Writings of Basil. The Nine Homilies of the Hexæmeron and the Letters

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The Treatise de Spiritu Sancto

The Nine Homilies of the Hexæmeron and the Letters

Of Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Cæsaria,

Translated with Notes by

The Rev. Blomfield Jackson, M.A.
Vicar of Saint Bartholomew's, Moor Lane, and Fellow of King's College, London.

Under the editorial supervision of Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D., Professor of Church History in the Union Theological Semimary, New York, and Henry Wace, D.D., Principal of King's College, London

Published in 1895 by T&T Clark, Edinburgh


This translation of a portion of the works of St. Basil was originally begun under the editorial supervision of Dr. Wace. It was first announced that the translation would comprise the De Spiritu Sancto and Select Letters, but it was ultimately arranged with Dr. Wace that a volume of the series should be devoted to St. Basil, containing, as well as the De Spiritu Sancto, the whole of the Letters, and the Hexæmeron. The De Spiritu Sancto has already appeared in an English form, as have portions of the Letters, but I am not aware of an English translation of the Hexæmeron, or of all the Letters. The De Spiritu Sancto was presumably selected for publication as being at once the most famous, as it is among the most valuable, of the extant works of this Father. The Letters comprise short theological treatises and contain passages of historical and varied biographical interest, as well as valuable specimens of spiritual and consolatory exhortation. The Hexæmeron was added as being the most noted and popular of St. Basil's compositions in older days, and as illustrating his exegetic method and skill, and his power as an extempore preacher.

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The edition used has been that of the Benedictine editors as issued by Migne, with the aid, in the case of the De Spiritu Sancto, of that published by Rev. C. F. H. Johnston.

The editorship of Dr. Wace terminated during the progress of the work, but I am indebted to him, and very gratefully acknowledge the obligation, for valuable counsel and suggestions. I also desire to record my thanks to the Rev. C. Hole, Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History at King's College, London, and to Mr. Reginald Geare, Head Master of the Grammar School, Bishop's Stortford, to the former for help in the revision of proof-sheets and important suggestions, and to the latter for aid in the translation of several of the Letters.

The works consulted in the process of translation and attempted illustration are sufficiently indicated in the notes.

London, December, 1894.

Genealogical Tables

Chronological Table to accompany the Life of St. Basil

A.D. 329 or 330. St. Basil born.

335. Council of Tyre.

336. Death of Arius.

337. Death of Constantine.

340. Death of Constantine II.

341. Dedication creed at Antioch.

343. Julian and Gallus relegated to Macellum.

Basil probably sent from Annen to school at Cæsarea.

344. Macrostich, and Council of Sardica.

346. Basil goes to constantinople.

350. Death of Constans.

351. Basil goes to constantinople.

1st Creed of Sirmium.

353. Death of Magnentius.

355. Julian goes to Athens (latter part of year).

356. Basil returns to Cæsarea.

357. The 2d Creed of Sirmium, or Blasphemy, subscribed by Hosius and Liberius.

Basil baptized, and shortly afterwards ordained reader.

358. Basil visits monastic establishments in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and Mesopotamia, and retires to the monastery on the Iris.

359. The 3d Creed of Sirmium. Dated May 22. Councils of Seleucia and Ariminum.

360. Acacian synod of Constantinople.

Basil, now ordained Deacon, disputes with Aetius.

Dianius subscribes the Creed of Ariminum, and

Basil in consequence leaves Cæsarea.

He visits Gregory at Nazianzus.

361. Death of Constantius and accession of Julian.

Basil writes the "Moralia."

362. Basil returns to Cæsarea.

Dianius dies. Eusebius baptized, elected, and consecrated bishop.

Lucifer consecrates Paulinus at Antioch.

Julian at Cæsarea. Martyrdom of Eupsychius.

363. Julian dies (June 27). Accession of Jovian.

364. Jovian dies. Accession of Valentinian and Valens.

Basil ordained priest by Eusebius.

Basil writes against Eunomius.

Semiarian council of Lampsacus.

365. Revolt of Procopius.

Valens at Cæsarea.

366. Semiarian deputation to Rome satisfy Liberius of their orthodoxy.

Death of Liberius. Damasus bp. of Rome.

Procopius defeated.

367. Gratian Augustus.

Valens favours the Arians.

Council of Tyana.

368. Semiarian Council in Caria. Famine in Cappadocia

369. Death of Emmelia. Basil visits Samosata.

370. Death of Eusebius of Cæsarea

Election and consecration of Basil to the see of Cæsarea.

Basil makes visitation tour.

371. Basil threatened by arian bishops and by modestus.

Valens, travelling slowly from Nicomedia to Cæsarea, arrives at the end of the year.

372. Valens attends great service at Cæsarea on the Epiphany, Jan. 6.

Interviews between Basil and Valens.

Death of Galates.

Valens endows Ptochotrophium and quits Cæsarea.

Basil visits Eusebius at Samosata.

Claim of Anthimus to metropolitan dignity at Tyana.

Basil resists Anthimus.

Basil Forces Gregory of Nazianzus to be consecrated bishop of Sasima, and consecrates his brother Gregory to Nyssa. Consequent estrangement of Basil and Gregory of Nazianzus.

Basil in Armenia. Creed signed by Eustathius.

373. St. Epiphanius writes the "Ancoratus."

Death of Athanasius.

Basil visited by Jovinus of Perrha, and by Sanctissimus of Antioch.

374. Death of Auxentius and consecration of Ambrose at Milan.

Basil writes the "De Spiritu Sancto."

Eusebius of Samosata banished to Thrace.

Death of Gregory, bp. of Nazianzus, the elder.

375. Death of Valentinian. Gratian and Valentinian II. emperors.

Synod of Illyria, and Letter to the Orientals.

Semiarian Council of Cyzicus.

Demosthenes harasses the Catholics.

Gregory of Nyssa deposed.

376. Synod of Iconium.

Open denunciation of Eustathius by Basil.

378. Death of Valens, Aug. 9.

Eusebius of Samosata and Meletius return from exile.

379. Death of Basil, Jan. 1.

Theodosius Augustus.


Sketch of the Life and Works of Saint Basil.

I. Life.

I.--Parentage and Birth.

Under the persecution of the second Maximinus, [1] a Christian gentleman of good position and fair estate in Pontus [2] and Macrina his wife, suffered severe hardships. [3]They escaped with their lives, and appear to have retained, or recovered, some of their property. [4]Of their children the names of two only have survived: Gregory [5] and Basil. [6]The former became bishop of one of the sees of Cappadocia. The latter acquired a high reputation in Pontus and the neighboring districts as an advocate of eminence, [7] and as a teacher of rhetoric. His character in the Church for probity and piety stood very high. [8]He married an orphaned gentlewoman named Emmelia, whose father had suffered impoverishment and death for Christ's sake, and who was herself a conspicuous example of high-minded and gentle Christian womanhood. Of this happy union were born ten children, [9] five boys and five girls. One of the boys appears to have died in infancy, for on the death of the elder Basil four sons and five daughters were left to share the considerable wealth which he left behind him. [10]Of the nine survivors the eldest was a daughter, named, after her grandmother, Macrina. The eldest of the sons was Basil, the second Naucratius, and the third Gregory. Peter, the youngest of the whole family, was born shortly before his father's death. Of this remarkable group the eldest is commemorated as Saint Macrina in the biography written by her brother Gregory. Naucratius died in early manhood, [11] about the time of the ordination of Basil as reader. The three remaining brothers occupied respectively the sees of Cæsarea, Nyssa, and Sebasteia.

As to the date of St. Basil's birth opinions have varied between 316 and 330. The later, which is supported by Garnier, Tillemont, Maran, [12] Fessler, [13] and BÜhringer, may probably be accepted as approximately correct. [14]It is true that Basil calls himself an old man in 374, [15] but he was prematurely worn out with work and bad health, and to his friends wrote freely and without concealment of his infirmities. There appears no reason to question the date 329 or 330.

Two cities, Cæsarea in Cappadocia and Neocæsarea in Pontus, have both been named as his birthplace. There must be some amount of uncertainty on this point, from the fact that no direct statement exists to clear it up, and that the word patris was loosely employed to mean not only place of birth, but place of residence and occupation. [16]Basil's parents had property and interests both in Pontus and Cappadocia and were as likely to be in the one as in the other. The early statement of Gregory of Nazianzus has been held to have weight, inasmuch as he speaks of Basil as a Cappadocian like himself before there was any other reason but that of birth for associating him with this province. [17]Assenting, then, to the considerations which have been held to afford reasonable ground for assigning Cæsarea as the birthplace, we may adopt the popular estimation of Basil as one of "The Three Cappadocians," [18] and congratulate Cappadocia on the Christian associations which have rescued her fair fame from the slur of the epigram which described her as constituting with Crete and Cilicia a trinity of unsatisfactoriness. [19]Basil's birth nearly synchronizes with the transference of the chief seat of empire from Rome to Byzantium. He is born into a world where the victory already achieved by the Church has been now for sixteen years officially recognized. [20]He is born into a Church in which the first great Council has already given official expression to those cardinal doctrines of the faith, of which the final and formal vindication is not to be assured till after the struggles of the next six score of years. Rome, reduced, civilly, to the subordinate rank of a provincial city, is pausing before she realises all her loss, and waits for the crowning outrage of the barbarian invasions, ere she begins to make serious efforts to grasp ecclesiastically, something of her lost imperial prestige. For a time the centre of ecclesiastical and theological interest is to be rather in the East than in the West.


[1] Of sufferers in this supreme struggle of heathenism to delay the official recognition of the victory of the Gospel over the empire, the Reformed Kalendar of the English Church preserves the memory of St. Blaise (Blasius), bishop of Sebasteia in Armenia, St. George, St. Agnes, St. Lucy, St. Margaret of Antioch, St. Katharine of Alexandria. [2] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. (xx.). N.B. The reff. to the orations and letters of Greg. Naz. are to the Ordo novus in Migne. [3] Id. [4] Greg. Nyss., Vit. Mac. 178, 191. [5] Bishop of an unknown see. Of the foolish duplicity of Gregory of Nyssa in fabricating a letter from him, see the mention in Epp. lviii., lix., lx. [6] Basileios, Basilius=royal or kingly. The name was a common one. Fabricius catalogues "alii Basilii ultra xxx.," all of some fame. The derivation of Basileus is uncertain, and the connexion of the last syllable with leus=leos=laos, people, almost certainly wrong. The root may be ÖBA, with the idea that the leader makes the followers march. With the type of name, cf. Melchi and the compounds of Melech (e.g. Abimelech) in Scripture, and King, LeRoy, Koenig, among modern names. [7] Greg. Nyss., Vit. Mac. 392. [8] Greg. Nyss., Vit. Mac. 186. [9] Greg. Nyss., Vit. Mac. 182. [10] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. (xx.). [11] Ib. 181, 191. [12] 329. Prudent Maran, the Ben. Ed. of Basil, was a Benedictine exiled for opposing the Bull Unigenitus. /-1762. [13] "Natus. c. 330." [14] Gregory of Nazianzus, so called, was born during the episcopate of his father, Gregory, bishop of Nazianzus. Gregory the elder died in 373, after holding the see forty-five years. The birth of Gregory the younger cannot therefore be put before 328, and Basil was a little younger than his friend. (Greg. Naz., Ep. xxxiii.) But the birth of Gregory in his father's episcopate has naturally been contested. Vide D.C.B. ii. p. 748, and L. Montaut, Revue Critique on Greg. of N. 1878. [15] Ep. clxii. [16] Gregory of Nazianzus calls Basil a Cappadocian in Ep. vi., and speaks of their both belonging to the same patris. In his Homily In Gordium martyrem, Basil mentions the adornment of Cæsarea as being his own adornment. In Epp. lxxvi. and xcvi. he calls Cappadocia his patris. In Ep. lxxiv., Cæsarea. In Ep. li. it is doubtful whether it is Pontus, whence he writes, which is his patris, or Cæsarea, of which he is writing. In Ep. lxxxvii. it is apparently Pontus. Gregory of Nyssa (Orat. I. in xl. Mart.) calls Sebaste the patris of his forefathers, possibly because Sebaste had at one time been under the jurisdiction of Cappadocia. So in the N.T. patris is the place of the early life and education of our Lord. [17] Maran, Vit. Bas. i. [18] BÜhringer. [19] Kappadoches, Koetes, Kilikes, tria kappa kakista. On Basil's own estimate of the Cappadocian character, cf. p. 153, n. cf. also Isidore of Pelusium, i. Epp. 351, 352, 281. [20] The edict of Milan was issued in 313.


The place most closely connected with St. Basil's early years is neither Cæsarea nor Neocæsarea, but an insignificant village not far from the latter place, where he was brought up by his admirable grandmother Macrina. [21]In this neighbourhood his family had considerable property, and here he afterwards resided. The estate was at Annesi on the river Iris (Jekil-Irmak), [22] and lay in the neighbourhood of scenery of romantic beauty. Basil's own description [23] of his retreat on the opposite side of the Iris matches the reference of Gregory of Nazianzus [24] to the narrow glen among lofty mountains, which keep it always in shadow and darkness, while far below the river foams and roars in its narrow precipitous bed.

There is some little difficulty in understanding the statement of Basil in Letter CCXVI., that the house of his brother Peter, which he visited in 375, and which we may assume to have been on the family property (cf. Letter CX. § 1) was "not far from Neocæsarea." As a matter of fact, the Iris nowhere winds nearer to Neocæsarea than at a distance of about twenty miles, and Turkhal is not at the nearest point. But it is all a question of degree. Relatively to Cæsarea, Basil's usual place of residence, Annesi is near Neocæsarea. An analogy would be found in the statement of a writer usually residing in London, that if he came to Sheffield he would be not far from Doncaster. [25]

At Annesi his mother Emmelia erected a chapel in honour of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste to which their relics were translated. It is possible that Basil was present at the dedication services, lasting all night long, which are related to have sent his brother Gregory to sleep. [26]Here, then, Basil was taught the rudiments of religion by his grandmother, [27] and by his father, [28] in accordance with the teaching of the great Gregory the Wonder-worker. [29]Here he learned the Catholic faith.

At an early age he seems to have been sent to school at Cæsarea, [30] and there to have formed the acquaintance of an Eusebius, otherwise unknown, [31] Hesychius, [32] and Gregory of Nazianzus, [33] and to have conceived a boyish admiration for Dianius the archbishop. [34]

From Cæsarea Basil went to Constantinople, and there studied rhetoric and philosophy with success. Socrates [35] and Sozomen [36] say that he worked at Antioch under Libanius. It may be that both these writers have confounded Basil of Cæsarea with the Basil to whom Chrysostom dedicated his De Sacerdotio, and who was perhaps the bishop of Raphanea, who signed the creed of Constantinople. [37]

There is no corroboration of a sojourn of Basil of Cæsarea at Antioch. Libanius was at Constantinople in 347, [38] and there Basil may have attended his lectures. [39]

From Constantinople the young Cappadocian student proceeded in 351 to Athens. Of an university town of the 4th century we have a lively picture in the writings of his friend, [40] and are reminded that the rough horse-play of the modern undergraduate is a survival of a very ancient barbarism. The lads were affiliated to certain fraternities, [41] and looked out for the arrival of every new student at the city, with the object of attaching him to the classes of this or that teacher. Kinsmen were on the watch for kinsmen and acquaintances for acquaintances; sometimes it was mere good-humoured violence which secured the person of the freshman. The first step in this grotesque matriculation was an entertainment; then the guest of the day was conducted with ceremonial procession through the agora to the entrance of the baths. There they leaped round him with wild cries, and refused him admission. At last an entry was forced with mock fury, and the neophyte was made free of the mysteries of the baths and of the lecture halls. Gregory of Nazianzus, a student a little senior to Basil, succeeded in sparing him the ordeal of this initiation, and his dignity and sweetness of character seem to have secured him immunity from rough usage without loss of popularity. [42]At Athens the two young Cappadocians were noted among their contemporaries for three things: their diligence and success in work; their stainless and devout life; and their close mutual affection. Everything was common to them. They were as one soul. What formed the closest bond of union was their faith. God and their love of what is best made them one. [43]Himerius, a pagan, and Prohæresius, an Armenian Christian, are mentioned among the well-known professors whose classes Basil attended. [44]Among early friendships, formed possibly during his university career, Basil's own letters name those with Terentius [45] and Sophronius. [46]

If the Libanian correspondence be accepted as genuine, we may add Celsus, a pupil of Libanius, to the group. [47]But if we except Basil's affection for Gregory of Nazianzus, of none of these intimacies is the interest so great as of that which is recorded to have been formed between Basil and the young prince Julian. [48]One incident of the Athenian sojourn, which led to bitter consequences in after days, was the brief communication with Apollinarius, and the letter written "from layman to layman," [49] which his opponents made a handle for much malevolence, and perhaps for forgery. Julian arrived at Athens after the middle of the year 355. [50]Basil's departure thence and return to Cæsarea may therefore be approximately fixed early in 356. [51]Basil starts for his life's work with the equipment of the most liberal education which the age could supply. He has studied Greek literature, rhetoric, and philosophy under the most famous teachers. He has been brought into contact with every class of mind. His training has been no narrow hothouse forcing of theological opinion and ecclesiastical sentiment. The world which he is to renounce, to confront, to influence is not a world unknown to him. [52]He has seen heathenism in all the autumn grace of its decline, and comes away victorious from seductions which were fatal to some young men of early Christian associations. Athens no doubt contributed its share of influence to the apostasy of Julian. Basil, happily, was found to be rooted more firmly in the faith. [53]


[21] Epp. cciv., ccx., ccxxiii. [22] Epp. iii., ccxxiii. The researches of Prof. W. M. Ramsay enable the exact spot to be identified with approximate certainty, and, with his guidance, a pilgrim to the scenes of Basil's boyhood and earlier monastic labours might feel himself on fairly sure ground. He refers to the description of St. Basil's hermitage given by Gregory of Nazianzus in his Ep. iv., a description which may be compared with that of Basil himself in Ep. xiv., as one which "can hardly refer to any other spot than the rocky glen below Turkhal. Ibora," in which the diocese Annesi was situated, "cannot be placed further down, because it is the frontier bishopric of Pontus towards Sebasteia, and further up there is no rocky glen until the territory of Comana is reached. Gregory Nyssenus, in his treatise on baptism" (Migne, iii. 324 c.) "speaks of Comana as a neighbouring city. Tillemont, thinking that the treatise was written at Nyssa, infers that Nyssa and Comana were near each other. The truth is that Gregory must have written his treatise at Annesi. We may therefore infer that the territory of Ibora adjoined that of Comana on the east and that of Sebasteia on the south, and touched the Iris from the boundary of Comana down to the point below Turkhal. The boundary was probably near Tokat, and Ibora itself may have been actually situated near Turkhal." Prof. W. M. Ramsay, Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor, p. 326. [23] Ep. xiv. [24] Greg. Naz., Ep. iv. [25] On the visits to Peter, Prof. W. M. Ramsay writes: "The first and more natural interpretation is that Peter lived at a place further up the Iris than Dazimon, in the direction of Neocæsarea. But on more careful consideration it is obvious that, after the troubles in Dazimon, Basil went to take a holiday with his brother Peter, and therefore he did not necessarily continue his journey onward from Dazimon. The expression of neighbourhood to the district of Neocæsarea is doubtless only comparative. Basil's usual residence was at Cæsarea. Moreover, as Ibora has now been placed, its territory probably touched that of Neocæsarea." Hist. Geog. of A.M. p. 328. [26] Greg. Nyss., Orat. in xl. Mart. [27] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. [28] Ep. ccxxiii. [29] See Ep. cciv. and note on p. 250. [30] i.e. the Cappadocian Cæsarea. The theory of Tillemont that Cæsarea of Palestine was the scene of Basil's early school life seems hardly to deserve the careful refutation of Maran (Vit. Bas. i. 5). cf. Ep. xlv. p. 148, and p. 145, n. cf. also note on p. 141 on a possible intercourse between the boy Basil and the young princes Gallus and Julian in their seclusion at Macellum. The park and palace of Macellum (Amm. Marc. "fundus") was near Mt. Argæus (Soz. v. 2) and close to Cæsarea. If Basil and Julian did ever study the Bible together, it seems more probably that they should do so at Macellum, while the prince was still being educated as a Christian, than afterwards at Athens, when the residence at Nicomedia has resulted in the apostasy. cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. ii. 4. [31] Ep. cclxxi. [32] Ep. lxiv. [33] Greg. Naz. Or. xliii. [34] Ep. li. [35] Ecc. Hist. iv. 26. [36] Ecc. Hist. vi. 17. [37] Maran, Vit. Bas. ii., Fabricius, Ed. Harles. vol. ix. [38] He does not seem to have been at Antioch until 353, D.C.B. iii. 710, when Basil was at Athens. [39] cf. the correspondence with Libanius, of which the genuineness has been questioned, in Letters cccxxxv.-ccclix. Letter cccxxxix. suggests a possibility of some study of Hebrew. But Basil always uses the LXX. [40] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii., and poem De Vita Sua. [41] phratriai. Greg., De Vita Sua, 215. [42] A somewhat similar exemption is recorded of Dean Stanley at Rugby. [43] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. 20, 21; Carm. xi. 221-235: ";;O d' eis en hemas diapherontos egage Tout en theos te kai pothos ton kreissonon." Ullman (Life of Greg.) quotes Cic., De Amicitia, xxv.: "Amicitiæ vis est in eo ut unus quasi animus fiat ex pluribus." [44] Soc. iv. 26 and Soz. vi. 17. [45] Ep. lxiv. [46] Ep. cclxxii. [47] Ep. cccvi. [48] Greg. Naz., Or. iv., Epp. xxxix., xl., xli., on the first of which see note. [49] Ep. ccxxiv. 2. [50] Amm. Mar. xv. 2, 8. "Permissus" is no doubt an euphemism for "coactus." [51] "Non enim citius contigit anno 355 exeunte aut ineunte 356, si quidem ibi vidit Basilius Julianum, qui in hanc urbem venit jam media parte anni 355elapsa: neque etiam serius, quia spatia inter studia litterarum et sacerdotium nimis contrahi non patitur rerum Basilii gestarum multitudo." Maran. [52] On the education of Basil, Eug. Fialon remarks (Etude Historique et Litteraire, p. 15): "Saint Grégoire, sur le trône patriarcal de Constantinople, déclarait ne pas savoir la langue de Rome. Il en fut de même de Saint Basile. Du moins, c'est vainement qu'on chercherait dans ses ouvrages quelque trace des poètes ou des prosateurs Latins. Si des passages de l'Hexaméron semblent tirés de Cicéron ou de Pline, il ne faut pas s'y méprendre. C'étaint de sortes de lieux cammuns qui se retrouvent dans Plutarque et dans Élien-ceux-ci les avaient empruntés à quelque vieil auteur, Aristotle, par exemple, et c'est à cette source première qu'avaient puisé Grecs et Latins. Les Grecs poussaient même si loin l'ignorance du ayant à dire comment le mot ciel s'exprime en Latin, l'écrit a peu pres comme il devait l'entendre prononcer aux Romains, Keloum, sans se préoccuper de la quantité ni de l'etymologie...La littérature Grecque était donc le fonds unique des études en Orient, et certes elle pouvait, à elle seule, satisfaire de nobles intelligences...C'est dans Homère que les jeunes Grecs apprenaient à lire. Pendant tout le cours de leurs études, ils expliquaient ses poèmes...Ses vers remplissent la correspondances des pères de l'Eglise, et plus d'une comparaison profane passe de ses poèmes dans leurs homélies. Après Homère, venaient Hésiode et les tragiques Hérodote et Thucydide, Démosthène, Isocrate, et Lysias. Ainsi poètes, historiens, orateurs, formaient l'esprit, dirigeaient le coeur, élevaient l'âme des enfants. Mais ces auteurs étaient les coryphées du paganisme, et plus d'une passage de leur livres blessait la morale sévère du christianisme. Nul doute qu'un maitre religieux, un saint, comme le père de Basile, á propos des dieux d'Homére,...dût plus d'une fois déplorer l'aveuglement d'un si beau génie....Jusqu'ici, les études de Basile repondent à peu près á notre instruction secondaire. Alors, comme aujourd'hui ces première études n'etaient qu'un acheminement à des travaux plus serieux. Muni de ce premier bagage littéraire, un jeune homme rich, et que voulait briller dans le monde, allait dans les grands centres, à Antioche, à Alexandrie, à Constantinople, et surtout à Athènes, ètudier l'éloquence et la philosophie." [53] cf. C. Ullman, Life of Gregory of Naz. chap. ii., and Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. 21. blaberai men tois allois Athenai at eis psuchen.

III.--Life at Cæsarea; Baptism; and Adoption of Monastic Life.

When Basil overcame the efforts of his companions to detain him at Athens, Gregory was prevailed on to remain for a while longer. Basil therefore made his rapid journey homeward alone. His Letter to Eustathius [54] alleges as the chief reason for his hurried departure the desire to profit by the instruction of that teacher. This may be the language of compliment. In the same letter he speaks of his fortitude in resisting all temptation to stop at the city on the Hellespont. This city I hesitate to recognise, with Maran, as Constantinople. There may have been inducements to Basil to stop at Lampsacus and it is more probably Lampsacus that he avoided. [55]At Cæsarea he was welcomed as one of the most distinguished of her sons, [56] and there for a time taught rhetoric with conspicuous success. [57]A deputation came from Neocæsarea to request him to undertake educational work at that city, [58] and in vain endeavoured to detain [59] him by lavish promises. According to his friend Gregory, Basil had already determined to renounce the world, in the sense of devoting himself to an ascetic and philosophic life. [60]His brother Gregory, however, [61] represents him as at this period still under more mundane influences, and as shewing something of the self-confidence and conceit which are occasionally to be observed in young men who have just successfully completed an university career, and as being largely indebted to the persuasion and example of his sister Macrina for the resolution, with which he now carried out the determination to devote himself to a life of self-denial. To the same period may probably be referred Basil's baptism. The sacrament was administered by Dianius. [62]It would be quite consonant with the feelings of the times that pious parents like the elder Basil and Emmelia should shrink from admitting their boy to holy baptism before his encountering the temptations of school and university life. [63] The assigned date, 357, may be reasonably accepted, and shortly after his baptism he was ordained Reader. [64]It was about this that he visited monastic settlements in Palestine, Mesopotamia, Coele Syria, and Egypt, [65] though he was not so fortunate as to encounter the great pope Athanasius. [66]Probably during this tour he began the friendship with Eusebius of Samosata which lasted so long.

To the same period we may also refer his renunciation of his share of the family property. [67]Maran would appear to date this before the Syrian and Egyptian tour, a journey which can hardly have been accomplished without considerable expense. But, in truth, with every desire to do justice to the self-denial and unworldliness of St. Basil and of other like-minded and like-lived champions of the Faith, it cannot but be observed that, at all events in Basil's case, the renunciation must be understood with some reasonable reservation. The great archbishop has been claimed as a "socialist," whatever may be meant in these days by the term. [68]But St. Basil did not renounce all property himself, and had a keen sense of its rights in the case of his friends. [69]From his letter on behalf of his foster-brother, placed by Maran during his presbyterate, [70] it would appear that this foster-brother, Dorotheus, was allowed a life tenancy of a house and farm on the family estate, with a certain number of slaves, on condition that Basil should be supported out of the profits. Here we have landlord, tenant, rent, and unearned increment. St. Basil can scarcely be fairly cited as a practical apostle of some of the chapters of the socialist evangel of the end of the nineteenth century. But ancient eulogists of the great archbishop, anxious to represent him as a good monk, have not failed to foresee that this might be urged in objection to the completeness of his renunciation of the world, in their sense, and to counterbalance it, have cited an anecdote related by Cassian. [71] One day a senator named Syncletius came to Basil to be admitted to his monastery, with the statement that he had renounced his property, excepting only a pittance to save him from manual labour. "You have spoilt a senator," said Basil, "without making a monk." Basil's own letter represents him as practically following the example of, or setting an example to, Syncletius.

Stimulated to carry out his purpose of embracing the ascetic life by what he saw of the monks and solitaries during his travels, Basil first of all thought of establishing a monastery in the district of Tiberina. [72]Here he would have been in the near neighbourhood of Arianzus, the home of his friend Gregory. But the attractions of Tiberina were ultimately postponed to those of Ibora, and Basil's place of retreat was fixed in the glen not far from the old home, and only separated from Annesi by the Iris, of which we have Basil's own picturesque description. [73]Gregory declined to do more than pay a visit to Pontus, and so is said to have caused Basil much disappointment. [74]It is a little characteristic of the imperious nature of the man of stronger will, that while he would not give up the society of his own mother and sister in order to be near his friend, he complained of his friend's not making a similar sacrifice in order to be near him. [75]Gregory [76] good-humouredly replies to Basil's depreciation of Tiberina by a counter attack on Cæsarea and Annesi.

At the Pontic retreat Basil now began that system of hard ascetic discipline which eventually contributed to the enfeeblement of his health and the shortening of his life. He complains again and again in his letters of the deplorable physical condition to which he is reduced, and he died at the age of fifty. It is a question whether a constitution better capable of sustaining the fatigue of long journeys, and a life prolonged beyond the Council of Constantinople, would or would not have left a larger mark upon the history of the Church. There can be no doubt, that in Basil's personal conflict with the decadent empire represented by Valens, his own cause was strengthened by his obvious superiority to the hopes and fears of vulgar ambitions. He ate no more than was actually necessary for daily sustenance, and his fare was of the poorest. Even when he was archbishop, no flesh meat was dressed in his kitchens. [77]His wardrobe consisted of one under and one over garment. By night he wore haircloth; not by day, lest he should seem ostentatious. He treated his body, says his brother, with a possible reference to St. Paul, [78] as an angry owner treats a runaway slave. [79]A consistent celibate, he was yet almost morbidly conscious of his unchastity, mindful of the Lord's words as to the adultery of the impure thought. [80]St. Basil relates in strong terms his admiration for the ascetic character of Eustathius of Sebaste, [81] and at this time was closely associated with him. Indeed, Eustathius was probably the first to introduce the monastic system into Pontus, his part in the work being comparatively ignored in later days when his tergiversation had brought him into disrepute. Thus the credit of introducing monasticism into Asia Minor was given to Basil alone. [82] A novel feature of this monasticism was the Coenobium, [83] for hitherto ascetics had lived in absolute solitude, or in groups of only two or three. [84]Thus it was partly relieved from the discredit of selfish isolation and unprofitable idleness. [85]

The example set by Basil and his companions spread. Companies of hard-working ascetics of both sexes were established in every part of Pontus, every one of them an active centre for the preaching of the Nicene doctrines, and their defence against Arian opposition and misconstruction. [86]Probably about this time, in conjunction with his friend Gregory, Basil compiled the collection of the beauties of Origen which was entitled Philocalia. Origen's authority stood high, and both of the main divisions of Christian thought, the Nicene and the Arian, endeavoured to support their respective views from his writings. Basil and Gregory were successful in vindicating his orthodoxy and using his aid in strengthening the Catholic position. [87]


[54] Ep. i. [55] What these inducements can have been it seems vain to conjecture. cf. Ep. i. and note. [56] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. [57] Rufinus xi. 9. [58] Ep. ccx. § 2. The time assigned by Maran for the incident here narrated is no doubt the right one. But the deputation need have travelled no farther than to Annesi, if, as is tolerably certain, Basil on his return from Athens visited his relatives and the family estate. [59] The word kataschein would be natural if they sought to keep him in Pontus; hardly, if their object was to bring him from Cæsarea. [60] Or. xliii. [61] Vit. Mac. [62] cf. De Sp. Scto. xxix., where the description of the bishop who both baptized and ordained Basil, and spent a long life in the ministry, can apply only to Dianius. cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. iii. [63] According to the legendary life of St. Basil, attributed to St. Amphilochius, he was baptized at Jerusalem. Nor is it right to omit to notice the argument of Wall (Infant Baptism, ch. x.) founded on a coincidence between two passages in the writings of Greg. Naz. In Or. xl. ad init. he speaks of baptism as a genesis hemerine kai eleuthera kai lutike pathon, pan to apo geneseos kalumma peritemnousa, kai pros ten ano zoen epanagousa. In Or. xliii., he says of Basil that ta prota tes helikias upo to patri...sparganoutai kai diaplattetai plasin ten aristen te kai katharotaten, hen hemerinen ho theios Dabid kalos onouazei kai tes nuchterines antitheton. As they stand alone, there is something to be said for the conclusion Wall deduces from these passages. Against it there is the tradition of the later baptism, with the indication of Dianius as having performed the rite in the De Sp. Scto. 29. On the other hand ta prota tes helikias might possibly refer not to infancy, but to boyhood. [64] De S. Scto. xxiv. On his growing seriousness of character, cf. Ep. ccxxiii. [65] Epp. i. and ccxxiii. § 2. [66] Ep. lxxx. [67] cf. Ep. ccxxiii. § 2. Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. [68] e.g. The New Party, 1894, pp. 82 and 83, quoting Bas., In Isa. i., Hom. in illud Lucæ Destruam horrea, § 7, and Hom. in Divites. [69] Epp. iii., xxxvi. cf. Dr. Travers Smith, Basil, p. 33. [70] Ep. xxxvii. [71] Inst. vii. 19. cf. note on Cassian, vol. xi. p. 254 of this series. [72] Ep. xiv. ad fin. [73] Ep. xiv. [74] Greg. Naz., Ep. i. or xliii. § 25. [75] On the latter difference between the friends at the time of Basil's consecration, De Broglie remarks: "Ainsi se trahissait à chaque pas cette profords diversité de caractère qui devait parfois troubler, mais plus sonnent ranimer et resserrer l'union de ces deux belles âmes: Basile, né pour le gouvernement des hommes et pour la lutte, prompt et précis dans ses resolutions, embrassant à coup d'oeil le but à poursuivre et y marchant droit sans s'inquiéter des difficultés et du jugement des spectateurs; Grégoire, atteint de cette délicatesse un peu maladive, qui est, chez les esprits d'élite, la source de l'inspiration poétique, sensible à la moindre renonce d'approbation ou de blâme, surtout à la moindre blessure de l'amitié, plus finement averti des obstacles, mais aussi plus aisément découragé, mèlant a la poursuite des plus grands intérets un soin peut être excessif de sa dignité et toutes les inquiétudes d'un coeur souffrant." L'Eglise et l'Empire Romain au IVme Siècle, v. p. 89. [76] Greg. Naz., Ep. ii. [77] Ep. xli. [78] 1 Cor. ix. 27. [79] Greg. Nyss., In Bas. 314 c. [80] Cassian, Inst. vi. 19. [81] Ep. ccxxiii. § 3. [82] cf. Tillemont ix. passim, Walch iii. 552, SchrÜckh xiii. 25, quoted by Robertson, i. 366. [83] koinobion. [84] Maran, Vit. Bas. vi. [85] cf. Bas., Reg. Fus. Resp. vii., quoted by Robertson, i. 366. His rule has been compared to that of St. Benedict. D.C.B. i. 284. On the life in the Retreat, cf. Epp. ii. and ccvii. [86] Soz. vi. 17. [87] cf. Soc., Ecc. Hist. iv. 26. Of this work Gregory says, in sending it to a friend: hina de ti kai hupomnema par' hemon eches, to d' auto kai tou hagiou Basileiou puktion apestalkamen soi tes Origenous philokalias, eklogas echon ton chresimon tois philologois. Ep. lxxxvii.

IV.--Basil and the Councils, to the Accession of Valens.

Up to this time St. Basil is not seen to have publicly taken an active part in the personal theological discussions of the age; but the ecclesiastical world was eagerly disputing while he was working in Pontus. Aetius, the uncompromising Arian, was openly favoured by Eudoxius of Germanicia, who had appropriated the see of Antioch in 357. This provoked the Semiarians to hold their council at Ancyra in 358, when the Sirmian "Blasphemy" of 357 was condemned. The Acacians were alarmed, and manoeuvred for the division of the general council which Constantius was desirous of summoning. Then came Ariminum, Nike, and Seleucia, in 359, and "the world groaned to find itself Arian." Deputations from each of the great parties were sent to a council held under the personal presidency of Constantius at Constantinople, and to one of these the young deacon was attached. The date of the ordination to this grade is unknown. On the authority of Gregory of Nyssa [88] and Philostorgius, [89] it appears that Basil accompanied his namesake of Ancyra and Eustathius of Sebaste to the court, and supported Basil the bishop. Philostorgius would indeed represent the younger Basil as championing the Semiarian cause, though with some cowardice. [90]It may be concluded, with Maran, that he probably stood forward stoutly for the truth, not only at the capital itself, but also in the neighbouring cities of Chalcedon and Heraclea. [91]But his official position was a humble one, and his part in the discussions and amid the intrigues of the council was only too likely to be misrepresented by those with whom he did not agree, and even misunderstood by his own friends. In 360 Dianius signed the creed of Ariminum, brought to Cæsarea by George of Laodicea; and thereby Basil was so much distressed as henceforward to shun communion with his bishop. [92]He left Cæsarea and betook himself to Nazianzus to seek consolation in the society of his friend. But his feelings towards Dianius were always affectionate, and he indignantly repudiated a calumnious assertion that he had gone so far as to anathematize him. Two years later Dianius fell sick unto death and sent for Basil, protesting that at heart he had always been true to the Catholic creed. Basil acceded to the appeal, and in 362 once again communicated with his bishop and old friend. [93]In the interval between the visit to Constantinople and this death-bed reconciliation, that form of error arose which was long known by the name of Macedonianism, and which St. Basil was in later years to combat with such signal success in the treatise Of the Spirit. It combined disloyalty to the Spirit and to the Son. But countervailing events were the acceptance of the Homoousion by the Council of Paris, [94] and the publication of Athanasius' letters to Serapion on the divinity of the two Persons assailed. To this period is referred the compilation by Basil of the Moralia. [95]

The brief reign of Julian would affect Basil, in common with the whole Church, in two ways: in the relief he would feel at the comparative toleration shewn to Catholics, and the consequent return of orthodox bishops to their sees; [96] in the distress with which he would witness his old friend's attempts to ridicule and undermine the Faith. Sorrow more personal and immediate must have been caused by the harsh treatment of Cæsarea [97] and the cruel imposts laid on Cappadocia. What conduct on the part of the Cæsareans may have led Gregory of Nazianzus [98] to speak of Julian as justly offended, we can only conjecture. It may have been the somewhat disorderly proceedings in connexion with the appointment of Eusebius to succeed Dianius. But there can be no doubt about the sufferings of Cæsarea nor of the martyrdom of Eupsychius and Damas for their part in the destruction of the Temple of Fortune. [99]

The precise part taken by Basil in the election of Eusebius can only be conjectured. Eusebius, like Ambrose of Milan, a layman of rank and influence, was elevated per saltum to the episcopate. Efforts were made by Julian and by some Christian objectors to get the appointment annulled by means of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, on the ground of its having been brought about by violence. Bishop Gregory refused to take any retrogressive steps, and thought the scandal of accepting the tumultuary appointment would be less than that of cancelling the consecration. Gregory the younger presumably supported his father, and he associates Basil with him as probable sufferers from the imperial vengeance. [100]But he was at Nazianzus at the time of the election, and Basil is more likely to have been an active agent. [101]

To this period may be referred Basil's receipt of the letter from Athanasius, mentioned in Letter CCIV., § 6. [102]On the accession of Jovian, in June, 363, Athanasius wrote to him asserting the Nicene Faith, but he was greeted also by a Semiarian manifesto from Antioch, [103] of which the first signatory was Meletius.

Valentinian and Valens, on their accession in the following year, thus found the Church still divided on its cardinal doctrines, and the lists were marked in which Basil was henceforward to be a more conspicuous combatant.


[88] i. Eunom. [89] iv. 12. [90] ois Basileios heteros paren sunaspizon diakonon eti taxin echon, dunamei men tou legein pollon propheron, to de tes gnomes atharsei pros tous koinous hupostellomenous agonas. This is unlike Basil. "This may be the Arian way of saying that St. Basil withdrew from the Seleucian deputies when they yielded to the Acacians." Rev. C.F.H. Johnston, De. S. Scto. Int. xxxvi. [91] Ep. ccxxiii. § 5. [92] Ep. li. [93] Epp. viii. and li. [94] 360. Mansi, iii. 357-9. [95] ethika. "Capita moralia christiana, ex meris Novi Testamenti dictis contexta et regulis lxxx. comprehensa." Fab. Closely connected with these are the Regulæ fusius tractatæ (horoi kata platos) lv., and the Regulæ brevius tractatæ (horoi kat' epitomen) cccxiii. (Migne, xxxi. pp. 890-1306) on which see later. [96] The most important instance being that of Athanasius, who, on his return to Alexandria after his third exile, held a synod which condemned Macedonians as well as Arians. cf. Newman's Arians, v. 1. [97] Soz. v. 4. [98] Or. iv. § 92. [99] Epp. c., cclii. Soz. v. 11. cf. also Epp. xxxix., xl., and xli., with the notes on pp. 141, 142, for the argument for and against the genuineness of the correspondence. Two Eupsychii of Cæsarea are named in the Acta Sanctorum and by the Petits Bollandistes,--one celebrated on April 9, said to have been martyred in the reign of Hadrian, the other the victim of Julian in 362, commemorated on Sept. 7. Tillemont identifies them. Baronius thinks them distinct. J. S. Stilting (Act. Sanct. ed. 1868) is inclined to distinguish them mainly on the ground that between 362 and the time of Basil's describing the festival as an established yearly commemoration there is not sufficient interval for the cultus to have arisen. This alone seems hardly convincing. The local interest in the victim of Julian's severity would naturally be great. Becket was murdered in 1170 and canonized in 1173, Dec. 29 being fixed for his feast; Lewis VII. of France was among the pilgrims in 1179. Bernadette Soubirous announced her vision at Lourdes in 1858; the church was begun there in 1862. [100] Or. v. 39. [101] cf. Greg. Naz. Ep. viii. [102] Maran, Vit. Bas. viii. 8. [103] Soc. iii. 25.

V.--The Presbyterate.

Not long after the accession of Valens, Basil was ordained presbyter by Eusebius. [104]An earlier date has been suggested, but the year 364 is accepted as fitting in better with the words of Gregory [105] on the free speech conceded to heretics. And from the same Letter it may be concluded that the ordination of Basil, like that of Gregory himself, was not wholly voluntary, and that he was forced against his inclinations to accept duties when he hesitated as to his liking and fitness for them. It was about this time that he wrote his Books against Eunomius; [106] and it may possibly have been this work which specially commended him to Eusebius. However this may be, there is no doubt that he was soon actively engaged in the practical work of the diocese, and made himself very useful to Eusebius. But Basil's very vigour and value seem to have been the cause of some alienation between him and his bishop. His friend Gregory gives us no details, but it may be inferred from what he says that he thought Basil ill-used. [107]And allusions of Basil have been supposed to imply his own sense of discourtesy and neglect. [108]The position became serious. Bishops who had objected to the tumultuary nomination of Eusebius, and had with difficulty been induced to maintain the lawfulness of his consecration, were ready to consecrate Basil in his place. But Basil shewed at once his wisdom and his magnanimity. A division of the orthodox clergy of Cappadocia would be full of danger to the cause. He would accept no personal advancement to the damage of the Church. He retired with his friend Gregory to his Pontic monasteries, [109] and won the battle by flying from the field. Eusebius was left unmolested, and the character of Basil was higher than ever. [110]

The seclusion of Basil in Pontus seemed to afford an opportunity to his opponents in Cappadocia, and according to Sozomen, [111] Valens himself, in 365, was moved to threaten Cæsarea with a visit by the thought that the Catholics of Cappadocia were now deprived of the aid of their strongest champion. Eusebius would have invoked Gregory, and left Basil alone. Gregory, however, refused to act without his friend, and, with much tact and good feeling, succeeded in atoning the two offended parties. [112]Eusebius at first resented Gregory's earnest advocacy of his absent friend, and was inclined to resent what seemed the somewhat impertinent interference of a junior. But Gregory happily appealed to the archbishop's sense of justice and superiority to the common unwillingness of high dignitaries to accept counsel, and assured him that in all that he had written on the subject he had meant to avoid all possible offence, and to keep within the bounds of spiritual and philosophic discipline. [113]Basil returned to the metropolitan city, ready to cooperate loyally with Eusebius, and to employ all his eloquence and learning against the proposed Arian aggression. To the grateful Catholics it seemed as though the mere knowledge that Basil was in Cæsarea was enough to turn Valens with his bishops to flight, [114] and the tidings, brought by a furious rider, of the revolt of Procopius, [115] seemed a comparatively insignificant motive for the emperor's departure.

There was now a lull in the storm. Basil, completely reconciled to Eusebius, began to consolidate the archiepiscopal power which he afterward wielded as his own, [116] over the various provinces in which the metropolitan of Cæsarea exercised exarchic authority. [117] In the meantime the Semiarians were beginning to share with the Catholics the hardships inflicted by the imperial power. At Lampsacus in 364 they had condemned the results of Ariminum and Constantinople, and had reasserted the Antiochene Dedication Creed of 341. In 366 they sent deputies to Liberius at Rome, who proved their orthodoxy by subscribing the Nicene Creed. Basil had not been present at Lampsacus, [118] but he had met Eustathius and other bishops on their way thither, and had no doubt influenced the decisions of the synod. Now the deputation to the West consisted of three of those bishops with whom he was in communication, Eustathius of Sebasteia, Silvanus of Tarsus, and Theophilus of Castabala. To the first it was an opportunity for regaining a position among the orthodox prelates. It can hardly have been without the persuasion of Basil that the deputation went so far as they did in accepting the homoousion, but it is a little singular, and indicative of the comparatively slow awakening of the Church in general to the perils of the degradation of the Holy Ghost, that no profession of faith was demanded from the Lampsacene delegates on this subject. [119]In 367 the council of Tyana accepted the restitution of the Semiarian bishops, and so far peace had been promoted. [120]To this period may very probably be referred the compilation of the Liturgy which formed the basis of that which bears Basil's name. [121]The claims of theology and of ecclesiastical administration in Basil's time did not, however, prevent him from devoting much of his vast energy to works of charity. Probably the great hospital for the housing and relief of travellers and the poor, which he established in the suburbs of Cæsarea, was planned, if not begun, in the latter years of his presbyterate, for its size and importance were made pretexts for denouncing him to Elias, the governor of Cappadocia, in 372, [122] and at the same period Valens contributed to its endowment. It was so extensive as to go by the name of Newtown, [123] and was in later years known as the "Basileiad." [124]It was the mother of other similar institutions in the country-districts of the province, each under a Chorepiscopus. [125]But whether the Ptochotrophium [126] was or was not actually begun before Basil's episcopate, great demands were made on his sympathy and energy by the great drought and consequent famine which befell Cæsarea in 368. [127]He describes it with eloquence in his Homily On the Famine and Drought. [128]The distress was cruel and widespread. The distance of Cæsarea from the coast increased the difficulty of supplying provisions. Speculators, scratching, as it were, in their country's wounds, hoarded grain in the hope of selling at famine prices. These Basil moved to open their stores. He distributed lavishly at his own expense, [129] and ministered in person to the wants of the sufferers. Gregory of Nazianzus [130] gives us a picture of his illustrious friend standing in the midst of a great crowd of men and women and children, some scarcely able to breathe; of servants bringing in piles of such food as is best suited to the weak state of the famishing sufferers; of Basil with his own hands distributing nourishment, and with his own voice cheering and encouraging the sufferers.

About this time Basil suffered a great loss in the death of his mother, [131] and sought solace in a visit to his friend Eusebius at Samosata. [132]But the cheering effect of his journey was lessened by the news, which greeted him on his return, that the Arians had succeeded in placing one of their number in the see of Tarsus. [133] The loss of Silvanus was ere long followed by a death of yet graver moment to the Church. In the middle of 370 died Eusebius, breathing his last in the arms of Basil. [134]


[104] It will have been noted that I have accepted the authority of Philostorgius that he was already deacon. The argument employed by Tillemont against this statement is the fact of no distinct diaconate being mentioned by Gregory of Nazianzus. But the silence of Gregory does not conclusively outweigh the distinct eti taxin diakonou echon of Philostorgius; and a diaconate is supported by the mistaken statement of Socrates (H.E. iv. 26) that the deacon's orders were conferred by Meletius. [105] Greg. Naz., Ep. viii. [106] cf. Ep. xx. [107] Greg. Naz., Orat. xliii. 28, Epp. xvi.-xvii. [108] e.g. Hom. in Is. i. 57, alazoneia gar deine to medenos oiesthai chrezein. [109] Gregory has no doubt that Eusebius was in the wrong, even ridiculously in the wrong, if such be the true interpretation of his curious phrase (Or. xliiii. 28), haptetai gar ou ton pollon monon, alla kai ton ariston, ho Momos. The monasteries to which Basil fled Gregory here (id. 29) calls phrontisteria, the word used by Aristophanes (Clouds, 94) of the house or school of Socrates, and apparently a comic parody on dikasterion. It might be rendered "reflectory." "Contemplatory" has been suggested. It is to be noted that Basil in the De Sp. Scto. (see p. 49, n.) appears to allude to the Acharnians. The friends probably read Aristophanes together at Athens. [110] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. Soz. vi. 15. [111] vi. 15. [112] Greg. Naz., Epp. xvi., xvii., xix., and Or. xx. [113] ouk hubristikos, alla pneumatikos te kai philosophos. [114] Soz. vi. 15. [115] Amm. Marc. xxvi. 7, 2. [116] enteuthen auto perien kai to kratos tes ekklesias, ei kai tes kathedras eiche ta deutera. Greg. Naz. Or. xliii. [117] cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. xiv. and D.C.A. s.v. exarch. The archbishop of Cæsarea was exarch of the provinces (eparchiai) comprised in the Pontic Diocese. Maran refers to Letters xxviii., xxx., and xxxiv., as all shewing the important functions discharged by Basil while yet a presbyter. [118] Ep. ccxxiii. [119] Hefele, § 88. SchrÜckh, Kirch, xii. 31. Swete, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, 54. [120] Epp. ccxliv. and cclxiii. [121] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. [122] Ep. xciv. [123] hekaine polis. Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. cf. Sir Thomas More's Utopia, Bk. II. Chap. V. [124] Soz. vi. 34. [125] Epp. cxlii., cxliii. [126] ptochotropheion, Ep. clxxvi. Professor Ramsay, in The Church and the Roman Empire, p. 464, remarks that "the `New City' of Basil seems to have caused the gradual concentration of the entire population of Cæsarea round the ecclesiastical centre, and the abandonment of the old city. Modern Kaisari is situated between one and two miles from the site of the Græco-Roman city." [127] For the date, cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. ix. § 5. [128] § 2, p. 63. cf. Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. 340-342, and Greg. Nyss., In Eun. i. 306. [129] Greg. Nyss., In Eunom. i. § 10 (in this series, p. 45), remarks of Basil: ten patroan ousian kai pro tes hierosunes apheidos analosas tois penesi kai malista en to tes sitodeias kairo, kath' hon epestatei tes ekklesias, eti en to klero ton presbuteron hierateuon kai meta tauta, mede ton hupoleiphthenton pheisamenos. Maran (Vit. Bas. xi. § 4), with the object of proving that Basil had completely abandoned all property whatsoever, says that this must refer to a legacy from his mother. The terms used are far more consistent with the view already expressed (§ III.). So in his Orat. in Bas. Gregory speaks of Basil at the time as "selling his own possessions, and buying provisions with the proceeds." [130] Or. xliii. [131] Greg. Nyss., Vit. Mac. 187, Ep. xxx. [132] Ep. xxxiv. [133] Id. [134] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii.

VI.--Basil as Archbishop.

The archiepiscopal throne was now technically vacant. But the man who had practically filled it, "the keeper and tamer of the lion," [135] was still alive in the plenitude of his power. What course was he to follow ? Was he meekly to withdraw, and perhaps be compelled to support the candidature of another and an inferior? The indirect evidence [136] has seemed to some strong enough to compel the conclusion that he determined, if possible, to secure his election to the see. [137]Others, on the contrary, have thought him incapable of scheming for the nomination. [138]The truth probably lies between the two extreme views. No intelligent onlooker of the position at Cæsarea on the death of Eusebius, least of all the highly capable administrator of the province, could be blind to the fact that of all possible competitors for the vacant throne Basil himself was the ablest and most distinguished, and the likeliest to be capable of directing the course of events in the interests of orthodoxy. But it does not follow that Basil's appeal to Gregory to come to him was a deliberate step to secure this end. He craved for the support and counsel of his friend; but no one could have known better that Gregory the younger was not the man to take prompt action or rule events. His invention of a fatal sickness, or exaggeration of a slight one, failed to secure even Gregory's presence at Cæsarea. Gregory burst into tears on receipt of the news of his friend's grave illness, and hastened to obey the summons to his side. But on the road he fell in with bishops hurrying to Cæsarea for the election of a successor to Eusebius, and detected the unreality of Basil's plea. He at once returned to Nazianzus and wrote the oft-quoted letter, [139] on the interpretation given to which depends the estimate formed of Basil's action at the important crisis.

Basil may or may not have taken Gregory's advice not to put himself forward. But Gregory and his father, the bishop, from this time strained every nerve to secure the election of Basil. It was felt that the cause of true religion was at stake. "The Holy Ghost must win." [140]Opposition had to be encountered from bishops who were in open or secret sympathy with Basil's theological opponents, from men of wealth and position with whom Basil was unpopular on account of his practice and preaching of stern self-denial, and from all the lewd fellows of the baser sort in Cæsarea. [141]Letters were written in the name of Gregory the bishop with an eloquence and literary skill which have led them to be generally regarded as the composition of Gregory the younger. To the people of Cæsarea Basil was represented as a man of saintly life and of unique capacity to stem the surging tide of heresy. [142]To the bishops of the province who had asked him to come to Cæsarea without saying why, in the hope perhaps that so strong a friend of Basil's might be kept away from the election without being afterwards able to contest it on the ground that he had had no summons to attend, he expresses an earnest hope that their choice is not a factious and foregone conclusion, and, anticipating possible objections on the score of Basil's weak health, reminds them that they have to elect not a gladiator, but a primate. [143]To Eusebius of Samosata he sends the letter included among those of Basil [144] in which he urges him to cooperate in securing the appointment of a worthy man. Despite his age and physical infirmity, he was laid in his litter, as his son says [145] like a corpse in a grave, and borne to Cæsarea to rise there with fresh vigour and carry the election by his vote. [146]All resistance was overborne, and Basil was seated on the throne of the great exarchate.

The success of the Catholics roused, as was inevitable, various feelings. Athanasius wrote from Alexandria [147] to congratulate Cappadocia on her privilege in being ruled by so illustrious a primate. Valens prepared to carry out the measures against the Catholic province, which had been interrupted by the revolt of Procopius. The bishops of the province who had been narrowly out-voted, and who had refused to take part in the consecration, abandoned communion with the new primate. [148]But even more distressing to the new archbishop than the disaffection of his suffragans was the refusal of his friend Gregory to come in person to support him on his throne. Gregory pleaded that it was better for Basil's own sake that there should be no suspicion of favour to personal friends, and begged to be excused for staying at Nazianzus. [149]Basil complained that his wishes and interests were disregarded, [150] and was hurt at Gregory's refusing to accept high responsibilities, possibly the coadjutor-bishopric, at Cæsarea. [151] A yet further cause of sorrow and annoyance was the blundering attempt of Gregory of Nyssa to effect a reconciliation between his uncle Gregory, who was in sympathy with the disaffected bishops, and his brother. He even went so far as to send more than one forged letter in their uncle's name. The clumsy counterfeit was naturally found out, and the widened breach not bridged without difficulty. [152]The episcopate thus began with troubles, both public and personal. Basil confidently confronted them. His magnanimity and capacity secured the adhesion of his immediate neighbours and subordinates, [153] and soon his energies took a wider range. He directed the theological campaign all over the East, and was ready alike to meet opponents in hand to hand encounter, and to aim the arrows of his epistolary eloquence far and wide. [154]He invokes the illustrious pope of Alexandria to join him in winning the support of the West for the orthodox cause. [155]He is keenly interested in the unfortunate controversy which distracted the Church of Antioch. [156]He makes an earnest appeal to Damasus for the wonted sympathy of the Church at Rome. [157]At the same time his industry in his see was indefatigable. He is keen to secure the purity of ordination and the fitness of candidates. [158]Crowds of working people come to hear him preach before they go to their work for the day. [159] He travels distances which would be thought noticeable even in our modern days of idolatry of the great goddess Locomotion. He manages vast institutions eleemosynary and collegiate. His correspondence is constant and complicated. He seems the personification of the active, rather than of the literary and scholarly, bishop. Yet all the while he is writing tracts and treatises which are monuments of industrious composition, and indicative of a memory stored with various learning, and of the daily and effective study of Holy Scripture.

Nevertheless, while thus actively engaged in fighting the battle of the faith, and in the conscientious discharge of his high duties, he was not to escape an unjust charge of pusillanimity, if not of questionable orthodoxy, from men who might have known him better. On September 7th, probably in 371, [160] was held the festival of St. Eupsychius. Basil preached the sermon. Among the hearers were many detractors. [161]A few days after the festival there was a dinner-party at Nazianzus, at which Gregory was present, with several persons of distinction, friends of Basil. Of the party was a certain unnamed guest, of religious dress and reputation, who claimed a character for philosophy, and said some very hard things against Basil. He had heard the archbishop at the festival preach admirably on the Father and the Son, but the Spirit, he alleged, Basil defamed. [162]While Gregory boldly called the Spirit God, Basil, from poor motives, refrained from any clear and distinct enunciation of the divinity of the Third Person. The unfavourable view of Basil was the popular one at the dinner-table, and Gregory was annoyed at not being able to convince the party that, while his own utterances were of comparatively little importance, Basil had to weigh every word, and to avoid, if possible, the banishment which was hanging over his head. It was better to use a wise "economy" [163] in preaching the truth than so to proclaim it as to ensure the extinction of the light of true religion. Basil [164] shewed some natural distress and astonishment on hearing that attacks against him were readily received. [165]

It was at the close of this same year 371 [166] that Basil and his diocese suffered most severely from the hostility of the imperial government. Valens had never lost his antipathy to Cappadocia. In 370 he determined on dividing it into two provinces. Podandus, a poor little town at the foot of Mt. Taurus, was to be the chief seat of the new province, and thither half the executive was to be transferred. Basil depicts in lively terms the dismay and dejection of Cæsarea. [167]He even thought of proceeding in person to the court to plead the cause of his people, and his conduct is in itself a censure of those who would confine the sympathies of ecclesiastics within rigidly clerical limits. The division was insisted on. But, eventually, Tyana was substituted for Podandus as the new capital; and it has been conjectured [168] that possibly the act of kindness of the prefect mentioned in Ep. LXXVIII. may have been this transfer, due to the intervention of Basil and his influential friends.

But the imperial Arian was not content with this administrative mutilation. At the close of the year 371, flushed with successes against the barbarians, [169] fresh from the baptism of Endoxius, and eager to impose his creed on his subjects, Valens was travelling leisurely towards Syria. He is said to have shrunk from an encounter with the famous primate of Cæsarea, for he feared lest one strong man's firmness might lead others to resist. [170]Before him went Modestus, Prefect of the Prætorium, the minister of his severities, [171] and before Modestus, like the skirmishers in front of an advancing army, had come a troop of Arian bishops with Euippius, in all probability, at their head. [172]Modestus found on his arrival that Basil was making a firm stand, and summoned the archbishop to his presence with the hope of overawing him. He met with a dignity, if not with a pride, which was more than a match for his own. Modestus claimed submission in the name of the emperor. Basil refused it in the name of God. Modestus threatened impoverishment, exile, torture, death. Basil retorted that none of these threats frightened him: he had nothing to be confiscated except a few rags and a few books; banishment could not send him beyond the lands of God; torture had no terrors for a body already dead; death could only come as a friend to hasten his last journey home. Modestus exclaimed in amazement that he had never been so spoken to before. "Perhaps," replied Basil, "you never met a bishop before." The prefect hastened to his master and reported that ordinary means of intimidation appeared unlikely to move this undaunted prelate. The archbishop must be owned victorious, or crushed by more brutal violence. But Valens, like all weak natures, oscillated between compulsion and compliance. He so far abated his pretensions to force heresy on Cappadocia, as to consent to attend the services at the Church on the Festival of the Epiphany. [173]The Church was crowded. A mighty chant thundered over the sea of heads. At the end of the basilica, facing the multitude, stood Basil, statue-like, erect as Samuel among the prophets at Naioth, [174] and quite indifferent to the interruption of the imperial approach. The whole scene seemed rather of heaven than of earth, and the orderly enthusiasm of the worship to be rather of angels than of men. Valens half fainted, and staggered as he advanced to make his offering at God's Table. On the following day Basil admitted him within the curtain of the sanctuary, and conversed with him at length on sacred subjects. [175]

The surroundings and the personal appearance of the interlocutors were significant. The apse of the basilica was as a holy of holies secluded from the hum and turmoil of the vast city. [176]It was typical of what the Church was to the world. The health and strength of the Church were personified in Basil. He was now in the ripe prime of life but bore marks of premature age. Upright in carriage, of commanding stature, thin, with brown hair and eyes, and long beard, slightly bald, with bent brow, high cheek bones, and smooth skin, he would shew in every tone and gesture at once his high birth and breeding, the supreme culture that comes of intercourse with the noblest of books and of men, and the dignity of a mind made up and of a heart of single purpose. The sovereign presented a marked contrast to the prelate. [177]Valens was of swarthy complexion, and by those who approached him nearly it was seen that one eye was defective. He was strongly built, and of middle height, but his person was obese, and his legs were crooked. He was hesitating and unready in speech and action. [178]It is on the occasion of this interview that Theodoret places the incident of Basil's humorous retort to Demosthenes, [179] the chief of the imperial kitchen, the Nebuzaradan, as the Gregories style him, of the petty fourth century Nebuchadnezzar. This Demosthenes had already threatened the archbishop with the knife, and been bidden to go back to his fire. Now he ventured to join in the imperial conversation, and made some blunder in Greek. "An illiterate Demosthenes!" exclaimed Basil; "better leave theology alone, and go back to your soups." The emperor was amused at the discomfiture of his satellite, and for a while seemed inclined to be friendly. He gave Basil lands, possibly part of the neighbouring estate of Macellum, to endow his hospital. [180]

But the reconciliation between the sovereign and the primate was only on the surface. Basil would not admit the Arians to communion, and Valens could not brook the refusal. The decree of exile was to be enforced, though the pens had refused to form the letters of the imperial signature. [181]Valens, however, was in distress at the dangerous illness of Galates, his infant son. and, on the very night of the threatened expatriation, summoned Basil to pray over him. A brief rally was followed by relapse and death, which were afterwards thought to have been caused by the young prince's Arian baptism. [182] Rudeness was from time to time shewn to the archbishop by discourteous and unsympathetic magistrates, as in the case of the Pontic Vicar, who tried to force an unwelcome marriage on a noble widow. The lady took refuge at the altar, and appealed to Basil for protection. The magistrate descended to contemptible insinuation, and subjected the archbishop to gross rudeness. His ragged upper garment was dragged from his shoulder, and his emaciated frame was threatened with torture. He remarked that to remove his liver would relieve him of a great inconvenience. [183]

Nevertheless, so far as the civil power was concerned, Basil, after the famous visit of Valens, was left at peace. [184]He had triumphed. Was it a triumph for the nobler principles of the Gospel? Had he exhibited a pride and an irritation unworthy of the Christian name? Jerome, in a passage of doubtful genuineness and application, is reported to have regarded his good qualities as marred by the one bane of pride, [185] a "leaven" of which sin is admitted by Milman [186] to have been exhibited by Basil, as well as uncompromising firmness. The temper of Basil in the encounter with Valens would probably have been somewhat differently regarded had it not been for the reputation of a hard and overbearing spirit which he has won from his part in transactions to be shortly touched on. His attitude before Valens seems to have been dignified without personal haughtiness, and to have shewn sparks of that quiet humour which is rarely exhibited in great emergencies except by men who are conscious of right and careless of consequences to self.


[135] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. 33. [136] i.e. the extant reply to his urgent request that Gregory would come to him. Greg. Naz., Ep. xl. [137] "Persuadé que, s'il échouait c'en était fait de la foi de Nicée en Cappadoce, il deploie toutes les ressources de son dénie, aussi souple que puissant." Fialone, Et. Hist. p. 85. "Personne dans la ville, pas même Basile, malgré son humilité, ne donta que la succession ne lui fût acquise...il fit assez ouvertement ses préparatifs pour sa promotion." De Broglie, L'Eglise et l'Empire R. v. 88. "Basil persuaded himself, and not altogether unwarrantably, that the cause of orthodoxy in Asia Minor was involved in his becoming his successor." Canon Venables in D.C.B. "Erselbst, so schwer er sich anfangs zur Uebernahme des Presbyterates hatte entschliessen kÜnnen, jetzt, wo er sich in seine Stellung hinein gearbeitet hatte wünschte er nichts sehnlicher al seine Wahl zum Bischof. BÜhringer the IVth c. p. 24. "Was it really from ambitious views? Certainly the suspicion, which even his friend entertained, attaches to him." Ullmann, Life of Gregory of Naz., Cox's Trans. p. 117. [138] "Ne suspicatus quidem in se oculos conjectum iri." Maran, Vit. Bas. "Former une brigue pour parvenir à l'épiscopat était bien loin de sa pensée.´ Ceillier, iv. 354. [139] Greg. N., Ep. xl. (xxi.). [140] Or. xliii. [141] Or. xliii. § 37. [142] Ep. xli. [143] Ep. xliii. [144] Ep. xlvii. [145] Or. xliii. [146] Or. xviii., xliii. [147] Athan., Ad Pall. 953; Ad Johan, et Ant. 951. [148] This is inferred from the latter part of Ep. xlviii. cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. xiii. 3. [149] Greg. Naz., Ep. xlv. [150] Id. Ep. xlvi. [151] tende tes kathedras timen. Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. [152] Epp. lviii., lix., lx. [153] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. § 40. [154] Id. § 43. [155] Basil, Epp. lxvi., lxvii. [156] Ep. lxix. [157] Ep. lxx. [158] Ep. liii. [159] Hex. Hom. iii. p. 65. [160] Maran, Vit. Bas. xviii. 4. [161] Greg. Naz., Ep. lviii. Ep. lxxi. [162] parasurein. Ib. [163] oikonomethenai. [164] Ep. lxxi. [165] Mr. C.F.H. Johnston (The Book of St. Basil the Great on the Holy Spirit), in noting that St. Basil in the De Sp. Scto. refrained from directly using the term Theos of the Holy Ghost, remarks that he also avoided the use of the term homoousios of the Son, "in accordance with his own opinion expressed in Ep. ix." In Ep. ix., however, he rather gives his reasons for preferring the homoousion. The epitome of the essay of C. G. Wuilcknis (Leipsig, 1724) on the economy or reserve of St. Basil, appended by Mr. Johnston, is a valuable and interesting summary of the best defence which can be made for such reticence. It is truly pointed out that the only possible motive in Basil's case was the desire of serving God, for no one could suspect or accuse him of ambition, fear, or covetousness. And if there was an avoidance of a particular phrase, there was no paltering with doctrine. As Dr. Swete (Doctrine of the H. S., p. 64) puts it: "He knew that the opponents of the Spirit's Deity were watching their opportunity. Had the actual name of God been used in reference to the Third Person of the Trinity, they would have risen, and, on the plea of resisting blasphemy, expelled St. Basil from his see, which would then have been immediately filled by a Macedonian prelate. In private conversation with Gregory, Basil not only asserted again and again the Godhead of the Spirit, but even confirmed his statement with a solemn imprecation, eparasamenos heauto to phrikodestaton, autou tou pneumatos ekpesein ei me seboi to pneuma meta patros kai ;;Uiou hos homoousion kai homotimon." (Greg. Naz., Or. xliii.) In Letter viii. § 11 he distinctly calls the Spirit God, as in Adv. Eunomius, v., if the latter be genuine. In the De S. Scto. (p. 12) Basil uses the word oikonomia in the patristic sense nearly equivalent to incarnation. In the passage of Bp. Lightfoot, referred to in the note on p. 7, he points out how in Ign. ad Eph. xviii, the word has "already reached its first stage on the way to the sense of `dissimulation,' which was afterwards connected with it, and which led to disastrous consequences in the theology and practice of a later age." On "Reserve" as taught by later casuists, see Scavini, Theolog. Mor. ii. 23, the letters of Pascal, and Jer. Taylor, Ductor Dubit. iii. 2. [166] Maran, Vit. Bas. xx. 1. [167] Epp. lxxiv., lxxv, lxxvi. [168] Maran, Vit. Bas. xix. 3. [169] Greg. Nyss., C. Eunom. i. [170] Theod. iv. 16. [171] Soc. iv. 16. [172] cf. Epp. lxviii., cxxviii., ccxliv. and ccli., and Maran, Vit. Bas. xx. 1; possibly the bishops were in Cappadocia as early as the Eupsychian celebration. [173] Jan. 6, 372. At this time in the Eastern Church the celebrations of the Nativity and of the Epiphany were combined. cf. D.C.A. i. 617. [174] 1 Sam. xix. 20. [175] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii., Greg. Nyss., Adv. Eunom. i., Soz. vi. 16, Theod. iv. 16. De Broglie well combines the variations which are not quite easy to harmonize in detail. On the admission within the sanctuary, cf. the concession of Ambrose to Theodosius in Theod. v. 18. [176] Cæsarea, when sacked by Sapor in 260, is said to have contained 400,000 inhabitants (Zonaras, xii. 630). It may be presumed to have recovered and retained much, if not all, of its importance. [177] The authority for the personal appearance of Basil is an anonymous Vatican document quoted by Baronius, Ann. 378: "Procero fuit habitu corporis et recto, siccus, gracilis; color ejus fuscus, vultus temperatus pallore, justus nasus, supercilia in orbem inflexa et adducta; cogitabundo similis fuit, paucæ in vultu rugæ, eoeque renidentes, genæ oblongæ, tempora aliquantum cava, promissa barba, et mediocris canities." [178] Amm. Marc. xxx. 14, 7: "Cessator et piger: nigri coloris, pupula oculi unius obstructa, sed ita ut non eminus appareret: figura bene compacta membrorum, staturæ nec proceræ nec humilis, incurvis cruribus, exstanteque mediocriter ventre." "Bon père, bon époux, arien fervent et zélé, mais faible, timide, Valens était né pour la vie privée, où il eût été un honnête citoyen et un des saints de l'Arianisme." Fialon, Et. Hist. 159. [179] cf. Theod. v. 16 and note on p. 120 of Theod. in this series. [180] Theod. iv. 16. Bas., Ep. xciv. [181] Theod. iv. 16. [182] Theod. iv. 16. Soz. vi. 17. Soc. iv. 26. Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. Ruf. xi. 9. [183] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. [184] "The archbishop, who asserted, with inflexible pride, the truth of his opinions and the dignity of his rank, was left in the free possession of his conscience and his throne." Gibbon, Chap. xxv. "Une sorte d'inviolabilité de fait demeurait acquise a Basile a Césarée comme a Athanase à Alexandrie." De Broglie. [185] Quoted by Gibbon l.c. from Jerome's Chron. A.D. 380, and acknowledged by him to be not in Scaliger's edition. The Benedictine editors of Jerome admit it, but refer it to Photinus. cf. D.C.B. i. 288. [186] Hist. Christ. iii. 45.

VII.--The Breach with Gregory of Nazianzus.

Cappadocia, it has been seen, had been divided into two provinces, and of one of these Tyana had been constituted the chief town. Anthimus, bishop of Tyana, now contended that an ecclesiastical partition should follow the civil, and that Tyana should enjoy parallel metropolitan privileges to those of Cæsarea. To this claim Basil determined to offer an uncompromising resistance, and summoned Gregory of Nazianzus to his side. Gregory replied in friendly and complimentary terms, [187] and pointed out that Basil's friendship for Eustathius of Sebaste was a cause of suspicion in the Church. At the same time he placed himself at the archbishop's disposal. The friends started together with a train of slaves and mules to collect the produce of the monastery of St. Orestes, in Cappadocia Secunda, which was the property of the see of Cæsarea. Anthimus blocked the defiles with his retainers and in the vicinity of Sasima [188] there was an unseemly struggle between the domestics of the two prelates. [189]The friends proceeded to Nazianzus, and there, with imperious inconsiderateness, Basil insisted upon nominating Gregory to one of the bishoprics which he was founding in order to strengthen his position against Anthimus. [190]For Gregory, the brother, Nyssa was selected, a town on the Halys, about a hundred miles distant from Cæsarea, so obscure that Eusebius of Samosata remonstrated with Basil on the unreasonableness of forcing such a man to undertake the episcopate of such a place. [191]For Gregory, the friend, a similar fate was ordered. The spot chosen was Sasima, a townlet commanding the scene of the recent fray. [192]It was an insignificant place at the bifurcation of the road leading northwards from Tyana to Doara and diverging westward to Nazianzus. [193]Gregory speaks of it with contempt, and almost with disgust, [194] and never seems to have forgiven his old friend for forcing him to accept the responsibility of the episcopate, and in such a place. [195]Gregory resigned the distasteful post, [196] and with very bitter feelings. The utmost that can be said for Basil is that just possibly he was consulting for the interest of the Church, and meaning to honour his friend, by placing Gregory in an outpost of peril and difficulty. In the kingdom of heaven the place of trial is the place of trust. [197]But, unfortunately for the reputation of the archbishop, the war in this case was hardly the Holy War of truth against error and of right against wrong. It was a rivalry between official and official, and it seemed hard to sacrifice Gregory to a dispute between the claims of the metropolitans of Tyana and Cæsarea. [198]

Gregory the elder joined in persuading his son. Basil had his way. He won a convenient suffragan for the moment. But he lost his friend. The sore was never healed, and even in the great funeral oration in which Basil's virtues and abilities are extolled, Gregory traces the main trouble of his chequered career to Basil's unkindness, and owns to feeling the smart still, though the hand that inflicted the wound was cold. [199]

With Anthimus peace was ultimately established. Basil vehemently desired it. [200]Eusebius of Samosata again intervened. [201] Nazianzus remained for a time subject to Cæsarea, but was eventually recognized as subject to the Metropolitan of Tyana. [202]

The relations, however, between the two metropolitans remained for some time strained. When in Armenia in 372, Basil arranged some differences between the bishops of that district, and dissipated a cloud of calumny hanging over Cyril, an Armenian bishop. [203]He also acceded to a request on the part of the Church of Satala that he would nominate a bishop for that see, and accordingly appointed Poemenius, a relation of his own. [204]Later on a certain Faustus, on the strength of a recommendation from a pope with whom he was residing, applied to Basil for consecration to the see, hitherto occupied by Cyril. With this request Basil declined to comply, and required as a necessary preliminary the authorisation of the Armenian bishops, specially of Theodotus of Nicopolis. Faustus then betook himself to Anthimus, and succeeded in obtaining uncanonical consecration from him. This was naturally a serious cause of disagreement. [205]However, by 375, a better feeling seems to have existed between the rivals. Basil is able at that date to speak of Anthimus as in complete agreement with him. [206]


[187] Greg. Naz., Ep. xlvii. [188] cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. xxiii. 4. [189] Greg. Naz., Or. xliii. 58, and Ep. xlviii. Bas., Epp. lxxiv., lxxv., lxxvi. [190] It has been debated whether the odium theologicum was here mixed up with the odium ecclesiasticum. Gregory (Orat. xliii. 58) represents Anthimus as defending his seizure of the metropolitan revenues on the ground that it was wrong dasmophorein kakodoxois, to pay tribute to men of evil opinions, and LeClerc (Bibl. Univer. xviii. p. 60) has condemned Anthimus as an Arian. He was undoubtedly Are& 187;os (Greg. Naz., Ep. xlviii.), a devotee of Ares, as he shewed in the skirmish by Sasima; but there is no reason to suppose him to have been Areianos, or Arian. He probably looked askance at the orthodoxy of Basil. Basil would never have called him homopsuchos (Ep. ccx. 5) if he had been unsound on the incarnation. cf. Baronius, Act. Sanc. Maj. ii. p. 394. [191] Ep. xcviii., but see note, p. 182, on the doubt as to this allusion. [192] Greg. Naz., with grim humour, objects to be sent to Sasima to fight for Basil's supply of sucking pigs and poultry from St. Orestes. Ep. xlviii. [193] "Nyssa was more clearly than either Sasima or Doara a part of Cappadocia Secunda; it always retained its ecclesiastical dependence on Cæsarea, but politically it must have been subject to Tyana from 372 to 536, and afterwards to Mokissos. All three were apparently places to which Basil consecrated bishops during his contest with Anthimus and the civil power. His bishop of Nyssa, his own brother Gregory, was ejected by the dominant Arians, but the eminence and vigour of Gregory secured his reinstatement and triumphant return. Basil's appointment was thus successful, and the connexion always continued. His appointment at Sasima was unsuccessful. Gregory of Nazianzus would not maintain the contest, and Sasima passed under the metropolitan of Tyana. At Doara, in like fashion, Basil's nominee was expelled, and apparently never reinstated. Ep. ccxxxix. Greg. Naz. Or. xiii." Ramsay, Hist. Geog. of A.M. 305. [194] As in Carm. De Vita Sua: Stathmos tis estin en mese leophoro Tes Kappadokon hos schizet' eis trissen hodon. ,'Anudros, achlous, oud' holos eleutheros, Deinos epeukton kai stenon komudrion, Konis ta panta, kai psophoi, sun harmasi, Threnoi, stenagmoi, praktores, streblai, pedai; Laos d' hosoi xenoi te kai planomenoi, Haute Sasimon ton emon ekklesia. [N.B.--The last line marks the quantity.] "A post town on the king's high road, Where three ways meet, is my abode; No brooklet, not a blade of grass, Enlivens the dull hole, alas! Dust, din, all day; the creak of wheels; Groans, yells, the exciseman at one's heels With screw and chain; the population A shifting horde from every nation. A viler spot you long may search, Than this Sasima, now my church!" [195] It is curious that a place which had so important a connexion with Gregory the divine should have passed so completely into oblivion. From it he derived his episcopal rank. His consecration to Sasima was the main ground of the objection of his opponents at Constantinople in 381 to his occupying the see of the imperial city. He was bishop of Sasima, and, by the fifteenth Canon of Nicæa, could not be transferred to Constantinople. He never was bishop of Nazianzus, though he did administer that diocese before the appointment of Eulalius in 383. But while the name "Gregory of Nazianzus" has obscured the very existence of his father, who was really Gregory of Nazianzus, and is known even to the typical schoolboy, Gregory has never been described as "Gregory of Sasima." "The great plain which extends from Sasima nearly to Soandos is full of underground houses and churches, which are said to be of immense extent. The inhabitants are described by Leo Diaconus (p. 35) as having been originally named Troglodytes....Every house in Hassa Keni has an underground story cut out of the rock; long narrow passages connect the underground rooms belonging to each house, and also run from house to house. A big solid disc of stone stands in a niche outside each underground house door, ready to be pulled in front of the door on any alarm....Sasima was on the road between Nazianzus and Tyana. The distances point certainly to Hassa Keni....An absolutely unhistorical legend about St. Makrina is related at Hassa Keni. Recently a good-sized church has been built in the village, evidently on the site of an ancient church; it is dedicated to St. Makrina, who, as the village priest relates, fled hither from Kaisari to escape marriage, and to dedicate herself to a saintly life. The underground cell in which she lived is below the church." Ramsay, Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor, pp. 293, 294. Paul Lucas identified Sasima with Inschesu. [196] cf. Greg. Naz. Ep. l. [197] cf. De Joinville's happy illustration of this in Histoire du roi Saint Louis, p. 18. Ed. 1617. The King of France would shew more confidence in the captain whom he might choose to defend La Rochelle, close to the English pale, than in the keeper of Monthléry, in the heart of the realm. [198] At the same time it is disappointing to find Gregory mixing up with expressions of reluctance to assume awful responsibilities, objections on the score of the disagreeable position of Sasima. Perhaps something of the sentiments of Basil on this occasion may be inferred from what he says in Letter cii. on the postponement of private to public considerations in the case of the appointment of Poemenius to Satala. [199] Or. xliii. cf. Newman, The Church of the Fathers, p. 142, where the breach is impartially commented on: "An ascetic, like Gregory, ought not to have complained of the country as deficient in beauty and interest, even though he might be allowed to feel the responsibility of a situation which made him a neighbor of Anthimus. Yet such was his infirmity; and he repelled the accusations of his mind against himself by charging Basil with unkindness in placing him at Sasima. On the other hand, it is possible that Basil, in his eagerness for the settlement of his exarchate, too little consulted the character and taste of Gregory; and, above all, the feelings of duty which bound him to Nazianzus....Henceforth no letters, which are preserved, passed between the two friends; nor are any acts of intercourse discoverable in their history. Anthimus appointed a rival bishop to Sasima; and Gregory, refusing to contest the see with him, returned to Nazianzus. Basil laboured by himself. Gregory retained his feelings of Basil's unkindness even after his death....This lamentable occurrence took place eight or nine years before Basil's death; he had, before and after it, many trials, many sorrows; but this probably was the greatest of all." The statement that no letters which are preserved passed between the two friends henceforth will have to be modified, if we suppose Letter clxix. to be addressed to Gregory the Divine. But Professor Ramsay's arguments (Hist. Geog. of Asia Minor, p. 293) in favour of Gregory of Nazianzus the elder seem irresistible. On Letter clxix. he writes: "For topographical purposes it is necessary to discover who was the Gregory into whose diocese Glycerius fled. Tillemont considers that either Gregory of Nyssa or Gregory of Nazianzus is meant. But the tone of the letter is not what we might expect if Basil were writing to either of them. It is not conceived in the spirit of authority in which Basil wrote to his brother or to his friend. It appears to me to show a certain deference which, considering the resolute, imperious, and uncompromising character of Basil (seen especially in his behaviour to Gregory Nazianzen in the matter of the bishopric of Sasima), I can explain only on the supposition that he is writing to the aged and venerable Gregory, bishop of Nazianzos. Then the whole situation is clear. Venasa was in the district of Malakopaia, or Suvermez, towards the limits of the diocese of Cæsareia. The adjoining bishopric was that of Nazianzos. Venasa being so far from Cæsareia was administered by one of the fifty chorepiscopi whom Basil had under him (Tillemont, Mem. p. servir, etc., ix. p. 120), and the authority of Basil was appealed to only in the final resort. Glycerius, when Basil decided against him, naturally fled over the border into the diocese of Nazianzos." (There is, however, not much reverence in Letter clxxi.) "Comment l'homme qui avait tant souffert de l'injustice des autres, put-il être injuste envers son meilleur ami? L'amitié est de tous les pays. Partout, on voit des hommes qui semblent nés l'un pour l'autre, se rapprocher par une estime mutuelle, par la conformité de leurs gouts et de leurs caractères partager les peines et les joies de la vie, et donner le spectacle du plus beau sentiment que nous avons reçu de la divinité. Mais la Grèce avait singulièrement ennobli ce sentiment dejà si pur et si saint, en lui donnant pour but l'amour de la patrie. Les amis, destines a se servir l'un à l'autre de modèle et de soutien, s'aiment moins pour eux-mêmes, que pour rivaliser de vertu, se dévouer ensemble, s'immoler s'il le faut, au bien public....C'est cette amitié de dévouement et de sacrifice, qu'au milieu de la mollesse du IVme siècle, Basil conçoit pour Grégoire de Nazianze. Formée dans les écoles, entretenne par l'amour des lettres, elle avait pour but unique, non plus la patrie, mais Dieu. L'amitié de Grégoire et plus tendre et plus humaine....Il a voué sa vie à son ami, mais il en attend la même condescendance, le même denouement à ses propres désirs. Basile au contraire, semble prendre à la lettre ce qu'il a lu dans Plutarque et dans Xénophon de l'amitié antique." E. Fialon, Et. Hist. In other words, Gregory's idea of friendship was to sacrifice one's self: Basil's to sacrifice one's friend. This is an interesting vindication of Basil, but the cause of God was hardly identical with the humiliation of Anthimus. [200] Ep. xcvii. [201] Ep. xcviii. [202] Greg. Naz., Ep. clii. [203] Ep. xcix. [204] Epp. cii., ciii. [205] Epp. cxx., cxxi., cxxii. [206] Ep. ccx.

VIII.--St. Basil and Eustathius.

It was Basil's doom to suffer through his friendships. If the fault lay with himself in the case of Gregory, the same cannot be said of his rupture with Eustathius of Sebaste. If in this connexion fault can be laid to his charge at all, it was the fault of entering into intimacy with an unworthy man. In the earlier days of the retirement in Pontus the austerities of Eustathius outweighed in Basil's mind any suspicions of his unorthodoxy. [207]Basil delighted in his society, spent days and nights in sweet converse with him, and introduced him to his mother and the happy family circle at Annesi. [208]And no doubt under the ascendency of Basil, Eustathius, always ready to be all things to all men who might be for the time in power and authority, would appear as a very orthodox ascetic. Basil likens him to the Ethiopian of immutable blackness, and the leopard who cannot change his spots. [209]But in truth his skin at various periods shewed every shade which could serve his purpose, and his spots shifted and changed colour with every change in his surroundings. [210]He is the patristic Proteus. There must have been something singularly winning in his more than human attractiveness. [211]But he signed almost every creed that went about for signature in his lifetime. [212]He was consistent only in inconsistency. It was long ere Basil was driven to withdraw his confidence and regard, although his constancy to Eustathius raised in not a few, and notably in Theodotus of Nicopolis, the metropolitan of Armenia, doubts as to Basil's soundness in the faith. When Basil was in Armenia in 373, a creed was drawn up, in consultation with Theodotus, to be offered to Eustathius for signature. It consisted of the Nicene confession, with certain additions relating to the Macedonian controversy. [213] Eustathius signed, together with Fronto and Severus. But, when another meeting with other bishops was arranged, he violated his pledge to attend. He wrote on the subject as though it were one of only small importance. [214]Eusebius endeavoured, but endeavoured in vain, to make peace. [215]Eustathius renounced communion with Basil, and at last, when an open attack on the archbishop seemed the paying game, he published an old letter of Basil's to Apollinarius, written by "layman to layman," many years before, and either introduced, or appended, heretical expressions of Apollinarius, which were made to pass as Basil's. In his virulent hostility he was aided, if not instigated, by Demosthenes the prefect's vicar, probably Basil's old opponent at Cæsarea in 372. [216]His duplicity and slanders roused Basil's indignant denunciation. [217]Unhappily they were not everywhere recognized as calumnies. Among the bitterest of Basil's trials was the failure to credit him with honour and orthodoxy on the part of those from whom he might have expected sympathy and support. An earlier instance of this is the feeling shewn at the banquet at Nazianzus already referred to. [218]In later days he was cruelly troubled by the unfriendliness of his old neighbours at Neocæsarea, [219] and this alienation would be the more distressing inasmuch as Atarbius, the bishop of that see, appears to have been Basil's kinsman. [220]He was under the suspicion of Sabellian unsoundness. He slighted and slandered Basil on several apparently trivial pretexts, and on one occasion hastened from Nicopolis for fear of meeting him. [221]He expressed objection to supposed novelties introduced into the Church of Cæsarea, to the mode of psalmody practiced there, and to the encouragement of ascetic life. [222] Basil did his utmost to win back the Neocæsareans from their heretical tendencies and to their old kindly sentiments towards himself.

The clergy of Pisidia and Pontus, where Eustathius had been specially successful in alienating the district of Dazimon, were personally visited and won back to communion. [223]But Atarbius and the Neocæsareans were deaf to all appeal, and remained persistently irreconcilable. [224]On his visiting the old home at Annesi, where his youngest brother Petrus was now residing, in 375, the Neocæsareans were thrown into a state of almost ludicrous panic. They fled as from a pursuing enemy. [225]They accused Basil of seeking to win their regard and support from motives of the pettiest ambition, and twitted him with travelling into their neighbourhood uninvited. [226]


[207] Ep. ccxiii. § 3. He had been in early days a disciple of Arius at Alexandria. [208] Id. § 5. [209] Ep. cxxx. § 1. [210] cf. Ep. ccxliv. § 9. Fialon, Et. Hist. 128. [211] Ep. ccxii. § 2. cf. Newman, Hist. Sketches, iii. 20. [212] Ep. ccxliv. § 9. [213] Epp. cxxi., ccxliv. [214] Ep. ccxliv. [215] Ep. cxxviii. [216] Ep. ccxxxvii. [217] Epp. ccxxiii., ccxliv., cclxiii. [218] § vi. [219] Epp. cciv., ccvii. [220] Ep. ccx. § 4. [221] Ep. cxxvi. [222] Ep. ccvii. [223] Epp. cciii. and ccxvi. [224] Epp. lxv., xxvi., ccx. [225] Ep. ccxvi. [226] Ib.

IX.--Unbroken Friendships.

Brighter and happier intimacies were those formed with the older bishop of Samosata, the Eusebius who, of all the many bearers of the name, most nearly realised its meaning, [227] and with Basil's junior, Amphilochius of Iconium. With the former, Basil's relations were those of an affectionate son and of an enthusiastic admirer. The many miles that stretched between Cæsarea and Samosata did not prevent these personal as well as epistolary communications. [228]In 372 they were closely associated in the eager efforts of the orthodox bishops of the East to win the sympathy and active support of the West. [229]In 374 Eusebius was exiled, with all the picturesque incidents so vividly described by Theodoret. [230]He travelled slowly from Samosata into Thrace, but does not seem to have met either Gregory or Basil on his way. Basil contrived to continue a correspondence with him in his banishment. It was more like that of young lovers than of elderly bishops. [231]The friends deplore the hindrances to conveyance, and are eager to assure one another that neither is guilty of forgetfulness. [232]

The friendship with Amphilochius seems to have begun at the time when the young advocate accepted the invitation conveyed in the name of Heracleidas, [233] his friend, and repaired from Ozizala to Cæsarea. The consequences were prompt and remarkable. Amphilochius, at this time between thirty and forty years of age, was soon ordained and consecrated, perhaps, like Ambrose of Milan and Eusebius of Cæsarea per saltum, to the important see of Iconium, recently vacated by the death of Faustinus. Henceforward the intercourse between the spiritual father and the spiritual son, both by letters and by visits, was constant. The first visit of Amphilochius to Basil, as bishop, probably at Easter 374, not only gratified the older prelate, but made a deep impression on the Church of Cæsarea. [234]But his visits were usually paid in September, at the time of the services in commemoration of the martyr Eupsychius. On the occasion of the first of them, in 374, the friends conversed together on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, now impugned by the Macedonians, and the result was the composition of the treatise De Spiritu Sancto. This was closely followed by the three famous canonical epistles, [235] also addressed to Amphilochius. Indeed, so great was the affectionate confidence of the great administrator and theologian [236] in his younger brother, that, when infirmities were closing round him, he asked Amphilochius to aid him in the administration of the archdiocese. [237]

If we accept the explanation given of Letter CLXIX. in a note on a previous page, [238] Gregory the elder, bishop of Nazianzus, must be numbered among those of Basil's correspondents letters to whom have been preserved. The whole episode referred to in that and in the two following letters is curiously illustrative of outbursts of fanaticism and folly which might have been expected to occur in Cappadocia in the fourth century, as well as in soberer regions in several other centuries when they have occurred. It has been clothed with fresh interest by the very vivid narrative of Professor Ramsay, and by the skill with which he uses the scanty morsels of evidence available to construct the theory which he holds about it. [239]This theory is that the correspondence indicates a determined attempt on the part of the rigidly orthodox archbishop to crush proceedings which were really "only keeping up the customary ceremonial of a great religious meeting," and, as such, were winked at, if not approved of, by the bishop to whom the letter of remonstrance is addressed, and the presbyter who was Glycerius' superior. Valuable information is furnished by Professor Ramsay concerning the great annual festival in honour of Zeus of Venasa (or Venese), whose shrine was richly endowed, and the inscription discovered on a Cappadocian hill-top, "Great Zeus in heaven, be propitious to me." But the "evident sympathy" of the bishop and the presbyter is rather a strained inference from the extant letters; and the fact that in the days when paganism prevailed in Cappadocia Venasa was a great religious centre, and the scene of rites in which women played an important part, is no conclusive proof that wild dances performed by an insubordinate deacon were tolerated, perhaps encouraged, because they represented a popular old pagan observance. Glycerius may have played the patriarch, without meaning to adopt, or travesty, the style of the former high priest of Zeus. Cappadocia was one of the most Christian districts of the empire long before Basil was appointed to the exarchate of Cæsarea, and Basil is not likely to have been the first occupant of the see who would strongly disapprove of and endeavour to repress, any such manifestations as those which are described. [240]That the bishop whom Basil addresses and the presbyter served by Glycerius should have desired to deal leniently with the offender individually does not convict them of accepting the unseemly proceedings of Glycerius and his troupe as a pardonable, if not desirable, survival of a picturesque national custom. [241]

Among other bishops of the period with whom Basil communicated by letter are Abramius, or Abraham, of Batnæ in Oshoene, [242] the illustrious Athanasius, [243] and Ambrose, [244] Athanasius of Ancyra; [245] Barses of Edessa, [246] who died in exile in Egypt; Elpidius, [247] of some unknown see on the Levantine seaboard, who supported Basil in the controversy with Eustathius; the learned Epiphanius of Salamis; [248] Meletius, [249] the exiled bishop of Antioch; Patrophilus of Ægæ; [250] Petrus of Alexandria; [251] Theodotus of Nicopolis, [252] and Ascholius of Thessalonica. [253]

Basil's correspondence was not, however, confined within the limits of clerical clanship. His extant letters to laymen, both distinguished and undistinguished, shew that he was in touch with the men of mark of his time and neighbourhood, and that he found time to express an affectionate interest in the fortunes of his intimate friends.

Towards the later years of his life the archbishop's days were darkened not only by ill-health and anxiety, but by the death of some of his chief friends and allies. Athanasius died in 373, and so far as personal living influence went, there was an extinction of the Pharos not of Alexandria only, but of the world. [254]It was no longer "Athanasius contra mundum," [255] but "Mundus sine Athanasio." In 374 Gregory the elder died at Nazianzus, and the same year saw the banishment of Eusebius of Samosata to Thrace. In 375 died Theodotus of Nicopolis, and the succession of Fronto was a cause of deep sorrow.

At this time [256] some short solace would come to the Catholics in the East in the synodical letter addressed to the Orientals of the important synod held in Illyria, under the authority of Valentinian. The letter which is extant [257] is directed against the Macedonian heresy. The charge of conveying it to the East was given to the presbyter Elpidius. [258]Valentinian sent with it a letter to the bishops of Asia in which persecution is forbidden, and the excuse of submission to the reigning sovereign anticipated and condemned. Although the letter runs in the names of Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian, the western brother appears to condemn the eastern. [259]


[227] Bp. in 361. cf. Greg. Naz., Ep. xxviii. and xxix., and Theod., Ecc. Hist. xxvii. [228] In 369, it is to the prayers of Eusebius, under the divine grace, that Basil refers his partial recovery from sickness (Ep. xxvii.), and sends Hypatius to Samosata in hope of similar blessing. (Ep. xxxi.) [229] Ep. xcii. [230] Ecc. Hist. iv. 14. [231] cf. Principal Reynolds in D.C.B. i. 372. [232] Epp. clvii., clviii., clxii., clxvii., clxviii., cxcviii., ccxxxvii., ccxxxix., ccxli., cclxviii. [233] Ep. cl. [234] Epp. clxiii., clxxvi. [235] Epp. clxxxviii., cxcix., ccxvii. [236] "Pace Eunomii," whom Greg. of Nyssa quotes. C. Eunom. i. [237] Ep. cc., cci. [238] § viii. [239] Ramsay's Church of the Roman Empire, chap. xviii. [240] The description of Cæsarea, as being "Christian to a man" (pandemei christianizontas. Soz. v. 4), would apply pretty generally to all the province. [241] In the chapter in which Professor Ramsay discusses the story of Glycerius he asks how it was that, while Phrygia was heretical, Cappadocia, in the fourth century, was orthodox: "Can any reason be suggested why this great Cappadocian leader followed the Roman Church, whereas all the most striking figures in Phrygian ecclesiastical history opposed it?" In Phrygia was the great centre of Montanism, a form of religionism not unfavourable to excesses such as those of Glycerius. But in Letter cciv., placed in 375, Basil claims both the Phrygias, i.e. Pacatiana and Salutaris, as being in communion with him. By the "Roman Church," followed by Cappadocia and opposed by Phrygia, must be meant either the ecclesiastical system of the Roman Empire, or the Church at Rome regarded as holding a kind of hegemony of Churches. If the former, it will be remembered that Cappadocia boldly withstood the creed patronized and pressed by imperial authority, when the influence of Valens made Arianism the official religion of Rome. If the latter, the phrase seems a misleading anachronism. In the fourth century there was no following or opposing the Church of Rome as we understand the phrase. To the bishop of Rome was conceded a certain personal precedence, as bishop of the capital, and he was beginning to claim more. In the West there was the dignity of the only western apostolic see, and the Church of Rome, as a society, was eminently orthodox and respectable. But, as important ecclesiastical centres, Antioch and Alexandria were far ahead of Rome, and the pope of Alexandria occupied a greater place than the pope of Rome. What Basil was eager to follow was not any local church, but the Faith which he understood to be the true and Catholic Faith, i.e., the Faith of Nicæa. There was no church of Rome in the sense of one organized oecumenical society governed by a central Italian authority. Basil has no idea of any such thing as a Roman supremacy. cf. Letter ccxiv. and note. [242] Ep. cxxxii. [243] Epp. lxi., lxvi., lxvii., lxix., lxxx., lxxxii. [244] Ep. cxcvii. [245] Ep. xxiv. [246] Epp. cclxiv., cclxvii. [247] Epp. ccli., ccv., ccvi. [248] Ep. cclviii. [249] Epp. lvii., lxviii., lxxxix., cxx., cxxix., ccxvi. [250] Epp. ccxliv., ccl. [251] Epp. cxxxiii., cclxvi. [252] Epp. cxxi., cxxx. [253] Epp. cliv., clxiv., clxv. [254] cf. Epp. lxxxii. and note. [255] The proverbial expression is conjectured by Dean Stanley to be derived from the Latin version of the famous passage concerning Athanasius in Hooker, Ecc. Pol. v. 42. Vide Stanley, Grk. Church, lect. vii. [256] The date of the Council is, however, disputed. Pagi is for 373, Cave for 367. Hefele and Ceillier are satisfied of the correctness of 375. cf. D.C.A. i. 813. [257] Theod., Ecc. Hist. iv. 8. [258] Mansi, iii. 386. Hefele, § 90. [259] Theod., H.E. iv. 7.

X.--Troubles of the Closing Years.

The relief to the Catholic East was brief. The paroxysm of passion which caused Valentinian to break a blood-vessel and ended his life, [260] ended also the force of the imperial rescript. The Arians lifted their heads again. A council was held at Ancyra, [261] in which the homoousion was condemned, and frivolous and vexatious charges were brought against Gregory of Nyssa. [262]At Cyzicus a Semiarian synod blasphemed the Holy Spirit. [263]Similar proceedings characterized a synod of Antioch at about the same time. [264]Gregory of Nyssa having been prevented by illness from appearing before the synod of Ancyra, Eustathius and Demosthenes persisted in their efforts to wound Basil through his brother, and summoned a synod at Nyssa itself, where Gregory was condemned in his absence and deposed. [265]He was not long afterwards banished. [266]On the other hand the Catholic bishops were not inactive. Synods were held on their part, and at Iconium Amphilochius presided over a gathering at which Basil was perhaps present himself, and where his treatise on the Holy Spirit was read and approved. [267]The Illyrian Council was a result incommensurate with Basil's passionate entreaties for the help of the westerns. From the midst of the troubles which beset the Eastern Church Basil appealed, [268] as he had appealed before, [269] for the sympathy and active aid of the other half of the empire. He was bitterly chagrined at the failure of his entreaties for support, and began to suspect that the neglect he complained of was due to coldness and to pride. [270]It has seemed to some that this coldness in the West was largely due to resentment at Basil's non-recognition of the supremacy of the Roman see. [271] In truth the supremacy of the Roman see, as it has been understood in later times, was hardly in the horizon. [272]No bishop of Rome had even been present at Nicæa, or at Sardica, where a certain right of appeal to his see was conceded. A bishop of Rome signed the Sirmian blasphemy. No bishop of Rome was present to save `the world' from the lapse of Ariminum. Julian "might seem to have forgotten that there was such a city as Rome." [273]The great intellectual Arian war was fought out without any claim of Rome to speak. Half a century after Basil's death great orientals were quite unconscious of this supremacy. [274]At Chalcedon the measure of the growing claim is aptly typified by the wish of Paschasinus of Lilybæum, one of the representatives of Leo, to be regarded as presiding, though he did not preside. The supremacy is hardly in view even at the last of the four great Councils.

In fact the appeal of Basil seems to have failed to elicit the response he desired, not so much from the independent tone of his letters, which was only in accordance with the recognised facts of the age, [275] as from occidental suspicions of Basil's orthodoxy, [276] and from the failure of men, who thought and wrote in Latin, to enter fully into the controversies conducted in a more subtle tongue. [277] Basil had taken every precaution to ensure the conveyance of his letters by messengers of tact and discretion. He had deprecated the advocacy of so simple-minded and undiplomatic an ambassador as his brother Gregory. [278]He had poured out his very soul in entreaty. [279]But all was unavailing. He suffered, and he had to suffer unsupported by a human sympathy on which he thought he had a just claim. [280]

It is of a piece with Basil's habitual silence on the general affairs of the empire that he should seem to be insensible of the shock caused by the approach of the Goths in 378. A letter to Eusebius in exile in Thrace does shew at least a consciousness of a disturbed state of the country, and he is afraid of exposing his courier to needless danger by entrusting him with a present for his friend. But this is all. [281]He may have written letters shewing an interest in the fortunes of the empire which have not been preserved. But his whole soul was absorbed in the cause of Catholic truth, and in the fate of the Church. His youth had been steeped in culture, but the work of his ripe manhood left no time for the literary amusement of the dilettante. So it may be that the intense earnestness with which he said to himself, "This one thing I do," of his work as a shepherd of souls, and a fighter for the truth, and his knowledge that for the doing of this work his time was short, accounts for the absence from his correspondence of many a topic of more than contemporary interest. At all events, it is not difficult to descry that the turn in the stream of civil history was of vital moment to the cause which Basil held dear. The approach of the enemy was fraught with important consequences to the Church. The imperial attention was diverted from persecution of the Catholics to defence of the realm. Then came the disaster of Adrianople, [282] and the terrible end of the unfortunate Valens. [283]Gratian, a sensible lad, of Catholic sympathies, restored the exiled bishops, and Basil, in the few months of life yet left him, may have once more embraced his faithful friend Eusebius. The end drew rapidly near. Basil was only fifty, but he was an old man. Work, sickness, and trouble had worn him out. His health had never been good. A chronic liver complaint was a constant cause of distress and depression.

In 373 he had been at death's door. Indeed, the news of his death was actually circulated, and bishops arrived at Cæsarea with the probable object of arranging the succession. [284]He had submitted to the treatment of a course of natural hot baths, but with small beneficial result. [285]By 376, as he playfully reminds Amphilochius, he had lost all his teeth. [286]At last the powerful mind and the fiery enthusiasm of duty were no longer able to stimulate the energies of the feeble frame.

The winter of 378-9 dealt the last blow, and with the first day of what, to us, is now the new year, the great spirit fled. Gregory, alas! was not at the bedside. But he has left us a narrative which bears the stamp of truth. For some time the bystanders thought that the dying bishop had ceased to breathe. Then the old strength blazed out at the last. He spoke with vigour, and even ordained some of the faithful who were with him. Then he lay once more feeble and evidently passing away. Crowds surrounded his residence, praying eagerly for his restoration to them, and willing to give their lives for his. With a few final words of advice and exhortation, he said: "Into thy hands I commend my spirit," and so ended.

The funeral was a scene of intense excitement and rapturous reverence. Crowds filled every open space, and every gallery and window; Jews and Pagans joined with Christians in lamentation, and the cries and groans of the agitated oriental multitude drowned the music of the hymns which were sung. The press was so great that several fatal accidents added to the universal gloom. Basil was buried in the "sepulchre of his fathers"--a phrase which may possibly mean in the ancestral tomb of his family at Cæsarea.

So passed away a leader of men in whose case the epithet `great' is no conventional compliment. He shared with his illustrious brother primate of Alexandria the honour of rallying the Catholic forces in the darkest days of the Arian depression. He was great as foremost champion of a great cause, great in contemporary and posthumous influence, great in industry and self-denial, great as a literary controversialist. The estimate formed of him by his contemporaries is expressed in the generous, if somewhat turgid, eloquence of the laudatory oration of the slighted Gregory of Nazianzus. Yet nothing in Gregory's eulogy goes beyond the expressions of the prelate who has seemed to some to be "the wisest and holiest man in the East in the succeeding century." [287]Basil is described by the saintly and learned Theodoret [288] in terms that might seem exaggerated when applied to any but his master, as the light not of Cappadocia only, but of the world. [289]To Sophronius [290] he is the "glory of the Church." To Isidore of Pelusium, [291] he seems to speak as one inspired. To the Council of Chalcedon he is emphatically a minister of grace; [292] to the second council of Nicæa a layer of the foundations of orthodoxy. [293]His death lacks the splendid triumph of the martyrdoms of Polycarp and Cyprian. His life lacks the vivid incidents which make the adventures of Athanasius an enthralling romance. He does not attract the sympathy evoked by the unsophisticated simplicity of Gregory his friend or of Gregory his brother. There does not linger about his memory the close personal interest that binds humanity to Augustine, or the winning loyalty and tenderness that charm far off centuries into affection for Theodoret. Sometimes he seems a hard, almost a sour man. [294]Sometimes there is a jarring reminder of his jealousy for his own dignity. [295] Evidently he was not a man who could be thwarted without a rupture of pleasant relations, or slighted with impunity. In any subordinate position he was not easy to get on with. [296]But a man of strong will, convicted that he is championing a righteous cause, will not hesitate to sacrifice, among other things, the amenities that come of amiable absence of self-assertion. To Basil, to assert himself was to assert the truth of Christ and of His Church. And in the main the identification was a true one. Basil was human, and occasionally, as in the famous dispute with Anthimus, so disastrously fatal to the typical friendship of the earlier manhood, he may have failed to perceive that the Catholic cause would not suffer from the existence of two metropolitans in Cappadocia. But the great archbishop could be an affectionate friend, thirsty for sympathy. [297]And he was right in his estimate of his position. Broadly speaking, Basil, more powerfully than any contemporary official, worker, or writer in the Church, did represent and defend through all the populous provinces of the empire which stretched from the Balkans to the Mediterranean, from the Ægean to the Euphrates, the cause whose failure or success has been discerned, even by thinkers of no favourable predisposition, to have meant death or life to the Church. [298]St. Basil is duly canonized in the grateful memory, no less than in the official bead-roll, of Christendom, and we may be permitted to regret that the existing Kalendar of the Anglican liturgy has not found room for so illustrious a Doctor in its somewhat niggard list. [299]For the omission some amends have lately [300] been made in the erection of a statue of the great archbishop of Cæsarea under the dome of the Cathedral St. Paul in London. [301]


[260] Nov. 17, 375. Amm. Marc. xxx. 6. Soc. iv. 31. [261] Mansi, iii. 499. Hefele, § 90. [262] Ep. ccxxv. [263] Ep. ccxliv. [264] Soc. v. 4. [265] Ep. ccxxxvii. [266] Greg., Vit. Mac. ii. 192. [267] Ep. ccii., cclxxii. Hefele, § 90. Mansi, iii. 502-506. There is some doubt as to the exact date of this synod. cf. D.C.A. i. 807. [268] Ep. ccxliii. [269] Ep. lxx., addressed in 371 to Damasus. [270] Ep. ccxxxix. [271] cf. D.C.B. i. 294: "C'est esprit, conciliant aux les orientaux jusqu'à soulever l'intolérance orientale, est aussi inflexible avec les occidentaux qu'avec le pouvoir impérial. On sent dans ses lettres la révolte de l'orient qui réclame ses prérogatives, ses droits d'ancienneté; l'esprit d'indépendance de la Grèce, qui, si elle supporte le joug matériel de Rome, refuse de reconnaitre sa suprématie spirituelle." Fialon, Et. Hist. 133. [272] cf. note. on § ix. [273] Milman, Lat. Christ. i. 85. [274] cf. Proleg to Theodoret in this series, p. 9, note. [275] A ses yeux, l'Orient et l'Occident ne sont ils pas, deux frères, dont les droits sont égaux, sans suprématie, sans aînesse?" Fialon, Et. Hist. p. 134. This is exactly what East and West were to most eyes, and what they were asserted to be in the person of the two imperial capitals by the Twenty-Eighth Canon of Chalcedon. cf. Bright, Canons of the First Four General Councils, pp. 93, 192, and note on Theodoret in this series, p. 293. [276] Ep. cclxvi. § 2. [277] cf. Ep. ccxiv. § 4, p. 254. [278] Ep. ccxv. [279] See specially Ep. ccxlii. [280] "Foiled in all his repeated demands; a deaf ear turned to his most earnest entreaties; the council he had begged for not summoned; the deputation he had repeatedly solicited unsent; Basil's span of life drew to its end amid blasted hopes and apparently fruitless labours for the unity of the faith. It was not permitted him to live to see the Eastern Churches, for the purity of whose faith he had devoted all his powers, restored to peace and unanimity." Canon Venables, D.C.B. i. 295. "He had to fare on as best he might,--admiring, courting, but coldly treated by the Latin world, desiring the friendship of Rome, yet wounded by her superciliousness, suspected of heresy by Damasus, and accused by Jerome of pride." Newman, Church of the Fathers, p. 115. [281] Ep. cclxviii. So Fialon, Ét. Hist. p. 149: "On n'y trouve pas un mot sur la désastreuse expédition de Julien, sur le honteux traité de Jovien, sur la révolte de Procope." At the same time the argument from silence is always dangerous. It may be unfair to charge Basil with indifference to great events, because we do not possess his letters about them. [282] Aug. 9, 378. [283] Theod. iv. 32. Amm. Marc. xxxi. 13. [284] Ep. cxli. [285] Ep. cxxxvii. [286] Ep. ccxxxii. [287] Kingsley, Hypatia, chap. xxx. [288] cf. Gibbon, chap. xxi. [289] Theod., H.E. iv. 16, and Ep. cxlvi. [290] Apud Photium Cod. 231. [291] Ep. lxi. [292] cf. Ceillier, vi. 8, 1. [293] Ib. [294] cf. Ep. xxv. [295] cf. xcviii. [296] e.g. his relations with his predecessor. [297] Ep. xci. [298] e.g. T. Carlyle. "He perceived Christianity itself to have been at stake. If the Arians had won, it would have dwindled away into a legend." J. A. Froude, Life of Carlyle in London, ii. 462. [299] In the Greek Kalendar January 1, the day of the death, is observed in honour of the saint. In the West St. Basil's day is June 14, the traditional date of the consecration. The martyrologies of Jerome and Bede do not contain the name. The first mention is ascribed by the Bollandists to Usuard. (Usuard's martyrology was composed for Charles the Bold at Paris.) In the tenth century a third day was consecrated in the East to the common commemoration of SS. Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom. [300] 1894. [301] Basil lived at the period when the relics of martyrs and saints were beginning to be collected and honoured. (e.g. Ep. cxcvii.) To Damasus, the bishop of Rome, whose active sympathy he vainly strove to win, is mainly due the reverent rearrangement of the Roman catacombs. (Roma Sotteranea, Northcote and Brownlow, p. 97.) It was not to be expected that Basil's own remains should be allowed to rest in peace; but the gap between the burial at Cæsarea and the earliest record of their supposed reappearance is wide. There was a Church of St. Basil at Bruges founded in 1187, which was believed to possess some of the archbishop's bones. These were solemnly translated in 1463 to the Church of St. Donatian, which disappeared at the time of the French revolution. Pancirola (d. 1599) mentions a head, an arm, and a rib, said to be Basil's, among the treasures of Rome.

II. Works.

The extant works of St. Basil may be conveniently classified as follows:

I. Dogmatic.

(i) Adversus Eunomium. Pros Eunomion.

(ii) De Spiritu Sancto. Peri tou Pneumatos.

II. Exegetic. [302]

(i) In Hexæmeron. Eis ten ;;Exaemeron.

(ii) Homiliæ on Pss. i., vii., xiv., xxviii., xxix., xxxii., xxxiii., xliv., xlv., xlviii., lix., lxi., cxiv.

(iii) Commentary on Isaiah i.-xvi.

III. Ascetic.

(i) Tractatus prævii.

(ii.) Prooemium de Judicio Dei and De Fide.

(iii) Moralia. Ta 'Ethika.

(iv) Regulæ fusius tractatæ. ;'Oroi kata platos.

(v) Regulæ brevius tractatæ. ;'Oroi kat' epitomen.

IV. Homiletic. XXIV. Homilies.

(i) Dogmatic.

(ii) Moral.

(iii) Panegyric.

V. Letters.

(i) Historic.

(ii) Dogmatic.

(iii) Moral.

(iv) Disciplinary.

(v) Consolatory.

(vi) Commendatory.

(vii) Familiar.

VI. Liturgic.


[302] According to Cassiodorus (Instit. Divin. Litt. Præfat.) St. Basil wrote in interpretation of the whole of Scripture, but this statement lacks confirmation. cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. xli.


I. (i) Against Eunomius. The work under this title comprises five books, the first three generally accepted as genuine, the last two sometimes regarded as doubtful. Gregory of Nazianzus, [303] Jerome, [304] and Theodoret [305] all testify to Basil's having written against Eunomius, but do not specify the number of books. Books IV. and V. are accepted by Bellarmine, Du Pin, Tillemont, and Ceillier, mainly on the authority of the edict of Justinian against the Three Chapters (Mansi ix., 552), the Council of Seville (Mansi x., 566) and the Council of Florence (Hardouin ix., 200). Maran (Vit. Bas. xliii.) speaks rather doubtfully. BÜhringer describes them as of suspicious character, alike on grounds of style, and of their absence from some mss. They may possibly be notes on the controversy in general, and not immediately directed against Eunomius. Fessler's conclusion is "Major tamen eruditorum pars eos etiam genuinos esse censet."

The year 364 is assigned for the date of the publication of the three books. [306]At that time Basil sent them with a few words of half ironical depreciation to Leontius the sophist. [307]He was now about thirty-four years of age, and describes himself as hitherto inexperienced in such a kind of composition. [308]Eunomius, like his illustrious opponent, was a Cappadocian. Emulous of the notoriety achieved by Aetius the Anomoean, and urged on by Secundus of Ptolemais, an intimate associate of Aetius, he went to Alexandria about 356 and resided there for two years as Aetius' admiring pupil and secretary. In 358 he accompanied Aetius to Antioch, and took a prominent part in the assertion of the extreme doctrines which revolted the more moderate Semiarians. He was selected as the champion of the advanced blasphemers, made himself consequently obnoxious to Constantius, and was apprehended and relegated to Migde in Phrygia. At the same time Eudoxius withdrew for a while into Armenia, his native province, but ere long was restored to the favour of the fickle Constantius, and was appointed to the see of Constantinople in 359. Eunomius now was for overthrowing Aetius, and removing whatever obstacles stood between him and promotion, and, by the influence of Eudoxius, was nominated to the see of Cyzicus, vacant by the deposition of Eleusius. Here for a while he temporized, but ere long displayed his true sentiments. To answer for this he was summoned to Constantinople by Constantius, and, in his absence, condemned and deposed. Now he became more marked than ever in his assertion of the most extreme Arianism, and the advanced party were henceforward known under his name. The accession of Julian brought him back with the rest of the banished bishops, and he made Constantinople the centre for the dissemination of his views. [309]

Somewhere about this period he wrote the work entitled Apologeticus, in twenty-eight chapters, to which Basil replies. The title was at once a parody on the Apologies of defenders of the Faith, and, at the same time, a suggestion that his utterances were not spontaneous, but forced from him by attack. The work is printed in Fabricius, Bibl. Græc. viii. 262, and in the appendix to Migne's Basil. Pat. Gr. xxx. 837. [310]It is a brief treatise, and occupies only about fifteen columns of Migne's edition. It professes to be a defence of the "simpler creed which is common to all Christians." [311]

This creed is as follows: "We believe in one God, Father Almighty, of Whom are all things: and in one only-begotten Son of God, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things: and in one Holy Spirit, the Comforter." [312]But it is in reality like the extant Exposition of the Creed, [313] a reading into this "simpler" creed, in itself orthodox and unobjectionable, of explanations which ran distinctly counter to the traditional and instinctive faith of the Church, and inevitably demanded corrective explanations and definitions.

In the creed of Eunomius the Son is God, and it is not in terms denied that He is of one substance with the Father. But in his doctrinal system there is a practical denial of the Creed; the Son may be styled God, but He is a creature, and therefore, in the strict sense of the term, not God at all, and, at best, a hero or demigod. The Father, unbegotten, stood alone and supreme; the very idea of "begotten" implied posteriority, inferiority, and unlikeness. Against this position Basil [314] protests. The arguments of Eunomius, he urges, are tantamount to an adoption of what was probably an Arian formula, "We believe that ingenerateness is the essence of God," [315] i.e., we believe that the Only-begotten is essentially unlike the Father. [316] This word "unbegotten," of which Eunomius and his supporters make so much, what is its real value? Basil admits that it is apparently a convenient term for human intelligence to use; but, he urges, "It is nowhere to be found in Scripture; it is one of the main elements in the Arian blasphemy; it had better be left alone. The word `Father' implies all that is meant by `Unbegotten,' and has moreover the advantage of suggesting at the same time the idea of the Son. He Who is essentially Father is alone of no other. In this being of no other is involved the sense of `Unbegotten.' The title `unbegotten' will not be preferred by us to that of Father, unless we wish to make ourselves wiser than the Saviour, Who said, `Go and baptize in the name' not of the Unbegotten, but `of the Father.'" [317]To the Eunomian contention that the word "Unbegotten" is no mere complimentary title, but required by the strictest necessity, in that it involves the confession of what He is, [318] Basil rejoins that it is only one of many negative terms applied to the Deity, none of which completely expresses the Divine Essence. "There exists no name which embraces the whole nature of God, and is sufficient to declare it; more names than one, and these of very various kinds, each in accordance with its own proper connotation, give a collective idea which may be dim indeed and poor when compared with the whole, but is enough for us." [319]The word "unbegotten," like "immortal," "invisible," and the like, expresses only negation. "Yet essence [320] is not one of the qualities which are absent, but signifies the very being of God; to reckon this in the same category as the non-existent is to the last degree unreasonable." [321]Basil "would be quite ready to admit that the essence of God is unbegotten," but he objects to the statement that the essence and the unbegotten are identical. [322]It is sometimes supposed that the Catholic theologians have been hair-splitters in the sphere of the inconceivable, and that heresy is the exponent of an amiable and reverent vagueness. In the Arian controversy it was Arius himself who dogmatically defined with his negative "There was when He was not," and Eunomius with his "The essence is the unbegotten." "What pride! What conceit!" exclaims Basil. "The idea of imagining that one has discovered the very essence of God most high! Assuredly in their magniloquence they quite throw into the shade even Him who said, `I will exalt my throne above the stars.' [323]It is not stars, it is not heaven, that they dare to assail. It is in the very essence of the God of all the world that they boast that they make their haunt. Let us question him as to where he acquired comprehension of this essence. Was it from the common notion that all men share? [324] This does indeed suggest to us that there is a God, but not what God is. Was it from the teaching of the Spirit? What teaching? Where found? What says great David, to whom God revealed the hidden secrets of His wisdom? He distinctly asserts the unapproachableness of knowledge of Him in the words, `Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.' [325]And Isaiah, who saw the glory of God, what does he tell us concerning the Divine Essence? In his prophecy about the Christ he says, `Who shall declare His generation?' [326]And what of Paul, the chosen vessel, in whom Christ spake, who was caught up into the third heaven, who heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful to man to utter? What teaching has he given us of the essence of God? When Paul is investigating the special methods of the work of redemption [327] he seems to grow dizzy before the mysterious maze which he is contemplating, and utters the well-known words, `O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!' [328]These things are beyond the reach even of those who have attained the measure of Paul's knowledge. What then is the conceit of those who announce that they know the essence of God! I should very much like to ask them what they have to say about the earth whereon they stand, and whereof they are born. What can they tell us of its `essence'? If they can discourse without hesitation of the nature of lowly subjects which lie beneath our feet, we will believe them when they proffer opinions about things which transcend all human intelligence. What is the essence of the earth? How can it be comprehended? Let them tell us whether reason or sense has reached this point! If they say sense, by which of the senses is it comprehended? Sight? Sight perceives colour. Touch? Touch distinguishes hard and soft, hot and cold, and the like; but no idiot would call any of these essence. I need not mention taste or smell, which apprehend respectively savour and scent. Hearing perceives sounds and voices, which have no affinity with earth. They must then say that they have found out the earth's essence by reason. What? In what part of Scripture? A tradition from what saint? [329]

"In a word, if any one wishes to realise the truth of what I am urging, let him ask himself this question; when he wishes to understand anything about God, does he approach the meaning of `the unbegotten'? I for my part see that, just us when we extend our thought over the ages that are yet to come, we say that the life bounded by no limit is without end, so is it when we contemplate in thought the ages of the past, and gaze on the infinity of the life of God as we might into some unfathomable ocean. We can conceive of no beginning from which He originated: we perceive that the life of God always transcends the bounds of our intelligence; and so we call that in His life which is without origin, unbegotten. [330]The meaning of the unbegotten is the having no origin from without." [331]As Eunomius made ingenerateness the essence of the Divine, so, with the object of establishing the contrast between Father and Son, he represented the being begotten to indicate the essence of the Son. [332]God, said Eunomius, being ingenerate, could never admit of generation. This statement, Basil points out, may be understood in either of two ways. It may mean that ingenerate nature cannot be subjected to generation. It may mean that ingenerate nature cannot generate. Eunomius, he says, really means the latter, while he makes converts of the multitude on the lines of the former. Eunomius makes his real meaning evident by what he adds to his dictum, for, after saying "could never admit of generation," he goes on, "so as to impart His own proper nature to the begotten." [333]As in relation to the Father, so now in relation to the Son, Basil objects to the term. Why "begotten"? [334]Where did he get this word? From what teaching? From what prophet? Basil nowhere finds the Son called "begotten" in Scripture. [335]We read that the Father begat, but nowhere that the Son was a begotten thing. "Unto us a child is born, [336] unto us a Son is given." [337]But His name is not begotten thing but "angel of great counsel." [338]If this word had indicated the essence of the Son, no other word would have been revealed by the Spirit. [339] Why, if God begat, may we not call that which was begotten a thing begotten? It is a terrible thing for us to coin names for Him to Whom God has given a "name which is above every name." [340]We must not add to or take from what is delivered to us by the Spirit. [341] Things are not made for names, but names for things. [342]Eunomius unhappily was led by distinction of name into distinction of being. [343]If the Son is begotten in the sense in which Eunomius uses the word, He is neither begotten of the essence of God nor begotten from eternity. Eunomius represents the Son as not of the essence of the Father, because begetting is only to be thought of as a sensual act and idea, and therefore is entirely unthinkable in connexion with the being of God. "The essence of God does not admit of begetting; no other essence exists for the Son's begetting; therefore I say that the Son was begotten when non-existent." [344]Basil rejoins that no analogy can hold between divine generation or begetting and human generation or begetting. "Living beings which are subject to death generate through the operation of the senses: but we must not on this account conceive of God in the same manner; nay, rather shall we be hence guided to the truth that, because corruptible beings operate in this manner, the Incorruptible will operate in an opposite manner." [345]"All who have even a limited loyalty to truth ought to dismiss all corporeal similitudes. They must be very careful not to sully their conceptions of God by material notions. They must follow the theologies [346] delivered to us by the Holy Ghost. They must shun questions which are little better than conundrums, and admit of a dangerous double meaning. Led by the ray that shines forth from light to the contemplation of the divine generation, they must think of a generation worthy of God, without passion, partition, division, or time. They must conceive of the image of the invisible God not after the analogy of images which are subsequently fashioned by craft to match their archetype, but as of one nature and subsistence with the originating prototype [347] .... [348]This image is not produced by imitation, for the whole nature of the Father is expressed in the Son as on a seal." [349]"Do not press me with the questions: What is the generation? Of what kind was it? In what manner could it be effected? The manner is ineffable, and wholly beyond the scope of our intelligence; but we shall not on this account throw away the foundation of our faith in Father and Son. If we try to measure everything by our comprehension, and to suppose that what we cannot comprehend by our reasoning is wholly non-existent, farewell to the reward of faith; farewell to the reward of hope! If we only follow what is clear to our reason, how can we be deemed worthy of the blessings in store for the reward of faith in things not seen"? [350]

If not of the essence of God, the Son could not be held to be eternal. "How utterly absurd," exclaims Basil, "to deny the glory of God to have had brightness; [351] to deny the wisdom of God to have been ever with God!...The Father is of eternity. So also is the Son of eternity, united by generation to the unbegotten nature of the Father. This is not my own statement. I shall prove it by quoting the words of Scripture. Let me cite from the Gospel `In the beginning was the Word,' [352] and from the Psalm, other words spoken as in the person of the Father, `From the womb before the morning I have begotten them.' [353] Let us put both together, and say, He was, and He was begotten....How absurd to seek for something higher in the case of the unoriginate and the unbegotten! Just as absurd is it to start questions as to time, about priority in the case of Him Who was with the Father from eternity, and between Whom and Him that begat Him there is no interval." [354]

A dilemma put by Eunomius was the following: When God begat the Son, the Son either was or was not. [355]If He was not, no argument could lie against Eunomius and the Arians. If He was, the position is blasphemous and absurd, for that which is needs no begetting. [356]

To meet this dilemma, Basil drew a distinction between eternity and the being unoriginate. [357]The Eunomians, from the fact of the unoriginateness of the Father being called eternity, maintained that unoriginateness and eternity are identical. [358]Because the Son is not unbegotten they do not even allow Him to be eternal. But there is a wide distinction to be observed in the meaning of the terms. The word unbegotten is predicated of that which has origin of itself, and no cause of its being: the word eternal is predicated of that which is in being beyond all time and age. [359]Wherefore the Son is both not unbegotten and eternal. [360]Eunomius was ready to give great dignity to the Son as a supreme creature. He did not hold the essence of the Son to be common to that of the things created out of nothing. [361]He would give Him as great a preëminence as the Creator has over His own created works. [362]Basil attributes little importance to this concession, and thinks it only leads to confusion and contradiction. If the God of the universe, being unbegotten, necessarily differs from things begotten, and all things begotten have their common hypostasis of the non-existent, what alternative is there to a natural conjunction of all such things? Just as in the one case the unapproachable effects a distinction between the natures, so in the other equality of condition brings them into mutual contact. They say that the Son and all things that came into being under Him are of the non-existent, and so far they make those natures common, and yet they deny that they give Him a nature of the non-existent. For again, as though Eunomius were Lord himself, and able to give to the Only Begotten what rank and dignity he chooses, he goes on to argue,--We attribute to Him so much supereminence as the Creator must of necessity have over His own creature. He does not say, "We conceive," or "We are of opinion," as would be befitting when treating of God, but he says "We attribute," as though he himself could control the measure of the attribution. And how much supereminence does he give? As much as the Creator must necessarily have over His own creatures. This has not yet reached a statement of difference of substance. Human beings in art surpass their own works, and yet are consubstantial with them, as the potter with his clay, and the shipwright with his timber. For both are alike bodies, subject to sense, and earthy. [363]Eunomius explained the title "Only Begotten" to mean that the Son alone was begotten and created by the Father alone, and therefore was made the most perfect minister. "If," rejoins Basil, "He does not possess His glory in being perfect God, if it lies only in His being an exact and obedient subordinate, in what does He differ from the ministering spirits who perform the work of their service without blame? [364]Indeed Eunomius joins `created' to `begotten' with the express object of shewing that there is no distinction between the Son and a creature! [365]And how unworthy a conception of the Father that He should need a servant to do His work! `He commanded and they were created.' [366]What service was needed by Him Who creates by His will alone? But in what sense are all things said by us to be `through the Son'? In that the divine will, starting from the prime cause, as it were from a source, proceeds to operation through its own image, God the Word." [367] Basil sees that if the Son is a creature mankind is still without a revelation of the Divine. He sees that Eunomius, "by alienating the Only Begotten from the Father, and altogether cutting Him off from communion with Him, as far as he can, deprives us of the ascent of knowledge which is made through the Son. Our Lord says that all that is the Father's is His. [368]Eunomius states that there is no fellowship between the Father and Him Who is of Him." [369]If so there is no "brightness" of glory; no "express image of hypostasis." [370]So Dorner, [371] who freely uses the latter portion of the treatise, "The main point of Basil's opposition to Eunomius is that the word unbegotten is not a name indicative of the essence of God, but only of a condition of existence. [372]The divine essence has other predicates. If every peculiar mode of existence causes a distinction in essence also, then the Son cannot be of the same essence with the Father, because He has a peculiar mode of existence, and the Father another; and men cannot be of the same essence, because each of them represents a different mode of existence. By the names of Father, Son, and Spirit, we do not understand different essences, (ousias), but they are names which distinguish the huparxis of each. All are God, and the Father is no more God than the Son, as one man is no more man than another. Quantitative differences are not reckoned in respect of essence; the question is only of being or non-being. But this does not exclude the idea of a variety in condition in the Father and the Son (heteros hechein),--the generation of the Latter. The dignity of both is equal. The essence of Begetter and Begotten is identical. [373]

The Fourth Book contains notes on the chief passages of Scripture which were relied on by Arian disputants. Among these are

I Cor. xv. 28. On the Subjection of the Son.

"If the Son is subjected to the Father in the Godhead, then He must have been subjected from the beginning, from whence He was God. But if He was not subjected, but shall be subjected, it is in the manhood, as for us, not in the Godhead, as for Himself."

Philipp. ii. 9. On the Name above every Name.

"If the name above every name was given by the Father to the Son, Who was God, and every tongue owned Him Lord, after the incarnation, because of His obedience, then before the incarnation He neither had the name above every name nor was owned by all to be Lord. It follows then that after the incarnation He was greater than before the incarnation, which is absurd." So of Matt. xxviii. 18. "We must understand this of the incarnation, and not of the Godhead."

John xiv. 28. "My Father is Greater than I."

"`Greater' is predicated in bulk, in time, in dignity, in power, or as cause. The Father cannot be called greater than the Son in bulk, for He is incorporeal: nor yet in time, for the Son is Creator of times: nor yet in dignity, for He was not made what He had once not been: nor yet in power, for `what things the Father doeth, these also doeth the son likewise': [374]nor as cause, since (the Father) would be similarly greater than He and than we, if He is cause of Him and of us. The words express rather the honour given by the Son to the Father than any depreciation by the speaker; moreover what is greater is not necessarily of a different essence. Man is called greater than man, and horse than horse. If the Father is called greater, it does not immediately follow that He is of another substance. In a word, the comparison lies between beings of one substance, not between those of different substances. [375]

"A man is not properly said to be greater than a brute, than an inanimate thing, but man than man and brute than brute. The Father is therefore of one substance with the Son, even though He be called greater." [376]

On Matt. xxiv. 36. Of Knowledge of that Day and of that Hour. [377]

"If the Son is the Creator of the world, and does not know the time of the judgment, then He does not know what He created. For He said that He was ignorant not of the judgment, but of the time. How can this be otherwise than absurd?

"If the Son has not knowledge of all things whereof the Father has knowledge, then He spake untruly when He said `All things that the Father hath are mine' [378] and `As the Father knoweth me so know I the Father.' [379]If there is a distinction between knowing the Father and knowing the things that the Father hath, and if, in proportion as every one is greater than what is his, it is greater to know the Father than to know what is His, then the Son, though He knew the greater (for no man knoweth the Father save the Son), [380] did not know the less.

"This is impossible. He was silent concerning the season of the judgment, because it was not expedient for men to hear. Constant expectation kindles a warmer zeal for true religion. The knowledge that a long interval of time was to elapse would have made men more careless about true religion, from the hope of being saved by a subsequent change of life. How could He who had known everything up to this time (for so He said) not know that hour also? If so, the Apostle vainly said `In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.' [381]

"If the Holy Spirit, who `searcheth the deep things of God,' [382] cannot be ignorant of anything that is God's, then, as they who will not even allow Him to be equal must contend, the Holy Ghost is greater than the Son." [383]

On Matt. xxvi. 39. Father, if it be Possible, let this Cup pass from Me.

"If the Son really said, `Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,' He not only shewed His own cowardice and weakness, but implied that there might be something impossible to the Father. The words `if it be possible' are those of one in doubt, and not thoroughly assured that the Father could save Him. How could not He who gave the boon of life to corpses much rather be able to preserve life in the living? Wherefore then did not He Who had raised Lazarus and many of the dead supply life to Himself? Why did He ask life from the Father, saying, in His fear, `Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me'? If He was dying unwillingly, He had not yet humbled Himself; He had not yet been made obedient to the Father unto death; [384] He had not given Himself, as the Apostle says, `who gave Himself for our sins, [385] a ransom.' [386]If He was dying willingly, what need of the words `Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away'? No: this must not be understood of Himself; it must be understood of those who were on the point of sinning against Him, to prevent them from sinning; when crucified in their behalf He said, `Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' [387]We must not understand words spoken in accordance with the oeconomy [388] to be spoken simply."

On John vi. 57. I live by the Father. [389]

"If the Son lives on account of [390] the Father, He lives on account of another, and not of Himself. But He who lives on account of another cannot be Self-life. [391]So He who is holy of grace is not holy of himself. [392]Then the Son did not speak truly when He said, `I am the life,' [393] and again `the Son quickeneth whom He will.' [394]We must therefore understand the words to be spoken in reference to the incarnation, and not to the Godhead."

On John v. 19. The Son can do Nothing of Himself.

"If freedom of action [395] is better than subjection to control, [396] and a man is free, while the Son of God is subject to control, then the man is better than the Son. This is absurd. And if he who is subject to control cannot create free beings (for he cannot of his own will confer on others what he does not possess himself), then the Saviour, since He made us free, cannot Himself be under the control of any."

"If the Son could do nothing of Himself, and could only act at the bidding of the Father, He is neither good nor bad. He was not responsible for anything that was done. Consider the absurdity of the position that men should be free agents both of good and evil, while the Son, who is God, should be able to do nothing of His own authority!"

On John xv. 1. "I am the Vine."

"If, say they, the Saviour is a vine, and we are branches, but the Father is husbandman; and if the branches are of one nature with the vine, and the vine is not of one nature with the husbandman; then the Son is of one nature with us, and we are a part of Him, but the Son is not of one nature with, but in all respects of a nature foreign to, the Father, I shall reply to them that He called us branches not of His Godhead, but of His flesh, as the Apostle says, we are `the body of Christ, and members in particular,' [397] and again, `know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?' [398] and in other places, `as is the earthy, such are they that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, let us all bear the image of the heavenly.' [399]If the head of the `man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God,' [400] and man is not of one substance with Christ, Who is God (for man is not God), but Christ is of one substance with God (for He is God) therefore God is not the head of Christ in the same sense as Christ is the head of man. The natures of the creature and the creative Godhead do not exactly coincide. God is head of Christ, as Father; Christ is head of us, as Maker. If the will of the Father is that we should believe in His Son (for this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life), [401] the Son is not a Son of will. That we should believe in Him is (an injunction) found with Him, or before Him." [402]

On Mark x. 18. There is none Good, etc.

"If the Saviour is not good, He is necessarily bad. For He is simple, and His character does not admit of any intermediate quality. How can it be otherwise than absurd that the Creator of good should be bad? And if life is good, and the words of the Son are life, as He Himself said, `the words which I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,' [403] in what sense, when He hears one of the Pharisees address Him as good Master does He rejoin, `There is none good but One, that is God'? It was not when He had heard no more than good that he said, `there is none good,' but when He had heard good Master. He answered as to one tempting Him, as the gospel expresses it, or to one ignorant, that God is good, and not simply a good master."

On John xvii. 5. Father, glorify Me.

"If when the Son asked to be glorified of the Father He was asking in respect of His Godhead, and not of His manhood, He asked for what He did not possess. Therefore the evangelist speaks falsely when he says `we beheld His glory'; [404] and the apostle, in the words `They would not have crucified the Lord of glory,' [405] and David in the words `And the King of glory shall come in.' [406]It is not therefore an increase of glory which he asks. He asks that there may be a manifestation of the oeconomy. [407]Again, if He really asked that the glory which He had before the world might be given Him of the Father, He asked it because He had lost it. He would never have sought to receive that of which He was in possession. But if this was the case, He had lost not only the glory, but also the Godhead. For the glory is inseparable from the Godhead. Therefore, according to Photinus, [408] He was mere man. It is then clear that He spoke these words in accordance with the oeconomy of the manhood, and not through failure in the Godhead."

On Coloss. i. 15. Firstborn of every Creature.

"If before the creation the Son was not a generated being but a created being, [409] He would have been called first created and not firstborn. [410]If, because He is called first begotten of creation He is first created, then because He is called first begotten of the dead [411] He would be the first of the dead who died. If on the other hand He is called first begotten of the dead because of His being the cause of the resurrection from the dead, He is in the same manner called first begotten of creation, because He is the cause of the bringing of the creature from the non existent into being. If His being called first begotten of creation indicates that He came first into being then the Apostle, when he said, `all things were created by Him and for Him' [412] ought to have added, `And He came into being first of all.' But in saying `He is before all things,' [413] he indicated that He exists eternally, while the creature came into being. `Is' in the passage in question is in harmony with the words `In the beginning was the Word.' [414]It is urged that if the Son is first begotten, He cannot be only begotten, and that there must needs be some other, in comparison with whom He is styled first begotten. Yet, O wise objector, though He is the only Son born of the Virgin Mary, He is called her first born. For it is said, `Till she brought forth her first born Son.' [415]There is therefore no need of any brother in comparison with whom He is styled first begotten. [416]

"It might also be said that one who was before all generation was called first begotten, and moreover in respect of them who are begotten of God through the adoption of the Holy Ghost, as Paul says, `For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren.'" [417]

On Prov. vii. 22. The Lord created Me (LXX.). [418]

"If it is the incarnate Lord who says `I am the way,' [419] and `No man cometh unto the Father but by me,' [420] it is He Himself Who said, `The Lord created me beginning of ways.' The word is also used of the creation and making of a begotten being, [421] as `I have created a man through the Lord,' [422] and again `He begat sons and daughters,' [423] and so David, `Create in me a clean heart, O God,' [424] not asking for another, but for the cleansing of the heart he had. And a new creature is spoken of, not as though another creation came into being, but because the enlightened are established in better works. If the Father created the Son for works, He created Him not on account of Himself, but on account of the works. But that which comes into being on account of something else, and not on its own account, is either a part of that on account of which it came into being, or is inferior. The Saviour will then be either a part of the creature, or inferior to the creature. We must understand the passage of the manhood. And it might be said that Solomon uttered these words of the same wisdom whereof the Apostle makes mention in the passage `For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God.' [425]It must moreover be borne in mind that the speaker is not a prophet, but a writer of proverbs. Now proverbs are figures of other things, not the actual things which are uttered. If it was God the Son Who said, `The Lord created me,' He would rather have said, `The Father created me.' Nowhere did He call Him Lord, but always Father. The word `begot,' then, must be understood in reference to God the Son, and the word created, in reference to Him who took on Him the form of a servant. In all these cases we do not mention two, God apart and man apart (for He was One), but in thought we take into account the nature of each. Peter had not two in his mind when he said, `Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh.' [426]If, they argue, the Son is a thing begotten and not a thing made, how does Scripture say, `Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ'? [427]We must also say here that this was spoken according to the flesh about the Son of Man; just as the angel who announced the glad tidings to the shepherds says, `To you is born to-day a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord.' [428]The word `to-day' could never be understood of Him Who was before the ages. This is more clearly shewn by what comes afterwards where it is said, `That same Jesus whom ye have crucified.' [429]If when the Son was born [430] He was then made wisdom, it is untrue that He was `the power of God and the wisdom of God.' [431]His wisdom did not come into being, but existed always. And so, as though of the Father, it is said by David, `Be thou, God, my defender,' [432] and again, `thou art become my salvation,' [433] and so Paul, `Let God be true, but every man a liar.' [434]Thus the Lord `of God is made unto us wisdom and sanctification and redemption.' [435]Now when the Father was made defender and true, He was not a thing made; and similarly when the Son was made wisdom and sanctification, He was not a thing made. If it is true that there is one God the Father, it is assuredly also true that there is one Lord Jesus Christ the Saviour. According to them the Saviour is not God nor the Father Lord, and it is written in vain, `the Lord said unto my Lord.' [436]False is the statement, `Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee.' [437]False too, `The Lord rained from the Lord.' [438]False, `God created in the image of God,' [439] and `Who is God save the Lord?' [440] and `Who is a God save our God.' [441]False the statement of John that `the Word was God and the Word was with God;' [442] and the words of Thomas of the Son, `my Lord and my God.' [443]The distinctions, then, ought to be referred to creatures and to those who are falsely and not properly called gods, and not to the Father and to the Son."

On John xvii. 3. That they may know Thee, the only true God.

"The true (sing.) is spoken of in contradistinction to the false (pl.). But He is incomparable, because in comparison with all He is in all things superexcellent. When Jeremiah said of the Son, `This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison with Him,' [444] did he describe Him as greater even than the Father? That the Son also is true God, John himself declares in the Epistle, `That we may know the only true God, and we are (in Him that is true, even) in his (true) Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.' [445]It would be wrong, on account of the words `There shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him,' to understand the Son to be greater than the Father; nor must we suppose the Father to be the only true God. Both expressions must be used in connexion with those who are falsely styled, but are not really, gods. In the same way it is said in Deuteronomy, `So the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him.' [446] If God is alone invisible and wise, it does not at once follow that He is greater than all in all things. But the God Who is over all is necessarily superior to all. Did the Apostle, when he styled the Saviour God over all, describe Him as greater than the Father? The idea is absurd. The passage in question must be viewed in the same manner. The great God cannot be less than a different God. When the Apostle said of the Son, we look for `that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,' [447] did he think of Him as greater than the Father? [448]It is the Son, not the Father, Whose appearance and advent we are waiting for. These terms are thus used without distinction of both the Father and the Son, and no exact nicety is observed in their employment. `Being equally with God' [449] is identical with being equal with God. [450]Since the Son `thought it not robbery' to be equal with God, how can He be unlike and unequal to God? Jews are nearer true religion than Eunomius. Whenever the Saviour called Himself no more than Son of God, as though it were due to the Son, if He be really Son, to be Himself equal to the Father, they wished, it is said, to stone Him, not only because He was breaking the Sabbath, but because, by saying that God was His own Father, He made Himself equal with God. [451] Therefore, even though Eunomius is unwilling that it should be so, according both to the Apostle and to the Saviour's own words, the Son is equal with the Father."

On Matt. xx. 23. Is not Mine to give, save for whom it is prepared. [452]

"If the Son has not authority over the judgment, and power to benefit some and chastise others, how could He say, `The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son'? [453]And in another place, `The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins;' [454] and again, `All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth;' [455] and to Peter, `I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven;' [456] and to the disciples, `Verily, I say unto you that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration,...shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' [457]The explanation is clear from the Scripture, since the Saviour said, `Then will I reward every man according to his work;' [458] and in another place, `They that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.' [459]And the Apostle says, `We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.' [460]It is therefore the part of the recipients to make themselves worthy of a seat on the left and on the right of the Lord: it is not the part of Him Who is able to give it, even though the request be unjust." [461]

On Ps. xviii. 31, LXX. Who is God, save the Lord? Who is God save our God?

"It has already been sufficiently demonstrated that the Scriptures employ these expressions and others of a similar character not of the Son, but of the so-called gods who were not really so. I have shewn this from the fact that in both the Old and the New Testament the son is frequently styled both God and Lord. David makes this still clearer when he says, `Who is like unto Thee?' [462] and adds, `among the gods, O Lord,' and Moses, in the words, `So the Lord alone did lead them, and there was no strange god with him.' [463]And yet although, as the Apostle says, the Saviour was with them, `They drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ,' [464] and Jeremiah, `The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth,...let them perish under the heavens.' [465]The Son is not meant among these, for He is himself Creator of all. It is then the idols and images of the heathen who are meant alike by the preceding passage and by the words, `I am the first God and I am the last, and beside me there is no God,' [466] and also, `Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me,' [467] and `Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.' [468]None of these passages must be understood as referring to the Son."

The Fifth Book against Eunomius is on the Holy Spirit, and therefore, even if it were of indubitable genuineness, it would be of comparatively little importance, as the subject is fully discussed in the treatise of his mature life. A reason advanced against its genuineness has been the use concerning the Holy Ghost of the term God. (§ 3.) But it has been replied that the reserve which St. Basil practiced after his elevation to the episcopate was but for a special and temporary purpose. He calls the Spirit God in Ep. VIII. §11. At the time of the publication of the Books against Eunomius there would be no such reason for any "economy" [469] as in 374.

(ii) De Spiritu Sancto. To the illustration and elucidation of this work I have little to add to what is furnished, however inadequately, by the translation and notes in the following pages. The famous treatise of St. Basil was one of several put out about the same time by the champions of the Catholic cause. Amphilochius, to whom it was addressed, was the author of a work which Jerome describes (De Vir. Ill., cxxxiii.) as arguing that He is God Almighty, and to be worshipped. The Ancoratus of Epiphanius was issued in 373 in support of the same doctrine. At about the same time Didymus, the blind master of the catechetical school at Alexandria, wrote a treatise which is extant in St. Jerome's Latin; and of which the work of St. Ambrose, composed in 381, for the Emperor Gratian, is "to a considerable extent an echo." [470]

So in East and West a vigorous defence was maintained against the Macedonian assault. The Catholic position is exactly defined in the Synodical Letter sent by Damasus to Paulinus of Tyre in 378. [471] Basil died at the crisis of the campaign, and with no bright Pisgah view of the ultimate passage into peace. The generalship was to pass into other hands. There is something of the irony of fate, or of the mystery of Providence, in the fact that the voice condemned by Basil to struggle against the mean din and rattle of Sasima should be the vehicle for impressing on the empire the truths which Basil held dear. Gregory of Sasima was no archiepiscopal success at Constantinople. He was not an administrator or a man of the world. But he was a great divine and orator, and the imperial basilica of the Athanasia rang with outspoken declarations of the same doctrines, which Basil had more cautiously suggested to inevitable inference. The triumph was assured, Gregory was enthroned in St. Sophia, and under Theodosius the Catholic Faith was safe from molestation.


[303] Or. xliii. § 67. [304] De Script. Eccl. 116. [305] Dial. ii. p. 207 in the ed. of this series. [306] Maran, Vit. Bas. viii. [307] cf. Ep. xx. [308] 1 Eunom. i. [309] Theod., H.E. ii. 25; and Hær. Fab. iv. 3. Philost., H.E. vi. 1. [310] cf. also Basnage in Canisii Lectiones antt. i. 172; Fessler, Inst. Pat. 1. 507. Dorner, Christologie, 1. 853, and BÜhringer, Kirchengeschichte, vii. 62. [311] haploustera kai koine panton pistis. § 5. [312] The Creed of Eunomius. (Adv. Eunom. i. 4.) Pisteuomen eis hena Theon, Patera pantokratora, ex hou ta panta; kai eis hena Monogene ;;Uion tou Theou, Theon logon, ton Kurion hemon Iesoun Christon, di' hou ta panta; kai eis hen Pneuma hagion, to parakleton. Eunom., Apol. § 5. The Creed of Arius and Euzoius. (Soc. H.E. i. 26.) Pisteuomen eis hena Theon Patera pantokratora, kai eis Kurion Iesoun Christon, ton ;;Uion autou, ton ex autou pro panton ton ai& 240;non gegennemenon, Theon Logon, di' hou ta panta egeneto ta te en tois ouranois kai ta epi tes ges, ton katelthonta, kai sarkothenta, kai pathonta, kai anastanta, kai anelthonta eis tous ouranous kai palin erchomenon krinai zontas kai nekrous; kai eis to hagion Pneuma; kai eis sarkos anastasin; kai eis zoen tou mellontos ai& 242;nos; kai eis Basileian ouranon; kai eis mian katholiken ekklesian tou theou ten apo peraton he& 241;s peraton. [313] Ekthesis tes pisteos, published in the notes of Valesius to Soc., Ecc. Hist. v. 12. This was offered to Theodosius after the Council of Constantinople. The Son is prototokon pases ktiseos, and pro pases ktiseos genomenon, but ouk aktiston. The oute to Hui& 254; sunexisoumenon oute men allo tini suntassomenon... proton ergon kai kratiston tou Monogenous. cf. St. Aug., De Hær. liv., "Eunomius asserted that the Son was altogether dissimilar to the Father and the Spirit to the Son," and Philostrius, De Hær. lxviii., who represents the Eunomians as believing in three essences descending in value like gold, silver, and copper. Vide Swete, Doctrine of the Holy Ghost, p. 61. [314] Adv. Eunom. i. 5. [315] pisteuomen ten agennesian ousian einas tou Theou. For the word agennesia cf. Letter ccxxxiv. p. 274. [316] Adv. Eunom. i. 4. [317] Matt. xxviii. 19. Adv. Eun. i. 5. [318] en te tou einai ho estin homologi& 139;. Adv. Eunom. i. 8. [319] Id. i. 10. [320] ousia. [321] Id. [322] Id. ii. [323] i.e. Lucifer, cf. Is. xiv. 13. [324] On koine ennoia, cf. Origen, C. Cels. i. 4. [325] Ps. cxxxix. 6. [326] Is. liii. 8. [327] tous merikous tes oikonomias logous. [328] Rom. xi. 33. [329] Id. i. 13. [330] touto to anarchon tes zoes agenneton proseirekamen. [331] Id. i. 16. [332] to gennema. Id. ii. 6. [333] Id. i. 16. [334] gennema, i.e., "thing begotten;" the distinction between this substantive and the scriptural adjective monogenes must be borne in mind. [335] Id. ii. 6. [336] LXX., egennethe. [337] Is. ix. 6. [338] Id. LXX. [339] Id. ii. 7. [340] Phil. ii. 9. [341] Id. ii. 8. [342] Id. ii. 4. [343] Id. ii. 3. [344] Id. ii. 18. [345] Id. ii. 23. [346] On the distinction between theologia and oikonomia, cf. p. 7, n. [347] sunuparchousan kai paruphestekuian to prototupo hupostesanti. Expressions of this kind, used even by Basil, may help to explain the earlier Nicene sense of hupostasis. The Son has, as it were, a parallel hypostasis to that of the Father, Who eternally furnishes this hypostasis. cf. p. 195, n. [348] Here the MSS. vary, but the main sense is not affected by the omission of the variant phrase. [349] Id. ii. 16. cf. De Sp. Scto. § 15, p. 9, and § 84, p. 40, and notes. [350] Id. ii. 24. [351] apaugasma. cf. Heb. i. 13. [352] John i. 1. [353] Ps. cx. 3, LXX. [354] Id. ii. 17. [355] Etoi onta egennesen ho Theos ton Uion, e ouk onta. [356] Id. ii. 14. [357] cf. De. Sp. Scto. pp. 27, 30, and notes. [358] tauton to anarcho to a& 188;dion. [359] aidion de to chronou pantos kai ai& 242;nos kata to einai presbuteron. [360] Id. ii. 18. [361] Eunomius is therefore not to be ranked with the extreme "Exucontians." cf. Soc. H.E. ii. 45. [362] Id. ii. 19. [363] Id. ii. 19. [364] So. R.V. distinguishes between the words leitourgika and diakonian which are confused in A.V. [365] Id. i. 21. [366] Ps. cxlviii. 5. [367] Id. i. 21. [368] cf. John xvii. 10. [369] Id. i. 18. [370] On this brief summary of Basil's controversy with Eunomius, cf. BÜhringer, Kirchengeschichte, vii. 62, seqq. [371] Christologie, i. 906. [372] to agennetos huparxeos tropos kai ouk ousias onoma. Adv. Eunom. iv. [373] cf. De Sp. Scto. pp. 13, 39, and notes; Thomasius, Dogmengeschichte, i. 245; Herzog, Real-Encycl. "Eunomius und Eunomianer." [374] John v. 19. [375] epi ton homoousion ouk epi ton heteroousion. [376] It will be noted that Basil explains this passage on different grounds from those suggested by the Clause in the Athanasian Creed, on which Waterland's remark is that it "needs no comment." St. Athanasius himself interpreted the "minority" not of the humanity, or of the special subordination of the time when the words were uttered. cf. Ath., Orat. c. Ar. i. § 58: "The Son says not `my Father is better than I,' lest we should conceive Him to be foreign to His nature, but `greater,' not indeed in size, nor in time, but because of His generation from the Father Himself; nay, in saying `greater,' He again shews that He is proper to His essence" (Newman's transl.). The explanation given in Letter viii., p. 118, does include the inferiority as touching His manhood. [377] cf. Letter viii. p. 118. [378] John xv. 16. [379] John x. 15. [380] Matt. xi. 27. [381] Col. ii. 3. [382] 1 Cor. ii. 10. [383] cf. this passage more fully treated of in Letter ccxxxvi. p. 276. The above is rather a tentative memorandum than an explanation. [384] cf. Phil. ii. 8. [385] Gal. i. 4. [386] Matt. xxi. 28. [387] Luke xxiii. 34. [388] cf. pp. 7 and 12. Most commentators that I am acquainted with write on the lines of Bengel, "poculum a patre oblatum, tota passionis massa plenum." cf. Athanasius, "the terror was of the flesh." C. Arian. Orat. III., § xxix., Amphilochius, Apud Theod. Dial. iii., and Chrysost., Hom. in Matt. lxxxiii. [389] cf. Ep. viii. and note on p. 117. [390] dia. Vide note referred to. [391] Or underived life. autozoe. [392] autoagios. [393] John xi. 25. [394] John v. 21. [395] to autexousion. [396] to hupexousion. [397] 1 Cor. xii. 27. [398] 1 Cor. vi. 15. [399] 1 Cor. xv. 48, 49: in the last clause Basil reads phoresomen, instead of the phoresomen of A.V., with #, A, C, D, E, F, G, K, L, P. [400] 1 Cor. xi. 3. [401] John vi. 40. [402] i.e.simultaneous with, or even anterior to, His advent. Maran hesitates as to the meaning of the phrase, and writes: "Suspicor tamen intelligi sic posse. Quanquam voluntas patris est ut in Filium credamus, non tamen propterea sequitur, Filium ex voluntate esse. Nam credere nos oportet in Filium, ut primum in hunc mundum venit, imo antequam etiam naturam humanam assumeret, cum patriarchæ et Judæi prisci ad salutem consequendam in Christum venturum credere necesse habuerint. Itaque cum debeamus necessario credere in Filium omni ætate et tempore; hinc efficitur, Filium esse natura, non voluntate, neque adoptione. Si voluntas est Patris ut nos in ejus Filium credamus, non est ex voluntate Filius, quippe nostra in ipsum fides aut cum ipso aut ante ipsum invenitur. Subtilis hæc ratiocinatio illustratur ex alia simili, quæ reperitur (i.e. at the beginning of Book IV.). Si fides in Filium nostra opus est Dei, ipse Dei opus esse non potest. Nam fides in ipsum et ipse non idem." [403] John vi. 64. [404] John i. 14. [405] 1 Cor. ii. 8. [406] Ps. xxiv. 7. [407] i.e. of the incarnation, cf. pp. 7, 12. [408] On Photinus cf. Socrates, Ecc. Hist. ii. 29, and Theodoret, Hær. Fab. iii. 1, and Epiphanius, Hær. lxxi. § 2. The question as to what Synod condemned and deposed him has been thought to have been settled in favour of that of Sirmium in 349. (D.C.B. iv. 394.) cf. Hefele's Councils, tr. Oxenham, ii. 188. [409] ou gennema alla ktisma. The use of the word gennema in this book is one of the arguments alleged against its genuineness, for in Book. II., Capp. 6, 7, and 8. Basil objects to it; but in the same Book II., Cap. 32, he uses it apparently without objection in the sentence ek tou gennematos noesai rh& 140;dion tou gegennekotos ten phusin. Maran, Vit. Bas. xliii. 7. [410] The English word firstborn is not an exact rendering of the Greek prototokos, and in its theological use it may lead to confusion. "Bear" and its correlatives in English are only used of the mother. tikto (¶TEK. cf. Ger. Zeug.) is used indifferently of both father and mother. prototokos is exactly rendered firstborn in Luke ii. 7; but first begotten, as in A.V. Heb. i. 6, and Rev. i. 5, more precisely renders the word in the text, and in such passages as Ex. xiii. 2, and Psalm lxxxix. 28, which are Messianically applied to the divine Word. So early as Clemens Alexandrinus the only begotten and first begotten had been contrasted with the first created, and highest order of created being. With him may be compared Tertullian, Adv. Prax. 7, Adv. Marc. v. 19, Hippolytus, Hær. x. 33, Origen, C. Cels. vi. 47, 63, 64, In Ioann. 1, § 22 (iv. p. 21), xix. § 5 (p. 305), xxviii. § 14 (p. 392), Cyprian, Test. ii. 1, Novatian, De Trin. 16. On the history and uses of the word, see the exhaustive note of Bp. Lightfoot on Col. i. 15. [411] Rev. i. 5. [412] Col. i. 16. [413] Col. i. 17. [414] John i. 1. [415] Matt. i. 25. [416] Jerome's Tract on the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin appeared about 383, and was written at Rome in the episcopate of Damasus (363-384). The work of Helvidius which Jerome controverted was not published till about 380, and there can be no reference to him in the passage in the text. Basil is contending against the general Arian inference, rather than against any individual statement as to who the "Brethren of the Lord" were. cf. also dub. Hom. in Sanct. Christ. Gen. p. 600. Ed. Garn. On the whole subject see Bp. Lightfoot, in his Ep. to the Galatians, E. S. Ffoulkes in D.C.B. s.v. Helvidius, and Archdeacon Farrar in his Life of Christ, chap. vii., who warmly supports the Helvidian theory in opposition to the almost universal belief of the early Church. Basil evidently has no more idea that the heos hou of Matt. i. 25, implies anything as to events subsequent to the tokos than the author of 2 Sam. had when he said that Michal had no child till (LXX. heos) the day of her death, or St. Paul had that Christ's reigning till (achris hou) He had put all enemies under His feet implied that He would not reign afterwards. Too much importance must not be given to niceties of usage in Hellenistic Greek, but it is a well-known distinction in Attic Greek that prin with the infinitive is employed where the action is not asserted to take place, while it is used with the indicative of a past fact. Had St. Matthew written prin sunelthon, the Helvidians might have laid still greater stress than they did on the argument from Matt. i. 18, which St. Jerome ridicules. His writing prin e sunelthein is what might have been expected if he wished simply to assert that the conception was not preceded by any cohabitation. [417] Rom. viii. 29. [418] The LXX. version is Kurios ektise me archen hodon autou. [419] John xiv. 6. [420] Id. [421] gennema. [422] The Heb. verb here is the same as in Prov. viii. 22, though rendered ektesamen in the LXX. [423] Gen. v. 4. Here Basil has epoiesen for the LXX. egennesen, representing another Hebrew verb. [424] Ps. li. 10 kardian katharan ktison. [425] 1 Cor. i. 21. [426] 1 Pet. iv. 1. [427] Acts ii. 36. [428] Luke ii. 11. [429] Acts ii. 36. [430] egennethe. But it seems to refer to the birth from Mary. [431] 1 Cor. i. 24. [432] Ps. xxxi. 2, LXX. [433] Ps. cxviii. 21. [434] Rom. iii. 4. [435] 1 Cor. i. 30. [436] Ps. cx. 1. [437] Ps. xlv. 8. [438] Gen. xix. 24. [439] Gen. i. 27. [440] Ps. xviii. 31. [441] Id. LXX. [442] John i. 1. [443] John xx. 28. [444] Baruch iii. 35. The quoting of Baruch under the name of Jeremiah has been explained by the fact that in the LXX. Baruch was placed with the Lamentations, and was regarded in the early Church as of equal authority with Jeremiah. It was commonly so quoted, e.g. by Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Tertullian. So Theodoret, Dial. i. (in this edition, p. 165, where cf. note). [445] 1 John v. 20. There is some MS. authority for the insertion of "God" in the first clause, but none for the omission of the former en to. [446] Deut. xxxii. 12. [447] Tit. ii. 13. [448] St. Basil, with the mass of the Greek Orthodox Fathers, has no idea of any such interpretation of Tit. ii. 13, as Alford endeavours to support. cf. Theodoret, pp. 391 and 321, and notes. [449] to einai isa Theo, as in Phil. ii. 6, tr. in A.V. to be equal with God; R.V. has to be on an equality with God. [450] to einai ison Theo. [451] John v. 18. [452] I do not here render with the Arian gloss of A.V., infelicitously reproduced in the equally inexact translation of R.V. The insertion of the words "it shall be given" and "it is" is apparently due to a pedantic prejudice against translating alla by "save" or "except," a rendering which is supported in classical Greek by such a passage as Soph., O.T. 1331, and in Hellenistic Greek by Mark ix. 8. The Vulgate has, quite correctly, "non est meum dare vobis, sed quibus paratum est a patre meo," so far as the preservation of the Son as the giver is concerned. A similar error is to be found in both the French and German (Luther's) of Bagster's polyglot edition. Wiclif has correctly, "is not myn to geve to you but to whiche it is made redi of my fadir." So Tyndale, "is not myne to geve but to them for whom it is prepared of my father." The gloss begins with Cranmer (1539), "it shall chance unto them that it is prepared for," and first appears in the Geneva of 1557 as the A.V. has perpetuated it. The Rheims follows the vobis of the Vulgate, but is otherwise correct. cf. note on Theodoret in this edition, p. 169. [453] John v. 22. [454] Mark ii. 10. [455] Matt. xxviii. 18. [456] Matt. xvi. 19. [457] Matt. xix. 28. [458] cf. Matt. xvi. 27. [459] John v. 29. [460] 2 Cor. v. 10. [461] These last words are explained by a Scholium to the MS. Reg. II. to be a reference to the unreasonable petition of James and John. It will be seen how totally opposed Basil's interpretation is to that required by the gloss of A.V. [462] Ps. lxxxvi. 8. [463] Deut. xxxii. 12. [464] 1 Cor. x. 4. [465] Jer. x. 2, LXX. [466] Is. xliv. 6, "God" inserted. [467] Is. xliii. 10. [468] Deut. vi. 4. [469] cf. remarks in § vi. p. xxiii. of Prolegomena. [470] Swete, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, p. 71, who further notes: "St. Jerome is severe upon St. Ambrose for copying Didymus, and says that the Archbishop of Milan had produced "ex Græcis bonis Latina non bona.' The work of the Latin Father is, however, by no means a mere copy; and other writers besides Didymus are laid under contribution in the argument; e.g. St. Basil and perhaps St. Athanasius." [471] Theod. v. 11 in this edition, p. 139; Mansi iii. 486.


(i) As of the De Spiritu Sancto, so of the Hexæmeron, no further account need be given here. It may, however, be noted that the Ninth Homily ends abruptly, and the latter, and apparently more important, portion of the subject is treated of at less length than the former. Jerome [472] and Cassiodorus [473] speak of nine homilies only on the creation. Socrates [474] says the Hexæmeron was completed by Gregory of Nyssa. Three orations are published among Basil's works, two on the creation of men and one on Paradise, which are attributed to Basil by Combefis and Du Pin, but not considered genuine by Tillemont, Maran, Garnier, Ceillier, and Fessler. They appear to be compositions which some editor thought congruous to the popular work of Basil, and so appended them to it.

The nine discourses in the Hexæmeron all shew signs of having been delivered extempore, and the sequence of argument and illustration is not such as to lead to the conclusion that they were ever redacted by the author into exact literary form. We probably owe their preservation to the skilled shorthand writers of the day. [475]

(ii) The Homilies on the Psalms as published are seventeen in number; it has however been commonly held that the second Homily on Ps. xxviii. is not genuine, but the composition of some plagiarist. The Homily also on Ps. xxxvii. has been generally objected to. These are omitted from the group of the Ben. Ed., together with the first on Ps. cxiv., and that on cxv. Maran [476] thinks that none of these orations shew signs of having been delivered in the episcopate, or of having reference to the heresy of the Pneumatomachi; two apparently point directly to the presbyterate. In that on Ps. xiv. he speaks of an amerimnia which would better befit priest than the primate; on Ps. cxiv. he describes himself as serving a particular church. Both arguments seem a little far-fetched, and might be opposed on plausible grounds. Both literal and allegorical interpretations are given. If Basil is found expressing himself in terms similar to those of Eusebius, it is no doubt because both were inspired by Origen. [477] The Homily on Psalm i. begins with a partial quotation from 2 Tim. iii. 16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable," and goes on, "and was composed by the Spirit to the end that all of us men, as in a general hospital for souls, may choose each what is best for his own cure." For him, Scripture is supreme. [478]As is noticed on Hom. IX. [479] of the Hexæmeron, Basil is on the whole for the simpler sense. But he was a student of Origen, and he well knows how to use allegory when he thinks fit. [480]An example may be observed in Letter VIII., [481] where there is an elaborate allegorisation of the "times and the seasons" of Acts i. 7. An instance of the application of both systems is to be found in the Homily on Psalm xxviii. (i.e. in A.V. xxix.). The LXX. Title is Psalmos tho Dauid exodiou skenes, Psalmus David in exitu e tabernaculo." Primarily this is a charge delivered to the priests and Levites on leaving their sacred offices. They are to remember all that it is their duty to prepare for the holy service. As they go out of the Tabernacle the psalm tells them all that it behoves them to have in readiness for the morrow, young rams (Ps. xxix. 1, LXX.), glory and honour, glory for His name. "But to our minds, as they contemplate high and lofty things, and by the aid of an interpretation dignified and worthy of Holy Scripture make the Law our own, the meaning is different. There is no question of ram in flock, nor tabernacle fashioned of lifeless material, nor departure from the temple. The tabernacle for us is this body of ours, as the Apostle has told us in the words, `For we that are in this tabernacle do groan.' [482]The departure from the temple is our quitting this life. For this these words bid us be prepared, bringing such and such things to the Lord, if the deeds done here are to be a means to help us on our journey to the life to come."

This is in the style of exegesis hitherto popular. To hearers familiar with exegesis of the school of Origen, it is an innovation for Basil to adopt such an exclusively literal system of exposition as he does,--e.g. in Hom. IX. on the Hexæmeron,--the system which is one of his distinguishing characteristics. [483]In his common-sense literalism he is thus a link with the historical school of Antioch, whose principles were in contrast with those of Origen and the Alexandrians, a school represented by Theodore of Mopsuestia, Diodorus of Tarsus, and later by Theodoret. [484]

It is remarked by Gregory of Nazianzus in his memorial oration [485] that Basil used a threefold method of enforcing Scripture on his hearers and readers. This may be understood to be the literal, moral, and allegorical. Ceillier points out that this description, so far as we know, applies only to the Homilies on the Psalms. The praise of the Psalms, prefixed to Psalm i., is a passage of noticeable rhetorical power and of considerable beauty. Its popularity is shewn by the fact of its being found in some manuscripts of St. Augustine, and also in the commentary of Rufinus. The latter probably translated it; portions of it were transcribed by St. Ambrose. [486]

"The prophets," says St. Basil, "the historians, the law, give each a special kind of teaching, and the exhortation of the proverbs furnishes yet another. But the use and profit of all are included in the book of Psalms. There is prediction of thing to come. There our memories are reminded of the past. There laws are laid down for the guidance of life. There are directions as to conduct. The book, in a word, is a treasury of sound teaching, and provides for every individual need. It heals the old hurts of souls, and brings about recovery where the wound is fresh. It wins the part that is sick and preserves that which is sound. As far as lies within its power, it destroys the passions which lord it in this life in the souls of men. And all this it effects with a musical persuasiveness and with a gratification that induces wise and wholesome reflexion. The Holy Spirit saw that mankind was hard to draw to goodness, that our life's scale inclined to pleasure, and that so we were neglectful of the right. What plan did He adopt? He combined the delight of melody with His teaching, to the end that by the sweetness and softness of what we heard we might, all unawares, imbibe the blessing of the words. He acted like wise leeches, who, when they would give sour draughts to sickly patients, put honey round about the cup. So the melodious music of the Psalms has been designed for us, that those who are boys in years, or at least but lads in ways of life, while they seem to be singing, may in reality be carrying on the education of the soul. It is not easy for the inattentive to retain in their memory, when they go home, an injunction of an apostle or prophet; but the sayings of the Psalms are sung in our houses and travel with us through the streets. Let a man begin even to grow savage as some wild beast, and no sooner is he soothed by psalm-singing than straightway he goes home with passions lulled to calm and quiet by the music of the song. [487]

"A psalm is souls' calm, herald of peace, hushing the swell and agitation of thoughts. It soothes the passions of the soul; it brings her license under law. A psalm is welder of friendship, atonement of adversaries, reconciliation of haters. Who can regard a man as his enemy, when they have lifted up one voice to God together? So Psalmody gives us the best of all boons, love. Psalmody has bethought her of concerted singing as a mighty bond of union, and links the people together in a symphony of one song. A psalm puts fiends to flight, and brings the aid of angels to our side; it is armour in the terrors of the night; in the toils of the day it is refreshment; to infants it is a protection, to men in life's prime a pride, to elders a consolation, to women an adornment. It turns wastes into homes. It brings wisdom into marts and meetings. To beginners it is an alphabet, to all who are advancing an improvement, to the perfect a confirmation. It is the voice of the church. It gladdens feasts. It produces godly sorrow. It brings a tear even from a heart of stone. A psalm is angels' work, the heavenly conversation, the spiritual sacrifice. Oh, the thoughtful wisdom of the Instructor Who designed that we should at one and the same time sing and learn to our profit! It is thus that His precepts are imprinted on our souls. A lesson that is learned unwillingly is not likely to last, but all that is learned with pleasure and delight effects a permanent settlement in our souls. What can you not learn from this source? You may learn magnificent manliness, scrupulous righteousness, dignified self-control, perfect wisdom. You may learn how to repent, and how far to endure. What good thing can you not learn? There is a complete theology; [488] a foretelling of the advent of Christ in the flesh; threatening of judgment; hope of resurrection; fear of chastisement; promise of glory; revelation of mysteries. Everything is stored in the book of the Psalms as in some vast treasury open to all the world. There are many instruments of music, but the prophet has fitted it to the instrument called Psaltery. I think the reason is that he wished to indicate the grace sounding in him from on high by the gift of the Spirit, because of all instruments the Psaltery is the only one which has the source of its sounds above. [489]In the case of the cithara and the lyre the metal gives forth its sound at the stroke of the plectrum from below. The Psaltery has the source of its melodious strains above. So are we taught to be diligent in seeking the things which are above, and not to allow ourselves to be degraded by our pleasure in the music to the lusts of the flesh. And what I think the word of the Prophet profoundly and wisely teaches by means of the fashion of the instrument is this,--that those whose souls are musical and harmonious find their road to the things that are above most easy."

On Psalm xiv. (in A.V. xv.) the commentary begins:

"Scripture, with the desire to describe to us the perfect man, the man who is ordained to be the recipient of blessings, observes a certain order and method in the treatment of points in him which we may contemplate, and begins from the simplest and most obvious, `Lord, who shall sojourn [490] in thy tabernacle?' A sojourning is a transitory dwelling. It indicates a life not settled, but passing, in hope of our removal to the better things. It is the part of a saint to pass through this world, and to hasten to another life. In this sense David says of himself, `I am a stranger with thee and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.' [491]Abraham was a sojourner, who did not possess even so much land as to set his foot on, and when he needed a tomb, bought one for money. [492]The word teaches us that so long as he lives in the flesh he is a sojourner, and, when he removes from this life, rests in his own home. In this life he sojourns with strangers, but the land which he bought in the tomb to receive his body is his own. And truly blessed is it, not to rot with things of earth as though they were one's own, nor cling to all that is about us here as through here were our natural fatherland, but to be conscious of the fall from nobler things, and of our passing our time in heaviness because of the punishment that is laid upon us, just like exiles who for some crimes' sake have been banished by the magistrates into regions far from the land that gave them birth. Hard it is to find a man who will not heed present things as though they were his own; who knows that he has the use of wealth but for a season; who reckons on the brief duration of his health; who remembers that the bloom of human glory fades away.

"`Who shall sojourn in thy tabernacle?' The flesh that is given to man's soul for it to dwell in is called God's tabernacle. Who will be found to treat this flesh as though it were not his own? Sojourners, when they hire land that is not their own, till the estate at the will of the owner. So, too, to us the care of the flesh has been entrusted by bond, for us to toil with diligence therein, and make it fruitful for the use of Him Who gave it. And if the flesh is worthy of God, it becomes verily a tabernacle of God, accordingly as He makes His dwelling in the saints. Such is the flesh of the sojourner. `Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle?' Then there come progress and advance to that which is more perfect. `And who shall dwell in thy holy hill?' A Jew, in earthly sense, when he hears of the `hill,' turns his thoughts to Sion. `Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?' The sojourner in the flesh shall dwell in the holy hill, he shall dwell in that hill, that heavenly country, bright and splendid, whereof the Apostle says, `Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,' where is the general assembly of `angels, and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven.'" [493]

The Second Homily on Psalm xiv. (xv.) has a special interest in view of the denunciation of usury alike in Scripture and in the early Church. The matter had been treated of at Nicæa. With it may be compared Homily VII., De Avaritia. [494]

After a few words of introduction and reference to the former Homily on the same Psalm, St. Basil proceeds;--"In depicting the character of the perfect man, of him, that is, who is ordained to ascend to the life of everlasting peace, the prophet reckons among his noble deeds his never having given his money upon usury. This particular sin is condemned in many passages of Scripture. Ezekiel [495] reckons taking usury and increase among the greatest of crimes. The law distinctly utters the prohibition `Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother' [496] and to thy neighbour. Again it is said, `Usury upon usury; guile upon guile.' [497]And of the city abounding in a multitude of wickednesses, what does the Psalm say? `Usury and guile depart not from her streets.' [498]Now the prophet instances precisely the same point as characteristic of the perfect man, saying, `He that putteth not out his money to usury.' [499]For in truth it is the last pitch of inhumanity that one man, in need of the bare necessities of life, should be compelled to borrow, and another, not satisfied with the principal, should seek to make gain and profit for himself out of the calamities of the poor. The Lord gave His own injunction quite plainly in the words, `from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.' [500]But what of the money lover? He sees before him a man under stress of necessity bent to the ground in supplication. He sees him hesitating at no act, no words, of humiliation. He sees him suffering undeserved misfortune, but he is merciless. He does not reckon that he is a fellow-creature. He does not give in to his entreaties. He stands stiff and sour. He is moved by no prayers; his resolution is broken by no tears. He persists in refusal, invoking curses on his own head if he has any money about him, and swearing that he is himself on the lookout for a friend to furnish him a loan. He backs lies with oaths, and makes a poor addition to his stock in trade by supplementing inhumanity with perjury. Then the suppliant mentions interest, and utters the word security. All is changed. The frown is relaxed; with a genial smile he recalls old family connexion. Now it is `my friend.' `I will see,' says he, `if I have any money by me. Yes; there is that sum which a man I know has left in my hands on deposit for profit. He named very heavy interest. However, I shall certainly take something off, and give it you on better terms.' With pretences of this kind and talk like this he fawns on the wretched victim, and induces him to swallow the bait. Then he binds him with written security, adds loss of liberty to the trouble of his pressing poverty, and is off. The man who has made himself responsible for interest which he cannot pay has accepted voluntary slavery for life. Tell me; do you expect to get money and profit out of the pauper? If he were in a position to add to your wealth, why should he come begging at your door? He came seeking an ally, and he found a foe. He was looking for medicine, and he lighted on poison. You ought to have comforted him in his distress, but in your attempt to grow fruit on the waste you are aggravating his necessity. Just as well might a physician go in to his patients, and instead of restoring them to health, rob them of the little strength they might have left. This is the way in which you try to profit by the misery of the wretched. Just as farmers pray for rain to make their fields fatter, so you are anxious for men's need and indigence, that your money may make more. You forget that the addition which you are making to your sins is larger than the increase to your wealth which you are reckoning on getting for your usury. The seeker of the loan is helpless either way: he bethinks him of his poverty, he gives up all idea of payment as hopeless when at the need of the moment he risks the loan. The borrower bends to necessity and is beaten. The lender goes off secured by bills and bonds.

"After he has got his money, at first a man is bright and joyous; he shines with another's splendour, and is conspicuous by his altered mode of life. His table is lavish; his dress is most expensive. His servants appear in finer liveries; he has flatterers and boon companions; his rooms are full of drones innumerable. But the money slips away. Time as it runs on adds the interest to its tale. Now night brings him no rest; no day is joyous; no sun is bright; he is weary of his life; he hates the days that are hurrying on to the appointed period; he is afraid of the months, for they are parents of interest. Even if he sleeps, he sees the lender in his slumbers--a bad dream--standing by his pillow. If he wakes up, there is the anxiety and dread of the interest. `The poor and the usurer,' he exclaims, `meet together: the Lord lighteneth both their eyes.' [501] The lender runs like a hound after the game. The borrower like a ready prey crouches at the coming catastrophe, for his penury robs him of the power of speech. Both have their ready-reckoner in their hands, the one congratulating himself as the interest mounts up, the other groaning at the growth of his calamities. `Drink waters out of thine own cistern.' [502]Look, that is to say, at your own resources; do not approach other men's springs; provide your comforts from your own reservoirs. Have you household vessels, clothes, beast of burden, all kinds of furniture? Sell these. Rather surrender all than lose your liberty. Ah, but--he rejoins--I am ashamed to put them up for sale. What then do you think of another's bringing them out a little later on, and crying your goods, and getting rid of them for next to nothing before your very eyes? Do not go to another man's door. Verily `another man's well is narrow.' [503]Better is it to relieve your necessity gradually by one contrivance after another than after being all in a moment elated by another man's means, afterwards to be stripped at once of everything. If you have anything wherewith to pay, why do you not relieve your immediate difficulties out of these resources? If you are insolvent, you are only trying to cure ill with ill. Decline to be blockaded by an usurer. Do not suffer yourself to be sought out and tracked down like another man's game. [504]Usury is the origin of lying; the beginning of ingratitude, unfairness, perjury....

"But, you ask, how am I to live? You have hands. You have a craft. Work for wages. Go into service. There are many ways of getting a living, many kinds of resources. You are helpless? Ask those who have means. It is discreditable to ask? It will be much more discreditable to rob your creditor. I do not speak thus to lay down the law. I only wish to point out that any course is more advantageous to you than borrowing.

"Listen, you rich men, to the kind of advice I am giving to the poor because of your inhumanity. Far better endure under their dire straits than undergo the troubles that are bred of usury! But if you were obedient to the Lord, what need of these words? What is the advice of the Master? Lend to those from whom ye do not hope to receive. [505]And what kind of loan is this, it is asked, from all which all idea of the expectation of repayment is withdrawn? Consider the force of the expression, and you will be amazed at the loving kindness of the legislator. When you mean to supply the need of a poor man for the Lord's sake, the transaction is at once a gift and a loan. Because there is no expectation of reimbursement, it is a gift. Yet because of the munificence of the Master, Who repays on the recipient's behalf, it is a loan. `He that hath pity on the poor lendeth unto the Lord.' [506]Do you not wish the Master of the universe to be responsible for your repayment? If any wealthy man in the town promises you repayment on behalf of others, do you admit his suretyship? But you do not accept God, Who more than repays on behalf of the poor. Give the money lying useless, without weighting it with increase, and both shall be benefited. To you will accrue the security of its safe keeping. The recipients will have the advantage of its use. And if it is increase which you seek, be satisfied with that which is given by the Lord. He will pay the interest for the poor. Await the loving-kindness of Him Who is in truth most kind.

"What you are taking involves the last extremity of inhumanity. You are making your profit out of misfortune; you are levying a tax upon tears. You are strangling the naked. You are dealing blows on the starving. There is no pity anywhere, no sense of your kinship to the hungry, and you call the profit you get from these sources kindly and humane! Wo unto them that `put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,' [507] and call inhumanity humanity! This surpasses even the riddle which Samson proposed to his boon companions:--`Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.' [508]Out of the inhuman came forth humanity! Men do not gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles, [509] nor humanity of usury. A corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [510]There are such people as twelve-per-cent-men and ten-per-cent-men: I shudder to mention their names. They are exactors by the month, like the demons who produce epilepsy, attacking the poor as the changes of the moon come round. [511]

"Here there is an evil grant to either, to giver and to recipient. To the latter, it brings ruin on his property; to the former, on his soul. The husbandman, when he has the ear in store, does not search also for the seed beneath the root; you both possess the fruit and cannot keep your hands from the principal. You plant where there is no ground. You reap where there has been no sowing. For whom you are gathering you cannot tell. The man from whom usury wrings tears is manifest enough; but it is doubtful who is destined to enjoy the results of the superfluity. You have laid up in store for yourself the trouble that results from your iniquity, but it is uncertain whether you will not leave the use of your wealth to others. Therefore, `from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away;' [512] and do not give your money upon usury. Learn from both Old and New Testament what is profitable for you, and so depart hence with good hope to your Lord; in Him you will receive the interest of your good deeds,--in Jesus Christ our Lord to Whom be glory and might for ever and ever, Amen."

(iii.) The Commentary on Isaiah. The Commentary on Isaiah is placed by the Benedictine Editors in the appendix of doubtful composition, mainly on the ground of inferiority of style. Ceillier is strongly in favour of the genuineness of this work, and calls attention to the fact that it is attested by strong manuscript authority, and by the recognition of St. Maximus, of John of Damascus, of Simeon Logothetes, of Antony Melissa of Tarasius, and of the Greek scholiast on the Epistles of St. Paul, who is supposed to be OEcumenius. Fessler [513] ranks the work among those of doubtful authority on the ground of the silence of earlier Fathers and of the inferiority of style, as well as of apparent citations from the Commentary of Eusebius, and of some eccentricity of opinion. He conjectures that we may possibly have here the rough material of a proposed work on Isaiah, based mainly on Origen, which was never completed. Garnier regards it as totally unworthy of St. Basil. Maran ( Vit. Bas. 42) would accept it, and refutes objections.

Among the remarks which have seemed frivolous is the comment on Is. xi. 12, that the actual cross of the Passion was prefigured by the four parts of the universe joining in the midst. [514]Similar objections have been taken to the statement that the devils like rich fare, and crowd the idols' temples to enjoy the sacrificial feasts. [515]On the other hand it has been pointed out that this ingenuity in finding symbols of the cross is of a piece with that of Justin Martyr, [516] who cites the yard on the mast, the plough, and the Roman trophies, and that Gregory of Nazianzus [517] instances the same characteristic of the devils. While dwelling on the holiness of character required for the prophetic offices, the Commentary points out [518] that sometimes it has pleased God to grant it to Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar for the sake of their great empires; to Caiaphas as the high priest; to Balaam, because of the exigencies of the crisis at which he appeared. The unchaste lad [519] who has some great sin upon his conscience shrinks from taking his place among the faithful, and is ashamed to rank himself with the weepers. So he tries to avoid the examination of those whose duty it is to enquire into sins [520] and he invents excuses for leaving the church before the celebration of the mysteries. The Commentary urges [521] that without penitence the best conduct is unavailing for salvation; that God requires of the sinner not merely the abandonment of the sinful part, but also the amends of penance, and warns men [522] that they must not dream that the grace of baptism will free them from the obligation to live a godly life. The value of tradition is insisted on. [523]Every nation, as well as every church, is said to have its own guardian angel. [524]

The excommunication reserved for certain gross sins is represented [525] as a necessary means enjoined by St. Paul to prevent the spread of wickedness. It is said [526] to be an old tradition that on leaving Paradise Adam went to live in Jewry, and there died; that after his death, his skull appearing bare, it was carried to a certain place hence named "place of a skull," and that for this reason Jesus Christ, Who came to destroy death's kingdom, willed to die on the spot where the first fruits of mortality were interred. [527]

On Is. v. 14, "Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure," [528] it is remarked that these are figurative expressions to denote the multitude of souls that perish. At the same time an alternative literal meaning is admitted, the mouth being the opening through which the souls of the damned are precipitated into a dark region beneath the earth.

It is noted in some mss. that the Commentary was given to the world by an anonymous presbyter after St. Basil's death, who may have abstained from publishing it because it was in an unfinished state. Erasmus was the first to undertake to print it, and to translate it into Latin but he went no further than the preface. It was printed in Paris in 1556 by Tilmann, with a lengthy refutation of the objections of Erasmus. [529]


[472] De Vir. Illust. cxvi. [473] Instit. Div. i. [474] Ecc. Hist. iv. 26. [475] cf. Letterccxxiii. § 5, p. 264. It is believed that tachygraphy was known from very early times, and Xenophon is said to have "reported" Socrates by its aid. The first plain mention of a tachygraphist is in a letter of Flavius Philostratus (A.D. 195). It has been thought that the systems in use in the earlier centuries of our era were modifications of a cryptographic method employed by the Christians to circulate documents in the Church. No examples are extant of an earlier date than the tenth century, and of these an interesting specimen is the Paris MS. of Hermogenes described by Montfaucon, Pal. Gr. p. 351. The exact minutes of some of the Councils--e.g. Chalcedon--seem to be due to very successful tachygraphy. [476] Vit. Bas. xli. 4. [477] cf. Fessler, p. 512. [478] cf. Epp. cv., clx. § 2, cxcviii. § 3, and cclxiv. § 4. [479] See p. 101. [480] "Origène sacrifiait tout au sens mystique Eusèbe le faisait aller de pair avec le sens historique. Comme lui St. Basile respecte scrupuleusement la lettre; mais comme lui aussi, il voit sous la lettre tous les mystères du Nouveau Testament et surtout des enseignements moraux. Les différents caractères que présente son interprétation sont un moyen presque infaillible de connaitre la date des ses grands travaux exégétiques. Aussi ne doit-on pas hésiter à assigner aux premiêres années de sa retraite la composition du commentaire d'Isaïe, dans lequel domine à peu près exclusivement l'interpétation morale; à sa prêtrese celle des homilies sur les Psaumes, où il donne une égale importance au sens moral et au sens mystique, mais en leur sacrifiant sans cesse le sens littéral; à son épiscopat, enfin. l'Hexaméron, qui, sans négliger les sens figurés, s'attache surtout à donner une explication exacte de la lettre." Fialon, Et. Hist. p. 291. The theory is suggestive, but I am not sure that the prevalence of the literal or of the allegorical is not due less to the period of the composition than to the objects the writer has in view. [481] p. 118. [482] 2 Cor. v. 4. [483] Im Allgemeinen und im Grundsatze aber ist Basil gegen die allegorische Erkärungsweise, so oft er sie dann auch im Einzelnen anwendet. BÜhringer, Basil, p. 116. [484] cf. Gieseler i. p. 109. [485] Or. xliii. § 67. [486] Ceillier. [487] The English reader is reminded of Congreve's "music" charming "the savage breast." [488] cf. p. 7, note. [489] Cassiodorus (Præf. in Ps. iv.) describes a psaltery shaped like the Greek D, with the sounding board above the strings which were struck downwards. cf. St. Aug. on Ps. xxxii. and Dict. Bib. s.v. [490] A.V. marg. and R.V. The LXX. is paroikesei. [491] Ps. xxxix. 12. [492] cf. Gen. xxiii. 16, and Acts vii. 16. [493] Heb. xii. 22, 23. [494] cf. note on Basil's xivth Can., p. 228. [495] xxii. 12. [496] Deut. xxiii. 19. [497] Jer. ix. 6, LXX. [498] Ps. lv. 11, LXX. [499] Ps. xv. 5. [500] Matt. v. 42. [501] Prov. xxix. 13, A.V. marg. R.V. has "oppressor." [502] Prov. v. 15. [503] Prov. xxiii. 27, LXX. [504] hosper allotrion therama. Ed. Par. Vulg. hosper allo ti therama. [505] cf. Luke vi. 34, 35. [506] Prov. xix. 17. [507] Is. v. 20. [508] Judges xiv. 14. [509] Matt. vii. 16. [510] cf. Matt. vii. 18. [511] On the connexion between seleniasmos and epilepsia, cf. Origen iii. 575-577, and Cæsarius, Quæst. 50. On the special attribution of epilepsy to dæmoniacal influence illustrated by the name hiera nosos, see Hippocrates, De Morbo Sacro. [512] Matt. v. 42. [513] Patr. i. 522. [514] § 249. [515] § 236. [516] Apol. i. § 72. [517] Carm. 11, Epig. 28: Daimosin eilapinazon, hosois toparoithe memelei Daimosin era pherein, ou katharas Thusias. [518] § 4. cf. § 199. [519] §19. [520] id. oknos eis prophaseis peplasmenas epinoon pros tous epizetountas. [521] § 34, 278. [522] § 39. [523] cf. De Sp. S. p. . [524] § 240. [525] § 55. [526] § 141. [527] The tradition that Adam's skull was found at the foot of the cross gave rise to the frequent representation of a skull in Christian art. Instances are given by Mr. Jameson, Hist. of our Lord, i. 22. Jeremy Taylor, (Life of our Lord, Part iii. § xv.) quotes Nonnus (In Joann. xix. 17): Eisoke choron hikane phatizomenoio kraniou Adam protogonoio pheronumon antugi korses. cf. Origen, In Matt. Tract. 35, and Athan, De Pass. et Cruc. Jerome speaks of the tradition in reference to its association with the words "As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive," as "smooth to the ear, but not true." One version of the tale was that Noah took Adam's bones with him in the ark; that on Ararat they were divided, and the head fell to Seth's share. This he buried at Golgotha. cf. Fabricius i. 61. [528] LXX. eplatunen ho ;;Ades ten phuchen autou kai dienoixe to stoma autou. [529] cf. Ceillier VI. viii. 2.


(i) Of the works comprised under this head, the first are the three compositions entitled Tractatus Prævii. The first, Prævia Institutio ascetica ('Asketike prodiatuposis ), is an exhortation to enlistment in the sacred warfare; the second, on renunciation of the world and spiritual perfection, is the Sermo asceticus (logos asketikos). The third, Sermo de ascetica disciplina (logos peri askeseos, pos dei kosmheisthai ton monachon), treats of the virtues to be exhibited in the life of the solitary.

The first of the three is a commendation less of monasticism than of general Christian endurance. It has been supposed to have been written in times of special oppression and persecution.

The second discourse is an exhortation to renunciation of the world. Riches are to be abandoned to the poor. The highest life is the monastic. But this is not to be hastily and inconsiderately embraced. To renounce monasticism and return to the world is derogatory to a noble profession. The idea of pleasing God in the world as well as out of it is, for those who have once quitted it, a delusion. God has given mankind the choice of two holy estates, marriage or virginity. The law which bids us love God more than father, mother, or self, more than wife and children, is as binding in wedlock as in celibacy. Marriage indeed demands the greater watchfulness, for it offers the greater temptations. Monks are to be firm against all attempts to shake their resolves. They will do well to put themselves under the guidance of some good man of experience and pious life, learned in the Scriptures, loving the poor more than money, superior to the seductions of flattery, and loving God above all things. Specific directions are given for the monastic life, and monks are urged to retirement, silence, and the study of the Scriptures.

The third discourse, which is brief, is a summary of similar recommendations. The monk ought moreover to labour with his hands, to reflect upon the day of judgment, to succour the sick, to practice hospitality, to read books of recognized genuineness, not to dispute about the doctrine of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but to believe in and confess an uncreate and consubstantial Trinity.

(ii) Next in order come the Prooemium de Judicio Dei (prooimion peri krimatos Theou) and the De Fide (peri pisteos). These treatises were prefixed by Basil to the Moralia. He states that, when he enquired into the true causes of the troubles which weighed heavily on the Church, he could only refer them to breaches of the commandments of God. Hence the divine punishment, and the need of observing the Divine Law. The apostle says that what is needed is faith working by love. So St. Basil thought it necessary to append an exposition of the sound faith concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and so pass in order to morals. [530]It has, however, been supposed by some [531] that the composition published in the plan as the De Fide is not the original tract so entitled, but a letter on the same subject written, if not during the episcopate, at least in the presbyterate. This view has been supported by the statement "Thus we believe and baptize." [532]

This, however, might be said generally of the custom obtaining in the Church, without reference to the writer's own practice. Certainly the document appears to have no connexion with those among which it stands, and to be an answer to some particular request for a convenient summary couched in scriptural terms. [533]Hence it does not contain the Homoousion, and the author gives his reason for the omission--an omission which, he points out, is in contrast with his other writings against heretics. [534]Obviously, therefore, this composition is to be placed in his later life. Yet he describes the De Fideas being anterior to the Moralia.

It will be remembered that this objection to the title and date of the extant De Fide implies nothing against its being the genuine work of the archbishop.

While carefully confining himself to the language of Scripture, the author points out that even with this aid, Faith, which he defines as an impartial assent to what has been revealed to us by the gift of God, [535] must necessarily be dark and incomplete. God can only be clearly known in heaven, when we shall see Him face to face. [536] The statement that has been requested is as follows:

"We believe and confess one true and good God, Father Almighty, of Whom are all things, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: and His one Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, only true, through Whom all things were made, both visible and invisible, and by Whom all things consist: Who was in the beginning with God and was God, and, after this, according to the Scriptures, was seen on earth and had His conversation with men: Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, and by means of the birth from a virgin took a servant's form, and was formed in fashion as a man, and fulfilled all things written with reference to Him and about Him, according to His Father's commandment, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. And on the third day He rose from the dead, according to the Scriptures, and was seen by His holy disciples, and the rest, as it is written: And He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of His Father, whence He is coming at the end of this world, to raise all men, and to give to every man according to his conduct. Then the just shall be taken up into life eternal and the kingdom of heaven, but the sinner shall be condemned to eternal punishment, where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched: And in one Holy Ghost, the Comforter, in Whom we were sealed to the day of redemption: The Spirit of truth, the Spirit of adoption, in Whom we cry, Abba, Father; Who divideth and worketh the gifts that come of God, to each one for our good, as He will; Who teaches and calls to remembrance all things that He has heard from the Son; Who is good; Who guides us into all truth, and confirms all that believe, both in sure knowledge and accurate confession, and in pious service and spiritual and true worship of God the Father, and of His only begotten Son our Lord, and of Himself." [537]

(iii) The Moralia (ta ethika) is placed in 361, in the earlier days of the Anomoean heresy. Shortly before this time the extreme Arians began to receive this name, [538] and it is on the rise of the Anomoeans that Basil is moved to write. The work comprises eighty Rules of Life, expressed in the words of the New Testament, with special reference to the needs of bishops, priests, and deacons, and of all persons occupied in education.

Penitence consists not only in ceasing to sin, but in expiating sin by tears and mortification. [539]Sins of ignorance are not free from peril of judgment. [540]

Sins into which we feel ourselves drawn against our will are the results of sins to which we have consented. [541]Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost consists in attributing to the devil the good works which the Spirit of God works in our brethren. [542]We ought carefully to examine whether the doctrine offered us is conformable to Scripture, and if not, to reject it. [543]Nothing must be added to the inspired words of God; all that is outside Scripture is not of faith, but is sin. [544]

(iv) The Regulæ fusius tractatæ (horoi kata platos), 55 in number, and the Regulæ brevius tractatæ (horoi kat' epitomen), in number 313, are a series of precepts for the guidance of religious life put in the form of question and answer. The former are invariably supported by scriptural authority.

Their genuineness is confirmed by strong external evidence. [545] Gregory of Nazianzus (Or. xliii. § 34) speaks of Basil's composing rules for monastic life, and in Ep. vi. intimates that he helped his friend in their composition. [546]Rufinus (H.E. ii. 9) mentions Basil's Instituta Monachorum. St. Jerome (De Vir. illust. cxvi.) says that Basil wrote to hasketikon, and Photius (Cod. 191) describes the Aschetichum as including the Regulæ. Sozomen (H.E. iii. 14) remarks that the Regulæ were sometimes attributed to Eustathius of Sebaste, but speaks of them as generally recognised as St. Basil's.

The monk who relinquishes his status after solemn profession and adoption is to be regarded as guilty of sacrilege, and the faithful are warned against all intercourse with him, with a reference to 2 Thess. iii. 14. [547]

Children are not to be received from their parents except with full security for publicity in their reception. They are to be carefully instructed in the Scriptures. They are not to be allowed to make any profession till they come to years of discretion (XV.). Temperance is a virtue, but the servants of God are not to condemn any of God's creatures as unclean, and are to eat what is given them. (XVIII.) Hospitality is to be exercised with the utmost frugality and moderation, and the charge to Martha in Luke x. 41, is quoted with the reading oligon de esti chreia e henos [548] and the interpretation "few," namely for provision, and "one," namely the object in view,--enough for necessity. It would be as absurd for monks to change the simplicity of their fare on the arrival of a distinguished guest as it would be for them to change their dress (XX.). Rule XXI. is against unevangelical contention for places at table, and Rule XXII. regulates the monastic habit. The primary object of dress is said to be shewn by the words of Genesis, [549] where God is said to have made Adam and Eve "coats of skins," or, as in the LXX., chitonas dermatinous, i.e. tunics of hides. This use of tunics was enough for covering what was unseemly. But later another object was added--that of securing warmth by clothing. So we must keep both ends in view--decency, and protection against the weather. Among articles of dress some are very serviceable; some are less so. It is better to select what is most useful, so as to observe the rule of poverty, and to avoid a variety of vestments, some for show, others for use; some for day, some for night. A single garment must be devised to serve for all purposes, and for night as well as day. As the soldier is known by his uniform, and the senator by his robe, so the Christian ought to have his own dress. Shoes are to be provided on the same principle, they are to be simple and cheap. The girdle (XXIII.) is regarded as a necessary article of dress, not only because of its practical utility, but because of the example of the Lord Who girded Himself. In Rule XXVI. all secrets are ordered to be confided to the superintendent or bishop. [550]If the superintendent himself is in error (XXVII.) he is to be corrected by other brothers. Vicious brethren (XXVIII.) are to be cut off like rotten limbs. Self-exaltation and discontent are equally to be avoided (XXIX.). XXXVII. orders that devotional exercise is to be no excuse for idleness and shirking work. Work is to be done not only as a chastisement of the body, but for the sake of love to our neighbour and supplying weak and sick brethren with the necessaries of life. The apostle [551] says that if a man will not work he must not eat. Daily work is as necessary as daily bread. The services of the day are thus marked out. The first movements of heart and mind ought to be consecrated to God. Therefore early in the morning nothing ought to be planned or purposed before we have been gladdened by the thought of God; as it is written, "I remembered God, and was gladdened;" [552] the body is not to be set to work before we have obeyed the command, "O Lord, in the morning shalt thou hear my voice; in the morning will I order my prayer unto thee." [553]Again at the third hour there is to be a rising up to prayer, and the brotherhood is to be called together, even though they happen to have been dispersed to various works. The sixth hour is also to be marked by prayer, in obedience to the words of the Psalmist, [554] "evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice." To ensure deliverance from the demon of noon-day, [555] the XCIst Psalm is to be recited. The ninth hour is consecrated to prayer by the example of the Apostles [556] Peter and John, who at that hour went up into the Temple to pray. Now the day is done. For all the boons of the day, and the good deeds of the day, we must give thanks. For omissions there must be confession. For sins voluntary or involuntary, or unknown, we must appease God in prayer. [557]At nightfall the XCIst Psalm is to be recited again, midnight is to be observed in obedience to the example of Paul and Silas, [558] and the injunction of the Psalmist. [559]Before dawn we should rise and pray again, as it is written, "Mine eyes prevent the night watches." [560]Here the canonical hours are marked, but no details are given as to the forms of prayer.

XL. deals with the abuse of holy places and solemn assemblies. Christians ought not to appear in places sacred to martyrs or in their neighbourhood for any other reason than to pray and commemorate the sacred dead. Anything like a worldly festival or common-mart at such times is like the sacrilege of the money changers in the Temple precincts. [561]

LI. gives directions for monastic discipline. "Let the superintendent exert discipline after the manner of a physician treating his patients. He is not angry with the sick, but fights with the disease, and sets himself to combat their bad symptoms. If need be, he must heal the sickness of the soul by severer treatment; for example, love of vain glory by the imposition of lowly tasks; foolish talking, by silence; immoderate sleep, by watching and prayer; idleness, by toil; gluttony, by fasting; murmuring, by seclusion, so that no brothers may work with the offender, nor admit him to participation in their works, till by his penitence that needeth not to be ashamed he appear to be rid of his complaint."

LV. expounds at some length the doctrine of original sin, to which disease and death are traced.

The 313 Regulæ brevius tractatæ are, like the Regulæ fusius tractatæ, in the form of questions and answers. Fessler singles out as a striking specimen XXXIV.

Q. "How is any one to avoid the sin of man-pleasing, and looking to the praises of men?"

A. "There must be a full conviction of the presence of God, an earnest intention to please Him, and a burning desire for the blessings promised by the Lord. No one before his Master's very eyes is excited into dishonouring his Master and bringing condemnation on himself, to please a fellow servant."

XLVII. points out that it is a grave error to be silent when a brother sins.

XLIX. tells us that vain gloriousness (to perpereuesthai. Cf. 1 Cor. xiii. 4) consists in taking things not for use, but for ostentation; and L. illustrates this principle in the case of dress.

Q. "When a man has abandoned all more expensive clothing, does he sin, and, if so, how, if he wishes his cheap upper garment or shoes to be becoming to him?"

A. "If he so wishes in order to gratify men, he is obviously guilty of the sin of man-pleasing. He is alienated from God, and is guilty of vain glory even in these cheap belongings."

LXIV. is a somewhat lengthy comment on Matt. xvii. 6. To "make to offend," or "to scandalize," is to induce another to break the law, as the serpent Eve, and Eve Adam.

LXXXIII. is pithy.

Q. "If a man is generally in the right, and falls into one sin, how are we to treat him?

A. "As the Lord treated Peter."

CXXVIII. is on fasting.

Q. "Ought any one to be allowed to exercise abstinence beyond his strength, so that he is hindered in the performance of his duty?"

A. "This question does not seem to me to be properly worded. Temperance [562] does not consist in abstinence from earthly food, [563] wherein lies the `neglecting of the body' [564] condemned by the Apostles, but in complete departure from one's own wishes. And how great is the danger of our falling away from the Lord's commandment on account of our own wishes is clear from the words of the Apostle, `fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath.'" [565]The numbers in the Coenobium are not to fall below ten, the number of the eaters of the Paschal supper. [566]Nothing is to be considered individual and personal property. [567]Even a man's thoughts are not his own. [568] Private friendships are harmful to the general interests of the community. [569]At meals there is to be a reading, which is to be thought more of than mere material food. [570]The cultivation of the ground is the most suitable occupation for the ascetic life. [571] No fees are to be taken for the charge of children entrusted to the monks. [572]Such children are not to be pledged to join the community till they are old enough to understand what they are about. [573]


[530] De Jud. Dei. § 8. [531] cf. Ceillier VI. viii. 3. [532] houtos phronodmen kai houtos Baptizomen eis Toiada homoousion, kata ten entolen autou tou kuriou hemon 'Iesou Christou eipontos poreuthentes matheteusate k.t.l. §; the co-essential Trinity being described as involved in the baptismal formula. [533] § 1. [534] § 1. [535] sunkatathesis adiakritos ton akousthenton en plerophoria tes aletheias ton keruchthenton Theou chariti. § 1. [536] § 2. [537] The rest of the clause seems to be rather in the way of explanation and assertion, and here he explains, as cited before, that the baptismal formula involves the homoousion. [538] Ath., De Syn. § 31, in this series, p. 467. [539] Reg. i. [540] Reg. ix. [541] Reg. xi. [542] Reg. xxxv. [543] Reg. xxviii. [544] Reg. lxxx. § 22. Fessler (De Pat. Sæc. iv. p. 514) notes the similarity of a Homily, De perfectione vitæ Monachorum, published under the name of St. Basil in a book published by C. F. Matthæi at Moscow in 1775, entitled Joannis Xiphilini et Basilii M. aliquot orationes. He describes it as quite unworthy in style of St. Basil. [545] Combefis, however, refused to accept them. [546] In this series, p. 448. [547] With this may be compared the uncompromising denunciation in Letter cclxxxviii., and what is said in the first of the three Tractatus Prævii. It has been represented that St. Basil introduced the practice of irrevocable vows. cf. Dr. Travers Smith, St. Basil, p. 223. De Broglie, L'Eglise et l'empire, v. 180: "Avant lui, c'était, aux yeux de beaucoup de ceux même qui s'y destinaient, une vocation libre, affaire de goût et de zèle, pouvant être dilaissée à volonté, comme elle avait été embrassée par chois. Le sceau de la perpetiuté obligatoire, ce fut Basile qui l'imprima; c'est à lui réellement que remonte, comme règlé commune, et comme habitude générale, l'institution des voeux perpétuels. Helyot, Hist. des ordres monastiques, i. § 3, Bultean, Hist. des moines d'orient, p. 402, Montalembert, Hist. des moines d'occident, i. 105, s'accordent à reconnaitre que l'usage général des voeux perpétuels remonte à St. Basil." To St. Basil's posthumous influence the system may be due. But it seems questionable whether St. Basil's Rule included formal vows of perpetual obligation in the more modern sense. I am not quite sure that the passages cited fully bear this out. Is the earnest exhortation not to quit the holier life consistent with a binding pledge? Would not a more distinctly authoritative tone be adopted? cf. Letters xlv. and xlvi. It is plain that a reminder was needed, and that the plea was possible that the profession had not the binding force of matrimony. The line taken is rather that a monk or nun ought to remain in his or her profession, and that it is a grievous sin to abandon it, than that there is an irrevocable contract. So in the Sermo asceticus (it is not universally accepted), printed by Garnier between the Moralia and the Regulæ, it is said: "Before the profession of the religious life, any one is at liberty to get the good of this life, in accordance with law and custom, and to give himself to the yoke of wedlock. But when he has been enlisted, of his own consent, it is fitting (prosekei) that he keep himself for God, as one of the sacred offerings, so that he may not risk incurring the damnation of sacrilege, by defiling in the service of this world the body consecrated by promise to God." This prosekei is repeated in the Regulæ. Basil's monk, says Fialon (Et. Hist., p. 49) was irrevocably bound by the laws of the Church, by public opinion, and, still more, by his conscience. It is to the last that the founder of the organisation seems to appeal. In Letter xlvi. the reproach is not addressed merely to a "religieuse échappé de son cloitre," as De Broglie has it, but to a nun guilty of unchastity. Vows of virginity were among the earliest of religious obligations. (cf. J. Martyr, Apol. i. 15, Athenvaras, Legat. 32, Origen, C. Celsum. vii. 48.) Basil (Can. xviii.) punishes a breach of the vow of virginity as he does adultery, but it was not till the Benedictine rule was established in Europe that it was generally regarded as absolutely irrevocable. (cf. D.C.A. s.v. "Nun," ii. p. 1411, and H. C. Lea's History of Celibacy, Philadelphia, 1867.) As a matter of fact, Basil's coenobitic monasticism, in comparison with the "wilder and more dreamy asceticism which prevailed in Egypt and Syria" (Milman, Hist. Christ. iii. 109), was "far more moderate and practical." It was a community of self-denying practical beneficence. Work and worship were to aid one another. This was the highest life, and to quit it was desertion of and disloyalty to neighbour and God. To Basil, is it not rather the violation of holiness than the technical breach of a formal vow which is sacrilege? Lea (p. 101) quotes Epiphanius (Panar. 61) as saying that it was better for a lapsed monk to take a lawful wife and be reconciled to the church through Penance. Basil in Can. lx. (p. 256) contemplates a similar reconciliation. [548] Supported by #, B, C, and L. [549] iii. 21. [550] to proestoti. cf. Just. Mart. Apol. i. § 87. [551] 2 Thess. iii. 10. [552] Ps. lxxvii. 3, LXX. [553] Ps. v. 3. [554] Ps. lv. 17. [555] Ps. xci. 6, LXX. daimonion mesembrinon. cf. Jer. Taylor, Serm. ii. pt. 2: "Suidas" (Col. 1227) "tells of certain empusæ that used to appear at noon, at such times as the Greeks did celebrate the funerals of the dead; and at this time some of the Russians do fear the noon-day devil, which appeareth like a mourning widow to reapers of hay and corn, and uses to break their arms and legs unless they worship her." [556] Acts iii. 1. [557] cf. Pythag. Aur. Carm. 40 (quoted by Jer. Taylor in Holy Living and Holy Dying): med' hupnon malakoisin ep' ommasi prosdexasthai, prin ton hemerinon ergon tris hekaston epelthein, pe pareben; ti d' erexa; ti moi deon ouk etelesthe. [558] Acts xvi. 25. [559] Ps. cxix. 62. [560] Ps. cxix. 148. [561] cf. Letterclxix. and notes on this case in the Prolegomena. It is curious to notice in the Oriental church a survival of something akin to the irreverence deprecated by St. Basil. A modern traveller in Russia has told me that on visiting a great cemetery on the day which the Greek church observes, like November 2 in the Latin, in memory of the dead, he found a vast and cheerful picnic going on. [562] enkrateia. Gal. v. 23. [563] aloga bromata. Combefis translates "terreni cibi." Garnier "nihil ad rem pertinentium." [564] Col. ii. 23. [565] Eph. ii. 3. [566] Sermo Asceticus, 3. [567] Reg. brev. tract. lxxxv., but see note on p. [568] Prooem. in Reg. fus. tract. [569] Sermo Asceticus. 5. The sacrifice of Gregory of Nazianzus may have been due to the idea that all private interests must be subordinated to those of the Church. [570] Reg. brev. tract. clxxx. [571] Reg. fus. tract. xxxviii. [572] Reg. brev. tract. ccciv. [573] Reg. fus. tract. xv. After the Regulæ are printed, in Garnier's Ed. 34, Constitutiones Monasticæ, with the note that their genuineness is more suspicious than that of any of the ascetic writings. They treat of the details of monastic life, of the virtues to be cultivated in it and the vices to be avoided. Sozomen (H.E. iii. 14) has been supposed to refer to them. All later criticism has been unfavourable to them. cf. Maran, Vit. Bas. xliii. 7; Ceillier VI. viii. 3; Fessler, p. 524. It may be remarked generally that the asceticism of St. Basil is eminently practical. He has no notion of mortification for mortification's sake,--no praise for the self-advertising and vain-glorious rigour of the Stylites. Neglecting the body, or "not sparing the body" by exaggerated mortification, in is cclviii. condemned as Manichæism. It is of course always an objection to exclusive exaltation of the ascetic life that it is a kind of moral docetism, and ignores the fact that Christianity has not repudiated all concern with the body, but is designed to elevate and to purify it. (cf. BÜhringer vii. p. 150.) Basil may be not unjustly criticised from this point of view, and accused of the very Manichæism which he distinctly condemns. But it will be remembered that he recognises the holiness of marriage and family life, and if he thinks virginity and coenobitism a higher life, has no mercy for the dilettante asceticism of a morbid or indolent "incivisme." Valens, from the point of view of a master of legions, might deplore monastic celibacy, and press Egyptian monks by thousands into the ranks of his army. (cf. Milman, Hist. Christ. iii. 47.) Basil from his point of view was equally positive that he was making useful citizens, and that his industrious associates, of clean and frugal lives, were doing good service. "En effet, le moine basilien, n'est pas, comme le cénobite d'Égypte, séparé du monde par un mur infranchissable `Les poissons meurent,' disait Saint Antoine, `quand on les tire de l'eau, et les moines s'énervent dans les villes; rentrons vîte dans les montagnes, comme les poissons dans l`eau.' (Montalembert, Moines d'Occident, i. 61.) Les moines basiliens vivent aussi dans la solitude pour gagner le ciel, mais ils ne veulent pas le gagner seuls....Les principaux, au moins, doivent se mêler à la société pour l'instruire. Cet homme à la chevelure négligée, à la demarche posie, dont l'oeil nes s'égare jamais, ouvre son monastère à ses sembables, ou va les trouver, du moment qu'il s'agit de leur edification. Son contact fortifie le clergé; il entre lui-même dans les ordres, et devient collaborateur de l'évêque. Il va aux fètes des martyrs et prêche dans les églises. Il entre dans les maisons, prend part aux conversations, aux repas, et, tout en evitant les longs entretiens et les liaisons aux les femmes, et le directeur et le compagnon de piété des âmes....Le moine ne doit pas seulement soulager les moeux de l'âme. Les maisons des pauvres, dont se couvrait une parlie de l'Asie Mineure, étatent des asiles ouverts toutes les souffrances physiques....Pour Basile, ces deux institutions, le monastère et la maisons des pauvres, quoique séparées et distinctes, n'en formaient qu'une. A ses yeux, les secours corporels n'etaient qu'un moyen d'arriver à l'âme. Pendant que la main du moine servait les voyageurs, nourissait les pauvres, pausait les malades, ses lèvres leur distribuatent une aumône plus précieuse, celle de la parole de Dieu." Fialon, Ét Historique, pp. 51-53. A high ideal! Perhaps never more nearly realized than in the Cappadocian coenobia of the fourth century.


Twenty-four homilies on miscellaneous subjects, published under St. Basil's name, are generally accepted as genuine. They are conveniently classified as (i) Dogmatic and Exegetic, (ii) Moral, and (iii) Panegyric. To Class (i) will be referred

III. In Illud, Attende tibi ipsi.

VI. In Illud, Destruam horrea, etc.

IX. In Illud, Quod Deus non est auctor malorum.

XII. In principium Proverbiorum.

XV. De Fide.

XVI. In Illud, In principio erat Verbum.

XXIV. Contra Sabellianos et Arium et Anomoeos.

Class (ii) will include

I. and II. De Jejunio.

IV. De gratiarum actione.

VII. In Divites.

VIII. In famem et siccitatem.

X. Adversus beatos.

XI. De invidia.

XIII. In Sanctum Baptismum.

XIV. In Ebriosos.

XX. De humilitate.

XXI. Quod rebus mundanis adhærendum non sit, et de incendio extra ecclesiam facto.

XXII. Ad adolescentes, de legendis libris Gentilium.

The Panegyric (iii) are

V. In martyrem Julittam.

XVII. In Barlaam martyrem.

XVIII. In Gordium martyrem.

XIX. In sanctos quadraginta martyres.

XXIII. In Mamantem martyrem.

Homily III. on Deut. xv. 9, [574] is one of the eight translated by Rufinus. Section 2 begins:

"`Take heed,' it is written, `to thyself.' Every living creature possesses within himself, by the gift of God, the Ordainer of all things, certain resources for self protection. Investigate nature with attention, and you will find that the majority of brutes have an instinctive aversion from what is injurious; while, on the other hand, by a kind of natural attraction, they are impelled to the enjoyment of what is beneficial to them. Wherefore also God our Teacher has given us this grand injunction, in order that what brutes possess by nature may accrue to us by the aid of reason, and that what is performed by brutes unwittingly may be done by us through careful attention and constant exercise of our reasoning faculty. We are to be diligent guardians of the resources given to us by God, ever shunning sin as brutes shun poisons, and ever hunting after righteousness, as they seek for the herbage that is good for food. Take heed to thyself, that thou mayest be able to discern between the noxious and the wholesome. This taking heed is to be understood in a twofold sense. Gaze with the eyes of the body at visible objects. Contemplate incorporeal objects with the intellectual faculty of the soul. If we say that obedience to the charge of the text lies in the action of our eyes, we shall see at once that this is impossible. How can there be apprehension of the whole self through the eye? The eye cannot turn its sight upon itself; the head is beyond it; it is ignorant of the back, the countenance, the disposition of the intestines. Yet it were impious to argue that the charge of the Spirit cannot be obeyed. It follows then that it must be understood of intellectual action. `Take heed to thyself.' Look at thyself round about from every point of view. Keep thy soul's eye sleepless [575] in ceaseless watch over thyself. `Thou goest in the midst of snares.' [576]Hidden nets are set for thee in all directions by the enemy. Look well around thee, that thou mayest be delivered `as a gazelle from the net and a bird from the snare.' [577]It is because of her keen sight that the gazelle cannot be caught in the net. It is her keen sight that gives her her name. [578]And the bird, if only she take heed, mounts on her light wing far above the wiles of the hunter.

"Beware lest in self protection thou prove inferior to brutes, lest haply thou be caught in the gins and be made the devil's prey, and be taken alive by him to do with thee as he will."

A striking passage from the same Homily is thus rendered by Rufinus: "Considera ergo primo omnium quod homo es, id est solum in terres animal ipsis divinis manibus formatum. Nonne sufficeret hoc solum recte atque integre sapienti ad magnum summumque solutium, quod ipsius Dei manibus qui omnia reliqua præcepti solius fecit auctoritate subsistere, homo fictus es et formatus? Tum deinde quod cum ad imaginem Creatoris et similitudinem sis, potes sponte etiam ad angelorum dignitatem culmenque remeare. Animam namque accepisti intellectualem, et rationalem, per quam Deum possis agnoscere, et naturam rerum conspicabili rationis intelligentia contemplari: sapientiæ dulcissimis fructibus perfrui præsto est. Tibi omnium cedit animantium genus, quæ per connexa montium vel prærupta rupium aut opaca silvarum feruntur; omne quod vel aquis tegitur, vel præpetibus pennis in aere suspenditur. Omne, inquam, quod hujus mundi est, servitis et subjectioni tuæ liberalis munificentia conditoris indulsit. Nonne tu, sensu tibi rationabili suggerente, diversitates artium reperisti? Nonne tu urbes condere, omnemque earum reliquum usum pernecessarium viventibus invenisti? Nonne tibi per rationem quæ in te est mare pervium fit? Terra, flumina, fontesque tuis vel usibus vel voluptatibus famulantur. Nonne aer hic et coelum ipsum atque omnes stellarum chori vitæ mortalium ministerio cursus suos atque ordines servant? Quid ergo deficis animo, et deesse tibi aliquid putas, si non tibi equus producitur phaleris exornatus et spumanti ore frena mandens argentea? Sed sol tibi producitur, veloci rapidoque cursu ardentes tibi faces caloris simul ac luminis portans. Non habes aureos et argenteos discos: sed habes lunæ discum purissimo et blandissimo splendore radiantem. Non ascendis currum, nec rotarum lupsibus veheris, sed habes pedum tuorum vehiculum tecum natum. Quid ergo beatos censes eos qui aurum quidem possisent, alienis autem pedibus indigent, ad necessarios commeatus? Non recubas eburneis thoris, sed adjacent fecundi cespites viridantes et herbidi thori, florum varietate melius quam fucatis coloribus Tyrii muricis picti, in quibus dulces et salubres somni nullis curarum morsibus effugantur. Non te contegunt aurata laquearia; sed coelum te contegit ineffabili fulgore stellarum depictum. Hæc quidem quantum ad communem humanitatis attinet vitam. Accipe vero majora. Propter te Deus in hominibus, Spiritus sancti distributio, mortis ablatio, resurrectionis spes. Propter te divina præcepta hominibus delata, quæ te perfectam doceant vitam, et iter tuum ad Deum per mandatorum tramitem dirigant. Tibi panduntur regna coelorum, tibi coronæ justitiæ præparantur; si tamen labores et ærumnas pro justitia ferre non refugis." [579]

Homily VI., on Luke xii. 18, is on selfish wealth and greed.

Beware, says the preacher, [580] lest the fate of the fool of the text be thine. "These things are written that we may shun their imitation. Imitate the earth, O man. Bear fruit, as she does, lest thou prove inferior to that which is without life. She produces her fruits, not that she may enjoy them, but for thy service. Thou dost gather for thyself whatever fruit of good works thou hast strewn, because the grace of good works returns to the giver. Thou hast given to the poor, and the gift becomes thine own, and comes back with increase. Just as grain that has fallen on the earth becomes a gain to the sower, so the loaf thrown to the hungry man renders abundant fruit thereafter. Be the end of thy husbandry the beginning of the heavenly sowing. `Sow,' it is written, `to yourselves in righteousness.' [581]Why then art thou distressed? Why dost thou harass thyself in thy efforts to shut up thy riches in clay and bricks? `A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.' [582] If thou admire riches because of the honour that comes from them, bethink thee how very much more it tends to thine honour that thou shouldst be called the father of innumerable children than that thou shouldst possess innumerable staters in a purse. Thy wealth thou wilt leave behind thee here, even though thou like it not. The honour won by thy good deeds thou shalt convey with thee to the Master. Then all people standing round about thee in the presence of the universal Judge shall hail thee as feeder and benefactor, and give thee all the names that tell of loving kindness. Dost thou not see theatre-goers flinging away their wealth on boxers and buffoons and beast-fighters, fellows whom it is disgusting even to see, for the sake of the honour of a moment, and the cheers and clapping of the crowd? And art thou a niggard in thy expenses, when thou art destined to attain glory so great? God will welcome thee, angels will laud thee, mankind from the very beginning will call thee blessed. For thy stewardship of these corruptible things thy reward shall be glory everlasting, a crown of righteousness, the heavenly kingdom. Thou thinkest nothing of all this. Thy heart is so fixed on the present that thou despisest what is waited for in hope. Come then; dispose of thy wealth in various directions. `Be generous and liberal in thy expenditure on the poor. Let it be said of thee, `He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever.' [583]Do not press heavily on necessity and sell for great prices. Do not wait for a famine before thou openest thy barns. `He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him.' [584]Watch not for a time of want for gold's sake--for public scarcity to promote thy private profit. Drive not a huckster's bargains out of the troubles of mankind. Make not God's wrathful visitation an opportunity for abundance. Wound not the sores of men smitten by the scourge. Thou keepest thine eye on thy gold, and wilt not look at thy brother. Thou knowest the marks on the money, and canst distinguish good from bad. Thou canst not tell who is thy brother in the day of distress."

The conclusion is [585] "`Ah!'--it is said--`words are all very fine: gold is finer.' I make the same impression as I do when I am preaching to libertines against their unchastity. Their mistress is blamed, and the mere mention of her serves but to enkindle their passions. How can I bring before your eyes the poor man's sufferings that thou mayest know out of what creep groanings thou art accumulating thy treasures, and of what high value will seem to thee in the day of judgment the famous words, `Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink:...I was naked and ye clothed me.' [586]What shuddering, what sweat, what darkness will be shed round thee, as thou hearest the words of condemnation!--`Depart from me, ye cursed, into outer darkness prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink:...I was naked and ye clothed me not.' [587]I have told thee what I have thought profitable. To thee now it is clear and plain what are the good things promised for thee if thou obey. If thou disobey, for thee the threat is written. I pray that thou mayest change to a better mind and thus escape its peril. In this way thy own wealth will be thy redemption. Thus thou mayest advance to the heavenly blessings prepared for thee by the grave of Him who hath called us all into His own kingdom, to Whom be glory and might for ever and ever. Amen."

Homily IX. is a demonstration that God is not the Author of Evil. It has been conjectured that it was delivered shortly after some such public calamity as the destruction of Nicæa in 368. St. Basil naturally touches on passages which have from time to time caused some perplexity on this subject. He asks [588] if God is not the Author of evil, how is it said "I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil," [589] and again, "The evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem," [590] and again, "Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it," [591] and in the great song of Moses, "See now that I, even I, am he and there is no god with me: I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal"? [592]But to any one who understands the meaning of Scripture no one of these passages accuses God of being the Cause and Creator of evil. He who uses the words, "I form the light and create darkness," describes Himself not as Creator of any evil, but as Demiurge of creation. "It is lest thou shouldst suppose that there is one cause of light and another of darkness that He described Himself as being Creator and Artificer of parts of creation which seem to be mutually opposed. It is to prevent thy seeking one Demiurge of fire, another of water, one of air and another of earth, these seeming to have a kind of mutual opposition and contrariety of qualities. By adopting these views many have ere now fallen into polytheism, but He makes peace and creates evil. Unquestionably He makes peace in thee when He brings peace into thy mind by His good teaching, and calms the rebel passions of thy soul. And He creates evil, that is to say, He reduces those evil passions to order, and brings them to a better state so that they may cease to be evil and may adopt the nature of good. `Create in me a clean heart, O God.' [593]This does not mean Make now for the first time; [594] it means Renew the heart that had become old from wickedness. The object is that He may make both one. [595]The word create is used not to imply the bringing out of nothing, but the bringing into order those which already existed. So it is said, `If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.' [596]Again, Moses says, `Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee? Hath He not made thee and created thee?' [597] Now, the creation put in order after the making evidently teaches us that the word creation, as is commonly the case, is used with the idea of improvement. And so it is thus that He makes peace, out of creating evil; that is, by transforming and bringing to improvement. Furthermore, even if you understand peace to be freedom from war, and evil to mean the troubles which are the lot of those who make war; marches into far regions, labours, vigils, terrors, sweatings, wounds, slaughters, taking of towns, slavery, exile, piteous spectacles of captives; and, in a word, all the evils that follow upon war, all these things, I say, happen by the just judgment of God, Who brings vengeance through war on those who deserve punishment. Should you have wished that Sodom had not been burnt after her notorious wickedness? Or that Jerusalem had not been overturned, nor her temple made desolate after the horrible wickedness of the Jews against the Lord? How otherwise was it right for these things to come to pass than by the hands of the Romans to whom our Lord had been delivered by the enemies of His life, the Jews? Wherefore it does sometimes come to pass that the calamities of war are righteously inflicted on those who deserve them--if you like to understand the words `I kill and I make alive' in their obvious sense. Fear edifies the simple. `I wound and I heal' is at once perceived to be salutary. The blow strikes terror; the cure attracts to love. But it is permissible to thee to find a higher meaning in the words, `I kill'--by sin; `I make alive'--by righteousness. `Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.' [598]He does not kill one and make another alive, but He makes the same man alive by the very means by which He kills him; He heals him by the blows which He inflicts upon him. As the proverb has it, `Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shalt deliver his soul from hell.' [599]The flesh is smitten that the soul may be healed; sin is put to death that righteousness may live. In another passage [600] it is argued that death is not an evil. Deaths come from God. Yet death is not absolutely an evil, except in the case of the death of the sinner, in which case departure from this world is a beginning of the punishments of hell. On the other hand, of the evils of hell the cause is not God, but ourselves. The origin and root of sin is what is in our own control and our free will."

Homily XII. is "on the beginning of the proverbs." "The proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel." [601]

"The name proverbs (paroimiai) has been by heathen writers used of common expressions, and of those which are generally used in the streets. Among them a way is called oimos, whence they define a paroimia to be a common expression, which has become trite through vulgar usage, and which it is possible to transfer from a limited number of subjects to many analogous subjects. [602]With Christians the paroimia is a serviceable utterance, conveyed with a certain amount of obscurity, containing an obvious meaning of much utility, and at the same time involving a depth of meaning in its inner sense. Whence the Lord says: `These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs, but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.'" [603]

On the "wisdom and instruction" of verse 2, it is said: Wisdom is the science of things both human and divine, and of their causes. He, therefore, who is an effective theologian [604] knows wisdom. The quotation of 1 Cor. ii. 6, follows.

On general education it is said, [605] "The acquisition of sciences is termed education, [606] as it is written of Moses, that he was learned [607] in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. [608]But it is of no small importance, with a view to man's sound condition, [609] that he should not devote himself to any sciences whatsoever, but should become acquainted with the education which is most profitable. It has ere now happened that men who have spent their time in the study of geometry, the discovery of the Egyptians, or of astrology, the favourite pursuit of the Chaldæans, or have been addicted to the loftier natural philosophy [610] which is concerned with figures and shadows, have looked with contempt on the education which is based upon the divine oracles. Numbers of students have been occupied with paltry rhetoric, and the solution of sophisms, the subject matter of all of which is the false and unreal. Even poetry is dependent for its existence on its myths. [611]Rhetoric would not be but for craft in speech. Sophistics must have their fallacies. Many men for the sake of these pursuits have disregarded the knowledge of God, and have grown old in the search for the unreal. It is therefore necessary that we should have a full knowledge of education, in order to choose the profitable, and to reject the unintelligent and the injurious. Words of wisdom will be discerned by the attentive reader of the Proverbs, who thence patiently extracts what is for his good."

The Homily concludes with an exhortation to rule life by the highest standard.

"Hold fast, then, to the rudder of life. Guide thine eye, lest haply at any time through thine eyes there beat upon thee the vehement wave of lust. Guide ear and tongue, lest the one receive aught harmful, or the other speak forbidden words. Let not the tempest of passion overwhelm thee. Let no blows of despondency beat thee down; no weight of sorrow drown thee in its depths. Our feelings are waves. Rise above them, and thou wilt be a safe steersman of life. Fail to avoid each and all of them skilfully and steadily, and, like some untrimmed boat, with life's dangers all round about thee, thou wilt be sunk in the deep sea of sin. Hear then how thou mayest acquire the steersman's skill. Men at sea are wont to lift up their eyes to heaven. It is from heaven that they get guidance for their cruise; by day from the sun, and by night from the Bear, or from some of the ever-shining stars. By these they reckon their right course. Do thou too keep thine eye fixed on heaven, as the Psalmist did who said, `Unto thee lift I up mine eye, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.' [612]Keep thine eyes on the Sun of righteousness. Directed by the commandments of the Lord, as by some bright constellations, keep thine eye ever sleepless. Give not sleep to thine eyes or slumber to thine eyelids, [613] that the guidance of the commandments may be unceasing. `Thy word,' it is said, `is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my paths.' [614]Never slumber at the tiller, so long as thou livest here, amid the unstable circumstances of this world, and thou shalt receive the help of the Spirit. He shall conduct thee ever onward. He shall waft thee securely by gentle winds of peace, till thou come one day safe and sound to yon calm and waveless haven of the will of God, to Whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever, Amen."

Homilies XV. and XVI. are more distinctly dogmatic. They do not present the doctrines of which they treat in any special way. XV., De Fide, is concerned rather with the frame of mind of the holder and expounder of the Faith than with any dogmatic formula.

XVI., on John i. 1, begins by asserting that every utterance of the gospels is grander than the rest of the lessons of the Spirit, inasmuch as, while in the latter He has spoken to us through His servants the prophets, in the gospels the Master has conversed with us face to face. "The most mighty voiced herald of the actual gospel proclamation, who uttered words loud beyond all hearing and lofty beyond all understanding, is John, the son of thunder, the prelude of whose gospel is the text." After repeating the words the preacher goes on to say that he has known many who are not within the limits of the word of truth, many of the heathen, that is, "who have prided themselves upon the wisdom of this world, who in their admiration for these words have ventured to insert them among their own writings. For the devil is a thief, and carries off our property for the use of his own prophets." [615]

"If the wisdom of the flesh has been so smitten with admiration for the force of the words, what are we to do, who are disciples of the Spirit?...Hold fast to the text, and you will suffer no harm from men of evil arts. Suppose your opponent to argue, `If He was begotten, He was not,' do you retort, `In the beginning He was.' But, he will go on, `Before He was begotten, in what way was He?' Do not give up the words `He was.' Do not abandon the words `In the beginning.' The highest point of beginning is beyond comprehension; what is outside beginning is beyond discovery. Do not let any one deceive you by the fact that the phrase has more than one meaning. There are in this world many beginnings of many things, yet there is one beginning which is beyond them all. `Beginning of good way,' says the Proverb. But the beginning of a way is the first movement whereby we begin the journey of which the earlier part can be discovered. And, `The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' [616]To this beginning is prefixed something else, for elementary instruction is the beginning of the comprehension of arts. The fear of the Lord is then a primary element of wisdom, but there is something anterior to this beginning--the condition of the soul, before it has been taught wisdom and apprehended the fear of the Lord....The point is the beginning of the line, and the line is the beginning of the surface, and the surface is the beginning of the body, and the parts of speech are the beginnings of grammatical utterance. But the beginning in the text is like none of these....In the beginning was the Word! Marvellous utterance! How all the words are found to be combined in mutual equality of force! `Was' has the same force as `In the beginning.' Where is the blasphemer? Where is the tongue that fights against Christ? Where is the tongue that said, `There was when He was not'? Hear the gospel: `In the beginning was. ' If He was in the beginning, when was He not? Shall I bewail their impiety or execrate their want of instruction? But, it is argued, before He was begotten, He was not. Do you know when He was begotten, that you may introduce the idea of priority to the time? For the word `before' is a word of time, placing one thing before another in antiquity. In what way is it reasonable that the Creator of time should have a generation subjected to terms of time? `In the beginning was--' Never give up the was, and you never give any room for the vile blasphemy to slip in. Mariners laugh at the storm, when they are riding upon two anchors. So will you laugh to scorn this vile agitation which is being driven on the world by the blasts of wickedness, and tosses the faith of many to and fro, if only you will keep your soul moored safely in the security of these words."

In § 4 on the force of with God. [617]"Note with admiration the exact appropriateness of every single word. It is not said `The Word was in God.' It runs `was with God.' This is to set forth the proper character of the hypostasis. The Evangelist did not say `in God,' to avoid giving any pretext for the confusion of the hypostasis. That is the vile blasphemy of men who are endeavouring to confound all things together, asserting that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, form one subject matter, and that different appellations are applied to one thing. The impiety is vile, and no less to be shunned than that of those who blasphemously maintain that the Son is in essence unlike God the Father. The Word was with God. Immediately after using the term Word to demonstrate the impassibility of the generation, he forthwith gives an explanation to do away with the mischief arising in us from the term Word. As though suddenly rescuing Him from the blasphemers' calumny, he asks, what is the Word? The Word was God. Do not put before me any ingenious distinctions of phrase; do not with your wily cleverness blaspheme the teachings of the Spirit. You have the definitive statement. Submit to the Lord. The Word was God."

Homily XXIV., against the Sabellians, Arians, and Anomoeans, repeats points which are brought out again and again in the De Spiritu Sancto, in the work Against Eunomius, and in some of the Letters.

Arianism is practical paganism, for to make the Son a creature, and at the same time to offer Him worship, is to reintroduce polytheism. Sabellianism is practical Judaism,--a denial of the Son. [618]John i. 1, xiv. 9, 7, xvi. 28, and viii. 16 are quoted against both extremes. There may be a note of time in the admitted impatience of the auditory at hearing of every other subject than the Holy Spirit. The preacher is constrained to speak upon this topic, and he speaks with the combined caution and completeness which characterize the De Spiritu Sancto. "Your ears," he says, "are all eager to hear something concerning the Holy Ghost. My wish would be, as I have received in all simplicity, as I have assented with guileless agreement, so to deliver the doctrine to you my hearers. I would if I could avoid being constantly questioned on the same point. I would have my disciples convinced of one consent. But you stand round me rather as judges than as learners. Your desire is rather to test and try me than to acquire anything for yourselves. I must therefore, as it were, make my defence before the court, again and again giving answer, and again and again saying what I have received. And you I exhort not to be specially anxious to hear from me what is pleasing to yourselves, but rather what is pleasing to the Lord, what is in harmony with the Scriptures, what is not in opposition to the Fathers. What, then, I asserted concerning the Son, that we ought to acknowledge His proper Person, this I have also to say concerning the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not identical with the Father, because of its being written `God is a Spirit.' [619]Nor on the other hand is there one Person of Son and of Spirit, because it is said, `If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his....Christ is in you.' [620]From this passage some persons have been deceived into the opinion that the Spirit and Christ are identical. But what do we assert? That in this passage is declared the intimate relation of nature and not a confusion of persons. For there exists the Father having His existence perfect and independent, root and fountain of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. There exists also the Son living in full Godhead, Word and begotten offspring of the Father, independent. Full too is the Spirit, not part of another, but contemplated whole and perfect in Himself. The Son is inseparably conjoined with the Father and the Spirit with the Son. For there is nothing to divide nor to cut asunder the eternal conjunction. No age intervenes, nor yet can our soul entertain a thought of separation as though the Only-begotten were not ever with the Father, or the Holy Ghost not co-existent with the Son. Whenever then we conjoin the Trinity, be careful not to imagine the Three as parts of one undivided thing, but receive the idea of the undivided and common essence of three perfect incorporeal [existences]. Wherever is the presence of the Holy Spirit, there is the indwelling of Christ: wherever Christ is, there the Father is present. `Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you ?'" [621]

First of the Homilies on moral topics come I. and II. on Fasting. The former is of uncontested genuineness. Erasmus rejected the latter, but it is accepted without hesitation by Garnier, Maran, and Ceillier, and is said by the last named to be quoted as Basil's by John of Damascus and Symeon Logothetes. From Homily I. two passages are cited by St. Augustine against the Pelagians. [622]The text is Ps. lxxx. 3. "Reverence," says one passage, [623] "the hoary head of fasting. It is coæval with mankind. Fasting was ordained in Paradise. The first injunction was delivered to Adam, `Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat.' [624]`Thou shalt not eat' is a law of fasting and abstinence." The general argument is rather against excess than in support of ceremonial abstinence. In Paradise there was no wine, no butchery of beasts, no eating of flesh. Wine came in after the flood. Noah became drunk because wine was new to him. So fasting is older than drunkenness. Esau was defiled, and made his brother's slave, for the sake of a single meal. It was fasting and prayer which gave Samuel to Hannah. Fasting brought forth Samson. Fasting begets prophets, strengthens strong men. Fasting makes lawgivers wise, is the soul's safeguard, the body's trusty comrade, the armour of the champion, the training of the athlete.

The conclusion is a warning against mere carnal abstinence. [625] "Beware of limiting the good of fasting to mere abstinence from meats. Real fasting is alienation from evil. `Loose the bands of wickedness.' [626]Forgive your neighbour the mischief he has done you. Forgive him his trespasses against you. Do not `fast for strife and debate.' [627]You do not devour flesh, but you devour your brother. You abstain from wine, but you indulge in outrages. You wait for evening before you take food, but you spend the day in the law courts. Wo to those who are `drunken, but not with wine.' [628] Anger is the intoxication of the soul, and makes it out of its wits like wine. Drunkenness, too, is sorrow, and drowns our intelligence. Another drunkenness is needless fear. In a word, whatever passion makes the soul beside herself may be called drunkenness....Dost thou know Whom thou art ordained to receive as thy guest? He Who has promised that He and His Father will come and make their abode with thee. [629]Why do you allow drunkenness to enter in, and shut the door on the Lord? Why allow the foe to come in and occupy your strongholds? Drunkenness dare not receive the Lord; it drives away the Spirit. Smoke drives away bees, and debauch drives away the gifts of the Spirit.

Wilt thou see the nobility of fasting? Compare this evening with to-morrow evening: thou wilt see the town turned from riot and disturbance to profound calm. Would that to-day might be like to-morrow in solemnity, and the morrow no less cheerful than to-day. May the Lord Who has brought us to this period of time grant to us, as to gladiators and wrestlers, that we may shew firmness and constancy in the beginning of contests, and may reach that day which is the Queen of Crowns; that we may remember now the passion of salvation, and in the age to come enjoy the requital of our deeds in this life, in the just judgment of Christ." [630]

Homily IV. on the giving of thanks (peri eucharistias), is on text 1 Thess. v. 16. Our Lord, it is remarked, wept over Lazarus, and He called them that mourn blessed. How [631] is this to be reconciled with the charge "Rejoice alway"? "Tears and joy have not a common origin. On the one hand, while the breath is held in round the heart, tears spontaneously gush forth, as at some blow, when an unforeseen calamity smites upon the soul. Joy on the other hand is like a leaping up of the soul rejoicing when things go well. Hence come different appearances of the body. The sorrowful are pale, livid, chilly. The habit of the joyous and cheerful is blooming and ruddy; their soul all but leaps out of their body for gladness. On all this I shall say that the lamentations and tears of the saints were caused by their love to God. So, with their eyes ever fixed on the object of their love, and from hence gathering greater joy for themselves, they devoted themselves to the interests of their fellow-servants. Weeping over sinners, they brought them to better ways by their tears. But just as men standing safe on the seashore, while they feel for those who are drowning in the deep, do not lose their own safety in their anxiety for those in peril, so those who groan over the sins of their neighbours do not destroy their own proper cheerfulness. Nay, they rather increase it, in that, through their tears over their brother, they are made worthy of the joy of the Lord. Wherefore, blessed are they that weep; blessed are they that mourn; for they shall themselves be comforted; they themselves shall laugh. But by laughter is meant not the noise that comes out through the cheeks from the boiling of the blood, but cheerfulness pure and untainted with despondency. The Apostle allows us to weep with weepers, for this tear is made, as it were, a seed and loan to be repaid with everlasting joy. Mount in mind with me, and contemplate the condition of the angels; see if any other condition becomes them but one of joy and gladness. It is for that they are counted worthy to stand beside God, and to enjoy the ineffable beauty and glory of our Creator. It is in urging us on to that life that the Apostle bids us always rejoice."

The Homily contains an eloquent exhortation to Christian fortitude in calamity, and concludes with the charge to look beyond present grief to future felicity. "Hast thou dishonour? Look to the glory which through patience is laid up for thee in heaven. Hast thou suffered loss? Fix thine eyes on the heavenly riches, and on the treasure which thou hast put by for thyself through thy good works. Hast thou suffered exile? Thy fatherland is the heavenly Jerusalem. Hast thou lost a child? Thou hast angels, with whom thou shalt dance about the throne of God, and shalt be glad with everlasting joy. Set expected joys over against present griefs, and thus thou wilt preserve for thyself that calm and quiet of the soul whither the injunction of the Apostle calls us. Let not the brightness of human success fill thy soul with immoderate joy; let not grief bring low thy soul's high and lofty exaltation through sadness and anguish. Thou must be trained in the lessons of this life before thou canst live the calm and quiet life to come. Thou wilt achieve this without difficulty, if thou keep ever with thee the charge to rejoice alway. Dismiss the worries of the flesh. Gather together the joys of the soul. Rise above the sensible perception of present things. Fix thy mind on the hope of things eternal. Of these the mere thought suffices to fill the soul with gladness, and to plant in our hearts the happiness of angels."

Homily VII., against the rich, follows much the same line of argument as VI. Two main considerations are urged against the love of worldly wealth; firstly, the thought of the day of judgment; secondly, the fleeting and unstable nature of the riches themselves. The luxury of the fourth century, as represented by Basil, is much the same as the luxury of the nineteenth.

"I am filled with amazement," says the preacher, "at the invention of superfluities. The vehicles are countless, some for conveying goods, others for carrying their owners; all covered with brass and with silver. There are a vast number of horses, whose pedigrees are kept like men's, and their descent from noble sires recorded. Some are for carrying their haughty owners about the town, some are hunters, some are hacks. Bits, girths, collars, are all of silver, all decked with gold. Scarlet cloths make the horses as gay as bridegrooms. There is a host of mules, distinguished by their colours, and their muleteers with them, one after another, some before and some behind. Of other household servants the number is endless, who satisfy all the requirements of men's extravagance; agents, stewards, gardeners, and craftsmen, skilled in every art that can minister to necessity or to enjoyment and luxury; cooks, confectioners, butlers, huntsmen, sculptors, painters, devisers and creators of pleasure of every kind. Look at the herds of camels, some for carriage, some for pasture; troops of horses, droves of oxen, flocks of sheep, herds of swine with their keepers, land to feed all these, and to increase men's riches by its produce; baths in town, baths in the country; houses shining all over with every variety of marble,--some with stone of Phrygia, others with slabs of Spartan or Thessalian. [632]There must be some houses warm in winter, [633] and others cool in summer. The pavement is of mosaic, the ceiling gilded. If any part of the wall escapes the slabs, it is embellished with painted flowers....You who dress your walls, and let your fellow-creatures go bare, what will you answer to the Judge? You who harness your horses with splendour, and despise your brother if he is ill-dressed; who let your wheat rot, and will not feed the hungry; who hide your gold, and despise the distressed? And, if you have a wealth-loving wife, the plague is twice as bad. She keeps your luxury ablaze; she increases your love of pleasure; she gives the goad to your superfluous appetites; her heart is set on stones,--pearls, emeralds, and sapphires. [634]Gold she works and gold she weaves, [635] and increases the mischief with never-ending frivolities. And her interest in all these things is no mere by-play: it is the care of night and day. Then what innumerable flatterers wait upon their idle wants! They must have their dyers of bright colours, their goldsmiths, their perfumes their weavers, their embroiderers. With all their behests they do not leave their husbands breathing time. No fortune is vast enough to satisfy a woman's wants,--no, not if it were to flow like a river! They are as eager for foreign perfumes as for oil from the market. They must have the treasures of the sea, shells and pinnas, [636] and more of them than wool from the sheep's back. Gold encircling precious stones serves now for an ornament for their foreheads, now for their necks. There is more gold in their girdles; more gold fastens hands and feet. These gold-loving ladies are delighted to be bound by golden fetters,--only let the chain be gold! When will the man have time to care for his soul, who has to serve a woman's fancies?"

Homily VIII., on the Famine and Drought, belongs to the disastrous year 368. The circumstances of its delivery have already been referred to. [637]The text is Amos iii. 8, "The lion hath roared: who will not fear?" National calamity is traced to national sin, specially to neglect of the poor. Children, it appears, [638] were allowed a holiday from school to attend the public services held to deprecate the divine wrath. Crowds of men, to whose sins the distress was more due than to the innocent children, wandered cheerfully about the town instead of coming to church.

Homily X. is against the angry. Section 2 contains a description of the outward appearance of the angry men. "About the heart of those who are eager to requite evil for evil, the blood boils as though it were stirred and sputtering by the force of fire. On the surface it breaks out and shews the angry man in other form, familiar and well known to all, as though it were changing a mask upon the stage. The proper and usual eyes of the angry man are recognized no more; his gaze is unsteady, and fires up in a moment. He whets his teeth like boars joining battle. His countenance is livid and suffused with blood. His body seems to swell. His veins are ruptured, as his breath struggles under the storm within. His voice is rough and strained. His speech--broken and falling from him at random--proceeds without distinction, without arrangement, and without meaning. When he is roused by those who are irritating him, like a flame with plenty of fuel, to an inextinguishable pitch, then, ah! then indeed the spectacle is indescribable and unendurable. See the hands lifted against his fellows, and attacking every part of their bodies; see the feet jumping without restraint on dangerous parts. See whatever comes to hand turned into a weapon for his mad frenzy. The record of the progress from words to wounds recalls familiar lines which probably Basil never read. [639]Rage rouses strife; strife begets abuse; abuse, blows; blows, wounds; and from wounds often comes death."

St. Basil, however, does not omit to notice [640] that there is such a thing as righteous indignation, and that we may "be angry and sin not." "God forbid that we should turn into occasions for sin gifts given to us by the Creator for our salvation! Anger, stirred at the proper time and in the proper manner, is an efficient cause of manliness, patience, and endurance....Anger is to be used as a weapon. So Moses, meekest of men, armed the hands of the Levites for the slaughter of their brethren, to punish idolatry. The wrath of Phinehas was justifiable. So was the wrath of Samuel against Agag. Thus, anger very often is made the minister of good deeds."

Homily XI., against Envy, adduces the instances of Saul's envy of David, and that of the patriarchs against Joseph. It is pointed out that envy grows out of familiarity and proximity. "A man is envied of his neighbour." [641]The Scythian does not envy the Egyptian. Envy arises among fellow-countrymen. The remedy for this vice is to recognise the pettiness of the common objects of human ambition, and to aspire to eternal joys. If riches are a mere means to unrighteousness, [642] wo be to the rich man! If they are a ministering to virtue, there is no room for envy, since the common advantages proceeding from them are open to all,--unless any one out of superfluity of wickedness envies himself his own good things!

In Homily XIII., on Holy Baptism, St. Basil combats an error which had naturally arisen out of the practice of postponing baptism. The delay was made an occasion of license and indulgence. St. Augustine [643] cites the homily as St. Chrysostom's, but the quotation has not weakened the general acceptance of the composition as Basil's, and as one of those referred to by Amphilochius. [644]Ceillier mentions its citation by the emperor Justinian. [645]It was apparently delivered at Easter. Baptism is good at all times. [646]"Art thou a young man? Secure thy youth by the bridle of baptism. Has thy prime passed by? Do not be deprived of thy viaticum. Do not lose thy safeguard. Do not think of the eleventh hour as of the first. It is fitting that even at the beginning of life we should have the end in view."

"Imitate [647] the eunuch. [648]He found one to teach him. He did not despise instruction. The rich man made the poor man mount into his chariot. The illustrious and the great welcomed the undistinguished and the small. When he had been taught the gospel of the kingdom, he received the faith in his heart, and did not put off the seal of the Spirit."

Homily XIV., against Drunkards, has the special interest of being originated by a painful incident which it narrates. The circumstances may well be compared with those of the scandal caused by the deacon Glycerius. [649]Easter day, remarks St. Basil, is a day when decent women ought to have been sitting in their homes, piously reflecting on future judgment. Instead of this, certain wanton women, forgetful of the fear of God, flung their coverings from their heads, despising God, and in contempt of His angels, lost to all shame before the gaze of men, shaking their hair, trailing their tunics, sporting with their feet, with immodest glances and unrestrained laughter, went off into a wild dance. They invited all the riotous youth to follow them, and kept up their dances in the Basilica of the Martyrs' before the walls of Cæsarea, turning hallowed places into the workshop of their unseemliness. They sang indecent songs, and befouled the ground with their unhallowed tread. They got a crowd of lads to stare at them, and left no madness undone. On this St. Basil builds a stirring temperance sermon. Section 6 contains a vivid picture of a drinking bout, and Section 7 describes the sequel. The details are evidently not imaginary.

"Sorrowful sight for Christian eyes! A man in the prime of life, of powerful frame of high rank in the army, is carried furtively home, because he cannot stand upright, and travel on his own feet. A man who ought to be a terror to our enemies is a laughing stock to the lads in the streets. He is smitten down by no sword--slain by no foe. A military man, in the bloom of manhood, the prey of wine, and ready to suffer any fate his foes may choose! Drunkenness is the ruin of reason, the destruction of strength; it is untimely old age; it is, for a short time, death.

"What are drunkards but the idols of the heathen? They have eyes and see not, ears and hear not. [650]Their hands are helpless; their feet dead." The whole Homily is forcible. It is quoted by Isidore of Pelusium, [651] and St. Ambrose seems to have been acquainted with it. [652]

Homily XX., on Humility, urges the folly of Adam, in sacrificing eternal blessings to his ambition, and the example of St. Paul in glorying only in the Lord. [653]

Pharaoh, Goliath, and Abimelech are instanced. St. Peter is cited for lack of humility in being sure that he of all men will be true to the death.

"No detail can be neglected [654] as too insignificant to help us in ridding ourselves of pride. The soul grows like its practices, and is formed and fashioned in accordance with its conduct. Your appearance, your dress, your gait, your chair, your style of meals, your bed and bedding, your house and its contents, should be all arranged with a view to cheapness. Your talk, your songs, your mode of greeting your neighbour, should look rather to moderation than to ostentation. Give me, I beg, no elaborate arguments in your talk, no surpassing sweetness in your singing, no vaunting and wearisome discussions. In all things try to avoid bigness. Be kind to your friend, gentle to your servant, patient with the impudent, amiable to the lowly. Console the afflicted, visit the distressed, despise none. Be agreeable in address, cheerful in reply, ready, accessible to all. Never sing your own praises, nor get other people to sing them. Never allowing any uncivil communication, conceal as far as possible your own superiority." [655]

Homily XXI., on disregard of the things of this world, was preached out of St. Basil's diocese, very probably at Satala in 372. [656] The second part [657] is in reference to a fire which occurred in the near neighbourhood of the church on the previous evening.

"Once more the fiend has shewn his fury against us, has armed himself with flame of fire, and has attacked the precincts of the church. Once more our common mother has won the day, and turned back his devices on himself. He has done nothing but advertise his hatred....How do you not suppose the devil must be groaning to-day at the failure of his projected attempt? Our enemy lighted his fire close to the church that he might wreck our prosperity. The flames raised on every side by his furious blasts were streaming over all they could reach; they fed on the air round about; they were being driven to touch the shrine, and to involve us in the common ruin; but our Saviour turned them back on him who had kindled them, and ordered his madness to fall on himself. The congregation who have happily escaped are urged to live worthily of their preservation, shining like pure gold out of the furnace."

Homily XXII., which is of considerable interest, on the study of pagan literature, is really not a homily at all. [658]It is a short treatise addressed to the young on their education. It would seem to have been written in the Archbishop's later years, unless the experience of which he speaks may refer rather to his earlier experience, alike as a student and a teacher.

No source of instruction can be overlooked in the preparation for the great battle of life, [659] and there is a certain advantage to be derived from the right use of heathen writers. The illustrious Moses is described as training his intellect in the science of the Egyptians, and so arriving at the contemplation of Him Who is. [660] So in later days Daniel at Babylon was wise in the Chaldean philosophy, and ultimately apprehended the divine instruction. But granted that such heathen learning is not useless, the question remains how you are to participate in it. To begin with the poets. Their utterances are of very various kinds, and it will not be well to give attention to all without exception. When they narrate to you the deeds and the words of good men, admire and copy them, and strive diligently to be like them. When they come to bad men, shut your ears, and avoid imitating them, like Ulysses fleeing from the sirens' songs. [661]Familiarity with evil words is a sure road to evil deeds, wherefore every possible precaution must be taken to prevent our souls from unconsciously imbibing evil influences through literary gratification, like men who take poison in honey. We shall not therefore praise the poets when they revile and mock, or when they describe licentious, intoxicated characters, when they define happiness as consisting in a laden table and dissolute ditties. Least of all shall we attend to the poets when they are talking about the gods, specially when their talk is of many gods, and those in mutual disagreement. For among them brother is at variance with brother, parent against children, and children wage a truceless war against parents. The gods' adulteries and amours and unabashed embraces, and specially those of Zeus, whom they describe as the chief and highest of them all,--things which could not be told without a blush of brutes,--all this let us leave to actors on the stage. [662]

I must make the same remark about historians, specially when they write merely to please. And we certainly shall not follow rhetoricians in the art of lying....I have been taught by one well able to understand a poet's mind that with Homer all his poetry is praise of virtue, and that in him all that is not mere accessory tends to this end. A marked instance of this is his description of the prince of the Kephallenians saved naked from shipwreck. No sooner did he appear than the princess viewed him with reverence; so far was she from feeling anything like shame at seeing him naked and alone, since his virtue stood him in the stead of clothes. [663]Afterwards he was of so much estimation among the rest of the Phæacians that they abandoned the pleasures amid which they lived, all looked up to him and imitated him, and not a man of the Phæacians prayed for anything more eagerly than that he might be Ulysses,--a mere waif saved from shipwreck. Herein my friend said that he was the interpreter of the poet's mind; that Homer all but said aloud, Virtue, O men, is what you have to care for. Virtue swims out with the shipwrecked sailor, and when he is cast naked on the coast, virtue makes him more noble than the happy Phæacians. And truly this is so. Other belongings are not more the property of their possessors than of any one else. They are like dice flung hither and thither in a game. Virtue is the one possession which cannot be taken away, and remains with us alike alive and dead.

It is in this sense that I think Solon said to the rich,

'All' hemeis autois ou diameipsometha

Tes aretes ton plouton; epei to men empedon aiei,

Chremata d' anthropon allote allos echei [664]

Similar to these are the lines of Theognis, [665] in which he says that God (whatever he means by "God") inclines the scale to men now one way and now another, and so at one moment they are rich, and at another penniless. Somewhere too in his writings Prodicus, the Sophist of Chios, has made similar reflexions on vice and virtue, to whom attention may well be paid, for he is a man by no means to be despised. So far as I recollect his sentiments, they are something to this effect. I do not remember the exact words, but the sense, in plain prose, was as follows: [666]

Once upon a time, when Hercules was quite young, and of just about the same age as yourselves, he was debating within himself which of the two ways he should choose, the one leading through toil to virtue, the other which is the easiest of all. There approached him two women. They were Virtue and Vice, and though they said not a word they straightway shewed by their appearance what was the difference between them. One was tricked out to present a fair appearance with every beautifying art. Pleasure and delights were shed around her and she led close after her innumerable enjoyments like a swarm of bees. She showed them to Hercules, and, promising him yet more and more, endeavoured to attract him to her side. The other, all emaciated and squalid, looked earnestly at the lad, and spoke in quite another tone. She promised him no ease, no pleasure, but toils, labours, and perils without number, in every land and sea. She told him that the reward of all this would be that he should become a god (so the narrator tells it). This latter Hercules followed even to the death. Perhaps all those who have written anything about wisdom, less or more, each according to his ability, have praised Virtue in their writings. These must be obeyed, and the effort made to show forth their teaching in the conduct of life. For he alone is wise who confirms in act the philosophy which in the rest goes no farther than words. They do but flit like shadows. [667]

It is as though some painter had represented a sitter as a marvel of manly beauty, and then he were to be in reality what the artist had painted on the panel. But to utter glorious eulogies on virtue in public, and make long speeches about it, while in private putting pleasure before continence and giving gain higher honour than righteousness, is conduct which seems to me illustrated by actors on the stage: they enter as monarchs and magnates, when they are neither monarchs nor magnates, and perhaps even are only slaves. A singer could never tolerate a lyre that did not match his voice, nor a coryphæus a chorus that did not chant in tune. Yet every one will be inconsistent with himself, and will fail to make his conduct agree with his words. The tongue has sworn, but the heart has never sworn, as Euripedes [668] has it; and a man will aim at seeming, rather than at being, good. Nevertheless, if we may believe Plato, the last extreme of iniquity is for one to seem just without being just. [669] This then is the way in which we are to receive writings which contain suggestions of good deeds. And since the noble deeds of men of old are preserved for our benefit either by tradition, or in the works of poets and historians, do not let us miss the good we may get from them. For instance: a man in the street once pursued Pericles with abuse, and persisted in it all day. Pericles took not the slightest notice. Evening fell, and darkness came on, and even then he could hardly be persuaded to give over. Pericles lighted him home, for fear this exercise in philosophy might be lost. [670]Again: once upon a time a fellow who was angry with Euclid of Megara threatened him with death, and swore at him. Euclid swore back that he would appease him, and calm him in spite of his rage. [671]A man once attacked Socrates the son of Sophoniscus and struck him again and again in the face. Socrates made no resistance, but allowed the drunken fellow to take his fill of frenzy, so that his face was all swollen and bloody from the blows. When the assault was done, Socrates, according to the story, did nothing besides writing on his forehead, as a sculptor might on a statue, "This is so and so's doing." [672]

This was his revenge. Where conduct, as in this case, is so much on a par with Christian conduct, [673] I maintain that it is well worth our while to copy these great men. The behaviour of Socrates on this occasion is akin to the precept that we are by no means to take revenge, but to turn the other cheek to the smiter. So the conduct of Pericles and Euclid matches the commands to put up with persecutors, and to bear their wrath with meekness, and to invoke not cursing but blessing on our enemies. He who has been previously instructed in these examples will no longer regard the precepts as impracticable. I should like, too, to instance the conduct of Alexander, when he had captured the daughters of Darius. [674]Their beauty is described as extraordinary, and Alexander would not so much as look at them, for he thought it shameful that a conqueror of men should be vanquished by women. This is of a piece with the statement that he who looks at a woman impurely, even though he do not actually commit the act of adultery with her, is not free from guilt, because he has allowed lust to enter his heart. Then there is the case of Clinias, the follower of Pythagoras: it is difficult to believe this is a case of accidental, and not intentional, imitation of our principles. [675] What of him? He might have escaped a fine of three talents by taking an oath, but he preferred to pay rather than swear, and this when he would have sworn truly. He appears to me to have heard of the precept which orders us to swear not at all. [676]To return to the point with which I began. We must not take everything indiscriminately, but only what is profitable. It would be shameful for us in the case of food to reject the injurious, and at the same time, in the case of lessons, to take no account of what keeps the soul alive, but, like mountain streams, to sweep in everything that happens to be in our way. The sailor does not trust himself to the mercy of the winds, but steers his boat to the port; the archer aims at his mark; the smith and the carpenter keep the end of the crafts in view. What sense is there in our shewing ourselves inferior to these craftsmen, though we are quite able to understand our own affairs? In mere handicrafts is there some object and end in labour, and is there no aim in the life of man, to which any one ought to look who means to live a life better than the brutes? Were no intelligence to be sitting at the tiller of our souls, we should be dashed up and down in the voyage of life like boats that have no ballast. It is just as with competitions in athletics, or, if you like, in music. In competitions mere crowns are offered for prizes, there is always training, and no one in training for wrestling or the pancration [677] practices the harp or flute. Certainly not Polydamas, who before his contests at the Olympic games used to make chariots at full speed stand still, and so kept up his strength. [678]Milo, too, could not be pushed off his greased shield, but, pushed as he was, held on as tightly as statues fastened by lead. [679]In one word, training was the preparation for these feats. Suppose they had neglected the dust and the gymnasia, and had given their minds to the strains of Marsyas or Olympus, the Phrygians, [680] they would never have won crowns or glory, nor escaped ridicule for their bodily incapacity. On the other hand Timotheus did not neglect harmony and spend his time in the wrestling schools. Had he done so it would never have been his lot to surpass all the world in music, and to have attained such extraordinary skill in his art as to be able to rouse the soul by his sustained and serious melody, and then again relieve and sooth it by his softer strains at his good pleasure. By this skill, when once he sang in Phrygian strains to Alexander, he is said to have roused the king to arms in the middle of a banquet, and then by gentler music to have restored him to his boon companions. [681]So great is the importance, alike in music and in athletics, in view of the object to be attained, of training....

To us are held out prizes whereof the marvelous number and splendour are beyond the power of words to tell. Will it be possible for those who are fast asleep, and live a life of indulgence, to seize them without an effort? [682]If so, sloth would have been of great price, and Sardanapalus would have been esteemed especially happy, or even Margites, if you like, who is said by Homer to have neither ploughed nor dug, nor done any useful work,--if indeed Homer wrote this. Is there not rather truth in the saying of Pittacus, [683] who said that "It is hard to be good ?"...

We must not be the slaves of our bodies, except where we are compelled. Our best provision must be for the soul. We ought by means of philosophy to release her from fellowship with all bodily appetites as we might from a dungeon, and at the same time make our bodies superior to our appetites. We should, for instance, supply our bellies with necessaries, not with dainties like men whose minds are set on cooks and table arrangers, and who search through every land and sea, like the tributaries of some stern despot, much to be pitied for their toil. Such men are really suffering pains as intolerable as the torments of hell, carding into a fire, [684] fetching water in a sieve, pouring into a tub with holes in it, and getting nothing for their pains. To pay more than necessary attention to our hair and dress is, as Diogenes phrases it, the part either of the unfortunate or of the wicked. To be finely dressed, and to have the reputation of being so, is to my mind quite as disgraceful as to play the harlot or to plot against a neighbour's wedlock. What does it matter to a man with any sense, whether he wears a grand state robe, or a common cloak, so long as it serves to keep off heat and cold? In other matters necessity is to be the rule, and the body is only to be so far regarded as is good for the soul."

Similar precepts are urged, with further references and allusions to Pythagoras, the Corybantes, Solon, Diogenes, Pythius, the rich man who feasted Xerxes on his way to Greece, Pheidias, Bias, Polycletus, Archilochus, and Tithonus. [685]

It is suggestive to compare the wealth of literary illustration in this little tract with the severe restrictions which Basil imposes on himself in his homilies for delivery in church, where nothing but Scripture is allowed to appear. In studying the sermons, it might be supposed that Basil read nothing but the Bible. In reading the treatise on heathen authors, but for an incidental allusion to David and Methuselah, it might be supposed that he spent all his spare time over his old school and college authors.

(iii) The Panegyrical Homilies are five in number.

Homily V. is on Julitta, a lady of Cæsarea martyred in 306, and commemorated on July 30. (In the Basilian menology, July 31.) Her property being seized by an iniquitous magistrate, she was refused permission to proceed with a suit for restitution unless she abjured Christianity. On her refusal to do this she was arraigned and burned. She is described as having said that women no less than men were made after the image of God; that women as well as men were made by their Creator capable of manly virtue; that it took bone as well as flesh to make the woman, and that constancy, fortitude, and endurance are as womanly as they are manly.

The homily, which recommends patience and cheerfulness in adversity, contains a passage of great beauty upon prayer. "Ought we to pray without ceasing? Is it possible to obey such a command? These are questions which I see you are ready to ask. I will endeavour, to the best of my ability, to defend the charge. Prayer is a petition for good addressed by the pious to God. But we do not rigidly confine our petition to words. Nor yet do we imagine that God requires to be reminded by speech. He knows our needs even though we ask Him not. What do I say then? I say that we must not think to make our prayer complete by syllables. The strength of prayer lies rather in the purpose of our soul and in deeds of virtue reaching every part and moment of our life. `Whether ye eat,' it is said, `or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' [686]As thou takest thy seat at table, pray. As thou liftest the loaf, offer thanks to the Giver. When thou sustainest thy bodily weakness with wine, remember Him Who supplies thee with this gift, to make thy heart glad and to comfort thy infirmity. Has thy need for taking food passed away? Let not the thought of thy Benefactor pass away too. As thou art putting on thy tunic, thank the Giver of it. As thou wrappest thy cloak about thee, feel yet greater love to God, Who alike in summer and in winter has given us coverings convenient for us, at once to preserve our life, and to cover what is unseemly. Is the day done? Give thanks to Him Who has given us the sun for our daily work, and has provided for us a fire to light up the night, and to serve the rest of the needs of life. Let night give the other occasions of prayer. When thou lookest up to heaven and gazest at the beauty of the stars, pray to the Lord of the visible world; pray to God the Arch-artificer of the universe, Who in wisdom hath made them all. When thou seest all nature sunk in sleep, then again worship Him Who gives us even against our wills release from the continuous strain of toil, and by a short refreshment restores us once again to the vigour of our strength. Let not night herself be all, as it were, the special and peculiar property of sleep. Let not half thy life be useless through the senselessness of slumber. Divide the time of night between sleep and prayer. Nay, let thy slumbers be themselves experiences in piety; for it is only natural that our sleeping dreams should be for the most part echoes of the anxieties of the day. As have been our conduct and pursuits, so will inevitably be our dreams. Thus wilt thought pray without ceasing; if thought prayest not only in words, but unitest thyself to God through all the course of life and so thy life be made one ceaseless and uninterrupted prayer."

Barlaam, the subject of Homily XVII., [687] was martyred under Diocletian, either at Antioch or at Cæsarea. The ingenuity of his tormentors conceived the idea of compelling him to fling the pinch of incense to the gods by putting it, while burning, into his hand, and forcing him to hold it over the altar. The fire fought with the right hand, and the fire proved the weaker. The fire burned through the hand, but the hand was firm. The martyr might say, "Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." [688]The homily concludes with an apostrophe to the painters of such scenes. "Up, I charge you, ye famous painters of the martyrs' struggles! Adorn by your art the mutilated figure of this officer of our army! I have made but a sorry picture of the crowned hero. Use all your skill and all your colours in his honour."

This was taken at the second Council of Nicæa as proof of an actual painting. [689]

Homily XVIII. is on the martyr Gordius, who was a native of Cæsarea, and was degraded from his rank of centurion when Licinius removed Christians from the army. Gordius retired into the wilderness, and led the life of an anchorite. One day there was a great festival at Cæsarea in honour of Mars. There were to be races in the theatre, and thither the whole population trooped. Not a Jew, not a heathen, was wanting. No small company of Christians had joined the crowd, men of careless life, sitting in the assembly of folly, and not shunning the counsel of the evil-doers, to see the speed of the horses and the skill of the charioteers. Masters had given their slaves a holiday. Even boys ran from their schools to the show. There was a multitude of common women of the lower ranks. The stadium was packed, and every one was gazing intently on the races. Then that noble man, great of heart and great of courage, came down from the uplands into the theatre. He took no thought of the mob. He did not heed how many hostile hands he met....In a moment the whole theatre turned to stare at the extraordinary sight. The man looked wild and savage. From his long sojourn in the mountains his head was squalid, his beard long, his dress filthy. His body was like a skeleton. He carried a stick and a wallet. Yet there was a certain grace about him, shining from the unseen all around him. He was recognised. A great shout arose. Those who shared his faith clapped for joy, but the enemies of the truth urged the magistrate to put in force the penalty he had incurred, and condemned him beforehand to die. Then an universal shouting arose all round. Nobody looked at the horses--nobody at the charioteers. The exhibition of the chariots was mere idle noise. Not an eye but was wholly occupied with looking at Gordius, not an ear wanted to hear anything but his words. Then a confused murmur, running like a wind through all the theatre, sounded above the din of the course. Heralds were told to proclaim silence. The pipes were hushed, and all the band stopped in a moment. Gordius was being listened to; Gordius was the centre of all eyes, and in a moment he was dragged before the magistrate who presided over the games. With a mild and gentle voice the magistrate asked him his name, and whence he came. He told his country, his family, the rank he had held, the reason for his flight, and his return. "Here I am," he cried; "ready to testify by creed to the contempt in which I hold your orders, and my faith in the God in whom I have trusted. For I have heard that you are inferior to few in cruelty. This is why I have chosen this time in order to carry out my wishes." With these words he kindled the wrath of the governor like a fire, and roused all his fury against himself. The order was given, "Call the lictors; where are the plates of lead? Where are the scourges? Let him be stretched upon a wheel; let him be wrenched upon the rack; let the instruments of torture be brought in; make ready the beasts, the fire, the sword, the cross. What a good thing for the villain that he can die only once!" [690] "Nay," replied Gordius. "What a bad thing for me that I cannot die for Christ again and again!"...

All the town crowded to the spot where the martyrdom was to be consummated. Gordius uttered his last words. Death is the common lot of man. As we must all die, let us through death win life. Make the necessary voluntary. Exchange the earthly for the heavenly. He then crossed himself, he stepped forward for the fatal blow, without changing colour or losing his cheerful mien. It seemed as though he were not going to meet an executioner, but to yield himself into the hands of angels. [691]

Homily XIX. is on the Forty Soldier Martyrs of Sebaste, who were ordered by the officers of Licinius, a.d. 320, to offer sacrifice to the heathen idols, and, at their refusal, were plunged for a whole night into a frozen pond in the city, in sight of a hot bath on the brink. One man's faith and fortitude failed him. He rushed to the relief of the shore, plunged into the hot water, and died on the spot. One of the executioners had stood warming himself and watching the strange scene. He had seemed to see angels coming down from heaven and distributing gifts to all the band but one. When the sacred number of forty was for the moment broken the officer flung off his clothes, and sprang into the freezing pond with the cry, "I am a Christian." Judas departed. Matthias took his place....

What trouble wouldst thou not have taken to find one to pray for thee to the Lord! Here are forty, praying with one voice. Where two or three are gathered together in the name of the Lord, there is He in the midst. Who doubts His presence in the midst of forty? The afflicted flees to the Forty; the joyous hurries to them; the former, that he may find relief from his troubles; the latter, that his blessings may be preserved. Here a pious woman is found beseeching for her children; she begs for the return of her absent husband, or for his health if he be sick. Let your supplications be made with the martyrs. Let young men imitate their fellows. Let fathers pray to be fathers of like sons. Let mothers learn from a good mother. The mother of one of these saints saw the rest overcome by the cold, and her son, from his strength or his constancy, yet alive. The executioners had left him, on the chance of his having changed his mind. She herself lifted him in her arms, and placed him on the car in which the rest were being drawn to the pyre, a veritable martyr's mother. [692]

The last of the Panegyrical Homilies (XXIII.) is on Saint Mamas, commemorated on September 2 by the Greeks, and on August 17 by the Latins. He is said to have been a shepherd martyred at Cæsarea in 274 in the persecution of Aurelian. Sozomen (v. 2) relates that when the young princes Julian and Gallus were at the castle of Macellum [693] they were engaged in building a church in the martyr's honour, and that Julian's share in the work never prospered. [694]The homily narrates no details concerning the saint, and none seem to be known. It does contain a more direct mention of a practice of invocation. There is a charge to all who have enjoyed the martyr in dreams to remember him; to all who have met with him in the church, and have found him a helper in their prayers; to all those whom he has aided in their doings, when called on by name. [695]The conclusion contains a summary of the Catholic doctrine concerning the Son. "You have been told before, and now you are being told again, `In the beginning was the Word,' [696] to prevent your supposing that the Son was a being generated after the manner of men, [697] from His having come forth out of the non-existent. `Word' is said to you, because of His impassibility. `Was' is said because of His being beyond time. He says `beginning' to conjoin the Begotten with His Father. You have seen how the obedient sheep hears a master's voice. `In the beginning,' and `was,' and `Word.' Do not go on to say, `How was He?' and `If He was, He was not begotten;' and `If He was begotten, He was not.' It is not a sheep who says these things. The skin is a sheep's; but the speaker within is a wolf. Let him be recognised as an enemy. `My sheep hear my voice.' [698]You have heard the Son. Understand His likeness to His Father. I say likeness because of the weakness of the stronger bodies: In truth, and I am not afraid of approaching the truth, I am no ready deceiver: I say identity, always preserving the distinct existence of Son and Father. In the hypostasis of Son understand the Father's Form, that you may hold the exact doctrine of this Image,--that you may understand consistently with true religion the words, `I am in the Father and the Father in me.' [699]Understand not confusion of essences, but identity of characters."


[574] LXX, proseche seauto. [575] akoimeton. On the later existence of an order of sleepless monks, known as the Acoemetæ. cf. Theodoret, Ep. cxli. p. 309, in this series, and note. [576] Ecclus. ix. 13. [577] Prov. v. 5, LXX. [578] dorkas, from derkomai,=seer. So Tabitha (Syr.)=keen-sighted. [579] § 6. [580] § 3. [581] Hos. x. 12. [582] Prov. ii. 1. [583] Ps. cxii. 9. [584] Prov. xi. 26. [585] § 8. [586] Matt. xxv. 34. [587] Matt. xxv. 41. With the variation of "outer darkness" for "everlasting fire" and the omission of the clause about strangers. In this passage, it is not a robber who is accused; the condemnation falls upon him who has not shared what he has. [588] § 4. [589] Is. xiv. 7. [590] Micah i. 12. [591] Amos iii. 6. [592] Deut. xxxii. 39. [593] Ps. li. 10. [594] demiourgeson. [595] cf. Eph. ii. 14. [596] 2 Cor. v. 17. [597] Deut. xxxii. 6, LXX. [598] 2 Cor. iv. 16. [599] Prov. xxiii. 14. [600] § 3. [601] Prov. i. [602] paroimia is defined by Hesychius the Alexandrian grammarian, who was nearly contemporary with Basil, as a biopheles logos, para ten hodon legomenos. [603] John xvi. 25. [604] epiteteugmenos theologei. [605] § 6. [606] heton mathematon analepsis taideia legetai. [607] epaideuthe. [608] Acts vii. 22. [609] soteria. [610] meteorologia. The word had already been used by Plato in a certain contemptuous sense. cf. Pal. 299 B.: meteorologon adoleschen tina sophisten. But not always, e.g. Crat. 401, B.: koduneuousi goun hoi protoi ta onomata tithemenoi ou phauloi einai, alla meteorologoi tines kai adoleschai. [611] Gregory of Nazianzus was publishing verses which formed no unworthy early link in the Catena Poetarum Christianorum, in our sense of the word poet. Basil may have in his mind the general idea that the Poetics of the heathen schools were all concerned with mythical inventions. [612] Ps. xxiii. 1. [613] cf. Ps. cxxxii. 4. [614] Ps. cxix. 105. [615] There are instances of high admiration of the passage: I have not found one of appropriation. Augustine (De Civ. Dei x. 29), says: "Quod initium Sancti Evangelii, cui nomen est secundum Johannem, quidam Platonicus, sicut a sancto sene Simpliciano, qui postea ecclesiæ Mediolanensi præsedit episcopus, solebamus audire, aureis litteris conscribendum et per omnes ecclesias in locis eminentissimis proponendum esse dicebat." Eusebius (Præp. Evang. xi. 17 and 18) refers to the Statements of Plotinus and Numerius on the deuteros aitios, and (19) mentions Aurelius (on Aurelius vide Mosheim's note on Cudworth's Int. System, vol. i. cap. iv. 17), as quoting the passage in question. Vide also Theodoret, Græc. Aff. 33, and Bentley's Remarks on Freethinking, § xlvi. [616] Prov. i. 7. [617] pros ton Theon. [618] cf. ccx. p. 249. [619] John iv. 24. [620] Rom. viii. 9 and 10. [621] 1 Cor. vi. 19. [622] August. in Julian. i. 18. [623] § 3. [624] Gen. iii. 17. [625] § 10. [626] Is. lviii. 6. [627] Is. lviii. 4. [628] Is. li. 21. [629] cf. John xiv. 23. [630] The sermon seems to have been preached at the beginning of Lent, when Cæsarea was still suffering from Carnival indulgences. Homily II. may be placed at a similar season in another year. [631] § 4. [632] A precious, red-streaked marble was quarried in Phrygia. The Spartan or Tænarian was the kind known as verde antico. cf. Bekker, Gallus. p. 16, n. The taste for the "Phrygian stone" was an old one. cf. Hor., Carm. III. i. 41. [633] The Cappadocian winters were severe. cf. Ep. cxxi., cxcviii., cccxlix. [634] huakinthous. See L. and S., s.v., and King's Antique Gems, 46. [635] i.e. she must have ornaments of wrought gold and stuff embroidered with gold. [636] cf. Hexaemeron, p. 94. [637] p. xxi. [638] § 3. [639] Jurgia proludunt; sed mox et pocula torques Saucius, et rubra deterges vulnera mappa. Juv., Sat. v. 26. [640] § 6. [641] Ecc. iv. 4. [642] § 5. [643] In Julian. vi. [644] Orat. ii. [645] Conc. v. p. 668. [646] § 5. [647] § 6. [648] Acts viii. 27. [649] cf. Letterclxix. and observations in Prolegomena, p. xxix. [650] Ps. cxv. 5. [651] 1 Ep. lxi. [652] De Eb. et Jejunio. c. 18. [653] 1 Cor. i. 30, 31. [654] § 7. [655] Here several touches remind us of Theophrastus. cf. Char. xxiii. and xxiv. [656] Ceillier, VI. viii. 2. [657] § 9. [658] It has often been separately published. In 1600 it was included by Martin Haynoccius in an Enchiridion Ethicum, containing also Plutarch's two tracts on the education of boys and the study of the poets, with which it is interesting to compare it. Grotius published it with Plutarch's De Legendis Poetis at Paris in 1623. They were also published together by Archbishop Potter at Oxford in 1691. [659] § 2. [660] tou ontos. The highest heathen philosophy strove to reach the neuter to on. The revelation of Jehovah is of the masculine ho on, who communicates with his creatures, and says ego eimi. [661] Hom., Od. xii. 158. cf. Letter i. p. 109. [662] This shews that the shameless and cruel exhibitions of earlier days had not died out even in the fourth century. cf. Suetonius, Nero xi., xii., Tertullian, Apol. 15. On the whole subject, see Bp. Lightfoot's note on St. Clem. Rom., Ep. ad Cor. vi., where Danaides kai Dirkai is probably a misreading for neanides paidiskai. He refers for illustrations to Friedländer, Sittengeschichte Roms, ii. 234. [663] Od. vi. 135 k.t.l. [664] These lines are attributed to Solon by Plutarch, in the tract pos an tis hup' echthron opheloito, but they occur among the elegiac "gnomæ" of Theognis, lines 316-318. Fronton du Duc in his notes on the Homilies points out that they are also quoted in Plutarch's life of Solon. Basil was well acquainted with Plutarch. (cf. references in the notes to the Hexaemeron.) [665] The lines are: Zeus gar toi to talanton epirrepei allote allos ,'Allote men ploutein, allote d' ouden echeo. Theog. 157. [666] The story of The Choice of Hercules used to be called, from Prodicus (of Ceos, not Chios) Hercules Prodicius. Suidas says that the title of the work quoted was Orai. The allegory is given at length in Xenophon's Memorabilia (II. i. 21) in Dion Chrysostom's Regnum, and in Cicero (De Officiis i. 32), who refers to Xenophon. It is imitated in the Somnium of Lucian. [667] cf. Hom., Od. x. 494, where it is said of Teiresias: To kai tethneoti noon pore Persephoneia, Oi& 251; pepnusthai; toi de skiai a& 188;ssousi. [668] Eur. Hippolytus, 612: he gloss' omomoch' he de phren anomotos, the famous line which Aristophanes made fun of in Thesmophoriazusæ, 275. [669] Fronton du Duc notes that Basil has taken this allusion to Plato from Plutarch's tract, How to distinguish between Flatterer and Friend, p. 50: hosgar ho Platon phesin eschates adikias einai dokein dikaion me onta. [670] Plut. Pericles. [671] Plut., De Ira Cohibenda, where the story is told of a brother. The aggressor says apoloimen ei me se timoresaimen. The rejoinder is ego de apoloimen ei me se peisaimi. [672] epoiei in Greek will of course stand for "made it," like our "hoc fecit," or "did it." Du Duc gives authority for the use of the Imp. from Politian. [673] tois hemeterois. [674] cf. Plutarch, Alex. and Arrian. II. xii. [675] Clinias was a contemporary of Plato (Diog. Laert. ix. 40). [676] St. Basil can hardly imagine that Clinias lived after Christ; yet Old Testament prohibitions are against false swearing only. Possibly the third commandment and such a passage as Lev. xix. 12, may have been in his mind. If Clinias had lived some half a millennium later there seems no reason why he should not have saved himself three talents by using the words of the Apostle in 2 Cor. xi. 31. [677] i.e. wrestling and boxing together. [678] Paus. VI. v. cf. Pers., Sat. i. 4. [679] Paus. VI. xiv. [680] Marsyas, the unhappy rival of Apollo, was said to be a native of Celænæ in Phrygia. Olympus was a pupil of Marsyas (Schol. in Aristoph. Eq. 9). By Plutarch (Mus. xi.) he is called archegos tes ;;Ellenikes kai kales mousikes. cf. Arist., Pol. VIII. v. 16. [681] cf. Cic., Legg. ii. 15, Plutarch, De Mus. There are two Timothei of musical fame, one anterior to Alexander. It will be remembered that in Dryden's Alexander's Feast "the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy," after the "Lydian measure" had "soothed his soul to pleasures." [682] Lit., who sleep with both ears, to seize with one hand (idiom for sleeping soundly. cf. Aul. Gell. ii. 23, who quotes ep' amphoteran katheudein from Menander). [683] Of Mitylene, cf. Arist., Pol. III. xiv. 9, and Diog. Laert. I. iv., who mentions Simonides' quotation of the maxim of the text ,'Andra agathon alatheos genesthai chalepon, to Pittakeion. [684] eis pur xainontes, i.e. labouring in vain. cf. Plat., Legg. 780 c. The ordinary rendering to "flog fire," adopted by Erasmus (Adag. Chil. i., Centur. iv.), seems wrong. cf. Bekker on the phrase in Plato. [685] Herod. vii. 21. [686] 1 Cor. x. 31. [687] Supposed by some to be not Basil's, but Chrysostom's. cf. Ceillier, iv. p. 53. [688] Ps. lxxiii. 23, 24. [689] Labbe vii. 272. cf. Chrys. Hom. lxxiii. [690] alla gar hoia kerdainei, phesin, hapax monon apothneskon. Garnier seems to have completely missed the force of this exclamation in the explanation in a note, "Judex hoc dicere volebat, quem fructum referet ex sua pertinacia, si semel mortuus fuerit; neque enim in hanc vitam rursus redibit, ejus ut gaudiis perfruatur, neque tamen ulla alia vita est." [691] For the tortures and modes of execution enumerated, Du Duc compares Aristoph., Pax. 452, Chrysost., De Luciano Martyre, and Nicephorus vi. 14. [692] The name of this youngest of the Forty is given as Melito (D.C.B. s.v.). They are commemorated on March 9 in the Roman Kalendar of Gregory XIII. and the Menology of Basil; on March 10 in the Roman Mart. of Bened. XIV.; on the 11th in the old Roman Kal., and on March 16 in the Armenian. The legend of the discovery of some of their relics is given in Sozomen ix. 2. Others were obtained for the church built in their honour at Annesi. (cf. p. xiv.) Two doctrinal points come out in this homily, (a) The officer who took the place of Melito is said to have been baptized, not in water but in his own blood (§ 7). Here is martyrdom represented as the equivalent of baptism. (b) The stage arrived at in the progress of Christian sentiment towards the invocation of departed saints is indicated. Garnier, the Jesuit, writes in the margin of the passage quoted above, Invocantur martyres; and Ceillier notes, Il reconnait que les prieres des martyrs peuvent beaucoup nous aider auprés de Dieu. But in this particular passage the idea of "fleeing to the Forty" seems to be not fleeing to them to ask for their prayers, but fleeing to the shrine to pray in company with them. It is rather the fellowship than the intercession of the saints which is sought. meta marturon gignestho ta aitemata humon. Let your requests be made not to but with the martyrs. In the Homily on St. Mamas, the next in order, the expressions are less equivocal. At the same time it must be remarked that with St. Basil the invocation and the intercession are local. In the De Sp. Scto. (chap. xxiii. p. 34) a significant contrast is drawn between the ubiquity of the Holy Ghost and the limited and local action of angels. And if of angels, so of saints. The saints who have departed this life are thought of as accessible at the shrines where their relics rest, but, if we apply the analogy of the De Sp. Scto., not everywhere. It has been said that this is the period when requests for the prayers of the holy dead begin to appear, and Archbishop Ussher (Address to a Jesuit, chap. ix.) cites Gregory of Nazianzus for the earliest instance within his knowledge of a plain invocation of the departed. But, as bishop Harold Browne points out, his invocation is rather rhetorical than supplicatory. Gregory "had even a pious persuasion that they still continued as much as ever to aid with their prayers those for whom they had been wont to pray on earth (Orat. xxiv. p. 425). And he ventures to think if it be not too bold to say so (ei me tolueron touto eipein), that the saints, being nearer to God and having put off the fetters of the flesh, have more avail with Him than when on earth (Orat. xix. p. 228). In all these he does not appear to have gone further than some who preceded him, nor is there anything in such speculations beyond what might be consistent with the most Protestant abhorrence of saint worship and Mariolatry" (Bp. Harold Browne in Art. xxii.). Romish authorities in support of a yet earlier development, point to Irenæus (Adv. Hær. v. 19), wherein a highly rhetorical passage the Virgin Mary is said to have become the "advocate" of the Virgin Eve, and to Origen, who "invoked" his guardian angel (Hom. i. in Ezek. 7). The later mediæval invocation Bp. Jeremy Taylor (vol. vi. Eden's ed. p. 489) ingeniously shews to be of a piece rather with early heresy than with early Catholicity: "It pretends to know their present state, which is hid from our eyes; and it proceeds upon the very reason upon which the Gnostics and Valentinians went; that is, that it is fit to have mediators between God and us; that we may present our prayers to them, and they to God. To which add that the Church of Rome presenting candles and other donaries to the Virgin Mary as to the Queen of heaven, do that which the Collyridians did (Epiphan. Hær. lxxix. vol. i. p. 1057). The gift is only differing, as candle and cake, gold and garments, this vow or that vow." [693] cf. p. xv., n. [694] cf. Greg. Naz., Or. iv. § 25. [695] hosois, onomati, kletheis, epi ton ergon pareste. On the reverence for relics cf. Letters cxcvii., cclii., and cclvii. [696] John i. 1. [697] gennema anthropinon. [698] cf. John x. 16. [699] John xiv. 10. cf. De Sp. Scto. § 45, p. 28.


Under this head I will add nothing to the notes, however inadequate, appended to the text.


It is beyond the scope of the present work to discuss at length the history and relation of the extant Liturgies, which go by the name of St. Basil. St. Basil's precise share in their composition, as we possess them, must be conjectural.

(i) The Liturgy, which St. Basil himself used and gave to his clergy and monks, preserved the traditional form in use in the archdiocese of Cæsarea. [700]It is mentioned in the xxxiind canon of the council "in Trullo" of 692. This is no doubt the basis of the Greek Liturgy known as St. Basil's, and used in the East as well as the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom. The form in use is contained in Neale's Primitive Liturgies (1875). Dr. Swainson (Greek Liturgies chiefly from Oriental Sources, p. 75) printed an edition of it from the Barberini ms. in 1884.

(ii) There is an Alexandrine Liturgy in Coptic, Arabic, and Greek form, called St. Basil's, and used on fast days by the Monophysites (Renaudot, Lit. Orient. Collectio, i. 154). This differs entirely from the first named.

(iii) Yet again there is a Syriac Liturgy called St. Basil's, translated by Masius, and given by Renaudot in his second volume. [701]


[700] cf. De Sp. Scto. chap. xxvii. p. 41. [701] cf. Dict. Christ. Ant. s.v. "Liturgy," and C. Hole, Manual of the Book of Common Prayer, chap. ii. Fessler notes: "Extat Liturgia S. Basilii tam fusior quam brevior gr. et lat. in Eucholog. Gr. ed. J. Goar Venetiis 1730 et alia gr. et lat. in E. Renaudot Coll. Lit. Or. Paris, 1716, item alia latine tantum conversa ex Coptico Jacobitarum in eadem collect, ac rursus alia latine tantum ex Syriaco conversa....De formæ varietate hæc optime monet Renaudot: `Liturgia illa, quod extra dubium est, usurpatur in Græca ecclesia ab annis plus mille ducentis; atque inde originem habuerunt leves aliquot discrepantiæ in precibus præparatoriis aut in aliis orationibus. Quædam exemplaria cæremoniales rubricas habent, quæ in aliis non reperiuntur; at alicujus momenti discrimen in illis partibus quæ canonem sacræ Actionis constituunt, non reperitur....Varietates in codicibus omnes prope ad ritus spectant, qui enucleatius in aliquibus, in aliis brevius explicantur, in nonnullis omittuntur, quia aliunde peti debebant.' Eo autem sensu Liturgiæ hujus auctor dicitur Basilius, non quod proprio ingenio eam excogitaverit, sed quod preces publicas, eisque contiguos ritus, quoad rei essentiam ex communi traditionis Apostolicæ fonte manantes, ordinaverit et in scriptis codicibus ad certam formam redegerit."

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