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Chapter XXVII.

Scripture proofs by which one who is aiming at perfection is taught not to take back again what he has given up and renounced.

If then through the desire of perfection you have forsaken all things and followed Christ who says to thee, “Go sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me,”905905    Matt. xix. 21. why, having put your hand to the plough, do you look back, so that you will be declared by the voice of the same Lord not to be fit for the kingdom of heaven?906906    Cf. S. Luke ix. 62. When secure on the top of the gospel roof, why do you descend to carry away something from the house, from those things, namely, which beforetime you despised? When you are out in the field and working at the virtues, why do you run back and try to clothe yourself again with what belongs to this world, which you stripped off when you renounced it?907907    Cf. S. Luke xvii. 31. But if you were hindered by poverty from having anything to give up, still less ought you to amass what you never had before. For by the grace of the Lord you were for this purpose made ready that you might hasten to him the more readily, being hampered by no snares of wealth. But let no one who is wanting in this be disappointed; for there is no one who has not something to give up. He has renounced all the possessions of this world, whoever has thoroughly eradicated the desire to possess them.

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