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Chapter XVIII.

How it is against the rule for any one to take anything to eat or drink except at the common table.

In between their regular meals in common they are especially careful that no one should presume to gratify his palate with any food:775775    Similarly we find in the Rule of Pachomius that no one is allowed to keep any food in his cell besides what he receives from the steward (c. lxxix.): and the Benedictine Rule also says: “Let no one presume to take any food or drink out of the regular hours of meals” (c. xliii). Cf. also the Rule of Pachomius cc. lxxv. and lxxviii., S. Basil’s longer Monastic Rules Q. xv., ῞Αψατο βρωμάτων παρὰ καιρόν; ἐπὶ πλεῖστον τῆς ἡμέρας ἀπόσιτος ἔστω, the Rule of Aurelian (c. lii.), that of Isidore (c. xiii.), etc. so that when they are walking casually through gardens or orchards, when the fruit hanging enticingly on the trees not only knocks against their breasts as they pass through, but is also lying on the ground and offering itself to be trampled under foot, and (as it is all ready to be gathered) would easily be able to entice those who see it to gratify their appetite, and by the chance offered to them and the quantity of the fruit, to excite even the most severe and abstemious to long for it; still they consider it wrong not merely to taste a single fruit, but even to touch one with the hand, except what is put on the table openly for the common meal of all, and supplied publicly by the steward’s catering through the service of the brethren, for their enjoyment.

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