The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus Book Five (Excerpts) - 198 

imposed on the apostles as precept is mortal [sin], and nothing else. On this point there can be different opinions; therefore the wise Jesus and the Holy Spirit made it clear by laying down spotless purity, extreme poverty, complete obedience, and a perfect denial of oneself, under firm and stable vow, as the foundation of all Gospel perfection. Everything else, in which the word "precept" or its equivalent does not appear is contained under the counsels, whether written in the Rule or in the Gospel. Both the sovereign pontiffs and the doctors say this well: Those who profess the Gospel Rule do not oblige themselves to any other counsel under vow binding under mortal [sin], unless that bond is expressed in the Rule.

48But even I do not recall any counsel of perfection imposed under precept on the apostles beyond those contained in the Rule. That opinion is certainly quite blind and irreverent which says that, by professing to observe any rule or the Holy Gospel, we bind ourselves under pain of mortal sin to those things that are there as counsels as much as to those which are there under the term of precept. But Christ did not intend counsels to be other than counsels, nor did the apostles observe then in any other way, for Christ gave the apostles the counsel to avoid every venial sin. Any wise person would give the same counsel.

[The Scrolls]

445a1We have an excellent case in the fifth chapter of Matthew, where Christ says: "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." Mt 5:48 The apostles could keep this, by appropriate analogy, more in desire than in fact. As James says in Chapter Three: "We all offend in many things." Nor does John use different language: "If we say we have no sin we make God a liar." And the Apostle writes to the Galatians that Peter was deserving of blame. About this passage, Augustine expressly states that he sinned venially. It is certain here that a counsel was neglected. Yet it is foolish either to impute mortal sin to the apostle, or to conclude that they were not held to observe the Holy Gospel. Therefore, neither here nor anywhere else in the whole book do I intend to say anything against the papal statement, but in its favor, for he excommunicates the errors mentioned above.

15As to the testimony from heaven which this Rule received from the Lord Jesus Christ, give ear, reader, and inscribe what follows deep inside your heart. In fact it comes from the holy Brother Conrad mentioned above, who heard it directly from the holy Bother Leo,

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 198

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