MARCH 8, 1460

My sons, you have received a most high and exalted dignity. In being called to the Apostolic College you will become our counselors and co-judges of the world. It will be your duty to decide between cause and cause, blood and blood, leprosy and leprosy. As successors of the apostles you will sit around our throne; you will be senators of the city and the equals of kings, in very truth the hinges of the world, which must turn and regulate the gate of the Church Militant. Consider what men, what minds, what integrity this dignity demands. This office calls for humility, not pride; generosity, not greed; temperance, not drunkenness; self-control, not lust; knowledge, not ignorance; every virtue, no vice. If heretofore you have been vigilant, you must now practice vigilance against a malignant foe who never sleeps for thinking whom he may devour. If you have been generous, pour out now your wealth in noble causes and especially in succoring the poor. If temperate in food and drink, now especially shun luxury. Refrain from avarice, do away with cruelty, banish arrogance. Have holy books ever in your hands. Day and night be learning something or teaching others. So act that your light shall shine before all men and, finally, be such as you thought cardinals ought to be before you yourselves rose to this eminence.


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