ST. BASIL
LETTERS CXXXIV TO CLXXIX

LETTER CXXXIV.[2]

To the presbyter Poeonius.

YOU may conjecture from what it contains, what pleasure you have given me by your letter. The pureness of heart, from which such expressions sprang, was plainly signified by what you wrote. A streamlet tells of its own spring, and so the manner of speech marks the heart from which it came. I must confess that an extraordinary and improbable thing has happened to me. For deeply anxious as I always was to receive a letter from your excellency, when I had taken your letter into my hand and had read it, I was not so much pleased at what you had written, as annoyed at reckoning up the loss I had suffered in your long silence. Now that you have begun to write, pray do not leave off. You will give me greater pleasure than men can give by sending much money to misers. I have had no writer with me, neither caligraphist, nor short-hand. Of all those whom I happen to employ, some have returned to their former mode of life, and others are unfit for work from long sickness.

LETTER CXXXV.[1]

To Diodorus, presbyter of Antioch.[2]

1. I HAVE read the books sent me by your excellency. With the second I was delighted, not only with its brevity, as was likely to be the case with a reader out of health and inclined to indolence, but, because it is at once full of thought, and so arranged that the objections of opponents, and the answers to them, stand out distinctly. Its simple and natural style seems to me to befit the profession of a Christian who writes less for self-advertisement than for the general good. The former work, which has practically the same force, but is much more elaborately adorned with rich diction, many figures, and niceties of dialogue, seems to me to require considerable time to read, and much mental labour, both to gather its meaning and retain it in the memory. The abuse of our opponents and the support of our own side, which are thrown in, although they may seem to add some charms of dialectic to the treatise, do yet break the continuity of the thought and weaken the strength of the argument, by causing interruption and delay. I know that your intelligence is perfectly well aware that the heathen philosophers who wrote dialogues, Aristotle and Theophrastus, went straight to the point, because they were aware of their not being gifted with the graces of Plato. Plato, on the other hand, with his great power of writing, at the same time attacks opinions and incidentally makes fun of his characters, assailing now the rashness and recklessness of a Thrasymachus, the levity and frivolity of a Hippias, and the arrogance and pomposity of a Protagoras. When, however, he introduces unmarked characters into his dialogues, he uses the interlocutors for making the point clear, but does not admit anything more belonging to the characters into his argument. An instance of this is in the Laws.

2. It is well for us too, who betake ourselves to writing, not from any vain ambition, but from the design of bequeathing counsels of sound doctrine to the brethren, if we introduce some character well known to all the world for presumption of manners, to interweave into the argument some points in accordance with the quality of the character, unless indeed we have no right at all to leave our work and to accuse men. But if the subject of the dialogue be wide and general, digressions against persons interrupt its continuity and tend to no good end. So much I have written to prove that you did not send your work to a flatterer, but have shared your toil with a real brother. And I have spoken not for the correction of what is finished, but as a precaution for the future; for assuredly one who is so accustomed to write, and so diligent in writing, will not hesitate to do so; and the more so that there is no falling off in the number of those who give him subjects. Enough for me to read your books. I am as far from being able to write anything as, I had very nearly said, I am from being well, or from having the least leisure from my work. I have however now sent back the larger and earlier of the two volumes, after perusing it as far as I have been able. The second I have retained, with the wish to transcribe it, but, hitherto, without finding any quick writer. To such a pitch of poverty has come the enviable condition of the Cappadocians!

LETTER CXXXVI.[1]

To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata.[2]

1. IN what state the good Isaaces has found me, he himself will best explain to you; though his tongue cannot be tragic enough to describe my sufferings, so great was my illness. However, any one who knows me ever so little, will be able to conjecture what it was. For, if when I am called well, I am weaker even than persons who are given over, you may fancy what I was when thus ill. Yet, since disease is my natural state, it would follow (let a fever have its jest) that in this change of habit, my health became especially flourishing. But it is the scourge of the Lord which goes on increasing my pain according to my deserts; therefore I have received illness upon illness, so that now even a child may see that this shell of mine must for certain fail, unless perchance, God's mercy vouchsafe to me, in His long suffering, time for repentance, and now, as often before, extricate me from evils beyond human cure. This shall be, as it is pleasing to Him and good for myself.

2. I need hardly tell you how deplorable and hopeless is the condition of the Churches. Now, for the sake of our own safety, we neglect our neighbour's, and do not even seem able to see that general disaster involves individual ruin. Least of all need I say this to one who, like yourself, foresaw the future from afar, and has foretold and proclaimed it and has been among the first to be roused, and to rouse the rest, writing letters, coming yourself in person, leaving no deed undone, no word unspoken. I remember this in every instance, but yet we are none the better off. Now, indeed, were not my sins in the way, (first of all, my dear brother the reverend deacon Eustathius fell seriously ill and detained me two whole months, looking day by day for his restoration to health; and then all about me fell sick; brother Isaaces will tell you the rest; then last of all I myself was attacked by this complaint) I should long ago have been to see your excellency, not indeed thereby to try to improve the general state of affairs, but to get some good for myself from your society. I had made up my mind to get out of the reach of the ecclesiastical artillery, because I am quite unprepared to meet my enemies' attacks. May God's mighty hand preserve you for all of us, as a noble guardian of the faith, and a vigilant champion of the Churches; and grant me, before I die, to meet you for the comfort of my soul.

LETTER CXXXVII.[1]

To Antipater, on his assuming the governorship of Cappadocia.[2]

I DO now really feel the loss which I suffer from being ill; so that, when such a man succeeds to the government of my country, my having to nurse myself compels me to be absent. For a whole month I have been undergoing the treatment of natural hot springs, in the hope of drawing some benefit from them. But I seem to be troubling myself to no purpose in my solitude, or indeed to be deservedly a laughing stock to mankind, for not heeding the proverb which says "warmth is no good to the dead." Even situated as I am, I am very anxious to put aside everything else, and betake myself to your excellency, that I may enjoy the benefit of all your high qualities, and through your goodness settle all my home affairs here in a proper manner. The house of our reverend mother Palladia is my own, for I am not only nearly related to her, but regard her as a mother on account of her character. Now, as some disturbance has been raised about her house, I ask your excellency to postpone the enquiry for a little while, and to wait till I come; not at all that justice may not be done, for I had rather die ten thousand times than ask a favour of that kind from a judge who is a friend of law and right, but that you may learn from me by word of mouth matters which it would be unbecoming for me to write. If you do so you will in no wise fall in fealty to the truth, and we shall suffer no harm. I beg you then to keep the individual in question[1] in safe custody under the charge of the troops, and not refuse to grant me this harmless favour.

LETTER CXXXVIII.[2]

To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata.[2]

1. WHAT was my state of mind, think you, when I received your piety's letter? When I thought of the feelings which its language expressed, I was eager to fly straight to Syria; but when I thought of the bodily illness, under which I lay bound, I saw myself unequal, not only to flying, but even to turning on my bed. This day, on which our beloved and excellent brother and deacon, Elpidius, has arrived, is the fiftieth of my illness. I am much reduced by the fever. For lack of what it might feed on, it lingers in this dry flesh as in an expiring wick, and so has brought on a wasting and tedious illness. Next my old plague, the liver, coming upon it, has kept me from taking nourishment, prevented sleep, and held me on the confines of life and death, granting just life enough to feel its inflictions. In consequence I have had recourse to the hot springs, and have availed myself of help from medical men.

But for all these the mischief has proved too strong. Perhaps another man might endure it, but, coining as it did unexpectedly, no one is so stout as to bear it. Long troubled by it as I have been, I have never been so distressed as now at being prevented by it from meeting you and enjoying your true friendship. I know of how much pleasure I am deprived, although last year I did touch With the tip of my finger the sweet honey of your Church.

2. For many urgent reasons I felt bound to meet your reverence, both to discuss many things with you and to learn many things from you. Here it is not possible even to find genuine affection. And, could one even find a true friend, none can give counsel to me in the present emergency with anything like the wisdom and experience which you have acquired in your many labours on the Church's behalf. The rest I must not write. I may, however, safely say what follows. The presbyter Evagrius,[1] son of Pompeianus of Antioch, who set out some time ago to the West with the blessed Eusebius, has now returned from Rome. He demands from me a letter couched in the precise terms dictated by the Westerns. My own he has brought back again to me, and reports that it did not give satisfaction to the more precise authorities there. He also asks that a commission of men of repute may be promptly sent, that they may have a reasonable pretext for visiting me. My sympathisers in Sebasteia have stripped the covering from the secret sore of the unorthodoxy of Eustathius, and demand my ecclesiastical care.[2]

Iconium is a city of Pisidia, anciently the first after the greatest,[3] and now it is capital of a part, consisting of an union of different portions, and allowed the government of a distinct province. Iconium too calls me to visit her and to give her a bishop; for Faustinus [4] is dead. Whether I ought to shrink from consecrations over the border; what answer I ought to give to the Sebastenes; what attitude I should show to the propositions of Evagrius; all these are questions to which I was anxious to get answers in a personal interview with you, for here in my present weakness I am cut off from everything. If, then, you can find any one soon coming this way, be so good as to give me your answer on them all. If not, pray that what is pleasing to the Lord may come into my mind. In your synod also bid mention to be made of me, and pray for me yourself, and join your people with you in the prayer that it may be permitted me to continue my service through the remaining days or hours of my sojourning here in a manner pleasing to the Lord.

LETTER CXXXIX.[1]

To the Alexandrians.[2]

1. I HAVE already heard of the persecution in Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, and, as might be expected, I am deeply affected. I have observed the ingenuity of the devil's mode of warfare. When he saw that the Church increased under the persecution of enemies and flourished all the more, he changed his plan. He no longer carries on an open warfare, but lays secret snares against us, hiding his hostility under the name which they bear, in order that we may both suffer like our fathers, and, at the same time, seem not to suffer for Christ's sake, because our persecutors too bear the name of Christians. With these thoughts for a long time we sat still, dazed at the news of what had happened, for, in sober earnest, both our ears tingled on hearing of the shameless and inhuman heresy of your persecutors. They have reverenced neither age, nor services to society,[3] nor people's affection. They inflicted torture, ignominy, and exile; they plundered all the property they could find; they were careless alike of human condemnation and of the awful retribution to come at the hands of the righteous Judge. All this has amazed me and all but driven me out of my senses. To my reflections has been added this thought too; can the Lord have wholly abandoned His Churches? Has the last hour come, and is "the falling away" thus coming upon us, that now the lawless one "may be revealed the son of perdition who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God and is worshipped"?[4] But if the temptation is for a season, bear it, ye noble athletes of Christ. If the world is being delivered to complete, and final destruction, let us not lose heart for the present, but let us await the revelation from heaven, and the manifestation of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. If all creation is to be dissolved, and the fashion of this world transformed, why should we be surprised that we, who are a part of creation, should feel the general woe, and be delivered to afflictions which our just God inflicts on us according to the measure of our strength, not letting us "be tempted above that we are able, but with the temptation giving us a way to escape that we may be able to bear it"?[1] Brothers, martyrs' crowns await you. The companies of the confessors are ready to reach out their hands to you and to welcome you into their own ranks. Remember how none of the saints of old won their crowns of patient endurance by living luxuriously and being courted; but all were tested by being put through the fire of great afflictions. "For some had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, and others were sawn asunder and were slain with the sword."[2] These are the glories of saints. Blessed is he who is deemed worthy to suffer for Christ; more blessed is he whose sufferings are greater, since " the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us."[3]

2. Had it but been possible for me to travel to you I should have liked nothing better than to meet you, that I might see and embrace Christ's athletes, and share your prayers and spiritual graces. But now my body is wasted by long sickness, so that I can scarcely even leave my bed, and there are many who are lying in wait for me, like ravening wolves, watching the moment when they may be able to rend Christ's sheep. I have therefore been compelled to visit you by letter; and I exhort you first of all most earnestly to pray for me, that for the rest of my remaining days or hours I may be enabled to serve the Lord, in accordance with the gospel of His kingdom. Next I beg you to pardon me for my absence and for my delay in writing to you. I have only with great difficulty found a man able to carry out my wishes. I speak of my son, the monk Eugenius, by whom I beseech you to pray for me and for the whole Church, and to write back news of you so that, when I hear, I may be more cheerful.

LETTER CXL.[4]

To the Church of Antioch.

1. "OH that I had wings like a dove for then would I fly away"[5] to you, and satisfy my longing to meet you. But now it is not only wings that I want, but a whole body, for mine has suffered from long sickness, and now is quite worn away with continuous affliction. For no one can be so hard of heart, so wholly destitute of sympathy and kindness, as to hear the sigh that strikes my ear from every quarter, as though from some sad choir chanting a symphony of lamentation, without being grieved at heart, being bent to the ground, and wasting away with these irremediable troubles. But the holy God is able to provide a remedy for the irremediable, and to grant you a respite from your long toils. I should like you to feel this comfort and, rejoicing in the hope of consolation, to submit to the present pain of your afflictions. Are we paying the penalty of our sins? Then our plagues are such as to save us for the future from the wrath of God. Are we called upon through these temptations to fight for the truth? Then the righteous Giver of the prizes will not suffer us to be tried above that which we are able to bear, but, in return for our previous struggles, will give us the crown of patience and of hope in Him. Let us, therefore, not flinch from fighting a good fight on behalf of the truth, nor, in despair, fling away the labours we have already achieved. For the strength of the soul is not shewn by one brave deed, nor yet by effort only for a short time; but He Who tests our hearts wishes us to win crowns of righteousness after long and protracted trial. Only let our spirit be kept unbroken, the firmness of our faith in Christ be maintained unshaken, and ere long our Champion will appear; He will come and will not tarry. Expect tribulation after tribulation, hope upon hope; yet a little while yet a little while. Thus the Holy Ghost knows how to comfort His nurslings by a promise of the future. After tribulations comes hope, and what we are hoping for is not far off, for let a man name the whole of human life, it is but a tiny interval compared with the endless age which is laid up in our hopes.

2. Now I accept no newer creed written for me by other men, nor do I venture to propound the outcome of my own intelligence, lest I make the words of true religion merely human words; but what I have been taught by the holy Fathers, that I announce to all who question me. In my Church the creed written by the holy Fathers in synod at Nicaea is in use. I believe that it is also repeated among you; but I do not refuse to write its exact terms in my letter, lest I be accused of taking too little trouble. It is as follows:[1] This is our faith. But no definition was given about the Holy Ghost, the Pneumatomachi not having at that date appeared. No mention was therefore made of the need of anathematizing those who say that the Holy Ghost is of a created anti ministerial nature. For nothing in the divine and blessed Trinity is created.

LETTER CXLI.[1]

To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata.[2]

1. I HAVE now received two letters from your divine and most excellent wisdom, whereof the one told me clearly how I had been expected by the laity under the jurisdiction of your holiness, and what disappointment I had caused by failing to attend the sacred synod. The other, which from the writing I conjecture to be of the earlier date, though it was delivered later, gave me advice, at once honourable to yourself and necessary to me, not to neglect the interests of God's Churches, nor little by little to allow the guidance of affairs to pass to our opponents, whereby their interests must win, and ours lose. I think that I answered both. But, as I am uncertain whether my replies were preserved by those who were entrusted with the duty of conveying them, I will make my defence over again. As to my absence, I can put in an unimpeachable plea, as to which I think intelligence must have reached your holiness, that I have been detained by illness which bus brought me to the very gates of death. Even now as I write about it, the remains of sickness are still upon me. And they are such as to another man might be unendurable.

2. As to the fact of its not being owing to my neglect that the interests of the Churches have been betrayed to our opponents, I wish your reverence to know that the bishops in communion with me, from lack of earnestness, or because they suspect me and are not open with me, or because the devil is always at hand to oppose good works, are unwilling to cooperate with me. Formerly, indeed, the majority of us were united wish one another, including the excellent Bosporius.[2] In reality they give me no aid in what is most essential. The consequence of all this is, that to a great extent my recovery is hindered by my distress, and the sorrow I feel brings back my worst symptoms. What, however, can I do alone and unaided, when the canons, as you yourself know, do not allow points of this kind to be settled by one man?[1] And yet what remedy have I not tried? Of what decision have I failed to remind them, some by letter and some in person? They even came to the city, when they heard a report of my death; when, by God's will, they found me yet alive I made them such a speech as was proper to the occasion. In my presence they respect me, and promise all that is fit, but no sooner have they got back again than they return to their own opinion. In all this I am a sufferer, like the rest, for the Lord has clearly abandoned us, whose love has grown cold because iniquity abounds. For all this may your great and powerful intercession with God be sufficient for me. Perhaps we shall either become of some use, or, even if we fail in our object, we may escape condemnation.

LETTER CXLII.[2]

To the prefects' accountant.[3]

I ASSEMBLED all my brethren the chorepiscopi at the synod of the blessed martyr Eupsychius[4] to introduce them to your excellency. On account of your absence they must be brought before you by letter. Know, therefore, this brother as being worthy to be trusted by your intelligence, because he fears the Lord. As to the matters on behalf of the poor, which he refers to your good-will, deign to believe him as one worthy of credit, and to give the afflicted all the aid in your power. I am sure you will consent to look favourably upon the hospital of the poor which is in his district, and exempt it altogether from taxation. It has already seemed good to your colleague to make the little property of the poor not liable to be rated.

LETTER CXLIII.[1]

To another accountant.[2]

Had it been possible for me to meet your excellency I would have in person brought before you the points about which I am anxious, and would have pleaded the cause of the afflicted, but I am prevented by illness and by press of business. I have therefore sent to you in my stead this chorepiscopus, my brother, begging you to give him your aid and use him and to take him into counsel, for his truthfulness and sagacity qualify him to advise in such matters. If yon are so good as to inspect the hospital for the poor, which is managed by him, (I am sure you will not pass it without a visit, experienced as you are in the work; for I have been told that you support one of the hospitals at Amasea out of the substance wherewith the Lord has blessed you), I am confident that, after seeing it, you will give him all he asks. Your colleague has already promised me some help towards the hospitals. I tell you this, not that you may imitate him, for you are likely to be a leader of others in good works, but that you may know that others have shown regard for me in this matter.

LETTER CXLIV.[3]

To the prefects' officer.[4]

You know the bearer from meeting him in the town. Nevertheless I write to commend him to you, that he may be useful to you in many matters in which you are interested, from his being able to give pious and sensible advice. Now is the thee to carry out what you have said to me in private; I mean when this my brother has told you the state of the poor.

LETTER CXLV.[5]

To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata.[6]

I KNOW the countless labours which you have undergone for the Churches of God; I know your press of occupation, while you discharge your responsibilities, not as though they were of mere secondary importance, but in accordance with God's will. I know the man[7] who is, as it were, laying close siege to you and by whom you are forced, like birds crouching in cover under an eagle, not to go far from your shelter. I know all this. But longing is strong, both in hoping for the impracticable and attempting the impossible. Rather I should say, hope in God is the strongest of all things.[1] For it is not from unreasonable desire, but from strength of faith, that I expect a way out, even from the greatest difficulties, and that you will find a way to get over all hindrances, and to come to see the Church that loves you best of all, and to be seen by her. What she values most of all good things is to behold your face and to hear your voice. Beware then of making her hopes vain. When last year, on my return from Syria, I reported the promise which you had given me, you cannot think how elated with her hopes I made her. Do not, my friend, postpone your coming to another time. Even if it may be possible for you to see her one day, you may not see her and me too, for sickness is hurrying me on to quit this painful life.

LETTER CXLVI.[2]

To Antiochus.[3]

I CANNOT accuse you of carelessness and inattention, because, when an opportunity of writing occurred, you said nothing. For I count the greeting which you have sent me in your own honoured hand worth many letters. In return I salute you, and beg you earnestly to give heed to the salvation of your soul, disciplining all the lusts of the flesh by reason, and ever keeping the thought of God built up in your soul, as in a very holy temple. In every deed and every word hold before your eyes the judgment of Christ, so that every individual action, being referred to that exact and awful examination may bring you glory in the day of retribution, when you win praise from all creation. If that great man[4] should be able to pay me a visit, it would be a pleasure to me to see you here with him.

LETTER CXLVII.[5]

To Aburgius.[6]

UP to this thee I used to think Homer a fable, when I read the second part of his poem, in which he narrates the adventures of Ulysses. But the calamity which has befallen the most excellent Maximus has led me to look on what I used to think fabulous and incredible, as exceedingly probable. Maximus was governor of no insignificant people, just as Ulysses was chief of the Cephallenians. Ulysses had great wealth, and returned stripped of everything. To such straits has calamity reduced Maximus, that he may have to present himself at home in borrowed rags. And perhaps he has suffered all this because he has irritated some Laestrygones against him, and has fallen in with some Scylla, hiding a dog's fierceness and fury under a woman's form. Since then he has barely been able to swim out of this inextricable whirlpool. He supplicates you by my means for humanity's sake to grieve for his undeserved misfortunes and not be silent about his needs, but make them known to the authorities. He hopes thus that he may find some aid against the slanders which have been got up against him: and if not, that at all events the intention of the enemy who has shewn such an intoxication of hostility against him may be made public. When a man has been wronged it is a considerable comfort to him if the wickedness of his enemies can be made plain.

LETTER CXLVIII.[1]

To Trajan.[2]

EVEN the ability to bewail their own calamities brings much comfort to the distressed; and this is specially the case when they meet with others capable, from their lofty character, of sympathizing with their sorrows. So my right honourable brother Maximus, after being prefect of my country, and then suffering what no other man ever yet suffered, stripped of all his belongings both inherited from his forefathers and collected by his own labours, afflicted in body in many and various ways, by his wanderings up and down the world, and not having been able to keep even his civil status free from attack, to preserve which freemen are wont to leave no labour undone, has made many complaints to me about all that has happened to him, and has begged me to give you a short description of the Iliad of woes in which he is involved. And I, being quite unable to relieve him in any other way in his troubles, have readily done him the favour shortly to relate to your excellency a part of what I have heard from him. He, indeed, seemed to me to blush at the idea of making a plain tale of his own calamity. If what has happened shews that the inflicter of the wrong is a villain, at all events it proves the sufferer to be deserving of great pity; since the very fact of having fallen into troubles inflicted by Divine Providence, seems in a manner to shew that a man has been devoted to suffering. But it would he a sufficient comfort to him if you will only look at him kindly, and extend also to him that abundant favour which all the recipients of it cannot exhaust,--I mean your clemency. We are all of us convinced that before the tribunal your protection will be an immense step towards victory. He who has asked for my letter as likely to be of service is of all men most upright. May it be granted me to see him, with the rest, proclaiming aloud the praises of your lordship with all his power.

LETTER CXLIX.[1]

To Trajan.[2]

YOU yourself have seen with your own eyes the distressing condition of Maximus, once a man of high reputation, but now most of all to be pitied, formerly prefect of my country. Would that he had never been so! Many, I think, would be likely to shun provincial governorships, if their dignities are likely to issue in such an end. To a man, then, from the quickness of his intelligence, able from a few circumstances to conjecture the rest, I need hardly narrate in detail fill that I have seen and all that I have heard. Perhaps, however, I shall not seem to be telling a superfluous story if I mention that, though many and terrible things were audaciously done against him before your coming, what went on afterwards was such as to cause the former proceedings to be reckoned as kindness; to such an excess of outrage and injury and actually of personal cruelty did the proceedings go which were afterwards taken against him by the person in authority. Now he is here with an escort to fill up the measure of his evil deeds unless you are willing to stretch out your strong hand to protect the sufferer. In urging your goodness to an act of kindness I feel that I am undertaking an unnecessary task. Yet since I desire to be serviceable to Maximus I do beg your lordship to add something for my sake to your natural zeal for what is right, to the end that he may clearly perceive that my intervention on his behalf has been of service to him.

LETTER CL.[1]

To Amphilochius in the name of Heraclidas.[2]

1. I REMEMBER our old conversations with one another, and am forgetful neither of what I said, nor of what you said. And now public life has no hold upon me. For although I am the same in heart and have not yet put off the old man, nevertheless, outwardly and by withdrawing myself far from worldly life, I seem already to have begun to tread the way of Christian conversation. I sit apart, like men who are on the point of embarking on the deep, looking out at what is before me. Mariners, indeed, need winds to make their voyage prosperous; I on the other hand want a guide to take me by the hand and conduct me safely through life's bitter waves. I feel that I need first a curb for my young manhood, and then pricks to drive me to the course of piety. Both these seem to be provided by reason, which at one thee disciplines my unruliness of soul, and at another thee my sluggishness. Again I want other remedies that I may wash off the impurity of habit. You know how, long accustomed as I was to the Forum, I am lavish of words, and do not guard myself against the thoughts put into my mind by the evil one. I am the servant too of honour, and cannot easily give up thinking great things of myself. Against all this I feel that I need a great instructor. Then, further, I conclude that it is of no mall importance, nor of benefit only for a little while, that the soul's eye should be so purged that, after being freed from all the darkness of ignorance, as though from some blinding humour, one can gaze intently on the beauty of the glory of God. All this I know very well that your wisdom is aware of; I know that you would wish that I might have some one to give me such help, and if ever God grant me to meet you I am sure that I shall learn more about what I ought to heed. For now, in my great ignorance, I can hardly even form a judgment as to what I lack. Yet I do not repent of my first impulse; my soul does not hang back from the purpose of a godly life as you have feared for me, nobly and becomingly doing everything in your power,' lest, like the woman of whom I have heard the story, I should turn back and become a pillar of salt.[1] I am still, however, under the restraint of external authority; for the magistrates are seeking me like a deserter. But I am chiefly influenced by my own heart, which testifies to itself of all that I have told you.

2. Since you have mentioned our bond, and have announced that you mean to prosecute, you have made me laugh in this my dejection, because you are still an advocate and do not give up your shrewdness. I hold, unless, indeed, like an ignorant man, I am quite missing the truth, that there is only one way to the Lord, and that all who are journeying to Him are travelling together and walking in accordance with ones "bond" of life. If this be so, wherever I go how can I be separated from you? How can r cease to live with you, and with you serve God, to Whom we have both fled for refuge? Our bodies may be separated by distance, but God's eve still doubtless looks upon us both; if indeed a life like mine is fit to be beheld by the divine eyes; for I have read somewhere in the Psalms that the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous.[2] I do indeed pray that with you and with all that are like minded with you, I may be associated, even in body, and that night and day with you and with any other true wor-shipper of God I may bow my knees to our Father which is in heaven; for I know that communion in prayer brings great gain. If, as often as it is my lot to lie and groan in a different corner, I am always to be accused of lying, I cannot contend against your argument, and already condemn mystic as a liar, if with my own carelessness I have said anything which brings me under such a charge.

3. I was lately at Caesarea, in order to learn what was going on there. I was unwilling to remain in the city itself, and betook myself to the neighbouring hospital, that I might get there what information I wanted. According to his custom the very godly bishop visited it, and I consulted him as to the points which you had urged upon me. It is not possible for me to remember all that he said in reply; it went far beyond the limits of a letter. In sum, however, what he said about poverty was this, that the rule ought to be that every one should limit his possessions to one garment. For one proof of this he quoted the words of John the Baptist "he that hath two coats let him impart to him that hath none;"[1] and for another our Lord's prohibition to His disciples to have two coats.[2] He further added "If thou wilt be perfect go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor."[3] He said too that the parable of the pearl bore on this point, because the merchant, who had found the pearl of great price, went away and sold all that he had and bought it; and he added too that no one ought even to permit himself the distribution of his own property, but should leave it in the hands of the person entrusted with the duty of managing the affairs of the poor; and he proved the point from the acts of the apostles,[4] because they sold their property and brought and laid it at the feet of the apostles, and by them it was distributed to each as every man had need.[5] For he said that experience was needed in order to distinguish between cases of genuine need and of mere greedy begging. For whoever gives to the afflicted gives to the Lord, and from the Lord shall have his reward; but he who gives to every vagabond casts to a dog, a nuisance indeed from his importunity, but deserving no pity on the ground of want.

4. He was moreover the first to speak shortly, as befits the importance of the subject, about some of the daily duties of life. As to this I should wish you to hear from himself, for it would not be right for me to weaken the force of his lessons. I would pray that we might visit him together, that so you might both accurately preserve in your memory what he said, and supply any omissions by your own intelligence. One thing that I do remember, out of the many which I heard, is this; that instruction how to lead the Christian life depends less on words, than on daily example. I know that, if you had not been detained by the duty of succouring your aged father, there is nothing that you would have more greatly esteemed than a meeting with the bishop, and that you would not have advised me to leave him in order to wander in deserts. Caves and rocks are always ready for us, but the help we get from our fellow man is not always at hand. If, then, you will put up with my giving you advice, you will impress on your father the desirability of his allowing you to leave him for a little while in order to meet a man who, alike from his experience of others and from his own wisdom, knows much, and is able to impart it to all who approach him.

LETTER CLI.[1]

To Eustathius the Physician.

IF my letters are of any good, lose no thee in writing to me and in rousing me to write. We are unquestionably made more cheerful when we read the letters of wise men who love the Lord. It is for you to say, who read it, whether you find anything worth attention in what I write. Were it not for the multitude of my engagements, I should not debar myself from the pleasure of writing frequently. Pray do you, whose cares are fewer, soothe me by your letters. Wells, it is said, are the better for being used. The exhortations which you derive from your profession are apparently beside the point, for it is not I who the applying the knife; it is men whose day is done, who are filling upon themselves.[3] The phrase of the Stoics runs, "since things do not happen as we like, we like what happens;" but I cannot make my mind fall in with what is happening. That some men should do what they do not like because they cannot help it, I have no objection. You doctors do not cauterise a sick man, or make him suffer pain in some other way, because you like it; but you often adopt this treatment in obedience to the necessity of he case. Mariners do not willingly throw heir cargo overboard; but in order to escape shipwreck they put up with the loss, preferring a life of penury to death. Be sure that I look with sorrow and with many groans upon the separation of those who are holding themselves aloof. But yet I endure it. To lovers of the truth nothing can be put before God and hope in Him.[4]

LETTER CLII.[1]

To Victor, the Commander.[2]

IF I were to fail to write to any one else I might possibly with justice incur the charge of carelessness or forgetfulness. But it is not possible to forget you, when your name is in all men's mouths. But I cannot be careless about one who is perhaps more distinguished than any one else in the empire. The cause of my silence is evident. I am afraid of troubling so great a man. If, however, to all your other virtues you add that of not only receiving what I send, but of actually asking after what is missing, lo! here I am writing to you with joyous heart, and I shall go on writing for the future, with prayers to God that you may be requited for the honour you pay me. For the Church, you have anticipated my supplications, by doing everything which I should have asked. And you act to please not man but God, Who has honoured you; Who has given you some good things in this life, and will give you others in the life to come, because you have walked with truth in His way, and, from the beginning to the end, have kept your heart fixed in the right faith.

LETTER CLIII.[3]

To Victor the Ex-Consul.

AS often as it falls to my lot to read your lordship's letters, so often do I thank God that you continue to remember me, and that you are not moved by any calumny to lessen the love which once you consented to entertain for me, either from your wise judgment or your kindly intercourse. I pray then the holy God that you may remain in this mind towards me, and that I may be worthy of the honour which you give me.

LETTER CLIV.[4]

To Ascholius, bishop of Thessalonica.[5]

YOU have done well, and in accordance with the law of spiritual love, in writing to me first, and by your good example challenging me to like energy. The friendship of the world, indeed, stands in need of actual sight and intercourse, that thence intimacy may begin. All, however, who know how to love in the spirit do not need the flesh to promote affection, but are led to spiritual communion in the fellowship of the faith. Thanks, then, to the Lord Who has comforted my heart by showing me that love has not grown cold in all, but that there are yet in the world men who show the evidence of the discipleship of Christ. The state of affairs with you seems to be something like that of the stars by night, shining some in one part of the sky and some in another, whereof the brightness is charming, and the more charming because it is unexpected. Such are you, luminaries of the Churches, a few at most and easily counted in this gloomy state of things, shining as in a moonless night, and, besides being welcome for your virtue, being all the more longed for because of its being so seldom that you are found. Your letter has made your disposition quite plain to me. Although small, as far as regards the number of its syllables, in the correctness of its sentiments it was quite enough to give me proof of your mind and purpose. Your zeal for the cause of the blessed Athanasius is plain proof of your being sound as to the most important matters. In return for my joy at your letter I am exceedingly grateful to my honourable son Euphemius, to whom I pray that all help may be given by the Holy One, and I beg you to join in my prayers that we may soon receive him back with his very honourable wife, my daughter in the Lord. As to yourself, I beg that you will not stay our joy at its beginning, but that you will write on every possible opportunity, and increase your good feeling towards me by constant communication. Give me news, I beg you, about your Churches and how. they are situated as regards union. Pray for us here that our Lord may rebuke the winds and the sea, and that with us there may be a great, calm.

LETTER CLV.[1]

Without address.[2] In the case of a trainer.

I AM at a loss how to defend myself against all the complaints contained in the first and only letter which your lordship has been so good as to send me. It is not that there is any lack of right on my side, but because among so many charges it is hard to select the most vital, and fix on the point at which I ought to begin to apply a remedy. Perhaps, if I follow the order of your letter, I shall come upon each in turn. Up to-day I knew nothing about those who are setting out for Scythia; nor had any one told me even of those who came from your house, so that I might greet you by them, although I am anxious to seize every opportunity of greeting your lordship. To forget you in my prayers is impossible, unless first I forget the work to which God has called me, for assuredly, faithful as by God's grace you are, you remember all the prayers[1] of the Church; how we pray also for our brethren when on a journey and offer prayer in the holy church for those who are in the army, and for those who speak for the sake of the Lord's name, and for those who show the fruits of the Spirit. In most, or all of these, I reckon your lordship to be included. How could I ever forget you, as far as I am individually concerned, when I have so many reasons to stir me to recollection, such a sister, such nephews, such kinsfolk, so good, so fond of me, house, household, and friends? By all these, even against my will, I am perforce reminded of your good disposition. As to this, however, our brother has brought me no unpleasant news, nor has any decision been come to by me which could do him any injury. Free, then, the chorepiscopus and myself from all blame, and grieve rather over those who have made false reports. If our learned friend wishes to bring an action against me, he has law courts and laws. In this I beg you not to blame me. In all the good deeds that you do, you are laying up treasure for yourself; you are preparing for yourself in the day of retribution the same refreshment which you are providing for those who are persecuted for the sake of the name of the Lord. If you send the relics of the martyrs home you will do well; as you write that the persecution there is, even now, causing martyrs to the Lord.[2]

LETTER CLVI.[3]

To the Presbyter Evagrius.[4]

1. So far from being impatient at the length of your letter, I assure you I thought it even short, from the pleasure it gave me when reading it. For is there anything more pleasing than the idea of peace? Is anything more suitable to the sacred office. or more acceptable to the Lord, than to take measures for effecting it? May you have the reward of the peace-maker, since so blessed an office has been the object of your good desires and earnest efforts. At the same time, believe me, my revered friend, I will yield to none in my earnest wish and prayer to see the day when those who are one in sentiment shall all fill the same assembly. Indeed it would be monstrous to feel pleasure in the schisms and divisions of the Churches, and not to consider that the greatest of goods consists in the knitting together of the members of Christ's body. But, alas! my inability is as real as my desire. No one knows better than yourself, that time alone is the remedy of ills that time has matured. Besides, a strong and vigorous treatment is necessary to get at the root of the complaint. You will understand this hint, though there is no reason why I should not speak out.

2. Self-importance, when rooted by habit in the mind, cannot be destroyed by one man, by one single letter, or in a short time. Unless there be some arbiter in whom all parties have confidence, suspicions and collisions will never altogether cease. If, indeed, the influence of Divine grace were shed upon me, and I were given power in word and deed and spiritual gifts to prevail with these rival parties, then this daring experiment might be demanded of me; though, perhaps, even then, you would not advise me to attempt this adjustment of things by myself, without the co-operation of the bishop,[1] on whom principally falls the care of the church. But he cannot come hither, nor can I easily undertake a long journey while the winter lasts, or rather I cannot anyhow, for the Armenian mountains will be soon impassable, even to the young and vigorous, to say nothing of my continued bodily ailments. I have no objection to write to tell him of all this; but I have no expectation that writing will lead to anything, for I know his cautious character, and after all written words have little power to convince the mind. There are so many things to urge, and to bear, and to reply to, and to object, that a letter has no soul, and is in fact but waste paper. However, as I have said, I will write. Only give me credit, most religious and dear brother, for having no private feeling in the matter. Thank God. I have no such feeling towards any one. I have not busied myself in the investigation of the supposed or real complaints which are brought against this or that man; so my opinion has a claim on your attention as that of one who really cannot act from partiality or prejudice. I only desire, through the Lord's good will, that all things may be done with ecclesiastical propriety.

3. I was vexed to find from my dear son Dorotheus, our associate in the ministry, that you had been unwilling to communicate with him. This was not the kind of conversation which you had with me, as well as I recollect. As to my sending to the West it is quite out of the question. I have no one fit for the service. Indeed, when I look round, I seem to have no one on my side. I can but pray I may be found in the number of those seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal. I know the present persecutors of us all seek my life; yet that shall not diminish ought of the zeal which I owe to the Churches of God.

LETTER CLVII.[1]

To Amiochus.[2]

YOU may well imagine how disappointed I was not to meet you in the summer; not that our meeting in former years was enough to satisfy me, but even to see loved objects in a dream brings those who love some comfort. But you do not even write, so sluggish are you, and I think your absence can be referred to no other cause than that you are slow to undertake journeys for affection's sake. On this point I will say no more. Pray for me, and ask the Lord not to desert me, but as He has brought me out of bygone temptations so also to deliver me from those that I await, for the glory of the name of Him in Whom I put my trust.

LETTER CLVIII.[3]

To Antiochus.

MY sins have prevented me from carrying out the wish to meet you, which I have long entertained. Let me apologist by letter for my absence, and beseech you not to omit to remember me in your prayers, that, if I live, I may be permitted to enjoy your society. If not, by the aid of your prayers may I quit this world with good hope. I commend to you our brother the camel-master.

LETTER CLIX.[1]

To Eupaterius and his daughter.[2]

1. YOU may well imagine what pleasure the letter of your excellencies gave me, if only from its very contents. What, indeed, could give greater gratification to one who prays ever to be in communication with them who fear the Lord, and to share their blessings, than a letter of this kind, wherein questions are asked about the knowledge of God? For if, to me, "to live is Christ,"[3] truly my words ought to be about Christ, my every thought and deed ought to depend upon His commandments, and my soul to be fashioned after His. I rejoice, therefore, at being asked about such things, and congratulate the askers. By me, to speak shortly, the faith of the Fathers assembled at Nicaea is honoured before all later inventions. In it the Son is confessed to be con-substantial with the Father and to be naturally of the same nature with Him who begat Him, for He was confessed to be Light of Light, God of God, and Good of Good, and the like. Both by those holy men the same doctrine was declared, and by me now who pray that I may walk in their footsteps.

2. But since the question now raised by those who are always endeavouring to introduce novelties, but passed over in silence by the men of old, because the doctrine was never gainsaid, has remained without full explanation (I mean that which concerns the Holy Ghost) I will add a statement on this subject in conformity with the sense of Scripture. As we were baptized, so we profess our belief. As we profess our belief, so also we offer praise. As then baptism has been given us by the Saviour, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so, in accordance with our baptism, we make the confession of the creed, and our doxology in accordance with our creed. We glorify the Holy Ghost together with the Father and the Son, from the conviction that He is not separated from the Divine Nature; for that which is foreign by nature does not share in the same honors. All who call the Holy Ghost a creature we pity, on the ground that, by this utterance, they are falling into the unpardonable sin of blasphemy against Him. I need use no argument to prove to those who are even slightly trained in Scripture, that the creature is separated from the Godhead. The creature is a slave; but the Spirit sets free.[1] The creature needs life; the Spirit is the Giver of life.[2] The creature requires teaching. It is the Spirit that teaches.[3] The creature is sanctified; it is the Spirit that sanctifies.[4] Whether you name angels, archangels, or all the heavenly powers, they receive their sanctification through the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself has His holiness by nature, not received by favour, but essentially His; whence He has received the distinctive name of Holy. What then is by nature holy, as the Father is by nature holy, and the Son by nature holy, we do not ourselves allow to be separated and severed from the divine and blessed Trinity, nor accept those who rashly reckon it as part of creation. Let this short summary be sufficient for you, my pious friends. From little seeds, with the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, you will reap the fuller crop of piety. "Give instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser."[5] I will put off fuller demonstration till we meet. When we do, it will be possible for me to answer objections, to give you fuller proofs from Scripture, and to confirm all the sound rule of faith. For the present pardon my brevity. I should not have written at all had I not thought it a greater injury to you to refuse your request altogether than to grant it in part.

LETTER CLX.[6]

To Diodorus.[7]

1. I HAVE received the letter which has raeched me under the name of Diodorus, but in what it contains creditable to any one rather than to Diodorus. Some ingenious person seems to have assumed your name, with the intention of getting credit with his hearers. It appears that he was asked by some one if it was lawful to contract marriage with his deceased wife's sister; and, instead of shuddering at such a question, he heard it unmoved, and quite boldly and bravely supported the unseemly desire. Had I his letter by me I would have sent it you, and you would have been able to defend both yourself and the truth. But the person who showed it me took it away again, and carried it about as a kind of trophy of triumph against me who had forbidden it from the beginning, declaring that he had permission in writing. Now I have written to you that I may attack that spurious document with double strength, and leave it no force whereby it may injure its readers.

2. First of all I have to urge, what is of most importance in such matters, our own custom, which has the force of law, because the rules have been handed down to us by holy men. It is as follows: if any one, overcome by impurity, falls into unlawful intercourse with two sisters, this is not to be looked upon as marriage, nor are they to be admitted at all into the Church until they have separated from one another. Wherefore, although it were possible to say nothing further, the custom would be quite enough to safeguard what is right. But, since the writer of the letter has endeavoured to introduce this mischief into our practice by a false argument, I am under the necessity of not omitting the aid of reasoning; although in matters which are perfectly plain every man's instinctive sentiment is stronger than argument.

3. It is written, he says, in Leviticus "Neither shall thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness. beside the other in her life time."[1] From this it is plain, he argues, that it is lawful to take her when the wife is dead. To this my first answer shall be, that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law; otherwise we shall be subject to circumcision, the sabbath, abstinence from meats. For we certainly must not, when we find anything which falls in with our pleasures, subject ourselves to the yoke of slavery to the law; and then, if anything in the law seems hard, have recourse to the freedom which is in Christ. We have been asked if it is written that one may be taken to wife after her sister. Let us say what is safe and true, that it is not written. But to deduce by sequence of argument what is passed over in silence is the part of a legislator, not of one who quotes the articles of the law. Indeed, on these terms, any one who likes will be at liberty to take the sister, even in the lifetime of the wife. The same sophism fits in this case also. It is written, he says, "Thou shall not take a wife to vex her:" so that, apart from vexation, there is no prohibition to take her. The man who wants to indulge his desire will maintain that the relationship of sisters is such that they cannot vex one another. Take away the reason given for the prohibition to live with both, and what is there to prevent a man's taking both sisters? This is not written, we shall say. Neither is the former distinctly stated. The deduction from the argument allows liberty in both cases. But a solution of the difficulty might be found by going a little back to what is behind the enactment. It. appears that the legislator does not include every kind of sin, but particularly prohibits those of the Egyptians, from among whom Israel had gone forth, and of the Canaanites among whom they were going. The words are as follows, "After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances."[1] It is probable that this kind of sin was not practised at that time among the Gentiles. Under these circumstances the lawgiver was, it may be supposed, under no necessity of guarding against it; the unwritten custom sufficed to condemn the crime. How then is it that while forbidding the greater he was silent about the less? Because the example of the patriarch seemed injurious to many who indulged their flesh so far as to live with sisters in their life time. What ought to be my course? To quote the Scriptures, or to work out what they leave unsaid? In these laws it is not written that a father and son ought not to have the same concubine, but, in the prophet, it is thought deserving of the most extreme condemnation, "A man and his father" it is said "will go in unto the same maid."[2] And how many other forms of unclean lust have been found out in the devils' school, while divine scripture is silent about them, not choosing to befoul its dignity with the names of filthy things and condemning their uncleanness in general terms! As the apostle Paul says, "Fornication and all uncleanness ... let it not be once named among you as becometh saints,"[3] thus including the unspeakable doings of both males and females under the name of uncleanness. It follows that silence certainly does not give license to voluptuaries.

4. I, however, maintain that this point has not been left in silence, but that the lawgiver has made a distinct prohibition. The words "None of you shall approach to any one that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness,"[4] embraces also this form of kinsmanship, for what could be more akin to a man than his own wife, or rather than his own flesh? "For they are no more twain but one flesh."[1] So, through the wife, the sister is made akin to the husband. For as he shall not take his wife's mother, nor yet his wife's daughter, because he may not take his own mother nor his own daughter, so he may not take his wife's sister, because he may not take his own sister. And, on the other hand, it will not be lawful for the wife to be joined with the husband's kin, for the rights of relationship hold good on both sides. But, for my part, to every one who is thinking about marriage I testify that, "the fashion of this world passeth away,"[2] and the time is short: "it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none."[3] If he improperly quotes the charge "Increase and multiply,"[4] I laugh at him, for not discerning the signs of the times. Second marriage is a remedy against fornication, not a means of lasciviousness. "If they cannot contain," it is said "let them marry;"[5] but if they marry they must not break the law.

5. But they whose souls are blinded by dishonourable lust do not regard even nature, which from old time distinguished the names of the family. For under what relationship will those who contract these unions name their sons? Will they call them brothers or cousins of one another? For, on account of the confusion, both names will apply. O man, do not make the aunt the little one's stepmother; do not arm with implacable jealousy her who ought to cherish them with a mother's love. It is only stepmothers who extend their hatred even beyond death; other enemies make a truce with the dead; stepmothers begin their hatred after death.[6] The sum of what I say is this. If any one wants to contract a lawful marriage, the whole world is open to him: if he is only impelled by lust, let him be the more restricted, "that he may know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour, not in the lust of concupiscence."[7] I should like to say more, but the limits of my letter leave me no further room. I pray that my exhortation may prove stronger than lust, or at least that this pollution may not be found in my own province. Where it has been ventured on there let it abide.

LETTER CLXI.[1]

To Amphilochius on his consecration as Bishop.

1. BLESSED be God Who from age to age chooses them that please Him, distinguishes vessels of election, and uses them for the ministry of the Saints. Though you were trying to flee, as you confess, not from me, but from the calling you expected through me, He has netted you in the sure meshes of grace, and has brought you into the midst of Pisidia to catch men for the Lord, and draw the devil's prey from the deep into the light. You, too, may say as the blessed David said, "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence."[2] Such is the wonderful work of our loving Master. "Asses are lost"[3] that there may be a king of Israel. David, however, being an Israelite was granted to Israel; but the land which has nursed you and brought you to such a height of virtue, possesses you no longer, and sees her neighbour beautified by her own adornment. But all believers in Christ are one people; all Christ's people, although He is hailed from many regions, are one Church; and so our country is glad and rejoices at the dispensation of the Lord, and instead of thinking that she is one man the poorer, considers that through one man she has become possessed of whole Churches. Only may the Lord grant me both to see you in person, and, so long as I am parted from you, to hear of your progress in the gospel, and of the good order of your Churches.

2. Play the man, then, and be strong, and walk before the people whom the Most High has entrusted to your hand. Like a skilful pilot, rise in mind above every wave lifted by heretical blasts; keep the boat from being whelmed by the salt and bitter billows of false doctrine; and wait for the calm to be made by the Lord so soon as there shall have been found a voice worthy of rousing Him to rebuke the winds and the sea. If you wish to visit me, now hurried by long sickness towards the inevitable end, do not wait for an opportunity, or for the word from me. You know that to a father's heart every time is suitable to embrace a well-loved son, and that affection is stronger than words. Do not lament over a responsibility transcending your strength. If you had been destined to bear the burden unaided, it would have been not merely heavy; it would have been intolerable. But if the Lord shares the load with you, "cast all your care upon the Lord"[1] and He will Himself act. Only be exhorted ever to give heed lest you be carried away by wicked customs. Rather change all previous evil ways into good by the help of the wisdom given you by God. For Christ has sent you not to follow others, but yourself to take the lead of all who are being saved. I charge you to pray for me, that, if I am still in this life, I may be permitted to see yon with your Church. If, however, it is ordained that I now depart, may I see all of you hereafter with the Lord, your Church blooming like a vine with good works, and yourself like a wise husbandman and good servant giving meat in due season to his fellow-servants and receiving the reward of a wise and trusty steward. All who are with me salute your reverence. May you be strong and joyful in the Lord. May you be preserved glorious in the graces of the Spirit and of wisdom.

LETTER CLXII.[2]

To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata.[3]

THE same cause seems to make me hesitate to write, and to prove that I must write. When I think of the visit which I owe, and reckon up the gain at meeting you, I cannot help despising letters, as being not even shadows in comparison with the reality. Then, again, when I reckon that my only consolation, deprived as I am of all that is best and most important, is to salute such a man and beg him, as I am wont, not to forget me in his prayers, I bethink me that letters are of no small value. I do not, myself, wish to give up all hope of my visit, nor to despair of seeing you. I should be ashamed not to seem to put so much confidence in your prayers as even to expect to be turned from an old man into a young one, if such a need were to arise, and not merely from a sick and emaciated one, as I am now, into one a little bit stronger. It is not easy to express in words the reason of my not being with you already, because I am not only prevented by actual illness, but have not even force of speech enough at any time to give you an account of such manifold and complex disease. I can only say that, ever since Easter up to now, fever, diarrhoea, and intestinal disturbance, drowning me like waves, do not suffer me to lift my head above them. Brother Barachus may be able to tell you the character of my symptoms, if not as their severity deserves, at least clearly enough to make you understand the reason of my delay. If you join cordially in my prayers, I have no doubt that my troubles will easily pass away.

LETTER CLXIII.[1]

To Count Jovinus.

ONE can see your soul in your letter, for in reality no painter can so exactly catch an outward likeness, as uttered thoughts can image the secrets of the soul. As I read your letter, your words exactly characterized your steadfastness, your real dignity, your unfailing sincerity; in all those things it comforted me greatly though I could not see you. Never fail, then, to seize every opportunity of writing to me, and to give me the pleasure of conversing with you at a distance; for to see you face to face I am now forbidden by the distressing state of my health. How serious this is you will learn from the God-beloved bishop Amphilochius, who is both able to report to you from his having been constantly with me, and fully competent to tell you what he has seen. But the only reason why I wish you to know of my sufferings is, that you will forgive me for the future, and acquit me of lack of energy, if I fail to come and see you, though in truth my loss does not so much need defence from me as comfort from you. Had it been possible for me to come to you, I should have very much preferred a sight of your excellency to all the ends that other men count worth an effort.

LETTER CLXIV.[2]

To Ascholius.[3]

1. IT would not be easy for me to say how very much delighted I am with your holiness's letter. My words are too weak to express all that I feel; you, however, ought to be able to conjecture it, from the beauty of what you have written. For what did not your letter contain? It contained love to God; the marvellous description of the martyrs, which put the manner of their good fight so plainly before me that I seemed actually to see it; love and kindness to myself; words of surpassing beauty. So when I had taken it into my hands, and read it many times, and perceived how abundantly full it was of the grace of the Spirit, I thought that I had gone back to the good old times, when God's Churches flourished, rooted in faith, united in love, all the members being in harmony, as though in one body. Then the persecutors were manifest, and manifest too the persecuted. Then the people grew more numerous by being attacked. Then the blood of the martyrs, watering the Churches, nourished many more champions of true religion, each generation stripping for the struggle with the zeal of those that had gone before. Then we Christians were in peace with one another, the peace which the Lord bequeathed us, of which, so cruelly have we driven it from among us, not a single trace is now left us. Yet my soul did go back to that blessedness of old, when a letter came from a long distance, bright with the beauty of love, and a martyr travelled to me from wild regions beyond the Danube, preaching in his own person the exactitude of the faith which is there observed. Who could tell the delight of my soul at all this? What power of speech could be devised competent to describe all that I felt in the bottom of my heart? However, when I saw the athlete, I blessed his trainer: he, too, before the just Judge, after strengthening many for the conflict on behalf of true religion, shall receive the crown of righteousness.

2. By bringing the blessed Eutyches[1] to my recollection, and honouring my country for having sown the seeds of true religion, you have at once delighted me by your reminder of the past, and distressed me by your conviction of the present. None of us now comes near Eutyches in goodness: so far are we from bringing barbarians under the softening power of the Spirit, and the operation of His graces, that by the greatness of our sins we turn gentle hearted men into barbarians, for to ourselves and to our sins I attribute it that the influence of the heretics is so widely diffused. Peradventure no part of the world has escaped the conflagration of heresy. You tell me of struggles of athletes, bodies lacerated for the truth's sake, savage, fury despised by men of fearless heart, various tortures of persecutors, and constancy of the wrestlers through them all, the block and the water whereby the martyrs died.[1] And what is our condition? Love is grown cold; the teaching of the Fathers is being laid waste; everywhere is shipwreck of the Faith; the mouths of the Faithful are silent; the people, driven flora the houses of prayer, lift up their bands in the open air to their Lord which is in heaven. Our afflictions are heavy, martyrdom is nowhere to be seen, because those who evilly entreat us are called by the same name as ourselves. Wherefore pray to the Lord yourself, and join all Christ's noble athletes wills you in prayer for the Churches, to the end that, if any further time remains for this world, and all things are not being driven to destruction, God may be reconciled to his own Churches and restore them to their ancient peace.

LETTER CLXV.[2]

To Ascholius, bishop of Thessalonica.[3]

GOD has fulfilled my old prayer in deigning to allow me to receive the letter of your veritable holiness. What I most of all desire is to see you and to be seen by you, and to enjoy in actual intercourse all the graces of the Spirit with which you are endowed. This, however, is impossible, both on account of the distance which separates us, and the engrossing occupations of each of us. I therefore pray, in the second place, that my soul may be fed by frequent letters from your love in Christ. This has now been granted me on taking your epistle into my hands. I have been doubly delighted at the enjoyment of your communication. I felt as though I could really see your very soul shining in your words as in some mirror; and I was moved to exceeding joy, not only at your proving to be what all testimony says of you, but that your noble qualities are the ornament of my country. You have filled the country beyond our borders with spiritual fruits, like some vigorous branch sprung from a glorious root. Rightly, then, does our country rejoice in her own offshoots. When you were engaging in conflicts for the Faith she heard that the goodly heritage of the Fathers was preserved in you, and she glorified God. And now what are you about? You have honoured the land that gave you birth by sending her a martyr who has just fought a good fight in the barbarian country on your borders, just as a grateful gardener might send his first fruits to those who had given him the seeds. Verily the gift is worthy of Christ's athlete. a martyr of the truth just crowned with the crown of righteousness, whom we have gladly welcomed, glorifying God who has now fulfilled the gospel of His Christ in all the world. Let me ask you to remember in your prayers me who love you, and for my soul's sake earnestly to beseech the Lord that one day I, too, may be deemed worthy to begin to serve God, according to the way of His commandments which He has given us to salvation.

LETTER CLXVI.[1]

To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata.[2]

LETTER CLXVII.[3]

To Eusebius, bishop of Samosata.

I AM delighted at your remembering me and writing, and, what is yet more important, at your sending me your blessing in your letter. Had I been but worthy of your labours and of your struggles in Christ's cause, I should have been permitted to come to you and embrace you, and to take you as a model of patience. But since I am not worthy of this, and am detained by many afflictions and much occupation, I do what is next best. I salute your excellency, and beseech you not to grow weary of remembering me. For the honour and pleasure of receiving your letters is not only an advantage to me, but it is a ground of boasting and pride before the world that I should be held in honour by one whose virtue is so great, and who is in such close communion with God as to be able, alike by his teaching and example, to unite others with him in it.

LETTER CLXVIII.[4]

To Antiochus.[5]

I MOURN for the Church that is deprived of the guidance of such a shepherd.[6] But I have so much the more ground for congratulating you on being worthy of the privilege of enjoying, at such a moment, the society of one who is fighting such a good fight in the cause of the truth, and I am sure that you, who nobly support and stimulate his zeal, will be thought worthy by the Lord of a lot like his. What a blessing, to enjoy in unbroken quiet the society of the man so rich in learning and experienced in life! Now, at least, you must, I am sure, know how wise he is. In days gone by his mind was necessarily given to many divided cares, and you were too busy a man to give your sole heed to the spiritual fountain which springs from his pure heart. God grant that you may be a comfort to him, and never yourself want consolation from others. I am sure of the disposition of your heart, alike from the experience which I, for a short time, have had of you, and from the exalted teaching your illustrious instructor, with whom to pass one single day is a sufficient provision for the journey to salvation.

LETTER CLXIX.[1]

Basil to Gregory.[2]

YOU have undertaken a kindly and charitable task in getting together the captive troop of the insolent Glycerius (at present I must so write), and, so far as in you lay, covering our common shame. It is only right that your reverence should undo this dishonour with a full knowledge of the facts about him.

This grave and venerable Glycerius of yours was ordained by me deacon of the church of Venesa[3] to serve the presbyter, and look after the work of the Church, for, though the fellow is in other respects intractable, he is naturally clever at manual labour. No sooner was he appointed than he neglected his work, as though there had been absolutely nothing to do. But, of his own private power and authority, he got together some wretched virgins, some of whom came to him of their own accord (you know how young people are prone to anything of this kind), and others were unwillingly forced to accept him as leader of their company. Then he assumed the style and title of patriarch, and began all of a sudden to play the man of dignity. He had not attained to this on any reasonable or pious ground; his only object was to get a means of livelihood, just as some men start one trade and some another. He has all but upset the whole Church, scorning his own presbyter, a man venerable both by character and age; scorning his chorepiscopus, and myself, as of no account at all, continually filling the town and all the clergy with disorder and disturbance. And now, on being mildly rebuked by me and his chorepiscopus, that he may not treat us with contempt (for he was trying to stir the younger men to like insubordination), he is meditating conduct most audacious and inhuman. After robbing as many of the virgins as he could, he has made off by night. I am sure all this will have seemed very sad to you. Think of the time too. The feast was being held there, and, as was natural, large numbers of people were gathered together. He, however, on his side, brought out his own troop, who followed young men and danced round them, causing all well-disposed persons to be most distressed, while loose chatterers laughed aloud. And even this was not enough, enormous as was the scandal. I am told that even the parents of the virgins, finding their bereavement unendurable, wishful to bring home the scattered company, and falling with not unnatural sighs and tears at their daughters' feet, have been insulted and outraged by this excellent young man and his troop of bandits. I am sure your reverence will think all this intolerable. The ridicule of it attaches to us all alike. First of all, order him to come back with the virgins. He might find some mercy, if he were to come back with a letter from you. If you do not adopt this course, at least send the virgins back to their mother the Church. If this cannot be done, at all events do not allow any violence to be done to those that are willing to return, but get them to return to me. Otherwise I call God and man to witness that all this is ill done, and a breach of the law of the Church. The best course would be for Glycerius to come back with a letter,[1] and in a becoming and proper frame of mind; if not, let him be deprived of his ministry.[2]

LETTER CLXX.[1]

To Glycerius.

HOW far will your mad folly go? How long will you counsel mischief against yourself? How long will you go on rousing me to wrath, and bringing shame on the common order of solitaries? Return. Put confidence in God, and in me, who imitate God's loving-kindness. If I rebuked you like a father, like a father I will forgive you. This is the treatment you shall receive from me, for many others are making supplication in your behalf, and before all the rest your own presbyter, for whose grey hairs and compassionate disposition I feel much respect. Continue longer to hold aloof from me and you have quite fallen from your degree.[2] You will also fall away from God, for with your songs and your garb[3] you are leading the young women not to God, but to the pit.

LETTER CLXXI.[4]

To Gregory.

I WROTE to you, not long ago, about Glycerius and the virgins. Even now they have not returned, but are still hesitating, how and why I know not. I should be sorry to charge this against you, as though you were acting thus to bring discredit on me, either because you have some ground of complaint against me, or to gratify others. Let them then come, fearing nothing. Do you be surety for their doing this. For it pains me to have my members cut off, although they have been rightly cut off. If they hold out the burden will rest on others. I wash my hands of it.

LETTER CLXXII.[5]

To Sophronius, the bishop.[6]

THERE is no need for me to say how much I was delighted by your letter. Your own words will enable you to conjecture what I felt on receiving it. You have exhibited to me in your letter, the first fruits of the Spirit, love. Than this what can be more precious to me in the present state of affairs, when, because iniquity abounds, the love of really has waxed cold?[1] Nothing is rarer now than spiritual intercourse with a brother, a word of peace, and such spiritual communion as I have found in you. For this I thank the Lord, beseeching Him that I may have part in the perfect joy that is found in you. If such be your letter, what must it e to meet you in person? If when you are far away you so affect me, what will you be to me when you are seen face to face? Be sure that if I had not been detained by innumerable occupations, and all the unavoidable anxieties which tie me down, I should have hurried to see your excellency. Although that old complaint of mine is a great hindrance to my moving about, nevertheless in view of the good I expect, I would not have allowed this to stand in my way. To be permitted to meet a man holding the same views and reverencing the faith of the Fathers, as you are said to do by our honourable brethren and fellow presbyters, is in truth to go back to the ancient blessedness of the Churches, when the sufferers from unsound disputation were few, and all lived in peace, "workmen" obeying the commandments and not "needing to be ashamed,"[2] serving the Lord with simple and clear confession, and keeping plain and inviolate their faith in Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

LETTER CLXXIII.[3]

To Theodora the Canoness.[4]

I SHOULD be more diligent in writing to you but for my belief that my letters do not always, my friend, reach your own hands. I am afraid that through the naughtiness of those on whose service I depend, especially at a time like this when the whole world is in a state of confusion, a great many other people get hold of them. So I wait to be found fault with, and to be eagerly asked for my letters, that so I may have this proof of their delivery. Yet, whether I write or not, one thing I do without failing, and that is to keep in my heart the memory of your excellency, and to pray the Lord to grant that you may complete the course of good living which you have chosen. For in truth it is no light thing for one, who makes a profession, to follow up all that the promise entails. Any out may embrace the gospel life, but only a very few of those who have come within my knowledge have completely carried out their duty in its minutest details, and have overlooked nothing that is contained therein. Only a very few have been consistent in keeping the tongue in check and the eye trader guidance, as the Gospel would have it; in working with the hands according to the mark of doing what is pleasing to God; in moving the feet, and using every member, as the Creator ordained from the beginning. Propriety in dress, watchfulness in the society of men, moderation in eating and drinking, the avoidance of superfluity in the acquisition of necessities; all these things seem small enough when they are thus merely mentioned, but, as I have found by experience, their consistent observance requires no light struggle. Further, such a perfection of humility as not even to remember nobility of family, nor to be elevated by any natural advantage of body or mind which we may have, nor to allow other people's opinion of us to be a ground of pride and exaltation, all this belongs to the evangelic life. There is also sustained self-control, industry in prayer, sympathy in brotherly love, generosity to the poor, lowliness of temper, contrition of heart, soundness of faith, calmness in depression, while we never forget the terrible and inevitable tribunal. To that judgment we are all hastening, bat those who remember it, and are anxious about what is to follow after it, are very few.

LETTER CLXXIV.[1]

To a Widow.

I HAVE been most wishful to write constantly to your excellency, but I have from time to time denied myself, for fear of causing any temptation to beset you, because of those who are ill disposed toward me. As I am told, their hatred has even gone so far that they make a fuss if any one happens to receive a letter from me. But now that you have begun to write yourself, and very good it is of you to do so, sending me needful information about all that is in your mind, I am stirred to write back to you. Let me then set right what has been omitted in the past, and at the same time reply to what your excellency has written. Truly blessed is the soul, which by night and by day has no other anxiety than how, when the great day comes wherein all creation shall stand before the Judge and shall give an account for its deeds, she too may be able easily to get quit of the reckoning of life.

For he who keeps that day and that hour ever before him, and is ever meditating upon the defence to be made before the tribunal where no excuses will avail, will sin not at all, or not seriously, for we begin to sin when there is a lack of the fear of God in us. When men have a clear apprehension of what is threatened them, the awe inherent in them will never allow them to fall into inconsiderate action or thought. Be mindful therefore of God. Keep the fear of Him in your heart, and enlist all men to join with you in your prayers, for great is the aid of them that are able to move God by their importunity. Never cease to do this. Even while we are living this life in the flesh, prayer will be a mighty helper to as, and when we are departing hence it will be a sufficient provision for us on the journey to the world to come.[1]

Anxiety is a good thing; but, on the other hand, despondency, dejection, and despair of our salvation, are injurious to the soul. Trust therefore in the goodness of God, and look for His succour, knowing that if we turn to Him rightly and sincerely, not only will He not cast us off forever, but will say to us, even while we are in the act of uttering the words of our prayer, "Lo! I am with you."

LETTER CLXXV.[2]

To Count Magnenianus.[3]

YOUR excellency lately wrote to me, plainly charging me, besides other matters, to write concerning the Faith. I admire your zeal in the matter, and I pray God that your choice of good things may be persistent, and that, advancing in knowledge and good works, you may be made perfect. But I have no wish to leave behind me a treatise on the Faith, or to write various creeds, and so I have declined to send what you asked.[4] You seem to me to be surrounded by the din of your men there, idle fellows, who say certain things to calumniate me, with the idea that they will improve their own position by lying disgracefully against me.[1] The past shews what they are, trod future experience will shew them in still plainer colours. I, however, call on all who trust in Christ not to busy themselves in opposition to the ancient faith, but, as we believe, so to be baptized, and, as we are baptized, so to offer the doxology.[2] It is enough for us to confess those names which we have received from Holy Scripture. and to shun all innovation about them. Our salvation does not lie in the invention of modes of address, but in the sound confession of the Godhead in which we have professed our faith.

LETTER CLXXVI.[3]

To Amphilochius, Bishop of Iconium.[4]

GOD grant that when this letter is put into your hands, it may find you in good health, quite at leisure, and as you would wish to be. For then it will not be in vain that I send you this invitation to be present at our city, to add greater dignity to the annual festival which it is the custom of our Church to hold in honour of the martyrs? For be sure my most honoured and dear friend, that our people here, though they have had experience of many, desire no one's presence so eagerly as they do yours; so affectionate an impression has your short intercourse with them left behind. So, then, that the Lord may be glorified, the people delighted, the martyrs honoured, and that I in my old age may receive the attention due to me from my true son, do not refuse to travel to me with all speed. I will beg you too to anticipate the day of assembly, that so we may converse at leisure and may comfort one another by the interchange of spiritual gifts. The day is the fifth of September.[6] Come then three days beforehand in order that you may also honour with your presence the Church[7] of the Hospital. May you by the grace of the Lord be kept in good health and spirits in the Lord, praying for me and for the Church of God.

LETTER CLXXVII.[1]

To Saphronius the Master.

TO reckon up all those who have received kindness at your excellency's hand, for my sake, is no easy task; so many are there whom I feel that I have benefited through your kind aid, a boon which the Lord has given me to help me in these very serious times. Worthiest of all is he who is now introduced to you by my letter, the reverend brother Eusebius, attacked by a ridiculous calumny which it depends upon you alone in your uprightness, to destroy. I beseech you, therefore, both as respecting the right and as being humanely disposed, to grant me your accustomed favours, by adopting the cause of Eusebius as your own, and championing him, and, at the same time, truth. It is no small thing that he has the right on his side; and this, if he be not stricken down by the present crisis, he will have no difficulty in proving plainly and without possibility of contradiction.

LETTER CLXXVIII.[2]

To Aburgius.[3]

I KNOW that I have often recommended many persons to your excellency, and so in serious emergencies have been very useful to friends in distress. But I do not think that I have ever sent to you one whom I regard with greater respect, or one engaged in contests of greater importance, than my very dear son Eusebius, who now places this letter in your hands. He will himself inform your excellency, if the opportunity is permitted him, in what difficulties he is involved. I ought to say, at least, as much as this. The man ought not to be misjudged, nor, because many have been convicted of disgraceful doings, ought he to come under common suspicion. He ought to have a fair trial, and his life must be enquired into. In this way the untruth of the charges against him will be made plain, and be, after enjoying your righteous protection, will ever proclaim what he owes to your kindness.[4]

LETTER CLXXIX.[1]

To Arinthoeus.[2]

YOUR natural nobility of character and your general accessibility have taught me to regard you as a friend of freedom and of men. I have, therefore, no hesitation in approaching you in behalf of one who is rendered illustrious by a long line of ancestry, but is worthy of greater esteem and honour on his own account, because of his innate goodness of disposition. I beg you, on my entreaty, to give him your support under a legal charge, in reality, indeed, ridiculous, but difficult to meet on account of the seriousness of the accusation. It would be of great importance to his success if you would deign to say a kind word in his behalf. You would, in the first place, be helping the right; but you would further be showing in this your wonted respect and kindness to myself, who am your friend.

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