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Some Letters Of Saint Bernard Abbot Of Clairvaux by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

LETTER LVII To the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine

To the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine

He thanks them for having hitherto remitted customs [or tolls, but asks that they will see that their princely liberality is not interfered with by the efforts of their servants.

To the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine, Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, sends greeting, and prays that they may so lovingly and purely rejoice in each other's affection that the love of Christ alone maybe supreme in them both.

Ever since the needs of our Order obliged me to send for necessaries into your land I have found great favour and kindness in the eyes of your Grace. You freely displayed the blessings of your bounty on our people when they needed it. You freely remitted to them when travelling their toll, the dues on their purchases, and any other legal due of yours. For all these things your reward is surely great in heaven, if, indeed, we believe that to be true which the Lord promises in His Gospel: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me (S. Matt. xxv.40). But why is it that you allow your servants to take away again what you bestow? It seems to me that it is worthy of you and for your honour, that when you have been pleased to bestow anything for the safety of your souls no one should venture to demand it back again. If, then (which God forbid), you do not repent of your good deed, and your general intention in respect to us is still the same, be pleased to order it to be a firm and unshaken rule; that henceforward our brethren may never fear to be disturbed in this matter by any of your servants. But otherwise we do not refuse to follow our Lord's example, who did not disdain to pay the dues. We also are ready willingly to render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's (S. Matt. xvii.26), custom to whom custom, and tribute to whom tribute is due (Rom. xiii.7), especially because, according to the Apostle, we ought not to seek our gift so much as your gain (Phil. iv.17).

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