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OF VENERABLE BEDE. 149
which is required to teach it; and, indeed, such men, as you know, on a sudden submit to the tonsure, and of their own judgment, from laymen, become not monks but abbots. But, inasmuch as they have no knowledge nor love of the above-named excellence, what can be more applicable to them than that malediction of the Gospel, " If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into . the ditch?" Such blindness might, in truth, some time or other, be put an end to and restrained by regular discipline, and expelled by pontifical and synodical authority beyond the limits of the Holy Church, if the These eviis pontiffs themselves were not found to aid and abet such for lucre by crimes ; for they not only do not take care to annul themselves. such unrighteous decrees by righteous ones, but rather do all in their power to confirm them by their own subscriptions, as we have said before, prompted by the same love of money to confirm those wicked writings, as the purchasers themselves were to buy such monas- teries. I could tell you much more about these and such like traitors to their own cause, by whom our province is grievously vexed, if I did not know that you are yourself well acquainted therewith. For in what I have written to you already, I have not supposed that I was informing you of a thing which you were before ignorant of, but I wished to advise you in a friendly manner, to correct with all diligence faults, of the ex- istence of which you were already well informed.
§ 14. And now I pray and beseech you in the Lord, to protect the flock committed to you from the fury of assailing wolves ; and remember that you are appointed to be their shepherd, not a hireling ; to show forth your love of the Chief Shepherd, by the skilful feeding of his sheep ; and to be ready with the blessed Prince of the Apostles, if occasion require, to lay down your life for the same. Beware, I entreat you, lest on the day of judgment that same Prince of the Apostles, and the other leaders of faithful flocks, present to the Lord