Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/222

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The duty of a bishopfruits of their pastoral care, whilst among yours may be found a portion, that deserves to be placed on his left hand among the goats, and to depart with curses unto everlasting punishment; nay, even yourself may on that day deserve to be classed among those of whom Esaias said: "He shall be the least among a thousand, and a little one among a strong nation." For it is your duty most diligently to inquire into whatever right and wrong is done in all the monasteries of your district, that no abbot, who is ignorant of the rules or despises them, and also that no unworthy abbess, be placed over any society of Christ's servants or hand-maidens. And on the other hand, that no contemptuous and undisciplined society of contumacious hearers spurn against the supervision of their spiritual masters; and this the more especially, since you say, that all inquiry into what is done within the walls of a monastery belongs to you, and not to the king, or any of the secular princes, save when any one in the monasteries is found to have offended against the princes themselves. It is your duty, I say, to provide, lest the Devil usurp the sovereignty in places dedicated to the Lord; lest discord take the place of peace, strife of piety, drunkenness of sobriety, and fornication and murder reign instead of charity and chastity; lest there be found among you some, of whom it may truly be said, "I saw the wicked buried, who, when they were alive, were in the holy place, and were praised in the city, as if of righteous deeds."

Cure of souls.§ 15. But those also, who still live abroad in the world, demand a portion of your most anxious care, as we forewarned you in the beginning of this epistle; you should furnish them with competent teachers of the word of everlasting life, and among other things instruct them by what works they may render themselves most pleasing to God; from what sins those, who wish to please God, ought to abstain; with what sincerity of