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234

LETTER LVII

To the Duke and Duchess of Lorraine 8787    That is, Simon and Adelaide, not Gertrude, as most write. For the account of the conversion of this Duchess by, S. Bernard see Life, Bk. i. c. 14. She took the veil of a Religious in the Nunnery of Tart, in the environs of Dijon, as is clear from the autograph Letters of her son, Duke Matthew, who calls his mother Atheleïde. These Letters P. F. Chifflet refers to at the end of his four Opuscula, ed. Paris, 1679. I do not refer to the pretended Letters of Gertrude to Bernard, and Bernard to Gertrude, translated by Bernard Brito, from French into Portuguese and thence into Latin.

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,8888    Passagium, a fixed payment from travellers entering or passing through a country; droit de passage or “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 235have 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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