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Epistle LXI.

To Clotaire, King of the Franks172172    Clotaire II., at this time king of Neustria, his capital being Soissons.  There is no letter to him among those which had been carried by Augustine.  But it appears from this epistle that the missionaries had passed through his dominions and had been well received..

Gregory to Clotaire, &c.

Among so many cares and anxieties which you sustain for the government of the peoples under your sway, it is to your exceeding praise and great reward that you are helpers of those who labour in the cause of God.  And, since you have shewn yourselves by the good things you have already done to be such that we may presume still better things of you, we are moved most gladly to request of you what will be to your own reward.  Now certain monks, who had proceeded with our most reverend brother and fellow-bishop Augustine to the nation of the Angli, have returned and told us with what great charity your Excellence refreshed this our brother when he was present with you, and with what supports you aided him on his departure.  But, since the works of those who do not recede from the good they have begun are acceptable to our God, we beg of you, greeting you with fatherly affection, to hold as peculiarly commended to you the monks, bearers of these presents, whom we have sent to our aforesaid brother together with our most beloved sons, the presbyter Laurentius and the abbot Mellitus.  And whatever kindness you before shewed to him bestow ye on them also to the richer increase of your praise, to the end that, when through your provision they shall have accomplished without delay the journey they have begun, Almighty God may be the recompenser of your good deeds, and both your guardian in prosperity and your helper in adversity.

Furthermore, it has come to our ears that in your parts sacred orders are conferred with payment of money.  And we are exceedingly distressed if the gifts of God are not attained by merit, but pounced upon by bribes.  And, because this simoniacal heresy, which was the first to arise in the Church, was condemned by the authority of the apostles, we beg of you for your own reward to cause a synod to be assembled; to the end that, having been put down and eradicated by the definition of all the priests, it may in future find no power in your parts to endanger souls, nor be allowed henceforth to arise under any pretext whatever, that so our Almighty God may exalt you against your adversaries in proportion as He sees that you have zeal in fulfilling His commands, and as you take thought for the salvation of souls which had been in danger of perishing by the sword of this atrocity.


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