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Chapter XXXV.

A rebuke of the same old man, when he had come to my cell in the middle of the night.

The same Theodore came unexpectedly to my cell in the dead of night, with paternal inquisitiveness seeking what I—an unformed anchorite as I was—might be doing by myself; and when he had found me there already, as I had finished my vesper office, beginning to refresh my wearied body, and lying down on a mat, he sighed from the bottom of his heart, and calling me by name, said, “How many, O John, are at this hour communing with God, and embracing Him, and detaining Him with them, while you are deprived of so great light, enfeebled as you are with lazy sleep!”

And since the virtues of the fathers and the grace given to them have tempted us to turn aside to a story like this, I think it well to record in this volume a noteworthy deed of charity, which we experienced from the kindness of that most excellent man Archebius, that the purity of continence grafted on to a work of charity may more readily shine forth, being embellished with a pleasing variety. 246For the duty of fasting is then rendered acceptable to God, when it is made perfect by the fruits of charity.

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