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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XII:
The Book of Pastoral Rule, and Selected Epistles, of Gregory the Great.: How the impudent and bashful are to be admonished.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VII.

How the impudent and bashful are to be admonished.

(Admonition 8).  Differently to be admonished are the impudent and the bashful.  For those nothing but hard rebuke restrains from the vice of impudence; while these for the most part a modest exhortation disposes to amendment.  Those do not know that they are in fault, unless they be rebuked even by many; to these it usually suffices for their conversion that the teacher at least gently reminds them of their evil deeds.  For those one best corrects who reprehends them by direct invective; but to these greater profit ensues, if what is rebuked in them be touched, as it were, by a side stroke.  Thus the Lord, openly upbraiding the impudent people of the Jews, saying, There is come unto thee a whore’s forehead; thou wouldest not blush (Jerem. iii. 3).  But again He revives them when ashamed, saying, Thou shalt forget the confusion of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood; for thy Maker will reign over thee (Isa. 1:0, Isa. 54:4).  Paul also openly upbraids the Galatians impudently sinning, when he says, O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you (Galat. iii. 1)?  And again, Are ye so foolish, that, having begun in the Spirit, ye are now made perfect in the flesh (Gal. 3.3)?  But the faults of those who are ashamed he reprehends as though sympathizing with them, saying, I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last ye have flourished again to care for me, as indeed ye did care, for ye lacked opportunity p. 29b (Philipp. iv. 10); so that hard upbraiding might discover the faults of the former, and a softer address veil the negligence of the latter.

Next: How the forward and the faint-hearted are to be admonished.

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