Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume XI/Sulpitius Severus/Doubtful Letters/Letter V
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To an Unknown Person, Entreating Him to Deal Gently with His Brother.
Although my lord and brother has already begged of your nobleness that you would see that Tutus should be most safe, yet it has been allowed to me to commend the same person in a letter, in order that, by the petition being doubled, he may be held all the safer. For let it be granted that a youthful fault and error of a yet unsettled age has injured him, so as to inflict a stain on his early years; still one, who did not yet know what was due to right conduct,
has gone wrong almost without contracting blame. For when he came to a right state of mind and to reflection, he understood on better thoughts that a theatrical life was to be condemned. However, he could not be completely cleared of his fault, unless he should wash its guilt away by the aid of Deity, since, by the remedy obtained through the Catholic religion, changing his views, he has denied himself the enjoyment of a less honorable place, and has withdrawn himself from the eyes of the people.
Of the Master as Above.
Since, therefore, both divine and state laws do not permit a faithful body and sanctified minds to exhibit disgraceful though pleasing spectacles, and to set forth vulgar means of enjoyment, especially since an injury seems in some degree to accrue to the chaste dedication of one’s self, in case any one who has been renewed by holy baptism should fall back upon his old licentiousness, it behooves your Excellency to show favor to good intentions, so that he who, by the goodness of God, has entered on a pious duty, should not be forced to sink into the pitfall of the theatre. He does not, however, refuse compliance with the judgment of you all, if you enjoin other fitting actions on his part in behalf of the requirements of our common country.
- There is a play upon the words—“Tutum esse tutissimum.”
- “divinitatis accessu”: the context is almost unintelligible.
- This probably denotes that what follows is the substance of the Master’s petition.
- Clericus, while accepting most of the letters with which we are now dealing, doubts, from the difference of style, whether this is an epistle of Sulpitius. It is certainly very different from his usual clearness and correctness.