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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] THERE were two brothers called Paesius and Isaias, sons of a Spanish merchant. On their father’s death they divided the real property which they got, also the personal property consisting of 5000 pieces of money and clothes and slaves. They considered with each other and took counsel together saying: “What mode of life shall we adopt, brother? If we adopt the merchant career which our father followed, then we shall have to die and leave our labours to others. [2] Perhaps we may even succumb to dangers from robbers or on the sea. Come, then, let us embrace the monastic life, that we may make a profitable use of our father’s riches and not lose our own souls.” So the ideal of the monastic life pleased them. But they found themselves at variance, differing from each other in their views. For having divided the property, they applied themselves each to his purpose of pleasing God, but by different tactics. [3] For the one bestowed everything on the monasteries and churches and prisons, and having learned a trade by which to earn his bread applied himself to asceticism and prayer. But the other parted with nothing, but making himself a monastery and getting together a few brethren welcomed every stranger, every invalid, every old man, every poor man, preparing three or four tables every Sunday and Saturday. In this way he spent his money.

[4] When the two were dead, various eulogies were pronounced over them, as if both had reached perfection. And some preferred Paesius, others Isaias. But a contention having arisen in the brotherhood over their praises, they went to the blessed Pambo and referred the decision to him, imploring that they might learn which was the better method. But he said to them: “Both are perfect; for one showed the works of an Abraham, the other those of an Elijah.” [5] And when one party said: “By your feet (we ask), how can they possibly be equal?” and preferred the ascetic and said: “He performed an Evangelical work selling all and giving to the poor, and every hour both by day and night bearing the cross and following the Saviour and his prayers.” But the other side contended with them and said: “Our man showed such great mercy to the needy that he even sat in the roads and collected the afflicted. And not only did he refresh his own soul but the souls of many others, treating their diseases and helping them.” [6] Then blessed Pambo said to them: “Once again I tell you, they are both equal. I assure each of you that the one, unless he had been so great an ascetic, was not worthy to be compared with the benevolence of the other, while the second again, refreshing the stranger, was himself refreshed, and though he seemed to carry the burden of toil, yet had the refreshing that follows it. But wait until I receive a revelation from God, and after that come and you shall learn.” So they came again a few days after and he said to them: “I saw both standing in Paradise, as it were in the presence of God.”








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