Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Counsels to Lausus

The third section of the Epistle to Lausus gives the correspondent some pastoral guidance. Palladius lists sixteen recommendations for life that "thou shalt sin in no particular" (80). Among are the following:

IV. Have no confidence in the belief that that which is placed outside thy soul is in thy possession.

XV. Know thou that not even much time will bring oblivion upon one act which thou wouldst hide.

Palladius commends Lausus for his desire to hear about the lives of the great saints, and advises him that knowledge of their victories will spur him on in his own path towards righteousness:

For he who remembereth death continually... will neither be negligent of nor commit sin in respect of great matters, even according to what is said, "In all thy words remember thine end, and thou wilt never commit sin." (83)

Palladius further counsels Lausus on the value of moderation in living a holy life:

It is better to drink wine in moderation than to drink water immoderately, and it appeareth to be that those who drink wine in moderation are holy men, and that those who pridefully use water in an immoderate fashion are depraved and pleasure-loving. Do not therefore ascribe blame or praise to the eating [or not eating] of food, or to the drinking [or not drinking] of wine, but ascribe praise, or woe, unto those who make use properly or improperly of meat and drink. (85)

Palladius concludes by warning Lausus to make light of nobody, not even of heretics or those who seem ridiculous,

for thou shald become lax in thy mind in respect of them, and whilst laughing at them thou wilt become unduly exalted, and that thou shouldst be driven to arrogance would be a loss for thee. (87)

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