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Reprove, Entreat, Rebuke

In his teaching the Abbot should always follow the Apostle’s formula: “Reprove, entreat, rebuke”; threatening at one time and coaxing at another as the occasion may require, showing now the stern countenance of a master, now the loving affection of a father. That is to say, it is the undisciplined and restless whom he must reprove rather sharply; it is the obedient, meek and patient whom he must entreat to advance in virtue; while as for the negligent and disdainful, these we charge him to rebuke and correct.

And let him not shut his eyes to the faults of offenders; but, since he has the authority, let him cut out those faults by the roots as soon as they begin to appear, remember the fate of Heli, the priest of Silo. The well-disposed and those of good understanding let him correct with verbal admonition the first and second time. But bold, hard, proud and disobedient characters he should curb at the very beginning of their ill-doing by strips and other bodily punishments, knowing that it is written, “The fool is not corrected with words,” and again, “Beat your son with the rod and you will deliver his soul from death.”

– Chapter 2 “What Kind of Man the Abbot Ought to Be” Part 5


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