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Chapter XXXVIII.

The same Archebius paid a debt of his mother’s by the labour of his own hands.

It seems to me worth while to hand down another charitable act of the same man, that the monks of our land may be taught by the example of one and the same man to maintain not only a rigorous continence, but also the most unfeigned affection of love. For he, sprung from no ignoble family, while yet a child, scorning the love of this world and of his kinsfolk, fled to the monastery which is nearly four miles distant from the aforementioned town, where he so passed all his life, that never once throughout the whole of fifty years did he enter or see the village from which he had come, nor even look upon the face of any woman, not even his own mother. In the mean while his father was overtaken by death, and left a debt of a hundred solidi. And though he himself was entirely free from all annoyances, since he had been disinherited of all his father’s property, yet he found that his mother was excessively annoyed by the creditors. Then he through consideration of duty somewhat moderated that gospel severity through which formerly, while his parents were prosperous, he did not recognize that he possessed a father or mother on earth; and acknowledged that he had a mother, and hastened to relieve her in her distress, without relaxing anything of the austerity he had set p. 247 himself. For remaining within the cloister of the monastery he asked that the task of his usual work might be trebled. And there for a whole year toiling night and day alike he paid to the creditors the due measure of the debt secured by his toil and labour, and relieved his mother from all annoyance and anxiety; ridding her of the burden of the debt in such a way as not to suffer aught of the severity he had set himself to be diminished on plea of duteous necessity. Thus did he preserve his wonted austerities, without ever denying to his mother’s heart the work which duty demanded, as, though he had formerly disregarded her for the love of Christ, he now acknowledged her again out of consideration of duty.

Next: Chapter XXXIX. Of the device of a certain old man by which some work was found for Abbot Simeon when he had nothing to do.