Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume IV/Commodianus/The Instructions of Commodianus/Chapter 76
LXXVI.—Of Those Who Gossip, and of Silence.
When a thing appears to anybody of no consequence, and is not shunned, and it rushes forth, as if easy, whilst thou abusest it. Fables assist it when thou comest to pour out prayers, or to beat thy breast for thy daily sin. The trumpet of the heralds sounds forth, while the reader is reading, that the ears may be open, and thou rather impedest them. Thou art luxurious with thy lips, with which thou oughtest to groan. Shut up thy breast to evils, or loose them in thy breast. But since the possession of money gives barefacedness to the wealthy, thence every one perishes when they are most trusting to themselves. Thus, moreover, the women assemble, as if they would enter the bath. They press closely, and make of God’s house as if it were a fair. Certainly the Lord frightened the house of prayer. The Lord’s priest commanded with “sursum corda,” when prayer was to be made, that your silence should be made. Thou answerest fluently, and moreover abstainest not from promises. He entreats the Highest on behalf of a devoted people, lest any one should perish, and thou turnest thyself to fables. Thou mockest at him, or detractest from thy neighbour’s reputation. Thou speakest in an undisciplined manner, as if God were absent—as if He who made all things neither hears nor sees.