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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters of St. Jerome > Letter 12

Letter 12

To Antony, Monk

The subject of this letter is similar to that of the preceding. Of Antony nothing is known except that some manuscripts describe him as of Æmona. The date of the letter is 374 A.D.

While the disciples were disputing concerning precedence our Lord, the teacher of humility, took a little child and said: Unless you are converted and become as little children ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3 And lest He should seem to preach more than he practised, He fulfilled His own precept in His life. For He washed His disciples' feet, John 13:5 he received the traitor with a kiss, Luke 22:47 He conversed with the woman of Samaria, John 4:7 He spoke of the kingdom of heaven with Mary at His feet, and when He rose again from the dead He showed Himself first to some poor women. Pride is opposed to humility, and through it Satan lost his eminence as an archangel. The Jewish people perished in their pride, for while they claimed the chief seats and salutations in the market place, Matthew 23:6-7 they were superseded by the Gentiles, who had before been counted as a drop of a bucket. Isaiah 40:15 Two poor fishermen, Peter and James, were sent to confute the sophists and the wise men of the world. As the Scripture says: God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. 1 Peter 5:5 Think, brother, what a sin it must be which has God for its opponent. In the Gospel the Pharisee is rejected because of his pride, and the publican is accepted because of his humility.

Now, unless I am mistaken, I have already sent you ten letters, affectionate and earnest, while you have not deigned to give me even a single line. The Lord speaks to His servants, but you, my brother servant, refuse to speak to me. Believe me, if reserve did not check my pen, I could show my annoyance in such invective that you would have to reply— even though it might be in anger. But since anger is human, and a Christian must not act injuriously, I fall back once more on entreaty, and beg you to love one who loves you, and to write to him as a servant should to his fellow-servant. Farewell in the Lord.

About this page

Source. Translated by W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W.G. Martley. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001012.htm>.

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