The same old man, when he was teaching us that no one ought to judge another, remarked that there were three points on which he had charged and rebuked the brethren, viz.: because some allowed their uvula to be cut off, or kept a cloak in their cell, or blessed oil and gave it to those dwelling in the world who asked for it: and he said that he had done all these things himself. For having contracted some malady of the uvula, I wasted away, said he, for so long, through its weakness, that at last I was driven by stress of the pain, and by the persuasion of all the elders, to allow it to be cut off. And I was forced too by reason of this illness, to keep a cloak. And I was also compelled to bless oil and give it to those who prayed for it—a thing which I execrated above everything, since that I thought that it proceeded from great presumption of heart—when suddenly many who were living in the world surrounded me, so that I could not possibly escape them in any other way, had they not extorted from me with no small violence, and entreaties that I would lay my hand on a vessel offered by them, and sign it with the sign of the cross: and so believing that they had secured blessed oil, at last they let me go. And by these things I plainly discovered that a monk was in the same case and entangled in the same faults for which he had ventured to judge others. Each one therefore ought only to judge himself, and to be on the watch, with care and circumspection in all things not to judge the life and conduct of others in accordance with the Apostles charge, “But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? to his own master he standeth or falleth.” And this: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.” 868 For besides the reason of which we have spoken, it is for this cause also dangerous to judge concerning others because in those matters in which we are offended—as we do not know the need or the reason for which they are really acting either rightly in the sight of God, or at any rate in a pardonable manner—we are found to have judged them rashly and in this commit no light sin, by forming an opinion of our brethren different from what we ought.
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