angry for any reason good or bad.

Quartum ut credat nec iustis nec iniustis de causis penitus irascendum.

[5] THE FIFTH for him to try to cure any wrath which a brother may have conceived against him however unreasonably, in the same way that he would cure his own, knowing that the vexation of another is equally bad for him, as if he himself were stirred against another, unless he removes it, to the best of his ability, from his brother’s mind.

 Quintum ut aduersum se iracundiam fratris etiam sine ratione conceptam  eodem modo quo suam curare desideret, sciens aequaliter sibi perniciosam alterius esse tristitiam acsi aduersus alium ipse moueatur, nisi eam, quantum in se est, etiam de fratris mente depulerit.

[6] THE LAST is what is undoubtedly generally decisive in regard to all faults; viz., that he should realize daily that he is to pass away from this world;

Postremum illud est quod generale uitiorum omnium peremptorium esse non dubium est, ut se de hoc mundo credat cotidie migraturum. 

6.3. as the realization of this not only permits no vexation to linger in the heart, but also represses all the motions of lusts and sins of all kinds.

3. Quae persuasio non solum nullam in corde tristitiam residere permittet, uerum etiam uniuersos concupiscentiarum ac peccatorum omnium conprimet motus.

Whoever then has got hold of this, can neither suffer nor be the cause of bitter wrath and discord. But when this fails, as soon as he who is jealous of love has little by little infused the poison of vexation in the hearts of friends, it is certain that owing to frequent quarrels love will gradually grow cool, and at sometime or other he will part the hearts of the lovers, that have been for a long while exasperated.

Haec igitur quicumque tenuerit, amaritudinem irae atque discordiae nec pati poterit nec inferre. His autem cessantibus cum primum ille aemulus caritatis in cordibus amicorum tristitiae sensim uenena suffuderit, necesse est ut frequentibus iurgiis paulatim dilectione tepefacta amantium corda diu exulcerata quandoque dissociet.  











CHAPTER 7. How nothing should be put before love, or after anger.

CAPUT VII. Quod nihil charitati praeponendum sit, nec iracundiae postponendum.



7. AS then nothing should be put before love, so on the other hand nothing should be put below rage and anger. For all things, however useful and necessary they seem, should yet be disregarded that disturbing anger may be avoided, and all things even which we think are unfortunate should be undertaken and endured that the calm of love and peace may be preserved unimpaired, because we should reckon nothing more damaging than anger and vexation, and nothing more advantageous than love.

VII.  Sicut ergo nihil praeponendum est caritati, ita furori uel iracundiae nihil est e contrario postponendum. Omnia namque, quamuis utilia ac necessaria uideantur, spernenda sunt tamen, ut irae perturbatio deuitetur, et omnia etiam quae putantur aduersa suscipienda atque toleranda sunt, ut dilectionis pacisque tranquillitas inlibata seruetur, quia nec ira atque tristia perniciosius quicquam nec caritate utilius est credendum.



CHAPTER 10. On the best tests of truth.

CAPUT X. De optimo examine veritatis.



10. FOR I remember, that when my youthful age suggested to me to cling to a partner, thoughts of this sort often mingled with our moral training and the Holy Scriptures, so that we fancied that nothing could be truer or more reasonable: but when we came together and began to produce our ideas, in the general discussion which was held, some things were first noted by the others as false and dangerous, and then presently were condemned and pronounced by common consent to be injurious; though before they had seemed to shine as if with a light infused by the devil, so that they would easily have caused discord, had not the charge of the Elders, observed like some divine oracle, restrained us from all strife, that charge; namely, whereby it was ordered by them almost with the force of a law, that neither of us should trust to his own judgments more than his brother’s, if he wanted never to be deceived by the craft of the devil.

X.  Memini namque, cum me adhuc adhaerere consorti aetas iunior hortaretur, huiusmodi nobis intellegentiam uel in moralibus disciplinis uel in scripturis sacris frequenter insertam, ut nihil ea uerius nihilque rationabilius crederemus. Sed cum in unum conuenientes sententias nostras promere coepissemus, quaedam conmuni examinatione discussa primum ab altero falsa ac noxia notabantur, mox deinde ut perniciosa conmuni pronuntiata iudicio damnabantur : quae in tantum prius infusa a diabolo uelut luce fulgebant, ut facile potuissent generare discordiam, nisi praeceptum seniorum ueluti diuinum quoddam oraculum custoditum ab omni nos contentione reuocasset, quo ab illis legali quadam sanctione praescriptum est, ut neuter nostrum plus iudicio suo quam fratris crederet, si numquam uellet diaboli calliditate deludi.



CHAPTER 11. How it is impossible for one who trusts to his own judgment to escape being deceived by the devil’s illusions.

CAPUT XI. Quod impossibile sit quemquam qui proprio fidit judicio, diaboli illusione non decipi.



11.1. FOR often it has been proved that what the Apostle says really takes place. “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light,”(2 Cor. 11:14) so that he deceitfully sheds abroad a confusing and foul obscuration of the thoughts instead of the true light of knowledge. And unless these thoughts are received in a humble and gentle heart, and kept for the consideration of some more experienced brother or approved Elder, and when thoroughly sifted by their judgment, either rejected or admitted by us, we shall be sure to venerate in our thoughts an angel of darkness instead of an angel of light, and be smitten with a grievous destruction: an injury which it is impossible for any one to avoid who trusts in his own judgment, unless he becomes a lover and follower of true humility and with all contrition of heart fulfils what the Apostle chiefly prays for:

XI.  Etenim saepe illud quod apostolus dicit probatum est euenire : ipse enim Satanas transfigurat se in angelum lucis , ut obscuram ac taetram caliginem sensuum pro uero scientiae lumine fraudulenter offundat. Qui nisi humili et mansueto corde suscepti maturissimi fratris uel probatissimi senioris reseruentur examini et eorum iudicio diligenter excussi aut abiciantur aut recipiantur a nobis, sine dubio uenerantes in cogitationibus nostris pro angelo lucis angelum tenebrarum grauissimo feriemur interitu. quam perniciem inpossibile est euadere quempiam iudicio proprio confidentem, nisi humilitatis uerae amator et exsecutor effectus illud quod apostolus magnopere deprecatur omni contritione cordis inpleuerit : 

11.2. “If then there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any bowels of compassion, fulfil ye my joy, that you be of one mind, having the same love, being of one accord, doing nothing by contention, neither by vainglory; but in humility each esteeming others better than themselves;” and this: “in honour preferring one another,”(Phil. 2:1-3; Rom. 12:10) that each may think more of the knowledge and holiness of his partner, and hold that the better part of true discretion is to be found in the judgment of another rather than in his own.

2. si qua ergo consolatio in Christo, si quod solacium caritatis, si qua uiscera et miserationes, inplete gaudium meum, ut idem sapiatis, eandem caritatem habentes, unanimes, id ipsum sentientes, nihil per cotentionem neque per inanem gloriam, sed in humilitate superiores uobismet ipsis alterutrum arbitrantes , et illud : honore alterutrum praeuenientes , ut plus unusquisque consorti suo scientiae et sanctitatis adscribens summam discretionis uerae in alterius magis quam suo credat stare iudicio.



CHAPTER 14. On the different grades of love.

CAPUT XIV. De gradibus charitatis.



14.1. IT is possible then for all to show that love which is called agape, of which the blessed Apostle says: “While therefore we have time, let us do good unto all men, but specially to them that are of the household of faith.”(Gal. 6:10) And this should be shown to all men in general to such an extent that we are actually commanded by our Lord to yield it to our enemies, for He says: “Love your enemies.”(Matt. 5:44) But diathesis, i.e., affection is shown to but a few and those who are united to us by kindred dispositions or by a tie of goodness; though indeed affection seems to have many degrees of difference.

XIIII.  Illam igitur caritatem, quae dicitur ἀγάπη  possibile est omnibus exhiberi. De qua beatus apostolus ergo dum tempus habemus, inquit, operemur quod bonum est ad omnes, maxime autem ad domesticos fidei . Quae in tantum omnibus est generaliter exhibenda, ut eam etiam inimicis nostris a domino inbeamur inpendere : nam diligite, inquit, inimicos uestros. διάθεσις autem, id est adfectio, paucis admodum et his qui uel parilitate morum uel uirtutum societate conexi sunt exhibetur, licet etiam ipsa διάθεσις multam in se differentiam habere uideatur. 

14.2. For in one way we love our parents, in another our wives, in another our brothers, in another our children, and there is a wide difference in regard to the claims of these feelings of affection, nor is the love of parents towards their children always equal. As is shown by the case of the patriarch Jacob, who, though he was the father of twelve sons and loved them all with a father’s love, yet loved Joseph with deeper affection, as Scripture clearly shows: “But his brethren envied him, because his father loved him;”(Gen. 37:4) evidently not that that good man his father failed in greatly loving the rest of his children, but that in his affection he clung to this one, because he was a type of the Lord, more tenderly and indulgently.

2. Aliter enim parentes, aliter coniuges, aliter fratres, aliter filii diliguntur, et in ipsa quoque horum affectuum necessitudine magna distantia est, nec uniformis parentum dilectio erga filios inuenitur. Quod etiam Iacob patriarchae probatur exemplo, qui cum esset duodecim filiorum pater omnesque paterna caritate diligeret, tamen propenso Ioseph dilexit affectu, ut de eo aperte scriptura conmemoret : inuidebant autem ei fratres sui, eo quod diligeret eum pater suus : scilicet non quo uir iustus et pater non ualde diligeret etiam ceteram prolem, sed quod huius, quia typum domini praeferebat, affectui dulcius quodammodo atque indulgentius inhaereret. 

14.3. This also, we read, was very clearly shown in the case of John the Evangelist, where these words are used of him: “that disciple whom Jesus loved,”(John 13:23) though certainly He embraced all the other eleven, whom He had chosen in the same way, with His special love, as this He shows also by the witness of the gospel, where He says: “As I have loved you, so do ye also love one another;” of whom elsewhere also it is said: “Loving His own who were in the world, He loved them even to the end.”(John 13:34, 1) But this love of one in particular did not indicate any coldness in love for the rest of the disciples, but only a fuller and more abundant love towards the one, which his prerogative of virginity and the purity of his flesh bestowed upon him.

3. Hoc etiam de Iohanne euangelista legimus euidentissime designari, cum de ipso dicitur : discipulus ille, quem diligebat Iesus , cum utique etiam reliquos undecim similiter electos ita praecipua dilectione conplexus sit, ut hoc etiam euangelica adtestatione designet dicens : sicut dilexi uos, et uos diligite inuicem : de quibus et alibi dicitur : diligens suos qui erant in mundo, usque in finem dilexit eos . Sed hic unius dilectio non erga reliquos discipulos teporem caritatis, sed largiorem erga hunc superabundantiam amoris expressit, quam ei uirginitatis priuilegium et carnis incorruptio conferebat. 

14.4. And therefore it is marked by exceptional treatment, as being something more sublime, because no hateful comparison with others, but a richer grace of superabundant love singled it out. Something of this sort too we have in the character of the bride in the Song of Songs, where she says: “Set in order love in me.”(Cant. 2:4) For this is true love set in order, which, while it hates no one, yet loves some still more by reason of their deserving it, and which, while it loves all in general, singles out for itself some from those, whom it may embrace with a special affection, and again among those, who are the special and chief objects of its love, singles out some who are preferred to others in affection.

4. Quae idcirco uelut sublimior cum quadam exceptione signatur, quia eam non odii conparatio, sed afluentior gratia exuberantissimi amoris extollit. Tale quid etiam ex persona sponsae legimus in Cantico Canticorum dicentis : ordinate in me caritatem . Haec enim est uere caritas ordinata, quae odio habens neminem quosdam meritorum iure plus diligit, quaeque, cum generaliter diligat cunctos, excipit tamen sibi ex his quos debeat peculiari affectione conplecti, et rursum inter ipsos qui in dilectione summi atque praecipui sunt aliquos sibi qui ceterorum affectui superextollantur excerpit.



CHAPTER 15. Of those who only increase their own or their brother’s grievances by hiding them.

CAPUT XV. De his qui vel suam vel fratrum commotionem dissimulatione corroborant.



15. ON the other hand we know (and O! would that we did not know) some of the brethren who are so hard and obstinate, that when they know that their own feelings are aroused against their brother, or that their brother’s are against them, in order to conceal their vexation of mind, which is caused by indignation at the grievance of one or the other, go apart from those whom they ought to smooth down by humbly making up to them and talking with them; and begin to sing some verses of the Psalms. And these while they fancy that they are softening the bitter thoughts which have arisen in their heart, increase by their insolent conduct what they could have got rid of at once if they had been willing to show more care and humility, for a well-timed expression of regret would cure their own feelings and soften their brother’s heart. For by that plan they nourish and cherish the sin of meanness or rather of pride, instead of stamping out all inducement to quarrelling, and they forget the charge of the Lord which says: “Whosoever is angry with his brother, is in danger of the judgment;” and: “if thou remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”(Matt. 5:22-24)

XV.  E contra nouimus (quod utinam nesciremus!) nonnullos fratrum tantae esse obstinationis atque duritiae, ut cum uel suos aduersus fratrem uel fratris aduersum se senserint animos excitatos, ad dissimulandam mentis suae tristitiam, quae ex indignatione alterutrae conmotionis exorta est, secedentes ab eis, quos humili satisfactione atque conloquio lenire debuerant, aliquos psalmorum incipiant decantare uersiculos. Qui dum conceptam corde amaritudinem delenire se putant, insultando augent quod statim extinguere potuerunt, si magis anxii atque humiles esse uoluissent, ut oportuna conpunctio et ipsorum cordibus mederetur et fratrum animos deleniret. Nam illo utique modo pusillanimitatis, immo superbiae suae uitium palpant et nutriunt potius quam extirpant fomitem iurgiorum, dominicae illius praeceptionis inmemores qua ait : qui irascitur fratri suo, reus erit iudicio , et : si recordatus fueris quod frater tuus habet aliquid aduersum te, relinque ibi munus tuum ad altare, et uade prius reconciliare fratri tuo, et tunc ueniens offers munus tuum .





CHAPTER 18. Of those who pretend to patience but excite their brethren to anger by their silence.

CAPUT XVIII. De his qui patientiam mentientes ad iracundiam fratres silentio accendunt.



18.1. BUT what sort of a thing is this, that sometimes we fancy that we are patient because when provoked we scorn to answer, but by sullen silence or scornful motions and gestures so mock at our angry brothers that by our silent looks we provoke them to anger more than angry reproaches would have excited them, meanwhile thinking that we are in no way guilty before God, because we have let nothing fall from our lips which could brand us or condemn us in the judgment of men. As if in the sight of God mere words, and not mainly the will was called in fault, and as if only the actual deed of sin, and not also the wish and purpose, was reckoned as wrong; or as if it would be asked in the judgment only what each one had done and not what he also purposed to do. [...]

XVIII.  Illud uero quale est quod interdum nos patientes esse credimus, quia respondere contemnimus lacessiti, sed ita conmotos fratres amara taciturnitate uel motu gestuque inrisorio subsannamus, ut eos magis ad iracundiam uultu tacito prouocemus quam tumida potuissent incitare conuicia, in eo nos aestimantes minime apud deum reos, quia nihil ore protulimus quod nos notare hominum iudicio aut condemnare potuisset? quasi uero apud deum uerba tantummodo et non praecipue uoluntas uocetur in culpam, et opus solum peccati et non etiam uotum ac propositum habeatur in crimine, aut hoc tantum quid unusquisque fecerit et non quid etiam facere disposuerit in iudicio sit quaerendum. 

18.3. So then it is of no good to hold one’s tongue, if we impose silence upon ourselves for this reason that by our silence we may do what would have been done by an outcry on our part, simulating certain gestures by which he whom we ought to have cured, may be made still more angry, while we are commended for all this, to his loss and damage: as if a man were not for this very reason the more guilty, because he tried to get glory for himself out of his brother’s fall. For such a silence will be equally bad for both because while it increases the vexation in the heart of another, so it prevents it from being removed from one’s own:

3. Ita igitur tacere nihil prodest, si idcirco nobis indicamus silentium, ut quod agendum conuicio fuerat hoc taciturnitate faciamus, adsimulantes quosdam gestus, quibus et ille quem curari oportuit uehementiore inardescat iracundia et nos super haec omnia damno illius ac perditione laudemur : quasi uero non etiam ex hoc ipso quis criminosior sit, quod gloriam sibi de fratris uoluerit perditione conquirere. Vtrique enim tale silentium erit aequaliter noxium, quia sicut exaggerat in alterius corde tristitiam, ita in suo non permittit extingui. 



CHAPTER 19. Of those who fast out of rage.

CAPUT XIX. De his qui ex indignatione jejunant.



19.1. THERE is too another evil sort of vexation which would not be worth mentioning were it not that we know it is allowed by some of the brethren who, when they have been vexed or enraged actually abstain persistently from food, so that (a thing which we cannot mention without shame) those who when they are calm declare that they cannot possibly put off their refreshment to the sixth or at most the ninth hour, when they are filled with vexation and rage do not feel fasts even for two days, and support themselves, when exhausted by such abstinence, by a surfeit of anger.

XVIIII.  Adliud quoque profanum tristitiae genus est, quod dignum conmemoratione non fuerat, nisi id a nonnullis fratribus sciremus admitti, qui cum tristificati fuerint uel irati ab ipso etiam pertinaciter abstinent cibo, ita ut, quod etiam dicere absque pudore non possumus, illi, qui dum placidi sunt refectionem cibi usque ad horam sextam uel ut multum nonam negant se posse differre, cum fuerint tristitia uel furore suppleti, ieiunia etiam biduana non sentiant tantamque inediae defectionem iracundiae satietate sustentent. 

19.2. Wherein they are plainly guilty of the sin of sacrilege, as out of the devil’s own rage they endure fasts which ought specially to be offered to God alone out of desire for humiliation of heart and purification from sin: which is much the same as if they were to offer prayers and sacrifices not to God but to devils, and so be worthy of hearing this rebuke of Moses: “They sacrificed to devils and not to God; to gods whom they knew not.”(Deut. 32:17)

2. In quo plane sacrilegii crimen euidenter incurrunt, ieiunia scilicet, quae soli deo pro humiliatione cordis et purgatione uitiorum sunt specialiter offerenda, pro diabolico tumore tolerantes. quod tale est acsi orationes atque sacrificia non deo, sed daemoniis deferant illamque Moysaicam increpationem mereantur audire : sacrificauerunt daemoniis et non deo, dis, quos non nouerant.



CHAPTER 20. Of the feigned patience of some who offer the other cheek to be smitten.

CAPUT XX. De quarümdam simulata patientia qua maxillam verberandam alteram ingerunt.



20. WE are not ignorant also of another kind of insanity, which we find in some of the brethren under colour of a counterfeit patience, as in this case it is not enough to have stirred up quarrels unless they incite them with irritating words so as to get themselves smitten, and when they have been touched by the slightest blow, at once they offer another part of their body to be smitten, as if in this way they could fulfil to perfection that command which says: “If a man smite thee on the right cheek, offer him the other also;”(Matt. 5:39) while they totally ignore the meaning and purpose of the passage. For they fancy that they are practising evangelical patience through the sin of anger, for the utter eradication of which not only was the exchange of retaliation and the irritation of strife forbidden, but the command was actually given us to mitigate the wrath of the striker by the endurance of a double wrong.

XX.  Non ignoramus etiam aliud dementiae genus, quod sub colore fucatae patientiae in nonnullis fratribus inuenitur, quibus parum est iurgia conmouisse, nisi etiam instigatoriis uerbis ut feriantur inritent, cumque uel leui fuerint inpulsione contacti, aliam quoque partem corporis ingerunt uerberandam, quasi per hoc perfectionem mandati illius inpleturi quo dicitur : si quis te percusserit in dextera maxilla tua, praebe illi et alteram , scripturae uim ac propositum penitus ignorantes. Euangelicam namque patientiam per iracundiae uitium exercere se putant, ob quod radicitus excidendum non solum uicissitudo talionis et concertandi inritatio prohibetur, sed etiam furorem uerberantis geminatae iubemur iniuriae tolerantia mitigare.



CHAPTER 27. How anger should be repressed.

CAPUT XXVII. Quomodo sit iracundia comprimenda.



27.1. WE ought then to restrain every movement of anger and moderate it under the direction of discretion, that we may not by blind rage be hurried into that which is condemned by Solomon: “The wicked man expends all his anger, but the wise man dispenses it bit by bit,”(Prov. 29:11) i.e., a fool is inflamed by the passion of his anger to avenge himself; but a wise man, by the ripeness of his counsel and moderation little by little diminishes it, and gets rid of it.

XXVII.  Cohibere ergo nos oportet omnes iracundiae motus et gubernatrice discretione moderari, ne in illud quod a Salomone damnatur praecipiti furore raptemur : totam iram suam profert inpius, sapiens autem dispensat per partes , id est : stultus quidem ad ultionem sui irae perturbatione succenditur, sapiens autem paulatim eam maturitate consilii ac moderationis extenuat et expellit.

27.3. or else the passage may be taken in this way: we give place to wrath, as often as we yield with humble and tranquil mind to the passion of another, and bow to the impatience of the passionate, as if we admitted that we deserved any kind of wrong. But those who twist the meaning of the perfection of which the Apostle speaks so as to make out that those give place to anger, who go away from a man in a rage, seem to me not to cut off but rather to foment the incitement to quarrelling,

3. Vel certe ita intellegendum est : damus locum irae, quotiens conmotioni alterius humili atque tranquilla mente subcumbimus et quodammodo dignos nos qualibet iniuria profitentes inpatientiae saeuientis obsequimur. Ceterum hi qui ita sensum apostolicae perfectionis inclinant, ut locum irae illos dare existiment qui ab irascente discedunt, uidentur mihi dissensionum fomitem non abscidere sed nutrire. 

27.4. for unless a neighbour’s wrath is overcome at once by amends being humbly made, a man provokes rather than avoids it by his flight. And there is something like this that Solomon says: “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be wroth, for anger reposes in the bosom of fools;” and: “Be not quick to rush into a quarrel, lest thou repent thereof at the last.”(Eccl. 7:9; Prov. 25:8) For he does not blame a hasty exhibition of quarrelling and anger in such a way as to praise a tardy one. In the same way too must this be taken: “A fool declares his anger in the very same hour, but a prudent man hides his shame.”(Prov. 12:16)

4. Nisi enim iracundia proximi humili statim satisfactione uincatur, prouocat eam fugiens potius quam declinat. Illud quoque huic simile est quod Salomon ait : noli festinare in spiritu tuo irasci, quia ira in sinu insipientium requiescit , et : noli procurrere in rixam cito, ne paeniteat te in nouissimo : neque enim ita festinationem rixae uel iracundiae culpat, ut earundem adprobet tarditatem. Similiter et illud suscipiendum est : stultus eadem ipsa hora pronuntiat iram suam, occultat autem ignominiam suam astutus . 

27.5. For he does not lay it down that a shameful outburst of anger ought to be hidden by wise men in such a way that while he blames a speedy outburst of anger he fails to forbid a tardy one, as certainly, if owing to human weakness it does burst forth, he means that it should be hidden for this reason, that while for the moment it is wisely covered up, it may be destroyed forever. For the nature of anger is such that when it is given room it languishes and perishes, but if openly exhibited, it burns more and more. The hearts then should be enlarged and opened wide, lest they be confined in the narrow straits of cowardice, and be filled with the swelling surge of wrath, and so we become unable to receive what the prophet calls the “exceeding broad” commandment of God in our narrow heart, or to say with the prophet: “I have run the way of thy commandments for thou hast enlarged my heart.”(Ps. 118 (119):32)

5. Non enim ignominiosam iracundiae passionem ita a sapientibus occultari debere decernit, ut iracundiae uelocitatem culpans non prohibeat tarditatem : quam utique, si per necessitatem humanae infirmitatis inruerit, ideo censuit occultandam, ut, dum ad praesens sapienter obtegitur, in perpetuum deleatur. Haec enim est natura irae, ut dilatata languescat et pereat, prolata uero magis magisque conflagret. Dilatanda ergo atque amplianda sunt pectora, ne angustiis pusillanimitatis artata iracundiae turbulentis aestibus obpleantur et recipere secundum prophetam illud nimis latum mandatum dei angusto corde nequeamus nec dicere cum propheta : uiam mandatorum tuorum cucurri, cum dilatares cor meum . 



CHAPTER 28. How friendships entered upon by conspiracy cannot be lasting ones.

CAPUT XXVIII. Amicitias conjuratione initas firmas esse non posse.



28. THIS too has been often proved by many experiments; viz., that those who entered the bonds of friendship from a beginning of conspiracy, cannot possibly preserve their harmony unbroken; either because they tried to keep it not out of their desire for perfection nor because of the sway of Apostolic love, but out of earthly love, and because of their wants and the bonds of their agreement; or else because that most crafty foe of ours hurries them on the more speedily to break the chains of their friendship in order that he may make them breakers of their oath. This opinion then of the most prudent men is most certainly established; viz., that true harmony and undivided union can only exist among those whose life is pure, and who are men of the same goodness and purpose.

XXVIII.  Illud quoque multis est experimentis saepissime conprobatum nullo modo eos, qui amicitiarum foedus coniurationis iniere principio, indisruptam potuisse seruare concordiam, siue quod eam non pro desiderio perfectionis nec pro apostolicae caritatis imperio, sed pro amore terreno et per necessitatem ac uinculum pacti retinere conati sunt, siue quod ille callidissimus inimicus, ut eos praeuaricatores sui faciat sacramenti, celerius ad inrumpenda amicitiarum uincla praecipitat. Certissima ergo est prudentissimorum uirorum illa sententia concordiam ueram et indiuiduam societatem nisi inter emendatos mores eiusdemque uirtutis ac propositi uiros stare non posse.  

Thus much the blessed Joseph discoursed in his spiritual talk on friendship, and fired us with a more ardent desire to preserve the love of our fellowship as a lasting one.

Haec de amicitia beatus Ioseph spiritali narratione disseruit nosque ad custodiendam sodalitatis perpetuam caritatem ardentius incitauit. 










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