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Full text of "The Fathers Of The Church A New Translation Saint Basil Ascetical Works Volume 9"

.there-; of the Church,, 



66-0^10 




A NEW TRANSLATION 
VOLUME 9 



A NEW TRANSLATION 



EDITORIAL BOARD 
ROY JOSEPH DKPERRARI 

The Catholic University of America 
Editorial Director 



RUDOLPH ARBESMANN, O.S.A. BERNARD M. PEEBLES 

Fordham University The Catholic University of America 



STEPHAN KUTTNER Kom:K<r l> - KHSSKLL, O.S.A. 

The Catholic University of America Yilhuuna Co 



MARTIN R. P. McGum: ANSKLM STRITTMATTKR, O.S.B. 

The Catholic University of America St. Antrim's Priory 

WILFRID PARSONS, SJ. JAMKS EDWARD TOIIIH 

Georgetown University Queens College 

GERALD G. WALSH, SJ. 
Fordham University 



SAINT BASIL 



ASCETICAL WORKS 



Translated by 
SISTER M. MONICA WAGNER, C S. C. 




The Catholic University of America Press 

Washington 17, I). C. 

1962 



NIHIL OBSTAT: 

JOHN M. A, FEARNS, S.T.D. 
Censor Libromm 

IMPRIMATUR: 

* FRANCIS CARDINAL SPELLMAN 
Archbishop of New York 



Jwe 26, 1950 

The NiMl obstat and Imprimatur are official declarations thai a book or 

pamphlet is free of doctrinal or moral error. No implication, is contained 

therein that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree 

with the contents, opinions or statements expressed* 



Copyright 1950, by 

THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA PRESS, INC, 
Alt rights reserved 

Reprinted 1962 



Lithographed by 
Sauls Lithograph Company, Inc. 

Washington, I), C. 




INTRODUCTION 

IHATEVER MAY HAVE BEEN the factors responsible for 
the marked ebullience of the asoetical movement in 
the Church during the fourth century, the impulse 
to withdraw from society and enter a life of rigorous austerity 
in deserts or mountain fastnesses was widely experienced and 
it constitutes a dominant spiritual phenomenon of the age. 
An incident casually introduced by St. Augustine in the 
eighth book of his Confessions illustrates the far-reaching 
and impetuous force of this ascetical urge. During a conver- 
sation in Milan with Augustine and Alypius, Ponticianus, a 
fellow African and an imperial court official, recalls the mar- 
vels of the life of St. Anthony of Egypt and his followers. 
Amazed to find his hosts quite unacquainted with the history 
of so renowned a personage and ignorant as well of the fact 
that a populous monastery under the care of Bishop Ambrose 
was established just outside Milan, Ponticianus enlarges upon 
his theme to relate an instance of a sudden call to the mon- 
astic life which had been experienced by two of his colleagues. 
Upon merely reading the life of St. Anthony which they had 
come upon by chance during an afternoon's stroll, both men 
were so profoundly affected and so transformed inwardly 
that they determined to embrace then and there the mon- 
astic life, without even a final return to the imperial palace. 
Both, as it happened, were betrothed and their fiancees, upon 
hearing of their resolve, also consecrated their lives to God. 
Such was the environmental context in which providentially 
appeared and matured the masterful spirit of St. Basil the 
Great. His family background and his own inborn tendencies 
were, besides, admirably suited to the spirit of his age. Among 



SAINT BASH, 



the nine surviving children born to the* staunchly Christian 
and socially prominent Basil (father of the saint and Km- 
mclia, there were three bishops, a monk, and a nun, Macrina, 
the eldest of the five daughters who became one of the most 
remarkable women of the fourth century. In her later \ears 
Emmclia, herself eminently holy, yielded to the persuasion 
of Macrina and gave up the comforts and privileges of her 
rank to live in a manner similar to that of her maids. Subse- 
quently, when the family property has been divided among 
the children the widowed Emmelia, Macrina, the youngest 
son, Peter, the family servants, and a number of other high- 
born women of Cappadocia and Pontus took up a retired 
life under a strict monastic regime in the ancestral home on 
the banks of the Iris opposite St, Basil's Politic retreat. 

On this family estate at Annesi near Neo-Caesarea, St, Basil 
had received his first instruction in religion from his paternal 
grandmother, Macrina. Earlier, Macrina had been a disciple 
of St. Gregory Thaumaturgos and a fugitive with her hus- 
band, a wealthy landholder and a devout Christian, from tin* 
persecution of Maximian. To his father, a prominent member 
of the bar in Gacsarea and also a teacher of rhetoric, Basil 
owed his introduction to liberal studies and to that broad cul- 
ture which later distinguished him. His subsequent training in 
Caesarea, the literary as well as the civil capital of Centra! 
Asia Minor, won him a local reputation for excellence iti 
rhetoric and philosophy. More advanced study followed at 
Constantinople and finally at Athens, now only a little pro- 
vincial city but an intellectual and academic metropolis. 

During his sojourn in Athens, St. Basil and his famous in- 
separable friend, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, had often planned 
the monastic retreat which they promised each other one day 
to share. In 358, this dream wa*s realized in the forest solitude 



INTRODUCTION VU 

on the hanks of the Iris, where Basil and Gregor\ c< Elaborated 
over the Philocdia, a compilation of elected excerpts from 
Origen, and also in the drawing up of some monastic rules. 
Between the close of his university career in Athens in about 
355 and his first retirement to the hermitage on the Iris, Basil 
had enjoyed a short but brilliant career as a teacher of rhetoric 
in Neo-Caesarea. His instinctive yearning for the monastic 
life, however, supported by the urging of his sister, Macrina, 
who feared (and with .some reason according to St. Gregory 
of Nyssa) the effect of worldly success upon her gifted brother, 
led him to renounce his professional career and, after receiving 
Baptism, to dedicate himself thenceforward to God. In Epistle 
223, we have Saint Basil's own account of his 'conversion* : 1 
'Having lavished much time on the vanity and having con- 
sumed almost all my youth in the futility, which were mine 
while I occupied myself with the acquirement of the precepts 
of that wisdom made foolish by God, when one day arising 
as from a deep sleep I looked out upon the marvelous light 
of the truth of the Gospel, and beheld the uselessness of the 
wisdom "of the princes of this world that come to nought," 
bemoaning much my piteous life, I prayed that there be given 
me a guidance to the introduction to the teachings of religion. 
And before all things my care was to make some amendment 
in my character, which had for a long time been perverted 
by association with the wicked. And accordingly, having read 
the Gospel and having perceived therein that the greatest in- 
centive to perfection is the selling of one's goods and the shar- 
ing of them with the needy of the brethren, and the being 
entirely without thought of this life, and that the soul should 

1 The following e\<crpt is from the translation b\ ROY J, Defmari, 
Saint Jta.fi/, The Letters III (Loch (".lassie al Library, London and New 
York 1930). 



SAINT BASIL 



have no sympathetic concern with the things of this world, I 
prayed that I might find some one of the brethren who had 
taken this way of life, so as to traverse with him this life's 
brief flood. 

'And indeed I found many men in Alexandria am! many 
throughout the rest of Egypt, and others in Palestine and in 
Coele-Syria and Mesopotamia, at whose continence in living 
I marvelled, and I marvelled at their steadfastness in suffer- 
ings, I was amazed at their vigour in prayers, at how they 
gained the mastery over sleep, being bowed down by no neces- 
sity of nature, ever preserving exalted and unshackled the 
purpose of their soul, in hunger and thirst, in eolti and naked- 
ness, not concerning themselves with the body, nor deigning 
to waste a thought upon it; but as if passing their lives in alien 
flesh, they showed in deed what it is to sojourn here below, 
and what to have citizenship in heaven. Having marvelled at 
all this and deeming the lives of these men blessed, because 
by deed they show that they bear about in their body the 
mortification of Jesus, I prayed that I myself also, in so far 
as was attainable by me, might be an emulator of these men/ 

St. Basil's journey in search of a guide in the way of the 
monastic life took him to Egypt as an obvious main objective. 
Here the Christian Church was eminent both for orthodoxy 
and asceticism and here also was to be found the cradle of 
Christian eremetical or semi-eremctical life in its two lines of 
development: the Antonian and Pachomian systems. The 
first originated in the life and example of the Coptic solitary, 
St. Anthony, who, in spite of himself, attracted numerous 
disciples. Colonies of such hermits spread throughout Kgypt 
and the East, but even the largest settlements remained essen- 
tially eremetical. The system of Pachomius, a younger contem- 
porary of Anthony, while it also involved an element of vol- 



INTRODUCTION IX 

untary, individual effort, especially as regards personal interior 
life, in its external framework it represents the earliest system- 
atic effort toward a corporate and stable monasticism. Pacho- 
mian cocnobitism, considerably corrected and modified^ was 
the model of the monastic system propagated by St. Basil* 

After something over a year spent in Eastern travel, Basil 
returned home to take up his own life of ascetical rigor in 
his Pontic solitude. Here he would realize his monastic ideals 
in a daily round of prayer, study, and agricultural labors. The 
disciples who flocked to Basil when he had settled in his re- 
treat had not been directly inspired by his personal influence, 
however, although his prestige undoubtedly gave exceptional 
persuasiveness to his example. Monasteries had already been 
established in Pontus as well as in Roman Armenia and 
Paphlagonia by Eustathius of Sebaste, who was St. Basil's 
master in the ascetical life and his intimate friend until a 
breach on doctrinal grounds permanently ruptured the inti- 
macy. Precisely how much Basil owed to his predecessor in 
the development of his monastic ideals is difficult to assess, 
but it is undeniable that his influence was of capital impor- 
tance in the formation of St. Basil's ascetical doctrine and 
even in the practical organization of his monasteries. It was 
probably at the advice of Eustathius that he undertook his 
extensive Eastern travels and at his return he placed himself 
under the direction of the Bishop of Sebaste. 

Perhaps it may safely be asserted that the creation of true 
coenobitical monachism, receptive of both sexes and all classes, 
was substantially the work of St. Basil. Such features as the 
common house, the common table, prayer in common, all 
of which became constant and permanent in Western mon- 
asticism, may be considered original with him in the sense that 
he regulated and systematized these elements. The Antonian 



x SAINT BASIL 

colony and the Pachomian coeobium became under Basil's 
system a true society. Original also is the note of moderation, 
deriving, perhaps, from St. Basil's Greek sense of proportion, 
which marks his development and modification of the Pach- 
omian regime. He prescribes monasteries of moderate size 
in contrast to the sprawling Pachomian aggregates. He insists 
upon a reasonable standard of corporal austerity, outlawing 
thus the spectacular rivalries in ascetical rigor which charac- 
terized Egyptian asceticism. Private fasts might not be under- 
taken by his monks without the superior's permission,, on the 
principle that self-will is quite as likely to find expression in 
this matter as in any other. But, although corporal mortifica- 
tions are controlled by explicit prescription, the Rule of St. 
Basil is uncompromisingly stringent as compared, for instance, 
with that of Pachomius in the matter of monastic detachment. 
The renunciation of relatives and the leading of the common 
life so dominated the entire existence of the early Basilian 
monk that it constituted in itself no mean penitential exercise. 
A new strictness was also attached by St. Basil to the obli- 
gations assumed by the monk or nun. With him, as Clarke 
has shown, the monastic profession involved a permanent and 
irrevocable vow. Even as regards bodily austerities, St. Basil's 
references to pallor and leanness as proper attributes of the 
Christian monk warn us against interpreting the moderation 
counseled by him according to Western contemporary stand- 
ards. There is, furthermore, a marked strain of Stoic rigorism 
in St. Basil's insistence upon the extreme gravity of sin to the 
extent that he does not recognize degrees of heinousness all 
sin is equally serious and also in his stern demand for the 
renunciation of all fleshly pleasures. On the other hand, while 
St. Basil strongly insists upon obedience 'even unto death/ 
the superior does not have absolute power; but his acts are 



INTRODUCTION XI 

subject to certain limitations and he may and should be ad- 
monished when necessary by a select group of elder brethren. 
Obedience, moreover, Is not only a matter of compliance 
with formal precepts but an ideal inspiring all of life both 
physical and spiritual, affecting the interior of the soul as 
well as imposing certain external checks. 

Sanctity, furthermore, according to St. Basil's view, is 
social in character. Love of God and neighbor find full ex- 
pression only in community life where all cooperate In their 
efforts toward perfection. For instance, spiritual direction is 
insisted upon as an obligation. The social ideal of St. Basil 
is further illustrated by his minute prescriptions as to regular 
hours for common prayer, as to the quantity and quality of 
food and clothing and numerous other details regarding life 
and conduct. This enthusiasm for the principle of the common 
life rests upon his conviction that a life of seclusion from one's 
fellow men offers no scope for the practice of humility and 
obedience and is plainly opposed to the law of charity. Fur- 
ther, he declared that life in common followed the apostolic 
precedent and illustrated that corporate fellowship which St. 
Paul represents under the figure of the body and its members. 
The Scriptures, it must be added, are the firm basis of Basil's 
entire monastic doctrine. He continually adduces Scriptural 
support for his ascetical teachings and their application. 

Because of the paramount obligation of charity toward 
one's fellow man, Basilian coenobia are established in towns 
instead of in desert wastes. The monks dwell in the midst of 
their secular brethren so as by their conduct to provide them 
with a model for true Christian living. The external works 
of the monastic life are to be undertaken not only as corporal 
discipline but from the love of neighbor, that his needs may 
be provided for; yet the tasks undertaken must not be of the 



Xil SAINT BASIL 

sort that would interfere with or distract from the ordered 
tranquility of the monastic life. Labor in Basil's view is essen- 
tial and obligatory and must be, above all, unselfish. As for 
prayer, even the true Christian and most especially the monk 
is insistently urged to pray so constantly and continuously 
that prayer will become a spontaneous habit of mind. 

But works of philanthropy, no more than the life in com- 
mon, were to be regarded as an end in themselves, All acts 
of benevolence toward fellow men, as well as the entire 
mechanism of monastic discipline work, silence, mortifica- 
tion had one end in view to which all these were to be duly 
subordinated as means. This end was union with God. Self- 
renunciation as practically achieved through a life of physical 
and mental discipline in a monastic community and works of 
active charity toward fellow men are inevitable corollaries 
to the love of God. The systematic formulation of this great 
conception which is the guiding principle of modem Western 
coenobitism is the essential contribution of St. Basil of Cae- 
sarea. Thus, St. Basil has become, in the words of Theodoret 
of Cyrus, 'the light not only of Cappadocia but of the whole 
world.' St. Benedict, the 'Father of Western Monasticism, 9 
knew and used the Rule of St. Basil in the Latin translation 
of Rufinus and, apart from certain borrowings from Gaussian 
in matters of detail, depends more heavily upon St. Basil than 
upon any other monastic legislator. To this day, moreover, the 
fundamental concept of Greek and Slavonic monasticism con- 
tinues to be the conception of St. Basil. His single name and 
personality has welded all Eastern monastic communities to- 
gether under the common title, 'Basilian,' even though it 
must be admitted that the monastic traditions established by 
the Bishop of Caesarea are preserved in the East mainly in 
their external framework. 



WRITINGS 

OF 
SAINT BASIL 



VOLUME 1 



C ONTENTS 

INTRODUCTION v 

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ASCETICAL LIFE ... 9 

AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE AND EXHORTATION ON 
THE RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD AND 
SPIRITUAL PERFECTION 15 

A DISCOURSE ON ASCETICAL DISCIPLINE . ... 33 

PREFACE ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 37 

CONCERNING FAITH 57 

HEREWITH BEGINS THE MORALS 71 

AN ASrv-iCAL DISCOURSE 207 

AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE 217 

THE LONG RULES 223 

CONCERNING BAPTISM 339 



HOMILY ON THE WORDS: 'GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 431 

HOMILY 10: AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE PRONE TO 

ANGER 447 

HOMILY 11: CONCERNING ENVY 463 

HOMILY 20: OF HUMILITY 475 

HOMILY 21: ON DETACHMENT FROM WORLDLY 

GOODS 487 

ON MERCY AND JUSTICE 507 

INDEX 513 



PREFATORY NOTE 

Of the ascetical works traditionally ascribed to Saint Basil 
of Caesarea, this volume contains a translation of the follow- 
ing: 

Three short treatises, seemingly addressed to ascetics, com- 
prising exhortations to the monastic life and ascetical recom- 
mendations and prescriptions on certain matters of behavior 
in community life. Two additional tracts, placed after the 
Morals, are of similar content, with greater emphasis on de- 
tail. 

The Morals or Ethics, with its double prologue, the treatise, 
On the Judgment of God and Concerning Faith. The Morals 
consists of eighty precepts or rules, some with subdivisions, 
based upon the teachings of the Gospel. In general, the work 
appears to be directed to the Christian laity, but particular 
sections are concerned with the duties and needs of monks 
and of clergy living in the world. 

The Long Rules, with its preface. The fifty-rive chapters 
or instructions of the Long Rules, mostly in the form of ques- 
tions and answers, deal with specifically monastic problems. 

Concerning Baptism. Although they do not form a part of 
the Ascetica proper, the two books, Concerning Baptism, have 
been added because of their moral and ascetical content. 
Similarly, selected homilies on ethico-ascetical themes attribut- 
ed to St. Basil are included. 



SAINT BASIL 



The Migne reprint of the Benedictine edition was used as 
the text and the Scriptural passages follow the Douay-Rhelms 
translation, 



SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 
Texts: 

Amand, Dom David, UA$c&se Monastique de Saint Basile, Essai 
Historique (Maredsous 1949) , 

Bardy, Gustave, 'Basile (Saint) , vque de Csare de Cappadoce/ 
Dictionnaire de spiritualite ascetique et mystique (Pans 1937) , 
1:1273-1^83; 2:1276-1283. 

Clarke, W. K. Lowther, St. Basil the Great. A Study in Monastidsm 
(Cambridge, Eng. 1913) . 

Humbertclaude, Pierre, La Doctrine Ascdtique de Saint Basils de 
Cesarte (Paris 1932). 

Morison, E. F., St, Basil and His Rule, A Study in Early Monas* 
ticism (Oxford 1912). 

Murphy, Sister Margaret Gertrude, St. Basil and Monasticism (Wash- 
ington 1930) . 



SAINT BASIL 
ASCETICAL WORKS 



Translated 
by 

SISTER M. MONICA WAGNER, C. S. C. 
Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross 



AN INTRODUCTION TO THE ASCETICAL LIFE 




ARE THE ORDINANCES decreed by a king for his 
ordinary subjects, but nobler and more regal are the 
^^^ mmm commands he addresses to his soldiers. As if military 
orders are being proclaimed, therefore, let that man give ear 
who desires what is of great and celestial worth, who wishes 
to be ever Christ's comrade in battle, who heeds that mighty 
word: s lf any man minister to me, let him follow me; and 
where I am, there also shall my minister be. 51 Where is 
Christ, the King? In heaven, to be sure. Thither it behooves 
you, soldier [of Christ], to direct your course. Forget all 
earthly delights. A soldier does not build a house; he does 
not aspire to the possession of lands; he does not concern him- 
self with devious, coin-purveying trade. 'No man, being a sol- 
dier to God, entangleth himself with secular businesses; that 
he may please him to whom he hath engaged himself/ 2 The 
soldier enjoys a sustenance provided by the king; he need not 
furnish his own, nor vex himself in this regard. By royal edict, 
a home lies open to him wherever there are subjects of the 
king. He is not required to toil at building a house. On the 
open road is his tent and he takes his food as necessity de- 
mands; water is his drink, and his slumber such as nature 
provides. Many are his marches and vigils; his endurance of 
heat and cold, engagements with the foe, the worst and 
greatest of perils; often, perchance, death itself but a glori- 
ous death followed by rewards and a king's gifts. His life is 

1 John 12.26. 

2 2 Tim. 2.4, 



10 SAINT BASIL 

toilsome in war; in peace it is joyous. The prize of valor, the 
crown awarded to him who has lived nobly in righteousness, 
is to be endowed with sovereignty, to be called the King's 
friend, to stand at His side, to receive His salutation, to accept 
honors from the King's own hand, to be eminent among the 
King's people, and to play the mediator for his friends with- 
out the court in whatever they desire. 

Come, then, soldier of Christ, with the aid of these ordi- 
nary parallels drawn from human considerations conceive 
the desire of everlasting goods. Set before yourself a life 
without house, homeland, or possessions. Be free and at liberty 
from all worldly cares, lest desire of a wife or anxiety for a 
child fetter you. In the celestial warfare this cannot be, Tor 
the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to 
God. 53 Bodily nature does not exercise dominion over you, 
nor does it constrain you against your will; it does not make 
you slave instead of free. Desire not to leave behind you pro- 
geny upon the earth, but to lead them to heaven ; nor to cleave 
to fleshly unions, but to strive after spiritual ones to exercise 
power over souls and beget sons in the spirit. Follow the 
Heavenly Bridegroom; withstand the onset of invisible foes; 
wage war against principalities and powers, 4 driving them out 
first from your own soul that they may have no part with 
you and, thereafter, out of those who fly to you and, seeking 
the protection of your counsel, cast themselves at your feet 
as their leader and champion. Repudiate those disputes which 
are opposed to the faith of Christ. Fight with the word of 
piety against the impious and wicked counsel; 'destroying 
counsels,' as the Apostle says, "and every height that exalteth 
itself against the knowledge of God/ 5 Place your trust, most 

32 Cor. 10.4. 

4 Eph. 6.12. 

5 2 Cor. 10.4-5. 



INTRODUCTION TO ASCETICAL LIFE II 

of all, In the arm of the great King, the mere beholding of 
which makes His enemies fear and tremble. But whenever He 
wills that you also become holy through the endurance of 
perils and wishes to pit His own forces against the foe, then, 
in every struggle let your arms be invincible, your soul un- 
daunted by danger, and with ready will change your abode 
from land to land and from sea to sea. 'And when they shall 
persecute you, flee from city to city/ says the Evangelist. 6 
When you are summoned to court and must stand, perforce, 
before the magistrates or be a victim of popular attack ; when 
you are forced to behold the dread visage of the executioner 
and hear his harsh voice, or endure the cruel sight of instru- 
ments of torment, or be tried by torture fight even to the 
death. Be not faint-hearted in the face of all these sufferings. 
Keep before your eyes Him who for your sake was afflicted 
by them, knowing that for the sake of Christ you also must be 
tried therein, and you will be victorious over them; for you fol- 
low a King who is a victor, and who wishes you to share in 
His victory. Moreover, not even if you die have you been con- 
quered nav? then, in truth, have you won the perfect victory, 
inasmuch as you have preserved unto your own self and even 
to the end the truth which remains ever unchanged and you 
have maintained an intrepid boldness in speaking on behalf 
of the truth. 

From death you shall pass to everlasting life, from igno- 
miny in men's sight to glory with God, and from the adversi- 
ties and chastisements of this world to eternal peace with 
the angels. Earth did not accept you as a citizen, but heaven 
will welcome you. The world persecuted you, but the angels 
will bear you aloft to the presence of Christ. You will even 
be called friend by Him and will hear the longed-for word 

6 Matt. 10.23. 



12 SAINT BASIL 

of commendation: 'Well done, good and faithful servant, 
brave soldier and imitator of the Lord, follower of the King, 
I shall reward you with My own gifts and I shall pay heed 
to your words even as you did to Mine.' You will ask the 
salvation of your brethren still laboring under tribulation and 
you will receive from the King for your comrades in the faith 
and in holy charity a share in His blessings. You will join in 
the never-ending dance and wear your crown in the sight of 
the angels, ruling under the King over His creatures and liv- 
ing blessedly in the company of the blessed. But if He wish 
to leave you still on earth after your conflicts in order to wage 
other and more diversified kinds of warfare and rescue many 
from contests with visible and invisible foes, great will be 
your glory even upon earth; you will be held in honor by 
your friends who will have found in you a defender, a friend 
in need, and an able spokesman. They will cherish you as a 
brave soldier; they will honor you as a noble champion; they 
will salute you as a friend and welcome you with joy as an 
angel of God and, according to Paul, as Christ Jesus. 7 Such, 
then, are the similitudes of the spiritual warfare. But our dis- 
course is not addressed to men only; for members of the fe- 
male sex are not rejected because of physical weakness, but, 
chosen for the army of Christ by reason of their virility of 
spirit, they also battle on the side of Christ and fight no less 
valiantly than men. Some even win a greater renown. Of the 
number of these are they who compose the virgin throng. Of 
these are they who are pre-eminent in the combat for the con- 
fession of the faith and in the triumphs of martyrdom. In- 
deed, women as well as men followed after the Lord during 
His life on earth and both sexes ministered to our Saviour, 
Since this is the glorious recompense laid up for the army of 



7 Gal. 4.14. 



INTRODUCTION TO ASCETIGAL LIFE 13 

Christ, the fathers of sons and the mothers of daughters 
should be filled with longing for it. Let them, in their desire 
to have worthy envoys and spokesmen with Christ, bring be- 
fore Him their offspring, rejoicing in the everlasting hopes 
which their children will share in with themselves. And let us 
not become faint-hearted in our concern for our children nor 
grow fearful if they suffer tribulation, but let us be happy that 
they will be glorified. Let us offer to the Lord the gifts received 
from Him, so that we may be partners with our children in 
glory, going before Him together with them and standing with 
them in His presence. Certainly, to those who show an alac- 
rity such as this and who nobly contend for the victory, the 
words of the Psalmist may be appropriately applied: 'Blessed 
be you of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 58 And the 
prayer of Moses will be offered for them : 'Bless, O Lord, their 
works, strike the brow of their enemies. 59 Fight manfully, then, 
like good soldiers and run nobly your race for the everlasting 
crown 10 in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to whom be glory for ever, 
Amen. 

8 Ps. 113.15. 

9 Deut. 33.11. 
10 1 Cor. 9.24,25. 




AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE AND EXHORTATION 

ON THE RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 

AND SPIRITUAL PERFECTION 

|OME TO ME, all you that labor and are burdened and 
I will refresh you/ 1 says the Divine Voice, signifying 
either earthly or heavenly refreshment. In either 
case, He calls us to Himself, inviting us, on the one hand, to 
cast off the burden of riches by distributing to the poor, and, 
on the other, to make haste to embrace the cross-bearing life of 
the monks by ridding ourselves through confession and good 
works of the load of sins contracted by our use of worldly 
goods. How truly admirable and happy, then, is he who has 
chosen to heed Christ and hastens to take up the life of lowli- 
ness and recollection ! But, I beseech you, let no man do this 
thoughtlessly nor promise himself an easy existence and sal- 
vation without a struggle. He should, rather, undergo rigorous 
preliminary discipline with a view to proving his fitness to 
endure tribulations both of body and soul, lest, exposing him- 
self to unforeseen strategems, he be unable to resist the assaults 
against him and find himself in full retreat to his starting 
point, a victim of disgrace and ridicule. Moreover, in re- 
turning to the world with a judgment of condemnation on 
his soul, he becomes a scandal to many, creating in the minds 
of all suspicions that the life in Christ is an impossibility 
and of the perils of such an eventuality all you are aware who 
read the Gospels in which the Divine Voice says: It were 



1 Matt. 11.28. 

15 



16 SAINT BASIL 

better for him that a mill-stone should be hanged about his 
neck and that he be cast into the sea than that he scandalize 
one of these little ones.' 2 For not only will he be liable to con- 
demnation as a deserter, but he will be responsible also for 
the ruin of those who are undone by his defection, even if 
he pretend to convince himself by foolish arguments that he 
will propitiate the Divinity by a life of good works in the 
world an impossibility for him. If he is not strong enough 
to bear the blows of his adversary in a state of life where occa- 
sions of sin are remote because of greater retirement, how 
will he be able to perform any virtuous actions in a state which 
is openly exposed to evil and in which he is his own master? 
Even assuming that he direct his personal life properly, he will 
not escape the reproach of abandoning Christ any more than 
did those disciples mentioned in the Gospel, concerning whom 
the inspired writer says: 'Many of the disciples went back, 
and walked no more with Jesus, saying, "His saying is hard, 
and who can hear it?" ' 3 For this reason, also, the benevolent 
God, solicitous for our salvation, ordained two states of life 
for men marriage and virginity that he who is not able to 
endure the hardships of virginity might have recourse to the 
married state, realizing, however, that he will be required to 
give an account of his sobriety and holiness and of his resem- 
blance to the saints who passed their lives in the married state 
and in the rearing of children. Such a one was Abraham in 
the Old Testament, who, in sacrificing his only son without 
showing grief, gained great glory by thus preferring God 
before all Moreover, he kept the doors of his tent open and 
ready to receive those who were in quest of hospitality, 4 for 
he had not heard the counsel, 'Sell what thou hast and give 

2 Matt 18.6. 

3 John 6.67,61. 

4 Gen 18.1,2. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 17 

to the poor.' 5 Job, also, and a host of others David and 
Samuel, for Instance bore even greater testimony. In the 
New Testament, Peter is an example and also the other 
Apostles. Every man, indeed, will be asked for the fruits of 
his love of God and neighbor and he will pay the penalty 
for his violation of these as well as of all the commandments, 
as the Lord declares in the Gospel, saying: 'He that loveth 
father or mother more than me is not worthy of me 56 and 
'Whoever does not hate his father and mother and wife and 
children, yea, and his own life, also, he cannot be my dis- 
ciple.' 7 

Does it not seem to you, then, that the Gospel applies to 
married persons also? Surely, it has been made clear that 
obedience to the Gospel is required of all of us, both married 
and celibate. The man who enters the married state may well 
be satisfied in obtaining pardon for his incontinency and de- 
sire of a wife and marital existence, but the rest of these 
precepts are obligatory for all alike and are fraught with 
peril for transgressors. Christ, when He preached the com- 
mands of His Father, was speaking to persons living in the 
world; He clearly testified this by His answer on one occasion 
when He was privately questioned by His disciples: 'And 
what I say to you, I say to all/ 8 Do not relax your efforts, 
therefore, you who have chosen the companionship of a wife, 
as if you were at liberty to embrace worldliness. Indeed, you 
have need of greater labors and vigilance for the gaining of 
your salvation, inasmuch as you have elected to dwell in the 
midst of the toils and in the very stronghold of rebellious pow- 
ers, and night and day all your senses are impelled toward 
desire of the allurements to sin which are before your eyes. 

5 Matt. 19.21. 

6 Matt. 10.37. 

7 Luke 14.26. 

8 Mark 13.37. 



18 SAINT BASIL 

Be assured, then 3 that you will not escape doing battle with 
the Renegade nor will you gain the victory over him without 
much striving to observe the evangelical doctrines. How will 
you, stationed in the very thick of the battle, be able to win 
the contest against the Enemy? That he wanders over all the 
earth under heaven and ranges about like a mad dog seeking 
whom he may devour, 9 we leam from the history of Job. 
If, then, you refuse battle with your Antagonist, betake your- 
self to another world where he is not; then, avoidance of 
conflict with him will be possible for you, as well as relaxation 
without peril to evangelical doctrines. But, if this cannot be, 
make haste to leam how to fight with him, taking instruction 
from the Scriptures in the art of conflict, that you may not be 
defeated through your ignorance and consigned to everlast- 
ing fire. 

These counsels should be given casually, as it were, to per- 
sons living in the married state who are not dangerously neg- 
ligent in observing Christ's precepts. But, you who aspire to 
become a lover of the celestial polity, an active participant 
in the angelical life, and a fellow soldier of Christ's holy dis- 
ciples, brace yourself for the endurance of tribulations and 
manfully betake yourself to the company of the monks. Even 
in the beginning of your renunciation of the world show your- 
self a man, and, that you may not be dragged down by at- 
tachments to your blood relatives, strengthen yourself by 
exchanging mortal for immortal aspirations. Furthermore, 
when you make renouncement of the goods you possess, be 
adamant in your resolve, convinced that you are merely dis- 
patching these goods to heaven in advance; for, although you 
are hiding them in the bosom of the lowly, you will find 
them again with God, greatly increased. Moreover, be not 



9 1 Pet. 5.8. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 19 

cast down at having divested yourself of friends and relatives. 
since you are thereby united with Christ who was crucified 
for you; and what greater proof of love could be conceived 
of than this? 10 And when, with God's help, you will have 
gained victory over your Enemy in this first onset, do not be 
careless of yourself as if you were a useless vessel for, in- 
deed, by the renouncement of earthly goods you have won 
honor with Christ but with much care and forethought set 
about finding a man skilled in guiding those who are making 
their way toward God who will be an unerring director of 
your life. He should be adorned with virtues, bearing witness 
by his own works to his love for God, conversant with the 
Holy Scripture, recollected, free from avarice, a good, quiet 
man, tranquil, pleasing to God, a lover of the poor, mild, for- 
giving, laboring hard for the spiritual advancement of his 
clients, without vainglory or arrogance, impervious to flat- 
tery, not given to vacillation, and preferring God to all things 
else. If you should find such a one, surrender yourself to him, 
completely renouncing and casting aside your own will, that 
you may be found a clean vessel, preserving unto your praise 
and glory the good qualities deposited in you. For, if you 
suffer any of your former vices to remain within you, those 
virtues that were placed in you will become contaminated and 
you will be cast out like a vessel unfit for use. 

And now we shall consider the second contest against the 
Enemy of our salvation. Good masters teach good doctrine, 
but that taught by evil masters is wholly evil. Whenever, 
therefore, our wicked Adversary is not able to prevail upon 
us to remain amid the tumult and perdition of the world, he 
endeavors to persuade us not to devote ourselves to a life of 
discipline or surrender ourselves to a man who will place all 



10 John 15.13. 



20 SAINT BASIL 

our sins before our eyes and correct them. On the contrary, 
he urges us toward one who is bent on popularity and who 
puts a favorable light on his own vices under the pretext of 
indulgence to his associates, so that, when he has thus imper- 
ceptibly increased our vices a thousandfold, he may cause us to 
be fettered by chains of sin we ourselves have forged. But, if 
you place yourself in the hands of a man rich in virtue, you 
will become the heir of the good qualities he possesses and you 
will be supremely blessed with God and men. On the other 
hand, if, to spare the body, you seek a master who will conde- 
scend or, rather, degrade himself to the level of your vices, all 
in vain did you endure the struggle of renunciation, since you 
have surrendered yourself to a life of gratifying your passions 
by choosing a blind guide who will lead you into the pit; 
'for if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the^pit.' 11 'It is 
enough for the disciple that he be as his master.' 12 This is the 
voice of God and it shall not be falsified. 13 You must live in 
accordance with the rules of the contest; if you do not, you 
will not be crowned, as the Apostle says: 'He also that striveth 
for the mastery is not crowned except he strive lawfully.' 14 
If, then, with the grace of God, you find a teacher of good 
works (for if you really seek, you will find 15 ) keep a watch over 
yourself so as to do nothing against his will; for whatever is 
done without his consent is, as it were, a piece of thievery and 
a sacrilege leading not to your profit but to your ruin, how- 
ever good it may seem to you. For, if it be good, why is it 
done secretly and not in the open? Challenge your reason 
which, by specious assurances, is contriving, to make a robber 
of you; by misrepresenting the good, it disposes you to evil. 



11 Matt. 15.14. 

12 Matt. 10,25. 

13 Matt. 24.35. 

14 2 Tim. 2.5. 

15 Matt. 7.7. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 21 

Do not undertake to chant as an expert would the incanta- 
tions pronounced over persons who have been bitten by ser- 
pents, inexperienced as you are in the art of weaving spells, 
lest, perhaps, having attracted the reptiles and being caught 
fast in their coils, you become powerless to resist them and 
they destroy you mercilessly. Do not rely upon noble birth 
In a fleshly sense or seek worldly fame, 'for the sensual man 
perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit,' 16 Do not at- 
tempt to undermine true and established custom, thereby be- 
coming, through your own laxity, a stumbling block to those 
who are themselves striving for the mastery. Do not accumu- 
late a heavy burden of sins for yourself by having too soft a 
bed or by the style of your garments, or shoes, or any other 
part of your dress; by variety in food, or a table too richly 
appointed for your stage of self-renunciation, by the way you 
stand or sit, or by being too negligent or too fastidious with 
regard to manual labor. All these things bring harmful re- 
sults not only if they already exist in your life, but even if 
they are objects of your desire. Indeed, unless you quickly 
recognize them as a diabolical snare and root them out of 
your heart, they will lead you to defection from the life in 
Christ. On the contrary, having the inner conviction that you 
are the most ignominious of men and the worst of sinners, a 
stranger and a vagrant, received out of compassion by those 
who renounced the world before you, strive eagerly to be the 
last of all and the servant of all. This latter course, not the 
former, will bring you honor and true glory. With your ears 
opened to give heed and your hands ready to execute the com- 
mand you have heard, let your tongue be silent and keep 
your heart under custody. Be slow and dull for idle talk, but 
knowing and wise in hearkening to the saving words of the 

16 I Cor. 2.14. 



22 SAINT BASIL 

Holy Scriptures. Let the hearing of worldly tales be to you 
as a bitter taste in your mouth, but the discourse of holy 
men as a honeycomb, 17 Be eager to imitate men of disciplined 
habits and do not wait to be taught each thing. Strive to at- 
tain to the greater virtues, but do not neglect the lesser ones. 
Do not make light of a fall even if it be the most venial of 
faults; rather, be quick to repair it by repentance, although 
many others may commit a large number of faults, slight and 
grievous, and remain unrepentant. Judge not the sins of 
others, for they have a just Judge 'who will render to every 
man according to his works 5 ; 18 but be master of what is your 
own and lighten your own burden insofar as you have the 
power, for he who increases his own burden will also carry 
it. In repentance is salvation, but folly 19 is the death of repen- 



tance. 



Hide yourself from the frivolous, but appear before God 
as often as possible. To avoid dissipation of the heart, refrain 
as much as you can from going abroad at all. Have you de- 
serted your cell? Then you have left continency behind you; 
you have lowered your gaze toward the world; you have fall- 
en in with a harlot who, charming your ears with her provo- 
cative words, your eyes with the beauty of her countenance, 
and your appetite with dainty viands, will draw you to her- 
self as with a hook. Then, when you are clasped in a mutual 
embrace, she will weaken the firmness of your desire for con- 
tinency and after thus drawing you away little by little from 
the life of virtue she will be the cause of your utter ruin. Even 
if by some means and with God's help you are enabled to 
escape the snares of this harlot, you will return to your cell, 
indeed; yet not as the same person, but as one enervated, 



17 Prov. 16.24. 

18 Rom. 2,6. 

19 anoia for agnoia? Cf. PC. 31.636 n. 90. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 23 

sickened, and peevishly disinclined to all virtuous action 
and only after a long period of time will you be able to 
return to your own proper dispositions. Your longing after 
the other state of life will cause you anguish of mind, and 
only at the cost of much distress will you be enabled to con- 
cede the prize of victory to your soul. If, then, it should hap- 
pen that circumstances force you to leave your cell and go 
abroad, arm yourself with the breastplate of the fear of God, 
clasp in your hand the love of Christ, and repulse with all 
continency the attacks of sensual pleasure. As soon as your 
business is completed, take your departure without delay and 
return on swift wing like a guileless dove going back to the 
ark which sent you forth, 20 bearing the mercies of Christ on 
your lips, thus silencing interior protests and persuading 
yourself that saving tranquility cannot be secured in any 
other place. 

If you are youthful in body or mind, fly from intimate 
association with comrades of your own age and run away 
from them as from fire. The Enemy has, indeed, set many 
aflame through such means and consigned them to the eter- 
nal fire, casting them down into that loathsome pit of the five 
cities 21 on the pretext of spiritual love. Even those who have 
come safely through every wind and tempest on the sea and 
are safe in port he has sent down into the deep, together with 
the ship and crew. At meals take a seat far away from your 
young brother; in lying down to rest, let not your garments be 
neighbor to his; rather, have an elderly brother lying between 
you. When a young brother converses with you or is opposite 
you in choir, make your response with your head bowed lest, 
perchance, by gazing fixedly into his face, the seed of desire be 
implanted in you by the wicked Sower and you reap sheaves 

20 Gen. 8.9. 

2! Gen. 10.19; Dcut. 29.23. 



24 SAINT BASIL 

of corruption and ruin. At home or in a place where there 
is no witness of your actions, be not found in his company 
under the pretext of meditation on the Divine Words or for 
any other excuse, even the most urgent need; nothing is of 
greater urgency than the soul for whom Christ died. Do not 
believe the crafty argument which suggests to you that this Is 
a quite harmless thing to do, but be fully convinced, by the oft- 
repeated experience of those who have fallen and have clearly 
demonstrated it to be so, that it is of itself an offensive act. 

Believe these words of mine which proceed from the fra- 
ternal charity of my heart. Have recourse to older men who 
make themselves difficult of access and in no way harm the 
young by their charm of countenance, but animate them to 
virtuous deeds by sayings from Proverbs. 'With all watchful- 
ness, keep thy heart 3 ; 22 for, like golden treasure, it is the 
object of the constant vigilance of thieves, night and day, 
and in an unguarded moment it is stolen without your being 
aware of it. See that the Adversary does not seduce you into 
the sin of our first parent and cast you with all speed out 
of the paradise of delight. He who lured Adam from the life 
in paradise by causing him to steal food 23 and expected to 
catch even Jesus off His guard 24 will be far bolder in prepar- 
ing as a drink for you this first cause of evil, knowing that it 
is a strong poison. The vice of gluttony is wont to display its 
proper force not with regard to a great quantity of food, but 
in the appetite for a little taste. If, therefore, desire of some 
bit of food succeed in making you subject to the vice of 
gluttony, he will give you up to destruction without further 
ado. For, as the nature of water that is channeled along 



22 Prov. 4.23. 

23 Gen. 3.1-6. 

24 Matt. 4.3. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 25 

many furrows causes it to make verdant the whole area 
around the furrows, so also the vice of gluttony, if it issue 
from your heart, irrigates all your senses, raising a forest of 
evils within you and making your soul a lair of wild beasts. 
I have seen many who were slaves to vice restored to health, 
but I have not seen this happen in the case of even one person 
who was given to nibbling in secret or gluttonous. Either they 
abandon the life of continency and are destroyed by the 
world, or they attempt to remain undetected among the 
continent and fight in league with the Devil by leading a 
luxurious life. They are liars, profane, perjurors, quarrelsome, 
pugnacious, noisy, given to disavowing their gluttony, mean, 
effeminate, querulous, prying, lovers of darkness, and deliber- 
ately hostile to every virtuous mode of life; in their efforts to 
cover up the vice of gluttony they are caught in a swarm of 
evils. In appearance, indeed, they seem to be among the 
number of the saved, but by their conduct they are included 
with the reprobate. 

This vice of gluttony delivered Adam up to death; by the 
pleasure of the appetite consummate evil was brought into 
the world. Through it Noah was mocked, 25 Cham was 
cursed, 26 Esau was deprived of his birthright and married 
into a Canaanite family. 27 Lot became both his own son-in- 
law and father-in-law, by marrying his own daughters; the 
father was husband, and the grandfather, father thus mak- 
ing a double mockery of the laws of nature/ 8 Gluttony, also, 
made the people of Israel worshipers of idols and strewed 
the desert with their bodies/ 9 Gluttony caused a certain 

25 Gen. 9.21. 

26 Gen. 9.25. 

27 Gen. 25.33; 36.2. 

28 Gen. 19.35. 

29 Num. 14.29ff. 



26 SAINT BASIL 

Prophet, sent by God to upbraid an impious king, to become 
the prey of a wild beast, and him upon whom King Jereboam 
with all his royal might could not wreak vengeance was taken 
captive by his treacherous appetite and fell victim to a miser- 
able death. 30 Daniel, however, the man of desires, having 
gained the mastery over his appetite, 31 had complete dominion 
over the kingdom of the Chaldeans he overthrew their idols, 
destroyed the dragon, tamed the lions, heralded the Incarna- 
tion, and interpreted hidden mysteries. 32 The three holy 
youths who showed themselves superior to the pleasures of 
the appetite scorned a king's wrath and braved with intrepid 
courage the horrors of that fiery furnace which King Nabuch- 
odonoser had ordered to be lighted. 33 They proved the gold- 
en statue worshiped as a god to be of no avail and, taking 
as spoils the idol erected by Satan 34 and standing for so long 
a time as an outrage to the glory of God, they brought it as 
an offering to their own Lord. At their instigation, too, that 
most wicked king himself and the whole army drawn up 
against God came to sing His praises, together with all cre- 
ation. To sum it all up, if you gain the mastery over your 
appetite, you will dwell in paradise; if you do not, you will 
die the death. 

Be a safe treasure house of virtue and keep as its key the 
tongue of your spiritual father. Let this open your mouth for 
the taking of bread and let this also close it. Do not admit the 
Serpent as your counselor, since he desires to take you cap- 
tive in return for his good advice. Be on your guard against 
the sin of eating in secret, even to tasting with the tip of the 

30 1 Kings 13.24. 

31 Dan. 10.3. 

32 Dan. 5,9,14. 

33 Dan. 3.12ff. 

34 Kataskeuastheisan upo ton Satana for kataschetheisan upo tou Satanat 
Cf. FG 31.641 n. 11. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 27 

tongue; for, if he will succeed in defeating you in a small 
matter, he has already overthrown you in the combat and 
holds you bound with his chains. Do not give ear to every 
babbler, nor a response to every trifler in conversations which 
do not comport with the ascetical life. Be attentive to worthy 
teachings and, by meditating on these, keep a strict watch 
over your heart. Refrain from listening to worldly tales, that 
you may not in any way stain your soul with the spattering 
of mud. Be not anxious to hear the sayings of others nor to 
thrust yourself into others' conversations, so that you may not 
make yourself an object of ridicule and cause these others to 
commit slander. Be not inquisitive nor desirous of seeing 
everything, so as not to have in your mind the poisonous 
discharge of vice. Use your eyes to the purpose, use your ears 
to the purpose, speak to the purpose, answer to the purpose. 
In the presence of a senior, be not eager to take your seat; if 
you are so bidden, do not sit beside him, but look carefully 
about and try to find a lower place, that God may glorify you 
because of your humility. When you are questioned, answer 
in a fitting and modest tone; when you are not addressed, 
remain silent. If another is being questioned, hold your 
tongue, lest, under the stress of emotional impulse your tongue 
run away with you and, by offending one who is practicing 
a strict ascetical life, cast you into the fetters of reproach. 
When you sit, do not cross your legs, for this is a sign of 
a wandering attention and an absent mind. In conversing 
with an inferior or upon being asked something by him do 
not answer thoughtlessly, holding your brother in contempt 
and thus insulting God; for, 'he that despiseth the poor, re- 
proacheth his Maker' says the Book of Proverbs. 35 In affir- 
mation of your love of neighbor, preface your discourse with 



35 Prov. 17.5. 



28 SAINT BASIL 

words of comfort or exhortation. Let such words also find a 
place in the middle and at the end, and let your countenance 
be bright and cheerful withal, that you may give joy to him 
who speaks with you. Rejoice in every success achieved by 
your neighbor and glorify God, for his triumphs are yours 
as your also are his. Shun the first seats at table and the first 
chairs at assemblies, but strive to sit in the last place, that it 
may be said to you: Triend, go up higher. 536 At table let not 
your left hand usurp the function of the right in disorderly 
fashion; rather, let it lie at rest, or, if it must be active, let it 
assist the right. Whenever you are summoned to prayer, let 
your voice respond and remain at an exercise of rule until the 
prayers are finished, regarding failure in this respect as a great 
loss. When you take food to nourish your body, you can 
scarcely be induced to leave the table before you have fully 
satisfied your need and, except for an urgent reason, you will 
not readily do .so. How much more eagerly ought you to linger 
over spiritual nourishment and strengthen your soul with 
prayer; for the soul is as far superior to the body as heaven is 
above the earth and 'heavenly things above those of earth. 

The soul is an image of heaven because the Lord dwells 
within it, but the flesh is of earth, wherein live mortal men 
and irrational beasts. Regulate the needs of your body, there- 
fore, in conformity with the hours of prayer and be prepared 
to dismiss arguments which would draw you away from ob- 
servance of the rule; for it is the way of the devils to urge us 
to be absent during the time of prayer on the pretext of a 
seemingly worthy reason, so that they may plausibly draw us 
away from saving prayer. Do not make excuses, saying, 'Alas, 
my head! Alas, my stomach! 5 alleging invisible proofs of non- 
existent pain and relaxing the rigor of the vigil for the sake 



36 Luke 14.10. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 



29 



of taking rest. Rather, be constant in secret prayer which 
God beholds in secret and will repay you for openly. 37 Hoard 
the accruing gains of the most perfect way of life, that in the 
day of need you may discover hidden wealth. When it is your 
turn to serve, add to your physical labor a word of exhortation 
and comfort for love of those whom you serve, that your 
ministry, seasoned thus with salt, 38 may be acceptable. Do not 
allow another to do the work that is rightly yours, so that the 
reward as well may not be taken from you and given to 
another and he be enriched with your wealth while you are 
put to shame. Perform the duties of your ministry decently 
and with care as if you were serving Christ, for, 'Cursed,' says 
the Prophet, 'be every man that doth the work of the Lord 
negligently.' 39 Fear, as if the eye of the Lord were upon you, 
the perversity which arises from fastidiousness and contempt, 
even though the task in hand seem to you a menial one. The 
work of the ministry is an exalted work and leads to the king- 
dom of heaven. It is a dragnet of the virtues, comprising with- 
in itself all the commandments of God. It contains, first of all, 
the virtue of virtues, humility, which brings with itself a host 
of blessings; secondly, there is that saying of the Lord: 'I 
was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you 
gave me to drink; stranger and weak and in prison and you 
ministered to me. 40 There is, furthermore, a special merit in 
performing the owed service in a humble spirit without arro- 
gance or irritation and murmuring. Be a zealous follower of 
those who lead upright lives and inscribe their deeds upon 
your heart. Pray to be among the few, for the good is rare; 
wherefore, few, also, are they who enter into the kingdom of 

37 Matt. 6.18. 

38 Col. 4.6. 

39 Jer. 48.10. 

40 Matt. 25.35,36. 



30 SAINT BASIL 

heaven. Do not think that all who live in a cell are saved, the 
bad as well as the good, for this is not true. Many, indeed, 
take up the life of virtue, but few bear its yoke. The kingdom 
of heaven is the prize of the viylent and the violent bear it 
away _these are the words of the Gospel 41 By Violence' is 
meant the affliction of the body which the disciples of Christ 
voluntarily undergo in the denial of their own will, in the 
refusal of respite to the body, and in the observance of 
Christ's precepts. If, then, you wish to bear away the kingdom 
of God, become a man of violence; bow your neck to the yoke 
of Christ's service. 42 Bind the strap of the yoke tightly about 
your throat. Let it pinch your neck. Rub it thin by labor in 
acquiring virtues, in fasting, in vigils, in obedience, in silence, 
in psalmody, in prayer, in tears, in manual labor, in bearing 
all the tribulations which befall you at the hands of men and 
demons. 

Let not presumptuous thoughts induce you, as time goes on, 
to abate your labors, so that you may not be caught destitute 
of virtue, perhaps at the very moment of your departure, 
and be kept outside the gates of the kingdom. Let not the 
rank of cleric elate you but let it, rather, make you humble, 
for advancement in the spirit is advancement in humility; 
defection and disgrace are born of haughtiness. The nearer 
you approach the higher ranks of sacred orders, the more you 
should abase yourself, recalling with fear the example of the 
sons of Aaron. 43 Knowledge of holy living is knowledge of 
meekness and humility. Humility is the imitation of Christ; 
highmindedness and boldness and shamelessness, the imita- 
tion of the Devil. Become an imitator of Christ, not of Anti- 
Christ; of God and not of the adversary of God; of the Mas- 



41 Matt. 11.12. 

42 Matt. 11.30. 

43 Lev. 10. 



ON RENUNCIATION OF THE WORLD 3 1 

ter, not the fugitive slave; of the merciful One, not the mer- 
ciless; of the lover, not the enemy, of mankind; of the inmates 
of the bridal chamber, not the inhabitants of darkness. Be not 
eager to wield authority over the community, that you may 
not place upon your own neck others' burdens of sin. Examine 
the actions of each day, compare them with those of the 
previous day and press on toward improvement. Advance in 
virtue, that you may become a companion of the angels. Spend 
your time in retirement, not for days nor months, but through- 
out many years, praising your Lord in song, night and day, 
in imitation of the Cherubim. If thus you begin and thus 
make an end, traveling the straight road for the short time 
of your probation, you will, by the grace of God, enter into 
paradise with the lamp of your soul brilliantly alight, to re- 
joice with Christ for ever and ever. Amen. 




A DISCOURSE ON ASCETICAL DISCIPLINE 
How the monk should be equipped 

JJRST AND FOREMOST, the monk should own nothing 
in this world, but he should have as his possessions 
solitude of the body, modesty of bearing, a modu- 
lated tone of voice, and a well-ordered manner of speech. He 
should be without anxiety as to his food and drink, and 
should eat in silence. In the presence of his superiors, he 
should hold his tongue; before those wiser than he, he 
should hearken to their words. He should have love for 
his equals, give charitable counsel to his inferiors, and 
keep aloof from the wicked, the carnal, and the officious. 
He ought to think much but speak little, be not forward 
in speech nor given to useless discoursing, not easily moved 
to laughter, respectful in bearing, keeping his eyes cast 
down and his spirit uplifted, not answering contradiction with 
contradiction, docile. He should work with his hands, be ever 
mindful of his last end, joyful in hope, patient in adversity, 
unceasingly prayerful, giving thanks in all things, humble 
toward everyone, hating pride, sober and watchful to keep 
his heart from evil thoughts. He ought to heap up treasure In 
heaven 1 by observing the commandments, examining himself 
as to his daily thoughts and actions, not entangling himself in 
the occupations and superfluities of the world. 2 It ill befits 
him to concern himself about those who lead careless lives; 



1 Luke 12.38. 

2 2 Tim. 2.4. 



33 



34 SAINT BASIL 

he should emulate the life of the holy fathers, rejoicing with 
those who are successful in the practice of virtue and not envy- 
ing them. He must sympathize with the suffering and weep 
with them, 3 sorrowing deeply for these, but not on any ac- 
count should he condemn them, nor upbraid him who has 
renounced his sin, nor ever justify himself. He should, above 
all, confess before God and men that he is a sinner. It is his 
duty, moreover, to admonish the undisciplined, encourage the 
faint-hearted, minister to the sick, wash the feet of the saints/ 
and be mindful of the duties of hospitality and fraternal char- 
ity. He must preserve peace with the members of the house- 
hold of the faith, shun the heretic, read the canonical Scrip- 
tures, but have nothing at all to do with apocryphal books. 
It befits him not to dispute about Father and Son and Holy 
Spirit, but he should freely confess in thought and word 
the uncreated and consubstantiaJ Trinity and say to them 
who put this matter to question that we ought to be baptized 
according to the tradition we have received, and hold the 
belief in which we have been baptized, and worship accord- 
ing as we have believed. He should spend his time in good 
words and deeds, swear not at all, nor lend money for interest, 
nor sell grain and wine and oil for profit. He must refrain 
from reveling and drunkenness and have nothing to do with 
secular concerns, converse without deceit, speak no word 
against anyone, and neither gossip nor take pleasure in listen- 
ing to gossip. He should not be quick to trust evil report of 
anyone, nor be mastered by ill temper nor overcome by de- 
spondency. He ought not become angry with his neighbor 
without cause, nor nurse wrath against anyone, nor return 
evil for evil. It behooves him to be reviled rather than to revile, 



3 Rom. 12.15. 

4 I Tim. 5.10. 



ON ASCETICAL DISCIPLINE 



35 



to be struck rather than to strike, to be wronged rather than 
to do wrong, to be despoiled rather than to despoil. 

Before all else, also, the monk must abstain from the society 
of women and from wine-bibbing because wine and women 
will cause evert the wise to fall away. 5 He must not grow 
weary in observing the precepts of the Lord to the best of his 
ability, but he should await reward and praise from Him, 
continuing in his desire for the enjoyment of everlasting life, 
keeping ever before his eyes the words of David, and saying: 
'I set the Lord always in my sight; for he is at my right hand, 
that I be not moved.' 6 Moreover, he should love God as a 
son, with his whole heart and strength and mind and with 
all the power that is in him; 7 but as a servant he should rever- 
ence, fear, and obey Him and work out his salvation in fear 
and trembling, 8 fervent in spirit, 9 girt about with the full 
armor of the Holy Spirit. He must run not as without a pur- 
pose and fight not as beating the air, 10 overthrowing his 
adversary in weakness of body and poverty of spirit, doing all 
things commanded him, and confessing that he is an unprofit- 
able servant. 11 He should give thanks to God, aweful, glori- 
ous, and holy, and do nothing in a spirit of contention and 
vainglory 12 but for God's sake and to please Him; 'for God 
hath scattered the bones of them that please men/ 13 He ought 
never to glorify himself nor speak in his own praise, nor take 
pleasure in hearing praise from another; but serve in all things 
secretly, not acting with a view to display before men, but 



5 Eccli. 19.2. 

6 Ps. 15.8. 

7 Luke 10.27. 

8 Phil. 2.12. 

9 Rom. 12.11. 

10 1 Cor. 9.26. 

11 Luke 17.10. 

12 Phil. 2.3. 

13 Ps. 52.6. 



36 SAINT BASIL 

seeking praise from God alone and meditating on His coming, 
glorious and terrible, as well as upon his own passing out of 
this world, upon the good things laid up for the just and also 
on the fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. 14 But, 
over and above all this, he must be mindful of the words of the 
Apostle : Tor the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in 
us 3 ; 15 and in anticipation proclaim with David that, for 
those keeping the commandments, there is a great reward, 16 
munificent recompense, and crowns of justice, everlasting 
dwellings, life without end, joy unspeakable, an imperishable 
mansion with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit 
who is true God in heaven, manifestation face to face, dances 
in company with angels, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, 
Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, and with all those who have 
been well-pleasing to God from all eternity. Among these let us 
eagerly strive to be numbered, by the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, to whom be power and glory for ever and ever. Anien. 

14 Matt. 25.41. 

15 Ram. 8.18. 

16 Ps. 18.12. 




PREFACE ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 

| IBERATED FROM THE ERROR of pagan tradition through 
the benevolence and loving kindness of the good God 5 
with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the 
operation of the Holy Spirit, I was reared from the very be- 
ginning by Christian parents. From them I learned even in 
babyhood the Holy Scriptures which led me to a knowledge 
of the truth. When I grew to manhood, I traveled about fre- 
quently and, in the natural course of things, I engaged in a 
great many worldly affairs. Here I observed that the most 
harmonious relations existed among those trained in the pur- 
suit of each of the arts and sciences; while in the Church of 
God alone, for which Christ died and upon which He poured 
out in abundance the Holy Spirit, I noticed that many disagree 
violently with one another and also in their understanding of 
the Holy Scriptures. Most alarming of all is the fact that I 
found the very leaders of the Church themselves at such 
variance with one another in thought and opinion, showing 
so much opposition to the commands of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and so mercilessly rending asunder the Church of God 
and cruelly confounding His flock that, in our day, with the 
rise of the Anomoeans, there is fulfilled in them as never be- 
fore the prophecy, 'Of your own selves shall arise men speak- 
ing perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.' 1 

Witnessing such disorders as these and perplexed as to 
what the cause and source of such evil might be, I at first 



I Acts 20.30. 

37 



38 SAINT BASIL 

was in a state, as it were, of thick darkness and, as if on a 
balance, I veered now this way. now that attracted now to 
one man, now to another, under the influence of protracted 
association with these persons, and then thrust in the other 
direction, as I bethought myself of the validity of the Holy 
Scriptures. After a long time spent in this state of indecision 
and while I was still busily searching for the cause I have 
mentioned, there came to my mind the Book of Judges which 
tells how each man did what was right in his own eyes and 
gives the reason for this in the words: 'In those days there 
was no king in Israel. 52 With these words in mind, then, I 
applied also to the present circumstances that explanation 
which, incredible and frightening as it may be, is quite truly 
pertinent when it is understood; for never before has there 
arisen such discord and quarreling as now among the members 
of the Church in consequence of their turning away from the 
one, great, and true God, only King of the universe. Each 
man, indeed, abandons the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ 
and arrogates to himself authority in dealing with certain 
questions, making his own private rules, and preferring to 
exercise leadership in opposition to the Lord to being led by 
the Lord. Reflecting upon this and aghast at the magnitude 
of the impiety, I pursued my investigation further and became 
convinced that the aforesaid cause was no less the true source 
also of secular difficulties. I noticed that as long as the com- 
mon obedience of the others to some one leader was main- 
tained, all was discipline and harmony in the whole group; 
but that division and discord and a rivalry of leaders besides 
proceeded from a lack of leadership. Moreover, I once had 
observed how even a swarm of bees, in accordance with a law 
of nature, lives under military discipline and obeys its own king 

2 Judges 21.24. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 39 

with orderly precision. Many such instances have I witnessed 
and many others I have heard of, and pereons who make pro- 
fession of such matters know many more still, so that they 
can vouch for the truth of what I have said. Now, if good 
order with its attendant harmony is characteristic of those 
who look to one source of authority and are subject to one 
king, then universal disorder and disharmony are a sign that 
leadership is wanting. By the same token, if we discover in 
our midst such lack of accord as I have mentioned, both with 
regard to one another and with respect to the Lord's com- 
mands, it would be an indictment either of our rejection of 
the true king, according to the Scriptural saying: 'only that 
he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the 
way,' 3 or of denial of Him according to the Psalmist: "The 
fool hath said in his heart: There is no God/ 4 And as a kind 
of token or proof of this, there follow the words: 'They are 
corrupt and are become abominable in their ways.' 5 

Herein, therefore, the Scripture has represented the mani- 
fest evil as a sign of the evil lurking hidden in the soul. But 
the blessed Apostle Paul, employing a more vigorous method 
of converting the reprobate in heart 6 to a fear of the judg- 
ments of God, lays down the following penalty to be inflicted 
upon those who are negligent in acquiring true knowledge of 
God. What are his words? 'And as they liked not to have 
God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate 
sense to do those things which are not convenient, being filled 
with all iniquity, malice, avarice, wickedness, full of envy,' 7 
and so on. And this, I think, the Apostle says with reference 

3 2 Thess. 2.7. 

4 Ps. 13.1. 

6 Or, * those not reprobate in heart* (tons me apololekotas) . Cf. FG 
31.656 n. 52. 

7 Rom. 1,28,29. 



40 SAINT BASIL 

to the judgment, not speaking of himself (for he had Christ 
speaking within him 8 ) but guided by the voice of Him who 
said that He spoke to the crowd in parables that they might 
not understand the divine mysteries of the Gospel, 9 since 
they had first shut their eyes and had been dull of hearing 
with their ears and their foolish heart had become gross. 10 
Because they had previously and of their own volition become 
blinded by darkening the eye of their soul, they therefore 
would suffer as punishment that their blindness should per- 
sist with regard to higher things; and David, fearing this 
affliction, said: 'Enlighten my eyes that I never sleep in 
death.* 11 From this and similar evidence I concluded that, in 
general, as a result of not knowing God, the wickedness of vice 
produces a reprobate understanding and, in particular, that 
the disagreement in the world comes from the fact that we 
have rendered ourselves unworthy of the Lord's leadership. 
But, if I should apply myself to an inquiry into such behavior, 
I should be unable to assess the full extent of its obtuseness, 
or irrationality, or madness, or what word I should use I 
know not, because of the enormity of the evil If even among 
the very brutes we find mutual harmony preserved by reason 
of their obedience to a leader, what ought we to say of the 
great disharmony existing among ourselves and of our insub- 
ordination to the Lord's commands? Must we not think that all 
these models are proposed to us now by the good God for our 
instruction and conversion, but that in the great and dread- 
ful day of judgment they will be brought forward by Him unto 
the shame and condemnation of those who have not profited 
by the instruction? Already, to be sure, He has said and He 



8 2 Cor. 13.3. 

9 Matt. 13.13. 

10 Matt. 13.15. 

11 Ps. 12.4. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 41 

ever keeps saying: 'The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass 
his master's crib; but Israel hath not known me and my 
people hath not understood/ 12 and many other utterances of 
this kind are to be found. Consider, further, these words of 
the Apostle: 'And if one member suffer anything, all the 
members suffer with it; or if one member glory, all the mem- 
bers rejoice with it 3 ; 13 likewise, that saying: 'that there might 
be no schism in the body, but the members might be mutually 
careful one for another 514 that is to say, being animated by 
one soul dwelling therein. Wherefore is it so ordained? In 
my opinion, so that this conformity and harmony may exist 
in a pre-eminent degree in the Church of God to which are 
addressed the words: 'Now you are the body of Christ and 
members of member' 15 that is, the one and only true Head 
which is Christ exercises dominion over and unites the mem- 
bers, each with the other, unto harmonious accord. With those 
among whom harmony is not secured, however, the bond of 
peace is not preserved, mildness of spirit is not maintained, 
but there dissension, strife and rivalry are found. It would 
be a great piece of audacity to call such persons 'members of 
Christ' or to say that they are ruled by Him; but it would 
be the expression of an honest mind to say openly that the 
wisdom of the flesh is master there and wields a royal sover- 
eignty, according to the words of the Apostle who says defin- 
itively: To whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his 
servants you are whom you obey,' 16 and he clearly enumer- 
ates the characteristics of this wisdom when he says: Tor 

12 Isa. 1.3. 

13 I Cor. 12.26. 

14 I Cor. 12.25. 

15 I COT. 12.27. 

16 Rom. 6.16. 



42 SAINT BASIL 

whereas there is among you envying and contention and sedi- 
tions are you not carnal? 517 At the same time he teaches em- 
phatically the grievous result to which these vices lead and 
their incompatibility with holiness in these words: The wis- 
dom of the flesh is an enemy to God; for it is not subject to 
the law of God, neither can it be'; 18 wherefore, the Lord says: 
*No man can serve two masters. 519 

The Only-begotten Son of God, our Lord and God, Jesus 
Christ, by whom all things were made., also cries out: 'I came 
down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him 
that sent me, the Father, 320 and 'I do nothing of myself, 521 
and 'I have received a commandment what I should say and 
what I should speak.' 22 Likewise, when the Holy Spirit dis- 
penses His great and wonderful gifts, bringing to pass all 
things in all, He says nothing of Himself; but whatever He 
hears from the Lord, this He speaks/" 3 Is there not a far 
greater obligation, then, upon the whole Church of God to 
be zealous in maintaining the unity of the Spirit in the bond 
of peace, 24 fulfilling those words in the Acts: The multitude 
of believers had but one heart and one soul.' 25 That is, no 
individual put forward his own will, but all together in the one 
Holy Spirit were seeking the will of their one Lord Jesus Christ, 
who said : *I came down from heaven not to do my will but 
the will of Him that sent me, the Father/ to whom He says: 
'Not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through 

17 1 Cor. 3.3. 

18 Rom. 8.7. 

19 Matt. 6.24. 

20 John 6.38. 

21 John 8.28. 

22 John 12.49. 

23 John 16.13. 

24 Eph. 4.3. 

25 Acts 4.32. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 43 

their word shall believe in me, that they all may be one.' 26 
In the light of these and many more sayings which I pass 
over in silence, it is so obviously and undeniably essential for 
unity to be fully realized in the whole Church at once, accord- 
ing to the will of Christ in the Holy Spirit, and, on the other 
hand, disobedience to God through mutual discord is so dan- 
gerous and fatal ( 'for,' says the Evangelist, 'he that believeth 
not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth 
on him' 27 ), that I thought the following inference could be 
drawn : Whatever sins a man is able to gain pardon for from 
God, or whatever be their number or their gravity, he is, in 
any case, liable to condemnation for contumacy. Accordingly 
I find, in taking up the Holy Scripture, that in the Old and 
New Testament contumacy toward God is clearly condemned, 
not in consideration of the number or heinousness of trans- 
gressions, but in terms of a single violation of any precept 
whatsoever, and, further, that the judgment of God covers 
all forms of disobedience. In the Old Testament, I read of the 
frightful end of Achar 28 and the account of the man who 
gathered wood on the Sabbath day. 29 Neither of these men was 
guilty of any other offense against God nor had they wronged 
a man in any way, small or great; but the one, merely for his 
first gathering of wood paid the inescapable penalty and did 
not have an opportunity to make amends, for, by the com- 
mand of God, he was forthwith stoned by all his people. 
The other, only because he had pilfered some part of the 
sacrificial offerings, even though these had not yet been 
brought into the synagogue nor had been received by those 
who perform this function, was the cause not only of his 

26 John 17.20,21. 

27 John 3.36. 

28 Jos. 7.19-26. 

29 Num. 15.32-36. 



44 SAINT BASIL 

own destruction but of that also of his wife and children and of 
his house and personal possessions besides. Moreover, the evil 
consequences of his sin would presently have spread like fire 
over his nation and this, too, although the people did not 
know what had occurred and had not excused the sinner 
unless his people, sensing the anger of God from the destruc- 
tion of the men who were slain, had promptly been struck 
with fear, and unless Josue, son of Nun, sprinkling himself 
with dust, had prostrated himself together with the ancients, 
and unless the culprit, discovered thus by lot, had paid the 
penalty mentioned above. 

Perhaps someone will raise the objection that these men 
might plausibly be suspected of other sins for which they were 
overtaken by these punishments, yet the Holy Scripture made 
mention of these sins alone as very serious and worthy of 
death. And if anyone were so exceedingly audacious as to 
make additions or deletions in the Scriptural account, he 
would surely not accuse Mary, the sister of Moses, of having 
committed numerous sins her, whose virtue is well-known, 
I think, to all the faithful. Although she merely said something 
about Moses by the way of blame and it was the truth ( 'for/ 
she said, 'he has taken unto himself an Ethiopian woman 530 ) 
she was visited with the wrath of God to such an extent 
that the penalty was not revoked even at the intercession of 
Moses himself. Furthermore, Moses also, the servant of God, 
the great patriarch who was deemed worthy by God of so 
much and such high honor and was repeatedly commended by 
God's own testimony, so that it was said to him; 'I know thee 
by name and thou has found favor in my sight' 31 even Moses 
I behold in the waters of contradiction for no other reason 



30 Num. 12.1. 

31 ExocL 33.12. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 45 

than, that he merely had said to his people who were murmur- 
ing because there was no water, 'Can we bring you forth 
water out of this rock?' 32 For this alone he straightway re- 
ceived the threat that he should not enter into the land of 
promise, which was at that time the chief of all the promises 
made to the Jews. When I behold this man asking and not 
obtaining pardon, when I see him not deemed worthy of for- 
giveness because of those few words, even in consideration of 
so many righteous deeds, verily do I discern, in the words of 
the Apostle, 'the severity of God 5 ; 33 verily am I persuaded 
that these words are true: 'If the just man shall scarcely be 
saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?' 34 And 
why do I select these warnings as impressive? For, when I 
hear that dread sentence of God which is pronounced against 
him who transgresses through ignorance even one command- 
ment, I know not how to fear sufficiently the greatness of His 
wrath. It is written: 'If any one sin through ignorance and 
do one of all those things which by the law of the Lord are 
forbidden, and being guilty of sin, understand his iniquity, 
he shall offer of the flocks a ram without blemish to the priest, 
according to the measure and estimation of the sin; and the 
priest shall pray for him because he did it ignorantly and it 
shall be forgiven him; because by mistake he trespassed 
against the Lord.' 35 But, if the judgment of sins committed in 
ignorance be so severe and sacrifice is necessary for expiation, 
to which fact the just Job also bears witness in offering sacri- 
fice on behalf of his sons, 36 what should be said about those 
who knowingly commit sin or who by their silence acquiesce 
in the sinful deeds of others? So as not to seem to be drawing 

32 Num. 20.10. 

33 Rom; 11.22. 

34 I Pet. 4.18. 

35 Lev. 5.17-19. 

36 Job 1.5. 



46 SAINT BASIL 

conclusions as to God's displeasure in their regard from con- 
jectures alone, we must again call to mind the Holy Scrip- 
ture itself, which can satisfy the present purpose by showing in 
one historical instance only the doom pronounced upon such 
men. 'Now the sons of Heli, the priest,' says the Scripture, 'are 
sons of worthlessness.' 37 Because their father did not chastise 
them with enough severity for being such, he moved the 
forbearance of God to wrath so great that foreign peoples rose 
up against them and slew those sons of his in war in one day. 
His entire nation, furthermore, was vanquished and a con- 
siderable number of his people fell. Now, this happened even 
with the ark of the holy covenant of God nearby an unheard 
of thing so that the ark, which it was not lawful at any 
time for the Israelites or even for all their priests themselves 
to touch and which was kept in a special place, was carried 
hither and yon by impious hands and was put in the shrines 
of idols instead of the holy temples. Under such circumstances 
one can readily conjecture the amount of laughter and mock- 
ery that were inflicted upon the very Name of God by these 
foreigners. Add to this, also, that Heli himself is recorded to 
have met a most pitiable end after hearing the threat that his 
seed would be removed from the sacerdotal dignity; and so 
it happened. 

Such, then, were the disasters which befell that nation. 
Such griefs did the father suffer because of the iniquity of 
his sons, even though no accusation was ever made against 
his personal life. Moreover, he did not bear with those sons 
of his in silence, but he earnestly exhorted them not to per- 
sist longer in those same wicked deeds, saying: 'Do not so, 
my sons; for it is no good report that I hear of you.' 38 And to 
stress the enormity of their sin, he confronted them with an 

37 1 Sam. 2.12. 

38 1 Sam. 2.24. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 47 

alarming view of their perilous state. 'If one man shall sin 
against another,' he said, 'they will pray for him to the Lord; 
but if a man shall sin against God, who shall pray for him?' 39 
Yet, as I said, because he did not exercise a suitable rigor of 
zeal in their regard, the disaster recounted above took place. 
And so I find throughout the Old Testament a great many in- 
stances of this kind illustrating the condemnation of all disobe- 
dience. Again, when I consult the New Testament, I find that 
our Lord Jesus Christ does not absolve from punishment even 
sins committed in ignorance, although he attaches a harsher 
threat to deliberate sins, in the words : 'And that servant who 
knew the will of his Lord and prepared not himself and did 
not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 
But he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be 
beaten with few stripes. 540 When I hear such an utterance as 
this from the lips of the Only-begotten Son of God, and when 
I consider the indignation of the Holy Apostles against sin- 
ners, and when I observe that the sufferings of those who have 
transgressed in even one particular are of a no less serious 
nature, but rather more so, than those cited from the Old 
Testament, I well comprehend the severity of the judgment; 
for our Lord says: 'unto whomsoever much is given, of him 
much shall be required.' 41 Consider, also, the blessed Paul, 
who says, showing at the same time the dignity of his calling 
and his indignation at all sin: Tor the weapons of our war- 
fare are not carnal, but mighty to God unto the pulling down 
of fortifications, destroying counsels, and every height that 
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing 
into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of 
Christ,' and not only this, but: 'and having in readiness to 

39 1 Sam. 2.25. 

40 Luke 12.47,48. 

41 Luke 12.48. 



48 SAINT BASIL 

revenge all disobedience. 342 Here, also, one who examines 
each word minutely can gain a very accurate knowledge of 
the meaning of the Holy Scripture, so that there is no excuse 
for any of us being led astray into the snare of sin by an 
erroneous belief that some sins are punished, while others 
may be committed with impunity. For, what says the Apostle? 
'destroying counsels and every height that exaketh itself 
against the knowledge of God'; so that every sin, because it 
is an expression of contempt for the divine law, is called a 
'height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.' This 
truth, furthermore, is made still more evident in the Book of 
Numbers. After God had enumerated the involuntary sins 
and had appointed the sacrifices to be offered in expiation 
of them, He willed to make other legislation for His people 
with regard to voluntary sins and He begins as follows: 'But 
the soul that doth anything with the hand of pride' He calls 
the audacity of those who commit voluntary sins 'the hand of 
pride' ; and this the Apostle speaks of as a 'height that exalteth 
itself against the knowledge of God 3 He says, therefore : The 
soul that doth anything with the hand of pride, whether he be 
born in the land or a stranger, he is rebellious against the Lord 
and his soul shall be cut off from among his people; for he 
hath contemned the word of the Lord and made void his 
precepts; therefore shall he be destroyed and shall bear his 
iniquity. 543 

Here it should be observed that, unless the life of the sinner 
had been destroyed, his sin would not have rested upon him- 
self alone, but also upon those who did not display a righteous 
indignation toward him. And such an eventuality is on record 
in many places and actually occurred many times. Further, 
so that from lesser examples we may learn caution in more 

42 2 Cor. 10,4-6. 

43 Num. 15.30,31. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 49 

Important matters, let us note well what great wrath is brought 
to bear in the Book of Deuteronomy upon those who are dis- 
obedient to a priest or a judge. The passage reads as follows: 
'But he that will be proud and refuse to obey the priest who 
ministereth at that time in the name of the Lord thy God or 
the judge whoever he may be in those days, that man shall 
die and thou shalt take away the evil from Israel. And all 
the people hearing it shall fear and shall no longer commit 
impious deeds. 544 Here it is well to note how one already duly 
impressed would be struck with still greater awe by these 
words. Then, too, the Apostle says: 'and bringing into cap- 
tivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ'; 
'every understanding,' not this one or that one. 'And having 
in readiness to revenge' 45 here again, not this or that par- 
ticular act, but 'all disobedience/ 

A very wicked convention, however, leads us astray and a 
perverted human tradition is the source of great evil for us; 
I mean that tradition according to which some sins are de- 
nounced and others are viewed indifferently. Crimes like 
homicide and adultery are the object of a violent but feigned 
indignation, while others, such as anger or reviling or drunk- 
enness or avarice, are not considered deserving of even a 
simple rebuke. Yet, regarding all these transgressions, Paul, 
speaking in Christ, also expressed in another place the view 
noted above, saying: 'they who do such things are worthy of 
death. 546 And certainly, where every height that exalteth it- 
self against the knowledge of God is destroyed, and every un- 
derstanding is brought into captivity unto the obedience of 
Christ., and every disobedience receives condign punishment, 
there, nothing is left undestroyed, nothing remitted without 

44 Deut. 17.12,13. 

45 2 Cor. 10.5,6. 

46 Rom. 1.32. 



50 SAINT BASIL 

penalty, nothing is exempt from the obedience of Christ. More- 
over, the Apostle has shown also that all forms of disobedience 
have a common feature in that they all represent the very 
greatest impiety. He says: Thou that makest thy boast of 
the law, by transgression of the law dishonorest God.' 47 Are 
these mere words and are they not to have effect? Consider 
further: The man in Corinth who had his father's wife, al- 
though he was charged with no other crime except this, was 
not only himself delivered over to Satan for the destruction 
of his flesh until he made amends for his sin by fruits worthy 
of penance, 48 but Paul includes the whole Church likewise in 
his reproaches, since it did not exact vengeance for the crime 
of this man: 'What will you? Shall I come to you with a 
rod? 349 And a little further on: 'And you are puffed up; and 
have not rather mourned, that he might be taken away from 
you, that hath done this deed. 550 Furthermore, there is the 
case of Ananias who is mentioned in the Acts. 51 What other 
transgression is he found guilty of except that of disobedience? 
How, then, does he seem to deserve such vehement wrath? 
Having sold his own property, he brought the money and 
laid it at the feet of the Apostles; but, because he kept back 
a part of the price of the land, he, simultaneously with his 
wife, was given the death sentence and he was not deemed 
worthy to learn of any terms of penance for his sin nor did 
he even obtain an opportunity for remorse nor time to do 
penance. And the exactor of a punishment so severe, the 
executor of the mighty wrath of God upon the sinner, is St. 
p e ter he who was preferred above all the disciples, he who 
alone was distinguished above the others by the testimony [of 



47 Rom. 2.23. 

48 1 Cor. 5.1-5; Luke 3.8. 

49 1 Cor. 4.21. 

50 1 Cor. 5.2. 

51 Acts 5.1-11. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 51 

Christ] and, In being called blessed by Him, he who was en- 
trusted with the keys of the kingdom of heaven. 52 Will he 
quail, think you, before any harsh action whatsoever when fear 
and trembling before the judgment of God is in question, 
especially when he recalls the words of the Lord: 'If I wash 
thee not, thou shalt have no part with me'? 53 And these words 
were said to him even though he had committed no sin nor 
showed any sign of contempt, but, rather, had offered super- 
erogatory honor to his Lord and manifested a piety befitting 
a servant and disciple. Upon beholding his own and all men's 
God and Lord and King, Master and Teacher and Saviour, 
and all things else as well, in the guise of a servant, girded 
with a towel and desirous of washing his feet, immediately, 
as if realizing his own unworthiness and awe-struck by the 
dignity of Him who was approaching, he cried out: 'Lord, 
dost thou wash my feet?' 54 and again: 'Thou shalt never 
wash my feet!' 55 Thereupon, he was threatened so severely 
that unless, by again recognizing the truth of the Lord's words, 
he had not avoided an act of disobedience by retracting his 
refusal, none of his previous merits would have sufficed for 
excusing his present act of contumacy neither his own 
righteous deeds, nor the testimonies of the Lord proclaiming 
him blessed, nor His gifts and promises, nor the revelation 
Itself from God the Father concerning His great satisfaction 
in His Only-begotten Son. 56 

But, if I should wish to enumerate all the examples which 
1 find in the Old and New Testaments, time would perhaps 
fail me in the recounting of them. As soon as I come to the 
words of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel, however, the 

52 Matt. 16.17-19. 

53 John 13.8. 

54 John 13.6. 

55 John 13.8. 

56 Matt. 17.5. 



52 SAINT BASIL 

words of Him who is to judge the living and the dead, words 
which to the faithful are more worthy of credence than any 
other historical account or argument, great and compelling is 
the insistence (if I may so speak) which I note in them all 
regarding obedience to God in all things. I observe that abso- 
lutely no pardon respecting any precept whatsoever is ex- 
tended to those who do not repent of their disobedience. And, 
surely, no one would have the temerity to offer some other 
testimony or even so much as think of doing so in the face of 
of pronouncements so bald and clear and absolute. 'Heaven 
and earth shall pass,' He says, 'but my words shall not pass.' 57 
Here there is no distinction, there is no discrimination; no 
exception is made anywhere. He does not say: 'these words' 
or 'those words/ but 'my words' all alike, that is, 'shall not 
pass' ; for it is written : 'The Lord is faithful in all his words,' 58 
whether in forbidding or enjoining something, whether prom- 
ising or threatening, or whether with regard to doing acts that 
are forbidden or omitting acts that are commanded. That 
the omission of good deeds is condemned, as well as the 
commission of sinful acts, the aforementioned verdict in 
Peter's case suffices for illustration and full proof to a 
soul who has not entirely succumbed to the disease of in- 
credulity. He who had done nothing forbidden nor, indeed, 
had omitted the fulfillment of any command, whereby the 
guilty one becomes liable to the charge of negligence or 
contempt, but merely showed a reverential hesitation to 
accept ministration and honor from his Master, was the 
object of a threat which would inevitably have been realized, 
unless, as I said above, Peter had forestalled his Lord's wrath 
by swift and vigorous amendment. Indeed, our good and com- 
passionate God was pleased to be long-suffering toward us 



57 Matt. 24.35. 

58 Ps. 144.13. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 



53 



and to illustrate repeatedly and by many examples the same 
truth, so that, by reason of their great number and continuous 
succession, the soul, deeply stirred and overwhelmed, might 
be able at length, although with difficulty still, to renounce 
its inveterate habit of sin. 

For the present purpose, therefore, it is necessary merely 
to mention those who are to stand at the left hand of our 
Lord Jesus Christ on the great and terrible day of judgment; 
those to whom He who has received from the Father all pow- 
er of judgment, 59 who comes to bring to light the hidden 
things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the 
heart, 60 will say: 'Depart from me, you cursed, into everlast- 
ing fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.' 61 
Moreover, He adds the reason, not saying: 'because you have 
committed murder or fornication' or 'because you have lied 
or wronged anyone or performed any other forbidden act, 
even the most venial/ but what is it that He says? 'because 
you were negligent in good works' ; Tor I was hungry and you 
gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me not to 
drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked 
and you covered me not; sick and in prison and you did 
not visit me. 562 Such words as these I came upon in the 
Holy Scriptures by the grace of the good God 'who will have 
all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the 
truth' 63 and who teaches this knowledge to men. 

Thus did I recognize the dread source of the great discord 
among the majority of mankind, both as regards one another 
and respecting the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here- 



59 John 5.22. 

60 i Cor. 4.5. 

61 Matt. 25.41. 

62 Matt. 25.42,43. 

63 1 Tim. 2.4. 



54 SAINT BASIL 

in was I instructed as to the terrible doom imposed for such 
transgression of the law. Hereby I learned to denounce in equal 
measure every form of disobedience to every one of God's 
decrees and noted that frightful condemnation of those not 
guilty of sin, yet having a part in the wrath through not show- 
ing a righteous zeal toward the sinners, even though the 
former were often not even aware of the fault committed. 
Consequently, I have deemed it my duty, insofar as I am able 
and with the aid of the prayers of all, even though the hour 
is late (because I ever await those who have undertaken the 
same contest for holiness and I do not trust in myself alone) 
to bring forward as a reminder, now, at least, and perhaps not 
inopportunely, to those engaged in the combat of the devout 
life, the passages I have culled from the Holy Scriptures re- 
garding what is displeasing to God and with what He is well 
pleased. 

That we may be justified by the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, let us repudiate 
the customary actions of our own wills and the observance of 
human traditions. Let us, on the other hand, go forward by 
means of the Gospel of the Blessed God, Jesus Christ, our 
Lord. Having lived during this present life in a manner ac- 
ceptable to Him, by a rigorous avoidance of all that is for- 
bidden and a zealous observance of whatever is commended, 
may we be able in the future age of immortality to escape the 
wrath to come upon the sons of contumacy and be found 
worthy of obtaining eternal life and the heavenly kingdom 
which has been promised by our Lord Jesus Christ to such 
as keep his covenant and are mindful of his commandments 
to do them.' 64 Moreover, remembering the words of the 
Apostle, 'in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any- 



64 Ps. 102.18. 



ON THE JUDGMENT OF GOD 55 

thing nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by charity/ 6& 
I regarded it as at once appropriate and necessary to set forth 
first the sound faith and sacred doctrine respecting the Father 
and Son and Holy Ghost, and then add the Morals. 



65 Gal. 5.6. 




CONCERNING FAITH 

| HEN, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I learned of your piety's 
command, worthy as it is of the love you bear God In 
Christ, whereby you sought from us a written pro- 
fession of our holy faith, I hesitated at first as to my answer, 
sensible as I am of my own lowliness and weakness. But when 
I recalled the words of the Apostle, 'supporting one another 
in charity, 31 and, again, Tor with the heart we believe unto 
justice; but with the mouth confession is made unto salva- 
tion/ 2 I considered it a very hazardous act to deny your re- 
quest and not to make that salutary profession. Moreover, I 
placed my confidence in God through Christ as it is written : 
'Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as 
of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God, 53 who rendered 
the men of apostolic days, and now us, at your instigation, 
sufficient to become ministers of the New Testament, 'not in 
the letter but in the spirit.' 4 At any rate, you yourselves know 
that a faithful minister must preserve unadulterated and un- 
alloyed whatever has been entrusted to him by his good 
master for dispensation to his fellow servants. 5 Consequently, 
I also am obliged in the common interest to place before you, 
in accordance with God's good pleasure, what I have learned 
from the Holy Scriptures. For the Lord Himself, in whom 

1 Eph. 4.2. 

2 Rom. 10.10. 

3 2 Cor. 3.5. 

4 2 Cor. 3.6. 

5 Luke 12.42. 

57 



58 SAINT BASIL 

the Father was well pleased, 6 'in whom are hid all the treas- 
uresures of wisdom and knowledge/ 7 said, having received 
from the Father all power and all judgment: 8 'he gave me 
commandment what I should say and what I should speak' 9 
and again: 'The things, therefore, that I speak, even as the 
Father said unto me, so do I speak.' 10 If, likewise, the Holy 
Spirit does not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He hears 
from Him, these things He speaks, 11 how much more pious 
and safe it is for us to think and act thus in the Name of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Now, while I was compelled to fight the heresies that arose 
from time to time, I thought it appropriate to the specific 
nature of the impiety sown by the Devil that I should check 
or confute if I could the blasphemies which were brought 
forward [by the opposing side] and in this I was imitating 
the example of my predecessors by arguments gleaned from 
various sources as the need of those weak in faith required; 
and in many cases these were not written down, yet were 
not out of harmony with sound Scriptural teaching. In fact, 
the Apostle often was not above using even pagan utterances 
which were congruent with his special purpose. 12 In this 
present case, however, I have regarded it as befitting our 
joint intent, yours and mine, to obey in the simplicity of a 
sound faith that injunction of yours springing from your love 
in Christ and to declare what I have learned from the Holy 
Scripture, making a sparing use of titles and words which 
are not found literally in Holy Writ, even though they pre- 

6 Mark 1.11; Luke 3.22. 

7 Col. 2.3. 

8 Matt. 28.18; John 5.22. 

9 John 12.49. 

10 John 12.50. 

11 John 16.13. 

12 Acts 17.28. 



CONCERNING FAITH 59 

serve the sense of the Scripture. In addition, I shall wholly 
avoid as alien and foreign to our holy faith everything which 
introduces an unusual sense as well as an unfamiliar text, 
and also whatever is not found in the teaching of the saints. 
Now, then, faith is a whole-hearted assent to aural doctrine 
with full conviction of the truth of what is publicly taught by 
the grace of God. This faith Abraham had, as is testified in 
the words: 'he staggered not by distrust; but was strengthened 
in faith, giving glory to God; most fully knowing that what- 
soever he has promised he is able also to perform.' 13 But, if 
'the Lord is faithful in all his words' 14 and 'All his command- 
ments are faithful, confirmed for ever and ever, made in truth 
and equity, 515 to delete anything that is written down or to 
interpolate anything not written amounts to open defection 
from the faith and makes the offender liable to a charge of 
contempt. For our Lord Jesus Christ says: 'My sheep hear my 
voice/ 16 and, before this, He had said: 'But a stranger they 
follow not but fly from him because they know not the voice 
of strangers.' 17 And the Apostle, using a human parallel, 
more strongly forbids adding to or removing anything from 
Holy Writ in the following words : 'yet a man's testament if 
it be confirmed, no man despiseth nor addeth to it. 518 

So, then, we have determined in this way to avoid now and 
always every utterance and sentiment not found in the Lord's 
teaching, since the purpose at hand, yours and mine, is, as 
I said before, widely different from that of those disputes by 
which we were induced on other occasions to write or speak 

13 Rom. 4.20,21. 

14 Ps. 144,13. 

15 Ps. 110.8. 

16 John 10.27. 

17 John 10.5. 

18 Gal. 315. 



60 SAINT BASIL 

otherwise. Whereas the object of my zeal then was the refu- 
tation of heresy and the foiling of the Devil's wiles, now the 
task at hand Is simple exposition and profession of a sound 
faith; wherefore the type of discourse which I formerly em- 
ployed is not appropriate for me now. As a man would not 
take in hand the same implements for waging war as he does 
for working his farm (for the tools of those who labor for 
their livelihood in sweet security differ from the full accoutre- 
ment of those drawn up for battle), so he who delivers 
an exhortation on sound doctrine would not say the same 
things as he who is engaged in putting his adversaries to rout. 
The speech which refutes and that which exhorts represent 
different genres. The simplicity of those making a tranquil 
profession of piety is one thing and the sweating toil of those 
resisting the attacks of a so-called system of knowledge is 
something quite different. Consequently, I, also, organizing 
my discourses in this judicious fashion, will employ in every 
instance methods which are pertinent to the safeguarding or 
the deepening of faith now, by vigorously opposing those 
who attempt to destroy it by the craft of the Devil ; again, by 
expounding the faith in a more straightforward and informal 
manner to such as desire to be strengthened therein; and in 
this I am at one with the words of the Apostle: 'that you 
may know how you ought to answer every man.' 19 

But, before I take up the matter itself of the profession of 
faith, the following warning should be given : It is impossible 
to express in one word or one concept, or to grasp with the 
mind at all, the majesty and glory of God, which is unutterable 
and incomprehensible, and the Holy Scripture, although for 
the most part employing words in current use, speaks ob- 
scurely 'as through a glass' 20 even to the clean of heart. 21 The 



19 Col. 4.6. 

20 1 Cor. 13.12. 

21 Matt. 5.8. 



CONCERNING FAITH 61 

beholding face to face and the perfect knowledge 22 have been 
promised to those who are accounted worthy in the life to 
come. But now, even if a man be a Paul or a Peter, even 
though he truly sees what he sees and is not misled nor de- 
ceived by his imagination, yet he sees through a glass and 
in a dark manner, and he looks forward with great joy to 
perfect knowledge in the future of that which he receives now 
in part with thanksgiving. 23 This the Apostle Paul confirms 
by the implication in the following words: 'When I was a 
c hild' that is, fresh from committing to memory the first 
elements of the divine oracles 'I spoke as a child, I under- 
stood as a child, I thought as a child. But now that I have 
become a man' that is, and am hastening to attain to the 
measure of the age of the fullness of Christ 24 'I have put 
away the things of a child' 25 that is, I have arrived at such 
an advanced stage and achieved such proficiency in the under- 
standing of the Holy Scripture that full knowledge according 
to the Jewish religion seems like the stirrings of a childish 
mind, while the knowledge gained through the Gospel ap- 
pears wholly suitable to one who has now reached perfect 
manhood. And so, in comparison with the knowledge which 
will be revealed to the deserving in the life to come, that in 
our knowledge which now seems perfect is a dim and frag- 
mentary thing; so much so that it falls shorter of the clarity 
we look for in the age to come than the gazing through the 
gl ass _ an d darkly besides falls short of the beholding face 
to face. To this fact blessed Peter and John and the other 
disciples of the Lord also are witnesses. Although in this life 
they made ever greater progress and advancement, yet they 
were given the assurance that this proficiency would be far 



22 1 Cor. 13.12. 

23 1 Cor. 13.10. 

24 Eph. 4.13. 

25 1 COT. 13.11. 



62 SAINT BASIL 

surpassed by the knowledge which was reserved for them in 
the life to come. Even they, after proving themselves worthy 
of the Lord's choice, of living in His company, of being His 
Apostles, of receiving spiritual favors, and after hearing Him 
say to them : To you it is given to know the mysteries of the 
kingdom of heaven' 26 after attaining to knowledge as pro- 
found as this and to the revelation of secrets withheld from the 
crowd, on a later occasion, with reference to the Lord's Pas- 
sion itself, they, nevertheless, hear the words: 'I have yet many 
things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.' 27 

From such passages as these we learn that Holy Writ con- 
tains a store of knowledge as limitless as is the incapacity of 
human nature to grasp in this life the meaning of the holy 
mysteries. Even though more knowledge is always being ac- 
quired by everyone, it will ever fall short in all things of its 
rightful completeness until the time when that which is per- 
fect being come, that which is in part will be done away. 28 
Accordingly, one appellation is not adequate for expressing 
all the glories of God simultaneously, nor is any one entirely 
free from the handicap of incompleteness. If one would say 
'God,' he fails to express the attribute of 'Father' ; and in say- 
ing 'Father,' we leave out the idea of 'Creator.' Again, these 
names do not include the qualities of goodness, wisdom, pow- 
er, and the rest of the attributes mentioned in Holy Scripture. 
Besides, if we understood the attribute 'Father' as applied to 
God entirely according to our ordinary acceptation of it, we 
are guilty of irreverence; for passion, effluxion, ignorance > 
infirmity, and other weaknesses of the kind are implied. A 
similar objection can be brought against the appellation 'Cre- 
ator'; for with us this concept is associated with notions of 

26 Matt. 13.11. 

27 John 16.12. 

28 1 Cor. 13.10. 



CONCERNING FAITH 63 

time, material, tools, assistance but a reverential idea of God 
must be purified of all these accretions insofar as this is possible 
for man. Even if all minds, in fact, should combine their 
researches and all tongues would concur in their utterance, 
never, as I have said, could anyone achieve a worthy result 
in this matter. Solomon, the wisest of men, presents this 
thought clearly to us when he says: *I have said: I will be 
wise; and it departed farther from me'; 29 not that it really 
fled but because wisdom appears unattainable particularly 
to those to whom knowledge has been given in an exception- 
ally high degree by the grace of God. Holy Writ, therefore, 
employs perforce a large number of names and words to 
convey a partial concept, and even this in an obscure man- 
ner, of the Divine Glory. I have neither the leisure nor the 
skill at present, however, to collect from the Holy Scripture, 
even at your urging, all the references made throughout to 
the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, but I think it will satisfy 
even your conscience if I place before you a few selected 
passages to show how our thoughts derive from the Scriptures 
and to provide grounds for certainty both for you yourselves 
and any others who desire to place their confidence in us; 
for, just as many proofs declare to us only one divine doc- 
trine, so also, a fair-minded person will recognize in the few 
proofs I give the divine character which is in all. 

We believe, therefore, and confess that there is one God, 
true and good, and that He is the Father Omnipotent from 
whom are all things, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. We believe in and confess His one, Only-begotten Son, 
our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who only is true, by whom all 
things visible and invisible were made 30 and in whom they 

29 Eccle. 7.24. 

30 John 1.3; Coi. 1.16. 



64 SAINT BASIL 

all consist; 31 who in the beginning was with God and was 
God, 32 and afterward, according to the Scriptures., was seen 
upon the earth and conversed with men; 33 s who being in the 
form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but 
emptied himself. And in being born of a virgin, 'taking the 
form of a servant and in habit found as a man/ 34 He 
fulfilled according to the command of the Father all that 
was written concerning Him, becoming obedient unto death, 
even the death of the cross. 35 We believe and confess that, ris- 
ing on the third day from the dead, according to the Scrip- 
tures, He was seen by His holy disciples and the others, as it 
is written; 36 that He ascended into heaven and sits on the 
right hand of the Father whence He will come at the end 
of time to raise up all men and to render to each according 
to his works; 37 that then the just will be received into life 
everlasting and into the kingdom of heaven and the sinners 
will be condemned to eternal punishment 'where their worm 
dieth not and the fire is not extinguished.' 38 We believe in and 
confess the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, 'whereby we are sealed 
unto the day of redemption, 539 the Spirit of truth, 40 'the spirit 
of adoption of sons whereby we cry: Abba (Father), 541 who 
worketh and divideth the gifts of God to every one according 
as He wills unto profit; 42 who teaches and brings to mind 



31 Col. 1.17. 

32 John 1.1. 

33 Bar. 3.38. 

34 Phil. 2.6,7. 

35 Phil. 2.8. 

36 1 Cor. 15.4,5. 

37 Matt. 16.27. 

38 Mark 9.43. 

39 Eph. 4.30. 

40 John 15.26, 

41 Rom. 8.15. 

42 1 Cor. 12.7,11. 



CONCERNING FAITH 65 

whatever He hears from the Son; 43 who is good and shows 
the way to all truth and confirms all believers unto certain 
knowledge, true confession, pious worship, and adoration in 
spirit and truth 44 of God the Father and His Only-begotten 
Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and of Himself. Each of these 
Names makes clearly evident to us the special character of 
tfie Person named and certain wholly specialized properties 
are reverently contemplated in each : in the Father, by virtue 
of His proper attribute, Father; in the Son, by the proper 
attribute, Son; and in the Holy Spirit, by His own special 
attribute. The Holy Spirit does not speak of Himself, 45 nor 
does the Son do aught of Himself, 46 but the Father sends the 
Son and the Son sends the Holy Spirit. So we believe and so 
we baptize, in the Name of the consubstantial Trinity, ac- 
cording to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said : 
'Going, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching 
them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded 
you/ 47 If we observe these commandments, we show our love 
toward Him and we are rendered worthy to abide in it, as it 
is written; 48 but, if we do not observe them, we show con- 
clusively that we are hostile to Him, for 'He that loveth^me 
not, 5 says the Lord, 'keepetfa not my words,' 49 and again: 'He 
that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that 
loveth me. 350 

I marvel exceedingly when I consider the words of our 

4$ John 14.26. 

44 John 4.2S. 

45 John 16.13. 

46 John 8.28. 

47 Matt. 28.1950. 

48 John 15.10. 

49 John 14.24. 

50 Jotm 14.21. 



66 SAINT BASIL 

Lord Jesus Christ: 'Rejoice not that spirits are subject unto 
you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven,' 51 
and again : 'By this shall all men know that you are rny dis- 
ciples, if you have love one for another. 352 Whereupon, the 
Apostle, showing the binding force of charity upon all men, 
-declares : 'If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and 
have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tink- 
ling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know 
all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, 
so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am 
nothing'; 53 and a little further on: 'whether prophecies shall 
be made void, or tongues shall cease or knowledge shall be 
destroyed,' 54 and so on; then he adds: 'And now there re- 
main faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these 
is charity.' 55 In view of such declarations on the part of our 
Lord and the Apostle, I marvel, I say, how it is that men dis- 
play such zeal and such intense absorption in the pursuit of 
goods that will come to an end and be destroyed, but have 
no regard for that which will remain, especially charity, the 
greatest of all goods, the distinguishing mark of the Christian. 
And not only this, but they show hostility to those who are 
zealous in its practice, and in fighting against them they fulfill 
the words of the Lord, namely, that they themselves do not 
enter in and those that are entering in they hinder. 56 

I beg and implore you, therefore, to be content with the 
words of the saints and of the Lord Himself and to desist from 
curious inquiry and unseemly controversies, to think on those 
things that are worthy of your heavenly calling, to live in a 

51 Luke 10.20. 

52 John 13.35. 

53 1 Cor. 13.1,2. 

54 1 Cor. 13.8. 

55 1 Cor. 13.13. 

56 Luke 11.52- 



CONCERNING FAITH 



67 



manner befitting the Gospel of Christ, relying on the hope of 
eternal life and the heavenly kingdom prepared for all those 
who keep the commandments of God the Father according 
to the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord in the Holy Spirit and 
in truth. At the bidding of your piety, then, I have felt bound 
in duty to declare and make clear before concluding my be- 
lief in these truths both for your benefit and through you for 
those who are my brethren in Christ, so as to produce in 
you and in them full conviction in the Name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ and also to prevent anyone's mind from being 
confused by the diverse methods of exposition we employ, 
although always we are motivated by the necessity of opposing 
the arguments trumped up by adversaries of the truth. .My 
aim, furthermore, is to see to it that no one becomes unsettled 
by the opposition of those who attribute to me sentiments that 
are alien to my mind, or who again and again falsely repre- 
sent as my opinion the expression of their own wicked pas- 
sions, in an effort to carry off to their side the more naive 
[among their listeners]. These you must be wary of as enemies 
to the evangelical and apostolic faith and charity. Recall the 
words of the Apostle: 'But though we or an angel from heaven 
preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached 
to you, let him be anathema.' 57 Thus, and by observing the 
following warning also: 'Beware of false prophets' 58 and this 
likewise: 'that you withdraw yourselves from every brother 
walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which 
they have received of us,' 59 we shall walk according to the 
rule of the saints, 'built upon the foundation of the apostles 
and prophets, Jesus Christ, our Lord himself being the chief 
corner-stone; in whom all the building being framed together, 



57 Gal. 1.8. 

58 Matt. 7.15. 

59 2 Thess. 3.6. 



gg SAINT BASIL 

groweth up Into an holy temple in the Lord. 560 'And may the 
God of peace himself sanctify you in all things, that your whole 
spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless in the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful who hath 
called you, who also will do it,' 61 provided we keep His com- 
mandments by the grace of Christ in the Holy Spirit. 

Considering that, for the present, enough has been said 
above regarding a sound faith, I shall now try, in the Name 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep my promise with regard to 
the Morals. Accordingly, whatever I have so far discovered 
in the way of prohibitions or commended acts in scattered 
passages throughout the New Testament, I have attempted 
to the best of my ability to gather together into rules summar- 
ized for the convenience of those who desire this service. With 
each rule, also, I have coupled a listing by number of Scrip- 
tural passages comprised in the rule, as taken from the Gos- 
pels, from the Apostle, or the Acts. In this way, one ^who 
reads the rule and sees, for example, the number 'one' 
or 'two' cited with it, may consult the Scripture itself and, 
looking up the passages quoted under the aforesaid num- 
ber, find the testimony from which the rule was derived. 
Furthermore, I intended at first to make a harmony with 
quotations from the Old Testament for each passage of the 
New Testament which accompanies the rules; but, since the 
need was pressing and my brethren in Christ were urgently 
demanding that I fulfill my promise of long standing, I re- 
called the words of Him who said: 'Give an occasion to a 
wise man and wisdom shall be added to him/ 62 Consequently, 
if anyone so desires, he will find a satisfactory starting point in 
the testimonies that are cited for taking up the Old Testa- 

60 Eph. 2.20,21. 

61 1 Thess. 5.23,24. 

62 Prov. ^.9. 



CONCERNING FAITH 69 

ment and discovering for himself the harmony in all the Holy 
Scriptures, especially since, for the faithful and for those 
fully convinced of the truth of our Lord's words, one utter- 
ance alone is enough. I have, therefore, considered it sufficient 
also to cite a few only and not all the proofs to be found in 
the New Testament. 




HEREWITH BEGINS THE MORALS 

RULE ONE 

HAT THEY WHO BELIEVE in the Lord must first do 
penance according to the preaching of John and of 
our Lord Jesus Christ Himself; for they who do not 
penance now will receive a harsher sentence than those who 
were condemned before the time of the Gospel. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [4.17]: Trom that time Jesus began to preach 
and to say: Do penance for the kingdom of heaven is at 
hand.' [11.20-22]: Then began he to upbraid the cities 
wherein were done the most of his miracles, for that they had 
not done penance. Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Beth- 
saida; for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles 
that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done pen- 
ance in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for 
Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgement than for you/ etc. 

That this present life is the time for penance and for the 
remission of sins; in the life to come, the just judgment of 
retribution will take place. 

Cap. 2 

Mark [2.10] : 'But that you may know that the Son of man 

71 



72 SAINT BASIL 

hath power on earth to forgive sins, he sayeth/ Matthew 
[18.18,19]: 'Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind 
upon earth, shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you 
shall loose upon earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, Amen 

1 say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth con- 
cerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done 
to them by my Father who is in heaven,' John [5.28,29] : 'for 
the hour cometh wherein all that are in the graves shall hear 
his voice. And they that have done good things shall come 
forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done 
evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.' Rom. [2.4-6]: 'Or 
despisest thou the riches of his goodness and patience and 
long-suffering? Knowest thou not that the benignity of God 
leadeth thee to penance? But according to thy hardness and 
impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath against 
the day of wrath and of revelation and the just judgment of 
God who will render to every man according to his works.' 
Acts [17.30,31]: 'And God indeed having winked at the 
times of this ignorance, now declareth unto men that all 
should everywhere do penance, because he hath appointed 
a day wherein he will judge the world/ 

That penitents should weep bitterly and show forth from 
their heart all the other appropriate works of penance. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [26.75]: 'And Peter remembered the word of 
Jesus which he had said to him : Before the cock crow, thou 
wilt deny me thrice. And going forth he wept bitterly.' 

2 Cor. [7.6,7]: 'But he who comforteth the humble com- 
forted us by the; coming of Titus. And not by his coming only, 
but also by the consolation, wherewith he was comforted in 



THE MORALS 73 

you, relating to us your desire, your mourning, your zeal for 
me'; and a little further on [11]: Tor behold this selfsame 
thing, that you were made sorrowful according to God, how 
great carefulness it worketh in you; yea defence, yea indig- 
nation, yea fear, yea desire, yea zeal, yea revenge: in all 
things you have showed yours-elf to be undefiled in the mat- 
ter/ Acts [19.18,19] : 'And many of them that believed came 
confessing and declaring their deeds. And many of them who 
had followed curious arts brought together their books and 
burnt them before all. 5 

That mere renouncement of sin is not sufficient for the 
salvation of penitents, but fruits worthy of penance are also 
required of them. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [3.7-10]: 'And seeing many of the Pharisees and 
Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them: Ye brood 
of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to 
come? Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance. And 
think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our 
father. For I tell you that God is able of these stones to raise 
up children to Abraham. For now the axe is laid to the root 
of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good 
fruit, shall be cut down and cast into the fire.' 

That after departure from this life there is no opportunity 
for good deeds, since God in his forbearance has provided 
the present life for doing those things that please Him. 

Cap. 5 
Matthew [25.1-12]: 'Then shall the kingdom of heaven 



74 SAINT BASIL 

be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to 
meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were 
foolish and five wise. They who were foolish, having taken 
their lamps, did not take oil with them. But the wise took oil 
in their vessels with their lamps. And the bridegroom tarry- 
ing, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was 
a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to 
meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their 
lamps. And the foolish said to the wise : Give us of your oil, 
for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying : Lest 
perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather 
to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they 
went to buy, the bridegroom came : and they that were ready, 
went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. 
But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, 
open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know 
you not,' Luke [13.24,25]: 'Strive to enter by the narrow 
gate: for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter and shall not 
be able. But when the master of the house shall be gone in 
and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without and 
knock at the door, saying: Lord, open to us. And he answer- 
ing shall say to you : I know you not, whence you are.' 2 Cor. 
[6.2-4]: 'Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now 
is the day of salvation. Giving no offence to any man that our 
ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit our- 
selves as the ministers of God.' Gal. [6.10] : Therefore, whilst 
we have time let us work good to all men. 3 

RULE TWO 

That he who entangles himself in matters foreign to piety 
cannot serve God. 



THE MORALS 75 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [6.24] : 'No man can serve two masters. For either 
he will hate the one and love the other: or he will sustain the 
one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mam- 
mon. 3 2 Cor. [6.14-16]: 'Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. 
For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what 
fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath 
Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the 
unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God 
with idols? 5 

That he who would obey the Gospel must first be purged 
of all defilement of the flesh and the spirit that so he may be 
acceptable to God in the good works of holiness. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [23.25,26]: 'Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites: because you make clean the outside of the cup 
and of the dish, but within you are full of repine and unclean- 
ness. Thou blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the 
cup and of the dish that the outside of them may become 
clean.' 2 Cor. [7.1] : 'Having therefore these promises, dearly 
beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the 
flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear 
of God.' 

That he who has affection for anything in this life or 
allows anything to draw him away from God even slightly 
cannot become the Lord's disciple. 

Cap. 3 
Matthew [10.37,38]: 'He that loveth father or mother 



76 SAINT BASIL 

more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son 
or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that 
taketh not up his cross and followeth me, is not worthy of me.' 

[16,24,25]: 'If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself and take up his cross and follow me. For he that will 
save his life, shall lose it.' 

RULE THREE 

That to love God with the whole heart has been declared 
by the Lord to be the first and the greatest commandment of 
the Law; and the second, to love one's neighbor as oneself. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [22.37-39]: 'Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole 
soul and with thy whole strength and with thy whole mind. 
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second 
is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself/ 

That, if anyone does not keep His commandments, it is 
proof that he does not love God and His Christ; but the ob- 
servance of the commandments of Christ in bearing the tribul- 
ations sent by Him even unto death is proof of love. 

Cap. 2 

John [14.21,24]: 'He that hath my commandments and 
keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. He that loveth me not, 
keepeth not my words.' [15.10]: If you keep my command-* 
ments you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my 
Father's commandments and do abide in his love.' Rom. 
[8.35-37] : 'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? 



THE MORALS 



77 



Shall tribulation? or distress? or persecution? or famine? or 
nakedness? or danger? or the sword? (As it is written: For 
thy sake we are put to death all the day long. We are ac- 
counted as sheep for the slaughter. ) But in all these things we 
overcome, because of him that hath loved us,* etc. 



RULE FOUR 



That he who does His will gives honor and glory to God* 
but whoever trangresses His law dishonors Him. 

Cap. 1 

John [17.4]: 'I have glorified thee on the earth; I have 
finished the work which thou gavest me to do. s Matthew 
[5.16]: 'So let your light shine before men that they may 
see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.* 
Phil. [1.10,11]: 'that you may be sincere and without offence 
unto the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of justice, through 
Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 5 Rom. [2.23]: 
Thou that makest thy boast of the law, by transgression of the 
law dishonorest God.' 

RULE FIVE 

That we must be free from all enmity toward all men and 
love our enemies; and, when necessity requires, lay down our 
life for our friends with a love like that which God and His 

Christ had for us. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [5.43,44] : 'You have heard that it hath been saict 
to them of old, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy 
enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies 5 ; and a little 



78 SAINT BASIL 

later [48] : 'Be ye therefore perfect, as your heavenly Father 
is perfect/ John [3.16]: Tor God so loved the world as to 
give his only begotten Son.' [15.12,13] "This is my command- 
ment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater 
love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life 
for his friends/ Luke [6.35,36] : 'and you shall be the sons of 
the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. 
Be ye therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful/ 
Rom. [5.8,9]; 'But God commendeth his charity toward us; 
because when as yet we were sinners, Christ died for us/ 
Eph. [5.1,2]: 'Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear 
children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and 
hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to 
God/ 

That the mark of the disciples of Christ is their love for one 
another in Him. 

Cap. 2 

John [13.35] : 'By this shall all men know that you are my 
disciples, if you have love one for another/ 

That to wrong one's neighbor in any way or to cause him 
such disedification that his faith is destroyed is a sure sign 
that one does not possess the love of Christ for one's neighbor^ 
even if what is done is allowed by the Scripture for a special 
reason. 

Cap. 3 

Rom. [14.15]: Tor if because of meat, thy brother be 
grieved, thou walkest not now according to charity. Destroy 
not him with thy meat for whom Christ died/ 



THE MORALS 79 

That the Christian must serve even one who is vexed with 
him, in every way, at least in so far as he is able. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [5.23,24]: 'If therefore thou offer thy gift at the 
altar and there thou remember that thy brother hath any- 
thing, against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar 
and go first to be reconciled to thy brother: and then coming 
thou shalt offer thy gift.' 1 Cor. [4.12,13]: 'we are reviled 
and we bless; we are persecuted and we suffer it. We are 
blasphemed and we entreat.' 

That he who has the charity of Christ sometimes causes 
pain, even to one whom he loves, for his good. 

Cap. 5 

John [16.5'-7]: 'And now I go to him that sent me, and 
none of you asketh me: Whither goest thou? But because I 
have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your 
heart. But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I 
go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you.' 2 Cor. 
[7.7-9]: so that I rejoiced the more. For although I made 
you sorrowful by my epistle, I do not repent; and if I did 
repent, seeing that the same epistle (although but for a time) 
did make you sorrowful, now I am glad; not because you 
were made sorrowful, but because you were made sorrowful 
unto penance. For you were made sorrowful according to 
God, that you might suffer damage by uo in nothing.' 

RULE SIX 

That we must speak fearlessly and without shame in the 
confession of our Lord Jesus and His doctrine. 



80 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [10.27,28]: That which I tell you in the dark, 
speak ye in the light: and that which you heard in the ear, 
preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill 
the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear 
him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.' [32] : 'Every 
one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also con- 
fess him before my Father who is in heaven.' Luke [9.26] : Tor 
he that shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him the 
Son of man shall be ashamed, when he shall come in his maj- 
esty and that of the Father and of the holy angels.' 2 Tim. 
[1.8] : 'Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our 
Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but labor with the gospel, like 
a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 3 

RULE SEVEN 

That even if a man seem to confess the Lord and hear His 
words, but does not obey His commands, he is condemned, 
even though, by some divine concession, he be vouchsafed an 
endowment of spiritual gifts. 

Cap. I 

Matthew [7.21-23] : 'Not every one that saith to me, Lord, 
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that 
doth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say 
to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy 
name and cast out devils in thy name and done many miracles 
in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew 
you: depart from me, you that work iniquity,' etc. Luke 
[6.46] : 'And why call you me, Lord, Lord, and do not the 
things which I say?' etc. Titus [1.16] : They profess that they 



THE MORALS 81 

know God: but in their works they deny him; being abomin- 
able, and incredulous, and to every good work reprobate. 5 



RULE EIGHT 



That we must neither doubt nor hesitate respecting the 
words of the Lord, but be fully persuaded that every word of 
God is true and possible even if nature rebel; for therein is 
the test of faith. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [14.25-31] : 'And in the fourth watch of the night, 
Jesus came to them walking upon the sea. And the dis- 
ciples seeing him walking upon the sea, were troubled, saying: 
It is an apparition. And they cried out for fear. And immedi- 
ately Jesus spoke to them, saying: Be of good heart: it is I, 
fear ye not. And Peter making answer, said: Lord, if it be 
thou, bid me come to thee upon the waters. And he said: 
Come. And Peter going down out of the boat, walked upon 
the water to come to Jesus. But seeing the wind strong, he 
was afraid; and when he began to sink, he cried out, saying: 
Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretching forth his 
hand took hold of him and said to him: O thou of little faith, 
why didst thou doubt?' John [6.53,54] : The Jews therefore 
strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us 
his flesh to eat? Then he said to themi Amen, amen I say 
unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and 
drink his blood, you shall not have life in you!' Luke [1.13]: 
'But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy pray- 
er is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, 9 
and shortly thereafter.' [18-20]: 'And Zachary said to the 
angel : Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man and 
my wife is advanced in her days. And the angel answering 



82 SAINT BASIL 

said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God, and am 
sent to speak to thee and to bring thee these good tidings. 
And behold thou shalt be dumb and shalt not be able to 
speak until the day wherein these things come to pass, because 
thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in 
their time.' Rom. [4.19-22] : 'And he was not weak in faith; 
neither did he consider his own body now dead, whereas he 
was almost an hundred years old, nor the dead womb of 
Sarah. In the promise also of God he staggered not by dis- 
trust; but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God; 
most fully knowing that whatsoever he has promised, he is 
able also to perform. And therefore it was reputed to him 
unto justice.' 

That he who in small matters does not trust in the Lord 
is far more manifestly an unbeliever in things of greater 
moment. 

Cap. 2 

John [3. 12]:' If I have spoken to you earthly things and 
you believe not; how will you believe if I shall speak to you of 
heavenly things?' Luke [16.10]: 'He that is faithful in that 
which is least, is faithful also in that which is greater: and 
he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that 
which is greater.' 

That we should not rely on our own reasoning to the point 
of rejecting the words of the Lord; but we must be con- 
vinced that the Lord's words are more worthy of credence 
than our own fullest knowledge. 



THE MORALS 



83 



Cap. 3 

Matthew [26.31, 33-34]: 'Then Jesus saith to them: All 
you shall be scandalized in me this night. And Peter answer- 
ing said to him: Although all shall be scandalized in thee, 
I will never be scandalized. Jesus said to him : Amen I say to 
thce, that in this night before the cock crow, thou wilt deny 
me thrice. 5 [20-22] : 'But when it was evening, he sat down 
with his twelve disciples: and whilst they were eating, he said 
to them : I say to you that one of you is about to betray me. 
And they being very much troubled, began every one to say 
to him: Is it I, Lord?, Acts [10.13-15]: 'And there came a 
voice to him: Arise, Peter, kill and eat. But Peter said: Far be 
it from me, Lord, for I never did eat anything that is common 
and unclean. And the voice spoke to him again the second 
time: That which God hath cleansed, do not thou call com- 
mon.' 2 Cor. [10.4,5]: 'destroying counsels and every height 
that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring- 
ing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of 
Christ.' 

RULE NINE 

That no one should be remiss in learning what pertains to 
his duty but should listen attentively and understand the words 
of the Lord and do His will. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [15.15-18]: 'And Peter answering, said to him: 
Expound to us this parable. But Jesus said : Are you also yet 
without understanding? Do you not yet understand that 
whatsoever entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly and 
is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out 
of the mouth come forth from the heart and defile a man.' 



84 SAINT BASIL 

[13.19]: 'When any one heareth the word of the kingdom 
and understandeth It not, there cometh the wicked one and 
catcheth away that which was sown in his heart: this is he 
that received the seed by the wayside'; and a little farther on 
[23] : 'But he that received the seed upon good ground is he 
that heareth the word and understandeth and beareth fruit 
and yieldeth, the one an hundredfold and another sixty, and 
another thirty. 9 Mark [7.14]: 'And calling the whole multi- 
tude unto him, he said to them: Hear me and understand/ 
Eph. [5.15-17]: 'See therefore how you walk circumspectly; 
not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the 
days are evil. Wherefore become not unwise, but understand- 
ing what is the will of God.' 

That we should not busy ourselves with matters which do 
not concern us. 

Cap. 2 

John [13.27,28]: 'And after the morsel, Satan entered into 
him. And Jesus said to him : That which thou dost, do quickly. 
Now no man at the table knew to what purpose he said this 
unto him.' Acts [1.6,7]: 'They therefore who were come to- 
gether, asked him, saying : Lord, wilt thou at this time restore 
again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not 
for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath 
put in his own power.' 

That it is the duty of those who are zealous for God's good 
pleasure to make inquiry as to what it is right for them to do. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [13.36]: 'And his disciples came to him, saying: 
Expound to us the parable of the cockle of the field.' [19.16] : 



THE MORALS 85 

'And behold one came and said to Mm: Good master, what 
good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?* Luke [3.7]: 
'He said therefore to the multitudes that went forth to be bap- 
tized by him : Ye offspring of vipers, who hath shewed you to 
flee from the wrath to come? 3 And a little later [10]: 'And 
the people* publicans and soldiers alike 'asked him, saying: 
What then shall we do?' Acts [2.37]: 'Now when they had 
heard these things, they had compunction in their heart and 
said to Peter and to the rest of the apostles: What shall we 
do, men and brethren? 9 

That he who is questioned must take care to give a worthy 

answer. 

Cap. 4 

Luke [10.25-29]: 'And behold a certain lawyer stood up, 
tempting him and saying : Master, what must I do to possess 
eternal life? But he said to him: What is written in the law? 
How readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole 
soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. 
And he said to him: Thou hast answered right; this do, and 
thou shalt live.' Col [4.6] : 'Let your speech be always in grace 
seasoned with salt: that you may know how you ought to 
answer every man.' 

That the condemnation of those who know and do not 
apply their knowledge is the more severe; but even sin com- 
mitted in ignorance is not without risk. 

Cap. 5 

Luke [12.47,48]: 'And that servant who knew the will 
of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according 



86 SAINT BASIL 

to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that 
knew not and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten 
with few stripes.' 

RULE TEN 

That the end of sin is death. 

Cap. 1 

John [3.36]: 'But he that believeth not the Son, shall not 
see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.' Rom. 
[6.20,21] : Tor when you were servants of sin, you were free 
men to justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those 
things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them 
is death.' And a little later [23] : Tor the wages of sin is 
death.' 1 Cor. [15.56] : 'Now the sting of death is sin.' 

That the fulfillment of the commandment of God is life 
everlasting. 

, Cap. 2 

John [8.51]: 'Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep 
my word, he shall not see death for ever.' Jo'hn [12.49,50]: 
'But he who sent me, the Father, he himself gave me com- 
mandment what I should say and what I should speak. And 
I know that his commandment is life everlasting.' Rom. 
[6.22] : 'But now being made free from sin, and becoming 
servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and 
the end, life everlastirig.' 

RULE ELEVEN 

That the judgments of God ought not be lightly regarded, 
but feared even though retribution is not immediate. 



THE MORALS 87 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [10.28]: 'But rather fear him that can destroy 
both soul and body in hell. 3 Luke [12.45-47] : 'But if that ser- 
vant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a-coming; and 
shall begin to strike the menservants and maidservants, and 
to eat and to drink and be drunk; the lord of that servant 
will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour 
that he knoweth not, and shall separate him and shall appoint 
him his portion with unbelievers.' John [5.14]: 'Behold thou 
art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen 
to thee.' Eph. [5.6]: 'Let no man deceive you with vain 
words. For because of these things cometh the anger of God 
upon the children of unbelief. 3 

That he who has been chastised for his past sins and has 
obtained pardon prepares for himself a judgment of wrath 
more severe than the former judgment if he sin again. 

Cap. 2 

John [5.14]: 'Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, 
lest some worse thing happen to thee.' 

That when any incur the judgment of the wrath of God, 
the rest should amend their ways in fear. 

Cap. 3 

Luke [13.1-6]: 'And there were present at that very time 
some that told him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had 
mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said to 
them: Think you that these Galileans were sinners above all 
the men of Galilee, because they suffered such things? No, I 



88 SAINT BASIL 

say to you; but unless you shall do penance, you shall all 
likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell 
in Siloe and slew them : think you that they also were debtors 
above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem? No, I say to you; 
but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish/ Acts 
[5.5]: 'And Ananias hearing these words, fell down and gave 
up the ghost. And there came a great fear upon all that heard 
it.' 1 COT. [10.10,11]: 'Neither do you murmur, as some of 
them murmured and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now 
all these things happened to them in figure; and they are 
written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world 
are come.' 

That frequently a man is even delivered up to evil works 
as punishment for past impiety. 

Cap. 4 

Rom. [1.28]: 'And as they liked not to have God in their 
knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do 
those things which are not convenient.' 2 Thess. [2,10,11]: 
'Because they received not the love of the truth that they might 
be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of 
error, to believe lying.' 

That the multitude of sinners does not arouse the solici- 
tude of God, but he who is acceptable to Him, whether man 
or woman. 

Cap. 5 

Luke [4.25,26]: 'In truth I say to you, there were many 
widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut 
up three years and six months, when there was a great famine 



THE MORALS 89 

throughout all the earth, And to none of them was Elias sent 
but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman.' 1 COT. [10.1-5] : 
Tor I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our 
fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the 
sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud and in the 
sea; and all did eat the same spiritual food and all drank the 
same spiritual drink: (and they drank of the spiritual rock 
that followed them, and the rock was Christ). But with most 
of them God was not well pleased ; for they were overthrown 
in the desert. 5 

RULE TWELVE 

That every contradiction, even if it arise from a pious and 
amicable spirit, estranges the one dissenting from the Lord; 
but every word of the Lord ought to be received with com- 
plete assent. 

Cap. 1 

John [13.5-8]: s And he began to wash the feet of the dis- 
ciples and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was 
girded. He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith 
to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and 
said to him : What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt 
know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash 
my feet. Jesus answered him : If I wash thee not, thou shalt 
have no part with me. 1 

That we should not conform with human traditions to the 
extent of setting aside the command of God. 

Cap. 2 

Mark [7.5-8] : 'Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him: 



90 SAINT BASIL 

Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of 
the ancients, but they eat bread with unwashed hands? But 
he answering said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you 
hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with 
their lips but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they 
worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men. For leav- 
ing the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men/ 
etc. 

That we should observe everything without exception which 
has been handed down by the Lord through the Gospel and 
the Apostles, 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [28.19,20]: 'Going teach ye all nations; baptiz- 
ing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things what- 
soever I have commanded you.' Luke [1.6]: 'And they were 
both just before God, walking in all the commandments and 
justifications of the Lord without blame.' [10.16]: 'He that 
heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth 
me.' 2 Thess. [2.14]: 'Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and 
hold the traditions which you have learned as through us 
whether by word or by epistle.' 

That no one may prefer his own will to the will of God, but 
in everything we must seek and do the will of God. 

Cap. 4 

John [5.30] : 'Because I seek not my own will, but the will 
of him that sent me, the Father.' Luke [22.41,42]: 'And 
kneeling down, he prayed saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove 



THE MORALS 91 

this chalice from me : but yet not my will but thine be done. 5 
Eph. [2.3] : 'In which also we all conversed in time past, in 
the desires of our flesh, fulfilling the will of the flesh and of 
our thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, even as 
the rest. 3 

RULE THIRTEEN 

That we must always be sober and ready in our zeal for the 
works of God, being aware of the danger of a dilatory spirit. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [12.35-40] : 'Let your loins be girt, and lamps burn- 
ing; and you yourselves like to men who wait for their lord, 
when he shall return from the wedding : that when he cometh 
and knocketh, they may open to him immediately. Blessed 
are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh, shall 
find watching. Amen, I say to you, that he will gird himself 
and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister 
unto them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come 
in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those ser- 
vants. But this know ye, that if the householder did know 
at what hour the thief would come, he would surely watch, 
and would not suffer his house to be broken open. Be you then 
also ready; for at what hour you think not, the Son of man 
will come/ etc. 1 Thess. [5.1-3]: 'But of the times and mo- 
ments, brethren, you need not that we should write to you; 
for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord shall 
so come as a thief in the night,' and shortly after [6] : 'There- 
fore, let us not sleep as others do; but let us watch and be 
sober.' 

That we should consider every season opportune for exer- 
cising zeal in that which is pleasing to God. 



92 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 2 

John [9.4] : *I must work the works of him that sent me, 
whilst it is day.' Phil [2.12] : 'Wherefore, my dearly beloved, 
(as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but 
much more now in my absence, ) with fear and trembling work 
out your salvation.' 

RULE FOURTEEN 

That we should avoid unseasonable intrusions .and discover 
the appropriate time for each word and deed. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [9.14,15]: 'Then came to him the disciples of 
John, saying: Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but 
thy disciples do not fast? And Jesus said to them: Can the 
children of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom 
is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom 
shall be taken away from them, and then they shall fast in 
those days,' etc. Gal. [4.31-5.1]: 'So then, brethren, we are 
not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free; by the 
freedom, therefore, wherewith Christ has made us free. Stand 
fast and be not held again under the yoke of bondage.' 

RULE FIFTEEN 

That it is not right to neglect one's duty, relying on the 

good works of others. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [3.8,9]: 'Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of 
penance. And think not to say within yourselves: We have 
Abraham for our father.' 



THE MORALS 93 

RULE SIXTEEN 

That they who live with persons who are pleasing to God 
are in no way benefited if they are not perfecting their own 
will, even though in appearance they maintain a likeness to 
these. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [25.1-4]: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be 
like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet 
the bridegroom. And five of them were foolish and five wise. 
They who were foolish, having taken their lamps, did not 
take oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with 
their lamps. 5 A little further on he adds concerning the fool- 
ish [11-13] : 'But at last came the other virgins saying: Lord, 
Lord, open to us. But he answering said : I say to you, I know 
you not.' Luke [17.34-37]: 'I say to you: in that night there 
shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and 
the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; 
the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. And they 
answering say to him: Where, Lord? Who said to them: 
Wheresoever the body shall be, thither will the eagles also 
be gathered together. 5 

RULE SEVENTEEN 

That, having recognized the nature of this present time 
from the signs revealed to us by the Scriptures, we should dis- 
pose our affairs accordingly. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [24.32] : 'And from the fig tree learn a parable: 

When the branch thereof is now tender and the leaves come 



94 SAINT BASIL 

forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you 
shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the 
doors. 5 Luke [12.54-56]: 6 When you see a cloud rising from 
the west, presently you say: A shower is coming: and so it 
happeneth. And when ye see the south wind blow, you say: 
There will be heat: and it cometh to pass. You hypocrites, 
you know how to discern the face of the heaven and of the 
earth; but how is it that you do not discern this time?' 1 Cor. 
[7,29-31]: 'Already the time is short: so that they also who 
have wives should be as if they had none; and they that 
weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as if 
they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they pos- 
sessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not: 
for the fashion of the world passeth away.* 

RULE EIGHTEEN 

That the commands of God should be carried out as the 
Lord enjoined; for he who is at fault in his manner of exe- 
cuting them is reprobate in the sight of God, even though 
he may seem to be complying with the command. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [14.12-14] : 'And he said to him also that had invited 
him: When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy 
friends nor thy brethren nor thy kinsmen, nor thy neighbors 
who are rich; lest perhaps they also invite thee again, and a 
recompense be made to thee. But when thou makest a feast, 
call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind ; and thou 
shalt be blessed, because they have not wherewith to make 
thee recompense : for recompense shall be made to thee at the 
resurrection of the just. 5 



THE MORALS 95 

That we should not perform the command of God with a 
view to pleasing men or from any other earthly motive but in 
everything we should have as our aim, the good pleasure and 
the glory of God. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [6.1,2]: 'Take heed that you do not your alms- 
deeds before men to be seen by them; otherwise you shall not 
have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore 
when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before 
men, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets 
that they may be honored by men. Amen I say to you, they 
have received their reward,' etc. / Cor. [10.31]: 'Therefore, 
whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to 
the glory of God. 3 / Thess. [2.4-6] : 'But as we were approved 
by God that the gospel should be committed to us: even so 
we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, who proveth our 
hearts. For neither have we used at any time the speech of 
flattery, as you know; nor taken an occasion of covetousness, 
God is witness; nor sought we glory of men, neither of you, 
nor of others.' 

That the commands of the Lord should be carried out with 
an attentive mind and with good dispositions before God and 
men; for he who does not so is condemned. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [23.25-27]: 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites; because you make clean the outside of the cup 
and of the dish, but within you are full of rapine and unclean- 
ness. Thou blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the 
cup and of the dish, that the outside of it may become clean.' 



96 SAINT BASIL 

Rom. [12.8]: 'He that giveth, with simplicity. 5 Phil. [2.14]: 
'Do ye all things without murmuring and hesitations.' / Tim. 
[1.5,19] : 'Now the end of the commandment is charity from 
a pure heart and a good conscience . . . Having faith and a 
good conscience, which some rejecting have made shipwreck 
concerning the faith. 5 

That requital for the more important works is based on the 
prudent management of lesser ones. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [25.23]: 'Well done, good and faithful servant; 
because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place 
thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' 
And shortly after [29] : 'For to everyone that hath shall be 
given, and he shall abound; but from him that hath not, that 
also which he seemeth to have, shall be taken away. 5 Luke 
[16.1 1,12] : 'If then you have not been faithful in the unjust 
mammon, who will trust you with that which is the true? And 
if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who 
will give you that which is your own? 5 

That we should fulfill the commands of the Lord with in- 
satiable desire, ever pressing onward toward greater achieve- 
ment. 

Cap. 5 

Matthew [5.6]: 'Blessed are they that hunger and thirst 
after justice.' Phil [3.13,14]: 'Brethren, I do not count my- 
self to have apprehended. But one thing I do : forgetting the 
things that are behind, and stretching forth myself to those 



THE MORALS 97 

that are before, I press towards the mark, to the prize of the 

supernal vocation in Christ Jesus. 5 

That the commands of God should be executed, insofar 
as it is possible for the doer, in such a way as to give glory 
to God and to enlighten all men. 

Cap. 6 

Matthew [5.14-16] : 'You are the light of the world. A city 
seated on a mountain cannot be hid. Neither do men light a 
candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick that 
it may shine to all that are in the house. So let your light 
shine before men that they may see your good works and 
glorify your Father who is in heaven.' Luke [8.16] : 'Now no 
man lighting a candle covereth it with a vessel, or putteth 
it under a bed; but setteth it upon a candlestick, that they 
who come in may see the light.' Phil. [1.10,11]: That you 
may be sincere and without offence unto the day of Christ, 
filled with the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ unto the 
glory and praise of God.' 

RULE NINETEEN 

That one who does the will of God should not be impeded 
whether he obeys in consideration of a divine command or 
of human reason, nor ought he permit any to hinder him even 
though they be his relatives, but he should abide by his de- 
cision. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [3.13-15]: Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to 
the Jordan unto John to be baptized by him. But John stayed 



98 SAINT BASIL 

him saying: I ought to be baptized by thee and comest thou 
to me? And Jesus answering, said to him: Suffer it to be so 
now. For so it becometh us to fulfill all justice, 3 etc. 
[16.21-23]: 'From that time Jesus began to show to his dis- 
ciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things 
from the ancients and chief priests and scribes, and be put to 
death and the third day rise again. And Peter taking him, 
began to rebuke him saying: Lord, be it far from thee; this 
shall not be to thee. But he turning, said to Peter: Go be- 
hind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou 
savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that 
are of m^n.' Mark [10.13,14]: 'And they brought to him 
young children that he might touch them. And the disciples 
rebuked them that brought them. Whom when Jesus saw, 
he was displeased, and saith to them: Suffer the little chil- 
dren to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is 
the kingdom of heaven.' Acts [21.10-14]: 'And as we tarried 
there for some days, there came from Judea a certain prophet 
named Agabus. Who, when he was come to us, took Paul's 
girdle; and binding his own feet and hands, he said: Thus 
saith the Holy Ghost: The man whose girdle this is, the Jews 
shall bind in this manner in Jerusalem, and shall deliver him 
into the hands of the Gentiles. Which when we had heard, 
both we and they that were of that place, desired him that he 
would not go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered and 
said: What do you mean weeping and afflicting my heart? 
For I am ready not only to be bound but to die also in 
Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when we 
could not persuade him, we ceased, saying: The will of the 
Lord be done.' 1 Thess. [2.15,16] : 'Who both killed the Lord 
Jesus and their own prophets and have persecuted us, and 
please not God and are adversaries to all men; prohibiting 



THE MORALS 99 

us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, to fill up 
their sins always; for the wrath is come upon them to the end. 9 

That he should not be prevented who carries out a com- 
mand of God without sincerity and yet maintains in appear- 
ance the full integrity of the Lord's teaching: because no one is 
wronged insofar as the act itself is concerned and sometimes 
certain persons may be benefited by it; yet such a one should 
be exhorted to have dispositions worthy of his good action. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [6.2-4] : Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, 
sound not a trumpet before thee as the hypocrites do in the 
synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by 
men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. 
But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy 
right hand doth; that thy alms may be in secret and thy 
Father who seeth in secret will repay thee openly' ; and, simi- 
larly, with regard to prayer, Mark [9.37-39] : 'John answered 
him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy 
name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him because he 
followeth not us. But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For 
there is no man that doth a miracle in my name and can 
soon speak ill of me. For he that is not against us is for us.' 
Phil [1.15-18]: 'Some indeed even out of envy and conten- 
tion ; but some also for good will preach Christ. Some out of 
charity, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel; 
and some out of contention preach Christ not sincerely; sup- 
posing that they raise affliction to my bands. But what then? 
So that, by all means, whether by occasion, or by truth, Christ 
be preached; in this also I rejoice, yea and will rejoice.' 



100 SAINT BASIL 

RULE TWENTY 

That they who believe in the Lord should be baptized in 
the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy 
Ghost. 

Matthew [28*19]: 'Going teach ye all nations; baptizing 
them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Ghost.' John [3.3] : 'Amen, amen I say to thee, unless 
a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God'; 
and again [5] : 'Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be 
born of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the 
kingdom of God.' 

What is the nature or the function of baptism? The chang- 
ing of the person baptized in thought and word and action and 
his transformation according to the power bestowed on him 
into that of which he has been born. 

Cap. 2 

John [3.6-8] : 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and 
that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Wonder not that I 
said to thee, you must be born again. The Spirit breatheth 
where he will; and thou hearest his voice; but thou knowest 
not whence he cometh and whither he goeth; so is every one 
that is born of the Spirit.' Rom. [6.1 1] : 'Being dead to sin, but 
alive unto God in Christ Jesus.' [3-7] : C A11 we who are bap- 
tized in Christ Jesus are baptized in his death; for we are 
buried together with him by baptism unto death; that as 
Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so 
we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been 
planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also 
be in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that our 



THE MORALS 101 

old man Is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be 
destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. For 
he that is dead is justified from sin.' Col. [2.1 1,12] : fi ln whom 
also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand, 
In despoiling of the body of the sins of the flesh, but in the cir- 
cumcision of Christ; buried with him in baptism in whom also 
you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God who 
hath raised him up from the dead.' Gal. [3.27-29] : Tor as 
many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on 
Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek : there is neither bond 
nor free : there is neither male nor female. For you are all one 
in Christ Jesus.' Col. [3.9-12]: 'Stripping yourselves of the 
old man with his deeds, and putting on the new, him who is 
renewed unto knowledge, according to the image of him that 
created him. Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, circum- 
cision nor uncircumcision, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor 
free. But Christ is all, and in all.' 

RULE TWENTY-ONE 

That the receiving of the Body and Blood of Christ is also 
necessary for life everlasting. 

Cap. 1 

John [6.54,55]: 'Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you 
eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall 
not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh 

my blood hath everlasting life,' etc. 

That he who undertakes to receive Communion, without 
observing the manner in which participation in the Body and 
Blood of Christ has been granted, derives no benefit there- 
from; and he who communicates unworthily is condemned. 



102 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 2 

John [6.54,55]: 'Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you 
eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall 
not have life in you'; and a little further on [6.62-64] : 'But 
Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at 
this, said to them: Doth this scandalize you? If then you 
shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 
It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. 
The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.' 
/ Cor. [11.27-29]: 'Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, 
or drink this chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty 
of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove 
himself: and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the 
chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth 
and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body 
of the Lord.' 

The manner in which we should eat the Body and drink 
the Blood of the Lord, for a commemoration of the obedience 
of the Lord even unto death, that they who live may no 
longer live for themselves but unto Him who died for them 
and rose again. 

Cap. 3 

Luke [22.19-20]: 'And taking bread he gave thanks and 
brake, and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is 
given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. In like 
manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This 
is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be 
shed for you.' 1 Cor. [11.23-26]: 'that the Lord Jesus, the 
same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving 
thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body 



THE MORALS 103 

which is broken for you: this do for the commemoration of 
me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, say- 
ing: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do 
ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. 
For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink the chalice, 
you shall show the death of the Lord, until he come.' 2 Cor. 
[5.14,15] : Tor the charity of Christ presseth us: judging this, 
that if one died for all, then all were dead. And he died for 
all; that they also who live may not now live to themselves, 
but unto him who died for them and rose again 1 so that many 
may become one body in Christ . . . 1 Cor. [10.16,17]: 'The 
bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of 
Christ? For we being many are one bread, one body, all that 
partake of one bread.' 

That he who partakes of the Sacred Species should praise 
the Lord with hymns. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [26.26]:. 'And whilst they were at supper, Jesus 
took bread, and blessed and broke : and gave to his disciples,* 
etc. To which he adds [30] : 'And a hymn being said, they 
went out unto Mount Olivet.' 

RULE TWENTY-TWO 

That committing sin estranges us from the Lord and leagues 
us with the Devil. 

Cap. 1 

John [8.34] : 'Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever 
committeth sin, is the servant of sin,' [44] : 'You are of your 



104 SAINT BASIL 

father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. 5 
Rom. [6.20] : Tor when you were the servants of sin, you 
were free men to justice. 5 

That intimacy with the Lord is not to be explained in 
terms of kinship according to the flesh but it is achieved by 
alacrity in doing the will of God. 

Cap. 2 

John [8.47] : 'He that is of God, heareth the words of God. 5 
Luke [8.20-22]: 'And it was told him: Thy mother and thy 
brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. Who answering, 
said to them: My mother and my brethren are they who 
hear the word of God and do it.' John [15.14] : 'You are my 
friends, if you do the things that I command you.' Rom. 
[8.14] : 'For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are 
the sons of God.' 

RULE TWENTY-THREE 

That he who is drawn into sin against his will should under- 
stand that, because he was voluntarily mastered by another 
sin committed previously, he is now, as a consequence of this 
first sin, led into another against his will. 

Cap. 1 

Rom. [7.14-20]: Tor we know that the law is spiritual; 
but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I work, I 
understand not. For I do not that good which I will; but the 
evil which I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I will 
not, I consent to the law, that it is good. Now then it is no 
more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that 



THE MORALS 105 

there dwelleth not in me, that is to say, in my flesh, that which 
is good. For to will, is present with me; but to accomplish 
that which is good I find not. For the good which I will I do 
not; but the evil which I will not, that I do. Now if I do that 
which I will not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwell- 
eth in me. 5 

RULE TWENTY-FOUR 

That we must not lie, but in all things tell the truth. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [5.37]: 'But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no; 
and that which is over and above these, is of evil.' Eph. [4.25] : 
Tutting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his 
neighbor . . .' CoL [3.9]: 'Lie not one to another. 5 

RULE TWENTY-FIVE 

That we should not engage in fruitless or controversial 
discussions. 

Cap. 1 

2 Tim. [2.14]: 'Of these things put them in mind, charg- 
ing them before the Lord : Contend not in words, for it is to 
no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers/ [23] : 'And 
avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they be- 
get strifes. 3 

That idle words in which there is nothing beneficial ought 
not be spoken; for to speak or to perform even a good action 
without aiming to give edification is to grieve the Holy Spirit 
of God. 



106 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [12.36]: 'But I say unto you, that every idle 
word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for 
It in the day of judgment. 5 Eph. [4.29,30] : c Let no evil speech 
proceed from your mouth; but that which is good, to the edi- 
fication of faith, that it may administer grace to the hearers. 
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God; whereby you are sealed 
unto the day of redemption.' 

RULE TWENTY-SIX 

That every word and deed should be ratified by the testi- 
mony of the Holy Scripture to confirm the good and cause 
shame to the wicked. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [4.3,4] : 'And the tempter coming to him said: If 
thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made 
bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread 
alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from 
the mouth of God. 5 Acts [2.4] : 'And they were all filled with 
the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, 
according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak,' [12-17]: 
'And they were all astonished and wondered, saying one to 
another: What meaneth this? But others mocking, said: 
These men are full of new wine. But Peter standing up with 
the eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke to them: Ye men of 
Judas, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to 
you, and with your ears receive my words. For these are not 
drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the 
day. But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel : 
And it shall come to pass in the last days, (saith the Lord), 



THE MORALS 107 

I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and they shall prophe- 
sy, 3 etc. 

That appeals to what is natural or customary should also 
be employed for the ratification of what we do or say. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [7.15-17]: 'Beware of false prophets, who come 
to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are raven- 
ing wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men 
gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles? Even so every good 
tree bringeth forth good fruit and the evil tree bringeth forth 
evil fruit.' etc. Luke [5.30,31]: 'But their scribes and Phari- 
sees murmured, saying to his disciples: Why do you eat and 
drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering, said 
to them: They that are whole need not the physician, but 
they that are sick. 5 2 Tim. [2.4,5] : 'No man, being a soldier to 
God, entangleth himself with secular businesses; that he may 
please him to whom he hath engaged himself. For he also 
that striveth for the mastery, is not crowned, except he strive 
lawfully.' 

RULE TWENTY-SEVEN 

That we should not be like those who are hostile to the 
Lord's teaching, but imitate God and His saints according 
to the power given us by Him. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [20.25-28] : 'You know that the princes of the 
Gentiles lord it over them; and they that are the greater, 
exercise power upon them. It shall not be so among you : but 



108 SAINT BASIL 

whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your 
minister; and he that will be first among you, shall be your 
servant, even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered 
unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for 
many.' Rom. [12.2]: 'And be not conformed to this world; 
but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may 
prove what is the will of God. 5 1 Cor. [11.1]: 'Be ye follow- 
ers of me, as I also am of Christ.' 

RULE TWENTY-EIGHT 

That we should not be readily and thoughtlessly carried 
away by those who make pretense of the truth, but we should 
recognize each from the sign given us by the Scriptures, 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [7.15,16]: 'Beware of false prophets, who come 
to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are raven- 
ing wolves. By their fruits you shall know them.' John [13.35] : 
'By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if 
you have love one for another.' Jf Cor. [12.3]: 'Wherefore I 
give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the spirit of 
God, saith Anathema to Jesus.' 

RULE TWENTY-NINE 

That everyone should give evidence of his calling by his 
own works. 

Cap. 1 

John [5.36] : 'The works themselves which I do, give testi- 
mony of me, that the Father hath sent me.' [10.37,38] : 'If I 
do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do. 



THE MORALS 109 

though you will not believe me, believe my works; that you 
may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the 
Father. 5 2 Cor. [6.3,4] : 'Giving no offense to any man, that 
our ministry be not blamed. But in all things let us exhibit 
ourselves as the ministers of God in much patience, in tribu- 
lations/ etc. 

RULE THIRTY 

That we should not profane holy things by mingling them 
with those meant for ordinary use. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [21.12,13]: 'And Jesus went into the temple of 
God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple 
and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the 
chairs of them that sold doves; and he saith to them: It is 
written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but 
you have made it a den of thieves.' / Cor. [11.22]: 'What, 
have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the 
church of God; and put them to shame that have not?' [34] : 
'If any man be hungry, let him eat at home; that you come 
not together unto judgment/ 

That which is consecrated to God should be honored as 
holy as long as the will of God is fulfilled in it. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [23.37,38] : 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kill- 
est the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, 
how often would I have gathered together thy children, as 
the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou 
wouldst not? Behold, your house shall be left to you, desolate/ 



110 SAINT BASIL 

RULE THIRTY-ONE 

That objects set aside for those consecrated to God should 
not be usurped for others' use unless there be something 
superfluous. 

Cap. 1 

Mark [7.26-29] : Tor the woman was a Gentile, a Syro- 
phoenician born. And she besought him that he would cast 
forth the devil out of her daughter. Who said : Suffer first the 
children to be filled; for it is not good to take the bread of 
the children, and cast it to the dogs. But she answered and said 
to him: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat under the table of 
the crumbs of the children. And he said to her: For this saying 
go thy way, the devil is gone out of thy daughter. 5 

RULE THIRTY-TWO 

That to everyone should be rendered what is reasonably 
and fairly due him. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [20.21-25]: 'And they asked him, saying: Master, we 
know that thou speakest and teachest rightly; and thou dost 
not respect any person, but teachest the way of God in truth. 
Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no? But he con- 
sidering their guile, said to them: Why tempt you me? Show 
me a penny. Whose image and inscription hath it? They 
answering, said to him, Caesar's. And he said to them : Ren- 
der therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's: and to 
God the things that are God's. 5 Rom. [13.7,8] : 'Render there- 
fore to all men their dues. Tribute, to whom tribute is due; cus- 
tom, to whom custom : fear, to whom fear : honour, to whom 
honour. Owe no man anything, but to love one another.' 



THE MORALS 111 

RULE THIRTY-THREE 

That we should not give scandal. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [18.6] : 'But he that shall scandalize one of these 
little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a 
mill-stone should be hanged about his neck, and that he 
should be drowned in the depth of the sea. 3 And again [7] : 
'Woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh. 5 Rom. 
[14.13] : 'But judge this rather, that you put not a stumbling 
block or a scandal in your brother's way. 5 

That whatever is opposed to the will of the Lord is scandal. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [16.21-23] : Trom that time Jesus began to show 
to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer 
many things from the ancients and chief priests and scribes 
and be put to death, and the third day rise again. And Peter 
taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far 
from thee, this shall not be unto thee. Who turning, said to 
Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: 
because thou savorest not the things that are of God, but the 
things that are of men.' 

That even a deed or word countenanced by the Scripture 
should be avoided whenever others would be emboldened 
thereby to commit sin by a similar act, or to relax their zeal 
for virtue. 



112 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 3 

1 Cor. [8.4-13] : 'But as for the meats that are sacrificed to 
idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that 
there is no God but one. For although there be that are called 
gods, either in heaven or on earth (for there be gods many, 
and lords many) ; yet to us there is but one God, the Father, 
of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus 
Christ, by whom are all things and we by him. But there is 
not knowledge in every one. For some until this present, with 
conscience of the idol, eat as a thing sacrificed to an idol, 
and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But meat doth 
not commend us to God. For neither, if we eat, shall we 
have the more; nor, if we eat not, shall we have the less. But 
take heed lest perhaps this your liberty become a stumbling 
block to the weak. For if a man see him that hath knowledge 
sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not his conscience, being 
weak, be emboldened to eat those things which are sacrificed 
to idols? And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother 
perish, for whom Christ hath died? Now when you sin thus 
against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you 
sin against Christ. Wherefore if meat scandalize my brother, 
I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother.' 
[9.4-7] : 'Have not we power to eat and drink? Have we not 
power to carry about a woman, a sister, as well as the rest of 
the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or 
I only and Barnabas, have not we power to do this? Who 
serveth as a soldier at any time, at his own charges? Who 
planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Who 
feedeth the flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?' etc. 

That to avoid scandal even that which is not of necessity 
should be done. 



THE MORALS 113 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [17.23-36]: 'And when they were come to 
Capharnaum, they that received the didrachmas, came to 
Peter and said to him: Doth not your master pay the di- 
drachmas? He said: Yes. And when he was come into the 
house, Jesus prevented him, saying: What is thy opinion, 
Simon? The kings of the earth, of whom do they receive 
tribute or custom? Of their own children, or of strangers? 
And he said: Of strangers. Jesus said to him: Then the 
children are free. But that we may not scandalize them, go 
to the sea, and cast in a hook : and that fish which shall first 
come up, take: and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou 
shalt find a stater : take that, and give it to them for me and 
thec/ 

That as regards the will of the Lord, even if some take 
scandal, we must not let this hamper our freedom of action. 

Cap. 5 

Matthew [15.11-15]: 'Not that which goeth into the mouth 
defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this de- 
fileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said to him : Dost 
thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word 
were scandalized? But he answering, said: Every plant which 
my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 
Let them alone; they are blind, and leaders of the blind. 
And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit/ John 
[6.54]: 'Amen, amen 1 say unto you: Except you eat the 
flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not 
have life in you,' and a little further on [67,68]: 'After this, 
many of his disciples went back and walked no more with 
him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away?* 



114 SAINT BASIL 

2 Cor. [2.15,16]: 'For we are the good odour of Christ unto 
God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the 
one indeed the odour of death unto death; but to the others 
the odour of life unto life. And for these things who is suf- 
ficient? 5 

RULE THIRTY-FOUR 

That each in his own degree should be as a pattern of good 
to others. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [11.29]: 'Learn of me, because I am meek and 
humble of heart.' 2 Cor. [9.2] : Tor I know your forward 
mind, for which I boast of you to the Macedonians. That 
Achaia also is ready from the year past, and your emulation 
hath provoked very many.' 1 Thess. [1.6,7]: 'And you be- 
came followers of us, and of the Lord, receiving the word in 
much tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost; so that you 
were made a pattern to all that believe in Macedonia and in 
Achaia.' 

RULE THIRTY-FIVE 

That they who behold the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a 
man, who on every occasion maintains in his life a consistency 
with true piety, and do not ascribe this to the Holy Spirit but 
attribute it to the Adversary, commit blasphemy against the 
Holy Spirit Himself. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [12.22-24, 28]: Then was offered to him one 
possessed with a devil, blind and dumb; and he healed him 
so that he spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed, 
and said: Is not this the son of David? But the Pharisees 



THE MORALS 115 

hearing it, said: This man casteth not out devils but by 
Beezlebub, the prince of the devils. And Jesus, knowing their 
thoughts, said to them: If I by the Spirit of God cast out 
devils, then is the kingdom of God come among you.' To 
these words He adds subsequently [31,32]: 'Therefore I say 
to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but 
the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And who- 
soever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be 
forgiven him; but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, 
It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor in the 
world to come.' 

RULE THIRTY-SIX 

That they who follow the Lord's teaching as their model 
should be received with all honor and carefulness for the 
glory of the Lord Himself; and he who neither hearkens to 
them nor receives them is condemned. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [10.40]: 'He that receiveth you, receiveth me; 
and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me.' 
[14,15] : 'And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your 
words, going forth out of that house or city shake off the 
dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it shall be more 
tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day 
of judgement than for that city.' John [13.20]: He that re- 
ceiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me, and he that re- 
ceiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 5 Phil [2.25]: 'But 
I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, rny 
brother and fellow labourer, and fellow soldier, but your 
apostle, and he that hath ministered to my wants'; and 
shortly after [29]: 'Receive him therefore with all joy in 
the Lord : and treat with honour such as he is.' 



116 SAINT BASIL 

RULE THIRTY-SEVEN 

That ready service, according to our ability, even in very 
small things and even if it be rendered by women, is accept- 
able to God. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [10.42]: 'And whosoever shall give to drink to 
one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of 
a disciple, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward/ 
Luke [21.1-4]: 'And looking on, he saw the rich men cast 
their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor 
widow casting in two brass mites. And he said: Verily I say 
to you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all. 
For all these have of their abundance cast into the offerings of 
God; but she of her want, hath cast in all the living that she 
had. 5 Matthew [26.6-10]: 'And when Jesus was in Bethania, 
in the house of Simon the leper, there came to him a woman 
having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it 
on his head as he was at table. And the disciples seeing it, 
had indignation, saying: To what purpose is this waste? For 
this might have been sold for much, and given to the poor, 
and Jesus knowing it, said to them : Why do you trouble this 
woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.' Acts 
(Concerning Lydia) [16.15]: 'And when she was baptized 
and her household, she besought us, saying: If you have 
judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and 
abide there. And she constrained us.' 

RULE THIRTY-EIGHT 

That the Christian should offer his brethren simple and un- 
pretentious hospitality. 



THE MORALS 117 

Cap. 1 

John [6.8-11]: 'One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother 
of Simon, saith to him: There is a boy here, that hath five 
barley loaves and two fishes; but what are these among so 
many? Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there 
was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in 
number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and 
when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were 
set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they 
would.' Luke [10.38-42]: 'And a certain woman named 
Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister 
called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his 
word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood 
and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left 
me alone to serve? Speak to her, therefore, that she help me. 
And Jesus answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art 
careful and art troubled about many things: few things 
nay, one thing only is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best 
part which shall not be taken away from her.' 

RULE THIRTY-NINE 

That we should not be vacillating but steadfast in the faith 
and staunch in cleaving to the good things which are in the 
Lord. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [13.20-21]: 'And he that received the seed upon 
stony ground is he that heareth the word, and immediately 
receiveth it with joy. Yet hath he not root in himself, but is 
only for a time: and when there ariseth tribulation and per- 
secution because of the word, he is presently scandalized.* 
1 Cor. [15.58] : 'Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stead- 



118 SAINT BASIL 

fast and unmoveable ; always abounding In the work of the 
Lord.' Gal. [1.6]: 'I wonder that you are so soon removed 
from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto 
another gospel.' 

RULE FORTY 

That they who introduce erroneous doctrines, however 
subtly, to delude or confound the unstable should not be 
tolerated. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [24.4,5]: Take heed that no man seduce you; 
for many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and 
they will seduce many.' Luke [20.46,47]: 'Beware of the 
scribes who desire to walk in long robes, and love salutations 
in the marketplace, and the first chairs in the synagogues, and 
the chief rooms at feasts; who devour the houses of widows, 
feigning long prayer. These shall receive greater damnation. 3 
Gal. [1.8,9] : 'But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach 
a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, 
let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I saj again : 
If any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have 
received, let him be anathema.' 

RULE FORTY-ONE 

That whatsoever gives scandal must be eradicated, no 
matter how essential and indispensable it may seem to be. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [18.7-9]: 'Woe to that man by whom the scan- 
dal cometh. And if thy hand or thy foot scandalize thee, cut 



THE MORALS 119 

It off and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life 
maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet to be 
cast into everlasting fire. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck 
it out and cast it from thee.' 

That we should be indulgent to those who are somewhat 
weak in faith and carefully lead them on to perfection; but 
our indulgence, of course, should not cause us to fail in the 
observance of God's command. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [12.20,21] : The bruised reed he shall not break: 
and the smoking flax he shall not extinguish: till he send forth 
judgment unto victory. And in his name the Gentiles shall 
hope. 5 Rom [14.1]: 'Now him that is weak in faith, take 
unto you.' Gal. [6.1,2]: 'And if a man be overtaken in any 
fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit 
of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 
Bear ye one another's burdens and so you shall fulfill the law 
of Christ.' 

RULE FORTY-TWO 

That it is not to be thought that the Lord came to destroy 
the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them and to add that 
which is more perfect. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [5.17] : 'Do not think that I am come to destroy 
the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but 
to fulfill.' Rom. [3.31]: 'Do we, then, destroy the law 
through faith? God forbid: but we establish the law.' 



120 SAINT BASIL 

RULE FORTY-THREE 

That as the Law prohibits wicked deeds, so the Gospel 
forbids harboring the vices themselves concealed in the 
soul. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [5.21,22]: 'You have heard that it was said to 
them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill 
shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that 
whosoever is angry with his brother rashly shall be in danger 
of the judgement. 5 Rom. [2.28,29] : Tor it is not he is a Jew, 
who is so outwardly; nor is that circumcision which is out- 
wardly in the flesh ; but he is a Jew, that is one inwardly and 
the circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the 
letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.' 

That as the law requires a partial, so the Gospel demands 
a full integrity for every good deed. 

Cap. 2 

Luke [18.22]: 'Sell all whatever thou hast, and give to the 
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, fol- 
low me. 5 Col. [2.1 1] : In whom also you are circumcised with 
circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of the body 
of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ. 5 

That they who do not show forth a righteousness according 
to the Gospel greater than that prescribed by the Law cannot 
be accounted worthy of the kingdom of heaven. 



THE MORALS 121 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [5.20]: 'Unless your justice abound more than 
that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven.' Phil. [3.4-9] : 'If any other thinketh he 
may have confidence in the flesh, I more, being circumcised 
the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, 
an Hebrew of the Hebrews; according to the law, a Pharisee; 
according to zeal, persecuting the church; according to the 
justice that is in the law, conversing without blame. But the 
things that were gain to me, the same I have counted loss 
for Christ. Furthermore I count all things to be but loss for 
the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord; for whom 
I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as 
dung that I may gain Christ and may be found in him, not 
having my justice, which is of the law, but that which is by 
the faith of Christ, which is the justice of God.' 

RULE FORTY-FOUR 

That the yoke of Christ is sweet and His burden light unto 
refreshment for those who submit to it; but all things alien 
to the teaching of the Gospel are heavy and burdensome. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [11.28-30]: 'Come to me, all you that labor and 
are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon 
you and learn of me, because I am meek and humble of 
heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is 
sweet and my burden light.' 



122 SAINT BASIL 

RULE FORTY-FIVE 

That they cannot be deemed worthy of the kingdom of 
heaven who do not imitate in their relations with one another 
the equality which is observed by children among themselves. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [18.3]: 'Amen I say to you, unless you be con- 
verted and become as little children, you shall not enter into 
the kingdom of heaven.' 

That he who desires to be deemed worthy of greater glory 
in the kingdom of heaven ought to love here on earth that 
which is lowly and meanest of all. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [18.4]: 'Whosoever therefore shall humble him- 
self, as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of 
heaven.' [20.26] : 'But whosoever will be the greater among 
you, let him be your minister.' Mark [10.44] : 'And whosoever 
will be first among you, shall be the servant of all.' Phil [2.3] : 
'Let nothing be done through contention, neither by vainglory; 
but in humility, let each esteem others better than themselves.' 

RULE FORTY-SIX 

That we are obliged to show in more important matters 
a greater zeal, proportioned to that displayed in lesser ones- 
Cap. / 

Luke [13.15-17]: 'Doth not every one of you, on the sab- 
bath day, loose his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead 



THE MORALS 123 

them to water? And ought not this daughter of Abraham, 
whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed 
from this bond on the sabbath day?' [18.1-7] : 'And he spoke 
a parable to them, that we ought always to pray and not to 
faint. There was a judge in a certain city, who feared not God 
nor regarded man. And there was a certain widow in that 
city, and she came to him, saying: Avenge me of my adver- 
sary. And he would not for a long time. But afterward he 
said within himself: Although I fear not God, nor regard 
man, yet because this widow is troublesome to me, I will 
avenge her, lest continually coming she weary me. And the 
Lord said: Hear what the unjust judge saith. And will not 
God revenge his elect who cry to him day and night?' 2 Tim. 
[2.4,5] : 'No man, being a soldier to God, entangleth himself 
with secular businesses; that he may please him to whom he 
hath engaged himself. For he also that striveth for the mastery, 
is not crowned, except he strive lawfully.' 

That relatively to those who manifest in lesser matters a 
fear born of faith and an alacrity proceeding from laudable 
desire, they who show themselves negligent or disdainful in 
concerns of greater moment shall be the more rigorously con- 
demned. 

Cap. 2 

Luke [11.31]: 'The queen of the south shall rise in the 
judgment with the men of this generation, and shall condemn 
them; because she came from the ends of the earth to hear 
the wisdom of Solomon: and behold more than Solomon 
here. 5 Matthew [12.41]: The men of Ninive shall rise in 
judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because 
they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a 
greater than Jonas here.' 



124 SAINT BASIL 

That he who exercises zeal in lesser matters should not 
regard lightly the more important ones; but he ought to ob- 
serve the greater precepts in a preeminent manner and 
accomplish the lesser ones as well. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [23.23,24]: 'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, 
hypocrites; because you tithe mint, and anise, and cummin, 
and have left the weightier things of the law: judgment and 
mercy and faith. These things you ought to have done, and 
not to leave those undone. Blind guides, who strain out a 
gnat and swallow a camel. 3 

RULE FORTY-SEVEN 

That one ought not lay up treasure for himself on earth 
but in heaven; and the method to be followed in laying up 
treasure in heaven. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [6.19,20]: 'Lay not up to yourselves treasures on 
earth: where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves 
break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures 
in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, 
and where thieves do not break through nor steal.' Luke 
[12.33]: 'Sell what you possess and give alms. Make to your- 
selves bags which grow not old, a treasure in heaven which 
faileth not. 3 Luke [18.22]: 'Sell all, whatever thou hast, and 
give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven/ 
/ Tim. [6.18,19]: *To give easily, to communicate to others, 
to lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the 
time to come, that they may lay hold on the true life.' 



THE MORALS 125 

RULE FORTY-EIGHT 

That we should be compassionate and generous; for they 
who are not such are denounced. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [5.7]: 'Blessed are the merciful, for they shall 
obtain mercy.' Luke [6.30]: 'Give to everyone that asketh 
thee. 5 Rom. [1.31,32]: 'Without affection, without mercy, 
who having known the justice of God did not understand that 
they who do such things are worthy of death.' / Tim. [6. 18]: 
'To give easily, to communicate to others.* 

That whatever a man may possess over and above what is 
necessary for life, he is obliged to do good with, according to 
the command of the Lord who has bestowed on us the things 
we possess. 

Cap. 2 

Luke [3.11] : 'He that hath two coats, let him give to him 
that hath none: and he that hath meat, let him do in like 
manner. 5 / Cor. [4.7] : 'For what hast thou that thou hast 
not received?' 2 Cor. [8.14,15]: 'Let your abundance supply 
their want, that their abundance also may supply your want 
so that there may be an equality, as it is written : He that had 
much, had nothing over; and he that had little, had no want.* 

That we should not be rich but poor according to the word 

of the Lord, 

Cap. 3 
Luke [6.20] : 'Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom 



126 SAINT BASIL 

of God. 3 [24] : 'Woe to you that are rich, for you have your 
consolation.' 2 Cor. [8.2]: 'Their very deep poverty hath 
abounded unto the riches of their simplicity.' 1 Tim. [6.9,10] : 
Tor they that will become rich, fall into temptation and into 
the snare [of the devil], and into many unprofitable and hurt- 
ful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition. 
For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some 
coveting have erred from the faith and have entangled them- 
selves in many sorrows.' 

That we should not be eager to have the necessities of life 
in abundance, nor seek after luxury or satiety; but we should 
be free from every form of avarice and ostentation. 

Cap. 4 

Luke [12.15]: 'Take heed and beware of all covetousness; 
for a man's life doth not consist in the abundance of things 
which he possesseth.' / Tim. [2.9] : 'Adorning themselves not 
with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire.' [6.8] : 
'Having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are 
content.' 

That no one should be anxious on account of his own need, 
nor place his hope in the appurtenances of this life, but com- 
mend his affairs to God. 

Cap. 5 

Matthew [6.24-34] : 'You cannot serve God and mammon. 
Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what 
you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not 
the life more than the meat: and the body more than the 



THE MORALS 127 

raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, 
nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly 
Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than 
they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his 
stature one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? 
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour 
not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even 
Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if 
the grass of the field which is today and tomorrow is cast into 
the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of 
little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we 
eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? 
For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your 
Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek 
ye therefore first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all 
these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solici- 
tous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. 
Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.' Luke [12.16-19]: 
'The land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of 
fruits. And he thought within himself, saying: What shall I 
do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And 
he said: This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and will 
build greater; and unto them will I gather up all things that 
are grown to me, and my goods. And I will say to my soul : 
Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thy 
rest; eat, drink, make good cheer, 5 etc. 1 Tim. [6.17] : 'Charge 
the rich of this world not to be highminded nor to trust in 
the uncertainty of riches, but in God (who giveth us abun- 
dantly all things to enjoy) .' 

That we must be careful and solicitous regarding the needs 
of the brethren in accordance with the will of God. 



128 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 6 

Matthew [25.34-36]: 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 
of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I 
was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and 
you took me in; naked, and you covered me; sick, and you 
visited me ; I was in prison and you came to me' ; and a little 
later [40] : 'Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one 
of these my least brethren, you did it to me.' John [6.5] : 
'When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes and seen that 
a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: 
Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat,' etc. 1 Cor. 
[16.1,2]: 'Now concerning the collections that are made for 
the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, so 
do ye also. On the first day of the week let every one of you 
put apart with himself, laying up what it shall well please 
him; that when I come, the collections be not then to be 
made.' 

That he who is able should work and give to those in need; 
for he who was unwilling to work was judged unworthy even 
to eat. 

Cap. 7 

Matthew [10.10]: 'The workman is worthy of his meat.' 
Acts [20.35]: 4 I have showed you all things, how that so 
labouring you ought to support the weak, and to remember 
the word of the Lord, how he said : It is a more blessed thing 
to give rather than to receive.' Eph. [4.28] : 'He that stole, let 
him now steal no more; but rather let him labor, working 
with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have 



THE MORALS 129 

something to give to him that stiff ereth need' 2 Thess. [3.10] : 
'When we were with you, this we declared to you : that if any 

man will not work, neither let him eat.' 

RULE FORTY-NINE 

That we should not resort to legal disputes with regard to 
the things of the body, even where its necessary covering is 
concerned. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [6.29,30]: To him that striketh thee on the right 
cheek, offer also the other. And him that taketh away from 
thee thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every- 
one that asketh thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, 
ask them not again.' 1 Cor. [6.1]: 'Dare any man, having a 
matter against another, go to be judged before the unjust, 
and not before the saints?' And a little further on [7,8] : 'Al- 
ready indeed there is plainly a fault among you, that you have 
lawsuits one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? 
Why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? But 
you do wrong and defraud, and that to your brethren.' 

That we should not contend with another nor take revenge, 
but, if possible, live in peace with all men, as the Lord 
commands. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [5.38,39] : 'You have heard that it hath been said, 
An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you 
not to resist evil; but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, 
turn to him also the other,' etc. Mark [9.49] : 'Have charity 



130 SAINT BASIL 

among you; and also be at peace with one another.' Rom. 
[12.17-19]: 'To no man rendering evil for evil. Providing 
good things in the sight of all men. If possible, have peace 
with all men. Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved, but 
give place unto wrath.' 2 Tim. [2.24] : 'But the servant of 
the Lord must not wrangle, but be mild toward all men.' 

That we ought not exact vengeance even for wrong done 
to another from him who does the injury. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [26.50-52]: 'Then they came up and laid hands 
on Jesus and held him. And behold one of them that were 
with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword; 
and striking the servant of the high priest, cut off his ear. 
Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its 
place, for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword/ 
Luke [9.52-56]: 'And he sent messengers before his face; 
and going they entered into a city of the Samaritans, to 
prepare for him. And they received him not, because his face 
was of one going to Jerusalem. And when his disciples, James 
and John had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that we 
command fire to come down from heaven and consume them 
as it also did Elias? And turning he rebuked them, and they 
went into another town.' 

RULE FIFTY 

That we should lead others along with ourselves to the 
peace that is in Christ. 

Cap. 1 
Matthew [5.9] : 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall 



THE MORALS 131 

be called the children of God.' John [14.27]: 'Peace I leave 
with you, my peace I give unto you.' 

RULE FIFTY-ONE 

That it is necessary to correct every fault in ourselves be- 
fore we bring charges against another. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [7.3-5] : 'And why seest thou the mote that is in 
thy brother's eye, and seest not the beam that is in thy own 
eye? Or how sayest thou to thy brother: Let me cast the mote 
out of thy eye; and behold a beam is in thy own eye? Thou 
hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thy own eye, and then 
shalt thou see to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.' 
Rom. [2.1-3]: 'Wherefore thou art inexcusable, O man, 
whosoever thou art that judgest. For wherein thou judgest 
another, thou condemnest thyself. For thou dost the same 
things which thou judgest. For we know that the judgment of 
God is, according to truth, against them that do such things. 
And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them who do such 
things and dost the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment 
of God?' 

RULE FIFTY-TWO 

That we should not be indifferent to sinners, but mourn 
and grieve over them. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [19.41-43]: 'And when he drew near, seeing the 
city, he wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known and 
that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but 
now they are hidden from thy eyes.' 1 Cor. [5.1-2]: 'It is 



132 SAINT BASIL 

absolutely heard that there is fornication among you, and 
such fornication as the like is not even mentioned among 
the heathens; that one should have his father's wife. And 
you are puffed up; and have not rather mourned, that he 
might be taken away from among you, that hath done this 
deed.' 2 Cor. [12.21]: 'Lest again when I come to you, my 
God humble me; and I mourn many of them that sinned 
before, and have not done penance.' 

That we should not bear with sinners in silence. 

Cap. 2 

Luke [17.3] : 'If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him, 5 
etc. Eph. [5.11] : 'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful 
works of darkness, but rather reprove them.' 

That we should tolerate association with sinners only for 
the purpose of recalling them to penitence, by every means 
short of sin. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [9.10-13]: 'And behold many publicans and 
sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his dbciples. And 
the Pharisees seeing it, said to his disciples: Why doth your 
master eat with publicans and sinners? But Jesus hearing it, 
said: They that are in health need not a physician, but they 
that are ill. Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have 
mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just 
but sinners to repentance.' Luke [15.1-4] : 'Now all the publi- 
cans and sinners drew near unto him to hear him. And the 
Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying : 'This man receiv- 
eth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spoke to them this 



THE MORALS 133 

parable, saying: What man of you that hath an hundred 
sheep; and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the 
ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost 
until he find it?' 2 Thess. [3.14,15]: 'And if any man obey 
not our word by this epistle, note that man and do not keep 
company with him, that he may be ashamed; yet do not 
esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.' 
2 Cor. [2.5-7] : 'And if anyone have caused grief, he hath not 
grieved me; but in part, that I may not burden you all. To 
him who is such a one, this rebuke is sufficient, which is 
given by many; so that on the contrary, you should rather 
forgive him and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be 
swallowed up with overmuch sorrow/ 

That, when every form of solicitude has been applied in 
their regard, we should avoid those who persist in their evil 

ways. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [18.15-17]: c lf thy brother shall offend against 
thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he 
shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will 
not hear thee, take with thee one or two or more; that in the 
mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if 
he will not hear them, tell the church. And if he will not hear 
the church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican/ 

RULE FIFTY-THREE 

That a Christian should not bear a grudge, but from his 
heart should forgive those who have offended him. 



134 SAINT BASIL 



Cap. 1 

Matthew [6.14,15]: 'If you will not forgive men their of- 
fences, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your 
offences; but if you forgive men their offences, your heavenly 
Father will also forgive you. 5 

RULE FIFTY-FOUR 

That it is not right for us to judge one another in matters 
which are countenanced by the Scripture. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [7.1,2] : 'Judge not, that you may not be judged. 
For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged.' 
Luke [6.37]: 'Judge not and you shall not be judged. Con- 
demn not and you shall not be condemned.' Rom, [14.2-6]: 
'For one indeed believeth that he may eat all things; but he 
that is weak, let him eat herbs. Let not him that eateth de- 
spise him that eateth not; and he that eateth not, let him 
not judge him that eateth; for God hath taken him to him. 
Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? To his 
own lord he standeth or f alleth. And he shall stand ; for God 
is able to make him stand. For one judgeth between day and 
day and another judgeth every day; let every man abound 
in his own sense. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it un- 
to the Lord. And he that doth not regard the day, to the 
Lord he regardeth it not. And he that eateth, eateth to the 
Lord; for he giveth thanks to God. And he that eateth not, 
to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth thanks to God;' and 
shortly after [12,13] : 'Therefore every one of us shall render 
account to God for himself. Let us not therefore judge one 



THE MORALS 135 

another any more. 5 Col. [2.16,17]: 'Let no man therefore 
judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of a festival day, 
or of the new moon, or of the sabbaths, which are a shadow 
of things to come. 5 

That we should not quibble with regard to what is per- 
mitted by the Scripture. 

Cap. 2 

Rom. [14.22,23] : 'Blessed is he that condemneth not him- 
self in that which he alloweth. But he that discerneth, if he 
eat, is condemned; because not of faith. For all that is not 
of faith is sin.' Col [2.20-22] : 'If you be dead with Christ 
from the elements of the world, why do you yet decree as 
though living in the world? Touch not, taste not, handle not; 
which all are unto destruction by the very use, according to 
the precepts and doctrines of men. 9 

That we must not make judgments where doubtful matters 
are concerned. 

Cap. 3 

1 Cor. [4.5] : Therefore judge not before the time; until 
the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things 
of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; 
and then shall every man have praise from God/ 

That we should not judge out of consideration of persons, 

Cap. 4 

John [7.23,24] : 'If a man receive circumcision on the sab- 
bath day, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you 



136 SAINT BASIL 

angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the 
sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but 
judge just judgment.' 

That we ought not condemn anyone, even if his accusers 
be many, before making a careful study of his case in his 
presence. 

Cap. 5 

John [7.50,51] : 'Nicodemus said (he that came to him by 
night, who was one of them) : Doth our law judge any man, 
unless it first hear him, and know what he doth?' Acts 
[25.14-16]: 'And as they tarried there many days, Festus 
told the king of Paul, saying : A certain man was left prisoner 
by Felix; about whom when I was at Jerusalem the chief 
priests and the ancients of the Jews, came unto me, desiring 
condemnation against him. To whom I answered: It is not 
the custom of the Romans to condemn any man, before that 
he who is accused have his accusers present and have liberty 
to make his answer, to clear himself of the things laid to his 
charge. 5 

RULE FIFTY-FIVE 

That we must recognize and acknowledge every good 
as a gift and that even the patient endurance of suffering for 
Christ's sake is of God. 

Cap. 1 

John [3.27] : C A man cannot receive anything, unless it be 
given him from heaven. 9 1 Cor. [4.7] : 'Or what hast thou 
that thou hast not received?' Eph. [2.8,9] : Tor by grace you 
are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is 



THE MORALS 137 

a gift of God; not of works, that no man may glory.' PhiL 
[1.28-30]: 'And this from God: for unto you it is given for 
Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. 
Having the same conflict,' etc. 

That we should not accept in silence the benefactions of 

God, but return thanks for them. 

Cap. 2 

Luke [8.38,39] : 'Now the man, out of whom the devils 
were departed, besought him that he might be with him. But 
Jesus sent him away, saying: Return to thy house, and tell 
how great things God hath done to thee. And he went 
through the whole city publishing how great things Jesus had 
done to him.' Luke [17.12-19] : 'And as he entered into a cer- 
tain town, there met him ten men that were lepers, who 
stood afar off and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, master, 
have mercy on us. Whom when he saw, he said: Go show 
yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, 
they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that 
he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying 
God. And he fell on his face before his feet, giving thanks; 
and this was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said, Were 
not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no 
one found to return and give glory to God but this stranger. 
And he said to him: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath 
made thee whole. 5 1 Cor. [15.10]: 'But by the grace of God, 
I am what I am.' 1 Tim. [4.4] : 'Every creature of God is 
good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanks- 
giving.' 



138 SAINT BASIL 

RULE FIFTY-SIX 

That we should persevere in watching and prayer. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [7.7,8]: 'Ask and it shall be given you: seek and 
you shall find; knock, and It shall be opened to you. For 
everyone that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh findeth: 
and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened, etc. Luke 
[18.1,2] : 'And he spoke also a parable to them, that we ought 
always to pray, and not to faint, saying: There was a judge 
in a certain city/ etc. Luke [21.34-36]: 'And take heed to 
yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with sur- 
feiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that 
day "come upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come 
upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth. Watch ye 
therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted 
worthy to escape these things that are to come, and to stand 
before the Son of man. 3 Col. [4.2] : 'Be instant in prayer, 
watching in it with thanksgiving. 5 / Thess. [5.16,17] : 'Always 
rejoice. Pray without ceasing. 5 

That we should give thanks to God even for the daily sus- 
tenance required by the body, before we partake of it. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [14.19]: 'And taking the five loaves and the two 
fishes, giving thanks, he broke and gave to his disciples: and 
the disciples to the multitude. 5 Acts [27.35]; 'And when he 
had said these things, taking bread, he gave thanks to God 
in the sight of them all; and when he had broken it, he began 
to eat.' / Tim. [4.4] : 'Every creature of God is good, and 
nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving.' 



THE MORALS 139 

That we should not recite long and repetitious prayers for 

things that are perishable and unworthy of the Lord. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [6.7,8] : 'And when you are praying, speak not 
much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much 
speaking they may be heard. Be not you therefore like to 
them, for your heavenly Father knoweth what is needful for 
you, before you ask him.' Luke [12.29,30] : 'And seek not you 
what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; and be not lifted 
up on high. For all these things do the nations of the world 
seek. But your Father knoweth that you have need of these 
things.' 

How we should pray, and with what dispositions of soul. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [6.9,10]: 'Our Father who art in heaven, hal- 
lowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, 5 
etc. Matthew [6.33] : 'Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of 
God and his justice. 5 * Mark [11.25]: 'When you shall stand 
to pray, forgive, if you have aught against any man. 5 1 Tim. 
[2.8] : 'I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting 
up pure hands, without anger and contention. 5 

That we should pray for one another and for those who are 
preachers of the Word of Truth. 

Cap. 5 

Luke [22.31,32]: 'And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold 
Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; 



140 SAINT BASIL 

but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.' Eph. 
[6.18-20] : 'Praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same 
watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints 
and for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my 
mouth with confidence to make known the mystery of the 
gospel. For which I am an ambassador in a chain, so that 
therein I may be bold to speak according as I ought.' 2 Thess. 
[3.1]: Tor the rest, pray for us that the word of God may 
run and may be glorified in all, even as among you.' 

That we should pray even for our enemies. 

Cap. 6 

Matthew [5.44,45] : Tray for them that persecute and cal- 
umniate you, that you may be the children of your Father who 
is in heaven.' 

That no man ought to pray or prophesy with his head 
covered; and no woman, with uncovered head. 

Cap. 7 

1 Cor. [1 1.3-5] : 'But I would have you know that the head 
of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the 
man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or 
prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. But 
every woman praying or prophesying with her head not cov- 
ered, disgraceth her head, 3 etc. 

RULE FIFTY-SEVEN 

That no one should entertain exalted notions of himself 
because of his own good deeds and hold others in disdain. 



THE MORALS 141 

Cap. 1 

Luke [18.9-14]: 'And to some who trusted in themselves 
as just and despised others, he spoke also this parable: Two 
men went up into the temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and 
the other a publican. The Pharisee standing prayed thus with 
himself : O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest 
of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publi- 
can. I fast twice in a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. 
And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift 
up his eyes towards heaven, but struck his breast, saying: O 
God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say unto you, this man 
went down into his house justified rather than the other; 
because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; 
and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted/ 

RULE FIFTY-EIGHT 

That it must not be thought that the gift of God is pur- 
chased by money or by any other device. 

Cap. 1 

Acts [8.18-23] : c And when Simon saw that by the imposi- 
tion of the hands of the apostles, the Holy Ghost was given,, 
he offered them money, saying: Give me also this power that 
on whomsoever I shall lay my hands, he may receive the 
Holy Ghost. But Peter said to him: Keep thy money to thy- 
self, to perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the 
gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast no 
part nor lot in this matter. For thy heart is not right in the 
sight of God. Do penance therefore for this thy wickedness; 
and pray to the Lord that perhaps this thought of thy heart 
may be forgiven thee. For I see thou art in the gall of bitter- 
ness and in the bonds of iniquity.' 



142 SAINT BASIL 

That according to the rule of faith God bestows gifts upon 
each man unto profit. 

Cap. 2 

Rom. [12.6]: 'And having different gifts, according to 
the grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used accord- 
ing to the rule of faith. 3 1 Cor. [12.7-10]: 'And the manifes- 
tation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one 
indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom; and to 
another, the word of knowledge, according to the same 
Spirit; to another, faith in the same Spirit; to another, the 
grace of healing; to another, prophecy; to another, the dis- 
cerning of spirits; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to 
another, interpretation of speeches.' 

That, since the gift of God is received as a free gift, it is our 
duty to share it freely and not make it a means of profit for 
self-gratification . 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [10.8,9]: 'Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast 
out devils; freely have you received, freely give. Do not pos- 
sess gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses.' Acts [3.6,7] : 
'But Peter said : Silver and gold I have none ; but what I have, 
I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise 
and walk. And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him 
up. 3 1 Thess. [2.5-8] : 'For neither have we used at any time 
the speech of flattery, as you know; nor taken an occasion of 
covetousness, God is witness; nor sought we glory of men, 
neither of you nor of others. Whereas we might have been 
burdensome to you, as the apostles of Christ; but we became 
little ones in the midst of you, as if a nurse should cherish 
her children : so desirous of you, we would gladly impart unto 



THE MORALS 143 

you not only the gospel of God but also our own souls, because 
you were become most dear unto us. 5 

That he who has received the first gift of God in a prudent 
manner and has diligently fostered it for the glory of God is 
deserving of other gifts also; but one who does not so is both 
deprived of the original gift and is not deemed worthy of that 
which has been prepared, and is delivered up to punishment. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [13.10-14]: 'And his disciples came and said to 
him : Why speakest thou to them in parables? Who answered 
and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the 
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; but to them it is not 
given. For he that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall 
abound : but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away 
that also which he hath. Therefore do I speak to them in 
parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear 
not, neither do they understand. And the prophecy of Isaias 
is fulfilled in them.' [25.14-17]: Tor even as a man going 
into a far country, called his servants and delivered to them 
his goods; and to one he gave five talents, and to another 
two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper 
ability: and immediately he took his journey. And he that 
had received the five talents went his way, and traded with 
the same and gained other five. And. in like manner he that 
had received the two gained other two 9 ; and shortly after 
[29,30] : Tor to every one that hath shall be given; but from 
him that hath not, that also which he hath shall be taken 
away. And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the 
exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth.' 



144 SAINT BASIL 

RULE FIFTY-NINE 

That the Christian should not be attached to that glory 
which comes from men, nor claim for himself special honor, 
but should correct those who accord him such honor or who 
think too highly of him. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [19.16,17]: 'And behold one came and said to 
him : Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life 
everlasting? Who said to him: Why callest thou me good? 
No one is good except one, God.' John [5.41] : 'I receive not 
glory from men'; and a little further on [44] : 'How can you 
believe, who receive glory one from another; and the glory 
which is from God alone, you do not seek? Luke [11.43]: 
'Woe to you, Pharisees, because you love the uppermost 
seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the marketplace.' 
1 Thess. [2.5,6] : Tor neither have we used at any time the 
speech of flattery as you know; nor taken an occasion of covet- 
ousness, God is witness : nor sought we glory of men, neither 
of you nor of others.' Acts [10.25,26]: 'And it came to pass 
that when Peter was come in, Cornelius came to meet him, 
and falling at his feet adored. But Peter lifted him up, saying : 
Arise, I myself also am a man.' Acts [12.21-23] : 'And upon a 
day appointed, Herod being arrayed in kingly apparel, sat in 
the judgment seat and made an oration to them. And the 
people made acclamation, saying : It is the voice of a god and 
not of a man. And forthwith an angel of the Lord struck him, 
because he had not given the honour to God: and being 
eaten up by worms, he gave up the ghost.' 

RULE SIXTY 
That, inasmuch as the gifts of the Spirit are varied and 



THE MORALS 145 

one individual cannot receive them all, nor all receive the 
same gift, everyone should soberly and thankfully remain con- 
tent with the gift granted to him and all should be in accord 
with one another in the charity of Christ, as are the members 
of the body. Thus, he who is less richly endowed with gifts 
will not suffer discouragement by comparison with his superi- 
or in this regard; nor, indeed, should the more gifted be dis- 
dainful of his inferior. For they who are divided and at vari- 
ance with one another are worthy of destruction. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [12.25]: 'Every kingdom divided against itself 
shall be made desolate: and every city or house divided 
against itself shall not stand. 3 Gal. [5.15]: 'But if you bite 
and devour one another; take heed you be not consumed one 
of another.' John [17.20,21]: 'Not for them only do I pray, 
but for them also who through their word shall believe in me : 
that they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me and I in thee; 
that they also may be one in us. 5 Acts [4.32] : 'And the multi- 
tude of believers had but one heart and one soul; neither did 
any one say that aught of the things which he possessed was 
his own, but all things were common unto them.' Rom. 
[12,3-6] : 'For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that 
are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be 
wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath 
divided to every one the measure of faith. For as in one body, 
we have many members, but all the members have not the 
same office; so we being many, are one body in Christ, and 
every one members one of another; and having different gifts, 
according to the grace that is given us,' etc. 1 Cor. [1.10]: 
*Now I beseech you, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,, 
that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms 



146 SAINT BASIL 

among you ; but that you be perfect in the same mind and in 
the same judgment.' 1 Cor. [12.12,13] : Tor as the body is one 
and hath many members; and all the members of the body, 
whereas they are many, belonging to the one body, yet are 
one body, so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all 
baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether 
bond or free, 5 etc. PhiL [2.2-4] : 'That you all be of one mind, 
having the same charity, being of one accord, agreeing in 
sentiment. Let nothing be done through contention, neither 
by vain glory; but in humility, let each esteem others better 
than themselves; each one not considering the things that are 
his own, but those that are other men's. 3 

RULE SIXTY-ONE 

That we should not be disdainful of those who administer 
the Lord's bounty, having regard to their lowliness, for with 
these especially God is well pleased. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [11.25,26] : 'I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from 
the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. 
Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in thy sight/ 
[13.54-58]: 'Coming into his own country, he taught them 
in their synagogue, so that they wondered and said: How 
come this man by this wisdom and miracles? Is not this the 
carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his 
brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? And his 
sisters, are they not all with us? Whence therefore hath he 
all these things? And they were scandalized in his regard. 
But Jesus said to them: A prophet is not without honor, save 
in his own country, and in his own house. And he wrought not 



THE MORALS 147 

many miracles, because of their unbelief. 5 / Cor. [1.26-29]: 
Tor see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many 
wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 
but the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he 
may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world 
hath God chosen that he may confound the strong. And the 
base things of the world and the things that are contemptible 
hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might 
bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory 
in the sight of God.' 

RULE SIXTY-TWO 

That they who believe in God and are baptized should 
straightway prepare themselves for temptation even from their 
own relatives and friends and even unto death, for one who is 
not thus prepared is easily shaken in a sudden crisis. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [3.16-4.1]: 'And Jesus being baptized, forthwith 
came out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened to 
him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and 
coming upon him. And behold a voice from heaven, saying: 
This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Then 
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by 
the devil.' [10.16-18]: 'Behold I send you as sheep in the 
midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple 
as doves. But beware of men. For they will deliver you up 
in councils and they will scourge you in their synagogues. 
And you shall be brought before governors, and before kings 
for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles'; 
and, after a few intervening verses [21,22]: The brother 
also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father, the 



148 SAINT BASIL 

son; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and 
shall put them to death. And you shall be hated by all men 
for my name's sake; but he that shall persevere unto the end, 
he shall be saved.' [38] : 'And he that taketh not up his cross 
and followeth me, is not worthy of me. 5 John [16.1-3] : 'These 
things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. 
They will put you out of the synagogue; yea, the hour cometh 
that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service 
to God. And these things will they do to you; because they 
have not known the Father, nor me, 3 etc. Luke [8.13] : 'Now 
they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive 
the word with joy; and these have no roots, for they believe 
for a while, and in time of temptation they fall away.' 2 Cor. 
[1.8,9]: Tor I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of our 
tribulation which came to us in Asia that we were pressed 
out of measure above our strength, so that we were weary even 
of life. But we had in ourselves the answer of death, that we 
should not trust in ourselves but in God who raiseth the dead.' 
2 Tim. [3.12]: 'And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, 
shall suffer persecution.' 

That no one should place himself in the way of temptation 
before God permits, but we should pray not to fall into tem- 
tation. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [6.9,10]: 'Thus therefore shall you pray: Our 
Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy king- 
dom come'; and shortly after [13]: 'And lead us not into 
temptation but deliver us from evil.' John [7.1-10]: 'After 
these things, Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk 
in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' 
feast of tabernacles was at hand. And his brethren said to 



THE MORALS 149 

him: Pass from hence and go Into Judea, that thy disciples 
also may see thy works which thou dost. For there is no man 
that doth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be 
known openly. If thou do these things, manifest thyself to the 
world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus 
said to them: My time is not yet come; but your time is 
always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, 
because I give testimony to it, that the works thereof are eviL 
Go you up to this festival day, but I go not up to this festival 
day, because my time is not accomplished. When he had said 
these things, he himself stayed in Galilee. But after his breth- 
ren were gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not 
openly, but, as it were, in secret. 3 Luke [22.46] : 'Arise, pray, 
lest you enter into temptation. 3 

That we should retreat in good time before those who 
seek to ensnare us; yet, if any one be permitted to fall into 
temptation, he should pray for issue that he may be able to 
bear it and that the will of God may be done. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [10.23]: 'And when they shall persecute you in 
this city, flee into another.' [12.14,15]: 'And the Pharisees, 
going out, made a consultation against him, how they might 
destroy him. But Jesus knowing it, retired from thence.' John 
[11.53,54]: 'From that day, therefore, they devised to put 
him to death. Wherefore Jesus walked no more openly among 
the Jews.' Luke [22.41,42]: 'And kneeling down, he prayed, 
saying: Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me; 
but yet not my will but thine be done.' / Cor. [10.13]: 'Let 
no temptation take hold on you but such as is human. And 
God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above 



150 SAINT BASIL 

that which you are able; but will make also with temptation 
issue, that you may be able to bear it.' 

That, in every temptation which assails him, the Christian 
should remember what is said in Holy Scripture regarding 
the evil which confronts him and so keep himself unharmed 
and set his adversaries at naught. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [4.1-4]: 'Then Jesus was led by the spirit into 
the desert to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted 
forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And 
the tempter coming said to him : If thou be the Son of God 
command that these stones be made bread. Who answered 
and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, 
but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God,* 
etc. 

RULE SIXTY-THREE 

That the Christian should not fear nor be distressed in 
difficult circumstances, and thus be distracted from his trust 
in God; but he should take courage as if the Lord were at 
hand directing his affairs and strengthening him against all 
his adversaries and as if the Holy Spirit were instructing him 
even as to the very replies he should make to his foes. 

Cap. 1 
Matthew [10,28-31]: Tear ye not them that kill the body, 



THE MORALS 151 

and are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him that can 
destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold 
for a farthing? And not one of them shall fall on the ground 
without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all 
numbered. Fear not therefore; better are you than many 
sparrows.' Luke [12.11,12]: 'And when they shall bring 
you into the synagogues, and to magistrates and powers, be 
not solicitous how or what you shall answer, or what you shall 
say. For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour 
what you must say.' Mark [4.37-40] : 'And there arose a great 
storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the 
ship was filled. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, 
sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake him, and say to him: 
Master, doth it not concern thee that we perish? And rising 
up, he rebuked the wind, and said to the sea : Peace, be still. 
And the wind ceased, and there was made a great calm. And 
he said to them: Why are you fearful? Have you not faith 
yet?' Acts [5.17-21]: Then the high priest rising up and all 
they that were with him (which is the heresy of the Saddu- 
cees) were filled with envy. And they laid their hands on the 
apostles and put them in the common prison. But an angel 
of the Lord by night opening the doors of the prison and 
leading them out, said : Go, and standing speak in the temple 
to the people all the words of this life. Who, having heard 
this early in the morning, entered into the temple and taught.' 
2 Cor. [1.8] : 'For we would not have you ignorant, brethren, 
of our tribulation, which came to us in Asia'; and shortly 
after [10]: 'Who hath delivered and doth deliver us out of 
so great dangers: in whom we trust that he will yet also de- 
liver us.' 



152 SAINT BASIL 

RULE SIXTY-FOUR 

That we should rejoice to suffer all things even unto death 
for the name of the Lord and for His commandments. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [5.10-12]: 'Blessed are they that suffer persecu- 
tion for justice' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are ye when they shall revile you and persecute you 
and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake. 
Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.' 
Luke [6.22,23] : 'Blessed shall you be when men shall hate 
you and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach you, 
and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Be 
glad in that day and rejoice; for behold your reward is great 
in heaven.' Acts [5.40-42] : 'And calling in the apostles, after 
they had scourged them, they charged them that they should 
not speak at all in the name of Jesus; and they dismissed them. 
And they indeed went from the presence of the council, re- 
joicing that they were accounted worthy to suffer reproach 
for the name of the Lord. And every day they ceased not in 
the temple and from house to house to teach and preach 
Christ Jesus.' Col [1.23-25]: 'Whereof I, Paul, am made a 
minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill 
up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ in 
my flesh, for his body, which is the church.' 

RULE SIXTY-FIVE 

That it behooves us to make suitable requests in prayer, 
even if we are at the very point of death. 



THE MORALS 153 

Cap 1 

Matthew [27.46] : 'And about the ninth hour Jesus cried 
with a loud voice, saying: Eli,, Eli, lamma sabacthani? That 
is. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' [Luke 
23.46]: 'And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said: Father, 
into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave 
up the ghost.' Acts [7.58,59]: 'And they stoned Stephen 
Invoking and saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. 
And when he had said this, he fell asleep/ 

RULE SIXTY-SIX 

That we must not fail those who fight in behalf of religion. 

Cap. 1 

John [16.31,32]: 'Jesus answered them: Do you now be- 
lieve? Behold, the hour cometh and it is now come that you 
shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me 
alone. 5 2 Tim. [1.15-18]: Thou knowest this, that all they 
who are in Asia, are turned away from me, of whom are 
Phigellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy to the 
house of Onesiphorus, because he hath often refreshed me 
and hath not been ashamed of my chain; but when he was 
come to Rome, he carefully sought me and found me. The 
Lord grant unto him to find mercy of the Lord in that day; 
and in how many things he ministered unto me in Ephesus, 
thou very well knowest.' 2 Tim. [4.16]: 'At my first answer 
no man stood with me, but all forsook me; may it not be 
laid to their charge.' 

That we must pray for those who are tried by temptation. 



154 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 2 

Luke [22.31,32]: 'Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath de- 
sired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have 
prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.' Acts [12.5]: * Peter 
therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without 
ceasing by the church unto God for him/ 

RULE SIXTY-SEVEN 

That to grieve for them that sleep ill befits those who have 
the assurance of the resurrection from the dead. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [23.27-28] : 'And there followed him a great multi- 
tude of people and of women, who bewailed and lamented 
him. But turning, he said to them: Daughters of Jerusalem, 
weep not over me.' 1 Thess. [4.12,13] : 'And we will not have 
you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that 
you be not sorrowful even as others who have no hope. For 
if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; even so them 
who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with him.' 

RULE SIXTY-EIGHT 

That we should not expect the needs peculiar to this life to 
continue after the resurrection; but we should realize that life 
in the next world is angelic and free from want. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [20.34-36]: 'Jesus answered and said to them: The 
children of this world marry and are given in marriage: but 
they that shall be accounted worthy of that world and of the 



THE MORALS 155 

resurrection from the dead shall neither be married nor take 
wives. Neither can they die any more; for they are equal to 
the angels and are the children of God, being children of the 
resurrection.' / Cor. [15.35-38]: 'But some man will say: 
How do the dead rise again? or with what manner of body 
shall they come? Senseless man, that which thou so west is not 
quickened except it die first. And that which thou sowest, 
thou sowest not the body that shall be; but bare grain, as of 
wheat, or of some of the rest. But God giveth it a body as 
he will' ; and shortly after [42-44] : 'So also is the resurrection 
of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incor- 
ruption. It is sown in dishonour, it shall rise in glory. It is 
sown in weakness, it shall rise in power. It is sown a natural 
body, it shall rise a spiritual body.' 

That we must not expect the coming of th^ Lord to be 
in a certain place or in a manner according to the flesh, but 
suddenly throughout the whole world in the glory of the 
Father. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [24.23,24]: 'Then if any man shall say to you: 
Lo! here is Christ, or there, do not believe him; for there 
shall arise false Christs and false prophets and shall show 
great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) 
even the elect. 5 Mark [13.23-26]: Take you heed, therefore; 
behold I have foretold you all things. But in those days after 
that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall 
not give her light. And the stars of heaven shall be falling 
down and the powers that are in heaven shall be moved. And 
then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds 
with great power and glory/ 1 Thess. [4.14,15] : Tor this we 
say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, 



156 SAINT BASIL 

who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent 
them who have slept. For the Lord himself shall come down 
from heaven with commandment and with the voice of an 
archangel and with the trumpet of God; and the dead who 

are in Christ, shall rise first/ 

RULE SIXTY-NINE 

A list of acts which are forbidden and have a threat at- 
tached to them. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [15.19,20]: Tor from the heart come forth evil 
thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testi- 
monies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man.' 
[25.41-43]: 'Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting 
firi| which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was 
hongry and you gave me not to eat; I was thirsty and you 
gave me not to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me not 
in; naked, and you covered me not; sick and in prison, and 
you did not visit me. 5 Luke [6.24-26] : 'Woe to you that are 
rich; for you have your consolation. Woe to you that are 
filled; for you shall hunger. Woe to you that laugh; for you 
shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men shall bless 
you. 5 [21.34] : 'And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your 
hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and 
the cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly.* 
Rom. [1.28-30] : 'And as they liked not to have God in their 
knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to 
do those things which are not convenient; being filled with 
all iniquity, fornication, avarice, wickedness,' etc. [13.9]: 
Tor: Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: 
Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not covet: and if there be 



THE MORALS 157 

any other commandment,' etc. 1 Cor. [6.9,10]: 'Do not err: 
neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effemin- 
ate, nor Hers with mankind., nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor 
railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God/ 
2 Cor. [12.20]: 'Lest perhaps contention, envyings, ani- 
mosities, dissensions, detractions, whisperings, swellings, sedi- 
tions, be among you.' Gal, [5.19-21] : 'Now the works of the 
flesh are manifest, which are adultery, fornication, unclean- 
ness, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contention, emu- 
lations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders,, 
drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I fore- 
tell you, as I have foretold, that they who do such things 
shall not obtain the kingdom of God.' Gal. [5.26]: 'Let us 
not be made desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, 
envying one another.' Eph. [4.31]: 'Let all bitterness and 
anger, and indignation, and clamour, and blasphemy, be put 
away from you, with all malice.' [5.3,4]: 'But fornication 
and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not so much as be 
named among you, as becometh saints; or obscenity, or fool- 
ish talking, or scurrility, which is to no purpose. 3 Col. 
[3,5,6,8,9] : 'Mortify, therefore, your members which are 
upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concu- 
piscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols. 
For which things the wrath of God cometh upon the chil- 
dren of unbelief. But now put you also all away: anger, in- 
dignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy speech out of your 
mouth. Lie not to one another.' 1 Tim. [1.9-11]: 'But for 
the unjust and disobedient, for the ungodly, and for 
sinners, for the wicked and defiled, for murderers of 
fathers, and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for for- 
nicators, for them who defile themselves with mankind, 
for men-stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and whatever 
other thing is contrary to sound doctrine, which is according 



158 SAINT BASIL 

to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which hath 
been committed to my trust.' / Tim. [4.1-3J : 'In the last times 
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error 
and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having 
their conscience seared, forbidding to marry, to abstain from 
meats which God hath created to be received with thanks- 
giving by the faithful, and by them that have known the 
truth.' / Tim. [6.3-5] : 'If any man teach otherwise, and con- 
sent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to 
that doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, 
knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of 
words; from which arise envy, contention, blasphemies, evil 
suspicions, conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are 
destitute of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. Fly 
such as these.' 2 Tim. [3.1-5]: 'In the last days shall come 
dangerous times. For men shall be lovers of themselves,, 
covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to par- 
ents, ungrateful, wicked, without affection, without peace, 
slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, traitors, 
stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasures more than of 
God; having an appearance indeed of godliness, by denying 
the power thereof. Now these avoid. 5 Tit. [3.3] : Tor we our- 
selves also were some time unwise, incredulous, erring, slaves 
to divers desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hate- 
ful and hating one another.' 

A list of acts that are approved and carry with them certain 
promise of blessing. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [5.3-12] : 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs 
is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for 



THE MORALS 159 

they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall 
possess the land. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after 
justice, for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful, 
for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, 
for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they 
shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer 
persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven. Blessed are ye, when they shall revile you and perse- 
cute you and speak all that is evil against you untruly for 
my sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is great in 
heaven. 3 Matthew [25.34-36]: Come, ye blessed of my 
Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the 
foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave 
me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a 
stranger, and you took me in ; naked and you covered me ; sick 
and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. 5 
Rom. [12.7-21] : 'Or ministry in ministering; or he that teach- 
eth, in doctrine; he that exhorteth, in exhorting; he that 
giveth, with simplicity; he that ruleth, with carefulness; he 
that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without 
dissimulation, hating that which is evil, cleaving to that which 
is good. Loving one another with the charity of brotherhood, 
with honour preventing one another. In carefulness, not sloth- 
ful. In spirit fervent. Serving the Lord, Rejoicing in hope. 
Patient in tribulation. Instant in prayer. Communicating to 
the necessities of the saints. Pursuing hospitality. Bless them 
that persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with them that 
rejoice; weep with them that weep. Being of one mind one 
towards another. Not minding high things but consenting to 
the humble. Be not wise in your own conceits. To no man 
rendering evil for evil. Providing good things in the sight of 
all men. If it be possible, as much as is in you, have peace with 
all men. Revenge not yourselves, my dearly beloved; but give 



160 SAINT BASIL 

place unto wrath, for it is written: Revenge is mine, I will 
repay, saith the Lord. But if thy enemy is hungry, give him 
to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink. Be not overcome by 
evil, but overcome evil by good/ 2 Cor. [6.3-10]: 'Giving 
no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed; but 
in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, 
in much patience, in tribulations, in necessities, in distresses, 
in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in 
fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in sweet- 
ness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of 
truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the 
right hand and on the left; by honour and dishonour, by evil 
report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as un- 
known, and yet known; as dying, and behold we live; as 
chastised and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; 
as needy, yet enrichiag many ; as having nothing and possess- 
ing all things.' 2 Cor. [13.11] : Tor the rest, brethren, rejoice, 
be perfect, take exhortation; be of one mind, have peace.' 
Gal. [5.22] : 'But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, 
patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, continency, 
chastity. 5 Eph. [4.1-4]: 'I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, 
beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which 
you are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience 
supporting one another in charity; careful to keep the unity 
of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit; 
as you are called in one hope of your calling.' Eph. [4.32]: 
'And be ye kind to one another; merciful, forgiving one 
another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ.' [5.1,2]: 
'Be ye therefore followers of God, as most dear children; and 
walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered 
himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour 
of sweetness.' Phil. [2.1-3]: c lf there be therefore any conso- 
lation in Christ, if any comfort of charity, if any society of the 



THE MORALS 161 

spirit, if any bowels of commiseration, fulfill ye my joy, that 
you be of one mind, having the same charity, being of one 
accord, agreeing in sentiment. Let nothing be done through 
contention, neither by vain glory.' Phil. [4.8,9] : Tor the rest, 
brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest,, 
whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatso- 
ever of good fame, if there be any virtue, and if there be any 
praise, think on these things. The things which you have 
both learned and received and heard and seen in me, these 
do ye.' Col. [3.1-3]: 'Therefore if you be risen with Christ, 
seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the 
right hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the 
things that are upon the earth. For you are dead, and your 
life is hid with Christ in God.' [12] : Tut ye one therefore, as 
the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, be- 
nignity, humility, mildness, patience. 5 1 Thess. [5.14-22]: 
'Rebuke the unquiet, comfort the timorous, support the weak, 
be patient toward all men. See that none renders evil for 
evil to any man, but ever follow that which is good towards 
each other and towards all men. Always rejoice. Pray with- 
out ceasing. In all things give thanks; for this is the will of 
God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. Extinguish not the 
spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things; hold fast 
that which is good. From all appearance of evil refrain your- 
selves.' Tit. [2.2-5] : 'That the aged men be sober, chaste, pru- 
dent, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The aged women, in 
like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to 
much wine, teaching well; that they may teach the young 
women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their chil- 
dren, to be discreet, chaste, gentle, having a care of the house, 
obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not 
blasphemed.' Tit. [3.1,2]: 'Admonish them to be subject to 
princes and powers, to obey at a word, to be ready to every 



162 SAINT BASIL 

good work, to speak evil of no man, not to be litigious, but 
gentle; showing all mildness toward all men.' Heb. [13.1-5] : 
'Let the charity of the brotherhood abide in you, and hospi- 
tality do not forget; for by this some, being not aware of it, 
have entertained angels. Remember them that are in bands, 
as if you were bound with them; and them that labour, as 
being yourselves also in the body. Marriage honourable in all, 
and the bed undefiled. For fornicators and adulterers God 
will judge. Let your manners be without covetousness, con- 
tented with such things as you have.' 

RULE SEVENTY 

They who are entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel 
ought, after prayer and supplication, to appoint as deacons 
or priests blameless men whose past life has been investigated 
and found worthy. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [9.37,38]: Then he saith to his disciples: The 
harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few. Pray ye 
therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers 
into his harvest.' Luke [6,13-16]: 'And when day was come, 
he called unto him his disciples; and he chose twelve of them 
(whom also he named apostles) : Simon, whom he surnamed 
Peter, ai}d Andrew, his brother, James and John, Philip and 
Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Al- 
pheus, and Simon who is called Zelotes and Jude the brother 
of James, and Judas Iscariot, who was the traitor.' Luke 
[10.1,2]: 'And after these things the Lord appointed also 
other seventy-two; and he sent them two and two before his 
face into every city and place whither he himself, was to come. 
And he said to them: The harvest indeed is great but the 



THE MORALS 163 

labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, 
that he send labourers into his harvest.' Acts [1.1,2]: The 
former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which 
Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day on which giv- 
ing commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom 
he had chosen, he was taken up. 5 Acts [1.23-26:] 'And they 
appointed two, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnarned 
Justus, and Matthias. And praying they said: Thou, Lord, 
who knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these 
two thou hast chosen to take the place of this ministry and 
apostleship from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, 
that he might go to his own place. And they gave them lots 
and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with 
the eleven apostles.' 1 Tim. [3.1-10]: 'If a man desire the 
office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. It behoveth there- 
fore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, 
prudent, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, a teacher, 
not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre but 
equitable, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but one that ruleth 
well his own house, having his children in subjection with all 
gravity. (But if a man know not how to rule his own house, 
how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a neo- 
phyte, lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judg- 
ment and snare of the devil. Moreover, he must have a good 
testimony of them who are without, lest he fall into reproach 
and the snare of the devil. Deacons in like manner chaste, not 
double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy 
lucre; holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. And 
let these also first be proved ; and so let them minister, having 
no crime.' Tit. [1.5-9]: Tor this cause I left thee in Crete, 
that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting 
and shouldst ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed 
thee; if any be without crime, the husband of one wife. 



164 SAINT BASIL 

having faithful children, not accused of riot, or unruly. For 
a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not 
proud, not subject to anger, not given to wine, no striker, 
not greedy of filthy lucre, but given to hospitality, gentle, 
sober, just, holy, continent: embracing that faithful word 
which is according to doctrine that he may be able to exhort 
in sound doctrine and to convince the gainsayers.' 

That we should not be careless with regard to ordinations 
and that they should not be held without careful deliberation ; 
for that which has not been put to the test involves risk; also, 
that it is necessary to expose one who is detected in any mis- 
demeanor so that he who has discovered this may not be 
an accomplice to the sin and that others may not be scan- 
dalized but may rather learn to fear. 

Cap. 2 

1 Tim, [5.22]: 'Impose not hands lightly upon any man, 
neither be partaker of other men's sins.' 1 Tim. [5.19,20]: 
'Against a priest receive not an accusation but under two or 
three witnesses. Then that sin reprove before all, that the rest 
also may have fear.' 

That he who has been chosen should not of his own accord 
undertake the preaching of the Gospel, but wait for the time 
acceptable to God and begin his preaching when he has been 
assigned this duty; that, furthermore, he should preach to 
those to whom he has been sent. 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [10.5,6]: 'These twelve Jesus sent, commanding 
them, saying: Go yet not into the way of the Gentiles and 



THE MORALS 165 

into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go ye rather 
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.' Matthew [15.22-24] : 
'And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those 
coasts, crying out, said to him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, 
thou son of David; my daughter is grievously troubled by a 
devil. Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came 
and besought him, saying : Send her away for she crieth after 
us; and he answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep 
that are lost of the house of Israel.' John [8.42] : Tor from 
God I proceeded and came; for 1 came not of myself but he 
sent me.' Acts [11.19]: 'Now they who had been dispersed 
by the persecution that arose on occasion of Stephen, went 
about as far as Phoenice and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking 
the word to none, but to the Jews only.' Rom. [1.1] : 'Paul, a 
servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated 
unto the gospel of God.' Rom. [10.14,15] : 'And how shall they 
hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless 
they be sent.' / Tim. [1.1]: 'Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, 
according to the commandment of God our Saviour, and of 
Christ Jesus our hope.' 3 

That he who has been called to the preaching of the Gospel 
should obey instantly and without delay. 

Cap. 4 

Luke [9.59-60]: 'But he said to another: Follow me. And 
he said: Lord, suffer me first to go out and to bury my 
father. And the Lord said to him: Let the dead bury their 
dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.' Gal. 
[1.15-17]: 'But when it pleased God who separated me from 
my mother's womb and called me by his grace to reveal his 
Son in me that I might preach him among the Gentiles, 



166 SAINT BASIL 

immediately I condescended not to flesh and blood, neither 
went I to Jerusalem to the apostles who were before me ; but 
I went to Arabia and again I returned to Damascus.' 

That heterodoxy is forbidden. 

Cap. 5 

John [10.1,2]: 'Amen, amen I say to you: He that enter- 
eth not by the door into the sheepfold but climbeth up another 
way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth 
in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep 3 ; and a little further 
on [7,8] : 'I am the door of the sheep. All others as many as 
have come are thieves and robbers; and the sheep heard them 
not.' Gal. [1.8,9]: 'But though we or an angel from heaven 
preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached 
to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I 
say again: If anyone preach to you a gospel, besides that 
which you have received, let him be anathema.' 1 Tim. 
[6.3,4]: 'If any man teach otherwise and consent not to the 
sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to that doctrine 
which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing/ 
etc. 

That the faithful should be instructed in all the precepts of 
the Lord in the Gospel and also those transmitted to us 
through the Apostles as well as all that are to be inferred 
therefrom. 

Cap. 6 

Matthew [28.19,20] : 'Going teach ye all nations, baptizing 
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever 



THE MORALS 167 

I have commanded you.' Acts [16.4]: 'And as they passed 
through the cities, they delivered unto them the decrees for 
to keep, that were decreed by the apostles and ancients who 
were at Jerusalem.' / Tim. [6.2]: These things teach and 
exhort. 5 Tit. [2.1]: 'But speak thou the things that become 
sound doctrine.' 

That, if he who has been appointed to preach the doctrine 
of the Lord keep silence respecting anything which is neces- 
sary in order to please God, he is guilty of the blood of those 
who are thus endangered, whether by reason of their doing 
what is forbidden or of omitting the good they are obliged 
to do. 

Cap. 7 

Luke [11.52]: 'Woe to you, lawyers, for you have taken 
away the key of knowledge; you yourselves have not entered 
in, and those that were entering in, you hindered. 3 Acts. 
[18.5,6]: 'And when Silas and Timothy were come from 
Macedonia, Paul was earnest in preaching, testifying to the 
Jews, that Jesus is the Christ. But they gainsaying and blas- 
pheming, he shook his garments and said to them: Your 
blood be upon your own heads. I am clean; from hence- 
forth I will go unto the Gentiles.' Acts [20.26,27] : 'Where- 
fore I take you to witness this day, that I am clear from the 
blood of all men; for I have not spared to declare unto you 
all the counsel of God.' 

That, when there is question of something not expressly 
commanded in the Scripture, each should be exhorted to 
follow the better course. 



168 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 8 

Matthew [19.12]: 'There are eunuchs who were born so 
from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were 
made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made them- 
selves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, 
let him take it.* 1 Cor. [7.25-27]: 'Now concerning virgins, 
I have no commandment of the Lord; but I give counsel, 
as having obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I think, 
therefore, that this is good for the present necessity, that it is 
good for a man so to be. Art thou bound to a wife? Seek not 
to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife, 5 
etc. 

That no one is permitted to force others to do what he 
himself has not succeeded in accomplishing. 

Cap. 9 

Luke [11.46]: 'Woe to you lawyers also, because you load 
men with burdens which they cannot bear, and you your- 
selves touch not the packs with one of your fingers.' 

That he who is a preacher of the Word should be proposed 
to the rest as a model of every virtue by first practicing what 
he teaches. 

Cap. 10 

Matthew [11.28,29] : 'Come to me, all you that labour and 
are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon 
you and learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart. 9 
John [13.12-15]: Then after he had washed the feet of his 
disciples, and taken his garments, being set down again, he 
said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call 



THE MORALS 169 

me Master and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then 
I being your Lord and Master have washed your feet; you 
also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you 
an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also to 
one another. 9 Acts [20.35] : 'I have showed you all things, 
how that so labouring you ought to support the weak/ / Cor. 
[11.1]: 'Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ. 5 1 Tim. 
[4.12]: 'Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an ex- 
ample of the faithful in word, in conversation, 5 etc. 

That he who is a preacher of the Word should not feel 
secure in his own righteousness, but should realize that the 
moral improvement of the faithful is the specific and pre- 
eminent function of the office committed to him. 

Cap. 11 

Matthew [5.13] : 'You are the salt of the earth. But if the 
salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for 
nothing any more but to be cast out and to be trodden on 
by men. 5 John [6.37-40]: 'All that the Father giveth to me 
shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will not cast 
out. Because I came down from heaven not to do my own 
will but the will of him that sent me, the Father. Now this 
is the will of him who sent me : that every one who seeth the 
Son and believeth in him, may have life everlasting.' 1 Thess. 
[2.19,20]: 'For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of glory? 
Are not you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his 
coming? For you are our glory and joy.* 

That the preacher of the Word should visit all the towns 
and cities in his charge. 



170 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 12 

Matthew [4.23] : 'And Jesus went about all Galilee teach- 
ing in the synagogues and preaching the gospel of the king- 
dom, and healing all manner of sickness and every infirmity/ 
Luke [8.1]: 'And he travelled through the cities and towns 
preaching the kingdom of God and evangelizing; and the 
twelve with him.' 

That all should be summoned to the hearing of the Gos- 
pel, that the Word must be preached with all candor, that the 
truth must be upheld even at the cost of opposition and per- 
secution of whatever sort, unto death. 

Cap. 13 

Matthew [10.27,28]: 'That which I tell you in the dark, 
speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, 
preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill 
the body and are not able to kill the soul.' Matthew [22.8,9] : 
'The marriage indeed is ready, but they that were invited 
were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways and as 
many as you shall find, call to the marriage. 5 John [18.20]: 
'Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world; I 
have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, 
whither all the Jews resort; and in secret I have spoken 
nothing. 3 Acts [5.27-29] : 'And when they had brought them, 
they set them before the council. And the high priest asked 
them, saying: Commanding we commanded you, that you 
should not teach in this name; and behold, you have filled 
Jerusalem with your doctrine and you have a mind to bring 
the blood of this man upon us. But Peter and the apostles 
answering, said: We ought to obey God rather than men.' 
Acts [20.23,24] : 'Save that the Holy Ghost in every city wit- 



THE MORALS 171 

nesseth to me, saying that bands and afflictions wait for me. 
But I fear none of these things, neither do I count my life 
more precious than myself so that I may consummate my 
course and the ministry of the word which I received from 
the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God,' 
1 Thess. [2.1,2] : Tor yourselves know, brethren, our entrance 
in unto you, that it was not in vain ; but having suffered many 
things before and been shamefully treated (as you know) at 
Philippi, we had confidence in our God to speak unto you 
the gospel of God in much carefulness.' 

That we should pray for the spiritual advancement of the 
faithful and also return thanks for this favor. 

Cap. 14 

John [17.20,21]: 'And not for them only do I pray, but 
for them also who through their word shall believe in me; that 
they all may be one as thou, Father, in me and I in thee: 
that they also may be one in us'; and again [17.24]: 'Father, 
I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me 
may be with me.' Luke [10.21]: 'In that same hour, Jesus 
rejoiced in the Spirit and said: I confess to thee, O Father, 
Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hidden these 
things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them to 
little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy 
sight.' Rom. [1.8,9]: 'First I give thanks to my God through 
Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is spoken of in the 
whole world. For God is my witness whom I serve in my spirit 
in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make a com- 
memoration of you always in my prayers.' Phil. [1,8-11]: Tor 
God is my witness how I long after you in the bowels of 
Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your charity may more 



172 SAINT BASIL 

and more abound in knowledge and in all understanding; 
that you may approve the better things, that you may be sin- 
cere and without offence unto the day of Christ, filled with 
the fruit of justice, through Jesus Christ, unto the glory and 
praise of God.' 

That good actions performed with the grace of God ought 
to be made known also to others for His glory. 

Cap. 15 

Luke [9.10]: And the apostles, when they were returned, 
told him all they had done.' Acts [14.26]: 'And when they 
were come and had assembled the church, they related what 
great things God had done with them.' Eph. [6.21,22]: 'But 
that you also may know the things that concern me and what 
I am doing, Tychichus, my dearest brother and faithful minis- 
ter in the Lord, will make known to you all things; whom I 
have sent to you for this same purpose that you may know 
the things concerning us.' 

That we must be solicitous not only for those who are 
present but also for the absent and do all things as the work 
of edification may require. 

Cap. 16 

John [10.16] : 'And other sheep I have that are not of this 
fold; them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice, 
and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.' / Thess. 
[3.1,2]: Tor which cause, forbearing no longer, we thought 
it good to remain at Athens alone; and we sent Timothy, 



THE MORALS 173 

our brother, and the minister of God in the gospel of Christ 
to confirm you and exhort you concerning your faith.' 

That we should hearken to those who ask us to confer a 
benefit. 

Chap. 17 

Matthew [9.18,19]: 'As he was speaking these things, be- 
hold a certain ruler came up and adored him, saying: Lord> 
my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon 
her and she shall live. And Jesus rising up, followed him.' 
Acts [9.38,39] : 'And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppe, 
the disciples hearing that Peter was there, sent unto him two 
men, desiring him that he would not be slack to come unto 
them. And Peter rising up, went with them.' 

That they who accept the doctrine of truth should be con- 
firmed in it by our visits. 

Cap. 18 

Acts [15.36] : 'And after some days, Paul said to Barnabas: 
Let us return and visit our brethren in all the cities wherein 
we have preached the word of the Lord to see how they do.' 
1 Thess. [2.17,18]: 'But we, brethren, being taken away 
from you for a short time, in sight, not in heart, have hastened 
the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. For 
we would have come unto you, I, Paul, indeed once and again, 
but Satan hath hindered us'; and a little further on [3.1-3]: 
'For which cause, forbearing no longer, we thought it good 
to remain at Athens alone; and we sent Timothy, our brother 
and the minister of God in the gospel of Christ, to confirm 
you and exhort you concerning your faith; that no man should 



174 SAINT BASIL 

be moved in these tribulations; for yourselves know that we 
are appointed thereunto. 3 

That it behooves him who loves the Lord to be solicitous 
in all charity and with every manifestation of zeal for those 
whom he teaches, even though it should be necessary for him 
to persevere unto death itself in his teaching both public and 
private. 

Cap. 19 

John [10.11]: The good shepherd giveth his life for his 
sheep. 3 John [21.15-17]: 'When therefore they had dined, 
Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou 
me more than these? He saith to him: Yes, Lord, thou know- 
est that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He 
saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He 
saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He 
saith to him: Tend my sheep. He saith to him the third time: 
Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved be- 
cause he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? 
And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things; thou 
knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith to him: Feed my sheep. 5 
Acts [20.7]: 'And on the first day of the week, when the dis- 
ciples were assembled to break bread, Paul discoursed with 
them, being to depart on the morrow: and he continued his 
speech until midnight 3 ; and shortly after [11]: 'Then going 
up and breaking bread and tasting, and having talked a long 
time to them, until daylight, so he departed.' [20-21]: 'How 
I have kept back nothing that was profitable to you, but have 
preached it to you, and taught you publicly, and from house 
to house, testifying both to Jews and Gentiles penance towards 
God, and faith in our Lord Jesus.' [31]: Therefore watch, 



THE MORALS 175 

keeping in memory that for three years I ceased not with tears 
to admonish every one of you night and day.' 1 Thess. [2.9] : 
Tor you remember, brethren, our labour and toil; working 
night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you, 
we preached among you the gospel of God, 3 etc. 

That the preacher of the Word should be compassionate 
and merciful, especially toward those who are suffering distress 
of soul. 

Cap. 20 

Matthew [9.11-13]: 'And the Pharisees seeing it, said to 
his disciples: Why doth your master eat with publicans and 
sinners? But Jesus hearing it, said: They that are in health 
need not a physician, but they that are ill. Go then and learn 
what this meaneth: I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For 
I am not come to call the just, but sinners to repentance.' 
Matthew [9.36] : 'And seeing the multitudes, he had com- 
passion on them, because they were distressed, like sheep that 
have no shepherd.' 

That it is right to be kind and solicitous even with regard 
to the bodily needs of those in our charge. 

Cap. 21 

Matthew [15.32]: C I have compassion on the multitudes, 
because they continue with me now three days, and have not 
what to eat, and I will not send them away fasting lest they 
faint on the way.' Mark [1.40,41] : 'And there came a leper 
to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down said to him: If 
thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, having 
compassion on him, stretched forth his hand and touching 



176 SAINT BASIL 

him, saith to him: I will. Be thou made clean. 5 Acts [6.1-3] : 
'And in those days, the number of disciples increasing, there 
arose a murmuring of the Greeks against the Hebrews for 
that their widows were neglected in the daily ministrations. 
Then the twelve, calling together the multitude of the dis- 
ciples, said: It is not reason that we should leave the word 
of God and serve tables. Look ye out from among you, breth- 
ren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and 
wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.' 

That the preacher of the Word should not be eager to busy 
himself with minor matters, relaxing, meanwhile, the zeal 
he is obliged to show in more important ones. 

Cap. 22 

Acts [6.2] : 'Then the twelve, calling together the multi- 
tudes of the disciples, said: It is not reason that we should 
leave the word of God and serve tables'; and a little farther 
on [4] : 'But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and 
to the ministry of the word, 3 

That we should not be ostentatious nor traffic in the word 
of doctrine by flattering our hearers in the interest of our 
own pleasure or convenience; but it befits us to act as if we 
were speaking for the glory of God in His very presence. 

Cap. 23 

Matthew [23.5-10] : 'And all their works they do for to be 
seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad and en- 
large their fringes. And they love the first places at feasts and 
the first chairs in the synagogues, and salutations in the 
market place and to be called by men, Rabbi, Rabbi. Be not 



THE MORALS 177 

you called Rabbi; for one is your master and all you are 
brethren. And call none your father upon earth; for one is 
your Father, who is in heaven; neither be ye called masters; 
for one is your master, Christ. 5 John [7.16-18]: 'My doctrine 
is not mine but his that sent me. If any man will do the will 
of him, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God 
or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself 
seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of him 
that sent him, he is true and there is no injustice in him/ 
2 Cor. [2.17]: Tor we are not, as many, adulterating the 
word of God: but with sincerity, but as from God, before 
God, in Christ we speak. 5 1 Thess. [2.3-7] : Tor our exhor- 
tation was not of error nor of uncleanness, nor in deceit; but 
as we were approved by God that the gospel should be com- 
mitted to us, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God, 
who proveth our hearts. For neither have we used at any time 
the speech of flattery as you know, nor taken an occasion of 
covetousness, God is witness; nor sought we glory of men, 
neither of you nor of others, whence we might have been 
burdensome to you, as the apostles of Christ.' 

That the preacher of the Word should not abuse his power 
by insolent or high-minded treatment of those in his care; but 
he should rather regard his position as a reason for showing 
humility toward them. 

Cap. 24 

Matthew [24.45-51]: 'Who, thinkest thou, is a faithful and 
wise servant whom his lord hath appointed over his family to 
give them meat in season? Blessed is that servant whom when 
his lord shall come he shall find so doing. Amen I say to you, 
he shall place him over all his goods. But if that evil servant 
shall say in his heart: My lord is long a-coming, and shall 



178 SAINT BASIL 

begin to strike his fellow-servants and shall eat and drink 
with drunkards; the lord of that servant shall come in a day 
that he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not : and 
shall separate him and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. 
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth/ John 
[13,13,14] : 'You call me Master and Lord; and you say well, 
for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master have 
washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet/ 
Luke [22.24-27 : 'And there was also a strife amongst them, 
which of them should seem to be the greater. And Jesus said 
to them: The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and they 
that have power over them are called benefactors. But you 
not so : but he that is the greater among you, let him become 
as the younger; and he that is the leader as he that serveth. 
For which is greater, he that sitteth at table, or he that 
serveth? Is not he that sitteth at table? 5 Acts [20.17-20] : 'And 
sending from Miletus to Ephesus, he called the ancients of the 
church. And when they were come to him, he said to them : 
You know from the first day that I came into Asia, in what 
manner I have been with you, for all the time, serving the 
Lord with all humility and with many tears and temptations 
which befell me by the conspiracies of the Jews.' 2 Cor. 
[11.19-21]: Tor you gladly suffer the foolish; whereas you 
yourselves are wise. For you suffer if a man bring you into 
bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take from you, if a 
man be lifted up, if a man strike you on the face. I speak 
according to dishonour, as if we had been weak in this part.' 

That we should not preach the Gospel in a spirit of strife 
or envy, or rivalry with anyone. 



THE MORALS 179 

Cap. 25 

Matthew [12.18,19]: 'Behold my servant whom I have 
chosen, my beloved, in whom my soul hath been well-pleased. 
I will put my spirit upon him and he shall show judgment 
to the Gentiles. He shall not contend nor cry out, neither 
shall any man hear his voice in the streets.' Phil. [1.15-17]: 
'Some, indeed, even out of envy and contention; but some 
also for good will preach Christ. Some out of charity, knowing 
that I am set for the defence of the gospel. And some out of 
contention preach Christ not sincerely; supposing that they 
raise affliction to my bands.' 

That human devices for enhancing style should not be em- 
ployed in preaching the Gospel, lest they conceal the grace of 
God. 

Cap. 26 

Matthew [11.25]: 'I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.' 
1 Cor. [1.17]: 'For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to 
preach the gospel : not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of 
Christ should be made void. 3 [2.1-5] : 'And I, brethren, when 
I came to you, came not in loftiness of speech or of wisdom, 
declaring unto you the testimony of Christ. For I judged not 
myself to know anything among you but Jesus Christ, and 
him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, 
and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching 
was not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in 
showing of the Spirit and power; that your faith might not 
stand on the wisdom of men but on the power of God.' 



180 SAINT BASIL 

That we should not think that we achieve success in preach- 
ing through our own devices, but we should rely entirely on 
God. 

Cap. 27 

2 Cor. [3.4-6]: 'And such confidence we have through 
Christ towards God. Not that we are sufficient to think any- 
thing of ourselves as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is from 
God, who also hath made us fit ministers of the new testa- 
ment.' 2 Cor. [4.7]: 'But we have this treasure in earthen 
vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God and 
not of us.' 

That one who is entrusted with the preaching of the Gospel 
should possess nothing more than is strictly necessary for him. 

Cap. 28 

Matthew [10.9,10]: T>o not possess gold nor silver nor 
money in your purses; nor scrip for your journey, nor two 
coats, nor shoes, nor a staff; for the workman is worthy of his 
meat.' Luke [9.3]: Take nothing for your journey: neither 
staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats/ 
Acts [20.33,34] : 'I have not coveted any man's silver, gold, 
or apparel as you yourselves know? 2 Tim. [2.4] : 'No man, 
being a soldier to God, entangleth himself with secular busi- 
nesses; that he may please him to whom he hath engaged him- 
self/ 

That we should not lend our mind to worldly affairs in the 
interest of those who are free to occupy themselves with these 
matters. 



THE MORALS 181 

Cap. 29 

Luke [12.13,14]: 'And one of the multitude said to him: 
Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance 
with me. But he said to him: Man, who hath appointed me 
judge or divider over you?' 2 Tim. [2.4]: 'No man, being a 
soldier to God, entangleth himself with secular businesses/ 
etc. 

That they who, to please their listeners, neglect to give a 
frank presentation of the will of God become the slaves of 
those they would please and abandon the service of God. 

Cap. 30 

John [5.44]: 'How can you believe, who receive glory one 
from another; and the glory which is from God alone, you do 
not seek?' Gal. [1.10] : 'If I yet pleased men, I should not be 
the servant of Christ. 3 

That the aim a teacher proposes to himself should be that 
of forming each one according to his level 'unto a perfect 
man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ.' 

Cap. 31 

Matthew [5.48] : 'Be you therefore perfect as your heavenly 
Father is perfect.' John [17.20,21]: 'Not for them only do I 
pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe 
in me; that they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and 
I in thee; that they also may be one in us.' Eph. [4.11-13]: 
'And he gave some apostles and some prophets, and other 
some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for 
the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of 



182 SAINT BASIL 

Christ: until we all meet into the unity of faith and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the 
measure of the age of the fullness of Christ.' 

That we should instruct our adversaries in forbearance and 
mildness in the hope of their conversion until the full measure 
of solicitude has been exercised toward them. 

Cap. 32 

Matthew [12.19,20]: 'He shall not contend nor cry out 
neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. The bruised 
reed he shall not break: and smoking flax he shall not extin- 
guish: till he send forth judgment unto victory.' 2 Tim. 
[2.24-26]: 'But the servant of the Lord must not wrangle; 
but be mild towards all men, apt to teach, patient, with 
modesty admonishing them that resist the truth ; if peradven- 
ture God may give them repentance to know the truth, and 
they may recover themselves from the snare of the devil.' 

That it is right to yield and not insist obstinately when, 
through fear or out of caution, some do not tolerate the pres- 
ence of a preacher of the Word. 

Cap. 33 

Luke [8.37] : 'And all the multitude of the country of the 
Garasens besought him to depart from them, for they were 
taken with great fear. And he going into the ship, returned 
back again.' 

That we should depart from those who through obstinacy 
do not receive the Gospel, not allowing ourselves to accept 
even corporeal necessities from them. 



THE MORALS 183 

Cap. 34 

Matthew [10.14]: 'And whosoever shall not receive you, 
nor hear your words, going forth out of that house or city, 
shake off the dust from your feet/ Luke [10.10,1 1] : 'But into 
whatsoever city you enter and they receive you not, going 
forth into the streets thereof, say : Even the very dust of your 
city that cleaveth to us, we wipe off against you. Yet know 
this, that the kingdom of God is at hand.' Acts [18.5,6] : 'And 
when Silas and Tifnothy were come from Macedonia, Paul 
was earnest in preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus 
is the Christ. But they gainsaying and blaspheming, he shook 
his garments and said to them : Your blood be upon your own 
heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gen- 
tiles.' 

That we should abandon the incorrigible when we have 
exhausted all the resources of our solicitude in their regard. 

Cap. 35 

Matthew [23.37,38] : 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that kill- 
est the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how 
often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen 
doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst 
not? Behold your house shall be left to you, desolate.' Acts 
[13.46,47] : To you it behoved us to speak the word of God; 
but because you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of 
eternal life, behold we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord 
hath commanded us: I have set thee to be the light of the 
Gentiles, that thou mayest be for salvation unto the utmost 
part of the earth. 5 Tit. [3.10,11]: 'A man that is a heretic 
after the first and second admonition, avoid; knowing that 



184 SAINT BASIL 

he that is such a one is subverted and sinneth, being con- 
demned by his own judgment.' 

That the integrity of the Lord's words must be maintained 
unswervingly toward all and in all circumstances, with no con- 
cession to our preferences. 

Cap. 36 

1 Tim. [5.21] : C I charge thee before God and Christ Jesus 
and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without 
prejudice, doing nothing by declining to either side.' 

That the preacher of the Word should say and do each 
thing after deliberation and close examination with a view 
to pleasing God, so as also to gain the approval and esteem 
due him from those in his care. 

Cap. 37 

Acts [20.18,19] : 'You know from the first day that I came 
into Asia, in what manner I have been with you for all the 
time, serving the Lord with all humility and with many tears 
and temptations 5 ; and a little farther on [33,34] : 'I have not 
coveted any man's silver, gold, or apparel. You yourselves 
know that such things as were needful for me and them that 
are with me, these hands have furnished.' 1 Thess. [2.10,11] : 
'You are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and 
without blame we have been to you that believe, as you know.* 

RULE SEVENTY-ONE 

Prescriptions which refer jointly to bishops and priests. 



THE MORALS 185 

Cap. 1 

1 Tim. [3.1,2] : 'If a man desire the office of a bishop, he 
desireth a good work. It behoveth therefore a bishop to be 
blameless/ etc. 1 Tim. [5.1,2]: 'An ancient man rebuke not, 
but entreat him as a father; young men, as brethren; old 
women, as mothers; young women, as sisters, in all chastity.' 
2 Tim. [2.22-24] : 'But flee thou youthful desires and pursue 
justice, faith, charity, and peace, with them that call on the 
Lord out of a pure heart. And avoid foolish and unlearned 
questions, knowing that they beget strifes. But the servant 
of the Lord must not wrangle, but be mild towards all men/ 
etc. 2 Tim. [3.10,11]: 'But thou hast fully known my faith, 
doctrine, manner of life, purpose, longsuffering, patience, per- 
secutions, afflictions.' Tit. [1.5,6]: 'For this cause I left thee 
in Crete that thou shouldst set in order the things that are 
wanting and shouldst ordain priests in every city as I also 
appointed thee, if any be without crime,' etc. 

Concerning deacons. 

Cap. 2 

Acts [6.5,6] : 'And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith 
and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip and Prochorus and Nic- 
anor 3 and the rest. 'These they set before the apostles; and 
they, praying, imposed hands upon them. 5 1 Tim. [3.8]: 
'Deacons in like manner chaste, not double tongued, not given 
to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre,' etc. 

RULE SEVENTY-TWO 

Concerning the hearers: that those hearers who are in- 
structed in the Scriptures should examine what is said by the 
teachers, receiving what is in conformity with the Scriptures 



186 SAINT BASIL 

and rejecting what is opposed to them; and that those who 
persist in teaching such doctrines should be strictly avoided. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [18.7-9] : 'Woe to that man by whom the scandal 
cometh. And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out/ and 
similarly with regard to the hand and foot. John [10.1]: 
'Amen, amen I say to you:, He that entereth not by the door 
into the sheepfold but climbeth up another way, the same is 
a thief and a robber 5 ; and a little further on [10.5]: 'But a 
stranger they follow not, but fly from him because they know 
not the voice of strangers.' Gal. [1.8]: 'But though we or an 
angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which 
you have received, let him be anathema.' 1 Thess. [5.20-22] : 
'Despise not prophecies. Prove all things ; hold fast that which 
is good. From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves.' 

That they who possess little knowledge of the Scriptures 
should recognize the distinctive mark of the saints by the 
fruits of the Spirit, receiving those who bear this mark and 
avoiding those who do not. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [7,15,16] : 'Beware of false prophets who come to 
you in the clothing of sheep but inwardly they are ravening 
wolves. By their fruits you shall know them.' Phil. [3.17] : 'Be 
ye followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so 
as you have our model.' 

That they who teach rightly the Word of Truth should be 
received even as the Lord, unto the glory of Him who has sent 
them, Jesus Christ our Lord. 



THE MORALS 187 

Cap. 3 

Matthew [10.40]: 'He that receiveth you, receiveth me. 3 
John [13.20]: 'He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiv- 
eth me.' Luke [10.16]: 'He that heareth you, heareth me.' 
Gal. [4.13,14] : 'And the temptation in my flesh, you despised 
not nor rejected, but received me as an angel of God, even as 
Christ Jesus.' 

That they who heed not those who are sent by the Lord 
bring dishonor not only upon these latter, but upon Him also 
who sent them, and they draw down upon themselves a 
harsher judgment than that pronounced upon the people 
of Sodom and Gomorrha. 

Cap. 4 

Matthew [10.14,15] : 'And whosoever shall not receive you 
nor hear your words, going forth out of that house or city, 
shake off the dust from your feet. Amen I say to you, it -shall 
be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the 
day of judgment than for that city.' Luke [10.16]: 'He that 
despiseth you, despiseth me.' / Thess. [4.8] : 'Therefore, he 
that despiseth these things, despiseth not man, but God who 
also hath given his holy Spirit in us.' 

That the teaching of the Lord's commandments should be 
received as having the power to procure eternal life and the 
kingdom of heaven; and also that we should put it into prac- 
tice with a good will, even though it seem arduous. 

Cap. 5 
John [5.24] : 'Amen, amen I say unto you, that he who 



188 SAINT BASIL 

heareth my word and believeth him that sent me, hath life 
everlasting and cometh not into judgment but is passed from 
death to life. 5 Acts [14.20-22] : 'And when they had preached 
the gospel to that city and had taught many, they returned 
again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and to Antioch, confirming 
the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to contiriue in 
the faith; and that through many tribulations we must enter 
into the kingdom of heaven.' 

That reprimand and censure should be accepted as healing 
remedies for vice and as conducive to health; whence it is 
evident that they who feign indulgence in a spirit of flattery 
and do not upbraid the sinners cause them to suffer supreme 
loss and plot the destruction of that life which is their true life. 

Cap. 6 

Matthew [18.15]: 'But if thy brother shall offend against 
thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he 
shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. 3 1 Cor. [5.4,5]: 
'You being gathered together and my spirit with the power of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such a one to Satan for the 
destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the 
day of the Lord Jesus. 5 2 Cor. [7.8-10] : 'Seeing that the same 
epistle (although but for a time) did make you sorrowful, 
now I am glad, not because you were made sorrowful, but 
because you were made sorrowful unto penance. For you 
were made sorrowful according to God, that you might suffer 
by us in nothing. For the sorrow that is according to God 
worketh penance, steadfast unto salvation/ Tit. [1.13]: 
'Wherefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in 
the faith.' 



THE MORALS 189 

RULE SEVENTY-THREE 

That a husband must not separate from his wife nor a 
wife from her husband unless one of them be taken in adul- 
tery or is a hindrance to the other in the devout service of God. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [5.31,32]: 'And it hath been said, Whosoever 
shall put away his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce. But 
I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except- 
ing for the cause of fornication, maketh her to commit adul- 
tery; and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth 
adultery. 9 Luke [14.26]: 'If any man come to me and hate 
not his father and mother and wife and children, and breth- 
ren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my 
disciple.' Matthew [19.9]: 'And I say to you, that whosoever 
shall put away his wife except it be for fornication and shall 
marry another, committeth adultery; and he that shall marry 
her that is put away, committeth adultery.' 1 Cor. [7.10,11]: 
'But to them that are married, not I, but the Lord command- 
eth that the wife depart not from her husband; and if she 
depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her 
husband; and let not the husband put away his wife.' 

That the husband may not put away his wife and marry 
another, nor may she who is put away by her husband marry 
another. 

Cap. 2 

Matthew [19.9]: c And I say to you that whosoever shall 
put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall 
mary another, committeth adultery and he that shall marry 
her that is put away, committeth adultery.' 



190 SAINT BASIL 

That husbands should love their wives with the love where- 
with Christ has loved the Church, who delivered Himself 
up for her, that He might sanctify her. 

Cap. 3 

Eph. [5.25,26]: 'Husbands, love your wives, as Christ 
also loved the Church and delivered himself up for it, that 
he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the 
word of life'; and a little later [28]: 'So also ought men to 
love their wives as their own bodies,' etc. 

That wives should be subject to their husbands, as the 
Church is to Christ, and thus do the will of God. 

Cap. 4 

Eph. [5.22-24]: 'Let women be subject to their husbands, 
as to the Lord; because the husband is the head of the wife, 
as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of 
his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also 
let the wives be to their husbands in all things.' Tit. [2.4,5]: 
That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love 
their husbands, chaste, having a care of the house, gentle, 
obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blas- 
phemed.' 

That women should not adorn themselves for beauty's sake, 
but they should be full of zeal and solicitude for good works, 
regarding this as the true and appropriate adornment for 
Christian women. 

Cap. 5 
1 Tim. [2.9,10]: "In like manner women also in decent 



THE MORALS 191 

apparel; adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not 
with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire, but as it 
becometh women professing godliness, with good works.' 

That women should keep silence in church, but be zealous 
at home to inquire about the manner of pleasing God. 

Cap. 6 

1 Cor. [14.34,35] : 'Let women keep silence in the churches; 
for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be subject. 
But if they would learn anything, let them ask their husbands 
at home. For it is a shame for women to speak in church/ 
1 Tim. [2.11-15]: 'Let the woman learn in silence, with all 
subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use 
authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was 
first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not seduced; but the 
woman being seduced, was in the transgression. Yet she shall 
be saved through child-bearing, if she continue in faith, and 
love, and sanctification, with sobriety. 3 

RULE SEVENTY-FOUR 

That a widow who enjoys sufficiently robust health should 
spend her life in works of zeal and solicitude, keeping in mind 
the words of the Apostle and the example of Dorcas. 

Cap. 1 

Acts [9.36] : 'And in Joppe there was a certain disciple 
named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas. This 
woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did' ; 
and a little farther on [39] : 'And all the widows stood about 
him weeping and showing him the coats and garments which 



192 SAINT BASIL 

Dorcas made when she was with them.' 1 Tim. [5.9,10] : 'Let 
a widow be chosen of no less than three-score years of age, 
who hath been the wife of one husband; having testimony 
for her good works, if she have brought up children, if she 
have received to harbour, if she have washed the saints' feet, 
if she have ministered to them that suffer tribulation, if she 
have diligently followed every good work.' 

That the widow esteemed for the good works mentioned 
by the Apostle and accounted in the number of true widows 
should persevere day and night in prayer and supplication, 
with fasting. 

Cap. 2 

Luke [2.36,37]: 'And there was Anna, a prophetess, the 
daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser; she was far ad- 
vanced in years, and had lived with her husband seven years 
from her virginity. And she was a widow until fourscore and 
four years; who departed not from the temple, by fastings and 
prayers serving night and day.' / Tim. [5.5,6] : 'But she that 
is a widow indeed, and desolate, let her trust in God and 
continue in supplications and prayers night and day. For she 
that liveth in pleasures is dead while she is living.' 

RULE SEVENTY-FIVE 

That bond-servants should obey their masters according to 
the flesh with a right good will for the glory of God in what- 
ever does not violate a commandment of God. 

Cap. 1 

Eph. [6.5-8] : 'Servants, be obedient to them that are your 
lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the 



THE MORALS 193 

simplicity of your heart, as to Christ: not serving to the eye, 
as it were pleasing men, but, as the servants of Christ doing 
the will of God from the heart, with a good will serving, as 
to the Lord and not to men. Knowing that whosoever good 
thing any man shall do, the same shall he receive from the 
Lord, whether he be bond or free/ 1 Tim. [6.1,2]: 'Who- 
soever are servants under the yoke, let them count their mas- 
ters worthy of all honour, lest the name of the Lord and his 
doctrine be blasphemed. But they that have believing masters, 
let them not despise them because they are brethren; but 
serve them the rather, because they are faithful and beloved, 
who are partakers of the benefit. 5 Tit. [2.9,10]: 'Exhort ser- 
vants to be obedient to their masters in all things pleasing, 
not gainsaying, not defrauding, but in all things shewing 
good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our 
Saviour in all things.' 

That masters, mindful of the true Master, should, after the 
Lord's example, give in return to their bond-servants, insofar 
as they can, in the fear of God and out of clemency, whatever 
benefits they may receive from them. 

Cap. 2 

John [13.3-5]: 'Jesus, knowing that the Father had given 
him all things into his hands, and that he came from God and 
goeth to God, ariseth from supper and layeth aside his gar- 
ments and having taken a towel girded himself. After that, he 
putteth water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the 
disciples and to wipe them with a towel wherewith he was 
girded'; and a little farther on [13-15] : 'You call me Master 
and Lord and you say well, for so I am. If then I, being your 
Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you also ought to 



194 SAINT BASIL 

wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that 
as I have done to you, so you do also. 3 Eph. [6.9] : 'You, 
masters, do the same things to them, forebearing threatening, 
knowing that the Lord both of them and you is in heaven, and 
there is no respect of persons with him. 5 

RULE SEVENTY-SIX 

That children should honor and obey their parents in all 
things wherein the command of God would not be violated. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [2.48] : 'And his mother said to him ; Son, why hast 
thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee 
sorrowing 5 ; and a little farther on [51]: 'And he went down 
with them, and came to Nazareth and was subject to them/ 
Eph. [6.1-3]: 'Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for 
this is just. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the 
first commandment with a promise: that it may be well 
with thee and thou mayest be long-lived upon the earth.' 

That parents should rear their children with mildness and 
forbearance 'in the discipline and correction of the Lord,' and, 
insofar as may be, give them no occasion for anger or grief. 

Cap. 2 

Eph. [6.4] : 'And you, fathers, provoke not your children 
to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction 
of the Lord. 5 Col. [3.21] : 'Fathers, provoke not your children 
to indignation, lest they be discouraged. 5 



THE MORALS 195 

RULE SEVENTY-SEVEN 

That virgins should be free from all solicitude for this 
world so that they may be able to give thanks to God without 
distraction of mind or body, in expectation of the kingdom of 
heaven. 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [19.12]: 'There are eunuchs who have made 
themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can 
take, let him take it.' 1 Cor. [7.32-35] : 'But I would have you 
to be without solicitude. He that is without a wife is solicitous 
for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. 
But he that is with a wife is solicitous for the things of the 
world, how he may please his wife. The married woman and 
the virgin differ from each other. The unmarried woman 
thinketh on the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both 
in body and in spirit. But she that is married thinketh on the 
things of the world, how she may please her husband. And 
this I speak for your profit: not to cast a snare upon you, but 
for that which is decent and which may give you power to 
attend upon the Lord without impediment. 3 

RULE SEVENTY-EIGHT 

That soldiers may not perform deeds of violence nor make 
false accusations. 

Cap. 1 

Luke [3.14] : 'And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And 
what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no 
man, neither calumniate any man; and be content with your 
pay.' 



196 SAINT BASIL 

RULE SEVENTY NINE 

That rulers are custodians of the decrees of God. 

Cap. 1 

Rom. [13.3,4] : Tor princes are not a terror to good works 
but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? 
Do that which is good and thou shalt have praise from the 
same. For he is God's minister to thee for good. But if thou do 
that which is evil, fear; for he beareth not the sword in vain. 
For he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon 
him that doth evil.' 

That it is right to submit to higher authority wherever a 
command of God would not be violated. 

Cap. 2 

Rorn. [13.1-3] ; 'Let every soul be subject to higher powers; 
for there is no power but from God; and those that are, are 
ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power, re- 
sisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, purchase 
to themselves damnation. For princes are not a terror to good 
works, but to the evil,' etc. Acts [5.29]: 'We ought to obey 
God rather than men. 3 Tit. [3.1] : 'Admonish them to be sub- 
ject to princes and powers, to obey, and be ready to every 
good work.' 

RULE EIGHTY 

The qualities which the Scripture would have Christians 
possess as disciples of Christ, conformed only to the pattern 
of what they behold in Him or hear from Him. 



THE MORALS 197 

Cap. 1 

Matthew [11.29]: 'Take up my yoke upon you and learn 
of me. 5 John [13.13-15] : 'You call me Master and Lord; and 
you say well, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and 
Master have washed your feet: you also ought to wash one 
another's feet. For I have given you an example, that as I 
have done to you, so you do also.' 

As sheep of Christ who hear the voice of their own Shep- 
herd only and .follow Him. 

Cap. 2 

John [10.27]: c My sheep hear my voice and I know them 
and they follow me'; and above [10.5]: 'But a stranger they 
follow not, but fly from him because they know not the voice 
of strangers.' 

As vine branches of Christ rooted in Him and in Him 
bringing forth fruit, doing and possessing only what is con- 
formable to Him and worthy of Him. 

Cap. 3 
John [15.5] : 'I am the vine; you, the branches/ 

As members of Christ, perfect in every observance of the 
Lord's commandments or in showing forth the gifts of the 
Holy Spirit in conformity with the dignity of their Head 
which is Christ. 

Cap. 4 

1 Cor. [6.15]: 'Know you not that your bodies are the 
members of Christ?' Eph. [4.15,16]: 'But doing the truth in 



198 SAINT BASIL 

charity we may in all things grow up in him who is the head, 
even Christ; from whom the whole body being compacted 
and fitly joined together by what every joint supplieth, ac- 
cording to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh 
increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in charity.' 

As a spouse of Christ, guarding their purity and walking 
according to the will of the Bridegroom alone. 

Cap. 5 

John [3.29] : 'He that hath the bride is the bridegroom/ 
2 Cor. [11.2] : Tor I have esspoused you to one husband that 
I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.' 

As temples of God, holy, pure, and filled only with what 
pertains to the worship of God. 

Cap. 6 

John [14.23]: 'If any one love me he will keep my word 
and my Father will love him and we will come to him and 
will make our abode with him.' 2 Cor. [6.16]: Tor you are 
the temple of the living God; for the Scripture saith: I will 
dwell in them and walk among them and I will be their God/ 

As a sacrifice unto God, blameless and unspotted, in every 
member and part maintaining the integrity of divine wor- 
ship. 

Cap. 7 

Rom. [12.1]: 'I beseech you, brethren, by the mercy of 
God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, 
pleasing unto God, your reasonable service.' 



THE MORALS 199 

As sons of God formed to the image of God according to 
the measure vouchsafed to men. 

Cap. 8 

John [13.33]: 'Little children, yet a little while I am with 
you.' Gal. [4.19] : 'My little children, of whom I am in labour 
again, until Christ be formed in you.' 

" As light in the world, both so as to be non-receptive of evil 
and to illuminate those who come to them to receive knowledge 
of the truth, that they may become what they ought to be or 
give proof of what they are. 

Cap. 9 

Matthew [5.14]: 'You are the light of the world.' Phil. 
[2.15]: 'Among whom you shine as lights in the world.' 

As salt in the earth, so that they may renew in spirit unto 
incorruption those who associate with them. 

Cap. 10 
Matthew [5.13] : 'You are the salt of the earth.' 

As the word of life, confirming the hope of the true life 
by their mortification in the things of this life. 

Cap. 11 

Phil. [2.15,16]: 'Among whom you shine as lights in the 
world, holding forth the word of life to my glory in the day 
of Christ.' 



200 SAINT BASIL 

What the Scripture would have those be who are entrusted 
with the preaching of the Gospel, as apostles and ministers of 
Christ and faithful dispensers of the mysteries of God, fulfilling 
to the letter in word and work the precepts of the Lord alone. 

Cap. 12 

Matthew [10.16] : 'Behold I send you as sheep in the midst 
of wolves.' [28.19]: 'Going teach ye all nations.' / Cor. 
[4.1,2]: 'Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of 
Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God; but as for 
the rest, it is required among the dispensers that a man be 
found faithful/ 

As heralds of the kingdom of heaven unto the ruin of him 
who wields empire over one who dies in sin. 

Cap. 13 

Matthew [10.7] : 'And going, preach, saying: The kingdom 
of heaven is at hand.' 2 Tim. [4.1,2]: 'I charge thee before 
God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead 
by his coming and his kingdom: Preach the word of God.' 

As the model or rule of piety unto the perfecting of all right- 
eousness in the followers of the Lord and unto proof of iniquity 
in those who are guilty of the slightest disobedience. 

Cap. 14 

Phil. [3.13-16] : 'Forgetting the things that are behind, and 
stretching forth myself to those that are before, I press toward 
the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation of God in 



THE MORALS 201 

Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus 
minded: and if in anything you be otherwise minded, this 
also God will reveal to you. Nevertheless, whereunto we are 
come, that we be of the same mind, let us also continue in 
the same rule.' 1 Tim. [4.12]: 'Be thou an example of the 
faithful in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chas- 
tity. 5 2 Tim. [2.15]: 'Carefully study to present thyself ap- 
proved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, 
rightly handling the word of truth.' 

As the eye in the body, discerning good and evil, guiding the 
members of Christ as circumstances require with regard to 
each one. 

Cap. 15 

Matthew [6.22] : The light of thy body is thy eye. If there- 
fore thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome.' 

As shepherds of the sheep of Christ, not refusing to lay down 
their life for them if occasion require it, to the end that they 
may communicate to these the Gospel of God. 

Cap. 16 

John [10.11]: 'The good shepherd giveth his life for his 
sheep.' Acts [20.28] : 'Take heed to yourselves, therefore, and 
to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you 
bishops to tend the Church of God.' 

As physicians who care for the maladies of the soul with 
great compassion, according to their knowledge of the doctrine 
of the Lord, to bring about health in Christ and perseverance. 



202 SAINT BASIL 

Cap. 17 

Matthew [9.12] : They that are in health need not a phy- 
sician but they that are ill.' Rom. [15.1]: 'Now we that are 
stronger ought to bear the infirmities of the weak. 

As fathers and nurses of children they themselves have be- 
gotten, who with fervent dispositions of love in Christ would 
not only impart the Gospel of God to them, but even give 
their lives for them. 

Cap. 18 

John [13.33]: 'Little children, yet a little while I am with 
you.' 1 Cor. [4. 15] : Tor in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have 
begotten you. 3 / Thess. [2.7,8] : 'As if a nurse should cherish 
her children, so desirous of you, we would gladly impart unto 
you not only the gospel of God, but also our own souls, be- 
cause you were become most dear unto us.' 

As co-workers with God, devoting themselves completely 
and solely in behalf of the Church to those works only that 
are worthy of God. 

Cap. 19 

1 Cor. [3.9]: Tor we are God's coadjutors: you are God's 
husbandry; you are God's building.' 

As husbandmen of the vines of God, who plant nothing 
alien to the vine which is Christ, nothing unfertile, but with 
all diligence foster that which is congenial and fruitful. 



THE MORALS 203 

Cap. 20 

John [15.1,2]: 'I am the true vine; and my Father is the 
husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he 
will take away; and every one that beareth fruit, he will purge 
it, that it may bring forth more fruit.' 1 Cor. [3.6]: C I have 
planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the increase.' 

As builders of the temple of God, shaping each soul to be 
framed together upon the foundation of the Apostles and 
Prophets. 

Cap. 21 

1 Cor. [3.10,11]: 'According to the grace of God that is 
given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation 
and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed 
how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation no man can 
lay but that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.' Eph. 
[2.19-22]* 'Now, therefore, you are no more strangers and 
foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and the 
domestics of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles 
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner 
stone, in whom all the building being framed together groweth 
up into an holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are 
built together into an habitation of God in the Spirit. 5 

Cap. 22 

What is the mark of a Christian? Faith working by charity. 
What is the mark of faith? A sure conviction of the truth of 
the inspired words, not to be shaken by any process of reason- 
ing, nor by the alleging of natural requirements, nor by the 
pretences of false piety. What is the mark of a faithful soul? 



204 SAINT BASIL 

To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority 
of the words [of the Scripture], not venturing to reject any- 
thing- nor making additions. For, if 'all that is not of faith 
is sin/ as the Apostle says, 1 and 'faith cometh by hearing 
and hearing by the word of God/ 2 everything outside Holy 
Scripture, not being of faith, is sin. What is the mark of 
charity toward God? To observe His commandments with 
a view to His glory. What is the mark of charity toward 
one's neighbor? Not to seek what is one's own but that which 
is to the advantage of the loved one both in body and soul. 
What is the mark of a Christian? To be born anew through 
baptism of water and the Spirit. What is the mark of one 
born of water? That he be dead and immovable with regard 
to all sin, as Christ died once and for all because of sin, as it 
is written: 'all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus are bap- 
tized in his death. For we are buried together with him by 
baptism unto death; knowing this, that our old man is cruci- 
fied with him that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the 
end that we may serve sin no longer.' * What is the mark of 
one born of the Spirit? That he become in the measure granted 
him that of which he has been born, as it is written : That 
which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the 
Spirit is spirit. 54 What is the mark of him who has been born 
anew? That he strip off the old man with his deeds and cupidi- 
ties and put on the new man, 'who is renewed unto knowledge, 
according to the image of him that created him.' 5 as it is 
written: 'As many of you as have been baptized in Christ 
have put on Christ.'" What is the mark of a Christian? That 

1 Rom. 14.23. 

2 Rom. 10.17, 

3 Rom. 6.3,4,6. 

4 John 3.6. 

5 Col. 3.10. 

6 Gal. 3.27. 



THE MORALS 205 

he be purified of all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit 
in the Blood of Christ, perfecting sanctification in the fear of 
God and the love of Christ, 7 and that he have no blemish nor 
spot nor any such thing; that he be holy and blameless 8 and so 
eat the Body of Christ and drink His Blood; for 'he that 
eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judg- 
ment to himself. 39 What is the mark of those who eat the 
Bread and drink the Cup of Christ? That they keep in per- 
petual remembrance Him who died for us and rose again. 
What is the mark of those who keep such remembrance? That 
they live not for themselves but for Him who died for them 
and rose again. 10 What is the mark of a Christian? That his 
justice abound in all things more than that of the scribes and 
Pharisees, according to the rule of the doctrine which has 
been handed down in the Lord's Gospel. 11 What is the mark 
of the Christian? That they love one another as Christ has 
loved us. 12 What is the mark of a Christian? To set the Lord 
always in his sight. 13 What is the mark of a Christian? To 
watch daily and hourly and stand prepared in that state of 
perfection which is pleasing to God, knowing that at what 
hour he thinks not, the Lord will come. 14 

7 2 Cor. 7.1. 

8 Eph. 5.27. 

9 1 Cor. 11.29. 

10 2 Cor. 5.15. 

11 Matt. 5.20. 

12 Eph. 5.2. 

13 Ps. 15.8. 

14 Luke 12.40. 




AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE 

JAN WAS MADE after the Image and likeness of God; 
but sin marred the beauty of the image by dragging 
the soul down to passionate desires. Now, God, who 
made man, is the true life. Therefore, when man lost his 
likeness to God, he lost his participation in the true life; sep- 
arated and estranged from God as he is, it is impossible for 
him to enjoy the blessedness of the divine life. Let us return > 
then, to the grace [which was ours] in the beginning and from 
which we have alienated ourselves by sin, and let us again 
adorn ourselves with the beauty of God's image, being made 
like to our Creator through the quieting of our passions. He 
who, to the best of his ability, copies within himself the tran- 
quility of the divine nature attains to a likeness with the very 
soul of God; and, being made like to God in the manner 
aforesaid, he also achieves in full a semblance to the divine 
life and abides continually in unending blessedness. If, then> 
by overcoming our passions we regain the image of God and 
if the likeness of God bestows upon us everlasting life, let us 
devote ourselves to this pursuit in preference to all others, so 
that our soul may never again be enslaved by any vice, but 
that our understanding may remain firm and unconquerable 
under the assaults of temptation, to the end that we may be- 
come sharers in the divine beatitude. 

Now, an ally to the zeal of those who duly aspire to this 
gift is virginity. The grace of virginity, however, does not 
consist solely in abstaining from the procreation of children, 

207 



208 SAINT BASIL 

but our whole life, conduct and moral character 'should be 
virginal, illustrating in every action the integrity required of 
the virgin. It is possible, indeed, to commit fornication in 
speech, to be guilty of adultery through the eye, to be cor- 
rupted through the hearing, to receive defilement into the 
heart, and to transgress the bounds of temperance by want 
of control in partaking of food and drink. But he who keeps 
himself under restraint in all these matters, according to the 
rule of virginity, truly exhibits in himself the grace of virginity 
fully developed and in its perfection. 

If, therefore, we desire, by the quelling of our passions to 
adorn the nature of our soul with the imprint of the beauty 
of God's likeness, that everlasting life may also be ours there- 
by, let us attend to ourselves that we may do nothing unworthy 
of our promise and thus incur the judgment pronounced upon 
Ananias. 1 It was within the power of Ananias not to dedi- 
cate his property to God in the beginning; but he consecrated 
his possessions to God by vow with a view to human glory, 
that he might be an object of admiration to men because of 
his munificence, and he also kept back a part of the price. 
This provoked the Lord's displeasure against him (of which 
Peter was the intermediary) to such a degree that he was not 
given time for repentance. Accordingly, before making a 
promise to live the religious life, anyone who wishes may law- 
fully and licitly follow the way of the world and freely submit 
to the yoke of wedlock. When, however, by his own consent, 
a man has been made subject to a prior claim, he should re- 
serve himself for God as a kind of sacred votive offering, in 
fear of being condemned for sacrilege by defiling again, by 
an ordinary way of life, the body consecrated to God by vow. 
And I say this with not only one kind of passion in mind, 



1 Acts. 5.1-5. 



AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE 209 

as some think, who would preserve the integrity of virginity 
by custody of the body alone, but with reference to every man- 
ifestation of a passionate inclination. 

One who would reserve himself for God may not be defiled 
by any emotion savoring of this world. Anger, envy, bearing 
a grudge, deceit, insolence, arrogance, unseasonable talking, 
indolence in prayer, desire for goods one does not possess, 
negligence in observing the commandments, ostentation in 
dress, vain regard for one's appearance, meetings and con- 
versations over and above what is necessary and fitting all 
these must be most carefully avoided by one who has dedi- 
cated himself to God by virginity, because yielding to one of 
them is almost as perilous as falling into an expressly forbidden 
sin. All that springs from the passions mars in some way the 
purity of the soul and is an impediment in attaining to the 
divine life. He who has given up the world, therefore, must 
keep his attention fixed upon these considerations, so as in no 
way to defile himself, the vessel of God, by corrupting usage. 
This fact, moreover, should be especially borne in mind he 
who has chosen the way of the angels by passing the confines of 
human nature has taken up a spiritual mode of life. Now, this 
is the special character of the angelic nature : to be free from 
the marriage yoke, not to be distracted by any created beauty, 
but to be constantly intent upon the divine countenance. Con- 
sequently, if he who has been raised to the rank of the angelic 
dignity suffers taint from human passions, he resembles a 
leopard's skin, the hair of which is neither entirely white nor 
wholly black, but because it is spotted with different colors 
is reckoned with neither black nor white. Let these words, 
therefore, in a very general way, serve as an exhortation to 
those who have chosen the life of chastity and discipline. 

But since we ought to discuss particular features as well in 
this connection, it also is necessary to record briefly the follow- 



210 SAINT BASIL 

ing points.They who are set apart from the ordinary life in 
the world and follow a regimen more nearly approaching 
the divine life should not undertake this discipline of their 
own accord nor as solitaries. It is fitting that such a way of 
life have a witness, that it may be free from base suspicion. 
Just as the spiritual law would have no fewer than ten partake 
of the mystic pasch, so they who practice the spiritual life in. 
common should properly exceed rather than fall short of this 
number. There should be one leader appointed to command in 
this admirable way of life, who has been chosen in preference 
to the rest after a thorough examination of his life and char- 
acter and consistently good conduct. Age should also be taken 
into consideration where special honor is to be accorded. It 
is somehow in keeping with man's nature that what is more 
aged is more worthy of respect. Furthermore, this head should 
exercise such authority, the brethren voluntarily obeying only, 
in submissiveness and humility, as to prevent anyone in the 
community from gainsaying his will when he gives any order 
which would contribute to the honor and perfection of the 
religious life. 

As, according to the Apostle, authority established by God 
is not to be resisted (for he declares that they who resist the 
ordinance of God are condemned, 2 ) so it is right in this case 
also for the rest of the community to be persuaded that such 
power is delegated the superior not accidentally but by the 
divine will. Thus, with one member recommending all that 
is useful and profitable to the soul and the others receiving 
his good counsels with docility, advancement according to 
God is without impediment. Since it is in every way fitting 
that the community be obedient and under subjection to a 
superior, it is therefore of the highest importance that the 

2 Rom. 13.1,2. 



AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE 211 

one chosen as guide in this state of life be such that his life 
may serve as a model of every virtue to those who look to him, 
and, as the Apostle says, that he be 'sober, prudent, of good 
behaviour, a teacher. 53 I am, consequently, of the opinion 
that his manner of life should be investigated, and not only 
as to whether he has reached old age in a chronological sense 
(for youthful traits of character can exist along with gray 
hair and wrinkles). Inquiry should be made, above all, as to 
whether his character and manners have grown gray through 
propriety, so that everything said and done by him may rep- 
resent a law and a standard for the community. It is proper, 
moreover, for those who lead the monastic life to take thought 
for their livelihood, as the Apostle prescribes, so that they 
who work with their hands may eat their bread in honor. 4 
And the work should be allotted at the direction of an older 
member well known for holiness of life, who will turn to 
account the works of their hands by procuring necessities with 
these so as to fulfill the command of providing bread with 
sweat and toil. 5 The reputation of the rest of the brethren 
should be kept unsullied and blameless by their not being 
required to go about in public to secure the necessities of 
life. The best rule and standard for a well-disciplined life 
is this: to be indifferent to the pleasure or pain of the flesh, 
but to avoid immoderation in either direction, so that the body 
may neither be disordered by obesity nor yet rendered sickly 
and so unable to execute commands. The same injury to the 
soul, indeed, results from both types of excess: when the flesh 
is not brought under subjection, natural vigor makes us rush 
headlong in the wake of our shameful impulses; on the 
other hand, when the body is relaxed, enfeebled and torpid, 

3 I Tim. 3.2. 

4 2 Thess. 3.12. 

5 Gen. 3.19. 



212 SAINT BASIL 

it is under constraint from pain. With the body in such a con- 
dition, the soul is not free to raise its glance upward, weighed 
down as it is in companionship with the body's malady, but 
is, perforce, wholly occupied with the sensation of pain and 
intent upon itself. 

Our use [of material goods], therefore, should be regulated 
by need. Wine, also, should not be held in abomination if it 
is taken for curative purposes and is not craved beyond neces- 
sity. So, likewise, everything else should minister to the needs 
and not to the cupidities of those who lead the ascetical life. 
Prayer time should cover the whole of life, but since there 
is absolute need at certain intervals to interrupt the bending 
of the knee and the chanting of psalms, the hours appointed 
for prayer by the saints should be observed. The mighty David 
says: C I rose at midnight to give praise to thee for the judg- 
ments of thy justification'; 6 and we find Paul and Silas follow- 
ing his example, for they praised God in prison at midnight. 7 
Then too, the same Prophet says: 'Evening and morning and 
at noon. 58 Moreover, the coming of the Holy Spirit took 
place at the third hour, as we learn in the Acts when, in 
answer to the Pharisees who were jeering at the disciples 
because of the diversity of tongues, Peter said that they were 
not drunk who were speaking these words: 'seeing that it is 
but the third hour.' 9 Again, the ninth hour recalls the Lord's 
Passion, which took place that we might live. 10 But, since 
David says: 'Seven times a day I have given praise to thee 
for the judgments of thy justice,' 11 and the times for prayer 
which have been mentioned do not make up this seven-fold 



6 Ps. 118.62. 

7 Acts 16.25. 

8 Ps. 54.18. 

9 Acts 2.15. 

10 Matt. 27.45; Mark 15.33,34. 

11 Ps. 118.164 



AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE 213 

apportionment, the mid-day prayer should be divided, one 
part being recited before the noon repast and the other after- 
ward. In this way, the daily seven-fold praise of God dis- 
tributed throughout the whole period of the day may become 
a pattern for us also. The entrances to the monasteries should 
be barred to women and not even all men should enter in, 
but only such as are permitted by the superior. Often, a want 
of discrimination regarding visitors introduces into the heart 
a succession of untimely conversations and fruitless tales, and 
from idle talk comes the further descent to idle and useless 
thought. This, therefore, should be the rule for all: The 
superior alone is to be asked and he alone is to give the 
response with regard to matters requiring speech; but the 
others are not to answer those prattlers who waste their time 
in vain discourses, so as to avoid being drawn along with them 
into a succession of idle words. 

There should be a common supply room for all and nothing 
should be called private or personal to any individual 
neither cloak, nor shoe, nor anything else required for the 
body. The use of these items should be under the authority 
of the superior, so that the articles from the common store may 
be allotted to each according to his need at the superior's 
direction. 

The law of charity does not allow particular friendship or 
exclusive groups in community life, for particular affection 
inevitably works great harm to communal union. Conse- 
quently, all should regard one another with equal affection 
and one and the same degree of charity should prevail in the 
entire group. If any be found for any reason whatsoever to 
have an inordinate affection for a fellow religious, be he 
brother or kinsman or anyone else, he should be chastised as 
one who works detriment to the common good; for an excess 
of affection for one individual bears a strong implication of 



214 SAINT BASIL 

defect with regard to the others. The penalties imposed upon 
one found guilty of any fault ought to be proportioned to 
the offense, [e.g.], forbidding the offender to join in psalmody 
with his brethren, prohibiting him from taking part in com- 
mon prayer, or ostracizing him from the common table. In this 
matter, the one in charge of general discipline will determine 
the penalty of the offender according to the gravity of his 
fault. The ministration to the community as a whole should 
be performed by two monks taking turns successively by the 
week in assuming full charge of necessary business, so that the 
reward of humility may belong to all in common and that 
it may be impossible for any one to outdo the rest of his 
brethren in giving service; also, that all may have a respite on 
equal terms, for the interchange of labor and intervals of 
rest prevents weariness from afflicting the laborers. The 
superior of the community is authorized to assign whom he 
will to make necessary journeys abroad and to appoint those 
who will remain at home and see to domestic concerns. Often, 
the fair flower of youth blooms forth somehow in the bodies 
of the young, even though they have been very markedly 
zealous in afflicting themselves in the practice of continency, 
and becomes the occasion of unruly desire for those whom 
they chance to meet. If, then, a brother is young as regards 
the vigor of his body, he should keep its charm and grace 
hidden until he reach a time of life when he may decorously 
show himself. 

The brethren should betray no sign of anger, of unforgiv- 
ingness, or envy, or contentiousness, whether in bearing, ges- 
ture, word, glance of the eye, expression of countenance, or 
by anything calculated to arouse a companion's ire* If any- 
one should commit one of these faults, even if he has first 
suffered an annoyance of this sort, he is not thereby sufE- 



AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE 215 

ciently justified for involving himself in the offense; for evil 
at whatever point of time it is committed is evil just the same. 
Oaths of all kinds should be banished from the monastic 
company. Let a nod of the head or verbal assent take the place 
of an oath on the part of both speaker and hearer. If any- 
one should not trust a bare affirmation, he makes accusation 
against his own conscience as one who is insincere in speech, 
and for this reason he should be brought to account for his 
misdemeanor by the superior and be chastened by a salutary 
penalty. When the day is over and all labor of body and 
mind has come to an end, each one, before retiring, should 
examine his conscience in the intimacy of his own heart. And 
if anything untoward has occurred a forbidden thought or 
an idle word, negligence in prayer or inattention in psalmody 
or desire of the ordinary life of the world the fault should 
not be concealed, but confessed publicly, so that through the 
prayers of the community the malady of the one who has 
fallen prey to such an evil may be cured. 



AN ASCETICAL DISCOURSE 




| HE ASGETICAL LIFE has one aim the soul's salvation 
and all that can contribute to this end must be ob- 
served with as much fear as a divine command. The 
commandments of God themselves, indeed, have no other 
end in view than the salvation of him who obeys them. It 
therefore behooves those undertaking the ascetical life to 
enter upon the way of philosophy, stripped of all worldly 
and material things in the same manner as they who enter 
the bath take off all their clothing. The most important thing, 
consequently, and the chief concern for the Christian ought to 
be the stripping himself of the varied and diverse move- 
ments of the passions toward evil whereby the soul is defiled. 
Secondly, the renunciation of worldly possessions is of obli- 
gation for him who aspires to this sublime way of life, in as 
much as anxiety and solicitude for material interests engender 
much distraction for the soul. Whenever, therefore, a group 
of persons aiming at the same goal of salvation adopt the 
life in common, this principle above all others must prevail 
among them that there be in all one heart, one will, one 
desire, and that the entire community be, as the Apostle 
enjoins, one body consisting of divers members. 1 Now this 
cannot be realized in any other way than by the enforcement 
of the rule that nothing is to be appropriated to anyone's 
exclusive use neither cloak, nor vessel, nor anything else 
which is of use to the common life, so that each of these arti- 
cles may be assigned to a need and not to an owner. Just 



I 1 Cor. 12.12. 

217 



218 SAINT BASIL 

as a garment which is too small is unsuitable for a large 
person or one that is too ample for a slighter figure, but what 
is properly adapted to the individual is useful and appropriate, 
so everything else bed, covering, warm clothing, footwear 
should belong to the one who is strictly in need of these things, 
and not to an owner. As he who is wounded uses medicaments 
and not one who is sound, so also he who is in need of the 
things designed for bodily ease should enjoy them and not one 
who is living in luxury. 

Furthermore, since the ways of men are varied and all are 
not in agreement as to what is useful, so, to avoid confusion 
resulting from each person's conducting himself according to 
his private whim, there should be someone placed in authority 
over the others who has been declared in the judgment of all 
eminent in intelligence, stability, and strictness of life, that 
his good qualities may be the common possession of all who 
follow his example. If several painters should depict the 
lineaments of one face, all the pictures would be alike, be- 
cause they would be likenesses of one and the same individual; 
similarly, if many types of character are intent upon the 
imitation of one model, all alike will bear the good impress 
of his life. Consequently, when a superior has been chosen, 
all private volition will give place and all, without exception, 
will follow the example of their head in obedience to the 
apostolic precept bidding every soul to be subject to higher 
powers and warning that 'they that resist purchase to them- 
selves damnation.' 2 True and perfect obedience of subjects 
to their superior is shown not only by their refraining from 
every untoward action in accordance with his advice, but 
also by their not doing even what is approved without his con- 
sent. 



2 Rom. 13.1,2. 



AN ASCETIGAL DISCOURSE 219 

Now, continency and all corporal mortification are of 
some value, but, if a man following his private caprice do 
what is pleasing to himself and heed not the advice of his 
superior, his fault will be greater than the good he does; 'for 
he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. 53 
A greater reward, moreover, is accorded to obedience than to 
the virtue of continency. Thus, also, all should have the same 
mutual charity, equal in degree, for one another, as a man 
naturally feels for the members of his body in desiring an 
equal soundness in all the parts of it, since the pain of each 
member brings a like discomfort to the whole body. In the 
case of our bodies, however, although the pain of each afflicted 
member touches in equal measure the whole body, some mem- 
bers are regarded as more important than others (for we do 
not feel the same with respect to our eye and our toe, even if 
the pain is equally great in both). Even so, a like sympathy 
and love should be accorded all who live together in commun- 
ity on the part of each of the members; but there will be a 
higher esteem, and fittingly so, for those who contribute the 
greater service. 

Since it is a matter of obligation that they love one another 
with absolutely equal affection, exclusive groups and factions 
are a detriment to the community ; for he who loves one more 
than the others betrays his want of perfect love for those 
others. Unseemly quarreling, therefore, and particular affec- 
tion alike, should be banished from the monastery, for enmity 
is engendered by wrangling and from the particular friend- 
ship and the faction arise suspicions and jealousies. In every 
instance, the loss of equality is the origin and foundation of 
envy and hatred on the part of those who are slighted thereby. 
On this account we have received a command from the Lord 

3 ibid. 



220 SAINT BASIL 

to imitate the goodness of Him who maketh the sun to rise 
upon just and unjust. 4 As, therefore, God grants a share of 
light impartially to all, so His followers should send forth 
a ray of charity equally brilliant for all alike; for, wherever 
love falls short, hatred entirely supplants it. But if, as John 
says, 'God is charity,' 5 the Devil is necessarily hatred. As he 
who has love consequently has God, so he who has hate nur- 
tures the Devil within himself. 

The love of all toward all, therefore, should be equal and 
impartial, and each individual should be given his appropri- 
ate measure of honor. For those who are thus united, more- 
over, blood relationship will in no way claim a greater degree 
of love and not even the tie of blood in the case of a brother, 
son, or daughter according to the flesh will arouse a warmer 
affection for this blood relative than for the rest. He who 
follows nature in these matters makes it evident that he is not 
yet wholly withdrawn from nature, but is still subject to the 
rule of the flesh. Idle talking, also, and unseasonable distrac- 
tions resulting from discoursing with one another should be 
forbidden. If, however, something conducive to spiritual ad- 
vancement is involved, this only should be said and even 
that which is useful should be expressed in an orderly fashion 
at a suitable time by such persons as are entitled to speak. 
If it be an inferior, he should wait for the direction of his 
superior; but whisperings, a word in the ear, signs made by 
a nod of the head all these should be outlawed, because 
whispering begets suspicion of slander and signs made by a 
nod are evidence to a brother of something secret and mis- 
chievous, and such things become the basis of hatred and 
suspicion. Whenever conversation is necessary, however, let 

4 Matt. 5.45. 

5 1 John 4.16. 



AN ASGETIGAL DISCOURSE 221 

the requirements of the situation determine the volume of 
the voice, so that we converse with one near at hand in a 
low tone and speak more loudly to one farther away. Who- 
ever in giving advice or an order uses a very loud, piercing 
tone gives an impression of arrogance thereby and should 
not be in a religious community. Departure from the monas- 
tery, furthermore, is not permitted except for a duty or an 
emergency. 

Since there are convents not only for men but for women 
who also profess virginity, all that has been said applies to 
both sexes alike. It is necessary to keep one thing in mind, 
however: This way of life demands on the part of women a 
greater and a more signal decorum in the observance of 
poverty, silence, obedience, and fraternal charity, a greater 
strictness with regard to going about in public, more caution 
in the matter of acquaintances, greater care in preserving 
mutual affection and avoiding factional groups; for in all 
these respects the lives of women who profess virginity should 
exhibit a more excellent zeal. She who is charged with the 
maintenance of discipline should not seek for what may be 
agreeable to her sisters, nor should she be eager for their grati- 
tude for what is to their liking, but she should ever be grave, 
severe, dignified. She should bear in mind that she is to ren- 
der an account to God for undue breaches of discipline in 
the common life. Nor should the individual sister seek to 
receive from her superior what is sweet and agreeable, but 
what is useful and beneficial. She should not dispute the 
orders given her (for such a practice becomes habitual and 
leads to rebellion), but as we receive the commands of the 
Lord without question, knowing that all of the Scripture is 
divinely inspired and of benefit to us, so also the members of 
the sisterhood should accept without distinction the com- 



222 SAINT BASIL 

mauds of the superior. They should perform all that Is di- 
rected, not in a spirit of sadness and compulsion, but with 
alacrity, that their obedience may obtain a reward. It is their 
duty to accept not only what is prescribed in the way of strict 
discipline, but, if their directress should forbid fasting or urge 
them to take nourishment to restore their strength or if she 
should prescribe any other relaxation demanded by neces- 
sity, they should fulfill all alike, convinced that her words 
are law. Whenever speech is required for reasons of necessity, 
whether with a man or with someone holding a position of 
authority or with another person who is able to be of service 
regarding a matter under question, the superior should be 
the one to speak, in the presence of one or two of the sisters 
whose manner of life and age now make it safe for them to 
appear and to speak in public. If any useful idea occur to 
someone privately, however, she should refer it to her superior 
and through the latter will be said all that needs to be said. 




THE LONG RULES 
Preface 

JINCE BY GOD'S GRACE, we have gathered together in 
the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ we who have 
set before ourselves one and the same goal, the de- 
vout life and since you have plainly manifested your eager- 
ness to hear something of the matters pertaining to salvation, 
I, for my part, am under obligation to proclaim the justifica- 
tions of God, mindful as I am night and day of the Apostle's 
words, 'for three years I ceased not with tears to admonish 
every one of you night and day.' 1 Since, moreover, the present 
is the most opportune time and this place provides quiet and 
complete freedom from external disturbances, let us pray to- 
gether that we may provide for our fellow servants their 
measure of wheat in due season, 2 and that you, on your part, 
may, like fertile soil, receive the word and produce in turn 
the fruit of justice, perfect and manifold, as it is written. 3 
I implore you, then, by the charity of our Lord Jesus Christ 
who gave Himself for our sins, 4 let us at length apply our 
minds to the affairs of our souls and grieve for the vanity 
of our past life. Let us, on behalf of the rewards which are 
to come, take up the combat for the glory of God and of 
His Christ and of the adorable Holy Spirit. Let us not re- 
main in our present state of negligence and passivity and, 
by ever postponing to the morrow and the future the be- 
ginning of the work, fritter away the time at hand by our 

1 Acts 20.31. 

2 Luke 12.42. 

3 Matt. 13.23. 

4 Tit. 2.14. 

223 



224 SAINT BASIL 

continued sloth. Then, being taken unprepared, with our 
hands empty of good works, by Him who demands our souls 
from us, we shall not be admitted to the joy of the nuptial 
chamber and we shall then bewail and lament the time of 
our life wasted in evil doing, when penance is no longer 
possible. 'Now is the acceptable time,' says the Apostle, 'now 
is the day of salvation.' 5 This is the time for repentance; 
the next life, for recompense. Now is the time to endure; 
then will be the day of consolation. Now, God is the Helper 
of such as turn aside from the evil way; then, He will be the 
dread and unerring Inquisitor of the thoughts and words and 
deeds of men. Now, we enjoy His longanimity; then, we shall 
know His just judgment, when we have risen, some unto 
never-ending punishment, others unto life everlasting, and 
everyone shall receive according to his works. 6 How long 
shall we defer our obedience to Christ, who has called us to 
His heavenly Kingdom? Shall we not rouse ourselves unto 
sobriety? Why will we not recall ourselves from our accus- 
tomed way of life to the strict observance of the Gospel? Why 
will we not place before our eyes that fearsome and manifest 
day of the Lord, when the kingdom of heaven will receive 
those who, because of their works, take their place on the right 
hand of the Lord, but the gehenna of fire and eternal dark- 
ness will envelop those who, because of their lack of good 
works, have been rejected and placed at the left hand. 'There/ 
He says, 'shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 7 

We say, indeed, that we desire the kingdom of heaven, 
yet we are not solicitous for the means whereby it is attained. 
Although we suffer no hardship on behalf of the Lord's com- 
mand, we, in the vanity of our minds, expect to achieve equal 

5 2 Cor. 6.2. 

6 Rom. 2.6. 

7 Matt. 25.30. 



THE LONG RULES 225 

honor with those who have resisted sin even unto death. What 
man who sits at home or slumbers during the sowing ever 
filled the fold of his garment with sheaves at the harvest? 
Who has gathered grapes from a vine which he has not 
planted and tended? They who labor possess the fruits. Re- 
wards and crowns belong to the victors. Who would ever 
crown one who did not even strip himself for the combat with 
his adversary? According to the Apostle, indeed, it is neces- 
sary not only to conquer but to strive lawfully; 8 that is, not 
to neglect a small part even of what has been enjoined, but 
to carry out each detail as we have been commanded; for 
'blessed is that servant whom when his lord shall come, he 
shall find' not doing anything whatever, but e so doing' 9 and 
again, 'If thou didst make thy offering well but didst not 
rightly divide it, thou didst sin.' 10 But, if we think that we 
have fulfilled some one of the commandments (I should not 
presume to say we actually had done so ; for all the command- 
ments form an interconnected whole, according to the valid 
sense of the Scripture, so that in breaking one commandment 
we necessarily violate the others also), we do not expect to 
be visited with wrath on the score of the commandments 
which we have transgressed, but we anticipate rewards for 
our alleged observance. The man who withholds one or two, 
perhaps, of the ten talents entrusted to him, but restores the 
rest, is not looked upon as generous for paying back the major 
part of the sum ; by his withholding the lesser part he is shown 
to be unjust and avaricious. Withholding, do I say? When he 
who was entrusted with one talent subsequently gave back 
this same talent whole and entire as he had received it, he was 
condemned for not having added to what had been given 



8 2 Tim. 2.5. 

9 Luke 12.43. 

10 Gen. 4.7 (Septuagint) . 



226 SAINT BASIL 

him. 11 He who has honored his father for ten years, and later 
on strikes him once only, is not esteemed as dutiful but is con- 
demned as a parricide. 'Going/ says the Lord, 'teach ye all 
nations, teaching them' not to observe some things and ne- 
glect others, but 'to observe all things whatsoever I have 
commanded you.' 12 And the Apostle writes in a similar vein: 
'Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not 
blamed; but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as ministers 
of God.' 13 Unless all were necessary to attain the goal of sal- 
vation, all the commandments would not have been written 
down, nor would it have been declared that all must be kept. 
What do all other righteous actions avail me if I am to be 
liable to hell-fire because I called my brother 'fool'? 14 What 
profit is there in being free from many masters if I am held 
in bondage by one? 'Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant 
of sin,' says the Scripture. 15 And what gain is there in not 
being afflicted with many maladies, if my body is being wasted 
by one? 

Well, then, someone will say, will the large number of 
Christians who do not keep all the commandments practice 
the observance of some of them in vain? In this connection, 
it is well to recall blessed Peter, who, after he had performed 
so many good actions and had been the recipient of such 
great blessings, was told, upon his being guilty of one lapse 
only: 'If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me.' 16 

I shall not point out that his act bore no signs of indifference 
or contempt but was a demonstration of honor and reverence. 
But, someone might say, it is written: 'Everyone that shall 

II Matt. 25.24ff. 

12 Matt. 28.19,20. 

13 2 Cor. 6.3,4. 

14 Matt. 5.22. 

15 John 8.34. 

16 John 13.8. 



THE LONG RULES 



227 



call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,' 17 and, there- 
fore, the very invocation of the Name of the Lord is suffi- 
cient to save him who invokes it. But let the objector hear also 
the words of the Apostle : 'How then shall they call on him in 
whom they have not believed? 318 And, if you believe, hearken 
to the Lord saying: 'Not everyone that saith to me, Lord, 
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that 
doth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 519 Certainly, 
whenever anyone does the will of the Lord, but not as God 
wills nor with dispositions of love for God, his zeal is to no 
purpose, according to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Him- 
self, who says: 'They act to be seen by men. Amen I say to 
you, they have received their reward.' 20 Wherefore, Paul the 
Apostle was taught to say: 'And if I should distribute all my 
goods to feed the poor and if I should deliver my body to 
be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.' 
To sum up, I note the following three kinds of disposition 
which necessarily compel our obedience: we avoid evil 
through fear of punishment and take the attitude of a slave; 
or, seeking to obtain the reward, we observe the command- 
ments for our own advantage and in this we are like hirelings; 
or else, for the sake of the virtuous act itself and out of love 
for Him who gave us the law, we rejoice to be deemed worthy 
to serve a God so good and so glorious and we are thus in the 
dispositions of sons. Nor will he who observes the command- 
ments in fear and who is ever wary of incurring the penalty for 
sloth, keep some of the commandments laid upon him and 
neglect others, but he will regard the punishment of every act 
of disobedience as equally to be dreaded. For this reason he 

17 Joel 2.32. 

18 Rom. 10.14. 

19 Matt. 7.21. 

20 Matt. 6.5. 

21 1 Cor. 13.3. 



228 SAINT BASIL 

who is in all things fearful out of pious timidity is called 
blessed, 22 and he stands firm in the truth who is able to say: 
C I set the Lord always in my sight; for he is at my right hand 
that I be not moved' 23 meaning that he would overlook none 
of the things that he is obliged to do. Again: 'Blessed is the 
man that feareth the Lord.' Why? Because 'he shall delight 
exceedingly in his commandments. 524 It is not likely, then, that 
they who fear will overlook any command or execute it care- 
lessly. Yet, neither does the hireling will to disobey orders; 
how would he receive the pay for his tending of the vine if he 
did not do all that had been agreed? If by failing to provide 
one necessary attention he renders the vine profitless to the 
owner, who would pay a reward, so long as the damage re- 
mains, to him who wrought the mischief? The third form of 
service is that prompted by love. Now, what son, having in 
view his father's good pleasure and giving joy to his heart in 
the more important matters, will wish to cause him pain as 
regards even the most insignificant ones? And this filial de- 
votion he will render even more earnestly when he recalls 
the words of the Apostle: 'And grieve not the Holy Spirit of 
God whereby you are sealed.' 25 

How, therefore, would they who break the greater number 
of the commandments be classified they who do not serve 
God as their Father nor believe that He has promised great 
rewards, nor submit to Him as Lord? 'If, then, I be a father/ 
says the Prophet, 'where is my honor? And if I be a master, 
where is my fear?' 26 for he that feareth the Lord 'shall de- 
light exceedingly in his commandments.' 27 'By transgression of 



22 Prov. 28.14. 

23 Ps. 15.8. 

24 Ps. 111.1. 

25 Eph. 4.30. 

26 Mai. 1.6. 

27 Ps. 111.1. 



THE LONG RULES 229 

the law,' says the Apostle, thou dishonourest God. 528 How, 
then, if we prefer a life of pleasure to the life of obedience to 
the commandments, can we expect for ourselves a life of 
blessedness, fellowship with the saints, and the delights of the 
angelic company in the presence of Christ? Such expectations 
are truly the fantasies of a foolish mind. How shall I be 
worthy of the company of Job I who do not accept even an 
ordinary mishap with thanksgiving? How shall I who am 
lacking in magnanimity toward my enemy stand in the pres- 
ence of David? Or of Daniel, if I do not seek for God in 
continual continency and earnest supplication? Or of any 
of the saints, if I have not walked in their footsteps? What 
judge of a contest is so uninformed as to think that the victor 
and he who has not taken part in the contest should receive 
crowns of equal merit? What general ever summoned to an 
equal share in the spoils with the conquerors those who were 
not even present at the battle? 

God is good, but He is also just, and it is the nature of the 
just to reward in proportion to merit, as it is written: 'Do 
good, O Lord, to those that are good and to the upright of 
heart. But such as turn aside into bonds, the Lord shall lead 
out with the workers of iniquity.' 29 He is merciful, but He is 
also a judge, for 'the Lord loveth mercy and judgment, 5 says 
the psalmist. 30 And he therefore also says: 'Mercy and judg- 
ment I will sing to thee, O Lord.' 31 We have been taught who 
they are upon whom He has mercy: 'Blessed are the merci- 
ful, 5 says the Lord, 'for they shall obtain mercy.' 32 You see 
with what discernment He bestows mercy, neither being mer- 
ciful without judgment nor judging without mercy; for, the 

28 Rom. 2.23. 

29 Ps. 124.4,5. 

30 Ps. 32.5. 

31 Ps. 100.1. 

32 Matt. 5.7. 



230 SAINT BASIL 

Lord is merciful and just.' 33 Let us not, therefore, know God 
by halves nor make His loving kindness an excuse for our 
indolence; for this, His thunders, for this, His lightnings 
that His goodness may not be held in despite. He who causes 
the sun to rise 34 also strikes men with blindness. 35 He who 
sends the rain 36 also causes the rain of fire. 37 By the one He 
manifests His goodness; by the other, His severity. For the 
one let us love Him, for the other let us fear, that it may not 
be said also to us: 'Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness 
and patience and longsuffering? Knowest thou not that the 
benignity of God leadeth thee to penance? But according to 
thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thy- 
self wrath against the day of wrath.' 38 

Since, then, they cannot be saved who do not their works 
according to the command of God and since no precept may 
safely be overlooked (for it is great presumption to set our- 
selves up as critics of the Lawgiver by approving some of His 
laws and rejecting others), let us who are striving to live the 
devout life, who value the life of retirement and freedom from 
worldly distractions as an aid to the observance of evangelical 
doctrine, let us make it our common concern and resolve not 
to allow any precept whatsoever to elude our vigilance. If the 
man of God must be perfect (as it is written 39 and as our 
words have already shown), it is all-important that he be 
made perfect' through the observance of every commandment 
'unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ 40 ; for, 
according to divine law, an offering which is mutilated, even 

33 PS. 114.5. 

34 Matt. 5.45. 

35 2 Kings 6.18. 

36 Zach. 10.1. 

37 Gen. 19.24. 

38 Rom. 2.43. 

39 2 Tim. 3.17. 

40 Eph. 4.13. 



THE LONG RULES 231 

If it be pure, is unacceptable as a sacrifice to God. Whatever 
each one regards as wanting in himself, therefore, he should 
refer to the common consideration. That which is obscure 
can be more easily discerned by the earnest scrutiny of several 
persons, since, to be sure, God grants issue to the quest under 
the guidance and counsel of the Holy Spirit, according to 
the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ. 41 Consequently, as c a 
necessity lieth upon me; for woe is unto me if I preach not 
the gospel,' 42 so upon you also rests a similar danger if you are 
remiss in discovering or languid and half-hearted in observ- 
ing and fulfilling the precepts which have been handed down 
to us. The Lord says, therefore : The word that I have spoken, 
the same shall judge him in the last day.' 43 Again: 'And the 
servant who knew not the will of his lord and did things 
worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes; but he 
who knew and did not do nor prepared himself, according 
to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.' 44 

Let us pray, therefore, that I may exercise the ministry of 
the Word blamelessly, and that my teaching may be fruitful 
in you. Knowing as we do that at the tribunal of Christ the 
words of the Holy Scripture will confront us (for He says: 'I 
will reprove thee and set thy sins before thy face 345 ), let us 
in all soberity attend to the words of the divine teaching and 
hasten to put them into practice, for we know not the day 
nor the hour when our Lord will come. 46 

41 John 14.26. 

42 1 Cor. 9.16. 

43 John 12.48. 

44 Luke 12.47. 

45 Ps. 49.21. 

46 Matt. 24.42. 



232 SAINT BASIL 

Q. L On order and sequence in the Lord's commandments. 

Since the Scripture 1 has given us leave to propound ques- 
tions, we require, first of all, to be informed as to whether 
the commandments of God have a certain order or sequence, 
as it were, so that one comes first, another, second, and so 
on; or whether all are interdependent and equal so far as 
precedence is concerned, so that one may begin at will where- 
ever he likes, as with a circle. 

R. Your question is an old one, proposed long ago in the 
Gospel when the lawyer came to the Lord and said: 'Master, 
which is the first commandment in the law?' And the Lord 
answered : 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole 
heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole strength 
and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first 
commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt 
love thy neighbor as thyself.' 2 The Lord Himself, then, has 
established order in His commandments by designating the 
commandment of the love of God as the first and greatest 
commandment, and, as second in order and like to the first, 
but more as a fulfillment of it and as dependent upon it, the 
love of neighbor. With the aid of these and similar utterances 
which are handed down to us in the Holy Scripture, we can 
discover order and sequence in the whole series of the com- 
mandments. 

Q. 2. Concerning the love of God, and showing that the 
inclination and the ability to keep the Lord's commandments 
belong to man by nature. 

Speak to us first, therefore, of the love of God ; for we have 



1 Or, 'Since your words have given us leave'; cf. PG 31.906 n. 44. 

2 Matt. 22.36-39. 



THE LONG RULES 233 

heard that we must love Him, but we would learn how this 
may be rightly accomplished. 

R. The love of God is not something that is taught, for we 
do not learn from another to rejoice in the light or to desire 
life, nor has anyone taught us to love our parents or nurses. 
In the same way and even to a far greater degree is it true 
that instruction in divine law is not from without, but, simul- 
taneously with the formation of the creature man, I mean 
a kind of rational force was implanted in us like a seed, 
which, by an inherent tendency, impels us toward love. This 
germ is then received into account in the school of God's 
commandments, where it is wont to be carefully cultivated 
and skillfully nurtured and thus, by the grace of God, brought 
to its full perfection. Wherefore, we, also, approving your 
zeal as essential for reaching the goal, shall endeavor with 
the help of God and the support of your prayers, and as 
power is given us by the Spirit, to enkindle the spark of 
divine love latent within you. Now, it is necessary to know 
that, although this is only one virtue, yet, by its efficacy, it 
comprises and fulfills every commandment. 'If anyone love 
me/ says the Lord, 'he will keep my commandments. 31 And 
again: 'On these two commandments depen-deth the whole 
law and the prophets. 32 Yet, we shall not undertake at this 
time to carry our discourse to its complete development (for in 
so doing, we should, inadvertently, make our discussion of one 
portion of the commandments embrace a full treatment of 
them), but, insofar as it is fitting and germane to the present 
purpose, we shall exhort you regarding the love we owe to 
God. First, however, we shall establish the fact that we have 
already received from God the power to fulfill all the com- 

1 John 14.23. 

2 Matt. 22.40. 



234 SAINT BASIL 

mandments given us by Him, so that we may not take our 
obligation in bad part, as though something quite strange 
and unexpected were being asked of us, and that we may not 
become filled with conceit, as if we were paying back some- 
thing more than had been given us. By means of this power, 
rightly and properly used, we pass our entire lives holily and 
virtuously, but through a perverted use of it we gradually 
fall prey to vice. Now, this is the definition of vice : the wrong 
use, in violation of the Lord's command, of what has been 
given us by God for a good purpose. Similarly, the definition 
of the virtue which God requires of us is : the use with a good 
conscience of these same gifts in accordance with the Lord's 
command. This being the case, we shall apply the same prin- 
ciple also to charity. Having received, therefore, a command 
to love God, we have possessed the innate power of loving 
from the first moment of our creation. Of this, no external 
proof is required, since anyone can discover it of himself and 
within himself. We are by nature desirous of the beautiful, 
even though individual conceptions of the beautiful differ 
widely. Furthermore, we possess without being taught a 
love for those who are near and dear to us, and we spon- 
taneously render to our benefactors a full measure of good 
will. Now, what is more admirable than Divine Beauty? What 
reflection is sweeter than the thought of the magnificence of 
God? What desire of the soul is so poignant and so intolerably 
keen as that desire implanted by God in a soul purified from 
all vice and affirming with sincerity, *I languish with love. 33 
Totally ineffable and indescribable are the lightning flashes 
of Divine Beauty. Words do not adequately convey nor is the 
ear capable of receiving [knowledge of them]. The rays of the 
morning star, or the brightness of the moon, or the light of 

3 Cant. 2.5. 



THE LONG RULES 235 

the sun all are more unworthy to be mentioned in compari- 
son with that splendor and these heavenly bodies are more 
inferior to the true light than is the deep darkness of night, 
gloomy and moonless, to brightest noonday. This Beauty, invis- 
ible to the eyes of the flesh, is apprehended by the mind and 
soul alone. Whenever it cast its light upon any of the saints, it 
left them with an intolerable pain of longing, and they would 
say, weary of life on earth : 'Woe is me that my sojourning is 
prolonged,' 4 'when shall I come and appear before the face of 
God?'; 5 and again: 'to be disvsolved and to be with Christ, a 
thing by far the better' ; fi also: 'my soul hath thirsted after the 
strong living God' 7 and 'Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O 
Lord.' s Since they felt the burden of this present life as an im- 
prisonment, they were scarcely able to contain themselves un- 
der the impulses which the touch of Divine Love had made to 
stir within their souls. Indeed, by reason of their insatiable 
eagerness to enjoy the vision of Divine Beauty, they prayed 
that contemplation of the joy of the Lord would last as long 
as the whole of eternal life. Men are by nature, then, desirous 
of the beautiful. But, that which is truly beautiful and desir- 
able is the good. Now, the good is God, and, since all creatures 
desire good, therefore, all creatures desire God. 

So then, whatever is rightly done of free choice is also in 
us naturally, at least, in the case of those who have not per- 
verted their rational faculty by iniquity. The love of God is, 
therefore, demanded of us as a strict obligation, and for a 
soul to fail in this is the most unendurable of all evils. Sepa- 
ration and estrangement from God are more unbearable than 

4 Ps. 119.5. 

5 Ps. 41.3. 

6 Phil. 1.23. 

7 Ps. 41.3. 

8 Luke 2.29. 



236 SAINT BASIL 

the punishment reserved for hell and more oppressive to the 
sufferer than the being deprived of light is to the eye, even 
if there be no pain in addition, or than the loss of its life is 
to an animal. If, moreover, the love of children for their 
parents is a natural endowment and if this love is noticeable 
in the behavior even of brute beasts, as well as in the affection 
of human beings in early infancy for their mothers, let us 
not appear to be less rational than infants or more savage 
than wild beasts by alienating ourselves from Him who made 
us and by being unloving toward Him. Even if we did not 
know what He is from His goodness, yet, from the very fact 
that we are made by Him, we ought to feel an extraordinary 
affection for Him and cling to a constant remembrance of 
Him, as infants do to their mothers. Furthermore, he who is 
our benefactor is foremost among those whom we naturally 
love. This gratitude is characteristic not of men only, but it is 
also felt by almost all animals, so that they attach themselves 
to those who have conferred some good upon them. 'The ox 
knoweth his owner, 3 says the Prophet, c and the ass his master's 
crib.' 9 God forbid that what follows these words should be 
said of us : 'but Israel hath not known me and my people hath 
not understood.' 10 As for the dog and many other animals, I 
need not speak of the great affection they show toward those 
who rear them. Now, if we bear a natural love and good will 
toward our benefactors and undergo any kind of hardship 
to make a return for what was first rendered to us, what 
words can fitly treat of the gifts of God? So many are they in 
number as even to defy enumeration; so great and marvelous 
are they that a single one of them claims for the Giver all 
our gratitude. Some, therefore, I shall pass over, although 



9 Isa. 1.3. 
10 Ibid. 



THE LONG RULES 237 

these in themselves show forth transcendent greatness and 
glory, yet, being surpassed by greater ones as are the stars 
by the rays of the sun, they appear to be of a less striking 
worth. I have not the leisure, in fact, to leave the surpassing 
benefits and measure from His lesser gifts the goodness of our 
Benefactor. 

Let us, then, say nothing about the rising of the sun, the 
phases of the moon, climates, the alternation of the seasons, 
the water dropping from the clouds, other moisture rising 
from the earth, the sea itself, the whole earth and its pro- 
duce, the creatures that live in the waters, those which inhabit 
the air, the countless varieties of animals all beings destined 
to minister to our well-being. But what we may not pass over, 
even if we wished, that which it is quite impossible for one of 
sound mind and reason to be silent about yet to speak of it 
adequately is more impossible is the fact that God made man 
according to His image and likeness, that He deemed him 
worthy of the knowledge of Himself, that in preference to all 
the animals He adorned him with rationality, bestowed upon 
him the opportunity of taking his delight in the unbelievable 
beauties of paradise, and made him the chief of all the crea- 
tures on earth. Then, even after he was seduced by the ser- 
pent and fell into sin, and by sin into death and its atten- 
dant evils, God did not forsake him. First, He gave to him 
the Law as an aid, appointed angels to watch over and care 
for him, sent prophets to refute evil and teach virtue, checked 
his impulses toward vice by threats, aroused his eagerness for 
the good by promises, revealed again and again the fate of 
each of the two classes [the good and the wicked], by making 
a pre judgment in the case of divers persons so as to warn 
the rest. In addition to all these and other favors equally 
great, He did not turn away from man when he persisted 
in disobedience. We have not been deserted by the Lord's 



238 SAINT BASIL 

goodness, nor have we impeded His love for us by our stu- 
pidity in treating our Benefactor contumeliously through not 
comprehending the greatness of the favors bestowed nay, 
we have even been recalled from death and restored to life 
again by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Even the manner 
in which this favor was granted calls for the greatest wonder: 
'Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to 
be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of 
a servant.' 11 

He has, moreover, taken upon Himself our infirmities and 
carried our sorrows. 1 - He was crucified for us that we might 
be healed by His bruises. 13 He also redeemed us from the 
curse, 'being made a curse for us, n and endured the most 
ignominious death that He might restore us to the life of 
glory. Nor was He content with merely bringing back to life 
those who were dead, but He conferred upon them the dignity 
of divinity and prepared everlasting rest transcending every 
human concept in the magnitude of its joy. 15 What, therefore, 
shall we render to the Lord for all the blessings He has be- 
stowed upon us? 10 He is so good, indeed, that He does not 
exact a recompense, but is content merely to be loved in re- 
turn for His gifts. Whenever I call all these things to mind 
(if I may speak of my own feelings), I am struck by a kind 
of shuddering fear and a cold terror, lest, through distraction 
of mind or preoccupation with vanities, I fall away from 
God's love and become a reproach to Christ. For, he who now 
deceives us and endeavors by every artifice to induce us to for- 
get our Benefactor through the attraction of worldly allure - 

11 Phil. 2.6,7. 

12 Isa. 53.4. 

13 Isa. 53.5. 

14 Gal. 3.13. 

15 1 Cor. 2.9. 

16 Ps. 115.12. 



THE LONG RULES 239 

ments, leaping at us and trampling us down unto our soul's 
destruction, will then, in the presence of the Lord, reproach 
us with our insolence and will gloat over our disobedience 
and apostasy. He who neither created us nor died for us 
will count us, nevertheless, among his followers in disobedi- 
ence and neglect of the commandments of God. This reproach 
to the Lord and this triumph of our Enemy appear to me 
more dreadful than the punishments of hell, because we pro- 
vide the Enemy of Christ with matter for boasting and with 
cause for exulting over Him who died for us and rose again. 
Wherefore, we are in a very special sense His debtors, as it is 
written, 17 So much, then regarding the love of God. It is not 
my aim, as I said before, to exhaust the subject, for that is 
impossible, but to implant in your souls a brief and summary 
reminder which will keep the divine longing ever astir within 
them. 

Q. 3. Of charity toward one's neighbor. 

It would be logical to take up next the commandment 
which is second both in order and emphasis. 

R. We have already said above that the law [of God] de- 
velops and maintains the powers existing in germ within us. 
And since we are directed to love our neighbor as ourselves, 
let us consider whether we have received from the Lord the 
power to fulfill this commandment also. Who does not know 
that man is a civilized and gregarious animal, neither savage 
nor a lover of solitudgi Nothing, indeed, is so compatible with 
our nature as living in society and in dependence upon one 
another and as loving our own kind. Now, the Lord Himself 
gave to us the seeds of these qualities in anticipation of His 
requiring in due time their fruits, for He says : 'A new com- 

17 Rom. 8.12. 



240 SAINT BASIL 

mandment I give unto you: that you love one another.' 1 
Moreover, wishing to animate our soul to the observance of 
this commandment, He did not require signs or wonders as 
the means of recognizing His disciples (although He gave the 
power of working these also in the Holy Spirit), but He says: 
'By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you 
have love one for another.' 2 Further, He establishes so close 
a connection between the two great commandments that 
benefit conferred upon the neighbor is transferred to Him- 
self: Tor I was hungry,' He says, 'and you gave me to eat,'* 
and so on, adding: 'as long as you did it to one of these my 
least brethren, you did it to me. 54 

It is, accordingly, possible to keep the second commandment 
by observing the first, and by means of the second we are 
led back to the first. He who loves the Lord loves his neigh- 
bor in consequence. 'If anyone love me,' said the Lord, 'he 
will keep my commandments'; 5 and again, He says: 'This 
is my commandment, that you love one another as I have 
loved you/ 6 On the other hand, he who loves his neighbor 
fulfills the love he owes to God, for He accepts this favor as 
shown to Himself. Wherefore, Moses, that faithful servant 
of God, manifested such great love for his brethren as to wish 
his name to be struck off the book of God in which it was 
inscribed, if the sin of his people were not pardoned. 7 Paul, 
also, desiring to be, like Christ, an exchange for the salvation 
of all, dared to pray that he might be an anathema from 
Christ for the sake of his brethren who were his kinsmen 
according to the flesh. 8 Yet, at the same time, he knew that 

1 John 13.34. 

2 John 13.35. 

3 Matt. 25.35. 

4 Matt. 25.40. 

5 John 14.23. 

6 John 15.12. 

7 Exod. 32.32. 

8 Rom. 9.3. 



THE LONG RULES 241 

it was impossible for him to be estranged from God through 
his having rejected His favor for love of Him and for the sake 
of that great commandment; moreover, he knew that he 
would receive in return much more than he gave. For the 
rest, what has been said thus far offers sufficient proof that 
the saints did attain to this measure of love for their neighbor. 

Q. 4. Of the fear of God. 

R. For those newly entered upon the way of piety, the basic 
discipline acquired through fear is more profitable, according 
to the counsel of Solomon, wisest of men: 'The fear of the 
Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' 1 But, for you who have, as 
it were, passed through your infancy in Christ and no longer 
require milk but are able to be perfected according to the 
inner man by the solid nourishment of doctrine, 2 loftier pre- 
cepts are needed whereby the whole truth of the love which 
is in Christ is brought to fulfillment. But, manifestly, you must 
be on your guard lest the superabundance of the gifts of 
God make you liable to a harsher judgment if you are un- 
grateful to the Giver; for He says: c to whom they have com- 
mitted much, of him they will demand the more.' 3 

Q. 5. On avoiding distraction. 

R. This, at all events, must be recognized that we can 
observe neither the commandment of the love of God itself 
nor that referring to our neighbor, nor any other command- 
ment, if our minds keep wandering hither and yon. It is not 
possible to master an art or science if one is always starting 
on fresh subjects, nor even to excel in any single one without 
recognizing what pertains to the end in view; for one's action 
must be consistent with the aim, inasmuch as rational ends 

1 Prov. 1.7. 

2 Heb. 5.13,14. 

3 Luke 12.48. 



242 SAINT BASIL 

are not reached by irrelevant means. It is against the nature 
of things for one to become a master in metal working by 
practicing the potter's art, and athletic crowns are not won 
by enthusiasm for playing the flute. As each kind of mastery 
demands its own specific and appropriate training, so the 
discipline for pleasing God in accordance with the Gospel of 
Christ is practiced by detaching oneself from the cares of the 
world and by complete withdrawal from its distractions. 
Therefore does the Apostle, although allowing marriage and 
deeming it worthy of blessing, oppose to it his own preoccu- 
pation with the concerns of God, as if these two interests 
could not be compatible, saying, 4 He that is without a wife is 
solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may 
please God. But he that is with a wife is solicitous for the 
things of the world, how he may please his wife. 51 In the same 
manner, the Lord also bore witness to the guileless and single- 
hearted attitude of His disciples, when He said, 'You are not 
of this world. 52 On the other hand, He declared that it is 
impossible for the world to have knowledge of God or even 
to receive the Holy Spirit, saying, 'Just Father, th$ world 
hath not known thee' :i and 'the spirit of truth, whom the 
world cannot receive.' 4 

Whoever, therefore, would be truly a follower of God must 
sever the bonds of attachment to this life, and this is done 
through complete separation from and forgetfulness of old 
habits. Unless we wrest ourselves from both fleshly ties and 
worldly society, being transported, as it were, to another world 
in our manner of living, as the Apostle said: 'But our con- 
versation is in heaven, 55 it is impossible for us to achieve our 

1 1 Cor. 7.3233. 

2 John 15.19. 

3 John 17.25. 

4 John 14.17. 

5 Phil. 3.20. 



THE LONG RULES 243 

goal of pleasing God, inasmuch as the Lord said specifically: 
'So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that 
he possesseth cannot be my disciple.' 6 And having done this, 
we should watch over our heart with all vigilance 7 not only 
to avoid ever losing the thought of God or sullying the mem- 
ory of His wonders by vain imaginations, but also in order to 
carry about the holy thought of God stamped upon our souls 
as an ineffaceable seal by continuous and pure recollection. 
In this way, we shall excel in the love of God which at the 
same time animates us to the observance of the Lord's com- 
mands, and by this, in turn, love itself will be lastingly and 
indestructibly preserved. The Lord proves this by saying on 
one occasion: 'If you love me, keep my commandments, 58 
and again: 'If you keep my commandments, you shall abide 
in my love,' 9 and with still greater importunity: 'as I have 
kept my Father's commandments and do abide in his love. 510 " 

By these words He teaches us always to place before our- 
selves as our goal, in undertaking a task, the will of Him who 
has enjoined the work, and to direct our effort toward Him, 
as He says in another place: 'I came down from heaven, not 
to do my own will but the will of him that sent me, the 
Father.' 11 As the secular arts are directed toward certain 
specific aims and adapt their particular activities to these 
aims, so also, inasmuch as our actions have as their rule and 
guide the keeping of the commandments in a manner pleasing 
to God, it is impossible to do this with exactitude unless it be 
done as He wills who gave [the commandments]. And by our 

6 Luke 14.33. 

7 Prov. 4.23. 

8 John 14.15. 

9 John 15.10. 

10 Ibid. 

11 John 6.38. 



244 SAINT BASIL 

painstaking zeal to do the will of God in our work, we shall 
be united to God through our memory. As the smith, when 
he is forging an axe, for example, thinks of the person who 
commissioned the task, and with him in mind calculates its 
shape and size, suiting his work to the wish of him who or- 
dered it done (for if he is unmindful of this, he will fashion 
something quite different from what he was ordered to make) y 
so the Christian directs every action, small and great, accord- 
ing to the will of God, performing the action at the same time 
with care and exactitude, and keeping his thoughts fixed upon 
the One who gave him the work to do. In this way, he ful- 
fills the saying, C I set the Lord always in my sight; for he is 
at my right hand, that I be not moved,' 12 and he also observes 
the precept, 'Whether you eat or drink or whatsoever else you 
do, do all to the glory of God.' 13 But he who departs from the 
strict observance of the commandment in performing his 
actions clearly shows that he has given small thought to God. 
Mindful, therefore, of the voice of Him who said: 'Do not 
I fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord? 314 and again: c Am I 
a God at hand and not a God afar off?'; 15 also: 'Where there 
are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I 
in the midst of them, 516 we should perform every action as 
if under the eyes of the Lord and think every thought as if 
observed by Him. Thus, fear will abide constantly within us 
who hate iniquity, as it is written, 17 contumely, pride, and the 
ways of the wicked, and charity will be made perfect, 18 ful- 
filling the words of the Lord: 'I seek not my own will but 

12 Ps. 15.8. 

13 1 Cor. 10.31. 

14 Jer. 23.24. 

15 Jer. 23.23. 

16 Matt. 18.20. 

17 Ps. 118.163 

18 1 John 4.12. 



THE LONG RULES 245 

the will of him that sent me, the Father.' 19 Our soul, also, 
will continue in the abiding conviction that good actions are 
acceptable to the Judge and Arbiter of our life and that the 
opposite conduct receives condemnation from Him. I think, 
moreover, it must be added that the Lord's commandments 
themselves cannot be performed with the intent of pleasing 
men. No one has recourse to an inferior, if he knows his 
superior is present. On the contrary, if it happen that an 
action is acceptable and pleasing to some illustrious personage 
while to one of lower degree it appears ill-advised and blame- 
worthy, far more value is placed upon the approval of the 
superior and the inferior's disapproval is unheeded. But, if 
this is so among men, the soul that is truly prudent and sound 
and that possesses a firm conviction of the presence of God 
would surely not ever neglect to do what is pleasing to God 
and concern itself with the glory received from men, nor be 
careless of God's behests in subservience to human customs, 20 
nor be ruled by common prejudice and influenced by honors 
and dignities. Such were the dispositions of him who said: 
'The wicked have told me fables but not as thy law, O Lord,' 21 
and again : 'And I spoke of thy testimonies before kings, and 
I was not ashamed.' 22 

Q. 6. Concerning the necessity of living in retirement. 

R. A secluded and remote habitation also contributes to 
the removal of distraction from the soul. Living among those 
who are unscrupulous and disdainful in their attitude toward 
an exact observance of the commandments is dangerous, as is 
shown by the following words of Solomon: 'Be not a friend 

19 John 5.30. 

20 Mark 7.8. 

21 Ps.l 18.85. 

22 Ps. 118.46. 



246 SAINT BASIL 

to an angry man and do not walk with a furious man; lest 
perhaps thou learn his ways and take snares to thy soul. 91 
The words of the Apostle, 'Go out from among them and be 
ye separate, saith the Lord,'~ bear also upon this point. Con- 
sequently, that we may not receive incitements to sin through 
our eyes and ears and become imperceptibly habituated to it, 
and that the impress and form, so to speak, of what is seen 
and heard may not remain in the soul unto its ruin, and 
that we may be able to be constant in prayer, we should be- 
fore all things else seek to dwell in a retired place. In so 
doing, we should be able to overcome our former habits 
whereby we lived as strangers to the precepts of Christ ( and 
it is no mean struggle to gain the mastery over one's wonted 
manner of acting, for custom maintained throughout a long 
period takes on the force of nature), and we could wipe away 
the stains of sin by assiduous prayer and persevering medita- 
tion on the will of God. It is impossible to gain proficiency 
in this meditation and prayer, however, while a multitude of 
distractions is dragging the soul about and introducing into it 
anxieties about the affairs of this life. Could anyone, immersed 
in these cares, ever fulfill that command: 'If any man will 
come after me, let him deny himself? 3 For, we must deny 
ourselves and take up the Cross of Christ and thus follow Him. 
Now, self-denial involves the entire forgetfulness of the past 
and surrender of one's will surrender which it is very diffi- 
cult, not to say quite impossible, to achieve while living 
in the promiscuity customary in the world. And in addition, 
the social intercourse demanded by such a life is even an 
obstacle to taking up one's cross and following Christ. Readi- 

1 Prov. 22.24,25. 

2 2 Cor. 6.17. 

3 Luke 9.23. 



THE LONG RULES 



247 



ness to die for Christ, the mortification of one's members on 
this earth, preparedness for every danger which might befall 
us on behalf of Christ's Name, detachment from this life 
this it is to take up one's cross; and we regard the obstacles 
springing from the habits of life in society as major impedi- 
ments thereto. 

And in addition to all the other obstacles, which are many, 
the soul in looking at the crowd of other offenders does not, in 
the first place, have time to become aware of its own sins and 
to afflict itself by penance for its errors; on the contrary, by 
comparison with those who are worse, it takes on, besides, 
a certain deceptive appearance of righteousness. Secondly, 
through the disturbances and occupations which life in society 
naturally engenders, the soul, being drawn away from the 
more worthy remembrance of God, pays the penalty of finding 
neither joy nor gladness in God and of not relishing the de- 
lights of the Lord or tasting the sweetness of His words, so as 
to be able to say: 'I remembered God and was delighted,' 4 
and 'How sweet are thy words to my palate ! more than honey 
to my mouth.' 5 Worse still, it becomes habituated to a dis- 
regard and a complete forgetfulness of His judgments, than 
which no more fatal misfortune could befall it. 

(). 7 . On the necessity of living in the company of those who 
are striving for the same objective that of pleasing God 
and the difficulty and hazards of living as a solitary. 

Since your words have convinced us that it is dangerous to 
live in company with those who hold the commandments of 
God in light regard, we consider it logical to inquire whether 
one who retires from society should live in solitude or with 

4 Ps, 76.4. 

5 Ps. 118.103. 



248 SAINT BASIL 

brethren who are of the same mind and who have set before 
themselves the same goal, that is, the devout life. 

R. I consider that life passed in company with a number of 
persons in the same habitation is more advantageous in many 
respects. My reasons are, first, that no one of us is self- 
sufficient as regards corporeal necessities, but we require one 
another's aid in supplying our needs. The foot, to cite an 
analogy, possesses one kind of power and lacks another, and 
without the co-operation of the other members of the body 
it finds itself incapable of carrying on its activity indepen- 
dently for any length of time, nor does it have wherewithal to 
supply what is lacking. Similarly, in the solitary life, what is 
at hand becomes useless to us and what is wanting cannot be 
provided, since God, the Creator, decreed that we should 
require the help of one another, as it is written, 1 so that we 
might associate with one another. Again, apart from this 
consideration, the doctrine of the charity of Christ does not 
permit the individual to be concerned solely with his own 
private interests. 'Charity, 3 says the Apostle, 'seeketh not her 
own.' 2 But a life passed in solitude is cohcerned only with 
the private service of individual needs. This is openly opposed 
to the law of love which the Apostle fulfilled, who sought not 
what was profitable to himself but to many that they might 
be saved. 3 Furthermore, a person living in solitary retirement 
will not readily discern his own defects, since he has no one 
to admonish and correct him with mildness and compassion. 
In fact, admonition even from an enemy often produces in a 
prudent man the desire for amendment. But the cure of sin 
is wrought with understanding by him who loves sincerely; 
for Holy Scripture says: 'for he that loveth correcteth 

1 Eccli. 13.20. 

2 1 Cor. 13.5. 

3 1 Cor. 10.33. 



THE LONG RULES 249 

betimes.' 4 Such a one it is very difficult to find in a solitude, if 
in one's prior state of life one had not been associated with 
such a person. The solitary, consequently, experiences the truth 
of the saying, 'Woe to him that is alone, for when he falleth 
he hath none to lift him up.' 5 Moreover, the majority of the 
commandments are easily observed by several persons living 
together, but not so in the case of one living alone ; for, while 
he is obeying one commandment, the practice of another is 
being interfered with. For example, when he is visiting the 
sick, he cannot show hospitality to the stranger and, in the 
imparting and sharing of necessities (especially when the 
ministrations are prolonged), he is prevented from giving 
zealous attention to [other] tasks. As a result, the greatest 
commandment and the one especially conducive to salvation 
is not observed, since the hungry are not fed nor the naked 
clothed. Who, then, would choose this ineffectual and un- 
profitable life in preference to that which is both fruitful and 
in accordance with the Lord's command? 

Besides, if all we who are united in the one hope of our 
calling 6 are one body with Christ as our Head, we are 
also members, one of another. 7 If we are not joined together 
by union in the Holy Spirit in the harmony of one body, but 
each of us should choose to live in solitude, we would not 
serve the common good in the ministry according to God's 
good pleasure, but would be satisfying our own passion for 
self-gratification. How could we, divided and separated, pre- 
serve the status and the mutual service of members or our 
subordinate relationship to our Head which is Christ? It is 
impossible, indeed, to rejoice with him who receives an honor 

4 Prov. 13.24. 

5 Eccle. 4.10. 

6 Eph. 4.4. 

7 1 Cor. 12.12. 



250 SAINT BASIL 

or to sympathize with him who suffers* when, by reason of 
their being separated from one another, each person cannot, 
in all likelihood, be kept informed about the affairs of his 
neighbor. In addition, since no one has the capacity to receive 
all spiritual gifts, but the grace of the Spirit is given propor- 
tionately to the faith of each, 9 when one is living in association 
with others, the grace privately bestowed on each individual 
becomes the common possession of his fellows. 'To one, in- 
deed, is given the word of wisdom; and to another, the word 
of knowledge; to another, faith, to another, prophecy, to 
another, the grace of healing,' 10 and so on. He who receives 
any of these gifts does not possess it for his own sake but rather 
for the sake of others, so that, in the life passed in community, 
the operation of the Holy Spirit in the individual is at the 
same time necessarily transmitted to all. He who lives alone, 
consequently, and has, perhaps, one gift renders it ineffectual 
by leaving it in disuse, since it lies buried within him. How 
much danger there is in this all of you know who have read 
the Gospel. 11 On the other hand, in the case of several persons 
living together, each enjoys his own gift and enhances it by 
giving others a share, besides reaping benefit from the gifts 
of others as if they Were his own. 

Community life offers more blessings than can be fully 
and easily enumerated. It is more advantageous than the soli- 
tary life both for preserving the goods bestowed on us by God 
and for warding off the external attacks of the Enemy. If 
any should happen to grow heavy with that sleep which is 
unto death and which we have been instructed by David to 
avert with prayer: ' Enlighten my eyes that I never sleep in 



8 1 Cor. 12.26. 

9 Rom. 12.6. 

10 1 Cor. 12.8,9. 

11 Matt. 25.26ff. 



THE LONG RULES 251 

death, 12 the awakening induced by those who are already 
on watch is the more assured. For the sinner, moreover, the 
withdrawal from his sin is far easier if he fears the shame of 
incurring censure from many acting together to him, in- 
deed, might be applied the words: 'To him who is such a one, 
this rebuke is sufficient which is given by many' 13 and for 
the righteous man, there is a great and full satisfaction in the 
esteem of the group and in their approval of his conduct. If 
in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall 
stand, 14 he who performs a good action will be far more surely 
corroborated by the testimony of many. Besides these disad- 
vantages, the solitary life is fraught with other perils. The 
first and greatest is that of self-satisfaction. Since the solitary 
has no one to appraise his conduct, he will think he has 
achieved the perfection of the precept. Secondly, because he 
never tests his state of soul by exercise, he will not recognize 
his own deficiencies nor will he discover the advance he may 
have made in his manner of acting, since he will have removed 
all practical occasion for the observance of the command- 
ments. 

Wherein will he show his humility, if there is no one with 
whom he may compare and so confirm his own greater hu- 
mility? Wherein will he give evidence of his compassion, if 
he has cut himself off from association with other persons? 
And how will he exercise himself in long-suffering, if no one 
contradicts his wishes? If anyone says that the teaching of 
the Holy Scripture is sufficient for the amendment of his 
ways, he resembles a man who learns carpentry without ever 
actually doing a carpenter's work or a man who is instructed 
in metal-working but will not reduce theory to practice. To 
such a one the Apostle would say: 'Not the hearers of the 

12 Ps. 12.4. 

13 2 Cor. 2.6. 

14 Matt. 18.16. 



252 SAINT BASIL 

law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be 
justified.' 15 Consider, further, that the Lord by reason of His 
excessive love for man was not content with merely teaching 
the word, but, so as to transmit to us clearly and exactly the 
example of humility in the perfection of charity, girded Him- 
self and washed the feet of the disciples. 1 ' Whom, therefore, 
will you wash? To whom will you minister? In comparison 
with whom will you be the lowest, if you live alone? How, 
moreover, in a solitude, will that good and pleasant thing be 
accomplished, the dwelling of brethren together in one habi- 
tation 17 which the Holy Spirit likens to ointment emitting its 
fragrance from the head of the high priest ? 1S So it is an arena 
for the combat, a good path of progress, continual discipline, 
and a practicing of the Lord's commandments, when brethren 
dwell together in community. This kind of life has as its aim 
the glory of God according to the command of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who said: 'So let your light shine before men that 
they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is 
in heaven. 319 It maintains also the practice characteristic of 
the saints, of whom it is recorded in the Acts: 'And all they 
that believed were together and had all things common,'- 
and again: 'And the multitude of believers had but one 
heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that aught of the 
things which he possessed was his own, but all things were 
common unto them. 321 

Q. 8. Of renunciation; whether we ought first of all give 
up everything and thus enter upon the devout life. 

15 Rom. 2.13. 

16 John 13.5. 

17 Ps. 132.1. 

18 Ps. 132.2. 

19 Matt. 5.16. 

20 Acts 2.44. 

21 Acts 4.32. 



THE LONG RULES 253 

R. Our Lord Jesus Christ, coupling elaborate exposition 
with much forceful demonstration, says to all: 'If any man 
come to me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and 
follow me.' 1 Again, He says: 'So, likewise, everyone of you 
that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be my 
disciple.' 2 This precept, we think, involves a number of neces- 
sary renunciations. Above all, we renounce the Devil and 
carnal affections, in having given up the things of our secret 
shame, ties of physical relationship, human friendships, and 
a mode of life that is inimical to the perfection of the Gospel 
of salvation. And what is still more necessary: he that has 
stripped off the old man with his deeds, 15 'who is corrupted 
according to the desire of error,' 4 renounces himself. Also, he 
repudiates all worldly affections which could hinder him 
from reaching the goal of piety. Such a one, moreover, re- 
gards as his true parents those who have brought him forth 
by the Gospel 5 and looks upon as his brethren those who have 
received the same spirit of adoption, and he will deem all 
possessions foreign to him, as indeed they are. In short, he 
who is crucified to the world and to whom for the sake of 
Christ the whole world is crucified, 6 can no longer have any 
part in worldly concerns. Our Lord Jesus Christ depicted 
hatred of one's life and self-denial in their most vivid form 
when He said: 'If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself and take up his cross'; and then He added: 'and 
follow me. 57 Again: 'If any man come to me and hate not 
his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and 
sisters, yea, and his own life, also, he cannot be my disciple. 98 

1 Matt. 16.24. 

2 Luke 14.33. 

3 Col. 3.9. 

4 Eph. 4.22. 

5 1 Cor. 4.15. 

6 Gal. 6.14. 

7 Matt. 16.24. 

8 Luke 14.26. 



254 SAINT BASIL 

Perfect renunciation, therefore, consists in not having an 
affection for this life and keeping before our minds the 
'answer of death, that we should not trust in ourselves.' 9 But, 
a beginning is made by detaching oneself from all external 
goods: property, vainglory, life in society, useless desires, 
after the example of the Lord's holy disciples. James and John 
left their father Zebedee and the very boat upon which their 
whole livelihood depended. 10 Matthew left his counting house 
and followed the Lord, not merely leaving behind the 
profits of his occupation, but also paying no heed to the 
dangers which were sure to befall both himself and his family 
at the hands of the magistrates because he had left the tax 
accounts unfinished. 11 To Paul, finally, the whole world was 
crucified, and he to the world. 11 ' 

Thus, a man who is strongly seized with the desire of 
following Christ can no longer be concerned with anything 
pertaining to this life, not even with the love of his parents 
or other relatives if this runs counter to the precepts of the 
Lord (for in this case these words apply: 'If any man come 
to me and hate not his father and mother/ 13 and so on) ; nor 
with human respect, so that he omits because of it any profit- 
able act. This fault the saints repudiated when they said : 'We 
ought to obey God rather than men.' 14 He can no longer pay 
heed to the profane who jeer at his good works so as to be 
intimidated by their scorn. But, if a man would know more 
precisely and clearly the resoluteness united with desire which 
is characteristic of those who follow the Lord, let him recall 
the Apostle, who for our instruction related the circumstances 
of his own case, saying: 'If any thinketh he may have confi- 

9 2 Cor. 1.9. 

10 Mark 1.20. 

11 Matt. 9.9. 

12 Gal. 6.14. 

13 Luke 14.26. 

14 Acts 5.29. 



THE LONG RULES 255 

dence in the flesh, I more, being circumcised the eighth day, 
of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew 
of the Hebrews, according to the law, a Pharisee, according 
to zeal, persecuting the Church of God; according to the 
justice that is in the law, conversing without blame. But the 
things that were gain to me, the same I have counted loss for 
Christ. Furthermore, I count all things to be but loss for the 
excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Lord; for whom I 
have suffered the loss of all things and count them as dung that 
I may gain Christ. 515 If to say a daring thing, but the truth 
nevertheless the Apostle likened to the excrement of the 
body, which we abominate and dispose of as quickly as pos- 
sible, the very benefits of the law temporarily given by God, 
inasmuch as they are obstacles to the knowledge of Christ 
and that justice which is in Him and our conformation to 
His death, what could one say regarding the legislation of 
men? Why, furthermore, need we confirm our assertions by 
reasoning and by the examples of the saints, when we may 
quote as evidence the very words of the Lord and thereby put 
to shame the timorous soul? His testimony is clear and unde- 
niable in the words: 'So likewise every one of you that doth 
not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be my disciple.' 16 
And elsewhere, after the words, 'If thou wilt be perfect, 5 He 
says first: 'go sell what thou hast and give to the poor,* and 
then adds: 'come, follow me.' 17 Again, to any thoughtful 
person, the parable of the merchant points clearly to the 
same idea. The kingdom of heaven, 5 says Jesus Christ, 'is 
like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who, when he had 
found one pearl of great price, went his way and sold all 
that he had and bought it. 518 It is evident that the precious 

15 Phil. 3.4-8. 

16 Luke 14.33. 

17 Matt. 19.21. 

18 Matt. 13.45,46. 



256 SAINT BASIL 

pearl is meant to be an image of the heavenly kingdom, which 
the word of the Lord shows we cannot attain unless we give 
up in exchange for it all our possessions alike wealth, fame, 
lineage, and anything else that is an object of desire for many. 
Then, too, the Lord declared that it is impossible to achieve 
the wished-for end if the mind is distracted by a variety of 
cares, when He said: No man can serve two masters'; 19 and 
again: 'You cannot serve God and mammon. 5 " Therefore, 
we should choose to have treasure in heaven alone, so that we 
may keep our heart there. 'For, 5 says Jesus Christ, 'where 
thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. 521 If, then, we keep in 
reserve any earthly possessions or perishable wealth, the mind 
sinks down as into mire and the soul inevitably becomes blind 
to God and insensible to the desire for the beauties of heaven 
and the good things laid up for us by promise. These we can- 
not gain possession of unless a strong and single-minded 
desire leads us to ask for them and lightens the labor of their 
attainment. This, then, is renunciation, as our discourse de- 
fines it : the severance of the bonds of this material and tran- 
sient life and freedom from human concerns, whereby we 
render ourselves more fit to set out upon the road leading to 
God. It is the unhindered impulse toward the possession and 
enjoyment of inestimable goods, 'more to be desired than gold 
and many precious stones.' 22 In short, it is the transference of 
the human heart to a heavenly mode of life, so that we can 
say: 'But our conversation is in heaven.' 23 Also and this is the 
chief point it is the first step toward the likeness to Christ, 
who, being rich, became poor for our sake. 24 Unless we attain 



19 Matt. 6.24, 

20 Ibid. 

21 Matt. 6.21. 

22 Ps.18.il. 

23 Phil. 3.20. 

24 2 Cor, 8.9. 



THE LONG RULES 257 

to this likeness, it is impossible for us to achieve a way of life 
in accord with the Gospel of Christ. How, indeed, can we 
gain either contrition of heart or humility of mind or deliver- 
ance from anger, pain, anxieties in a word, from all de- 
structive movements of the soul if we are entangled in the 
riches and cares of a worldly life and cling to others by 
affection and association? To put it briefly, by what process 
of logic is one who is not permitted to concern himself with 
necessary matters, such as food and clothing, allowed to be 
held in constraint by the evil cares of wealth, as if by thorns 
which prevent the seed planted by the Husbandman of our 
souls from bearing fruit; for our Lord says: 'that which was 
sown upon thorns are they who are choked with the cares 
and riches and pleasures of this life and yield no fruit.' 25 

Q. 9. Whether he who is admitted to the company of those 
consecrated to the Lord ought, with indifference, to entrust 
his property to incompetent or unjust relatives. 

R. The Lord said: 'go, sell what thou hast, and give to 
the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come 
follow me 5 ; 1 and again: 'Sell what you possess and give alms.' 2 
I think, however, that one who takes leave of his kinsmen 
for such a purpose need not adopt a careless attitude toward 
his property, but, aware that it is very dangerous to leave the 
management of it to relatives or to someone selected at ran- 
dom, he should try to keep a precise accounting of everything 
as being henceforward consecrated to the Lord and with all 
piety distribute it either personally, if this is possible and he 
has the necessary experience, or through the agency of per- 

25 Luke 8.14. 

1 Matt. 19.21. 

2 Luke 12.33. 



258 SAINT BASIL 

sons chosen after searching inquiry and who have proved 
their ability to handle the business with fidelity and intelli- 
gence. If he who is entrusted with a king's fortune negligently 
makes no effort at all to increase it when possible, he is not 
absolved from guilt even though he does not commit repeated 
thefts from the treasure already amassed. What condemna- 
tion, then, ought we to expect to fall upon those who are 
frivolous and improvident in the management of goods that 
are already consecrated to the Lord? Are they not liable to 
the sentence of doom pronounced upon the negligent, as it is 
written: 'Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord 
negligently' 3 ? 

We must everywhere be on our guard lest, under pretext of 
observing one commandment, we break another. To quarrel 
or to contend with the unjust ill befits us, for 'a servant of 
the Lord must not wrangle.' 4 He who has been unfairly treated 
by his blood relatives ought to be mindful of the words of the 
Lord: There is no man who hath left house or brethren or 
sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands,' and 
not this merely, but: 'for my sake and for the gospel, who 
shall not receive an hundred times as much, now in this time 
and in the world to come, life everlasting.' 5 Certainly, it is our 
duty to bear witness against the unjust of their sin of sacri- 
lege, according to the Lord's precept: 'If thy brother shall 
offend against thee, go and rebuke him/ 6 The rules of piety, 
however, forbid entering into litigation with such persons 
before secular tribunals, as the following words show: 'If a 
man will contend with thee in judgment and take away thy 
coat, let go thy cloak also unto him,' 7 and: 'Dare any of you, 

3 Jer. 48.10. 

4 2 Tim. 2.24. 

5 Mark 10.29,30. 

6 Matt. 18.15. 

7 Matt. 5.40. 



THE LONG RULES 259 

having a matter against another, go to be judged before the 
unjust and not before the saints? 58 Before the latter, then, 
we should hold the trial, taking greater account of our 
brother's salvation than of the advantage to our fortune; for 
the Lord also says: c lf he shall hear thee/ and He adds: 
'thou shalt gain/ not wealth, but 'thy brother.' 9 Sometimes, 
also, for the sake of manifesting the truth, we agree to an 
inquiry when the author of the injustice himself issues the 
challenge to public arbitration, not initiating the matter our- 
selves but acceding to those who summon us to court, not 
seizing the opportunity to indulge our own wrathful feelings 
and our quarrelsomeness but manifesting the truth. In this 
manner we shall save our adversary also, even against his 
will, from evil consequences and we ourselves will not vio- 
late the commandment of God, being as His ministers, neither 
contentious nor avaricious, steadily intent upon the manifes- 
tation of truth and never overstepping the appointed limits of 
zeal. 

Q. 10. Whether all applicants are to be received or only 
certain ones, and whether these are to be admitted at once 
or after probation, and what the nature of this period of trial 
should be. 

R. Since our benevolent God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 
proclaims and says: 'Come to me, all you that labor and are 
burdened and I will refresh you,' 1 it is hazardous to reject 
those who through us approach the Lord, wishing to take upon 
themselves His mild yoke and the burden of the counsels 
which lifts us up to heaven. Yet, to be sure, unwashed feet 

8 1 Cor. 6.1. 

9 Matt. 18.15. 



I Matt. 11.28. 



260 SAINT BASIL 

should not be permitted access to holy doctrines. Our Lord 
Jesus Christ questioned the youth who came to Him as to 
his previous life and, learning that he had practiced virtue, 
bade him fulfill that which was still wanting to his perfection; 
only then did he offer him the opportunity of following Him. 
Thus, it is clearly our duty to inquire into the past life of can- 
didates, and to those who have already in the past led a 
good life we should impart the more advanced training in 
perfection; those, on the other hand, who are turning from 
an evil life or have set out from a state of indifference toward 
the strict life of the knowledge of God should be carefully 
examined to make sure that they are not of unstable charac- 
ter and easily swayed in their decisions. 

The fickleness of such persons renders them suspect, for, in 
addition to their receiving no benefit themselves, they are a 
cause of injury to the rest by spreading complaints, lies, and 
wicked slanders of our work. Inasmuch, however, as all things 
are set right by persevering diligence and since fear of the 
Lord prevails over all sorts of defects of the soul, these persons 
are not to be immediately rejected. They should be directed 
toward the practice of suitable disciplines, and if, their resolu- 
tion having been tested by time and laborious probation, we 
find in them some indication of stability, they may be safely 
admitted. If this is not the case, they should be sent away 
while they are still externs, so that their period of trial may 
not be injurious to the community. But it is necessary to make 
a close examination to discover whether a man who has previ- 
ously fallen into sin confesses with deep contrition his most 
secret sins and becomes an accuser of himself, 2 whereby he 
both puts to shame the companions of his wickedness and re- 
pudiates them in imitation of Him who said: 'Depart from 

2 Prov. 18.17. 



THE LONG RULES 



261 



me, all ye workers of iniquity'; 3 and in addition he makes 
his future life secure from a further fall into like sins. For the 
rest, there is a general method of trying all candidates to see 
whether they are prepared to undergo without false shame all 
humiliations, so that they accept even the most menial work 
if reason sanctions the performance of these tasks as good and 
useful. After each candidate has been proved a useful instru- 
ment for the Lord, so to speak, and ready for every good work 
by exhaustive scrutiny on the part of those competent to 
study such matters, let him be enrolled among those who have 
consecrated themselves to the Lord. To one, moreover, who 
has enjoyed any of the higher positions in society, and who 
aspires to imitate the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
should be given tasks which may appear extremely humiliat- 
ing to worldlings, to see whether he will prove himself to be 
a worker for God, wholehearted and unashamed. 

Q. 11. Concerning slaves. 

R. All bound slaves who flee to religious communities for 
refuge should be admonished and sent back to their masters 
in better dispositions, after the example of St. Paul who, al- 
thought he had begotten Onesimus through the Gospel, sent 
him back to Philemon. 1 The former he had convinced that 
the yoke of slavery, borne in a manner pleasing to the Lord, 
would render him worthy of the kingdom of heaven; the 
latter he not only urged to annul the threat against his ser- 
vant, mindful of His words who is truly the Lord: 'If you 
forgive men their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive 
you also your offenses,' 2 but also, in order that he might be 

3 Ps. 6.9. 

1 Philem. 1.12. 

2 Matt. 6.14. 



262 SAINT BASIL 

more kindly disposed toward him, he writes: Tor perhaps 
he therefore departed for a season from thee that thou 
mightest receive him again forever; not now as a servant but 
instead of a servant, a most dear brother. 53 If, however, it 
should be the case of a wicked master who gives unlawful 
commands and forces the slave to transgress the command 
of the true Master, our Lord Jesus Christ, then it is our duty 
to oppose him, that the Name of God be not blasphemed by 
that slave's performing an act displeasing to God. This pro- 
test is rightly made when the slave concerned is reconciled 
to bearing the sufferings that afflict him by reason of his obey- 
ing God rather than men, as it is written, 4 or when they 
who have given him refuge accept in a manner pleasing to 
God the trials encountered by them on his behalf. 

Q. 12. How married persons are to be received. 

R. Those who are married and who apply for entrance to 
a life such as this should be asked whether they are doing 
this by mutual consent, according to the precept of the Apostle 
('for/ he says, 'he hath not power of his own body 31 ), and if 
such be the case, the applicant should be received in the pres- 
ence of several witnesses. Nothing should be preferred to 
obedience to God. If the partner should disagree and offer 
resistance, being less concerned for God's good pleasure, let 
the words of the Apostle be recalled to mind : 'But God hath 
called us in peace.' 2 And let the Lord's precept be fulfilled: 
'If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother 
and wife and children/ and so on, 'he cannot be my disciple'; 3 

3 Philem. 1.15,16. 

4 Acts. 5.29. 

1 1 Cor. 7.4. 

2 1 Cor. 7.15. 

3 Luke 14.26. 



THE LONG RULES 263 

for nothing should take precedence over obedience to God. 
We know of many cases, moreover, where the determination 
to lead a life of chastity prevailed with the aid of earnest 
prayer and unremitting penance; the Lord inducing those who 
had been quite obstinate, even, in many instances, by visiting 
them with bodily illness to give their consent to the right 
decision. 

Q. 13. That silence is a useful discipline for novices. 

R. Silence is indeed a goo.d discipline for novices, because, 
in acquiring control of the tongue, they are at the same time 
giving sufficient proof of continency and, also, while they 
are keeping silence they will be earnest and attentive in learn- 
ing, from those who know how to make use of speech, in what 
manner one ought to ask a question or make reply in particu- 
lar cases. There is, indeed, a tone of voice, a moderateness 
in length, a propriety of time, and a specific appropriateness 
in the use of words which are especially characteristic of those 
leading the devout life, and these qualities cannot be taught 
to one who has not acquired them by constant practice. By 
reason of its restful quiet, silence induces forgetfulness of the 
past and provides leisure for learning what is good. Conse- 
quently, silence should be kept, except, of course, for the 
chanting of the psalms, unless some private need pertaining 
to the care of one's soul or an emergency in the task at hand 
should arise or some similar question require an answer. 

Q. 14. Of those who consecrate themselves to God and 
then try to repudiate their promise. 

R. Surely, everyone who has been admitted to the com- 
munity and then has retracted his promise should be looked 
upon as a sinner against God, in whose presence and to whom 
he pledged his consent to the pact. But 'if a man shall sin 



264 SAINT BASIL 

against God,' says the Scripture, 'who shall pray for him? 5 ; 1 
for, if he has consecrated himself to God and has afterward 
turned aside to another mode of life, he is guilty of sacrilege, 
by having committed the theft of himself and stolen an offer- 
ing made to God. The brethren are justified in never again 
opening their door to these persons, even if they should apply 
for shelter on some occasion when they are merely in transit. 
The apostolic rule clearly directs us to avoid every disorderly 
and undisciplined person and not to associate with him, in 
order that he may be put to shame." 2 

Q. 15. At what age consecration of oneself to God should 
be permitted and at what time the profession of virginity 
should be regarded as safe. 

R. Inasmuch as the Lord says: 'Suffer the little children to 
come unto me,' 1 and the Apostle praises him who has known 
the Holy Scripture from infancy 2 and also directs that chil- 
dred be reared 'in the discipline and correction of the Lord,'' 5 
we deem every time of life, even the very earliest, suitable for 
receiving applicants. Indeed, those children who are bereft of 
their parents we should take in on our own initiative, so that 
we may become fathers of the orphans in emulation of Job. 4 
Those who are under their parents' care and who are brought 
to us by them should be received before many witnesses so as 
not to give occasion [for blame] to those who are desirous of 
this, but that every unjust tongue uttering blasphemy against 
us may be stopped, 5 They should be received according to 



1 1 Sam. 2.25. 

2 2 Thess. 3.14. 

1 Mark 10.14. 

2 2 Tim. 3.15. 

3 Eph. 6.4. 

4 Job 29.12. 

5 Ps. 62.12. 



THE LONG RULES 265 

this method, but not immediately numbered and reckoned 
with the body of the community, in order that, in the event of 
their failing to persevere, they may not afterward heap re- 
proaches on the devout life. They should be reared with all 
piety as children belonging to the entire community, but meals 
and quarters for both girls and boys should be separate, to 
avoid their being too familiar or too self-confident with their 
elders and, also, that through the rarity of their association 
with them, their reverence for their directors may be pre- 
served. Furthermore, this separation would prevent their de- 
veloping a readiness to commit faults when they see the more 
advanced in perfection incurring penalties for omissions in 
their duties ( if at any time these should happen to be off their 
guard), and also keep them from being imperceptibly filled 
with conceit when they witness their elders repeatedly delin- 
quent in that which they themselves do aright. There is no 
difference, indeed, between a child in years and one who is 
mentally a child; consequently, it is not surprising that the 
same faults are often discovered in both. Then, too, [by such 
an arrangement], the young would not, because of close asso- 
ciation with older persons, come to act in a precocious and un- 
becoming manner by doing things which their elders carry off 
with decorum by reason of their age. 

To maintain this economy, then, and to ensure decorous 
behavior in other respects, the children's quarters should be 
separate from those of the more advanced in perfection. Along 
with other advantages, the quarters inhabited by the monks 
will not be disturbed by the drilling which is necessary for 
the young in learning their lessons. The prayers assigned for 
recitation throughout the day should, however, be said in 
common by young and old. The young, on the one hand, are 
generally stimulated by the example of the more perfect, and, 
on the other, their elders are in no small measure assisted in 



266 SAINT BASIL 

their prayer by the children. But as regards sleep and rising, 
the hours, the quantity, and the quality of the meals, specific 
routines and diets appropriate for children should be ar- 
ranged. Moreover, one who is advanced in years should be 
placed in charge of these little ones, a person of more than 
average experience and who has a reputation for patience. 
Thus, he will correct the faults of the young with fatherly 
kindness and give wise instruction, applying remedies proper 
to each fault, so that, while the penalty for the fault is being 
exacted, the soul may be exercised in interior tranquility. 
Has one of them, for example, become angry with a com- 
panion? According to the seriousness of his offense, he should 
be made to care for this comrade and wait on him; for the 
practice of humility fells, as it were, an angry spirit, while 
arrogance usually breeds anger within us. Has he partaken of 
food out of time? Let him fast for most of the day. Has he 
been accused of eating immoderately or in an unseemly fash- 
ion? Let him be deprived of food at meal time and forced to 
watch the others who know how to eat properly, so that he 
may be at once punished by abstinence and taught proper 
decorum. Has he uttered an idle word, or insulted his neigh- 
bor, or told a lie, or said anything at all that is forbidden? 
Let him learn restraint in fasting and silence. 

Their studies, also, should be in conformity with the aim 
in view. They should, therefore, employ a vocabulary derived 
from the Scriptures and, in place of myths, historical accounts 
of admirable deeds should be told, to them. They should be 
taught maxims from Proverbs and rewards should be held 
out to them for memorizing names and facts. In this way> 
joyfully and with a relaxed mind, they will achieve their aim 
without pain to themselves and without giving offense. Under 
the proper guidance, moreover, attentiveness and habits of 
concentration would readily be developed in such students 



THE LONG RULES 267 

if they were continually questioned by their teachers as to 
where their thoughts were and what they were thinking about. 
A child of tender age, simple, candid, and unskilled in de- 
ceit, readily reveals the secrets of his soul; so as not to be con- 
tinually caught in what is forbidden, he would avoid unsuit- 
able thoughts, and, fearing the shame of a scolding, would 
instantly recall his mind from its follies. 

While the mind is still easy to mold and as pliable as wax, 
taking the form of what is impressed upon it, it should be exer- 
cised from the very beginning in every good discipline. Then, 
when reason enters in and habits of choice develop, they will 
take their course from the first elements learned at the be- 
ginning and from traditional forms of piety ; reason proposing 
that which is beneficial and habit imparting facility in right 
action. At this point, also, permission to make the vow of 
virginity should be granted, inasmuch as it is now to be relied 
upon, since it is the individual's own choice and the decision 
follows upon the maturing of reason. After this stage, too, 
rewards for good deeds and penalties for faults proportioned 
to the importance of the action are meted out by a fair arbiter. 
Furthermore, ecclesiastical officials should be called in as wit- 
nesses of the decision, so that through their presence, as well, 
the consecration of the person as a kind of votive offering to 
God may be sanctified and the act ratified by their testimony; 
'for,' says the Scripture, 'in the mouth of two or three witnesses 
shall every word stand. 30 In this way, also, the fervor of the 
brethren will suffer no disedification, for those who have so 
vowed themselves to God and afterward try to revoke such 
a vow will have no excuse for their shamelessness. On the 
other hand, one who does not wish to submit to the life of 
virginity, on the ground that he is incapable of devoting his 

6 2 Cor. 13.1. 



268 SAINT BASIL 

whole attention to the things of the Lord, should be dismissed 
in the presence of the same witnesses. He who makes such 
a vow, however, after a great amount of careful deliberation 
which he should be allowed to engage in privately for several 
days, so that we may not appear to be kidnapping him, should 
be received forthwith and made a member of the community, 
sharing the dwelling and daily life of the more advanced 
in perfection. Moreover to add a point which we had for- 
gotten and which is not out of place here since certain trades 
must be practiced even from early childhood, whenever any 
children appear to have an aptitude for these, we should not 
oppose their remaining during the day with their instructors 
in the art. At nightfall, however, we should invariably send 
them back to their companions, with whom they must also 
take their meals. 

Q. 16. Whether continency is necessary for one who would 
lead the religious life. 

R. It is evident that the practice of continency is essential; 
first, from the fact that the Apostle includes continency among 
the fruits of the spirit 1 and, second, from his saying that a 
blameless ministry is achieved through this virtue, in ^these 
words: In labors, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity 5 ; 2 and 
elsewhere: c in labor, and painfulness, in much watchings, in 
hunger and thirst, in fastings often'; 3 and again: 'And every- 
one that striveth for the mastery, refraineth himself from all 
things.' 4 Chastisement of the body and bringing it under sub- 
jection are achieved by no other means as successfully as by 
the practice of continency; for the effervescent fires of youth, 
whose leapings can scarcely be controlled, are held in re- 

1 Gal. 5.23. 

2 2 Cor. 6.5,6. 

3 2 Cor. 11.27. 

4 1 Cor. 9.25. 



THE LONG RULES 269 

strain! by continency as with a bridle. According to Solomon, 
'Delicacies are not seemly for a fool; 55 and what is more fool- 
ish than for the flesh to indulge itself in delights and for youth 
to whirl about at will! Wherefore, the Apostle says: 'and 
make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences; 6 like- 
wise: 'she that liveth in pleasures is dead while she is living.' 7 
Moreover, the example of the delights enjoyed by the rich 
man show that continency is necessary for us, that we may 
never hear what was said to the rich man : 'thou didst receive 
good things in thy lifetime. 98 

The Apostle also showed how much incontinency is to be 
dreaded by including it among the signs of apostasy, when 
he said: 'in the last days shall come dangerous times. Men 
shall be lovers of themselves. 59 Then, after enumerating sev- 
eral forms of iniquity, he adds: 'slanderers, incontinent. 510 
Also, for selling his birthright for one portion of food, Esau 
was charged with incontinency as the greatest of evils. 11 The 
first disobedience befell men as a consequence of incontinency. 
All the saints, on the contrary, were renowned for continency. 
The whole life of the saints and of the blessed, the example 
of the Lord Himself while He was with us in the flesh, are 
aids to us in this matter. Moses, through long perseverance 
in fasting and prayer, 12 received the law and heard the words 
of God, 'as a man is wont to speak to his friend,' 13 says the 
Scripture. Elias was deemed worthy of the vision of God when 
he also had practiced abstinence in like degree. 14 And what 

5 Prov. 19.10. 

6 Rom. 13.14. 

7 1 Tim. 5.6. 

8 Luke 16.25. 

9 2 Tim. 3.1,2, 

10 2 Tim. 3.3. 

11 Gen. 25.33. 

12 Deut. 9.9. 

13 Exod. 33.11. 

14 1 Kings 19.8. 



270 SAINT BASIL 

of Daniel? How did he attain to the contemplation of mar- 
vels? Was it not after a twenty-day fast? 15 And how did the 
three children overcome the power of the fire? Was it not 
through continency? 1 " As for John, his whole plan of life was 
based on the practice of continency. 17 Even the Lord Himself 
inaugurated His public manifestation with the practice of this 
virtue. 18 By continency, however, we do not mean complete 
abstinence from food (for this is to take one's life by violence) , 
but that abstinence from pleasures which aims at the thwart- 
ing of the will of the flesh for the purpose of attaining to the 
goal of piety. 

In general, we who are instructed in the devout life are 
bound to abstain from those pleasures which they enjoy who 
lead a self-indulgent life. The practice of continency, there- 
fore, does not have to do only with the delights of the table, 
but extends also to the avoidance of all that represents an 
impediment to us. One who is perfectly continent does not 
control his appetite only to fall prey to the desire for human 
fame. He does not gain mastery over shameful desires and 
neglect to overcome his attachment to wealth as well as all 
other base emotions, such as anger, dejection, and the rest of 
the vices which are wont to enslave inexperienced souls. We 
have noticed, indeed, that all the precepts and this is es- 
pecially observable with regard to continency are inter- 
connected and that it is almost impossible to observe one 
separately from another. Thus, he is humble who is continent 
regarding worldly glory, and he meets the evangelical standard 
of poverty who is master of himself with respect to worldly 
goods. He abstains from anger who exercises control over 
wrath and indignation. Perfect continency also sets limits for 



15 Dan. 10.3. 

16 Dan. 1.8IF. 

17 Matt. 3.4. 

18 Matt. 4.2. 



THE LONG RULES 271 

the tongue, boundaries for the eyes, and enjoins upon the ears 
an avoidance of curiosity in the use of the hearing. Anyone 
who does not observe these restraints is incontinent and undis- 
ciplined. Do you see how all the other precepts cluster about 
this one and are intertwined with it? 

Q. 17. That laughter also must be held in check. 

R. Those who live under discipline should avoid very care- 
fully even such intemperate action as is commonly regarded 
lightly. Indulging in unrestrained and immoderate laughter 
is a sign of intemperance, of a want of control over one's 
emotions, and of failure to repress the soul's frivolity by a stern 
use of reason. It is not unbecoming, however, to give evidence 
of merriment of soul by a cheerful smile, if only to illustrate 
that which is written: 'A glad heart maketh a cheerful coun- 
tenance 5 ; 1 but raucous laughter and uncontrollable shaking 
of the body are not indicative of a well-regulated soul, or of 
personal dignity, or self-mastery. This kind of laughter Eccle- 
siastes also reprehends as especially subversive of firmness of 
soul in the words: 'Laughter I counted error,' 2 and again: 
'As the crackling of thorns burning under a pot, so is the 
laughter of fools.' 3 Moreover, the Lord appears to have ex- 
perienced those emotions which are of necessity associated 
with the body, as well as those that betoken virtue, as, for 
example, weariness and compassion for the afflicted; but, so 
far as we know from the story of the Gospel, He never 
laughed. On the contrary, He even pronounced those unhappy 
who are given to laughter. 4 And let not the equivocal sense 
of the word laughter' deceive us, for it is a frequent practice 
in the Scriptures to call joy of spirit and the cheerful feel- 

1 Prov. 15.13. 

2 Eccle. 2.2. 

3 Eccle. 7.7. 

4 Luke 6.25. 



272 SAINT BASIL 

ing which follows upon good actions, 'laughter. 5 Sara says, 
for instance: 'God hath made a laughter for me,' 5 and there 
is another saying: 'Blessed are ye that weep now, for you shall 
laugh'; 6 likewise, the words of Job: 'And the true mouth he 
will fill with laughter.' 7 All these references to gaiety signify 
merriment of soul instead of hilarity. He, therefore, who is 
master of every passion and feels no excitement from pleasure, 
or at least, does not give it outward expression, but is stead- 
fastly inclined to restraint as regards every harmful delight, 
such a one is perfectly continent but, clearly, he is also at 
the same time free from all sin. Sometimes, moreover, even 
acts of a permissible and necessary kind are to be abstained 
from, when the abstinence is dictated by consideration of our 
brother's welfare. Thus, the Apostle says: 'If meat scan- 
dalize my brother, I will never eat flesh/ 8 And even though 
he could have gained his livelihood from preaching the gospel, 
he did not take advantage of this privilege lest he should offer 
any hindrance, as it were, to the Gospel of Christ. 9 

Continency, then, destroys sin, quells the passions, and 
mortifies the body even as to its natural affections and desires. 
It marks the beginning of the spiritual life, leads us to eternal 
blessings, and extinguishes within itself the desire for pleasure. 
Pleasure, indeed, is evil's special allurement, through which 
we men are most likely to commit sin and by which the whole 
soul is dragged down to ruin as by a hook. Whoever, then, is 
neither overcome nor weakened by it successfully avoids all 
sin through the practice of continency. If, however, a man 
escape almost all incitements to sin, but falls prey even to one, 
such a man is not continent, just as he is not in health who is 



5 Gen. 21.6. 

6 Luke 6.21. 
lob 8.21. 

Cor. 8.13. 
9 1 Cor. 9.12. 



7 Jc 

8 1 



THE LONG RULES 



273 



suffering from only one bodily affliction and as he is not free 
who is under the authority of anyone, it matters not whom. 
Further, the other virtues are practiced in secret and are 
rarely displayed to men. But continency makes itself known 
as soon as we meet a person who practices it. As plumpness 
an a healthy color betoken the athlete, so leanness of body 
and the pallor produced by the exercise of continency mark 
the Christian, for he is the true athlete of the commandments 
of Christ. In weakness of body, he overcomes his opponent 
and displays his prowess in the contests of piety, according 
to the words, 'when I am weak, then am I powerful.' 10 So 
beneficial is it merely to behold the continent man making a 
sparing and frugal use of necessities, ministering to nature 
as if this were a burdensome duty and begrudging the time 
spent in it, and rising promptly from the table in his eagerness 
for work, that I think no sermon would so touch the soul of 
one whose appetites are undisciplined and bring about his 
conversion as merely his meeting with a continent man. In- 
deed, the reason we are enjoined to eat and drink to the glory 
of God 11 is, probably, so that our good works may shine forth 
even at table to the glory of our Father who is in heaven. 12 

Q. 18. That we should taste everything set before us. 

R. It should also be laid down as essential that continency is 
inexorably demanded of combatants for godliness, so that 
they may bring the body into subjection; 'for every one that 
striveth for the mastery refraineth himself from all things. 51 
However, to avoid being classed with the enemies of God who 



10 2 Cor. 12.10. 

11 1 Cor. 10.31. 

12 Matt. 5.16. 



I 1 Cor. 9.25. 



274 SAINT BASIL 

are seared in their conscience and, therefore, abstain from 
food which God has made for the faithful to partake of with 
thanksgiving, 2 we should taste each dish when occasion offers 
so as to indicate to those looking on that 'all things are clean 
to the clean' 3 and that 'every creature of God is good and 
nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving; for 
it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.' 4 The aim of 
continency must nevertheless be kept in mind also, to the 
extent that we satisfy our need with the plainer foods and 
those necessary to sustain life, avoiding the evil of taking our 
fill of them and abstaining absolutely from those foods whose 
sole purpose is to give delight. By acting thus we shall root out 
the affection for foods whose end is to give pleasure and we 
shall also cure those who are seared in their conscience as 
with a hot iron at least, insofar as this is possible for us 
protecting ourselves, meanwhile, from the suspicion of guilt 
in either direction; for 'why,' says the Apostle, 'is my liberty 
judged by another man's conscience?' 5 Continency betokens 
the man who has died with Christ and who mortifies his 
members that are upon the earth. 6 This virtue we know as the 
mother of chastity, the protector of health, the effective re- 
mover of obstacles to the fruitfulness of good works in Christ, 
since, according to the word of the Lord, the cares of this 
world, the pleasures of life, and other desires choke the word 
and it is thus rendered unfruitful 7 From this virtue even the 
demons fly, as the Lord Himself teaches, saying : This kind is 
not cast out but by prayer and fasting.' 8 

2 1 Tim. 4.2,3. 

3 Titus 1.15. 

4 1 Tim. 4.4,5. 

5 1 Cor. 10.29. 

6 Col. 3.5. 

7 Matt. 13.22. 

8 Matt. 17.20. 



THE LONG RULES 275 

Q. 19. In what measure continency must be practiced. 

R. With regard to the affections of the soul, continency has 
only one rule: complete abstinence from all that tends to 
harmful pleasure. With reference to food, as individual needs 
vary according to age, employment, and physical condition, 
respectively, so, also, the manner of its use and the amount 
of it differ. It is not possible, therefore, to include under one 
rule all who are in the school of the devout life. In setting the 
norm for healthy ascetics, we allow for appropriate deviation 
on the part of superiors according to particular circumstances. 
Nor is it possible for one discourse to cover every individual 
case, but such only as are amenable to the common and gen- 
eral teaching. As regards nourishment to be given the sick for 
their relief or to one who is exceptionally weary from strenu- 
ous work or who is preparing to undertake a laborious task, 
such as a journey or some other work, superiors will prescribe 
according to the need, in conformity with the words: 'Distri- 
bution was made to each according as every one had need.' 1 
It is also impossible to lay down a rule that the time for taking 
food as well as the manner of taking it and its quantity be the 
same for all. The objective, however satisfying need must 
be common to all alike. Filling the stomach to satiety, burden- 
ing it with food, is an act deserving of malediction as the Lord 
says: 'Woe to you that are filled now.' 2 Besides, such excess 
renders the body unfit for work, prone to sleep, and more sus- 
ceptible to harm. Nor, to be sure, ought pleasure to be made 
an end in taking food, but the aim should be the sustaining of 
life for those who have renounced intemperate delights. To 
become a slave to the pleasures of the table is to make the 
stomach one's god. Since our body, ever being emptied and 
drained, needs to be filled (and for this reason our appetite 

1 Acts 2.45. 

2 Luke 6.25. 



276 SAINT BASIL 

for nourishment is natural), right reason dictates as regards 
the use of food that we replenish by dry or moist nourish- 
ment, as the need may be, what has been used up in order to 
sustain animal life. 

In consequence, then, whatever is calculated to relieve our 
need with the least trouble, this is to be employed. This the 
Lord Himself made evident on the occasion when He was 
host to the weary multitude lest they faint on the way, as it 
it written. 3 Although He could have enhanced the miracle in 
the desert by using costly appurtenances, so frugal and simple 
was the repast He prepared for them that the bread was of 
barley and, besides the bread, there was [only] a little fish. 4 
He does not mention drink, since water which nature pro- 
vides for all was sufficient for their need. But, according to the 
advice of Paul to Timothy, even this beverage should be de- 
clined if it be injurious to anyone because of physical weak- 
ness. 5 Nothing, in fact, that is known to be harmful should be 
partaken of, for it is not reasonable to take food for nourish- 
ment which from within us would make war upon the body 
and hinder it in the accomplishment of the precept. This same 
principle ought to be our guide in accustoming the mind to 
shun what is harmful, however alluring it may be. Further- 
more, we should prefer by all means whatever is most easily 
procurable and not concern ourselves with costly fare and seek 
to obtain extravagant foods with expensive sauces on the pre- 
text of continency. On the contrary, we should choose whatever 
is easy to obtain in each region, cheap, and available for gen- 
eral consumption, and use only those imported foods that are 
necessary to sustain life, like olive oil and similar products. 
In addition, if something would be useful for the necessary 

3 Matt. 15.32. 

4 John 6.9. 

5 1 Tim. 5.23. 



THE LONG RULES 277 

relief of the sick, this, too, is permitted, if it can be procured 
without difficulty, disturbance, or distraction. 

Q. 20. The rule to be followed in serving meals to guests. 

R. Vainglory, the desire to please men, and acting for dis- 
play are strictly forbidden to Christians under all circum- 
stances, because even a man who observes the precept but does 
it for the purpose of being seen and glorified by men loses 
the reward for that observance. All manner of vainglory, con- 
sequently, is especially to be avoided by those who have em- 
braced every kind of humiliation for the sake of the Lord's 
command. But, inasmuch as we see men of the world ashamed 
of the lowliness of poverty and at pains when they entertain 
guests to have every article of food both abundant and expen- 
sive, I fear that, unwittingly, we are being infected by the same 
vice and that we are ashamed to be found guilty of the poverty 
called blessed by Christ. 1 Just as it is not proper to provide 
ourselves with worldly trappings like a silver vessel, or a cur- 
tain edged with purple, or a downy couch, or transparent 
draperies, so we act unfittingly in contriving menus which de- 
viate in any important way from our usual diet. That we 
should run about searching for anything not demanded by real 
necessity, but calculated to provide a wretched delight and 
ruinous vainglory, is not only shameful and out of keeping 
with our avowed purpose, but it also causes harm of no mean 
gravity when they who spend their lives in sensual gratification 
and measure happiness in terms of pleasure for the appetite 
see us also taken up with the same preoccupations which keep 
them enthralled. If, indeed, sensual pleasure is evil and to be 
avoided, we ought on no occasion indulge in it, for nothing 
that is condemned can at any time be beneficial. They who 



1 Matt. 5.3. 



278 SAINT BASIL 

live riotously and are anointed with the best ointments and 
drink filtered wine come under the denunciation of the Scrip- 
ture. 2 Because she lives in pleasure, the widow is dead while 
she is living. 3 The rich man is debarred from paradise because 
he lived in luxury upon earth. 4 What, then, have we to do with 
costly appointments? Has a guest arrived? If he is a brother 
and follows a way of life aiming at the same objective as ours, 
he will recognize the fare we provide as properly his own. 
What he has left at home, he will find with us. Suppose he 
is weary after his journey. We then provide as much extra 
nourishment as is required to relieve his weariness. 

Is it a secular person who has arrived? Let him learn 
through actual experience whatever things verbal instruction 
has not convinced him of, and let him be given a model and 
pattern of frugal sufficiency in matters of food. Let memories 
of Christian fare linger in his mind and of a poverty which, 
because of Christ, gives no cause for shame. If he will not 
learn this lesson, but adopts a mocking attitude, he will not 
discommode us a second time. Moreover, when we see the 
rich placing the enjoyment of sensual delights among the 
greatest blessings, we should grieve profoundly for them, be- 
cause they are not aware that, in wasting their whole life in 
vanities and in making pleasure their god, they have already 
received their share of blessing in this life and that by living 
in luxury here they are preparing themselves to burn in the 
fire reserved for them hereafter. And if occasion ever offers, 
we should not hesitate to say this to their faces. But, if it 
should happen that we ourselves are also prone to the same 
vice of eagerly seeking, insofar as it lies in our power, for what 
pleases the palate and of making ostentation our aim, I am 

2 Amos 6.6. 

3 1 Tim. 5.6. 

4 Luke 16.25. 



THE LONG RULES 279 

afraid that we are destroying what we make profession of 
building up and that we condemn ourselves by the same acts 
for which we judge others. For we are making a pretense of 
living in this state of life and have transformed ourselves only 
in certain respects, unless, to be sure, we even change our 
outer garb when we associate with distinguished worldlings. 
If this is a base manner of action, far baser is it to alter our 
fare to suit the fastidious. The life of the Christian does not 
vary, inasmuch as its end the glory of God is ever the 
same; for Paul says, speaking in Christ: 'whether you eat or 
drink or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.' 5 
The life of persons in the world, on the contrary, is complex 
and varied, adapting itself in diverse ways to gratifying the 
whims of every chance acquaintance. 

If you also change your daily fare, then, for rare quality or 
abundance in food to please a brother's palate, you imply that 
he takes delight in sensual pleasure and you heap reproaches 
upon him for his gluttony by the very preparations you make, 
since you thus accuse him of finding pleasure in such things. 
In fact, have we not often guessed who or what sort of guest 
was expected, upon seeing the appearance and quality of the 
preparations? The Lord did not praise Martha for being 
anxious about much serving, but He said: 'Thou art careful 
and art troubled about many things; few things nay, one 
thing only is necessary' : 6 'few things' that is, for the prepa- 
ration of the meal, and 'one thing' that is, the purpose,, 
namely, to satisfy need. You are well aware, also, of what sort 
of food the Lord Himself placed before the five thousand. 
Jacob, too, prayed to God as follows: 'If thou shalt give me 
bread to eat and raiment to put on. 57 He did not say: 'If 

5 i Cor. 10.31. 

6 Luke 10.41,42. 

7 Gen. 28.20. 



280 SAINT BASIL 

thou wilt give me delicacies and sumptuous appointments.' 
And what says Solomon, wisest of men? 'Give me neither 
beggary nor riches; give me only what is necessary and suffici- 
ent, lest being filled I should deny and say: 'Who sees me? Or 
being poor, I should steal and forswear the name of my God'; 8 
thus representing riches as satiety, poverty as a complete lack 
of the necessities of life, and sufficiency as a state both free 
from want and without superfluity. Sufficiency varies, how- 
ever, according to physical condition and present need. One, 
because of his work, requires more substantial food and a 
larger amount. Another needs a lighter and more digestible 
diet and suited in other ways to his weakness, but for all alike 
it should be cheap and easily procured. In every case, care 
must be taken for a good table, yet without overstepping the 
limits of the actual need. This should be our aim in giving hos- 
pitality that the individual requirements of our guests may be 
cared for. The Apostle says: 'as if using this world and not 
misusing it'; 9 unnecessary expenditure, however, is misuse. 
Have we no money? So be it. Are not our granaries filled? 
What of it ! We live from day to day. Our livelihood is the 
work of our hands. Why, then, do we waste food given by God 
for the poor to gratify the voluptuary, sinning thereby in two 
ways: by intensifying for the former the sufferings of their 
poverty and increasing the harmful results of satiety for the 
latter. 

Q. 21. How one ought to conduct oneself with regard to 
sitting and reclining at the midday meal or at supper. 

R. Since it is a precept of the Lord, who on all occasions 
habituates us to humility, that we should take the lowest 
place in reclining at meals, he who strives to do all according 



8 Prov. 30.8,9. 

9 1 Cor. 7.31. 



THE LONG RULES 281 

to injunction must not neglect this precept. 1 If any world- 
lings, therefore, should recline with us, it behooves us to be an 
example in this matter by not exalting ourselves above others 
or seeking to have the first place. But when all who thus gather 
together are in pursuit of the same goal, each one, so that at 
every opportunity they may give proof of their humility, has 
an obligation of being beforehand in taking the last place, 
according to the Lord's command. To engage in rivalry and 
strife in this matter is unseemly, because it destroys good order 
and is a cause of tumult. Moreover, if we are not willing to 
yield to one another and conflict arises over it, we shall be 
classed with those who quarrel over the first places. In this 
sphere, also, prudently aware of and attentive to what befits 
us, we therefore should leave the order of seating to the one 
entrusted with this duty, as the Lord declared when he said 
that the arrangement of these matters pertains to the master 
of the house. 2 In this way, we shall support one another in 
charity, 3 doing all things decently and according to order. 4 
Also, we will not give the impression, by stubborn and vigor- 
ous opposition, that we are trying to appear humble in order 
to impress the company or to win popular favor, but rather 
we will practice humility by being obedient. To engage in 
altercation, indeed, is a surer sign of pride than to accept the 
first place when we are directed to do so. 

Q. 22. On the garb befitting a Christian. 

R. Earlier in our discourse it was shown that humility, sim- 
plicity, thriftiness, and frugality in all things are necessary, 
so that we might have rare occasion for distraction on the 
score of our bodily needs. This end we must keep also before 

1 Luke 14.10. 

2 Ibid. 

$ Eph. 4.2. 
4 1 Cor. 14.40. 



282 SAINT BASIL 

our minds in treating of clothing. If it behooves us to seek to 
be last of all, clearly the last place is also to be preferred in 
this connection. If men who are greedy for renown seek glory 
for themselves even in the garments they wear, striving to 
attract attention and arouse envy by reason of the splendor 
of their dress, it is obvious that one who out of humility 
has chosen to pass his life in the lowliest condition of all 
ought to prefer for himself even in this particular the last and 
the least. Just as the Corinthians were accused of despising, 
because of their own expenditures for the public feasts, those 
who had not the means for such expenditure, 1 so, in the case 
of an ordinary and plain style of dress, he who is turned out 
with an elaborateness above the ordinary, by contrast, as it 
were, puts the poor man to shame. In the light of the Apostle's 
words, 'not minding high things but consenting to the hum- 
ble,' 2 let each consider for himself whom the Christian more 
fittingly resembles those who live in royal palaces and are 
clothed in soft garments, or him, the messenger and herald of 
the Lord's advent, than whom no greater born of woman has 
arisen, 3 John, I mean, son of Zachary, whose garment was of 
camel's hair. 4 The saints of old, moreover, also went about 
clad in sheepskins and goatskins. 5 

Now, the Apostle sets the standard for the proper use of 
clothing in one sentence when he says: 'Having food and 
wherewith to be covered, with these we are content,' 6 as if 
mere covering alone were necessary for us. At any rate, let 
us not fall any more into the forbidden boasting not to speak 
of something worse which accompanies elaborate dress or 



1 1 Cor. 11.22. 

2 Rom. 12.16. 

3 Matt. 11.8,11. 

4 Matt. 3.4. 

5 Heb. 11.37. 

6 1 Tim. 6.8. 



THE LONG RULES 283 

the vanity that is likewise prompted by it; for these vices 
creep subsequently into our lives through the pursuit of vain 
and worthless arts. The use made in the beginning of the 
clothing which God Himself gave to the needy has been re- 
vealed to us; for the Scripture says: 'God made for them gar- 
ments of skins. 57 Such garb was sufficient to cover their naked- 
ness. Since, however, another purpose enters in that of 
keeping warm by means of clothing it is necessary to have 
both uses in mind: covering for decency's sake and for pro- 
tection against mischief from the air. Yet, inasmuch as even 
from this point of view some garments are more useful than 
others, we should prefer whatever can be put to greater use, so 
that the principle of poverty may in no way be violated. We 
should, furthermore, not keep in reserve some garments to 
wear in public and others for use at home, nor, again, some 
to be worn in the day time, others at night, but we should 
contrive to have only one garment which can serve for all 
occasions: for suitable wear during the day and for necessary 
covering at night. This manner of acting unites us even in our 
appearance and the Christian is thus identified by the way he 
dresses as with a kind of special stamp, for all who aim at the 
same goal are alike in as many ways as possible. This distinc- 
tiveness in dress is also useful as giving advance notice of each 
of us, by proclaiming our profession of the devout life. Actions 
in conformity with this profession are, in consequence, ex- 
pected from us by those whom we meet. The standard of 
indecorous and unseemly conduct is not the same for ordi- 
nary folk as for those who make profession of great aspirations. 
No one would take particular notice of the man in the street 
who would inflict blows on a passerby or publicly suffer them 
himself, or who would use obscene language, or loiter in the 



7 Gen. 3.21. 



284 SAINT BASIL 

shops, or commit other unseemly actions of this kind. These 
things are accepted as in keeping with the general course of 
life in the world. On the other hand, everyone takes notice of 
him who is bound by promise to strive for perfection, if he 
neglect the least part of his duty, and they heap reproaches 
upon him for it, fulfilling the words: 'and turning upon you, 
they tear you. 38 A mode of dress, therefore, which denotes 
one's profession serves to fulfill the office of pedagogue, as it 
were, for the weak, to keep them from wrongdoing even 
against their will. As one style of dress bespeaks the soldier, 
another, a senator, a third, some other high position, so that 
the rank of these dignitaries can generally be inferred, so also 
it is right and proper that there be some mark of identity 
for the Christian which would bear out even as to his gar- 
ments the good order spoken of by the Apostle. In one place, 
indeed, he directs that a bishop be a man of orderly behav- 
ior; 9 in another, he prescribes that women be clad in decent 
apparel, 10 the word 'decent' clearly being used in a sense 
that accords with the specific character of the Christian ideal. 
This same advice applies also to footwear. On every occasion, 
a style which is plain, easy to procure, and serviceable should 
be preferred. 

Q. 23. Regarding the cincture. 

J?. The saints long before us have demonstrated the neces- 
sity of a cincture. John bound his loins with a leather girdle 1 
as did Elias before him, for it is written (as though this article 
of dress were specifically proper to a man ) , 'a hairy man with 



8 Matt. 7.6. 

9 1 Tim. 3.2. 
10 1 Tim. 2,9. 



1 Matt. 3.4. 



THE LONG RULES 285 

a girdle of leather about his loins.' 2 Peter also is clearly proved 
to have worn a girdle by the words of the angel who said 
to him: 'Gird thyself and put on thy sandals. 53 It appears 
from the prophecy of Agabus that the blessed Paul also used 
a cincture: 'the man whose girdle this is, they shall so bind 
in Jerusalem. 54 Job, too, was commanded by the Lord to 
gird himself. As if this were a kind of sign of virility and of 
readiness for action, He says to Job: 'Gird up thy loins like 
a man. 55 That cinctures were in habitual use among the dis- 
ciples of the Lord, moreover, is evident from the fact that 
they were forbidden to carry money in their girdles. 6 It is 
particularly necessary, also, that one who is about to engage 
in work be well girt up and unimpeded in his movements. He 
needs a cincture, therefore, by which his tunic may be gath- 
ered close to his body and he will work more comfortably and 
be more unhampered in his movements when his garment is 
well wrapped about him. The Lord, also, took a towel and 
girded Himself when He was preparing to minister to His 
disciples. 7 With regard to quantity of clothing we need say 
nothing, since this phase of the subject has been adequately 
treated above in the passage on poverty. 8 If he who has two 
tunics is commanded to share with him who has none, 9 the 
possession of several tunics for his own use clearly is not 
allowed. What relevance is there, then, in laying down pre- 
cepts on the use of two tunics for those who are forbidden to 
possess them? 

2 2 Kings 1.8. 

3 Acts 12.8. 

4 Acts 21.11. 

5 Job 38.3. 

6 Matt. 10.9- 

7 John 13.4. 

8 Cf. Q. 22- 

9 Luke 3.11. 



286 SAINT BASIL 

Q. 24. Now that sufficient instruction on these [other] 
matters has been imparted to us, it would befit us to learn how 
we ought to live with one another. 

R. When the Apostle says: 'But let all things be done de- 
cently and according to order, 51 I think that he refers to the 
decent and well-ordered way of life in the society of the 
faithful where the relationship which obtains among the 
members of the body is maintained. Thus, the one to whom 
general supervision is entrusted, who appraises what has 
already been accomplished and plans and provides for what 
is still to be done, exercises the function of the eye, so to 
speak. Another does the work of the ear or the hand in 
hearkening to orders and executing them, and so on for each 
member of the body. It is important to bear in mind, there- 
fore, the analogy of the parts of the body, where heedlessness 
or failure to use the members for the end for which they were 
made by God, the Creator, brings each individual member 
into danger. If the hand and the foot, for instance, would not 
follow the guidance of the eye, the former would bring in- 
evitable and fatal ruin upon the whole body and the latter 
would stumble or even be hurled over a cliff. If the eye would 
close so as not to see, it would necessarily perish along with 
the other members suffering the misfortune mentioned above. 
In the same way, it is hazardous for a superior to be delin- 
quent, since he holds the position of arbiter in everything; for 
the subject it is injurious and detrimental to be disobedient 
especially perilous is it if, in addition, he give scandal to the 
rest. Each one who shows in his own place a tireless zeal, ful- 
filling the Apostle's precept, 'In carefulness not slothful/ 2 
merits praise for his alacrity; but, for negligence, he deserves 
the opposite, that is, unhappiness and woe; for the Prophet 

1 1 Cor. 14.40. 

2 Rom. 12.11. 



THE LONG RULES 287 

says, 'Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord negli- 
gently. 33 

Q. 25. That a superior who does not upbraid the sinner is 
liable to a dreadful judgment. 

R. He who is charged with general supervision should feel 
as if he is liable to an account for each individual under his 
care. He should bear in mind that if one of the brethren falls 
into sin, not having been forewarned by him of the ordinance 
of God, or if, having fallen, he remain in that state, unin- 
structed as to the manner of making amends, the blood of that 
one will be required at his hands, as it is written; 1 especially 
if he neglect that which is pleasing to God, not through 
ignorance, but for flattery's sake, accommodating himself to 
each one's vices and relaxing strict discipline. The Scripture 
says: They that call thee blessed, the same deceive thee and 
destroy the way of thy steps, 32 'but he that troubleth you shall 
bear the judgment, whosoever he be.' 3 In order that this may 
not be our lot, let us observe the apostolic rule in our conver- 
sations with the brethren; Tor neither, 3 says St. Paul, 'have 
we used at any time the speech of flattery, as you know; nor 
taken an occasion of covetousness, God is witness; nor sought 
we glory of men, neither of you nor of others.' 

Whoever, then, is free from these faults may, perhaps, ex- 
ercise a leadership free from error, at once profitable to him- 
self and salutary for his subjects. He who acts with true charity 
and not for the sake of any human honors nor to avoid giv- 
ing offense to sinners, and for that reason seeking to be agree- 

3 Jer. 48.10. 



1 Ezech. 3.20. 

2 Isa. 3.12. 

3 Gal. 5.10. 

4 1 Thess. 2.5,6. 



288 SAINT BASIL 

able and pleasant to them, will hold discourse with them 
sincerely and candidly, not choosing to adulterate the truth 
in any respect. The following words therefore, apply also to 
him: 'but we became little ones in the midst of you, as if a 
nurse should cherish her children, so desirous of you we would 
gladly impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our 
own souls, 55 He who is not such a one is a blind guide, cast- 
ing himself headlong over the precipice and drawing his 
followers after him. 6 From these words it can be seen how 
serious an evil it is to be the cause of a brother's error instead 
of bearing the responsibility for guiding him aright. It is also 
a sign that the commandment of love is not being observed, 
for no father abandons his child when he is about to fall into 
a pit or leaves him to his fate after he has fallen therein. Need- 
less to say, it is far more dreadful to allow the soul to be de- 
stroyed after it has fallen into the pit of evils. The superior 
is obliged, therefore, to be vigilant on behalf of the souls of 
the brethren and as seriously concerned for the salvation of 
each one as if he himself were to render an account for him. 
He should, furthermore, be solicitous in manifesting his zeal 
for them even unto death, in accordance not only with the 
general precept of charity addressed to all by the Lord : 'that 
a man lay down his life for his friends'; 7 but also, in con- 
formity with the special application of it by him who said: 
'being desirous of you, we would gladly impart unto you 
not only the gospel of God, but also our own souls.' 8 

Q. 26. That all matters, even the secrets of the heart, should 
be placed before the superior. 

R. Every subject, if he intends to make any progress worth 

5 1 Thess. 2.7,8. 

6 Luke 6.39. 

7 John 15.13. 

8 1 Thess. 2.8. 



THE LONG RULES 289 

mentioning and to be confirmed in a mode of life that accords 
with the precepts of our Lord Jesus Christ, ought not conceal 
within himself any movement of his soul, nor yet utter any 
thoughtless word, but he should reveal the secrets of his heart 
to those of his brethren whose office it is to exercise a com- 
passionate and sympathetic solicitude for the weak. In this 
way, that which is laudable will be ratified and that which 
is worthy of rebuke will receive the correction it deserves, and 
by the practice of such co-operative discipline, we shall by a 
gradual advance attain to perfection. 

Q. 27. That the superior himself, if he commit a fault, 
should be admonished by the more eminent among the breth- 
ren. 

R. Just as it is the superior's duty to be the leader of the 
brethren in everything, so, in turn, if ever he is himself sus- 
pected of being guilty of a fault, it devolves upon the rest to 
call it to his attention. That good order may not be disturbed, 
however, those who are eminent by reason of age and sagacity 
should be assigned the task of giving the admonition. If, then, 
there be something deserving of correction, we have benefited 
our brother and ourselves through him, inasmuch as we are 
restoring to the straight path him who is an embodiment, as it 
were, of our rule of life and who should, by his own upright- 
ness, be a reproach to our perversity. If, on the other hand, 
any are baselessly disturbed on his account, they will be dis- 
abused of the bad opinion they had entertained of him, when 
full information is supplied by a clarification of the matter 
which had caused groundless suspicions to arise. 

Q. 28. What the attitude of all should be toward the diso- 
bedient. 

R. All should certainly be compassionate at first toward 



290 SAINT BASIL 

one who obeys the Lord's commands reluctantly, as toward 
an ailing member of their body. The superior, also, should 
endeavor by private exhortation to cure his weakness; but, if 
he persists in disobedience and is not amenable to correction, 
he should be severely reprimanded in the presence of the 
whole community and a remedy, together with every form 
of exhortation, should be administered. If he is neither con- 
verted after much admonition nor cures himself by his own 
actions with tears and lamentations, being, as the proverb has 
it, 'his own destroyer,' 1 we should, as physicians do, cut him 
off from the body of the brethren as a corrupt and wholly 
useless member. Physicians, indeed, are wont to remove by 
cutting or burning any member of the body they find infected 
with an incurable disease, so that the infection may not spread 
further and destroy adjacent areas one after the other. This 
we also must do in the case of those who show hostility or 
create obstacles to the observance of the Lord's commands, 
according to the Lord's own precept: c lf thy right eye scan- 
dalize thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee.' 2 Benevolence 
to such persons is like that mistaken kindness of Heli which 
he was accused of showing his sons, contrary to the good pleas- 
ure of God. 3 A feigned kindness to the wicked is a betrayal of 
the truth, an act of treachery to the community, and a means 
of habituating oneself to indifference to evil, since that saying 
is not fulfilled: 'Why have ye not rather mourned that he 
might be taken away from you that hath done this deed.' 4 
On the other hand, the saying which follows necessarily comes 
to pass: 'A little leaven corrupted! the whole lump. 15 'Them 
that sin, reprove before all,' says the Apostle, and he imme- 

1 Cf. PG. 31.988 n. 20. 

2 Matt. 5.29. 

3 I Sam. 3.13. 

4 1 Cor. 5.2. 

5 1 Con 5.6. 



THE LONG RULES 291 

diately adds the reason, saying: 'that the rest also may have 

fear. 50 

In general, then, whoever refuses the remedy applied by 
the superior acts inconsistently even with himself; for, if he 
does not take kindly to being governed and his own will acts 
as his arbiter, why does he continue to live under a superior? 
Why does he take him as the director of his life? But, haying 
allowed himself, once and for all, to be reckoned with the body 
of the community, if he has been judged a suitable vessel for 
the ministry, when a command appears to be beyond his 
strength, leaving the decision regarding this to the one who 
imposed the command, he should show himself obedient and 
submissive even unto death, remembering that the Lord be- 
came 'obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. 57 
To rebel and to contradict, however, are indications of many 
evils; a weak faith, a doubtful hope, and a self-important 
and arrogant character. His disobedience, indeed, implies 
that he holds in contempt him who gave the order. On the 
other hand, one who trusts in the promises of God and keeps 
his hope fixed on these will never draw back from commands, 
however difficult to execute they may be, knowing that the 
sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the 
future glory to be revealed. 8 Furthermore, one who is con- 
vinced that 'he that humbleth himself shall be exalted' 9 and 
bears in mind that 'that which is at present momentary and 
light of our tribulation worketh above measure exceedingly 
an eternal weight of glory/ 10 obeys with greater alacrity than 
he who gives the order expects. 

6 1 Tim. 5.20. 

7 Phil. 2.8. 

8 Rom. 8.18. 

9 Matt. 23.12. 
10 2 Cor. 4.17. 



292 SAINT BASIL 

). 29. Concerning one who performs his actions in an arro- 
gant or critical spirit. 

J?. The work of a man who is given to murmuring or self- 
exaltation should certainly not be coupled with works done by 
the humble of heart and contrite of spirit. In general, the 
work of the former should have no value for the pious, 'for 
that which is high to men is an abomination before God. 51 
There is also another precept of the Apostle which reads: 
'Neither do you murmur, as some of them murmured and 
were destroyed by the destroyer';' and again: 'not with sad- 
ness or of necessity.' 3 The work of such persons, therefore, 
even as a blemished sacrifice, should not be accepted, and to 
include it with the work of the rest is unholy. If those bringing 
strange fire to the altar were the objects of such mighty 
wrath, 4 how is it not perilous to accept with a view to ob- 
serving the command work which proceeds from a spirit that 
is hateful to God? Tor what participation,' says the Apostle, 
'hath justice with injustice? Or what part hath the faithful 
with the unbeliever?' 5 Wherefore it is said: 'Wicked is he 
that slayeth a calf in sacrifice to me, as if he should kill a 
dog; and he that offereth wheaten flour, as if it were swine's 
blood. 30 Consequently, it is essential that the works of the 
sluggard and of the dissenter be rejected by the brethren. 
The superiors, also, should keep a close watch over this por- 
tion of the community that they may not violate the decree 
of Him who said, 'the man that walked in the perfect way, 
he served me. He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the 

1 Luke 16.15. 

2 1 Cor. 10.10. 

3 2 Cor, 9.7. 

4 Lev. 10.1,2. 

5 2 Cor. 6.14,15. 

6 Tsa. 66.3. 



THE LONG RULES 293 

midst of my house.' 7 Nor, furthermore, should superiors ac- 
cept the work of one who allows sin to enter into his obser- 
vance of the commandment or spoils his work by a lazy 
shrinking from toil or by the haughtiness which proceeds from 
exceptional achievement and which emboldens him to persist 
in his error by not permitting him to become aware of his own 
wickedness. It is of the greatest importance, then, that the su- 
perior be convinced that if he fails to offer his brother the 
proper guidance he will draw down upon himself heavy and 
inescapable wrath, for his blood will be required at his hands, 
as it is written. 8 The subject also should be prepared not to 
hesitate before any command, even the most difficult, per- 
suaded that his reward will be great in heaven. Let the hope 
of glory, therefore, hearten him in his obedience, that the 
work of the Lord may be done with all joy and patient 
endurance. 

Q. 30. The dispositions which ought to animate the superior 
in caring for the brethren. 

R. His rank should not arouse feelings of pride in the su- 
perior, lest he himself lose the blessing promised to humility 1 
or 'lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the judgment 
of the devil. 52 On the other hand, let him be assured that 
added responsibility calls for greater service. He who ministers 
to many wounded persons, wiping away the matter from their 
wounds and applying medicaments appropriate to the particu- 
lar injury involved, does not find a motive for pride in his 
ministrations, but rather for humility, anxiety, and energetic 
action. Far more thoughtful and solicitous ought he be who, 
as the servant of all and as being himself liable to an account 

7 PS. 100.6,7. 

8 Ezech. 3.18. 

1 Matt. 5.3. 

2 I Tim. 3.6. 



294 SAINT BASIL 

on their behalf, performs the office of curing the spiritual 
weakness of his brethren. In this manner he will fulfill the 
aim which the Lord had in mind when He said: 'If any 
man desire to be first, he shall be the last of all and the minis- 
ter of all.' 5 

Q. 31. That ministration from the superior should be ac- 
cepted, 

R. Corporal ministration should be accepted by inferiors 
from those who may hold the first place in the community. 
True humility imposes the duty of service upon the superior 
and shows the subject that to accept such ministration is not 
unfitting. The example of the Lord Himself, indeed, leads us 
to this conclusion, since He did not disdain to wash the feet 
of His disciples and they did not venture to resist Him in 
this. Peter, to be sure, refused at first because of his great 
reverence, but, as soon as he learned the penalty of disobedi- 
ence, he immediately gave way. There is no reason, conse- 
quently, why the subject should fear that he is deviating 
from his ideal of humility if he accepts service from a superior. 
Many times, in fact, the service is given for his instruction 
and as a forceful example rather than as a response to some 
urgent need. He should, therefore, show himself truly humble 
by his obedience and imitation rather than commit an act of 
false pride and arrogance by raising objections in feigned 
humility. Contradiction betokens unruliness and self-will. Even 
more, it is an indication of pride and disdain, not of hum- 
ility and obedience in all things. We must, therefore, obey 
him who said: 'supporting one another in charity.' 1 

3 Mark 9.34. 
1 Eph. 4.2. 



THE LONG RULES 295 

Q. 32. On the proper dispositions toward relatives accord- 
ing to the flesh. 

R. Superiors should not allow those who have been perma- 
nently admitted to the community to be distracted in any 
wa y by allowing them either to leave the company of their 
brethren and live in private on the pretext of visiting their 
relatives or to be burdened with the responsibility of car- 
ing for their relatives according to the flesh. The Scripture 
absolutely forbids the words 'mine' and 'thine' to be uttered 
among the brethren, saying: 'And the multitude of believers 
had but one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that 
aught of the things which he possessed was his own. 51 The 
parents or brothers of a member of the community, therefore, 
if they live piously, should be treated by all the brethren as 
fathers or other relative possessed in common: Tor whoso- 
ever shall do the will of my Father that is in Heaven, he is 
my brother and sister and mother/ says the Lord. 2 In our 
opinion, moreover, the care of these persons would devolve 
upon the superior of the community. If our relatives have 
become entangled in the usual concerns of the worldly 
life, we who are intent upon that which is decent and which 
may give us power to attend upon the Lord without impedi- 
ment 3 have no common cause with them. In addition to being 
of no assistance to them, we would fill our own lives with 
confusion and anxiety and we would invite occasions of sin. 
Furthermore, it is not even proper to receive those among 
our former relatives who come for a visit if they hold the 
commandments in light esteem and are contemptuous of the 
works of piety, because they do not love the Lord, who said : 
'He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words.' 4 'But what 

1 Acts. 4.32. 

2 Matt. 12.50. 

3 I Cor. 7.35. 

4 John 14.24. 



296 SAINT BASIL 

participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship 
hath light with darkness?' 5 

Besides, the utmost effort must be made entirely to remove 
occasions of sin from those still in the training school of vir- 
tuesthe chief of those occasions being the remembrance of 
their former life in the world so that it may never be said 
of them that in their hearts they have returned to Egypt. 6 This 
very often happens in prolonged conversations with their 
relatives according to the flesh. In general, therefore, neither 
these relatives nor any other extern should be allowed to talk 
with the brethren unless we are certain that their conversation 
will bring about the edification and perfection of the soul. If, 
however, it be necessary to hold discourse with those who have 
been once admitted, it should be done by those who have the 
gift of speaking, for the reason that they have the power to 
speak with understanding and to listen in such a way that their 
faith may be strengthened. The Apostle clearly teaches, in- 
deed, that ability in speaking is not possessed by all but that 
this charism is accorded to few, saying: 'To one, indeed, by 
the Spirit is given the word of wisdom, and to another, the 
word of knowledge'; 7 and in another place, he says: 'that he 
may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convince the 
gainsayers.' 8 

Q. 33 On the proper way to converse with consecrated 
women. 

R. He who has renounced marriage once and for all will 
surely repudiate with even greater finality those cares which, 
the Apostle says, plague the married man, that is, how he 



5 2 Cor. 6.14. 

6 Num. 14.4. 

7 1 Cor. 12.8. 

8 Titus 1.9. 



THE LONG RULES 297 

may please his wife, 1 and he will liberate himself entirely 
from all solicitude about giving pleasure to a woman, since 
he dreads the judgment of Him who said: 'God hath scat- 
tered the bones of them that please men.' 2 Nor will he, there- 
fore, cultivate acquaintance even with a man for the purpose 
of giving him pleasure, but he will hold discourse with him 
when it is necessary so as to manifest that zeal for his neighbor 
which every person is obliged to show according to the com- 
mand of God. Such discourse, however, should not be 
allowed indiscriminately to all who so desire, nor is every 
time and place suitable ; but if, according to the Apostle's in- 
junction, we would be without offence to Jews and Gentiles 
and the church of God 3 and would do all things decently and 
according to order 4 unto edification, it is necessary that the 
person, the time, the need, and the place be properly chosen 
and determined upon. By consideration of all these details, 
every shadow of evil suspicion will be avoided; evidence of 
dignity and chastity will be exhibited in every way by those 
permitted to visit with one another and to take counsel re- 
garding the things that are pleasing to God, as these pertain 
either to the needs of the body or to the care of the soul. There 
should be, however, no less than two on each side participat- 
ing in the discourse, for, to say the least, one person alone is 
easily exposed to suspicion and what is said under such con- 
ditions is not so readily corroborated; for the Scripture ex- 
plicitly declares that every word stands in the presence of two 
or three. 5 But there should not be more than three, so as not 
hamper the zeal for energetic action which is inspired by the 
command of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

1 1 Cor. 7.33. 

2 Ps. 52.6. 

3 1 Cor. 10.32. 

4 1 Cor. 14.40. 

5 Deut. 19.15. 



298 SAINT BASIL 

If it be necessary that some others among the brethren 
speak of or listen to something bearing on some private mat- 
ter, the persons concerned should not themselves meet with 
each other, but chosen representatives, persons of advanced 
age, should discuss the business with selected older members of 
the sisterhood and by their mediation the need for conversing 
should be taken care of. The good order followed when wo- 
men are to converse with men or vice versa should be also be 
applied in the case of members of the same sex meeting with 
one another. In addition to the qualities of gravity and piety 
to be exhibited under all circumstances, they should be wise 
in their questions and answers and trustworthy and prudent 
in treating of the matters under discussion, thus fulfilling the 
words: c he shall order his words with judgment.' 6 By so 
doing they will at once satisfy those who have submitted 
their business to them and reach a settlement of the matters 
under consideration. Certain other brethren should minister 
to the sisters' bodily needs, and these also ought to be chosen 
after careful deliberation. They should be of advanced age, 
venerable and grave of aspect and deportment, so as not to 
afflict the conscience of anyone with evil suspicions, 'for why 
is my liberty judged by another man's conscience?' 

Q. 34. Regarding the character of the persons who care for 
the needs of the brethren. 

R. It is of the greatest importance that, of those who dis- 
tribute necessary articles within the community, there will 
be some in each department who are able to imitate the 
conduct described in the Acts: "Distribution was made to 
every one, according as he had need.' 1 These should take 



6 PS. 11L5. 

7 1 Cor. 10.29. 



I Acts 4.35. 



THE LONG RULES 299 

great pains to be kind and tolerant to all and not give occa- 
sion for suspicions of favoritism or partiality, in obedience to 
the precept of the Apostle, who said: 'doing nothing by de- 
clining to either side. 32 On the other hand, they should not 
act in a spirit of contentiousness, which the same Apostle 
condemns as unbefitting Christians, saying: 'If any man seem 
to be contentious, we have no such custom nor the church of 
God.' 3 The result of such contentiousness is that they deprive 
those with whom they are at variance of articles which they 
need and allot a superfluous amount to those to whom they 
happen to feel partial. Now, the former course is an indica- 
tion of fraternal enmity, the latter, of particular affection, 
which is especially abhorrent because by it the union of charity 
among the brethren is torn asunder and is replaced by base 
suspicions, jealousies, strife, and a distaste for work. 

They who have the office of distributing necessary articles 
to the community, therefore, are duty-bound to be absolutely 
free from particular affection and from aversion, both for 
the reasons just given and for many other pertinent ones of 
similar nature. They are obliged to take cognizance of such 
tendencies within themselves and to display such zeal both 
they and those who engage in other forms of service to the 
community as if they were ministering not to men but to 
the Lord Himself, who, because of His great goodness, re- 
gards as offered to Himself the honor and esteem shown to 
those who are consecrated to Him and who has promised in 
return the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven, saying: 
'Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom pre- 
pared for you from the foundation of the world, for as long 
as you did it to one of these, my least brethren, you did it 

2 1 Tim. 5.21. 

3 1 Cor. 11.16. 



300 SAINT BASIL 

to me.' 4 On the other hand, we must also keep in mind the 
danger of negligence, recalling him who said: 'Cursed be 
every man that doth the work of the Lord negligently. 35 
Not only are these cast out of the kingdom, but they also 
await that dread and terrible sentence of the Lord pronounced 
upon such persons: 'Depart from me, you cursed, into ever- 
lasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.' 6 
But, if they who bestow care and service find so much profit 
in their zeal and receive so harsh a judgment for negligence, 
how necessary it is that they who are the objects of their 
ministrations should strive to show themselves worthy to be 
called brethren of the Lord ! This the Lord teaches us when 
He says: Tor whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that 
is in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.' 7 

That man, indeed, is in danger who does not throughout 
his whole life place before himself the will of God as his goal, 
so that in health he shows forth the labor of love by his zeal 
for the works of the Lord, and in sickness displays endurance 
and cheerful patience. The first and greatest peril is that, by 
not doing the will of God, he separates himself from the Lord 
and cuts himself off from fellowship with his own brethren; 
secondly, that he ventures, although undeserving, to claim a 
share in the blessings prepared for those who are worthy. 
Here, also, we must remember the words of the Apostle : 'And 
we helping do exhort you that you receive not the grace of 
God in vain. 58 And they who are called to be brethren of 
the Lord should not receive in a wanton spirit so great a 
divine grace nor fall from so high a dignity through negli- 



4 Matt. 25.34,40. 

5 Jer. 48.10. 

6 Matt. 25.41. 

7 Matt. 12.50. 

8 2 Cor. 6.1. 



THE LONG RULES 301 

gence in doing the will of God, but, rather, obey the same 
Apostle, saying: % a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that 
you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called.' 9 

Q. 35. Whether there should be several communities in the 
same parish. 

R. The example of the members of the body which we have 
usefully applied so often is appropriate also to the question 
before us. Our discourse has shown that if the body is to be 
in good condition and rightly disposed for all its activities, 
the eyes, the tongue, and the other members which are essen- 
tial and exercise the highest authority over the body are 
needed; yet it is difficult and no easy matter to find a soul 
having the capacity to act as an eye for a number of persons. 
If good discipline require that the brethren have a superior 
who is provident, experienced in speaking, sober and kindly, 
seeking after the justifications of God with a perfect heart, 1 
how is it possible for a number of persons of such calibre to 
be found in the same parish? If it should ever happen, how- 
ever, that two or three such are found (not an easy thing and 
we have never known it to happen), it would be far better 
if they shared responsibility with one another and lightened 
the burden so that, in the absence of one or the other or in 
the event of their being engaged or under any other circum- 
stances whereby one superior happens to be absent from the 
community, the other might console the brethren for his 
absence; or, even apart from such emergencies, that one of 
them may go to another community which is in need of a 
director. Moreover, in order to reach the goal we have set 
for ourselves, experience in the ways of the world can help 

9 Eph. 4.1. 



1 I Par. 28.9; Ps. 118.145. 



302 SAINT BASIL 

us greatly. As in the world, those skilled in ordinary trades 
are jealous of their rivals, because the very nature of the situ- 
ation imperceptibly engenders a spirit of competition, so also, 
even in a way of life such as ours, the same state of affairs 
frequently exists. Beginning with a rivalry in doing good and 
an eagerness to outdo one another either in hospitality to 
guests or in multiplying the number of their members or other 
activities of the kind, they, by degrees, fall to wrangling. 
Thereupon, instead of restful retirement, the brethren who 
stop at these monasteries enroute suffer great doubt and dis- 
tress, since they are perplexed as to which group they should 
lodge with; for, showing preference causes hard feelings and 
it is impossible to satisfy both contenders, particularly if there 
happens to be need for haste. Then, too, these rivalries cause 
great distress to those who are entering upon their life in 
community, since they must select certain directors and the 
act of choosing certain ones at all implies rejection of the rest 
as unfit. 

Directly at the start, then, they suffer harm through pride 
of intellect, because they are not conforming to what is being 
taught them, but are becoming accustomed to sit as habitual 
judges and critics of the community. Since, therefore, there is 
no admitted good and so much that is of an opposite nature 
in the separation of establishments, this segregation is from 
all points inexpedient. If there should be such a system already 
in operation, it should be quickly set to rights particularly 
if ill effects have already been felt for a continuance of such 
an arrangement will bring open strife. 'But if any man seem 
to be contentious,' says the Apostle, *we have no such custom, 
nor the church of God. 52 What objection will be raised to 
union? The procuring of the necessities? They are far more 
easily obtained in common, for one lamp and one heart and 

2 1 Cor. 11.16. 



THE LONG RULES 303 

all such things can suffice for the entire group, and in these 
matters, if anywhere, facility should in every way be sought, 
so as to reduce the number of necessary articles to be owned. 
Under the system of separate establishments, more persons 
are needed to supply the brethren with necessities from out- 
side, but, when establishments are joined, only half as many 
are required. And how difficult it is to find a man who will 
not bring dishonor upon the Name of Christ and who, when 
he goes abroad, conducts himself with externs in a manner 
worthy of his profession is well known to you without any 
words of mine. Besides, how can they who remain separated 
and who by their not living in union arouse base suspicions 
against themselves, edify those who live the common life either 
by compelling them to live in peace, if this should be neces- 
sary, or by exhorting them to the observance of the other 
commandments? Moreover, we have heard the words of the 
Apostle to the Philippians: 'Fulfill ye my joy, that you be of 
one mind, having the same charity, being of one accord, 
agreeing in sentiment. Let nothing be done through conten- 
tion, neither by vainglory; but in humility let each one esteem 
others better than themselves; each one not considering the 
things that are his own but those that are other men's.' 

Now, what greater sign of humility is there than for the 
superiors of the community to submit to one another? If they 
are equal in spiritual gifts, their mutual exercise of virtue is 
the more beautiful. As the Lord Himself has given us the 
example by sending the disciples two and two, 4 so also, 
of these, one will be willing to yield joyfully and whole- 
heartedly to the other, calling to mind the words of the Lord: 
'he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 35 But if one be 



3 Phil. 2.2-4. 

4 Mark 6.7. 

5 Luke 18.14. 



304 SAINT BASIL 

surpassed in spiritual gifts by the other, it is more virtuous for 
the weaker to be ruled by the stronger. Again, the main- 
tenance of separate establishments would surely constitute 
manifest disobedience to the precept of the Apostle: 'each 
one not considering the things that are his own but those that 
are other men's.' 6 I think, indeed, that it is impossible for this 
injunction to be observed where there is separation, inasmuch 
as each section is privately occupied with the care of its own 
members and is without solicitude for the others, a state of 
affairs which is, as I said, clearly opposed to the apostolic 
precept. And since the saints mentioned in the Acts fre- 
quently testify to its observance, now by the words : 'And the 
multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul,' 7 and 
again: 'All they that believed were together and had all 
things common/ 8 there very evidently was no dwelling apart 
for any of them nor did each individual lead an independent 
life, but all were governed under one and the same super- 
vision, even though their full number was five thousand ; and, 
perhaps, many factors in their situation appeared in man's 
judgment to be obstructive of harmonious union. What 
rational grounds, then, permit those in a single parish who 
are so much less numerous to live separated from one another? 
Would it were possible that not only they who are in the same 
parish and are living together would remain thus united, but 
that many more communities of brethren now established in 
separated places would be governed in the unity of the Spirit 
and in the bond of peace 9 under the combined supervision of 
superiors who could firmly and wisely look after the interests 
of all. 

6 Phil. 2.4. 

7 Acts 4.32. 

8 Acts 2.44. 

9 Eph. 4,3. 



THE LONG RULES 305 

Q. 36. Of those who leave the brotherhood. 

R. Certainly, those who have made an irrevocable and re- 
ciprocal promise to live together cannot leave at will, inas- 
much as their not persevering in what they have pledged 
comes from one of two causes : either from the wrongs suffered 
in living the common life or from an unsteadiness of resolu- 
tion in him who is changing his course. But he who is with- 
drawing from his brethren because of injury sustained should 
not keep his motive to himself, but should make an open 
charge respecting the wrong done him, in the manner taught 
by the Lord, who said: 'If thy brother shall offend, go 
and rebuke him between thee and him alone, 31 and so on. 
Then, if the amendment he desires is effected, he has gained 
his brethren and has not dishonored their union. But, if he 
sees that they persist in the evil arid are not willing to make 
amends, he will report this to those empowered to judge in 
such cases, and then, after several have given testimony [if 
he cannot get redress], he may withdraw. In acting thus, he 
will not be separating himself from brethren but from stran- 
gers, for the Lord compares one who persists in evil to a 
heathen and publican : 'let him be to thee as the heathen and 
publican.' 2 If, however, by reason of the fickleness of his 
nature, he leaves the society of his brethren, let him cure his 
own weakness, or, if he will not do this, let the brotherhoods 
refuse to accept him. And if, by the Lord's command, one or 
another is attracted to some other establishment, such do not 
sever their relations, but they fulfill the ministry. Reason does 
not admit any other grounds for the brethren leaving their 
community; in the first place, because such withdrawal brings 
dishonor upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is 

1 Matt. 18.15. 

2 Matt. 18.17. 



306 SAINT BASIL 

the basis of their union; second, because it inevitably creates 
uneasiness in the conscience of each one as regards his neigh- 
bor, and mutual suspicions are aroused both of which even- 
tualities are clearly opposed to the Lord's precept: 'If thou 
offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy 
brother hath anything against thee, leave there thy offering 
before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother; 
and then, coming, thou shalt offer thy gift.' 3 

Q. 37. Whether prayer and psalmody ought to afford a 
pretext for neglecting our work, what hours are suitable for 
prayer, and) above all, whether labor is necessary. 

R. Our Lord Jesus Christ says: 'He is worthy' not every- 
one without exception or anyone at all, but 'the workman, 
of his meat,' 1 and the Apostle bids us labor and work with 
our own hands the things which are good, that we may have 
something to give to him that suffereth need. 2 It is, there- 
fore, immediately obvious that we must toil with diligence 
and not think that our goal of piety offers an escape from work 
or a pretext for idleness, but occasion for struggle, for ever 
greater endeavor, and for patience in tribulation, so that we 
may be able to say: 'In labor and painfulness, in much watch- 
ings, in hunger and thirst.' 3 Not only is such exertion beneficial 
for bringing the body into subjection, but also for showing 
charity to our neighbor in order that through us God may 
grant sufficiency to the weak among our brethren, according 
to the example given by the Apostle in the Acts when he says : 
'I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you 



3 Matt. 5.23,24. 

1 Matt. L0.10. 

2 Eph, 4.28. 

3 2 Cor. 11.27. 



THE LONG RULES 307 

ought to support the weak/ 4 and again: 'that you may have 
something to give to him that suffereth need.' 5 Thus we may 
be accounted worthy to hear the words: 'Come, ye blessed 
of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from 
the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave 
me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink. 36 

But why should we dwell upon the amount of evil there is 
in idleness, when the Apostle clearly prescribes that he who 
does not work should not eat. 7 As daily sustenance is necessary 
for everyone, so labor in proportion to one's strength is also 
essential. Not vainly has Solomon written in praise: 'and she 
hath not eaten her bread idle.' 8 And again, the Apostle says 
of himself: 'neither did we eat any man's bread for nothing, 
but in labor and in toil we worked night and day 5 ; 9 yet, since 
he was preaching the Gospel, he was entitled to receive his 
livelihood from the Gospel. The Lord couples sloth with 
wickedness, saying: 'Wicked and slothful servant. 510 Wise 
Solomon, also, praises the laborer not only in the words 
already quoted, but also, in rebuking the sluggard, associating 
him by contrast with the tiniest of insects : 'Go to the ant, O 
sluggard.' 11 We have reason to fear, therefore, lest, perchance, 
on the day of judgment this fault also may be alleged against 
us, since He who has endowed us with the ability to work de- 
mands that our labor be proportioned to our capacity; for 
He says: 'To whom they have committed much, of him they 
will demand the more. 512 Moreover, because some use prayer 

4 Acts 20.35. 

5 Eph. 4.28. 

6 Matt. 25.34,35. 

7 2 Thess. 3.10. 

8 Prov. 31.27. 

9 2 Thess. 3.8. 

10 Matt. 25.26. 

11 Prov. 6.6. 

12 Luke 12.48. 



308 SAINT BASIL 

and psalmody as an excuse for neglecting their work, it is 
necessary to bear in mind that for certain other tasks a par- 
ticular time is allotted, according to the words of Ecclesiastes : 
'All things have their season.' 13 For prayer and psalmody, 
however, as also, indeed, for some other duties, every hour is 
suitable, that, while our hands are busy at their tasks, we may 
praise God sometimes with the tongue (when this is possible 
or, rather, when it is conducive to edification ) ; or, if not, with 
the heart, at least, in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, as 
it is written. 14 Thus, in the midst of our work can we fulfill the 
duty of prayer, giving thanks to Him who has granted strength 
to our hands for performing our tasks and cleverness to our 
minds for acquiring knowledge, and for having provided the 
materials, both that which is in the instruments we use and 
that which forms the matter of the arts in which we may be 
engaged, praying that the work of our hands may be directed 
toward its goal, the good pleasure of God. 

Thus we acquire a recollected spirit when in every ac- 
tion we beg from God the success of our labors and satisfy 
our debt of gratitude to Him who gave us the power to do 
the work, and when, as has been said, we keep before our 
minds the aim of pleasing Him. If this is not the case, how can 
there be consistency in the words of the Apostle bidding us to 
'pray without ceasing,' 15 with those others, 'we worked night 
and day. 316 Nor, indeed, because thanksgiving at all times has 
been enjoined even by law and has been proved necessary to 
our life from both reason and nature, should we therefore be 
negligent in observing those times for prayer customarily estab- 
lished in communities times which we have inevitably se- 
lected because each period contains a reminder peculiar to 

13 Eccle. 3.1. 

14 Col. 3.16. 

15 1 Thess. 5.17. 

16 2 Thess. 3.8. 



THE LONG RULES 309 

Itself of blessings received from God. Prayers are recited early 
In the morning so that the first movements of the soul and the 
mind may be consecrated to God and that we may take up 
no other consideration before we have been cheered and 
heartened by the thought of God, as it is written: 'I remem- 
bered God and was delighted, 517 and that the body may not 
busy itself with tasks before we have fulfilled the words: To 
thee will I pray, O Lord; in the morning thou shalt hear my, 
voice. In the morning I will stand before thee and will see.' 18 
Again at the third hour the brethren must assemble and 
betake themselves to prayer, even if they may have dispersed 
to their various employments. Recalling to mind the gift of 
the Spirit bestowed upon the Apostles at this third hour, all 
should worship together, so that they also may become worthy 
to receive the gift of sanctity, and they should implore the 
guidance of the Holy Spirit and His instruction in what is 
good and useful, according to the words: 'Create a clean 
heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit within my 
bowels. Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy 
holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation 
and strengthen me with a guiding spirit.' 19 Again, it is said 
elsewhere, Thy good spirit shall lead me into the right land'; 20 
and having prayed thus, we should again apply ourselves to 
our tasks. 

But, if some, perhaps, are not in attendance because the 
nature or place of their work keeps them at too great a dis- 
tance, they are strictly obliged to carry out wherever they 
are, with promptitude, all that is prescribed for common ob- 
servance, for 'where there are two or three gathered together 
in my name,' says the Lord, 'there am I in the midst of 

17 Ps. 76.4. 

18 Ps. 5.4,5. 

19 Ps. 50.12-14. 

20 Ps. 142.10. 



310 SAINT BASIL 

them.' 21 It is also our judgment that prayer is necessary at the 
sixth hour, in imitation of the saints who say: 'Evening and 
morning and at noon I will speak and declare; and he shall 
hear my voice.' 2 " And so that we may be saved from invasion 
and the noonday Devil, 23 at this time, also, the ninetieth Psalm 
will be recited. The ninth hour, however, was appointed as a 
compulsory time for prayer by the Apostles themselves in 
the Acts where it is related that 'Peter and John went up to 
the temple at the ninth hour of prayer.' 24 When the day's 
work is ended, thanksgiving should be offered for what has 
been granted us or for what we have done rightly therein and 
confession made of our omissions whether voluntary or invol- 
untary, or of a secret fault, if we chance to have committed 
any in words or deeds, or in the heart itself; for by prayer 
we propitiate God for all our misdemeanors. The examination 
of our past actions is a great help toward not falling into like 
faults again; wherefore the Psalmist says: 'the things you say 
in your hearts, be sorry for them upon your beds.' 25 

Again, at nightfall, we must ask that our rest be sinless and 
untroubled by dreams. At this hour, also, the ninetieth Psalm 
should be recited. Paul and Silas, furthermore, have handed 
down to us the practice of compulsory prayer at midnight, 
as the history of the Acts declares: c And at midnight Paul and 
Silas praised God.' 2 * The Psalmist also says: 'I rose at mid- 
night to give praise to thee for the judgments of thy justifi- 
cations.' 27 Then, too, we must anticipate the dawn by prayer, 
so that the day may not find us in slumber and in bed, accord- 

21 Matt. 18.20. 

22 Ps. 54.18. 

23 Ps. 90.6. 

24 Acts 3.1. 

25 Ps. 4.5. 

26 Acts 1G.25. 

27 Ps. 118.62. 



THE LONG RULES 311 

ing to the words: "My eyes have prevented the morning; 
that I might meditate on thy words.' 28 None of these hours 
for prayer should be unobserved by those who have chosen 
a life devoted to the glory of God and His Christ. Moreover, 
I think that variety and diversity in the prayers and psalms 
recited at appointed hours are desirable for the reason that 
routine and boredom, somehow, often cause distraction in the 
soul, while by change and variety in the psalmody and prayers 
said at the stated hours it is refreshed in devotion and renewed 
in sobriety. 

Q. 38. Now that our discourse has adequately demonstrated 
that prayer is not to be neglected and that labor is necessary, 
it remains that we should be taught what sort of trades are 
suitable to our profession. 

R. It is not easy to make a selection of certain trades in par- 
ticular, because different ones are pursued by various persons 
according to the nature of localities and the opportunities 
offered in each region. It can be laid down as a general rule, 
however, that those trades should be chosen which allow 
our life to be tranquil and undisturbed, involving no diffi- 
culty in the procuring of the materials proper to them, nor 
requiring much exertion in selling the articles produced, nor 
leading to unsuitable or harmful association with men or 
women. In all things we must keep in mind that our special 
aim is simplicity and frugality and we must avoid pampering 
the foolish and harmful desires of men by working for the 
ends sought after by them. In the art of weaving we should 
employ our skill to produce goods which are for common use 
in daily life, not in making articles which have been devised 
by persons of lax morals as a trap and a snare for the young. 

28 Ps. 118.148. 



312 SAINT BASIL 

Likewise, in practicing the art of the shoemaker, we should 
serve by our skill those who seek to satisfy their real needs. 
As for the arts of building, carpentry, the smith's trade, and 
farming these are all in themselves necessary for carrying on 
life, and they provide much that is useful. They should not, 
therefore, be repudiated by us for any reason inherent in 
themselves, but, as soon as they cause us anxiety or sever our 
union with the brethren, we must turn away from them, 
choosing in preference the trades which allow us to lead 
recollected lives in constant attendance on the Lord and do 
not cause those who follow the practices of the devout life 
to be absent from psalmody and prayer or draw them away 
from other disciplinary practices. Those trades, then, which 
involve no detriment to the life we have undertaken are to be 
given a decided preference agriculture especially, since its 
proper function is the procuring of necessities and farmers 
are not obliged to do much traveling or running about hither 
and thither; but its practice must comply with the condition 
we have laid down: that it does not cause us disturbance or 
trouble from neighbors or associates. 

Q. 39. The method to be followed in selling our products 
and the manner in which we should make journeys. 

R. We should take care not to dispose of our products in a 
distant market nor should we go about peddling them. Stay- 
ing in one place is far more seemly and beneficial, both for 
mutual edification and for the strict observance of daily rou- 
tine. Thus, we should prefer lowering the price of the articles 
to traveling about for the sake of a small profit. If experience 
shows, however, that the former expedient is impossible, we 
should choose localities and cities inhabited by devout men, 
so that our sojourn may not be without fruit for us. The 
brethren, moreover, should travel in groups to the designated 



THE LONG RULES 313 

fairs, each carrying the fruits of his own toil. They should 
start out together, so that the journey may be made with the 
recitation of prayers and psalms and so afford mutual edi- 
fication. When they have arrived at their destination, they 
should choose the same lodging in the interest of mutual pro- 
tection, and so as not to miss any of the hours for prayer, day 
or night, and also because transactions with persons who are 
difficult to deal with or avaricious pass off with less damage 
when handled by a group rather than by one individual. 
Even persons who are most given to violence do not wish to 
have many witnesses of their wrong-doing. 

Q. 40. Concerning business transactions at public assem- 
blies. 

R. Reason tells us, however, that commercial transactions 
are unseemly in places where the shrines of the martyrs are 
located; for it does not befit Christians to appear at these 
shrines or in their environs for any other purpose than to pray 
and, by recalling to memory the saints' conflict unto death in 
behalf of piety, to be animated to a like zeal. They should be 
mindful, also, of the most dread wrath of the Lord, because, 
even though He is always and everywhere meek and humble 
of heart, as it is written, 1 yet He threatened with the scourge 
those and those only buying and selling in the temple, 2 
because trafficking in merchandise changed this house of 
prayer into a den of thieves. Furthermore, when others are 
setting us an example of disregarding the practice which ob- 
tained among the saints, by making the shrines the occasion 
and place for a market and a fair and common trade instead 
of praying for one another, adoring God together, imploring 
His aid with tears, making satisfaction for their sins, thank- 

1 Matt. 11.29. 

2 John 2.15. 



314 SAINT BASIL 

ing Him for His benefactions and strengthening their faith by 
hearing words of exhortation (practices which we know to 
have occurred within our own memory), we ought not to imi- 
tate them and confirm their unseemly conduct by also partici- 
pating in such commercial pursuits. We should, on the con- 
trary, imitate those assemblies described in the Gospel as tak- 
ing place in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ and obey the 
injunction of the Apostle as complying with the rule estab- 
lished t>y so illustrious a precedent. He writes as follows: 
'When you come together, every one of you hath a psalm, 
hath a doctrine, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an 
interpretation; let all things be done to edification.' 3 

Q. 41 . Of authority and obedience. 

R. Even in the case of authorized trades, the individual 
ought not be permitted to follow the one he is skilled in or 
the one he wishes to learn, but that for which he may be 
judged suited. He who denies himself and completely sets 
aside his own wishes does not do what he wills but what he 
is directed to do. Nor, indeed, does reason permit that he 
himself make choice of what is good and useful, since he has 
irrevocably turned over the disposal of himself to others who 
will appoint the task for which they in the Lord's Name may 
find him suited. Whoever chooses a task conformed to his 
personal wish brings accusation against himself; first, of self- 
gratification ; second, of preferring a certain trade for the sake 
of worldly renown or hope of gain, or some such reason, or 
of choosing the easier course out of sloth -and indifference. 
To be guilty of such faults, however, is an indication that a 
man is not yet free from evil passions. Nor, to be sure, has he 
practiced self-denial, since in his eagerness to give full play 

3 1 Cor. 14.26. 



THE LONG RULES 315 

to his own impulses he does not give up the things of this 
world, being still held captive by prospects of gain and re- 
nown. Neither has he mortified his members which are upon 
the earth, 1 since he does not endure fatigue in his labors, but 
betrays his own wilfullness by regarding his private judgment 
as more reliable than the appraisal of him on the part of 
several others. One who is master of a trade that is in no way 
objectionable to the community ought not abandon it, how- 
ever, for to deem of no account that which is at one's imme- 
diate disposal is the sign of a fickle mind and an unstable 
will. And if a man is unskilled, he should not of himself 
take up a trade, but should accept the one approved by his 
superiors, so as to safeguard obedience in all things. Now, 
just as it has been shown to be unfitting that one should rely 
upon oneself, so it is forbidden also to refuse to submit to the 
decision of others. And if one is adept in a trade that is un- 
acceptable to the community, he should be ready to renounce 
it in proof that he has no affection for anything in this world. 
To follow personal preference is, in the words of the Apostle, 
the act of one who has no hope; 2 but to be obedient in all 
things is worthy of approbation, since the same Apostle 
praises certain persons because 'they gave their own selves first 
to the Lord, then also to us, by the will of God. 53 

For the rest, everyone should be devoted to his own trade, 
applying himself to it enthusiastically and accomplishing it 
blamelessly with ready zeal and careful attention, as if God 
were his overseer, so that he may ever be able to say in all 
honesty : 'Behold, as the eyes of servants are on the hands of 
their masters, so are our eyes unto the Lord our God'; 4 but 
one should not work now at one kind of task, now at another. 

1 Col. 3.5. 

2 1 Thess. 4.12. 

3 2 Cor. 8.5. 

4 Ps. 122.2. 



316 SAINT BASIL 

We are incapable by nature of following successfully a num- 
ber of pursuits at the same time; to finish one task with dili- 
gent care is more beneficial than to undertake many and 
not complete them. If the mind is distracted by several occu- 
pations and passes from one to another, besides the fact that 
nothing is perfectly finished, such procedure betokens levity 
of character as already present or, if not that, as being incul- 
cated. In case of necessity, however, one who has the ability 
may assist in other trades besides his own. Yet this also should 
not be done of one's own volition, but only upon being sum- 
moned, for we should have recourse to this expedient at the 
call of emergency and not on our own initiative; just as, in 
the case of our bodily members, we support ourselves with the 
hand when the foot is limping. Again, as it is not good to take 
up a trade on one's personal initiative, so, not to accept one 
that is appointed deserves censure, to prevent the vice of 
contumacy from being fostered or the limits of docility and 
obedience from being transgressed. Furthermore, the care of 
tools devolves, first of all, upon the artisan of each trade. If it 
should happen, however, that some oversight occur, those 
who first notice it should take the proper steps, on the ground 
that the tools are possessed by all in common; although their 
use is a private matter, the benefit from them is for all, and 
to regard the instruments of another's trade with disdainful 
indifference betrays a want of community spirit. It is not 
fitting, moreover, for those who follow trades to exercise such 
authority over their tools as not to permit the superior of the 
community to use them for whatever purpose he wishes, or 
that they should of themselves take the liberty of selling or 
exchanging them, or getting rid of them in any other way, 
or of acquiring others in addition to those they have. How 
could he who has irrevocably chosen not to be master even of 
his own hands and who has consigned to another the direction 



THE LONG RULES 317 

of their activity, how could he be consistent in maintaining 
full authority over the tools of his trade, arrogating to himself 
the dignity of mastership over them? 

Q. 42. On the aim and the dispositions with which work- 
men should perform their tasks. 

R. This we must also keep in mind that he who labors 
ought to perform his task not for the purpose of ministering 
to his own needs thereby, but that he may accomplish the 
Lord's command: 'I was hungry and you gave me to eat,' 1 
and so on. To be solicitous for oneself is strictly forbidden by 
the Lord in the words : 'Be not solicitous for your life, what 
you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on,' and 
He adds thereto: 'for after all these things do the heathens 
seek.' 2 Everyone, therefore, in doing his work, should place 
before himself the aim of service to the needy and not his own 
satisfaction. Thus will he escape the charge of self-love and 
receive the blessing for fraternal charity from the Lord, who 
said : 'As long as you did it to one of these, my least brethren, 
you did it to me. 53 Nor should anyone think that the Apostle 
is at variance with our words when he says : 'that working they 
would eat their own bread'; 4 this is addressed to the unruly 
and indolent, and means that it is better for each person to 
minister to himself at least and not be a burden to others than 
to live in idleness. 'For we have heard,' he says, 'there are 
some among you who walk disorderly, working not at all, 
but curiously meddling. Now we charge them that are such, 
and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ, that, working with 
silence, they would eat their own bread.' 5 Again, that saying, 

1 Matt. 25.35. 

2 Matt. 6.25,32. 

3 Matt. 25.40. 

4 2 Thess. 3.12. 

5 2 Thess. 3.11,12. 



318 SAINT BASIL 

Ve worked night and day lest we should be chargeable to any 
of you 56 bears on the same point, inasmuch as the Apostle 
in the name of fraternal charity had burdened himself with 
labors in excess of those imposed upon him for the purpose 
of eliminating the disorderly. But, he who is striving eagerly 
for perfection should work night and day 'that he may have 
something to give to him that suffereth need.' 7 

A man who relies upon himself, however, or even upon the 
person whose duty it is to provide for his needs, and thinks 
that his own activity or that of his associate is a sufficient 
resource for his livelihood, runs the risk, as he places his hope 
in man, of falling under the curse which reads: 'Cursed be 
the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm and 
whose soul departeth from the Lord.' 8 Now, by the words, 
'that trusteth in man/ the Scripture forbids a man to place 
his hope in another, and by the words, 'and maketh flesh his 
arm, 3 it forbids him to trust in himself. Either course is termed 
a defection from the Lord. Further, in adding the final issue 
of both: 'He shall be like tamaric in the desert and he shall 
not see when good shall come,' 9 the Scripture declares that 
for anyone to place his trust either in himself or in anyone 
else is to alienate himself from the Lord. 

Q. 43. The manner in which tasks should be performed 
has been adequately set forth unless we should be led by the 
teaching of actual experience to make further inquiries. We 
request, however, a thorough analysis of the question as to 
what sort of persons superiors of the community should be and 
how they should govern their fellow religious. 

6 2 Thess. 3.8. 

7 Eph. 4.28. 

8 Ten 17.5. 

9 Jer. 17.6. 



THE LONG RULES 319 

R. This aspect of the matter has already been treated in a 
summary way, as it were; but, since you do well in wishing it 
clarified still further (for as the chief and leader is, so also, 
as a rule, is the subject wont to be), it is essential that we do 
not pass over this question in a cursory manner. So, then, 
the superior, mindful of the Apostle's precept: 'Be thou an 
example of the faithful/ 1 should make his life a shining model 
for the observance of every commandment of the Lord, so 
that there may be no excuse for those under his guidance to 
think the Lord's commands impossible or readily to be set 
aside. To consider first, then, that which is first in importance 
he should be, by the love of Christ, so confirmed in humility 
that, even if he is silent, the example of his actions may afford 
more effective instruction than any words. If, indeed, the 
goal of Christianity is the imitation of Christ according to the 
measure of His Incarnation, insofar as is conformable with 
the vocation of each individual, they who are entrusted with 
the guidance of many others are obliged to animate those 
still weaker than themselves, by their assistance, to the imita- 
tion of Christ, as the blessed Paul says: 'Be ye followers of 
me, as I also am of Christ.' 2 

Superiors, therefore, should first make of themselves an 
exact copy of Him by practicing humility according to the 
standard set by our Lord Jesus Christ, for He says: 'Learn of 
me, because I am meek and humble of heart. 53 Habitual mild- 
ness of manner, then, and humility of heart should character- 
ize the superior. If the Lord was not ashamed to minister to 
His own servants and was willing to be a servant to earth and 
clay which He Himself had formed and shaped into a man 
( 'For I am, 5 He says, 'in the midst of you as he that serveth' 4 ) , 

1 1 Tim. 4.12. 

2 1 Cor. 11.1. 

3 Matt. 11.29. 

4 Luke 22.27. 



320 SAINT BASIL 

what must we do to our equals that we may deem ourselves 
to have arrived at the imitation of Him? So far 3 then, there 
is this one quality with which the superior should be endowed. 
Second, he should be kind and patient with those who from 
inexperience fall short in their duty, not failing to reprove 
them for their sins, but bearing gently with the intractable 
and applying remedies with all kindliness and moderation. He 
should likewise be competent in determining the kind of treat- 
ment required by the disorder, not scolding in a spirit of con- 
tempt, but admonishing and instructing with modesty, as it is 
written. 5 He should be sober in administering worldly goods, 
provident of the future, knowing how to contend with the 
strong and how to bear the infirmities of the weak and able to 
say and do all things unto the perfecting of his brethren. He 
should not take upon himself the office of superior of himself, 
but should be chosen by the heads of the other monasteries and 
he should be one who has in the past given sufficient proof 
of his character. 'And let these also first be proved,' says the 
Apostle, 'and so let them minister, having no crime. 56 A per- 
son of this sort, therefore, ought to hold the office of superior; 
let him establish good order among the brethren, making an 
allotment of tasks according to the fitness of each member. 

Q. 44. Who should be permitted to go on journeys and how 
they ought to be interrogated upon their return. 

R. Permission for going abroad should be granted to him 
who is able to accomplish the journey without injury to his 
soul and with profit to his companions. If a suitable person is 
not available, it is better to endure every inconvenience and 
trouble, even to the point of death, in the lack of necessary 
supplies, rather than to allow certain injury to the soul for 



5 2 Tim. 2.25. 

6 1 Tim. 3.10. 



THE LONG RULES 321 

the sake of physical comfort (Tor it is good for me to die,' 
says the Apostle, 'rather than that any man should make my 
glory void' 1 ). If this is true with regard to matters in which 
choice was permitted, how much more applicable is It to those 
involving a command! Yet, to be sure, the law of charity 
leaves us some recourse even here; for, if it should happen 
that in one community there be no one of the brethren who 
can be sent without risk, neighboring monasteries will supply 
what is lacking, making journeys in common and without 
separation from one another, in order that those who are 
weak in spirit or suffering from bodily illness may be kept 
safe through close union with their stronger companions. 
These arrangements should be made in advance by the su- 
perior, so that recourse may not be wanting at the very 
moment of emergency. After the return, moreover, examina- 
tion should be made of the journey as to the incidents which 
occurred, the sort of persons met with by the traveler along 
the way, the discourse held with them, the musings of his soul, 
and as to whether he passed every day and night in the fear 
of God or went astray and violated any precept, either by 
yielding to external circumstances or by giving in to his own 
natural indolence. 

Thereupon, what was rightly done should be accorded the 
seal of approval, but a fault should be corrected by appropri- 
ate and skillful instruction. Travelers will thus be more watch- 
ful because they are liable to account, and we shall not ap- 
pear indifferent to their conduct even when they are separated 
from us. The history of the Acts, moreover, shows that this 
was also a customary practice with the saints, when it teaches 
us that Peter, upon his return to Jerusalem, gave an account 
to the faithful of his sojourn among the Gentiles 2 and that 

1 1 Cor. 9.15. 

2 Acts 11.4ff. 



322 



SAINT BASIL 



Paul and Barnabas, after their arrival, assembled the church 
and proclaimed all that God had done by them; and again, 
that the entire throng remained silent and listened to Barna- 
bas and Paul relating the things God had wrought. 3 The chief 
point for us to keep in mind, however, is that running hither 
and thither, business transactions, and commercial profits 
should be entirely shunned by members of religious communi- 
ties. 

Q, 45. Thai there should be another person after the su- 
perior who, should the latter be on a journey or not at leisure, 
could take charge of the brethren. 

R. Since it frequently happens by reason of physical weak- 
ness, or the necessity of travel, or some other circumstance, 
that the superior is absent from the community, some other 
person approved by him and by others who are competent 
to judge should be selected to take charge of the brethren in 
his absence, that there may be one person to address words 
of exhortation and solace to those who remain at home. This 
will also ensure that, when the superior is away, the brethren 
will not adopt a popular system of government, as it were, 
to the abrogation of the rule and traditional discipline, but 
will preserve established and approved customs unto the glory 
of God. By this arrangement, too, there will be some one 
person to give prudent answers to guests, so that they who 
require discourse may be edified by the admirable presenta- 
tion of the subject and that the rank and file of the community 
may not be embarrassed. If all indiscriminately would hasten 
to seize the opportunity for talking, it would be both a source 
of distraction and a sign of disorder. The Apostle does not per- 
mit several persons to speak on the same ocasion, even though 
they are endowed with the gift of teaching, for he says; 'But 

$ Acts 15.12. 



THE LONG RULES 323 

If anything be revealed to another, let the first hold his peace. 51 
Again he demonstrates the absurdity of a lack of order in this 
regard when he says: 'If therefore the whole church come 
together into one place, and all speak with tongues and there 
come in unlearned persons or infidels, will they not say that 
you are mad?' 2 

Even if a stranger should address his inquiries through 
ignorance to some other person and although he who is ques- 
tioned by mistake is able to make a satisfactory reply, yet, for 
the sake of good order, he should keep silence and direct the 
stranger to him whose function this is, as did the Apostles 
when the Lord was present. In this way, speech will be em- 
ployed in a well-ordered and fitting manner. If in the treat- 
ment of bodily ills it is not permissible for everyone to use 
the knife for trie cure of those who are ill, but the office of him 
who has learned the art after a long period of instruction, 
application, and experience in curing the sick, how is it at 
all reasonable for the ordinary person to be forward in offering 
his aid in affecting a cure that is wrought by the word? In 
this kind of ministration, the least defect works very great 
harm; for, if not even the distribution of bread is allowed 
to be made by all among the brethren indiscriminately and 
if this duty belongs to him who has been approved for the 
office, how much greater need there is that a person of su- 
perior competence, carefully and cautiously chosen, dispense 
spiritual nourishment to those who ask for it? It is, there- 
fore, no venial act of arrogance for anyone to venture to 
answer casually and with assurance a question which has to 
do with the judgment of God and not refer it to the person 
whose function is the ministry of the word, who, being in all 
things faithful and a wise administrator, has been chosen 



1 1 Cor. 14.30. 

2 I Cor. 14.23. 



324 SAINT BASIL 

to give spiritual food in season 3 and order his words in judg- 
ment, as it is written. 4 If, however, something should escape 
him whose duty it is to give an answer, and another should 
observe this, he should not take issue with the former on the 
spot, but privately offer an apposite suggestion; for the 
former practice gives rise to insolence on the part of inferiors 
toward superiors. Therefore, even if one should make a help- 
ful response, yet beyond the scope of his office, he is liable to 
penalties for unruly behavior. 

Q. 46. That no one should conceal sins either in his own 
interest or for a brother's advantage. 

R. According to the Lord's injunction, every sin must be 
made known to the superior, either by the sinner himself or by 
those who are cognizant of his fault, if they themselves are 
not able to effect a cure; for vice kept secret is a festering 
wound in the soul. We would not term a benefactor one who 
would confine deadly poisons inside our body, but him, rather, 
who draws them out by painful laceration, so that either 
the noxious matter is ejected by vomiting or, in any case, that 
the treatment may be readily indicated because the infection 
is made manifest. By the same token, it is surely clear that 
concealing sin contributes to the death of the sick man ; 'for 
the sting of death is sin,' says the Scripture, 1 and also: 'Open 
rebukes are better than hidden love.' 2 Let no one, therefore, 
conceal a sin in behalf of another, lest fratricide take the place 
of fraternal charity; nor should anyone hide his own sins,- 'for 



3 Luke 12.42. 

4 Ps. 1IL5. 

1 1 Cor. 15,56. 

2 Prov. 27.5. 



THE LONG RULES 



325 



he who doth not heal himself in his works,' says the Scripture, 
'is brother to him that comniitteth outrage against himself.' 3 

Q. 47. Of those who do not accept these regulations. 

R. Anyone who does not approve of the superior's pre- 
scriptions should take up the matter with him either publicly 
or in private, if his objection is a sound one and consonant 
with the Scriptures; if not, he should hold his peace and do 
the thing that was enjoined. And if he himself should suffer 
from embarrassment, he should employ others as his repre- 
sentatives in the matter, so that, if the injunction be in oppo- 
sition to the Scriptures, he may save both himself and his 
brethren from harm. If, however, it be proved to be in accord 
with right reason, he would himself avoid a rash and hazar- 
dous dispute Tor he that discerneth,' says the Apostle, 'if 
he eat is condemned, because not of faith' 1 and he would 
not lay a snare of disobedience for simpler souls; 'for it were 
better,' says the Lord, 'that a millstone should be hanged 
about his neck and that he should be drowned in the depth of 
the sea than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.' 2 
And if some persist in their disobedience, finding fault in 
secret and not openly stating their grievance, thus becoming 
the cause of quarreling in the community and undermining 
the authority of the commands given, they should be dismissed 
from the community as teachers of disobedience and rebellion ; 
for the Scripture says: 'Cast out the scoffer from the council 
and contention shall go out with him,' 3 and also : Tut away 
the evil one from among yourselves,' for a little leaven cor- 
rupteth the whole lump.' 4 

3 Prov. 18.9. 

1 Rom. 14.23. 

2 Matt. 18.6. 

3 Prov. 22.10. 



326 SAINT BASIL 

Q. 48. That the superior's actions should not be curiously 
scrutinized, but everyone should concern himself with his own 
work. 

R. In order that no one may fall readily into this vice of 
captious quarreling, to his own undoing and that of others, 
this rule should, in general, be followed in the community: 
that, in the first place, no one is to concern himself with the 
superior's method of administration or make curious inquiries 
about what is being done, with the exception of those who, by 
reason of their rank and sagacity, are closely associated with 
the superior. He, in turn, on his part, is bound to take counsel 
with these and to deliberate with them on community matters, 
in obedience to the advice of Him who said: 'Do all things 
with counsel.' 1 Certainly, if we have entrusted our souls to 
the guidance of a superior, as to one who is accountable to 
God, it is wholly absurd for us not to trust him in matters of 
trivial consequence, and thus become filled 2 with unbecoming 
suspicions of our brother and give occasion for suspicion to 
others also. In order that this may not come to pass, every- 
one should confine himself to the occupation which has been 
appointed him and devote himself entirely to his own con- 
cerns, not busying himself at all with the doings of others, 
after the example of the holy disciples of the Lord; for, al- 
though the affair of the Samaritan woman might have aroused 
suspicion, yet 'no man,' the Scripture tells us, 'said: What 
seekest thou? or, why talkest thou with her?' 3 

Q. 49. Of controversies in the community. 
R. Now, with regard to disputes which arise among the 
brethren: Whenever certain individuals are in disagreement 



1 Eccli. 32.24. 

2 auton . . . plerousthai; it is probable that autous, i.e., emas, should be 

read. Cf. PG 31.1038 n. 92. 

3 John 4.27. 



THE LONG RULES 



327 



on any matter, they should not contend with one another in 
a wrangling spirit, but refer the settlement to those who are 
more competent than they. Nevertheless, so that good order 
may not be disturbed by everyone constantly submitting his 
problems and so that there may arise no occasion for levity 
or foolishness, some one approved person should be empow- 
ered either to refer the disputed point to the community for 
general consideration or to bring it to the attention of the 
superior. In this way, the investigation of the question will be 
more fittingly and more intelligently carried on, for knowl- 
edge and experience are nowhere more essential than in mat- 
ters of this kind. If no workman would entrust the use of his 
tools to unskilled persons, it is far more important to restrict 
the use of words to those who will be able to discern compe- 
tently the proper time, place, and method of questioning, and 
who, by disputing reasonably and without rancor and by 
listening intelligently can make accurate contributions toward 
solving the problem unto general edification. 

Q. 50. On the manner in which the superior should admin- 
ister a rebuke. 

R. The superior should not administer a rebuke to wrong- 
doers when his own passions are aroused; for, by admonishing 
a brother with anger and indignation, he does not free him 
from his faults but involves himself in the error. For this 
reason, the Apostle says: 'With modesty, admonishing them 
that resist.' 1 Nor should he become vehemently angry even 
when he himself is treated contumeliously, and, when he sees 
such treatment inflicted upon another, he should again show 
himself indulgent toward the sinner; but more than that, he 
ought, in the latter case, to manifest displeasure at the wrong 
done. By this difference in his conduct as regards himself and 



1 2 Tim. 2.25. 



328 SAINT BASIL 

another, he will avoid the suspicion of self-love and prove 
that he does not hate the sinner but is repelled by the sin. 
He who shows displeasure in a manner which is the reverse 
of that which I have indicated clearly proves that he is dis- 
pleased, not for God's sake, nor because of the offender's 
peril, but because of his own love of honor and authority. 
Zeal ought to be exercised for the glory of God, who is dis- 
honored by the violation of His decree, but it is right to show 
the mercy of fraternal charity on behalf of a brother who is 
endangering his salvation by sin ; for 'the soul that sinneth, the 
same shall die.' 2 We should, however, be stirred to anger by 
every sin as sin, reflecting the ardor of our feelings in the 
severity of the penalty we impose. 

Q. 51. Of the manner in which the fault of the offender 
should be corrected. 

R. The cure of those afflicted by evil passions should be 
effected according to the method used by physicians. The 
superior, therefore, must not become angry with the sick, but 
he must wage war upon their malady by setting up a coun- 
ter-irritant to the vice, curing the infirmity of the soul by 
drastic measures, if need be. For example, vainglory should 
be corrected by imposing practices of humility, idle talking, 
by silence, excessive sleep, by watching in prayer, sloth, by 
physical labor, intemperance at table, by fasting, murmuring, 
by segregation, so that none of the brethren may desire to 
work in partnership with the offender and that the work of 
the others may not be coupled with his, as was said above, 
unless, to be sure, he shows that he has been freed from his 
vice by doing penance without shame. In that event, the work 
which was done in a murmuring spirit should be accepted; 
yet, not even then should it be put to the service of the breth- 



2 Ezech 18.4. 



THE LONG RULES 329 

ren but made use of in some other way. The reason for this 
has been adequately set forth above. 1 

Q. 52. On the dispositions in which punishment should be 
received. 

R. If, as we have said, the superior should apply remedies 
to the weak in a dispassionate manner, so, in turn, those un- 
dergoing treatment should not look upon the penalties im- 
posed on them as hostile acts, nor regard as despotic the solici- 
tude shown them by the superior in a spirit of compassion 
for the salvation of their souls. It is shameful, indeed, that 
they who are sick in body place so much confidence in phy- 
sicians that, even if these cut or burn or cause distress by their 
bitter medicines, they look upon them as benefactors, while 
we do not share this attitude toward the physicians of our 
souls when they secure our salvation for us by laborious disci- 
pline. The Apostle says, however: 'who is he then who can 
make me glad, but the same who is made sorrowful by me,' 1 
and again: 'For behold this selfsame thing, that you were 
made sorrowful according to God, how great carefulness it 
worketh in you.' 2 It behooves one who looks to the end, there- 
fore, to consider him a benefactor who causes us pain which 
is according to God. 

Q. 53. How instructors in the arts will correct the blunders 
of the children. 

R. It is the duty of those themselves who teach the arts to 
reprimand the faulty technique of their pupils and correct 
their mistakes. All offenses, however, which arise from per- 
versity of character, such as disobedience and the spirit of 



1 Cf. supra, Q. 29. 

1 2 Cor. 2.2. 

2 2 Cor. 7.11. 



330 SAINT BASIL 

contradiction, laziness in performing tasks, idle talking, lying, 
or any other act forbidden to those who lead a religious life, 
should be referred to the person in charge of general disci- 
pline, so that he may determine the measure and the mode of 
treatment to be applied. The administering of a reprimand 
appertains to the cure of the soul; therefore, just as not every- 
one may practice the medical art, so no one should give a 
reprimand except he to whom the superior, after careful con- 
sideration, gives this permission. 

Q. 54. That the superiors of the brotherhoods ought to con- 
sult with one another about the problems pertaining to their 
office. 

R. It is a good plan that the heads of the communities 
should meet together occasionally at certain appointed times 
and places. At these assemblies they should lay before one 
another for consideration irregular situations, characters which 
are exceptionally difficult to deal with, details of their adminis- 
tration, so that, if any of them be delinquent in any respect, 
this may be revealed in an authoritative manner by the judg- 
ment of the group and that what has been rightly done may be 
ratified by their collective testimony. 

Q. 55. Whether recourse to the medical art is in keeping 
with the practice of piety. 

R. Each of the arts is God's gift to us, remedying the defi- 
ciencies of nature, as, for example, agriculture, since the pro- 
duce which the earth bears of itself would not suffice to pro- 
vide for our needs ; the art of weaving, since the use of clothing 
is necessary for decency's sake and for protection from the 
wind; and, similarly, for the art of building. The same is true, 
also, of the medical art. In as much as our body is susceptible 
to various hurts, some attacking from without and some from 



THE LONG RULES 



331 



within by reason of the food we eat, and since the body 
suffers affliction from both excess and deficiency, the medical 
art has been vouchsafed us by God, who directs our whole 
life, as a model for the cure of the soul, to guide us in the re- 
moval of what is superfluous and in the addition of what is 
lacking. Just as we would have no need of the farmer's labor 
and toil if we were living amid the delights of paradise, so 
also we would not require the medical art for relief if we 
were immune to disease, as was the case, by God's gift, at the 
time of Creation before the Fall.. After our banishment to this 
place, however, and after we had heard the words: 'In the 
sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread,' 1 through prolonged 
effort and hard labor in tilling the soil we devised the art of 
agriculture for the alleviation of the miseries which followed 
the curse, God vouchsafing us the knowledge and understand- 
ing of this art. And, when we were commanded to return to 
the earth whence we had been taken and were united with the 
pain-ridden flesh doomed to destruction because of sin and, 
for the same reason, also subject to disease, the medical art 
was given to us to relieve the sick, in some degree at least. 

Now, the herbs which are the specifics for each malady do 
not grow out of the earth spontaneously; it is evidently the 
will of the Creator that they should be brought forth out of 
the soil to serve our need. Therefore, the obtaining of that 
natural virtue which is in the roots and flowers, leaves, fruits, 
and juices, or in such metals or products of the sea as are 
found especially suitable for bodily health, is to be viewed in 
the same way as the procuring of food and drink. Whatever 
requires an undue amount of thought or trouble or involves a 
large expenditure of effort and causes our whole life to revolve, 
as it were, around solicitude for the flesh must be avoided 
by Christians. Consequently, we must take great care to em- 



I Gen. 3.19. 



332 SAINT BASIL 

ploy this medical art, if it should be necessary, not as making 
it wholly accountable for our state of health or illness, but as 
redounding to the glory of God and as a parallel to the care 
given the soul. In the event that medicine should fail to help, 
we should not place all hope for the relief of our distress in 
this art, but we should rest assured that He will not allow us to 
be tried above that which we are able to bear. 2 Just as in 
those days the Lord sometimes made clay, and anointed, and 
bade wash in Siloe, and on other occasions was content with 
the mere command: C I will, be thou made clean/ 3 whereas 
He left some to struggle against their afflictions, rendering 
them more worthy of reward by trial, so it also is with us. He 
sometimes cures us secretly and without visible means when 
He judges this mode of treatment beneficial to our souls; 
and again He wills that we use material remedies for our ills, 
either to instil in us by the prolonged nature of the cure an 
abiding remembrance of the favor received, or, as I have said, 
to provide an example for the proper care of the soul. As in 
the case of the flesh it is essential to eliminate foreign ele- 
ments and add whatever is wanting, so also, where the soul 
is concerned, it behooves us to rid ourselves of that which is 
alien to it and take unto ourselves that which is in accord- 
ance with its nature; for 'God made man right/ 4 and He 
created us for good works that we might walk in them. 

Moreover, as in using the medical art we submit to cutting, 
burning, and the taking of bitter medicines for the cure of 
the body, so, also, in caring for our souls we must heal them 
by accepting the cut of the reproachful word and the bitter 
medicine of penalties. The prophetic writings, furthermore, 
utter this remonstrance to those who have not received ad- 

2 I Cor. 10.13. 

3 John 9.6,7; Matt. 8.3. 

4 Eccle. 7.30. 



THE LONG RULES 333 

monition: 'Is there no balm in Gilead? or is there no physi- 
cian there? Why then hath not the health of the daughter of 
my people gone up? 55 The fact, also, that chronic illnesses 
persist over a long period and despite varied and painful reme- 
dies is a sign that we should amend the sins of the soul by 
assiduous prayer, prolonged penance, and the severe disci- 
plinary treatment which reason may advise as adequate for 
the cure. Nor, because some sinners do not make good use of 
the art of medicine, should we repudiate all the advantages 
to be derived from it; for we need not straightway condemn 
all the arts together merely because undisciplined pleasure- 
seekers abuse the art of cookery, or baking, or weaving, for 
the purpose of ministering to their own delight, by overstep- 
ping the limits of what is strictly necessary. On the contrary, 
their abuse of these arts ought to be made evident by our dem- 
onstrating the proper use of them. Similarly with the medical 
art jwe ought not commit outrage against a gift of God 
by putting it to bad use. To place the hope of one's health 
in the hands of the doctor is the act of an irrational animal. 
This, nevertheless, is what we observe in the case of certain 
unhappy persons who do not hesitate to call their doctors 
their saviors. Yet, to reject entirely the benefits to be derived 
from this art is the sign of a pettish nature. Just as Ezechias 
did not regard the lump of figs as a primary cause of his re- 
gaining his health 6 and did not consider this fruit responsible 
for the cure of his body, but gave glory to God and added 
thanksgiving for the creation of the figs, so, also, when we 
suffer the blows of calamity at the hands of God, who directs 
our life with goodness and wisdom, we first ask of Him 
understanding of the reason He has inflicted the blows; 
second, deliverance from our pains or patient endurance of 

5 Jer. 8.22. 

6 2 Kings 20.7. 



334 SAINT BASIL 

them, to the end that, with the temptation, He may also grant 
issue so we may be able to bear it. T 

When the favor of a cure is granted us, whether by means 
of wine mixed with oil, as in the case of the man who fell 
among the robbers, 8 or through figs, as with Ezechias, we 
are to receive it with thanksgiving. Besides, we shall view the 
watchful care of God impartially, whether it comes to us 
from some invisible source or by a physical agency, the latter, 
indeed, frequently engendering in us a livelier perception of 
the favor as coming from the hands of God. Very often, also, 
the diseases which we contracted were for our correction and 
the painful remedies we were obliged to submit to formed 
part of the instruction. Right reason dictates, therefore, that 
we demur neither at cutting nor at burning, nor at the pains 
caused by bitter and disagreeable medicines, nor at absti- 
nence from food, nor at a strict regimen, nor at being forced 
to refrain from that which is hurtful. Nevertheless, we should 
keep as our objective (again I say it), our spiritual benefit, 
in as much as the care of the soul is being taught in the guise 
of an analogy. There is no small danger, however, that we 
will fall into the error of thinking that every kind of suffer- 
ing requires medical relief. Not all sicknesses for whose treat- 
ment we observe medicine to be occasionally beneficial arise 
from natural causes, whether from faulty diet or from any 
other physical origin. Illness is often a punishment for sin 
imposed for our conversion; 'For whom the Lord loveth/ says 
the Scripture, 'he chastiseth 5 ; 9 again: Therefore are there 
many infirm and weak among you and many sleep. But if we 
would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst 
we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord that we be not 



7 1 Cor. 10.13. 

8 Luke 10.34. 

9 Prov. 3.12. 



THE LONG RULES 



335 



condemned with the world. 310 Consequently, when we who 
belong to this class have recognized our transgressions, we 
should bear in silence and without recourse to medicine all the 
afflictions which come to us, in accordance with the words: 
'I will bear the wrath of the Lord because I have sinned 
against him.' 11 We should, moreover, give proof of our 
amendment by bringing forth fruits worthy of penance, 12 
remembering the words of the Lord : 'Behold, thou art made 
whole; sin no more lest some worse thing happen to thee. 513 
Sometimes, also, sickness afflicts us at the request of the 
Evil One -our benevolent Master, condescending to enter 
into combat with him as if he were a mighty adversary and 
confounding his boasts by the heroic patience of His servants. 
This we learn in the case of Job. 14 Then, too, God places 
those who are able to endure tribulation even unto death 
before the weak as their model. Lazarus, fcr example, al- 
though afflicted with such painful wounds, never brought a 
charge against the rich man, nor made any request of him, 
nor became peevish at the condition of things; consequently, 
he came to rest in Abraham's bosom as one who had accepted 
misfortunes in his lifetime. 15 Again, we find another reason 
for sickness as applying to the saints. In the case of the 
Apostle, for instance, in order that he might not seem to ex- 
ceed the limits of human nature and that no one might think 
him to possess anything exceptional in his nature (this notion 
the Lycaonians actually entertained and they brought gar- 
lands and oxen for sacrifice 16 ), he calls attention to his pro- 

10 1 Cor. 11.30-32. 

11 Mich. 7.9. 

12 Luke 3.8. 

13 John 5.14. 

14 Joh 2.6. 

15 Luke 16.20ff. 

16 Acts 14.12. 



336 SAINT BASIL 

longed struggles with an infirmity as a means of demonstrating 
the fact that he is human. 17 

What profit would there be for such men in having re- 
course to medicine? Would there not rather be danger that in 
their solicitude for the body they would be led astray from 
right reason? Certainly, as was said before, those who have 
contracted illness by living improperly should make use of 
the healing of their body as a type and exemplar, so to speak, 
for the cure of their soul; since abstention from that which is 
hurtful according to the rules of the medical art, the choos- 
ing of what is beneficial, the observance of prescriptions, are 
of advantage 'to us also [in the spiritual life]. 

Further, the very transformation of the body from sickness 
to health should be an incentive to us not to despair of the 
soul, as if it had not power to be restored again through 
penance from its sinful state to its proper integrity. So, then, 
we should neither repudiate this art altogether nor does it be- 
hoove us to repose all our confidence in it; but, just as in prac- 
ticing the art of agriculture we pray God for the fruits, and 
as we entrust the helm to the pilot in the art of navigation, 
but implore God that we may end our voyage unharmed by 
the perils of the sea, so also, when reason allows, we call in 
the doctor, but we do not leave off hoping in God. It seems 
to me, moreover, that the medical art is no small aid to 
continency. I observe that this art prohibits sensual indul- 
gence, it is opposed to satiety, it forbids as inexpedient an elab- 
orate diet and an exaggerated liking for condiments. In gen- 
eral, it regards want as the mother of health, so that even in 
this particular its counsel is not without value for us. There- 
fore, whether we follow the precepts of the medical art or 
decline to have recourse to them for any of the reasons men- 



17 2 Cor. 12.7. 



THE LONG RULES 337 

tioned above, we should hold to our objective of pleasing 
God and see to it that the soul's benefit is assured, fulfilling 
thus the Apostle's precept: * Whether you eat or drink or 
whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God. 318 

18 1 Cor. 10.31. 




CONCERNING BAPTISM 

B O O K I 

Chapter 1 

That we should become disciples of the Lord before we are 
accounted worthy of holy Baptism 

FTER HIS RESURRECTION from the dead, our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of the living 
God, received the fulfillment of the promise made to 
Him by God, His Father, who said by David the Prophet: 
'Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me 
and I will give thee the Gentiles for thine inheritance, and 
the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.' 1 And when 
He took unto Himself the disciples, He revealed to them first 
this power given to Him by the Father, saying: 'All power 
is given to me in heaven and in earth. 32 Then he sent them 
forth with the words: 'Going therefore, teach ye all nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and 
of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things what- 
soever I have commanded you.' 3 The Lord, in giving His 
command, however, said first : 'teach ye all nations/ and 
then added: 'baptizing them,' and so on. But you ask me for 
a discourse on the second part of the injunction and you say 
nothing regarding the first part. Now if I, in turn, did not give 
you a prompt answer, I would consider that I had violated 

1 PS. 2.7,8. 

2 Matt. 28.18. 

3 Matt. 28.19,20. 

339 



340 SAINT BASIL 

the precept of the Apostle, who had bidden us: 'Be ye ready 
to satisfy everyone that asketh you a reason.' 4 Consequently, 
I am going to impart to you the doctrine concerning Baptism 
according to the Lord's Gospel, which has an authority superi- 
or to the baptism of the blessed John. The passages which I 
shall cite, however, are only a few of the many references 
to this subject in the Holy Scriptures. But, in any event, I 
considered it necessary to have recourse to the order of things 
established by our Lord, so that you, also, first by under- 
standing the force of the precept 'teach ye' and then by hear- 
ing in due course an exposition of the doctrine concerning 
this most glorious Baptism, might happily arrive at perfection, 
being instructed in the observance of all the precepts which 
the Lord gave to His own disciples, as it is written. In the 
passage just quoted, we heard Him say 'teach ye/ but now 
we must also mention what He says elsewhere regarding the 
same command. In this way, we first of all adopt a point of 
view that is pleasing to God; secondly, we observe a sequence 
that is both logical and fitting; thus avoiding, pursuant of our 
goal of God's good pleasure, a departure from the right inter- 
pretation [of His precept]. It is customary for the Lord to elu- 
cidate what is definitely laid down in one place by His utter- 
ances elsewhere. For instance : 'Lay up to yourselves treasures 
in heaven. 55 Here is given the simple command. The manner 
of following it He reveals in another place: 'Sell what you 
possess and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which grow 
not old, a treasure in heaven which faileth not 3 ; 6 and there are 
many other instances of the same kind. 

Now, a disciple, as we learn from the Lord Himself, is one 
who comes to the Lord for the purpose of following Him, that 

4 1 Pet. 3.15. 

5 Matt. 6.20. 

6 Luke 12.33. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 341 

is, to hear His words, to believe in Him and obey Him as 
Master, King, Physician, and Teacher of truth, in the hope 
of gaining eternal life. Further, he must persevere in these 
dispositions, as it it written: 'then he said to those Jews who 
believed in him : If you continue in my word, you shall be my 
disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth 
shall make you free. 37 That is to say, we shall receive freedom 
of spirit from the cruel tyranny of the Devil by being de- 
livered from the dominion of sin; for He says: 'whosoever 
committeth sin is the servant of sin. 38 We shall also escape 
the sentence of death, as the Apostle Paul has told us: 'Him 
who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be 
made the justice of God In him 3 ; 9 and again: 'For as by the 
disobedience of one man, many were made sinners; so also by 
the obedience of one, many shall be made just. 310 In addition, 
one who believes in the Lord and who proves his fitness for 
instruction should learn both to repudiate all sin and to re- 
ject every pretext, however specious, which might distract 
him from the obedience which on many scores he owes to 
God. It Is impossible, indeed, for one who commits sin or 
who has entangled himself In the affairs of this world, or who 
is solicitous even for the necessities of this life to serve to 
say nothing of being the disciple of that Lord who bade the 
young man sell his goods and give to the poor before He said 
to him: 'Come, follow me. 311 More than this, He gave the 
young man that first injunction only after the latter had him- 
self declared: 'All these have I kept. 512 He had not yet re- 
ceived pardon for his sins, you see, nor had he been cleansed 

7 John 8.31,32. 

8 John 8.34. 

9 2 Cor. 5.21. 

10 Rom. 5.19. 

11 Matt. 19.21. 

12 Matt. 19.20. 



342 SAINT BASIL 

by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, but he was in the service 
of the Devil and under the dominion of sin dwelling within 
him. He was, therefore, unable to serve the Lord who pro- 
claimed an unalterable decree when He said : 'Whoever com- 
mitteth sin, is the servant of sin; now the servant of sin 
abideth not in the house, 313 Paul, too, speaking in Christ, bore 
witness to this law when he wrote : 'But he who is the servant 
of sin is a free man to justice.' 14 Again the Lord says: 'No 
man can serve two masters,' 15 and so on. Furthermore, He 
showed by His teaching, both specifically and by implication, 
that they who are solicitous in supplying themselves with the 
necessities of life cannot persevere in the service of God, not 
to speak of being His disciples. And from this doctrine the 
Apostle derived his fuller presentation : 'What participation 
hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with 
darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what 
part hath the faithful with the unbeliever? And what agree- 
ment hath the temple of God with idols?' 16 In another place, 
he says directly, 'The flesh lusteth against the spirit and the 
spirit against the flesh ; for these are contrary one to another, 
so that you do not the things that you would.' 17 Let us also 
recall what he says in a passage which is meant to convey to 
us a still deeper sense of shame: 'I know that the law is spiri- 
tual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I work, 
I understand not. For I do not that good which I will; but 
the evil which I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I will 
not, I consent to the law, that it is good. Now then it is no 
more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.' 18 And after he 

13 John 8.3435. 

14 Rom. 6.20. 

15 Matt. 6.24. 

16 2 Cor. 6.14-16. 

17 Gal. 5.17. 

18 Rom. 7.14-17. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 343 

has developed more fully the Idea that it is impossible for one 
who is in the power of sin to serve the Lord, he plainly states 
who it is that redeems us from such a tyrannical dominion in 
the words: 'Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death? I give thanks to God through 
Jesus Christ, our Lord.' 19 Further on, he adds: 'There is now, 
therefore, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, 
who walk not according to the flesh. 320 

More than this, his words in still another place clearly set 
forth the greatness of the benefit we have received through 
the loving-kindness of God in the Incarnation of our Lord 
Jesus Christ: Tor as by the obedience of one man, many 
were made sinners; so also, by the obedience of one, many 
shall be made just.' 21 In yet another passage, contemplating 
the still more wonderful benevolence of God in Christ, he 
says: 'Him who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that 
we might be made the justice of God in him.' 22 In view of 
these utterances and other similar ones, we are under the 
strictest obligation, unless we have received in vain the grace 
of God, 23 first, to free ourselves from the dominion of the 
Devil who leads a slave of sin into evils even against his will. 
Secondly, each of us, after denying himself present satisfac- 
tions and breaking off his attachment of this life, must be- 
come a disciple of the Lord, as He Himself said: c lf any man 
will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his 
cross and follow me.' 24 That is, 'let him become My disciple.' 
This same injunction He presents in a more extended, force- 
ful and graphic form in the Gospel according to Luke, which 

19 Rom. 7.24,25. 

20 Rom. 8.1. 

21 Rom. 5.19. 

22 2 Cor. 5.21. 

23 2 Cor. 6.1, 

24 Matt. 16.24. 



344 SAINT BASIL 

we shall speak of a little later. But we all escape the con- 
demnation for our sins referred to above, if we believe In the 
grace of God through His Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who said: This is my blood of the new testament, 
which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins/ 25 The 
Apostle also testified to this truth when he wrote: 'Love one 
another as Christ also hath loved us and hath delivered him- 
self for us, an oblation and -a sacrifice to God; 526 and again: 
'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law,' 27 and 
so in many other passages. When pardon for his transgressions 
is granted, then does man obtain of the Redeemer, Jesus 
Christ, our Lord, deliverance from his sinful state and there- 
upon is he rendered fit to receive instruction. Not yet, how- 
ever, is he worthy to follow that Lord (again I state) who 
said to the young man: 'Sell what thou hast and give to the 
poor' before He said: 'Come, follow me/ 28 And He gave Him 
that first injunction only after the young man had affirmed 
that he was free from the guilt of any sin by saying that he 
had fulfilled all the commandments mentioned by the Lord. 
It is clear, then, that in this connection, also, the right order 
must be followed. We are taught not merely to care nothing 
for our possessions and for the necessities of this life, but we 
are even instructed to make no account of just claims as re- 
gards one another imposed upon us by law and nature: for 
Jesus Christ says: 'He that loveth father or mother more 
than me is not worthy of me.' 29 Moreover, these words must 
be understood as referring similarly to any other close bonds 
of intimacy, and surely they apply with far greater force to 
more distant connections and to those outside the faith. Then 

25 Matt. 26.28. 

26 Eph. 5.2. 

27 Gal. 3.13. 

28 Luke 18.22. 

29 Matt. 10.37. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 345 

He adds: 'He that taketh not up his cross and followeth me, 
Is not worthy of me. 530 And the Apostle who succeeded In do- 
Ing this writes for our instruction: T am crucified to the world 
and the world to me.' 31 'And I live, now not I; but Christ 
liveth In me.' 32 

Once more, let us call to mind the Lord's words which He 
spoke directly to each of us when to the man who said : 
'Suffer me first to go and bury my father,' He replied: 'Let 
the dead bury their dead; but go thou and preach the king- 
dom of God.' 33 Another who said: 'Let me first arrange my 
affairs at home,' He rebuked with a stern threat, saying: 'No 
man, putting his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit 
for the kingdom of God.' 34 A human obligation, therefore, 
however honorable it may appear, if it retards us ever so 
slightly in rendering the whole-hearted obedience we owe to 
God, is to be repudiated by a person who wishes to become 
the Lord's disciple; compliance with it is the deserving object 
of a dire threat. The Lord again states this precept in more 
general terms when He says: 'If any man will come after me, 
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 335 
But if we recall the words of the Lord to him who said: 
'Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God,' 36 
we learn of a more terrible judgment of wrath and severity 
which deprives those who transgress the precept of every good 
hope. These are the Lord's words: 'A certain man made a 
great supper and invited many. And he sent his servant at the 
hour of supper to say to them that were invited that they 
should come, for now all things are ready. And they began 

30 Matt. 10.38. 

31 Gal. 6.14. 

32 Gal. 2.20. 

33 Luke 9.59,60. 

34 Luke 9.61,62. 

35 Matt. 16.24. 

36 Luke 14.15. 



346 SAINT BASIL 

all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: I have 
bought a farm and I must go out and see it; I pray thee, hold 
me excused. And another said: I have bought five yoke of 
oxen and I go to try them; I pray thee, hold me excused. 
And another said: I have married a wife, and therefore I 
cannot come. And the servant, returning, told these things 
to his lord. Then the master of the house, being angry, said 
to his servant: Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of 
the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the feeble, and the 
blind and the lame. And the servant said: Lord, it is done 
as thou has commanded, and yet there is room. And the 
lord said to his servant: Go out unto the highways and hedges 
and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 
But I say unto you that none of those men that were invited 
shall taste of my supper.' 37 Moreover, the Only-begotten Son 
of the living God, sent by the Father not to judge the world 
but to save the world,'" true to Himself and faithful to the 
will of the good God, His Father, associates with the decree of 
His severity a doctrine whereby we might be made worthy 
of becoming His disciples. He says: e lf any man come to me 
and hate not his father and mother, and his wife and chil- 
dren and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he 
cannot be my disciple.' 39 That sort of hatred is meant, of 
course, which inculcates the virtue of piety by withdrawing us 
from distractions, not the kind which leads us to contrive 
hurtful schemes against another. 'And whosoever,' says the 
Lord, 'doth not carry his cross and come after me, cannot 
be my disciple. 540 This, indeed, is the very agreement we make 
when, in receiving the Baptism of water, we promise to be 

37 Luke 14.16-24. 

38 John 12.47. 

39 Luke 14.26. 

40 Luke 14.27. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 347 

crucified, to die, to be buried with Him, and so on, as it is 
written. 41 

In consideration of our weakness, however, God willed also 
to establish our hearts in full conviction of the truth by means 
of parables and, thereby, induce in us a readier obedience. 
He says, therefore: 'Which of you having a mind to build 
a tower, doth not first sit down and reckon the charges that 
are necessary, whether he have wherewithal to finish it; lest 
after he hath laid the foundation and is not able to finish it, 
all that see it begin to mock him, saying: This man began to 
build and was not able to finish. Or what king about to go to 
make war against another king, doth not first sit down and 
think whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that 
with twenty thousand cometh against him? Or else, whilst 
the other is yet afar off, sending an embassy, he desireth con- 
ditions of peace. So, likewise, every one of you that doth not 
renounce all that he possesseth cannot be my disciple. Salt is 
good. But if the salt shall lose its savour, wherewith shall it 
be seasoned? It is neither profitable for the land nor for the 
dunghill, but shall be cast out. He that hath ears to hear, let 
him hear. 54 " If we have faith in these words, we will, first of 
all, with the grace of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ ( un- 
less we have received so great a grace in vain 43 ), free our- 
selves from the tyranny of the Devil by refraining from every 
action that is pleasing to the Devil. Secondly, we will renounce 
not only the world and its concupiscences, but also the just 
claims we have on one another, and, even our life itself, when- 
ever any of these things distracts us from the whole-hearted 
and immediate submission we owe to God. Then shall we be 
worthy to become disciples of the Lord. Furthermore, we 

41 Rom. 6.4-11. 

42 Luke 14.28-35. 

43 2 Cor. 6.1. 



348 SAINT BASIL 

learn from Moses and the Prophets, from the Evangelists and 
the Apostles, that all things visible and invisible were made 
In the beginning by God through His Only-begotten Son, our 
Lord Jesus Christ. By the events recounted in the Holy Scrip- 
ture, also, we are taught the goodness of God and His severity 
in much patience, that His justice may be manifested and 
for our instruction. From the Scriptures we learn also of 
the prophecies concerning the Incarnation of Jesus our Lord 
and the paradoxical events which then occurred; of His glori- 
ous Resurrection from the dead, His Ascension, and most 
glorious Coming at the end of time; of the doctrines of piety, 
based on the hope of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven 
and wholly in accord with the Gospel and acceptable to God 
in the love of Christ Jesus, our Lord; of the judgment of 
just recompense rendered both to those who do what is 
forbidden or refuse to do that which is sanctioned, unto 
eternal punishment, and to those who live worthily, according 
to the Gospel of God, in sound faith, working by the charity 
of Christ, 44 in the expectation of life eternal and the kingdom 
of heaven which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord, 



44 Gal. 5.6. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 349 

Chapter 2 

How Baptism according to the Gospel of our Lord 
Jesus Christ is conferred 

Since our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us to love 
one another as He had loved us 1 and since He has taught us 
by the Apostle Paul to support one another in charity, 2 I 
readily accede to the request of Your Piety in Christ regard- 
ing the most glorious Baptism according to the Gospel of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, not as being competent to speak worthily 
on the subject but as making a small contribution, like the 
widow who cast in the two mites. 3 And I have need in this 
matter of the prayers of those who love Christ, that, by the 
grace of the good God and His Christ, the good Holy Spirit, 
reminding and instructing us regarding that which He hears 
from the Lord, 4 may direct our thoughts into the path of 
peace and sound doctrine, to the end that faith may be 
strengthened and that for you and for me may be fulfilled 
the saying : 'Give an occasion to a wise man and wisdom shall 
be added to him.' 5 Only we must bear in mind that instruc- 
tion is necessary before we are worthy to receive this most 
admirable Baptism. Such was the command given to His 
disciples by our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, Only-begotten 
Son of the Living God. With a sense of obligation, therefore, 
we impart to you a few utterances singled out from the many 
sayings of our Lord Himself respecting those who wish to 
become disciples of Christ. And since He promises that we 

1 John 13.34. 

2 Eph. 4.2. 

3 Luke 21.2. 

4 John 14.26. 

5 Prov. 9.9. 



350 SAINT BASIL 

shall see the kingdom of God if we are born anew and that 
by being born of water and the Holy Spirit we shall enter 
into the kingdom of God, 6 I consider it necessary to add a 
few of many references to the kingdom of heaven, that we 
may in no way fail of its attainment. Indeed, one of our 
sages has said that the little things in life are far from being 
trivialities, and almost everyone knows this from practical 
experience. Even so, we can become more firmly convinced of 
the truth of this saying by noting the exactness of the pre- 
scriptions relating to priests and to animals brought for sacri- 
fice. 7 If any small blemish was discovered or any mutilation, 
not of all the bodily members, but, as it is written, of only 
one part of a member the lobe of the ear, for example a 
man would not be chosen for the priesthood and an animal 
would not be acceptable for sacrifice. The Apostle says: 'Now 
these things happened to them in figure; and they arc written 
for our correction, upon whom the ends of the world are 
come.' 8 Moreover, the Lord clearly showed the superiority 
[of the New Dispensation] in the words: 'There is here a 
greater than the temple,' 9 and by saying: 'To whom they 
have committed much, of him they will demand the more,' 10 
He indicated that we should take more meticulous care of 
the soul than of the body. 

And now let us speak of the kingdom of heaven. When our 
Lord Jesus Christ ascended the mountain and began His 
teaching by proclaiming the beatitudes, He first set forth that 
beatitude which offers promise of the kingdom of heaven. 
He said: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the king- 

6 John 3.5. 

7 Lev. 22.21-31. 

8 1 Cor. 10.11. 

9 Matt. 12.6. 
10 Luke 12.48. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 351 

dom of heaven.' 11 In the eighth beatitude, also, He says: 
'Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 512 Again, in the parable 
of the shepherd, He prophesies the blessing that will be 
pronounced at the time of retribution, saying: 'Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared 
for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry 
and you gave me to eat,' u and so on. At another time and 
place, as the context indicates, in the Gospel of Luke, He 
again sets forth the beatitudes, saying: "Blessed are the poor 
in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven 1 ; 14 and yet again: 
l Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give 
you a kingdom. Sell what you possess and give alms. Make 
to yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in heaven 
which faileth not.' 15 Such, then, are the means, whereby a 
man is rendered worthy of the kingdom of heaven. The indis- 
pensable requirements for entrance into the kingdom of 
heaven, however, are revealed by the Lord in the Gospel ac- 
cording to Matthew. He says: 'Unless your justice abound 
more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven,' 10 and again: 'Unless you 
be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter 
into the kingdom of heaven, 117 and yet again, 'Whosoever shall 
not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter 
into it. 318 Moreover, in the Gospel according to John, He says 
to Nicodemus: 'Unless a man be born again, he cannot see 

11 Matt. 5.3. 

12 Matt. 5.10. 

1.1 Matt. !>5.3-1.35. 

14 Luke 6.20. 

15 Luke li>.3i>,33. 
10 Matt. 5.i>0. 

17 Matt. 18.3. 

18 Mark 10.15. 



352 SAINT BASIL 

the kingdom of God'; 19 also: 'Unless a man be bom again 
of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter Into the king- 
dom of God. 520 

With regard to all these requirements, one rule obtains: 
that if one is neglected, all are equally imperiled. If the Lord 
says : 'one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all are 
fulfilled/ 21 how much more will this be true of the Gospel, 
in as much as the Lord Himself says: 'Heaven and earth shall 
pass, but rny words shall not pass. 522 Wherefore, the Apostle 
James makes bold to say : 'Whosoever shall keep the whole law 
but offend in one point, is become guilty of all.' 23 This he 
inferred from the threat made by the Lord after He had 
proclaimed the beatitudes, after His testimonies to the state 
which transcends the human lot, after the prediction made 
to Peter: 'If I wash t-hee not, thou shalt have no part with 
me.' 24 The Apostle Paul, who filled up those things that 
were wanting of the sufferings of Christ for His body which 
is the Church, 25 tells us, speaking in Christ, what the offenses 
are for which, most of all, a man is deemed unworthy of 
heaven and for which he incurs the sentence of death, by 
his specific declaration : 'they who do such things are worthy 
of death. 326 Why did he not say: 'they who do these things/ 
instead of saying: 'they who do such things shall not obtain 
the kingdom of God'? 27 Again, he says more generally: The 
unjust shall not obtain the kingdom of God/ 28 and similarly 
in other places. In the Gospel according to Luke, our Lord 

19 John 3.3. 

20 John 3.5. 

21 Matt. 5.18. 

22 Matt. 24.35. 

23 James 2.10. 

24 John 13.8. 

25 Col. 1.24. 

26 Rom. 1.32. 

27 Gal. 5.21. 

28 1 Cor. 6.9. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



353 



Jesus Christ Himself declared : 'No man putting his hand to 
the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God. 529 
Here it must be observed that so dire and irrevocable a judg- 
ment is not pronounced upon many sins, but upon one -and 
this having to do with legitimate acts in which there was a 
delay ever so slight in giving to God the immediate and whole- 
hearted obedience we owe Him on many grounds. By these 
and similar passages we are taught that all things must be 
perfectly and lawfully accomplished by those who have re- 
ceived the promise of the kingdom of heaven and that, if 
this perfect accomplishment be lacking, the gift of the king- 
dom is withheld. We learn, moreover, that everything which 
might prevent us from obtaining the kingdom of heaven is 
to be avoided and by this means we may hope to be accounted 
worthy of the promise. In our endeavors to become pleasing 
to God, we ought not only free ourselves from all iniquity, 
but we must also be perfect and blameless as regards every 
word of God. To this achievement the Apostle Paul, con- 
templating the great and ineffable love of God and His Christ 
toward us on behalf of our justification and salvation, exhorts 
us in the words: 'Giving no offence to any man, that our 
ministry be not blamed; but in all things let us exhibit our- 
selves as ministers of God.'' 

As he who is poor in spirit cannot, by reason of the decree, 
enter the kingdom of heaven unless he has been born of water 
and the Holy Spirit, 31 so, on the other hand, unless the jus- 
tice of that man 'abound more than that of the scribes and 
Pharisees,' 32 or if any other requirement be unfulfilled, he is 
not accounted worthy of the kingdom, because of another 
decree similar to that mentioned above. It is written: 'That 

29 Luke 9.(>2. 

30 2 Cor. 6.3,4. 

31 John 3.5. 

32 Matt. 5.20. 



354 SAINT BASIL 

he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having 
spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be 
holy and without blemish. 3:u And there are many such utter- 
ance which, if they were diligently read, would convince us 
even more firmly that we must comply with every prescription 
in order to merit the kingdom of heaven. Further, that he who 
abounds in justice and who has been born anew has fulfilled 
the perfection of all righteousness comprised in the beatitudes 
and other prescriptions as well and that such a one is to be 
regarded as proficient in such righteous acts, the section on 
being born anew will, by the grace of God, prove a little 
further on. But since, as I said above, Your Piety's injunction 
requires of us a discourse on the most admirable Baptism ac- 
cording to the Gospel, I think it logical to follow what has 
been said regarding the kingdom of heaven with a brief in- 
struction on the difference between the baptism according to 
Moses and that conferred by John. Then, at length, we may 
be accounted worthy, by the grace of God, to comprehend the 
pre-eminent dignity of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ 
in its incomparable magnitude of glory. The Only-begotten 
Son of the living God declared that 'there is here a greater 
than the temple,' and 'a greater than Solomon here,' and 'a 
greater than Jonas here.' :u The Apostle, also, after speaking 
first of the glory of Moses in the ministration of the law, a 
glory which the Jews were not able to approach, testifies [to 
this superiority] by adding the words: 'For even that which 
was glorious in this part was not glorified by reason of the 
glory that excelled!.' 35 John the Baptist, than whom there 
is no greater among them that are born of woman/ 6 likewise 
bears witness [to the same truth] in the words: 'He must in- 

33 Eph. 5.27. 

34 Matt. 12.6,42,41. 

35 2 Cor. 3.10. 

36 Matt. 11.11. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 355 

crea.se, but I must decrease'; 37 and again: *I indeed baptize 
you in water unto penance, but he baptizes you in the Holy 
Ghost and fire,' ;{s and so in many other places. The Holy 
Spirit is as far superior to water as He who baptizes in the 
Holy Spirit obviously is to him who baptizes in water. And 
this is true also of the Baptism itself. Wherefore, John himself, 
commended so highly and so frequently by the Lord, made 
the open and unabashed declaration: 'I am not worthy to 
loose the latchet of his shoc.' sa 

From all these proofs the superiority of the Baptism accord- 
ing to the Gospel of Christ becomes clearly evident. Even if 
it is not possible to comprehend it worthily, yet, according to 
our capacity and as God may grant us sufficiency, it is a pious 
and beneficial act to speak on this subject, using as our source 
the Scriptures themselves. The baptism which was handed 
down through Moses recognized, first, a difference in sins; 
for the grace of pardon was not accorded all transgressions; 
also, it required various sacrifices, it laid down precise rules 
for purification, it segregated for a time one who was in a 
state of impurity and defilement, it appointed the observance 
of days and seasons, and then baptism was received as the 
seal of purification. The baptism of John was far superior. 
It recognized no distinction of sins, nor did it require a variety 
of sacrifices, nor did it appoint strict rules for purification or 
any observance of days or seasons. Indeed, with no delay at 
all, anyone who had confessed his sins, however numerous 
or grave, had access at once to the grace of God and His 
Christ. He was baptized in the river Jordan and straightway 
received pardon for his sins. The Baptism of the Lord, how- 
ever, surpasses all human powers of comprehension. It con- 

37 John 3.30. 

38 Matt. 3.11. 

39 Mark 1.7. 



356 SAINT BASIL 

tains a glory beyond all that man hopes or prays for, a pre- 
eminence of grace and power which exceeds the others more 
than the sun outshines the stars. More than this, if the words 
of the saints are recalled to mind, they prove even more 
conclusively its incomparable superiority. Yet, we must not 
therefore refrain from speaking of it, but, using the very 
utterances of our Lord Jesus Christ as our guides and groping 
our way, as it were, with a mirror and through the maze of 
an enigma, we must speak, not so as to diminish the greatness 
of the subject by an exposition made in weakness of body 
and with the aid of a reason that is set at naught, but so as 
to magnify by this means the greatness of the long-suffering 
and benevolence of the good God in tolerating our stammer- 
ing attempts to speak about the prodigies of His love and 
grace in Christ Jesus. 

Now, then, our Lord Jesus Christ says: 'Unless a man be 
born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, 540 and again: 
'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he 
cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' 41 After His resurrec- 
tion from the dead (whereby He fulfilled in Himself the 
prophecy of David who said, speaking for God the Father: 
Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me 
and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance and the 
utmost parts of the earth for thy possession'; 42 and this 
actually took place and is evident to all) [after His resur- 
rection] as if in contradicition of His first command by which 
He forbade His disciples to go into the way of the Gentiles, 43 
He further bade them : 'Going, teach ye all nations, baptiz- 
ing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of 

40 John 3.3. 

41 John 3.5. 

42 Ps. 2.7,8. 

43 Matt. 10.5. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 357 

the Holy Ghost.' 44 I think that we must by faith grasp and 
understand each of these words and speak, according as words 
are granted us in answer to the prayers of all, at the opening 
of our mouth. 45 It is written: 'If you do not believe, you shall 
not understand, 546 and also: 'I have believed, therefore have 
I spoken.' 47 Now, I am of the opinion that the nouns and 
verbs and the content of the Holy Scriptures do not have as 
regards God and His Christ or the holy Prophets and Evan- 
gelists and Apostles the simple and conventional acceptation 
of ordinary use. On the contrary, we should examine them 
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with a pious inten- 
tion, not all together but by parts, according as each may con- 
tribute to the exposition of sound doctrine. We should re- 
flect upon them devoutly and direct our thoughts to a con- 
sideration of the rules and teachings of the devout life. It is 
most important that we be observant and attentive to every 
word and choose the sense that is in keeping with our heavenly 
calling. This we shall accomplish if, through the prayers of 
all, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, strengthen 
us, so that the words of the Apostle may be realized in us: 
*I can do all things in Christ who strengtheneth me.' 48 

Now, then, the word 'anew/ I think, clearly means the 
repairing of the first birth in the defilement of sin. Job says: 
4 No one is free from stain, not even if his life last for one 
day.' 49 And David laments and says: S I was conceived in 
iniquity and in sins did my mother conceive me.' 50 The 
Apostle also declares: 'For all have sinned and do need the 
glory of God, being justified freely by his grace, through the 

44 Matt. 28.19. 

45 Ps. 50.17, 

46 Isa. 7.9. 

47 Ps. 115.10. 

48 Phil. 4.13. 

49 Job 14.4 (Septuaeint) . 

50 Ps. 50.7. 



358 SAINT BASIL 

redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God hath proposed 
to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.' 51 Wherefore, 
the pardon of sins is also vouchsafed to them that believe, 
since the Lord Himself said: 'This is my blood of the new 
testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of 
sins.* 52 The Apostle also adds another testimony: 'according 
to the purpose of his will, unto the praise of the glory of his 
grace, in which he hath graced us in his beloved Son ; in whom 
we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins 
according to the riches of his grace which hath super- 
abounded in us. 353 Imagine a statue which has been shat- 
tered into fragments and in which the glorious image of 
the king is no longer discernible. The wise artificer and 
skilled craftsman, seeking to regain the beauty of his work, 
shapes it anew and restores it to its former splendor. So 
it is with us. Afflicted as we are because of our disobedience 
to the command, as it is written : 'Man, when he was in hon- 
our did not understand; he is compared to senseless beasts and 
is become like to them,' 54 we have been recalled to our 
original glory as the image of God; for the Scripture says: 
'God made man to the image and likeness of God.' 55 How this 
was done the Apostle teaches us, saying: 'Thanks be to God, 
that you were the servants of sin but have obeyed from the 
heart unto that form of doctrine into which you have been 
delivered.' 56 Just as wax applied to a carved mold is shaped 
exactly according to the form impressed upon the carved 
surface, so we, when we have submitted ourselves to the 
mold of doctrine according to the Gospel, are formed as re- 

51 Rom. 3.23-25. 

52 Matt. 26.28. 

53 Eph. 1.5-8. 

54 Ps. 48.13. 

55 Gen, 1.27. 

56 Rom. 6.17. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 359 

gards the inner man, fulfilling the words of the same Apostle 
which he expresses in the form of a precept: 'stripping your- 
selves of the old man with his deeds, and putting on the new, 
him who is renewed unto knowledge according to the image of 
him that created him/" and so in many other places. 

The manner of our being born anew of water, Paul states 
authoritatively when he says, speaking in Christ: 'Know you 
not, brethren, that all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus 
are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with 
him by baptism unto death; that as Christ is risen from the 
dead, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have 
been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall 
be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Knowing this, that 
our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be 
destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer. For he 
that is dead is justified from sin. Now if we be dead with 
Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ, 
knowing that Christ rising again from the dead, dieth now no 
more; death shall no longer have dominion over him. For in 
that he died to sin, he died once; but in that he liveth, he 
liveth unto God. So do you also reckon that you are dead to 
sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. 358 In all this, the nature 
of our regeneration is viewed under the form of an analogy. 
But it would be impossible to be born anew unless the grace 
of God had first been vouchsafed us, as the Apostle himself 
shows, not only in the words just quoted, but also in sub- 
sequent passages concerning Baptism, beginning with the 
words: "But God commendeth his charity towards us; because 
when as yet we were sinners, Christ died for us; much more, 
therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved 
from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we 

57 Col. 3.9,10. 

58 Rom. 6.3-11. 



360 SAINT BASIL 

were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, 
being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life/ 69 

And there are many passages of this sort which set forth 
with clarity and splendor the great, ineffable benevolence of 
God in freely pardoning our sins and granting us the means 
and the power of performing righteous acts for the glory of 
God and His Christ in the hope of gaining eternal life through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. Wherefore, the Apostle says: 'As by 
the offence of one, unto all men to condemnation; so also by 
the justice of one, unto all men to justification of life/ 00 Then, 
after an authoritative exposition in the verses which follow, 
he says: 'Know you not, brethren, that all we who are bap- 
tized in Christ Jesus are baptized in his death?' 61 For what 
purpose? That, grace being first granted us, we may ful- 
fill our duties by faith through charity, 62 and, thus, the 
satisfaction of the divine love in Christ may be perfectly 
accomplished in us. And so there is need of a hard struggle, 
yet a lawful one/ 3 lest we receive so great and precious 
a gift as the love of God in Christ to no avail; for the 
Apostle himself says: 'Him who knew no sin, he^ hath 
made sin for us that we might be made the justice of 
God in him. And we helping do exhort that you receive 
not the grace of God in vain.' 64 Furthermore, the Lord has 
said decisively: To whom they have committed much, of him 
they will demand the more. 565 This obligation will be met and 
in a faultless manner if the prescriptions bearing upon what 
was said above and also those given in connection with the 



59 Rom. 5.8-10. 

60 Rom. 5.18. 

61 Rom. 6.3. 

62 Gal. 5.6. 

63 2 Tim. 2.5. 

64 2 Co/. 5.21; 6.1. 

65 Luke 12.48. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 361 

subject of Baptism be scrupulously observed, and If we faith- 
fully accept all that relates to these doctrines, by the power of 
the same grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, in 
grace of God; and, whatever we merit to understand, let us 
perform in the love of Christ who said: 'If you know these 
things, you will be blessed if you do them.'* 56 "A good under- 
standing to all that do it, 5 declares the Prophet. 07 Indeed, the 
Only-begotten Son of the Living God Himself proclaimed a 
dire and inescapable condemnation when He said: s He that 
knew the will of his lord and did it not, shall be beaten with 
many stripes'; 68 and what is more, He does not even permit 
one who erred through ignorance to go unpunished. (i9 

Now, to repeat what was said above, in order that familiar 
sayings and occurences may serve to bring us to a knowledge 
also of the salutary doctrine of Baptism, let us earnestly and 
in full certainty of truth study what they signify and apply 
their purport to our goal of the devout life. The effect of 
Baptism is, let us say, for the sake of the instruction to be 
derived from the parallel, like the change of color which oc- 
curs in wool when it is dipped into dye or rather, that we 
may enkindle the light of knowledge unto the comprehension 
of the great Light, let us take John the Baptist for guide, who 
prophesied concerning the Lord: *He shall baptize you in 
the Holy Ghost and fire, 570 and use the comparison of iron 
dipped in fire whose flames are fanned by the wind. Under 
such conditions, the iron most readily betrays any dross it may 
contain and is very easily purified. After the iron is trans- 
formed not only in color but also in texture, its hardness and 
rigidity are rendered pliant, so that it becomes very malleable 

66 John 13.17. 

67 Ps. 110.10. 

68 Luke 12.47. 

69 Luke 12.48. 

70 Matt. 3.11. 



362 



SAINT BASIL 



in the hands of the artisan and wonderfully adapts itself to 
the will of its master. Its dull black hue becomes extraordi- 
narily bright, and it not only burns and shines itself, but illu- 
minates and warms its surroundings. It necessarily follows, 
then, that he who has been baptized in fire, that is, in the 
word of doctrine which overcomes the malice of sin and makes 
manifest the grace of justifications, hates and abominates 
iniquity, as it is written, 71 and desires to receive purification 
through faith in the power of the Blood of our Lord Jesus 
Christ. He Himself said: "This is my blood of the new testa- 
ment, which shall be shed for many unto the remission of 
sins. 372 The Apostle also declares: 'In whom we have redemp- 
tion through his blood, the remission of sins.' 7:i Such a 
one, moreover, will not only be cleansed from all iniquity 
and sin, but also from every stain of the flesh and the 
spirit. 74 Then, at length, baptized in the death of the Lord, 
he will desire to be conformed to His death, which is to die 
to sin, to himself and to the world. Thus, living according to 
the Incarnation and formed and molded in thought, word, 
and deed by the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, like wax 
by a carved surface, he may fulfill the words: 'Thanks be 
to God that you were the servants of sin, but have obeyed 
from the heart unto that form of doctrine into which you 
have been delivered.' 75 And so he will deserve to fulfill, like- 
wise, those other words that have a bearing in this connec- 
tion : 'buried together with him by baptism unto death.' For 
what purpose? 'that as Christ is risen from the dead by 
the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of 
life.' 76 He who is dead must be buried, and he who is buried 

71 Heb. 1.9. 

72 Matt. 26.28. 

73 Eph. 1.7. 

74 2 Cor. 7.1. 

75 Rom. 6.17. 

76 Rom. 6.4, 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 363 

in the likeness of death must rise again by the grace of God in 
Christ. No longer, because of sin, should he bear about in 
the inner man a countenance like a blackened kettle, 77 but, 
after his sins have been made manifest by fire and pardon 
has been granted through the Blood of Christ, he should shine 
forth in newness of life, by the justifications of Christ, more 
precious than any jewel. 

And so, having put off the obduracy of disobedience, let 
us show docility and submission in observing the precepts. 
Let us send forth our light, fervent in spirit, and gain deliver- 
ance from the power of darkness which drags us down to 
death; 'for the wages of sin is death. 578 Thus will the words 
of the Apostle be true in our regard also : 'Death is swallowed 
up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O hell, where is 
thy victory?' 79 Let us, by obeying the Lord, the Sun of justice, 
become illuminated with His light and so be accounted worthy 
of understanding and power, that we may be justified in Him. 
And not only ought we ourselves to shine whiter than snow 
(for God does not deceive when He promises: 'If your sins 
be as scarlet, I shall make them white as snow'), 80 but we 
should give light also to those who come to us. We must pay 
heed to these words of the Lord: 'You are the light of the 
world,' 81 but it behooves us both to heed and act upon these 
others: 'So let your light shine before men, that they may 
see your good works and glorify your Father who is in 
heaven. 582 Next, the Apostle, also, will give us direct testi- 
mony: 'among whom you shine as lights in the world, hold- 
ing forth the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ.' 83 



77 Joel 2.6; Nah. 2.10. 

78 Rom. 6.23. 

79 I Cor. 15,54,55. 

80 Isa. 1.18. 

81 Matt. 5.14. 

82 Matt. 5.16. 

83 Phil. 2.15,16. 



364 SAINT BASIL 

But in what way will your newness of life be evident, not only 
as compared with pagans and worldly men, but in the^more 
exacting comparison with those who are justified according to 
the law? For, not only should we not endeavor to increase 
our possessions and to acquire greater gains, as do men of 
the world, but we should not even lay claim to the property 
which has already been acquired and is our own. Let us be 
zealous in giving to the needy over and above what the law 
requires. Furthermore, we obey the command of our Lord 
Jesus Christ: 'Be ye therefore merciful as your heavenly 
Father also is merciful,' 84 not only by doing good to those who 
are near and dear to us, but by including hostile and wicked 
men also in our acts of kindness. Surely, we walk in newness 
of life and achieve a justice more perfect than that of the 
scribes and Pharisees when we obey these words of the Lord : 
'It was said to them of old : An eye for an eye and a tooth for 
a tooth. But I say to you not to resist evil; but if one strike 
thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other. And if a 
man will contend with thee in judgment and take away thy 
coat, let go thy cloak also unto him. And whosoever will force 
thee one mile, go with him other two.' 85 Not only are we to 
refrain from taking revenge for offenses first committed 
against us, as the scribes and Pharisees took revenge, for the 
law of Moses permitted this, but we should display a for- 
bearance greater than the offense and show in advance our 
readiness to sustain other wrongs of equal or even greater 
gravity. Thus do we achieve both aims together: death^in 
that we are not moved to. displeasure against him who in- 
flicted the first blow upon us; newness of life in Christ, by 
exposing ourselves to a second. 

Moreover, is a man not dead to the Law if he does not 



84 Luke 6.36, 

85 Matt, 5.38-41. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 365 

seek to reclaim what has been taken from him? Does he not 
live in Christ who lets go also his cloak? And we are taught 
to observe likewise, in a measure over and above, all other 
justice according to the Law. That we must not only be cruci- 
fied to the world but also be dead to the law, we can learn 
from the authoritative teaching of the Apostle Paul. In one 
place, he says: 'I am crucified to the world and the world 
to me.' 86 S I live now not I, but Christ liveth in me.' 87 Else- 
where he declares, after showing that he had good reason 
to boast of his observance of practices once in high repute 
according to the law: 'Furthermore, I count all things to be 
but dung that 1 may gain Christ and may be found in him, 
not having my justice which is of the law, but that which 
is of the faith of Christ Jesus which is of God, justice in 
faith, that I may know him and the power of his resurrec- 
tion and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conform- 
able to his death, if by any means, I may attain to the resur- 
rection which is from the dead.' 88 Shortly after, he instructs 
us very explicitly to share his sentiments: 'Let us, therefore, 
as many as are perfect, be thus minded.' 89 

In still another place he speaks with greater vehemence, as 
if expounding an indispensable doctrine: Therefore you 
also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that 
you may belong to another who is risen again from the dead, 
that we may bring forth fruit to God. For when we were in 
the flesh, the passions of sins which were by the Law did work 
in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death. Now we are 
loosed from the Law, dead to that wherein we were detained ; 
so that we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the 

86 Gal. 6.H. 

87 Gal. 2.20. 

88 Phil. 3.8-11. 

89 Phil. 3.1,5. 



366 SAINT BASIL 

oldncss of the letter.' 90 Tor the letter' that is, the Law 
'killeth, but the spirit' that is, the word of the Lord 
'quickeneth.' 91 As the Lord Himself says: 'the flesh profiteth 
nothing; it is the spirit that quickeneth. My words are spirit 
and life.' 92 The following admission of the Apostle offers 
further testimony: 'To whom shall we go? Thou hast the 
words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known 
that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God/ 93 If we 
carefully heed these words, fully convinced of their truth, we 
will be able to escape the terrible doom written by Moses in 
threat and prophecy : 'The Lord thy God will raise up to thee 
a prophet like unto me. Him thou shalt hear in all things 
that he may command thee. And it will happen that every 
soul that will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed utterly 
from among the people.' 94 And John the Baptist, than whom 
there was no greater among those born of women, 95 says 
more directly and with greater severity: 'He that believeth 
in the Son hath life everlasting; but he that believeth not the 
Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.' 96 
Further, in order that this death and burial which takes place 
in Baptism may not give rise to grief because of our anti- 
cipating decay and destruction, and that the newness of life 
may be shown to be a thing of greater promise than the sow- 
ing of seed, inasmuch as it confirms our hope of a glorious 
resurrection, the Apostle adds his testimony: Tor if we have 
been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall 
be also in the likeness of his resurrection.' 97 And if we, dying 

90 Rom. 7.4-6. 

91 2 Cor. 3.6. 

92 John 6.64. 

93 John 6.69,70. 

94 Dent. 18.15,18,19. 

95 Matt. 11.11. 

96 John 3.36. 

97 Rom. 6.5. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 367 

thus in a likeness of His death and being buried with Christ, 
walk in the newness of life, we do not experience the corrup- 
tion of death and our burial is only in semblance, as a plant- 
ing of seed. By mortifying ourselves with regard to what is 
forbidden and in manifesting the faith that 'worketh by 
charity," 98 we are made worthy to share the hope of the 
Apostle and to say with him: "But our conversation is in 
heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord 
Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of our lowness, 
made like to the body of his glory according to the operation 
whereby also he is able to subdue all things unto himself.' 99 
'And so shall we be always with the Lord, 1100 for our Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself asks the Father, saying: 'Grant, Father, 
that where I am, these also may be with me.' 101 And He 
encourages us again with the same promise in the words: 
'If any man minister to me, let him follow me; and where 
I am, there also shall my minister be. 5102 Paul the Apostle, 
prophesying in Christ, likewise testifies to this truth when he 
writes: 'For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, 
that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the 
Lord, shall not prevent them who have slept. For the Lord 
himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, 
and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of 
God ; and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first. Then we 
who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with 
them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air, and so shall 
we be always with the Lord.' 103 

In this manner, then, for those to whom the following 

98 Gal. 5,6. 

99 Phil. 3.20,21. 

100 I Thess. 4.16. 

101 John 17.24. 

102 John 12.26. 

103 "I Thess. 4.11-16. 



368 SAINT BASIL 

words now apply: Tor if we have been planted together In 
the likeness of his death/ will be fulfilled at that time the 
promise, 'we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrec- 
tion 5 ; 104 'for/ as the Apostle says elsewhere: & if we be dead 
with him, we shall live also with him. If we suffer, we shall 
also reign with him. 5105 And, knowing that repetition will 
foster conviction in his hearers, the Apostle inculcates a 
firmer belief in the truth by a reiteration of the same ideas. 
We hear him saying with reference to himself: To write the 
same things to you, to me, indeed, is not wearisome but^to 
you Is a safeguard.' 106 As we are told that Joseph twice in- 
terpreted the dream for King Pharaoh, 107 so the Apostle, like 
Joseph in the story of the dream, presents his teaching on the 
subject of Baptism by referring to considerations which he had 
proposed before. He says: 'Knowing this, that our old man 
is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed 
to the end that we may serve sin no longer.' 108 By these words 
we are taught that he who is baptized in Christ is baptized In 
His death, and is not only buried with Christ and planted 
together with Him, but is first of all crucified with Him. Thus 
we are instructed that as he who is crucified is separated from 
the living, so also he who has been crucified with Christ in the 
likeness of His death is completely set apart from those who 
live according to the old man; for the Lord charged us to 
beware of false prophets, 109 and the Apostle says: 'And we 
charge you, brethren, that you withdraw yourselves from every 
brother walking disorderly and not according to the tradition 
which they have received of us. mo The 'old man' mentioned 



104 Rom. 6.5. 

105 2 Tim. 2.11,12. 

106 Phil. 3.L 

107 Gen. 41. Iff. 

108 Rom. 6.6. 

109 Matt. 7.15. 

110 2 Thess. 3.6. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 369 

by the Apostle signifies, as If they represented his own mem- 
bers, all sin and defilement taken individually and together. 
He who was crucified and condemned to death was sepa- 
rated from all the living who had in time past associated with 
Him and He was lifted above all that creeps upon the earth. 
He, likewise, who has been crucified with Christ through 
Baptism, is set apart therewith from all who live according to 
this world and His mind is elevated to heavenly converse so 
that he can truly say and with trust in Christ: 'But our con- 
versation is in heaven.' 111 Again, the Apostle adds: Tor he 
that is dead is justified from sin'; 112 that is to say, he is set 
free, he is delivered, he is cleansed of all sin; and not sin in 
word and deed only, but also of all passionate movements of 
the mind. In another place, he declares: 'And they that are 
Christ's have crucified their flesh with the vices and concu- 
piscences. Jll:j Surely, we who are baptized with water do 
crucify these things, since Baptism is an Image of the Cross, 
of death, burial, and resurrection from the dead, as It is writ- 
ten. Again, the Apostle says: "Mortify your members which 
are upon the earth' by keeping, at least henceforward, your 
baptismal promises 'fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil con- 
cupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols. 
For which things the wrath of God cometh' and not content 
with .this, he adds an all-embracing phrase, 'upon the children 
of unbelief. 5114 No longer, therefore, may a transient pleasure 
defile and harass the mind of one who has been planted to- 
gether with Christ in the likeness of His death. 115 Furthermore, 
by hating and execrating all evil, even the vicious inclinations 
of the mind, the baptized soul shows forth purity of heart, as 

111 Phil. 3.20. 

112 Rom. 6.7. 
IIS Gal. 5.2*. 

114 Col. 3.5,6. 

115 Rom. (i.r>. 



370 SAINT BASIL 

David says, 'the perverse heart did not cleave to me; and the 
malignant that turned aside from me, I would not know*; 116 
for, surely, he did not himself turn their way and go to them. 
Having been planted with Him in the likeness of His death, 
we will assuredly be raised up together with Christ (for the 
planting implies this eventuality). But in the present life, we 
are formed in the inner man according to the measure of the 
Incarnation in newness of life and obedience unto death, 
fully persuaded of the truth of His words, so that we may 
become worthy to say with truth: 'And I live, now not I, 
but Christ liveth in me. 5117 That this obtains also for the 
future life, the same Apostle has strongly affirmed in the 
words, 'For if we be dead with him, we shall live also with 
him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. 3118 Then he per- 
suades us to the acceptance of these words, by adding in simi- 
lar vein : Tor if we have been planted together in the likeness 
of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrec- 
tion.' 119 Again, he presents the same doctrine regarding the 
Baptism according to the Gospel with greater urgency and 
force by adding the words: 'Christ, rising again from the 
dead, dieth now no more; death shall no more have dominion 
over him. For in that he died to sin, he died once; but in that 
he liveth, he liveth unto God. So do you also reckon, that you 
are dead to sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus.' 120 

In making this application of the dispensation of our Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself as regards the remission of sins through 
His Incarnation unto death, the Apostle teaches us explicitly 
and in a manner at once forceful and compelling that we are 
dead to sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, as 

116 Ps. 100.4. 

117 Gal. 2.20. 

118 2 Tim. 2.11,12. 

119 Rom. 6.5. 

120 Rom. 6.9-11. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 371 

Christ, having died for us and having risen again from the 
dead in our behalf, dies now no more, so also we, having 
been baptized unto the likeness of death, have died to sin 
and by the resurrection, as if from the dead, which is effected 
in Baptism, we live unto God in Christ Jesus and die no more, 
that is, we shall sin no more because 'the soul that sinneth, 
the same shall die.' 121 As death no longer had dominion over 
Him, so also sin will no longer have dominion over us, that is, 
we will no longer commit it. Since 'whosoever committeth 
sin is the servant of sin,' 12 " we have been liberated completely 
from this servitude, as the Apostle declares, saying: 'And 
they that are Christ's have crucified their flesh with the vices 
and concupiscences.' 1 " 3 Let us, therefore, live to God in Christ 
Jesus who has set us free, as it is written : 'Christ hath re- 
deemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for 
us.' 12 ' 1 Our sins are remitted by a power superior to the law, 
namely, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, as it is writ- 
ten : Tor as by the disobedience of one man, many were 
made sinners; so also, by the obedience of one, many shall be 
made just." 125 'Stand fast, therefore/ says the Apostle, 'and 
be not held again under the yoke of bondage. 5120 And as 
Christ Himself died once for sin, 'but in that he liveth, he 
liveth unto God,' 127 so also we, who have died once and for 
all to sin by the Baptism of water which is an image of the 
Cross and of death, should keep watch over ourselves and 
return no more to sin. Let us continue to live to God in Christ 
Jesus, who said: 'If any man minister to me, let him follow 
me.' 128 We must, therefore, first of all obey that precept which 

121 K/.ech. 18.4. 

122 John 8.34. 

123 Gal. 5.24. 

124 Gal. 3.13. 

125 Rom, 5.19. 

126 Gal. 5.1. 

127 Rom. 6.10. 

128 John 12.2G. 



372 SAINT BASIL 

the Lord Himeslf gave us: 'So let your light shine before 
men, that they may see your good works and glorify your 
Father who is in heaven;' 129 and secondly, the Apostle's 
injunction: 'Whether you eat or drink or whatsoever else you 
do, do all to the glory of God.' 130 Each of these precepts will 
be fulfilled if, worthily disposed toward our celestial calling 
and living in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, we 
can truly say: 'For the charity of Christ presseth us; judging 
this, that if one died for all, then all were dead; and Christ 
died for all, that they also who live may not now live to them- 
selves, but unto him who died for them and rose again.' 
Thus also is accomplished that word of the Lord: 'Abide in 
my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in 
my love as I also have kept my Father's commandments 
and do abide in his love.' 132 

Furthermore, 'Giving no offense to any man that our min- 
istry be not blamed,' in all things let us exhibit ourselves as 
the ministers of God.' 133 Let us show that the promise made at 
our Baptism was sincere and true, by heeding the following 
exhortations addressed by the Apostle to those who have been 
planted together with Christ and who have risen with Him: 
'Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, so as to 
obey the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as in- 
struments of iniquity unto sin; but present yourselves to God 
as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as 
instruments of justice unto God.' 134 Again: Therefore if you 
be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where 
Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that 

129 Matt. 5.16. 

130 1 Cor. 10.31. 

131 2 Cor. 5.14,15. 

132 John lfy.9,10. 

133 2 Cor. 6.3.4. 

134 Rom. 6.12,13. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 373 

are above, not the things that are upon the earth. ' l:if> In this 
careful analysis, represented by the few passages I have quoted, 
I think the Apostle designates this great prcvenient grace of 
God's infinite benevolence as one for which we cannot make 
a return. It was first bestowed on us in the love of Christ Jesus, 
our Lord, whose obedience even unto death, as it is written, 136 
wrought for us the remission of ours sins, deliverance from 
death in sin which endures forever, reconciliation with God, 
the power of becoming pleasing to God, a free gift of justice, 
companionship with the saints in eternal life, inheritance of the 
kingdom of heaven, and countless other blessings as a reward. 
With wisdom and forcefulness, the Apostle, making use of 
pertinent considerations, expounds for us the doctrine of the 
Baptism of water in the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. In 
the words which I have already quoted, he instructs us to keep 
watch over ourselves lest we receive so great and precious a 
grace in vain: 'Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal 
body, so as to obey the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your 
members as instruments of iniquity unto sin, but present your- 
selves to God as those that are alive from the dead and your 
members as instruments of justice unto God,' 137 and so on. 

Thus, he separates us completely from all sin and also from 
the justice according to the Law. On the other hand, he 
strongly urges toward the justice which is according to God, 
joining a dire threat with a blessed and desirable promise, 
as follows: 'For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of 
God, life everlasting in Christ Jesus, our Lord. 9138 Again, he 
tells us to imitate the Lord and rise superior to the justice of 
the Law when he adds the words: 'Know you not, brethren 

135 Col. 3.1,2. 
13(5 Phil. 2.8. 
137 Rom. 6.12,13. 
158 Rom. 6.23. 



374 SAINT BASIL 

(for I speak to them that know the law), that the law with 
dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman 
that hath a husband, whilst her husband liveth, is bound to 
the law. But if her husband be dead, she is loosed from the 
law of her husband. Therefore, while her husband liveth, she 
shall be called an adulteress, if she be with another man ; but 
if her husband be dead, she is delivered from the law of her 
husband ; so that she is not an adulteress if she be with another 
man. Therefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to 
the law by the body of Christ; that you may belong to 
another, who is risen again from the dead, that we may bring 
forth fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the passions 
of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to 
bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are loosed from the 
law, dead to that wherein we were detained, so that we should 
serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter,' 1 '* 9 
and so on. Here we are instructed to marvel at the unspeak- 
able benevolence of God in Christ Jesus and with the greater 
fear to cleanse ourselves of every defilement of the flesh and 
the spirit. 140 

The difference between the spirit and the letter the Apostle 
explains succinctly in another place by comparing the Law 
and the Gospel, saying: Tor the letter killeth but the spirit 
quickeneth.' 141 By the 'letter' he means the Law, as is evident 
also from what precedes and follows. By the 'spirit' he means 
the Lord's doctrine, for the Lord Himself said: 'My words 
are spirit and life.' 142 If the justice according to the Law be 
zealously sought by those who have consecrated themselves to 
God by baptism and who have promised 'no longer to live 
to themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose 

139 Rom, 7.1-6. 

140 2 Cor. 7.1. 

141 2 Cor, 3.6. 

142 John 6.64. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



375 



again,' 143 the Apostle condemns such action as adultery. This 
is clearly shown by his words quoted above. What, then, 
should be said with regard to the observance of human 
traditions? Respecting the justice of the Law, the Apostle 
again speaks very forcefully as follows: 'Furthermore, I count 
all things to be but loss for the excellent knowledge of Jesus 
Christ, my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all 
things and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ 
and may be found in him, not having my justice which is of 
the law, but that which is of the faith of Christ Jesus, the 
justice which is of God/ 144 The denunciation of human ob- 
servances is plainly expressed in the words of the Lord, ' '* but, 
as regards particular counsels of human wisdom, the Apostle 
has instructed us to repudiate them with vigor. He says: 
Tor the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty 
to God unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying 
counsels and every height that exalteth itself against the 
knowledge of God.' 14ti Again, with reference to individual 
conceptions of justice in general, even if it is earnestly sought 
after for God's sake, he says: Tor I bear them witness that 
they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 
For they, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to 
establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the jus- 
tice of God. 3147 From this and similar utterances it is clear 
that they who would quibble about the judgments of God 
are condemned. It is written: 'Woe to you that are wise in 
your own eyes and prudent in your own conceits.' 148 More- 
over, the Lord declares very explicitly that whoever does not 

143 2 Cor. 5.15. 

144 Phil. 3.8,9. 

145 Matt, 15.3ff. 

146 2 Cor. 10.45. 

147 Rom. 10.23. 

148 Isa. 5.21. 



376 SAINT BASIL 

receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child shall not enter 
into it. 149 It is necessary, therefore, to be free from all alike 
the concupiscences aroused by the Devil, worldly preoccupa- 
tions, attention to human observances and to our own wishes, 
however specious and lawful they may seem, if they cause 
a delay ever so slight in the swift readiness with which we 
ought to accomplish the will of God. They who profess, 
through the Baptism which we are here considering, to be 
crucified with Christ, to be dead and buried, planted and 
raised up again with Him, may, then, be assured that they 
speak truly when they say: 'I am crucified to the world' (and 
in a far stronger sense to the Devil) 'and the world to me,' 150 
'And I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.' 151 In these 
words, the Apostle teaches us a greater justice than that of 
the Law, so that we may be judged worthy of the kingdom of 
heaven. 

But perhaps we should now proceed to another considera- 
tion and, by our faith in Christ, to arrive at the knowledge 
and understanding of what it means to be baptized in the 
Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. 
First of all, it is necessary to point out that the special glory 
of the Person named is signified by each Name. Secondly, it 
must be borne in mind that the Lord Himself revealed the 
significance of Baptism in the Name of the Holy Spirit when 
He said: That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that 
which is born of the Spirit is spirit.' 152 Thus, with the familiar 
instance of the continuity of reproduction which obtains in 
carnal birth as an illustration, we may acquire a clear and 
accurate understanding of religious doctrine. We know, in- 
deed, and are fully convinced that just as that which is born 



149 Matt. 18.3. 

150 Gal. 6.14. 

151 Gal. 2.20. 

152 John 3.6. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 377 

of flesh shares the nature of that of which it has been born, 
so also, we who are born of the Spirit are, necessarily, spirit. 
But this spirit is not according to that great glory of the Holy 
Spirit which cannot be comprehended by the human mind, 
but it is according to the glory which is in the distribution 
to every man for his profit of the gifts of God, through His 
Christ, 153 It is mysteriously discerned also in the operation of 
all these gifts and in other instances, by words, likewise; as 
when we recall to memory the commandments of God which 
were proclaimed through our Lord Jesus Christ and teach 
these commandments, for Christ Himself says: 'He himself 
will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, 
whatsoever I shall have said to you.' 154 Then, too, the Apostle 
tells us at greater length what the attitudes of mind are where- 
by a man becomes spirit. In one place, he writes: 'but the 
fruit of the spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience/ 15 * 5 and so 
on. Previously, he had said: k But if you are led by the spirit 
you are not under the law,' 15t; and in another place: l lf we 
live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.' 157 And yet 
again, he says: 'And having different gifts according to the 
grace of God that is given us, either prophecy, to be used ac- 
cording to the rule of faith, or ministry in ministering/ 158 
and so on. 

In these and other passages of the kind, then, the Lord 
says that they who are born of the Spirit become spirit. The 
Apostle again testifies to the same truth when he says: Tor 
this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, 

153 1 Cor. 12.7. 

154 John 14.26. 

155 Gal. 5.22. 

156 Gal. 5.18. 

157 Gal. 5.25. 

158 Rom. 12.6. 



378 SAINT BASIL 

that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, 
to be strengthened by His Spirit with might unto the inward 
man.' 159 And If, living in the Spirit, we also walk in the 
Spirit, 160 thus becoming receptive of the Holy Spirit, we shall 
be enabled to confess Christ; because, no man can say the 
Lord Jesus but by the Holy Ghost/ 161 In this way, therefore 
the Lord, both by His own words and also through the Apostle, 
taught that they who are born of the Spirit become spirit. 
And in this spiritual regeneration we shall again imitate 
birth according to the flesh, in that, first, we change our 
abode and alter our ways by strengthening the inner man in 
spirit, so that we can say: 'But our conversation is in 
heaven.' 162 While we draw our body along upon the earth 
like a shadow, we keep our souls in the company of heavenly 
spirits. Secondly, we change our companions, for David says : 
The man that in private detracted his neighbor, him did I 
persecute. With him that had a proud eye and an insatiable 
heart, I would not eat. My eyes were upon the faithful of the 
earth, to sit with me ; the man that walked in the perfect way, 
he served me. He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the 
midst of my house; he that speaketh unjust things did not 
prosper before my eyes,' 163 and similarly in other places. 
The Apostle, likewise, gravely admonishes us: c if any man 
that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or a 
server of idols, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, 
with such a one, not so much as to eat. 5164 

And in making such prescriptions regarding matters of this 
kind, the same Apostle tells us again and again, clearly and 
definitely, the sort of persons with whom we should associate, 

159 Eph. 3.14-16. 

160 Gal. 5.25. 

161 1 Cor. 12.3. 

162 Phil. 3.20. 

163 Ps. 100.5-7. 

164 1 Cor. 5.11. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 379 

prefacing his words by speaking of the great and glorious 
grace of Christ's mercy. He says: Tor he is our peace, who 
hath made both one, and breaking down the middle wall of 
partition, the enmities in his flesh; making void the law of 
commandments contained in decrees; that he might make 
the two in himself into one new man, making peace; and 
might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, killing 
the enmities in himself. And coming, he preached peace to 
you that were afar off, and peace to them that were nigh. 
For by him we have access both in one Spirit to the Father. 
Now, therefore, you are no more strangers and foreigners but 
you are fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of 
God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, 
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom 
all the building being framed together, groweth up into an 
holy temple in the Lord.' lt;5 And so, planted together with 
Christ in the likeness of His death, baptized in the Name of 
the Holy Spirit, born anew as to the inner man in newness of 
mind, and built upon the foundation of the Apostles and 
Prophets, we may be made worthy to be baptized in the 
Name of the Only-begotten Son of God and merit to receive 
the great grace of which the Apostle speaks when he says: 'As 
many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on 
Christ.' 166 'There is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision 
nor uncircumcision, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. 
But Christ is all and in all.' 167 

Now, it follows necessarily that he who has been born is 
also clothed. Consider, for example, a drawing tablet. It may 
be fashioned of any sort of material; it may be irregularly cut 
or the surface may be left unplaned. If it bears a drawing of 

165 Eph. 2.14-21. 

166 Gal. 3.27. 

167 Col. 3.11. 



380 SAINT BASIL 

the king's likeness, the difference in material whether it 
be wood or gold or silver does not affect the drawing. The 
accurate resemblance of the image to its model and its artis- 
tic and meticulous presentation make the difference in mate- 
rial pass unnoticed, however obvious this difference may be. 
The spectators are moved to admire the excellence of the 
likeness itself, and this becomes more prized than all the king's 
power and sovereignty. The case is the same with one who is 
baptized, whether he be Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave 
or free, Scythian or barbarian, or anyone else bearing the 
name of any other race. As soon as he has put off the old 
man with his deeds in the blood of Christ and, by Christ's 
teaching in the Holy Spirit, has put on the new, created 
according to God in justice and holiness of truth, 168 and is re- 
newed unto knowledge according to the very image of the 
Creator, he becomes worthy to win the divine approval, of 
which the Apostle speaks when he says: 'And we know that 
to them that love God, all things work together unto good, 
to such as, according to his purpose, are called. For, whom 
he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable 
to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn 
amongst many brethren.' 169 

Then, when the soul has been clothed with the Son of 
God, it becomes worthy of the final and perfect stage and is 
baptized in the Name of the Father Himself of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, who, according to the testimony of John, gave 
the power to be made the sons of God. 170 It is written: 'Go 
out from the midst of them and be ye separate and touch not 
an unclean thing; and I will receive you and you will be sons 
and daughters to me, sayeth the Lord Almighty.' 171 This 

168 Eph. 4.22-24. 

169 Rom. 8.28,29. 

170 John 1.12. 

171 2 Cor. 6.17-18. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 381 

power is granted by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ Him- 
self, Only-begotten Son of the living God, in whom "neither 
circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith 
that worketh by charity/ as it is written. 17 " Through this grace 
we successfully accomplish that command which is added to 
the precept of baptism by the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. 
He says: 'teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I 
have commanded you.' 173 Moreover, the Lord Himself de- 
clared that the observance of His commands is the proof of 
our love for Him, saying: 'If you love me, keep my command- 
ments'; 174 and again: c He that hath my commandments 
and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me 5 ; 175 and yet again: 
"If any one love me, he will keep my word and rny Father 
will love him.' 176 And with still greater force and importunity 
He says: 'Abide in my love. If you keep my command- 
ments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my 
Father's commandments and do abide in his love.' 177 Now, 
if the observance of the commandments is the essential sign 
of love, it is very greatly to be feared that, without love, 
even the most effective action of the glorious gifts of grace 
and that of the most sublime powers and of faith itself and 
the commandment which make a man perfect will be of 
no avail; for Paul the Apostle himself declares in Christ: 'If 
I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not 
charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 
And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries 
and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I 
could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 

172 Gal. 5.6. 

173 Matt. 28.20. 

174 John 14.15. 

175 John 14.21. 

176 John 14.23. 

177 John 15.9,10. 



382 SAINT BASIL 

And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor and 
if I should deliver my body to be burned and have not 
charity, it profiteth me nothing. 5178 In expressing himself in 
such a definitive manner, I believe the Apostle had in mind 
the words of the Lord: 'Many will come in that day, saying: 
Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name and cast out 
devils in thy name and done many miracles in thy name, and 
did we not eat and drink in thy presence and didst thou not 
teach in our streets? And he will answer them: I never knew 
you; depart from me, you that work iniquity.' 179 

It is evident, therefore, and undeniable that, without 
charity, even though ordinances are obeyed and righteous acts 
are performed, even though the commandments of the Lord 
have been observed and great wonders of grace effected, they 
will be reckoned as works of iniquity, not for any cause in- 
herent in the acts of righteousness or the charisms themselves, 
but because they who perform these acts have as their aim 
the gratification of their own will, 'supposing,' as the Apostle 
says in one place, 'gain to be godliness.' 180 In another place, 
he says: 'Some, indeed, out of envy and contention, but some 
also for good will preach Christ. And some out of contention 
preach Christ not sincerely, supposing that they raise affliction 
to my bands'; 181 and also: Tor we are not as many, adul- 
terating the word of God. 5182 Again, he puts the matter nega- 
tively: Tor neither have we used at any time the speech of 
flattery toward you, nor taken an occasion of covetousness, 
God is witness; nor sought we glory of men, neither of you 
nor of others. Whereas we might have been burdensome to 
you as the apostles of Christ.' 183 In the light of these and 

178 1 Cor. 13.1-3, 

179 Matt. 7.22,23; Luke 13.26,27. 

180 1 Tim. 6.5. 

181 Phil. 1.15,17. 

182 2 Cor. 2.17. 

183 I Thess. 2.5-7. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 383 

similar passages, the justice of the Lord's decree becomes 
evident: 'depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity' ; 1K4 
whereby, using the free gifts of God, you do your own will; 
as if a man should turn to a murderous purpose the instru- 
ments and remedies proper to the medical art and meant to 
heal and to promote health and w r ell-being. In so doing, you 
do not obey the precept of the Apostle: 'Whether you eat or 
drink or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God/ 185 
On all counts, then, solicitude for the inner man is of the first 
importance, that the mind may be free from distraction and, 
as it were, be identified with the aim of giving glory to 
God. Thus, we will obey the Lord's command: 'Make the 
tree good and its fruit good'; 180 again: 'Thou blind Pharisee, 
first make clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, that 
the outside may become clean. ' m Let us bring forth fruit from 
the abundance of a good heart, one a hundred, one, sixty, and 
another, thirtyfold, 1SK by words or deeds directed to the glory 
of God and His Christ, being careful not to grieve the Holy 
Spirit, 189 So let us avoid the condemnation of this same Lord, 
who said: 'Woe to you because you are like to whited sepul- 
chres, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are 
full of dead men's bones and of all filthiness. So you also out- 
wardly indeed appear to men just; but inwardly you are full 
of hypocrisy and iniquity.' 190 

It is necessary, therefore, to receive instruction before Bap- 
tism, having first removed any impediment to learning and so 
making ourselves fit to receive the instruction. Our Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself confirms this assertion by His example 

184 Luke 13.27. 

185 1 Cor. 10.31. 
18(5 Matt. 12.33. 

187 Matt. 23.26. 

188 Matt. 13.8. 

189 Eph, 4.30. 

190 Matt. 23.27,28. 



384 SAINT BASIL 

and also by the formal injunction: 'So every one of you that 
doth not renounce all that he possesseth cannot be my dis- 
ciple 5 ; 191 and again by the precept: 'If any man will come 
after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and 
follow me'; 192 and yet again, by the definitive declaration: 
'He that taketh not up his cross daily and followeth me, is 
not worthy of me. 3193 By such flaming words as these from the 
lips of our Lord Jesus Christwho said also: 'I am come to 
cast fire upon the earth and what will I but that it be 
kindled? 5194 the malice of sin is revealed and the excellence 
of good actions performed for the glory of God and His 
Christ is also made manifest. We, therefore, share with all 
our hearts in the desire and the confession of the Apostle: 
'Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the 
body of this death. I give thanks to God through Jesus Christ, 
our Lord, 5195 who said: 'This is my blood of the new testa- 
ment, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.' 19<> 
The Apostle testifies to the same truth in the words: 'In whom 
we have redemption through his blood, the remission of 
sins.' 197 And then we are ready for the Baptism of water, 
which is a type of the cross and of death, burial, and resur- 
rection from the dead. Then we make and keep the covenants 
which the same Apostle ratifies in his treatment of Baptism 
with the words: 'Knowing that Christ rising again from the 
dead, dieth now no more; death shall no more have dominion 
over him. For in that he died to sin, he died once; but in that 
he livcth, he liveth unto God. So do you also reckon that you 
are dead to sin but alive unto God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. 

191 Luke 14.33. 

192 Matt. 16.24. 

193 Matt. 10.38; Luke 9.23. 

194 Luke 12.49. 

195 Rom. 7.24,25. 

196 Matt. 26.28. 

197 Col. 1.14. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 385 

Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, so as to obey 
the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments 
of iniquity unto sin; but present yourselves to God, as those 
that are alive from the dead, and your members as instru- 
ments of justice unto God,' 198 and so on. 

Whoever, therefore, is worthy to be baptized in the Name 
of the Holy Spirit and who has been born anew undergoes 
a change of abode, habits, and associates, so that, walking by 
the Spirit we may merit to be baptized in the Name of the 
Son and to put on Christ. For one who has been born should 
be deemed worthy of clothing, as the Apostle said: Tor as 
many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on 
Christ V !>y and again: 'stripping yourselves of the old man 
with his deeds, and putting on the new, him who is renewed 
unto knowledge, according to the image of him that created 
him, where there is neither Gentile nor Jew.' 200 Then, having 
put on the Son of God who gives us power to become children 
of God, we are baptized in the Name of the Father and are 
called sons of God who commanded and declared, as the 
Prophet has said: 'Therefore, go out from among them and 
be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not an unclean 
thing: and I will receive you; and I will be a Father to you 
and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord al- 
mighty. 201 And the Apostle says: 'Having therefore these 
promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all de- 
filement of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting sanctification 
in the fear of God.' 20 * Again, he exhorts us in the words: 
'Do ye all things without murmurings and hesitations, that you 
may be blameless and sincere children of God, without re- 

198 Rom. 0.9-13. 

199 Gal. 3.127. 

200 Col. 3.9-11. 

201 Isa. 52.11; 2 Cor. 6,17,18. 

202 2 Cor. 7.1. 



386 SAINT BASIL 

proof in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; 
among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding forth 
the word of life to my glory in the day of Christ'; 203 and yet 
again : 'Therefore, if you be risen with Christ, seek the things 
that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of 
God; mind the things that are above, not the things that 
are upon the earth. For you are dead and your life is hid with 
Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, who is our life, then 
you also shall appear with him in glory.' 204 And this was 
promised by the Lord Himself when He said : 'Then shall the 
just shine as the sun. 3205 

Chapter 3 

That he who has been regenerated through Baptism should 

thenceforth be nourished by participation in the 

Holy Mysteries 

By the grace of the good God and by recalling the words 
of the Only-begotten Son of the living God and of His saints, 
Evangelists, Prophets, and the Apostles, who have ably ex- 
pounded to us the doctrine of Baptism according to the Gospel 
of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have learned that the Bap- 
tism of fire is opposed to all evil but complacent to the jus- 
tice which is according to Christ. It engenders hatred of 
iniquity and desire of virtue. And by the Blood of Christ, 
through faith, we have been cleansed from all sin, and by 
water we were baptized in the death of the Lord. We have 
made an avowal, as it were, in writing, that we are dead to 
sin and to the world, but alive unto justice. 1 Thus, baptized 



203 Phil. 2.14-16. 

204 Col. 3.1-4. 

205 Matt. 13.43. 



1 1 Pet. 2.24. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 387 

in the Name of the Holy Spirit, we were born anew. Having 
been born, we were also baptized in the Name of the Son, and 
we put on Christ. Then, having put on the new man accord- 
ing to God, we were baptized in the Name of the Father and 
called sons of God. Hereafter, therefore, we require to be 
nourished with the food of eternal life which, again, the 
Only-begotten Son of God gave to us when He said: 'Not 
in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that pro- 
ceedeth from the mouth of God.' 2 Moreover, He taught us 
the manner in which this comes to pass, in the words: "My 
meat is to do the will of him that sent me, the Father.' 3 

Once again, repeating the word 'Amen,' to confirm what 
He had said and to induce conviction in His hearers, 
He says: 'Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the 
flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not 
have life in you. He that cateth my flesh and drinketh my 
blood hath everlasting lift*; and I shall raise him up in the 
last day. For my fle>h is meat indeed and my blood is drink 
indeed. He that cateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, 
abideth in me, and I in him." And a little further on we find 
the words: 'Many, therefore, of his disciples, hearing His 
words, said: This saying is hard and who can hear it? But 
Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, 
said to them: Doth this scandalize you? If then you shall see 
the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the 
spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The words 
that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are 
some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the be- 
ginning who they were that did not believe, and who he was 
that would betray him. And he said: Therefore did I say to 

2 Matt. 4.4. 

3 John 4.31. 

4 John 0.54-57. 



388 SAINT BASIL 

you that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by 
my Father. After this many of his disciples went back and 
walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: 
Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, 
to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and 
we have believed and have known that thou art the Christ, 
the Son of the living God/ 5 

Furthermore, near the end of the Gospels, it is written: 
'Jesus, therefore, took bread and blessed and broke, and gave 
to his disciples and said: Take ye and eat. This is my body 
which is broken for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. 
And taking the chalice, he gave thanks and gave to them, 
saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new 
testament which shall be shed for many unto the remission 
of sins. Do this for a commemoration of me. 36 The Apostle 
testifies to these words when he says : Tor I have received of 
the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord 
Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, 
and giving thanks, broke and said : Take ye and eat. This is 
my body, which shall be delivered for you; this do, for the 
commemoration of me. In like manner, also, the chalice, after 
he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament 
in my blood. This do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the 
commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this 
bread and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the 
Lord until he come. 57 In what way are these words useful 
to us? They help us, when eating and drinking, always to 
remember Him who died for us and rose again; thus, we are 
certain to learn how to follow before God and His Christ 
the teaching handed down by the Apostle, in the words : 'For 

5 John 6.61-70. 

6 Matt. 26.26-28; Luke 22.19,20. 

7 1 Cor. 11.23-26. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 389 

the charity of Christ presseth us; judging this, that if one died 
for all, then all were dead; and Christ died for all, that they 
also who live may not now live to themselves, but unto him 
who died for them and rose again.' 8 Now, a man may eat and 
drink, that is to say, in the imperishable commemoration of 
Jesus Christ, our Lord, who died for us and rose again, but 
not accomplish that which constitutes the main significance 
of the commemoration the Lord's obedience even unto 
death, according to the teaching of the Apostle which has just 
been quoted: Tor the charity of Christ presseth us; judging 
this, that if one died for all, then all were dead' (a fact we 
acknowledged by receiving Baptism ) , 'and Christ died for all, 
that they who live may not now live to themselves, but unto 
him who died for them and rose again.' Such a one, however, 
gains no benefit, for, according to the Lord's declaration, 
'the flesh profiteth nothing.' 9 

Furthermore, a person of this sort brings down upon him- 
self the condemnation of the Apostle, who says: 'He that 
eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judg- 
ment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.' 10 This 
dire sentence is aimed not only against one who approaches 
the Holy Mysteries unworthily, defiled in the flesh and the 
spirit 11 for, indeed, in so approaching he becomes guilty of 
the Body and Blood of the Lord 12 but against him who 
eats and drinks negligently and to no profit by not fulfilling 
in his commemoration of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who died 
for us and rose again, these words of the Apostle : 'the charity 
of Christ presseth us; judging this, that if one died for all,. 

8 2 Cor. 5.14,15. 

9 John 6.64. 

10 1 Cor. 11.29. 

11 2 Cor. 7.1. 

12 1 Cor. 11.27. 



390 SAINT BASIL 

then all were dead/ and so on. Such a person, If he thought- 
lessly and idly makes void so precious and so great a blessing 
and approaches as if without thankfulness a mystery so sub- 
lime, is liable to the charge of negligence, for the Lord did 
not even permit those who utter an idle word to escape with 
impunity. 13 Moreover, His condemnation of negligence was 
most severe upon the man who kept his talent whole and 
entire in idleness. 14 Besides, the Apostle teaches us that even 
one who utters a good word, but not unto edification, grieves 
the Holy Spirit. 15 In this way, then, we ought to understand 
the condemnation of the man who eats and drinks unworthily. 
And if one grieving his brother because of meat falls away 
from charity, 16 without which even the greatest gifts of God's 
grace and the greatest acts of righteousness are of no avail, 17 
what should be said of one who ventures to eat the Body and 
drink the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ carelessly and with- 
out profit, grieving the Holy Spirit profoundly thereby, and 
who dares to eat and drink without being constrained by 
charity, so as to determine not to live to himself but unto 
Him who died for us and rose again, Jesus Christ, our Lord? 18 
He, therefore, who approaches the Body and Blood of 
Christ in commemoration of Him who died for us and rose 
again must be free not only from all defilement of flesh and 
spirit, in order that he may not eat and drink unto judg- 
ment, but he must actively manifest the remembrance of Him 
who died for us and rose again, by being dead to sin, to the 
world, and to himself, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus, 
our Lord. 

13 Matt. 12.36. 

14 Matt. 25.25-29. 

15 Eph. 4.29,30. 

16 Rom. 14.15. 

17 1 Cor. IS.lff. 

18 2 Cor. 5.15. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 391 

BOOK II 

Q. 1. Whether everyone who has received Baptism accord- 
ing to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is obliged to be 
dead to sin and to live unto God in Christ Jesus. 

R. All of us who desire the kingdom of God are, by the 
Lord's decree, under an equal and rigorous necessity of seek- 
ing after the grace of Baptism. He said : 'Unless a man be 
born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into 
the kingdom of God. 51 By the same token, we are all equally 
bound to hold the same doctrine regarding Baptism; for the 
Apostle says to all alike, who are baptized: 'Know you not, 
brethren, that all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are 
baptized in his death? For we are buried together with 
him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the 
dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in 
newness of life,' 2 and so on. In another place, he teaches 
this doctrine more explicitly and in a manner more calcu- 
lated to arouse feelings of reverence: 'As many of you as 
have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There 
is neither Jew or Greek; there is neither bond nor free; 
there is neither male or female, for you are all one in Christ 
Jesus.' 3 And again, he says to all: 'In whom also you are cir- 
cumcised with circumcision not made by hand, in despoiling of 
the body of the sins of the flesh, but in the circumcision of 
Christ; buried with him in baptism, in whom also you are 
risen again by the faith.' 4 Everyone, therefore, who has re- 
ceived the Baptism of the Gospel ought to live in accordance 
with the Gospel, by reason also of what the Apostle said in 

1 John 3.5. 

2 Rom. 6.3,4. 

3 Gal. 3.27,28. 

4 Col. 2.11,12. 



392 SAINT BASIL 

yet another place: 'I testify again to every man circumcising 
himself, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 55 

It has been clearly demonstrated, then, that all who have 
received the one Baptism, as it is written, 6 are equally bound 
to fulfill in the manner of Him who died for us and rose 
again the words of the Apostle: Tor the charity of Christ 
presseth us; judging this, that if one died for all, then all 
were dead. And Christ died for all, that they also who live 
may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for 
them and rose again. 57 If one who has been circumcised in 
any part of his body, according to the circumcision of Moses, 
is a debtor to the whole Law, how much greater is the obli- 
gation when one is circumcised according to the circumcision 
of Christ, whereby the entire body is despoiled of the sins of 
the flesh, as it is written, 8 to accomplish the words of the 
Apostle: *I am crucified to the world and the world to me/* 
'And I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me.' 10 He, there- 
fore, who is truly baptized in conformity with the teaching of 
the Apostle, unto the death of Christ, has rendered himself 
dead to the world and far more so to sin, according to the 
words of the Apostle with reference to Baptism : 'our old man 
is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed 
to the end that we may serve sin no longer.' 11 Such a one has 
indeed concluded an inviolable agreement to follow the Lord 
in all things, that is, to live wholly to God, in the complete 
fulfillment of the Apostle's words: 'I beseech you, therefore, 
brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a 
living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable ser- 

5 Gal. 5.3. 

6 Eph. 4.5. 

7 2 Cor. 5.14,15. 

8 Col. 2.11. 

9 Gal. 6.14. 

10 Gal. 2.20. 

11 Rom. 6.6. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



393 



vice/ 12 and so on. Again: 'Let not sin, therefore, reign in your 
mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye 
your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin, but present 
yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and 
your members as instruments of justice unto God.' 13 And yet 
again, with reference to the same doctrine, he says: There 
is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there 
is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ 
Jesus.' 14 Thus, we all, as one 5 may become worthy to hear the 
words: 'Come, then, good servant, thou wert faithful over 
a few things; I will place thee over many things. Enter thou 
into the joy of thy lord. 515 These words we shall be accounted 
worthy to hear, if every one of us, wherever called and to 
whatever state assigned, increases manyfold by exceptional 
diligence and untiring zeal the grace allotted to him, as it is 
written. 16 

Q. 2. Whether it is safe for one who has not freed his heart 
from a consciousness of iniquity, uncleanness, or defilement 
to perform sacerdotal functions. 

R. Moses was both giving an ordinance to his contempo- 
raries and admonishing us when he wrote in the law which 
was given him by God: 'And the Lord spoke to Moses, say- 
ing: Say to Aaron: Whosoever of thy seed throughout your 
families hath a blemish, he shall not approach to offer gifts 
to his God, because no one who hath a blemish shall ap- 
proach.' 17 Then, in the verses following, he explains what 
constitutes a blemish: No one shall approach who has had 

12 Rom. 12.1. 

13 Rom. 6.12,13. 

14 Gal. 3.28. 

15 Matt. 25.21. 

16 Eph. 4.7. 

17 Lev. 21.16,17,21. 



394 SAINT BASIL 

carnal intercourse with strangers nor if any part of his body 
be mutilated, even though the deformity does not so much 
hamper effective action as mar his comeliness or physical 
integrity. But the Lord, when He says : There is here a greater 
than the temple/ 18 teaches us that he who dares to handle as 
a priest the Body of the Lord who gave Himself for us as an 
oblation and 'a sacrifice to God for an odor of sweetness' 19 
is guilty of an impiety as much greater than the former as 
the Body of the Only-begotten Son of God is superior to rams 
and bulls. Now, this is said not by way of comparison, for in 
this case there can be no comparison of excellence. Then, 
too, the blemish or mutilation is not here considered with ref- 
erence to bodily members, but is determined by the justifi- 
cations of the devout life according to the Gospel. That is, 
a blemish is present whenever a commandment is partially or 
incompletely observed or fulfilled in a manner not pleasing 
to God; some human consideration, like a wound or leprosy, 
manifesting itself upon the observance. It is, therefore, always 
essential, but especially at the time of celebrating so holy 
a mystery to observe this precept of the Apostle: 'Having 
therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse our- 
selves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit, per- 
fecting sanctification in the fear of God, 520 'giving no offense 
to any man, that our ministry be not blamed; but in all 
things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God/ 21 Thus 
may a man become worthy to perform the sacred rites of 
the ministry of the Lord according to the Gospel of God. 

18 Matt 12.6. 

19 Eph. 5.2. 

20 2 Cor. 7.1. 

21 2 Cor. 6.3,4. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 395 

Q. 3 Whether one who is not free from every defilement 
of the flesh and of the spirit may safely eat the Body of the 
Lord and drink His Blood. 

R. God In the Law appointed the supreme penalty for those 
who dare to touch holy things when in a state of impurity, for 
the following words written figuratively for the men of old 
are meant for our correction. 322 'And the Lord spoke to Moses, 
saying: Speak to Aaron and to his sons, that they beware of 
those things that are consecrated of the children of Israel and 
defile not the name of the things sanctified to me which they 
offer. I am the Lord. Say to them and to their posterity: Every 
man of your race that approacheth to those holy things that 
the children of Israel have consecrated to the Lord, and 
in whom there is uncleanness, shall perish from my face. I am 
the Lord.' 23 If a threat so grave was pronounced against those 
who merely approached things consecrated by men, what 
would be said against one who ventured to draw near to such 
a great and holy mystery. For, in the measure that He was 
superior who was greater than the temple, according to the 
Lord's words, 24 so much more awesome and dread is the act of 
daring to touch the Body of Christ when the soul is defiled 
as compared with handling rams and bulls. The Apostle says : 
Therefore, whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the chal- 
ice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and 
of the blood of the Lord.' 25 Then, presenting the penalty in a 
manner at once more striking and more awe-inspiring through 
repetition, he says: 'But let a man prove himself and so let 
him eat of the bread and drink of the chalice. For he that 
eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment 

22 1 Cor. 10.11. 

23 Lev. 22.1-3. 

24 Matt. 12.6. 

25 1 Cor. 11.27. 



396 SAINT BASIL 

to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. 526 And if one 
who is in a state of un cleanness only (and from the law we 
learn in figure the proper nature of uncleanness) incurs so 
dire a condemnation, how much more severe a penalty will 
one bring upon himself who, being in a state of sin, is guilty 
of presumption toward the Body of the Lord ! Let us be free, 
therefore, from all defilement (the difference between defile- 
ment [molusmos] and uncleanness [akatharsia] being clear to 
persons of intelligence) and so approach the Holy Mysteries 
that we may avoid the condemnation of those who killed the 
Lord; for 'whosoever shall eat the bread or drink the chalice 
of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of 
the blood of the Lord.' And let us come to the possession of 
eternal life as He promised, Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, 
who is without deceit, if only, in eating and drinking, we 
will be mindful of Him who died for us and if we will ac- 
complish the Apostle's words: Tor the charity of Christ 
presseth us; judging this, that if one died for all, then all were 
dead. And Christ died for all, that they who live may not now 
live to themselves but unto him who died for them and rose 
again.' 27 And this is our pledge in Baptism. 

Q. 4. Whether we must believe every word of God and 
comply with it, fully persuaded of the validity of what is said, 
even though some word or act on the part of the Lord Himself 
or of the saints seem to be in contradiction. 

R. This question is quite unworthy of anyone who claims 
to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, Only-begotten Son of the 
living God, through whom all things, visible and invisible 
were made, 28 inasmuch as He speaks the words which He 

26 1 Cor. 11.28,29. 

27 2 Cor. 5.14,15. 

28 Col. 1.16. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 397 

hears from the Father. We must give an answer, however, 
In obedience to the words of the Apostle : 'Be ye ready to satis- 
fy every one that asketh you a reason of the faith which is 
in you/ 29 Yet, lest by drawing upon our own knowledge we 
may only perplex our hearers, let us call to mind the Lord's 
own words: 'Amen, amen I say unto you, one jot or one 
tittle shall not pass of the law till all be fulfilled.' 30 Again: 
'It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the 
law to fall.' 31 And if a greater than Solomon is here and a 
greater than Jonas is here 32 it follows that we should say a 
greater than Moses is here. The Apostle, after telling us how 
the Jews could not approach the glory of Moses, compares 
this with the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, adding: 'that 
which was glorified in this part was not glorified by reason of 
the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was 
glorious, much more that which remaineth is in glory.' 33 But, 
even if we are taught by this passage to discern and acknowl- 
edge the words of the Gospel, with unhesitating faith, as valid 
and certain, let us yet recall those other words of the Lord: 
'Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.' 34 
Above all others, then, the Lord's wofds suffice to establish 
our hearts in the Holy Spirit, our Guide, so that they remain 
firm and unwavering in accepting every word which proceed- 
eth from the mouth of God. 35 But, In order that we might 
further assist the weak, it would seem fitting to bring before 
you one or two out of many additional proofs. David says: 
'All his commandments are faithful, confirmed for ever and 

29 1 Pet. 3.15. 

30 Matt. 5.18. 

31 Luke 16.17. 

32 Matt. 12.41,42. 

33 2 Cor. 3.10,11. 

34 Matt. 24.35. 

35 Deut. 8.3. 



398 SAINT BASIL 

ever, made in truth and equity. 336 Again: 'the Lord is faith- 
ful in all his words and holy in all his works,' 37 and there are 
many more in the same vein. Jehu says in the Book of Kings: 
'See that there hath not fallen to the ground any word of the 
Lord. 338 

Now, with reference to those passages in the Gospel which 
seem to involve some contradiction, it is better for each one to 
reproach himself as not yet having arrived at an understand- 
ing of the riches of the wisdom, 39 and to remind himself of 
the fact that it is difficult to penetrate the inscrutable judg- 
ments of God, than to become liable to a charge of presump- 
tion and audacity and to hear addressed to him the words: 
'Impious is he who sayeth to the king: Thou art transgressing 
the law' 40 and 'Who shall accuse against the elect of God?' 41 
Although the solution of the greater number of difficulties 
seems clear to the majority, yet, as regards those passages 
which appear to involve a contradiction, we are obliged to 
follow this rule: Whenever a word or act seems opposed to 
the precept everyone must obey the precept and not search 
the depths of the riches and the wisdom 42 nor make excuses in 
sins. 43 This course of action is pleasing to God, and from the 
Holy Scriptures we have learned that it is a secure way. 
Moreover, if one precept appear to be in opposition to 
another, by studying their content and by reading the passage 
as a whole, we shall discover, at length, that they are not in- 
compatible and we shall demean ourselves as each precept 
requires for the attainment of our heavenly vocation. Toward 

36 Ps. 110.8. 

37 Ps. 144.13. 

38 2 Kings 10.10. 

39 Rom. 11.33. 

40 Job 34.18. 

41 Rom. 8.33. 

42 Horn. 11.33. 

43 Ps. 140.4. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



399 



this goal both precepts are directed, now in healing our ills, 
and now in promoting our advancement toward the perfec- 
tion in which is the accomplishment of God's good pleasure. 
For instance, the Lord said on one occasion : 'No one lights 
a lamp and hides it under a bushel, but upon a lampstand and 
it shines to all that are in the house. So let your light shine 
before men, that they may see your good works and glorify 
your Father who is in heaven. 544 At another time He said: 
'But when thou dost an alms, let not thy left hand know what 
thy right hand doth.' 45 

You could find many passages of this sort in the writings 
of the evangelists and the Apostle. Now, then, if a command 
be given and the manner of carrying it out is not added, let 
us obey the Lord, who says: 'Search the Scriptures.' 46 Let us 
follow the example of the Apostles who questioned the Lord 
Himself as to the interpretation of His words, and learn the 
true and salutary course from His words in another place. 
For example, we learn the meaning of the words: 'Lay up 
to yourselves treasures in heaven' 47 from the advice given to 
the young man when the Lord said : 'Sell what thou hast and 
give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven'; 48 
and, also, from the words He addressed to those who desired 
to inherit the kingdom of heaven: 'Fear not, little flock, for 
it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom. Sell what 
you possess and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which 
grow not old, a treasure in heaven which faileth not.' 49 And 
if danger attend our observance of the command which is 
our glory, let us call to mind the words of the Apostle : 'It is 
good for me to die, rather than that any man should make my 

44 Matt. 5.15,16. 

45 Matt. 6.3. 

46 John 5.39. 

47 Matt. 6.20. 

48 Matt. 19.21. 

49 Luke 12.32,33. 



400 SAINT BASIL 

glory void. 350 Elsewhere, he says at greater length: 'Who shall 
separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or dis- 
tress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or the 
sword,' 51 and so on. Here we are instructed in stronger terms 
to obey the commandments and to show more abundantly 
our love for the Lord who said: c lf any one love me, he will 
keep my word, 552 and so in many other places. For the rest, 
we are taught to imitate the Apostle and cry out: 'O the 
depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of 
God! How incomprehensible are his judgments and how 
unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of 
the Lord?' 53 who came down from heaven and announced 
the words of His Father to us. In Him it is necessary and 
salutary to place our trust, as children in their parents, as 
boys in their teachers, according to the words of our Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself: 'Whosoever shall not receive the king- 
dom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it.' 54 

Q. 5. Whether our failure to obey every word of God merits 
His anger and our destruction, even though a threat is not 
specifically attached to each word. 

R. The question whether disobedience to any word [of God] 
is deserving of His wrath and our destruction has been treated 
at greater length in the letter on concord. 55 Yet, to cite on this 
occasion one or two passages from the many bearing on this 
subject, let us hear the words of John the Baptist: s He that 
believeth in the Son hath life everlasting; but he that be- 
lieveth not the Son' (and that which is not restricted is all- 

50 1 Cor. 9.15. 

51 Rom. 8.35. 

52 John 14.23. 

53 Rom. 11,33,34. 

54 Mark 10.15. 

55 De judicio Dei (?) . 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 401 

inclusive) 'shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth 
on him.' 56 The JLord Himself affirmed in a definitive manner 
that 'one jot or one tittle of the law shall not pass until all 
be fulfilled.' 57 If this is true of the law, it is far more true of 
the Gospel, as the Lord Himself declared many times. Now, 
as to [whether disobedience remains seriously culpable], 
even though a threat is not specifically attached to each word, 
I think that for the faithful it suffices to recall the Lord's 
words in that part of His teaching following the pronounce- 
ment of the beatitudes, where He enumerates a long series 
of prohibitions, to some of which He attaches a threat, saying: 
'whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the 
judgment. And whosoever shall say : Raca, shall be in danger 
of the council. And whosoever shall say : 'Thou fool, shall be 
in danger of hell-fire,' 58 and there are many more such in- 
stances. To other precepts, however, He does not attach a 
threat, as when He said : 'Whosoever shall look on a woman 
to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her 
in his heart'; 59 and also: 'But I say to you not to swear at 
all'; 60 and a little farther on: 'But let your speech be yea, 
yea; no, no, and that which is over and above these is of 
evil.' 61 Many such precepts He gave without adding a specific 
penalty, inasmuch as He had earlier made a more general 
pronouncement regarding all: 'Unless your justice abound 
more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven.' 62 Near the end of His 
discourse He adds: 'Every one that heareth these my words 
and doth them not shall be like to a foolish man that built 

56 John 3.36. 

57 Matt. 5.18. 

58 Matt. 5.22. 

59 Matt. 5.28. 

60 Matt. 5.34. 

61 Matt. 5.37. 

62 Matt. 5.20. 



402 



SAINT BASIL 



his house upon the sand, and the rain fell and the floods 
came and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house and 
it fell and great was the fall thereof. 363 

In other passages, also, where He enumerated a long list 
of sins, He did not affix to each the punishment reserved for 
it, considering as sufficient His frequent statements referring 
in general to all sins. Since, however, weaker souls need help, 
let us call to mind the words of the Apostle as well; for he, too, 
in imitation of the Lord said in one place: 'if any man that 
is named a brother be a fornicator or covetous or a server of 
idols or a railer or a drunkard or an extortioner, with such 
a one, not so much as to eat.' 64 Again: 'Lie not to one 
another, 565 and in still another place: 'Let all anger and in- 
dignation and clamour and blasphemy be put away from 
you with all malice.' 66 And he frequently gave such precepts 
as these without adding a threat. In one place, however, he 
adds the penalty in a general way: 'Do not err; neither forni- 
cators nor idolators nor adulterers nor the effeminate nor 
Hers with mankind nor thieves, nor covetous nor drunkards 
nor railers nor extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God. 367 
Elsewhere, again, he writes in more detail: 'And as they 
liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered 
them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not 
convenient. Being filled with all iniquity, fornication, malice, 
avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, 
malignity, whisperers, detractors, hateful to God, contumeli- 
ous, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to 
parents, foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, 

63 Matt. 7.26,27. 

64 1 Cor. 5.11. 

65 Col. 3.9. 

66 Eph. 4.31. 

67 1 Cor. 6.9,10. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



403 



without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did 
not understand that they who do such things are worthy of 
death; and not only they that do them, but they also that 
consent to them that do them. Wherefore, thou are inexcus- 
able, O man, whosoever thou art, that judgest. For wherein 
thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself. For thou 
dost the same things which thou judgest, 568 and so in many 
threats of punishment are not attached to each individual 
other places. It is evident from these passages that, even if 
form of disobedience, we are obliged to admit that whoever 
violates even one command inevitably invokes against him- 
self the general verdict; for our Lord Jesus Christ declared: 
'He that despiseth me and receiveth not my words hath one 
that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same 
shall judge him in the last day.' 6& And the words which follow 
are even more frightening. John the Baptist, too, than whom 
there was no greater, offers clear and precise testimony: 'he 
that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of 
God abideth on him.' 70 This thought is a familiar one in the 
Scriptures, even in the Old Testament. For, although Moses, 
who was the writer of a great part of the Law, did not add to 
it a threat against the transgressor or the negligent, a general 
malediction upon all violators is introductory to the announce- 
ment of a most frightful penalty : 'Cursed be every man that 
abideth not in all that is written in the book of this law'; 71 
and elsewhere: 'Cursed be he that doth the work of the Lord 
negligently.' 72 If he is accursed who does the work of the 
Lord negligently, what does he deserve who does it not? 

68 Rom. 1.28-2.1. 
68 John 12.48. 

70 John 3.36. 

71 Deut. 27.26. 

72 Jer. 48.10. 



404 SAINT BASIL 

Q. 6. Whether disobedience consists in doing what is for- 
bidden or in neglecting to do that which is commended. 

JR. Our Lord Jesus Christ, in strongly confirming His judg- 
ment regarding this point, was pleased to teach us the fear of 
His ordinances by example as well as by wards. In so doing, 
He both corrected past error and established our hearts in 
sound faith, since conviction is better produced by actual 
practice. He says, first of all: 'Unless your justice abound 
more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven.' 73 Then, after completing 
the presentation of His doctrine in regard to this matter, He 
adds His verdict together with an example: 'Every one that 
heareth these my words and doth them not, shall be like 
a foolish man that built his house upon the sand, and the rain 
fell and the floods came and the winds blew, and they beat 
upon that house and it fell, and great was the fall thereof.' 74 
Again : 'A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, 
and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said 
to the dresser of the vineyard : Behold, for these three years, 
I come seeking fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it 
down, therefore. Why cumbereth it the ground?' 75 Elsewhere, 
He expresses His condemnation more vividly: 'Depart from 
me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for 
the devil and his angels.' 76 Then He alleges, not the com- 
mission of any forbidden act, but the omission of commended 
ones, saying: Tor I was hungry and you gave me not to eat; 
I was thirsty and you gave me not to drink, 577 and so on. 
Many such passages might one find to prove that not only 
are they who do wicked things worthy of death, for whom 

73 Matt. 5.20. 

74 Matt. 7.26,27. 

75 Luke 13.6,7. 

76 Matt. 25.41. 

77 Matt. 25.42. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 405 

also the inextinguishable fire has been prepared, 78 but that, 
along with these, they are condemned who leave good works 
undone or who perform them negligently; for it is written: 
'Cursed be every man who does the work of the Lord negli- 
gently.' 79 

It also would be appropriate to remind those who have 
received the pardon of their sins through Baptism of the 
words of John : 'Ye brood of vipers, who hath showed you to 
flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth, therefore, fruit 
worthy of penance. And think not to say within yourselves: 
We have Abraham for our father. For I tell you that God is 
able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. For 
now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, there- 
fore, that doth not yield good fruit shall be cut down and 
any evil committed, but only of omission in performing the 
cast into the fire.' 80 There is no mention in these words of 
duties of piety. If everyone who does the work of the Lord 
negligently is accursed because he does not act with becoming 
zeal, how much greater is the curse upon him who refrains 
from doing any good at all ! Justly, indeed, are the following 
words addressed to such persons: 'Depart from me, you 
cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil 
and his angels.' 81 And so, from all this, it is evident that great 
promptness and untiring zeal united with a good and simple 
intention are indispensable in carrying out the precepts of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that we also may be worthy of the blessing 
promised by our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of 
the Living God : 'Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after 
justice, for they shall have their fill.' 82 

78 Mark 9.43. 

79 Jer. 48.10. 

80 Matt. 3.7-10. 

81 Matt. 25.41. 

82 Matt. 5.6. 



406 SAINT BASIL 

(2- 7. Whether it is possible, or pleasing, or acceptable to 

God for one who is a servant of sin to perform a meritorious 
act according to the rule of piety followed by the saints. 

R. In the Old Testament, God says: The sinner that sacrl- 
ficeth an ox to me Is as if he should brain a dog; he that offer- 
eth the finest wheaten flour, as If he should offer swine's 
blood. 383 He also prescribed great carefulness with regard to 
that which is offered in sacrifice, and Imposed a dreadful 
penalty upon the trangressor. In the New Testament, how- 
ever, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said in the Gospel: 
'Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin 3 ; 84 and: 4 No 
man can serve two masters'; 85 and also: 'You cannot serve 
God and mammon. 5 8 Again, He said most explicitly: 'So 
likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he 
possesseth cannot be my disciple.' 87 Now, if His verdict is 
such respecting matters which are not of obligation, what is 
to be said of those that are forbidden? Speaking through the 
Apostle, the Lord says: 'Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. 
For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what 
fellowship hath light with darkness? And what concord hath 
Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the 
unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God 
with idols?' 88 These words clearly Indicate an act which Is 
absolutely forbidden and Is displeasing to God and perilous 
for one who would venture to commit it. I exhort you 5 there- 
fore, let us make the tree good and its fruit good, as the Lord 
teaches, 89 and let us cleanse first the inside of the cup and of 

83 Isa. 66.3 (Septuagint) . 

84 John 8.34. 

85 Matt. 6.24. 

86 Ibid. 

87 Luke 14.33. 

88 2 Cor. 6.14-16. 

89 Matt. 12.33. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



407 



the dish and then the outside will be entirely clean. 90 Taught 
by the Apostle, let us purify ourselves of every defilement of 
the flesh and of the spirit 91 and then let us achieve perfect 
holiness in the love of Christ, that we may become pleasing 
to God and acceptable to the Lord, so as to gain the kingdom 
of heaven. 

Q. 8 Whether the work enjoined by the command is ac- 
ceptable to God if the manner of performing it is not in con- 
forrnity with the divine ordinance. 

R. We learn the answer to this question, and at the same 
time a rule, so to speak, for dealing with every question of 
this sort, from the Old Testament where God says In His 
own Person, as It were: If rightly thou didst make thy offer- 
ing, but didst not rightly divide it, thou hast sinned. Peace; 
his turning Is unto thee. 302 These words show that not only 
Is an offering which is Improperly made unacceptable, but 
such an action is imputed as sin to him who has made the 
offering. From the simile used by the Apostle we can learn, by 
a human illustration, as It were, the inviolable rule of piety 
which Is to be applied in general to all cases. The Apostle 
says: 'He also that striveth for the mastery is not crowned 
except he strive lawfully. 593 Moreover, we can adduce and 
we do It with deeper reverence the rule given by our Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself when He said : 'Blessed is that servant 
whom when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. 394 
In using the word 'so 3 the Lord shows that He excludes 
from His blessing one who does not perform his actions as 
we can accurately be taught and fully persuaded to do by 



90 Matt. 23.26. 

91 2 Cor. 7.1. 

92 Gen. 4.7 (cf. Septuagint) . 

93 2 Tim. 2.5. 

94 Matt. 24.46. 



408 SAINT BASIL 

many stories and sayings in both the Old and New Testa- 
ment. Not 'so doing 5 means acting Inappropriately as re- 
gards the place, the time, the person, the matter involved, 
or in a manner intemperate or disorderly, or with improper 
dispositions. 

First, let us consider how an act is performed inappropri- 
ately as to place. The Apostle, using a familiar example in 
order to present his point in a more lucid manner and to 
assist his hearers toward an understanding of the proprieties 
of the devout life, says: 'Doth not even nature itself teach 
you that a man, indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame 
unto him? But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to 
her/ 95 and so on. Properly, then, we should follow the cus- 
tomary ways of nature as regards the necessities of this life. 
For, even though life is sustained by eating and drinking, 
what prudent man would wish to eat and drink in the public 
square? Or who would see fit to sow seed on rocks and so lose 
both the seed and the fruit it is expected to produce? And 
so, one could think of many actions which would be per- 
formed in the wrong place to our peril and even to our con- 
demnation. Recalling once more the words of the Apostle: 
'All these things happened to them in figure; and they are 
written for our correction upon whom the ends of the world 
are come,' 96 let us see whether acts sanctioned by God with 
reference to the devout life do not maintain a distinctiveness 
which cannot be ignored, even though they also have some- 
thing in common. Certain acts were appointed to be done 
at Jerusalem, and persons wiio nonetheless performed them 
elsewhere did so at their peril. Other actions were even more 
strictly localized because, both in the temple and at the altar, 
certain rites were prescribed for the divine service which were 



95 1 Cor. 11.14,15. 

96 I COT. 10.11. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



409 



different from those assigned to Jerusalem or other places. 
No one dared to perform actions appointed for the temple 
and the altar in other parts of Jerusalem, nor were the acts 
prescribed for other places permitted also in the temple. And 
for us, also, there is risk involved in observing the command in 
an unsuitable place, especially if we should celebrate the mys- 
teries of the priesthood in unhallowed places; for such an 
act would constitute a sin of contempt on the part of the 
celebrant and would scandalize others in various ways, be- 
cause of the varying deficiencies in the knowledge which 
people in general possess. 

But, someone may say: Why, then, did the Apostle declare, 
*I will, therefore, that men pray in every place'? 97 Certainly, 
the Lord gives the authority for praying in every place, in 
the words: 'neither in Jerusalem nor on this mountain shall 
you adore the Father. 3 98 And the words of the Apostle are 
legitimate, because the word 'every' does not include places 
designated for human usage or for unclean and shameful 
deeds, but they do take in the region from the confines of 
Jerusalem to every place in the world duly appointed, in 
conformity with the prophecy of sacrifice," that is, conse- 
crated to God, for the celebration of the glorious mystery. 
Although we have heard the words of the Prophet : 'You shall 
be called priests of God,' 100 not all should usurp the power of 
this priesthood and ministry, nor is one to arrogate to himself 
the gift bestowed upon another. Each of the faithful should 
remain within the proper limits of the gift granted him by 
God. The Apostle teaches us this by saying to all: 'I beseech 
you, therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you pre- 
sent your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God > 

97 1 Tirn. 2.8. 

98 John 4.21. 

99 Mai. 1.11. 
100 Isa. 61.6. 



410 SAINT BASIL 

your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; 
but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may 
prove what is the good, the acceptable, and the perfect will 
of God.' 101 Moreover, he clearly allots to each the form of 
ministry which is suitable for him and forbids him to encroach 
upon another's province, when he says: Tor I say by the 
grace of God that is given me to all that are among you, not 
to be more wise than it behcveth to be wise, but to be wise 
unto sobriety and according as God hath divided to every one 
the measure of faith. 5102 Furthermore, with the good order 
which obtains among the members of the body for the pur- 
pose of comeliness and security as his model, he prescribes 
the good order which should exist among us with regard for 
the diversity of gifts and which is pleasing to God in the love 
of Christ Jesus. For he says: 'As in one body we have many 
members, but all the members have not the same office, so we 
being many are one body in Christ and every one members 
one of another. And having different gifts, according to the 
grace that is given us, either prophecy to be used according 
to the rule of faith, or ministry in ministering,' 103 and so on. 
Now, if they who strive together toward the same goal, 
that of pleasing God, and who are so intimately united with 
one another in the love of Christ are yet not permitted to 
overstep the proper limits of their gifts, ought we not exert 
the greatest care in isolating from holy places those that are 
used for practices which are alien and hostile to holiness? 
From all the quotations from the Holy Scripture and other 
proofs of this sort, as well as from the examples given above, 
we must conclude that an action which is done in an unfitting" 
place has an effect contrary to the one intended. As to actions 



101 Rom. 12.1,2. 

102 Rom. 12.3. 

103 Rom. 12.4-7. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 411 

done at an inopportune time, we can hear our Lord Jesus 
Christ Himself speaking to us: Therefore shall the kingdom 
of heaven be like to ten virgins, who, taking their lamps, went 
to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were 
foolish and five, wise. But the five foolish, having taken their 
lamps, did not take oil with them; but the wise took oil in 
their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, 
they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a 
cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to 
meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their 
lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, 
for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest 
perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather 
to them that sell and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they 
went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready 
went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. 
But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, 
open to us. But he, answering, said to them : Amen, I say to 
you, I know you not. Watch ye, therefore, because you know 
not the day nor the hour.' 104 

Now, then, since I realize that instruction concerning this 
decree carries greater strength and conviction when it is 
stated repeatedly and forcefully, I shall add a quotation on 
the same subject from another place. The Lord Himself says: 
'many shall seek to enter and shall not be able. But when the 
master of the house shall be gone in and shall shut the door, 
you shall begin to say : Lord, open to us. And he, answering, 
shall say to you: I know you not, whence you are. 5105 There- 
fore, I say to you, be you also ready, because at what hour 
you think not, the Son of man will come/ 106 and similarly in 

104 Matt, 25.1-13. 

105 Luke 13.24,25. 

106 Matt. 24.44. 



412 SAINT BASIL 

many other places. If we must call to witness the Apostle, also, 
we shall hear him quoting the words of the Prophet: 'In an 
acceptable time I have heard thee.' 107 Then, of himself, the 
Apostle adds the following words: 'Behold, now is the accept- 
able time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 3108 Again: 
'Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, 
but especially to those that are of the household of the 
faith.' 109 If still another witness is needed, let us recall the 
words of David : Tor this shall every one that is holy pray to 
thee in a seasonable time.' 110 Solomon, likewise, declared 
in a general way: 'all things good in their time. 3111 

In the Old Testament, as, for instance, in the case of Core 
and the men who dared to enter the priesthood without being 
called to it and by the severity of the wrath which came upon 
them to their utter destruction, 112 we see how grave a thing 
it is to do that which is unsuitable as regards the person. 
Moreover, we were instructed by the Lord Himself to be on 
our guard in this respect, when He said to the disciples: 'I 
was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of 
Israel, 3113 and to the woman: 'It is not good to take the bread 
of children and cast it to the dogs. 3114 Again, in the Old 
Testament, we find an example of an act performed unsuit- 
ably with respect to the material involved, when, although a 
command to offer sacrifice of undefiled and sound and un- 
blemished victims had been given, the offering was not^made 
of such. Regarding a sacrifice of this kind, God said: 'Offer 
it to thy prince if he will be pleased wtih it, or if he will 



107 Isa. 49.8. 

108 2 Cor. 6.2. 

109 Gal, 6.10. 

110 Ps. 31.6. 

111 Eccle. 3.11. 

112 Num. 16.31ff. 

113 Matt. 15.24. 

114 Mark 7.27. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 



413 



regard thy face.' 115 We are taught the same truth, further- 
more, In the New Testament by our Lord Jesus Christ Him- 
self, who quotes the prophecy of Isaias against the Jews: 
'Well did Isaias prophesy of you, saying: This people honor* 
cth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And 
in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts 
of men.' 116 The Apostle also testifies to the awareness of the 
Jews, but condemns them for the inconsistency of their jus- 
tice : Tor I bear them witness, that they have a zeal of God 
but not according to knowledge. For they, not knowing the 
justice of God and seeking to establish their own, have not 
submitted themselves to the justice of God.' 117 Therefore, the 
Apostle, truly desirous of pleasing God, after recounting the 
justifications of the law which he had fully accomplished, 
adds: 'Furthermore, I count all things to be but loss for the 
excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Lord; for whom I 
have suffered the loss of all things and count them but as dung, 
that I may gain Christ and may be found in him, not having 
my justice which is of the law, but that which Is of the faith 
of Christ Jesus, which is of God, justice by faith ; that I may 
know him,' 118 and so on. By utterances such as these, there- 
fore, we are taught to be exceedingly careful never to associ- 
ate considerations of human justice with the rule for pleasing 
God laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ. 

As to measure in our actions, I think It Is sufficient to re- 
mind ourselves of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in order 
to comprehend the difference in the standard of the old law 
of charity ( 'for it is written : Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 
thyself). 119 The Lord said: & A new commandment I give 



115 Mai. 1.8. 

116 Mark 7.6,7. 

117 Rom. 10.2,3. 

118 Phil. 3.8-10. 

119 Matt. 19.19. 



414 SAINT BASIL 

unto you: that you love one another as I have loved you.' 120 
'Greater love than this no man hath that a man lay down his 
life for his friends. 5121 In general, one can understand the 
doctrine concerning ail justifications from the rule laid down 
by the Lord Himself: 'Unless your justice abound more than 
that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven.' 122 

An act is performed in a disorderly, inconsistent manner 
when a man puts that which is of the first importance in the 
second or third place and thinks that what is third in order 
should rank first. For example, to him who said: 'All these 
have I kept from my youth/ the Lord gave the command: 
'Sell what thou hast and give to the poor and take up thy 
cross and come, follow me.' 123 Suppose that the second 
injunction, c Come, follow me,' were to be given to one who 
had not kept the commandments, which must be observed as 
a prerequisite condition [for receiving the invitation]. Again, 
the Lord says: 'If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself and take up his cross and follow me. 9124 What if some- 
one were to place the command to follow first? Or, despite 
the fact that the Lord adds after a long instruction : 'So like- 
wise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he pos- 
sesseth cannot be my disciple,' 125 suppose that someone should 
imagine that he was a disciple before he had fulfilled the 
preliminary requirements. We must, therefore, obey the in- 
junction of the Apostle: 'Let all things be done decently and 
according to order. 5126 

Now let us consider how an act is performed in improper 

120 John 13.34. 

121 John 15.13. 

122 Matt. 5.20. 

123 Matt. 19.20,21. 

124 Matt. 16.24. 

125 Luke 14.33. 

126 1 Cor. 14.40. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 415 

dispositions. The Lord said of those who give alms with the 
intention of pleasing men or who perform any other good 
deed so as to be seen by men: 'Amen I say to you they have 
received their reward.' 127 With still greater severity does He 
represent the iniquity of those who fulfill the command of 
God from human motives, by showing that not only does such 
action fail of its reward, but that its perpetrator merits pun- 
ishment, since he acts not from a motive of piety but with a 
view to pleasing men or for some other gratification: to satis- 
fy avarice or to further an enterprise. These motives the 
Apostle also denounces, and the Lord condemns such persons 
with a still greater harshness when He says: 'Many will come 
in that day, saying: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in 
thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many 
miracles, and eaten and drunk in thy presence, and hast thou 
not taught in our streets? And then will I answer them, say- 
ing : Depart from me, I know you not where you are, ye work- 
ers of iniquity.' 128 From statements of this sort, it is evident that 
even if a man makes effective use of the gifts of grace, even 
if he obeys the commandments, but does not perform these 
acts in the dispositions and for the end prescribed by the Lord 
in the words: 'So let your light shine before men that they 
may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in 
heaven,' 129 he deserves to hear that answer given by the Lord. 
The Apostle Paul also says, speaking in Christ: 'Whether 
you eat or drink or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory 
of God.' 130 And the Lord's answer prompted him to say, also: 
'If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have 
not charity, I arn become as sounding brass or a tinkling 
cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all 

127 Matt. 6.5. 

128 Matt. 7.22,23; Luke 13.26,27. 

129 Matt. 5.16. 

130 1 Cor. 10.31. 



416 SAINT BASIL 

mysteries, and if I should have all faith, so that^ I could 
remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing. And 
if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor and if I 
should deliver my body to be burned and have not charity, 
it profiteth me nothing.' 131 And in another place he says more 
generally but with greater force: 'If I yet pleased men, I 
should not be the servant of Christ.' 132 

If you require evidence from the Old Testament also, to 
convince you that the judgment of God in this manner [is as 
I have represented it], Moses says: Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole mind and 
with thy whole strength/ 133 and 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor 
as thyself. 3134 To this the Lord adds: 'On these two com- 
mandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.' 135 
The Apostle also bears witness in the words : 'Love, therefore, 
is the fulfilling of the law.' 136 Moreover, they who do not 
observe these commands and perform the acts of justification 
which derive from them are liable to punishment, as Moses 
declares in the words: 'Cursed be every man that abideth 
not in all that is written in this book.' 137 And David says: 'If 
I have looked at iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear 
me. 3138 In another place, also, he says: 'There have they 
trembled for fear where there was no fear; for God hath 
scattered the bones of them that please men.' 139 There is 
need, then, of much diligence and of ceaseless care, lest, 
perhaps, in carrying out the commandment improperly as 



131 1 Cor. 13.1-3. 
152 Gal. 1.10. 

133 Deut. 6.5. 

134 Lev. 19.18; Matt. 19.19. 

135 Matt. 22.40. 

136 Rom. 13.10. 

137 Deut. 27.26. 

138 Ps. 65.18. 

139 Ps. 52.6, 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 417 

regards any of the details we have discussed, we may not 
only lose a reward so great and so blessed but also become 
the objects of threats so dire. 

Q. 9. Whether we ought to associate with transgressors or 
have any part in the unfruitful works of darkness., when such 
persons or works are not under our charge. 

R. Wicked, indeed, is every man who does not keep the 
whole law or who violates even one commandment. For, by 
the omission of only a small part, the whole is imperilled. That 
which is almost accomplished is yet not accomplished. For 
example, one who has almost died is not dead, but still lives. 
He who is almost alive does not live, but is still dead, and one 
who is on the point of entering has not entered, as for instance, 
the five virgins. In the same way, he who almost observed 
the law did not observe it, but is a transgressor. With regard 
to transgressors, therefore, even if they be relatives, we must 
obey the Apostle, who says in one place: 'if any man that is 
named a brother be a fornicator or covetous or a drunkard 
or a railer or an extortioner, not so much as to eat with such 
a one.' 140 Here it is to be noted that the Apostle does not 
segregate from the common life only the man who transgresses 
in all these ways, but also the one who commits any one of 
these offenses. He does not say 'with this one,' but 'with such 
a one.' In another place, he says: 'Mortify your members 
which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, lust, 
evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of 
idols. For which things the wrath of God cometh' (and he 
adds in a general way) 'upon the children of unbelief.' 141 'Be 
ye not therefore partakers with them.' 142 Again: 'that you 

140 1 Cor. 5.11. 

141 Col. 3.5,6. 

142 Eph. 5.7. 



418 SAINT BASIL 

with draw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly 
and not according to the tradition which they have received 
of us/ 143 and similarly elsewhere. 

So that we may know clearly what is meant by not having 
a share in the works which do not bear fruit, let us first 
inquire as to what sort of actions merit the attribute 'un- 
fruitful' whether those only that are forbidden or such also 
as are commendable but are not performed in good disposi- 
tions. In the Old Testament, the Prophet, comparing the 
saints to a tree, says: "which shall bring forth Its fruit in due 
season/ 144 Solomon declares: The work of the just is unto life 
but the fruit of the wicked is sin'; 145 and Osee: 'Sow for 
yourselves In justice, reap the fruit of life.' 146 Micheas says: 
"And the land shall be made desolate because of the inhabi- 
tants thereof, and for the fruit of their devices.' 147 Other 
Prophets also have much to say on this subject. But, even 
though their words shine with the brightness of a lamp, the 
true Light, the Sun of justice, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, 
expresses the matter more clearly in the words : 'A good tree 
cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring 
forth good fruit.' 148 and similarly elsewhere. So, then, since 
we have the name 'fruit' applied to contrary Ideas, let us 
further inquire as to what sort of trees bear no fruit and 
as to which works the Apostle terms unfruitful. The signifi- 
cance of barren trees is clarified for us by John the Baptist, 
who said to those who had merited to receive Baptism for 
the remission of their sins and who had been cleansed from 
every stain of guilt: 'Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of 
penance, 3149 and, a little further on, he adds: 'Every tree 

143 2 Thess. 3.6. 

144 Ps. 1.3. 

145 Prov. 10.16. 

146 Osee 10.12 (Septuagint) . 

147 Mich. 7.13. 

148 Matt. 7.18. 

149 Matt. 3.8. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 419 

therefore that doth not yield good fruit shall be cut down and 
cast into the fire.' 150 The Lord, however, gives us clearer in- 
struction in the words He will address to those who stand at 
His right hand: 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you 
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world/ 151 and, in the words which follow, He makes mention 
of their good fruit. Those on His left hand, however, He con- 
signs to 'the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his 
angels.' 152 He does not blame these for committing sin, but 
for omitting to do good works: Tor I was hungry,' He says, 
'and you gave me not to eat, 3153 and so on. Their omission, 
moreover, causes these souls to share the fate of sinners who 
are called by the Lord the Devil's angels. 

Since, therefore, the difference has been made evident be- 
tween the trees bearing fruits which are of opposite kinds and 
those that bear none at all, let us examine further what the 
Apostle means by unfruitful works. Upon consideration of the 
matter, I find the link, which is needed between the man who 
observes the commandment of God lawfully and in a manner 
pleasing to Him and the one who commits evil and him who 
does neither, in those who do good, but in a manner dis- 
pleasing to God for any of the reasons previously mentioned 
in discussing the question whether the observance of a 
command is acceptable if such compliance is improperly car- 
ried out and in a manner not conformable to the requirements 
of the command. 154 Respecting these persons, the Lord said: 
'they have their reward. 3155 Consider the case of the five fool- 
ish virgins. On the testimony of the Lord Himself, they were 
virgins and had trimmed their lamps and lighted them; that 

150 Matt. 3.10. 

151 Matt. 25.34. 

152 Matt. 25.41. 

153 Matt. 25.42. 

154 See above, Q. 8. 

155 Matt. 6.5. 



420 SAINT BASIL 

is, they had done the same things as the wise virgins and they 
also went out to meet the Lord, showing themselves in every 
way as zealous as the wise. Yet, merely because they had not 
enough oil in their vessels, they failed of their purpose and 
were kept from entering the place where the bridegroom 
was. 156 So, also, with the one who was left of the two in the 
mill-house and of the two in the same bed. 157 The Lord is 
silent as to the reason for this, perhaps in order to show that, 
in every case, the least failure in propriety and particularly, 
as the Apostle taught, in true charity 158 renders an act 
displeasing. Since, then, we see how works become unfruitful, 
let us take care not to violate in any way the laws of the 
contest which aims to win the divine pleasure. In everything, 
let us exhibit ourselves as ministers of God, 159 and not this 
only, but let us be careful not to enter into such associations 
as Paul, speaking in Christ, has explicitly forbidden, saying: 
'Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of this dark- 
ness 3 ; and, by adding: 'but rather reprove them, 3160 he taught 
us how we are to conduct ourselves in this abstention. 

Now let us consider what it is to have fellowship and study 
the forms it takes. 

I recall from Proverbs : 'Come with us, let us be sharers in 
blood'; 161 and from the Apostle: 'You are all partakers of my 
joy' 162 and 'communicating to my tribulation.' 163 Also: 'Let 
him that is instructed in the word communicate to him that 
instructeth him in all good things. 3164 Again: 'If thou didst 

156 Matt. 25. Iff. 

157 Luke 17.S4.35. 

158 1 Cor. 13.1-3. 

159 2 Cor. 6.4. 

160 Eph. 5.11. 

161 Prov. 1.11. 

162 Phil. 1.7. 

163 Phil. 4.14. 

164 Gal. 6.6. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 421 

see a thief, thou didst run with him; and with adulterers thou 
hast been a partaker'; 165 'thou shalt reprove thy brother 
openly, and not incur sin through him'; 166 and also: 'these 
things hast thou done and I was silent. Thou thoughtest un- 
justly that I should be like to thee; but I will reprove thee and 
set before thy face.' 167 As I recall these passages and other 
similar ones, I am led to the opinion that fellowship in work 
consists in mutual assistance toward the same objective. Ac- 
cording to this, fellowship of thought would entail sharing 
the sentiments of the one doing the work and taking pleasure 
in it with him. Another variety of fellowship, overlooked by 
most persons, is revealed by an accurate reading of the Holy 
Scriptures. According to this kind of fellowship, one neither 
actually performs a work in association with another nor 
shares his dispositions, but, although aware of the malice 
in the mind directing the work, one yet remains silent and 
does not make open accusation as is required both by the 
passages quoted above and also by the words of the Apostle 
to the Corinthians: 'You have not mourned that he might 
be taken away from you, that hath done this deed'; 168 and he 
adds: 'a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump.' 169 Let us 
fear, therefore, and obey the Apostle when he says: 'Purge out 
the old leaven, that you may be a new paste.' 170 Now, one 
who with a good intention cooperates with another in a good 
work and is unconscious of the wickedness of his partner's 
dispositions and aim, such a one does not incur guilt in lend- 
ing his assistance. Since he did not share the other's disposi- 
tions, but was keeping himself within the rule of the love of 

165 Ps. 49.18. 

166 Lev. 19.17. 

167 Ps. 49.21. 

168 1 Cor. 5.2. 

169 I Cor. 5.6. 

170 1 Cor. 5.7. 



422 SAINT BASIL 

God, he shall receive his own proper reward according to 
his own work, as our Lord Jesus Christ showed in the example 
of the man left in the bed and the woman left in the mill- 
house. 171 The difference between those who are entrusted to 
us and those who are not has to do with the obligation we 
have of watching over them and not with fellowship in sin. 
My solicitude is specifically due only those under my charge 
and participation in evil and in unfruitful works is for- 
bidden to the same degree in all instances. 

Q. 10 Whether it is always dangerous to give scandal. 

R. I consider it necessary, first of all, to know what scandal 
is; then, the difference in the persons and the means whereby 
scandal is given; and, finally, to discover in this way wherein 
danger lies and where not. Now, scandal, as I am led to infer 
from the Scriptures, is everything that draws us away from 
true piety toward any form of defection, or introduces error, 
or fosters impiety; or, in general, everything which hinders 
us from observing God's command even unto death. If, how- 
ever, what is said or done is good in itself, but infirmity in the 
agent makes his word or deed a source of harm, he is not 
liable to accusation from those who have taken scandal, since 
he said or did that which was good as regards edification. 
This the Lord indicated in the words : 'Not that which goeth 
into the mouth defileth a man; but what cometh out of the 
mouth, this defileth a man. 3172 On the other hand, to those 
who had taken scandal He said: 'Every plant which my 
heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up'; 173 also: 
'He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath ever- 
lasting life 5 ; 174 and, a little further on: 'No man can come 

171 Luke 17.34,35. 

172 Matt. 15.11. 

173 Matt. 15.13. 

174 John 6.55. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 423 

to me, unless it be given him by my Father. 3175 Thereupon., 
some turned these words to their own ruin, as the Scripture 
says: 'And many of the disciples, hearing this word, went 
back and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the 
twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered 
him: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of 
eternal life, and we have believed and have known that 
thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' 176 Those of 
sound faith made use of these words to strengthen their faith 
and obtain eternal salvation, but the weak in understanding 
or faith, owing to their own wickedness, made them a cause of 
ruin, as it is written concerning the Lord: 'This child is set 
for the fall and for the resurrection of many.' 177 This was not 
said because of a contradiction existing within Himself, but 
with reference to the hostile views of those who would inter- 
pret His doctrine; as the Apostle says: 'To the one, indeed, 
the odor of life unto life ; but to the others, the odor of death 
unto death. 5178 

Now, if that which is said or done is evil in itself, then he 
who says or does it is liable to the charge both of committing 
sin himself and of giving scandal, even if he to whom the 
scandal is given does not take it as such. This is illustrated 
in the case of Peter, to whom the Lord said, when Peter was 
protesting against His fulfilling His ministry of obedience 
even unto death: 'Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal 
unto me.' The reason added by the Lord, although brief, 
teaches us the general characteristics of scandal: 'because 
thou savorest not the things that are of God, but the things 
that are of men. 5179 From this we know that every attitude 

175 John 6.66. 

176 John 6.67-70. 

177 Luke 2.34. 

178 2 Cor. 2.16. 

179 Matt. 16.23. 



424 SAINT BASIL 

of mind which is contrary to the judgment of God consti- 
tutes a scandal, and s when such an attitude is, further, put 
into action, it incurs the same penalty as homicide, according 
to the words of the Prophet Osee: 'the priests have hidden 
the way, they have slain Sichem, for they have wrought 
wickedness among the people/ 180 On the other hand, if it is 
a case of some act that is licit in itself, and harm comes of it 
and it causes scandal to those who are weak in faith or un- 
derstanding, he who has performed such an action is guilty 
of scandal. The Apostle says of those who act thus and do not 
spare the weak: 'Now when you sin thus against the brethren 
and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.' 181 
Consequently, either when something is done which is intrin- 
sically evil and scandal results, or if the performance of a licit 
act and one within our sphere of competence causes scandal 
to one who is weak in faith or knowledge, then the penalty is 
clear and unescapable. It is that dreadful condemnation pro- 
nounced by the Lord: It were better for him that a mill- 
stone were hanged about his neck and he be cast into the 
sea than that he should scandalize one of these little ones/ 182 
We have discussed this point more fully in former investi- 
gations where the nature of those who take scandal was also 
more closely studied. In this connection, the Apostle says 
even with reference to legitimate actions: *It is good not to 
eat flesh and not to drink wine nor anything whereby thy 
brother is offended or scandalized or made weak.' 183 Again, 
in another place, he says: "Every creature of God is good and 
nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving.' 184 
Yet, he also declares: C I will never eat flesh lest I should 



180 Osee 6.9 (Septuagint) 

181 1 Cor. 8.12. 

182 Luke 17.2. 

183 Rom. 14.21. 

184 1 Tim. 4.4. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 425 

scandalize my brother. 3185 Now, if such be the judgment of 
permissible acts, what should be said of these that are for- 
bidden? The Apostle gives us a general rule to follow: 'Be 
without offense to the Jews and to the Gentiles, and to the 
church of God; as I also in all things please all men, not 
seeking that which is profitable to myself but to many that 
they may be saved.' 186 

Q. 11. Whether it is right or safe to refuse to obey any of 
the prescriptions made by God or to put obstacles in the way 
of one who has been commanded to execute these, or to be 
tolerant of those who are offering such hindrance, especially 
if the person who is interfering be a relative, or if some spe- 
cious pretext impede the accomplishment of the precept. 

R. In view of the Lord's words, 'learn of me, because I am 
meek and humble of heart,' 187 it is clear that we are more 
solidly instructed in all things when we recall the words of our 
Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Only-begotten Son of the living 
God. When, therefore, John the Baptist said to Him: 'I ought 
to be baptized by thee and comest thou to me? 3188 He replied: 
'Suffer it to be so now, for so it becometh us to fulfill all 
justice. 3189 Again, in the presence of the disciples, when Peter 
decried the sufferings which the Lord prophesied He must 
undergo in Jerusalem, He said with great displeasure: 'Go 
behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me; because thou 
savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that 
are of men. 3190 On another occasion, when Peter, moved by 
reverence toward his Master, refused His ministration, the 

185 1 Cor. 8.13. 

186 I Cor. 10.32,33. 

187 Matt. 11.29. 

188 Matt. 3.14. 

189 Matt. 3.15. 

190 Matt. 16.23. 



426 SAINT BASIL 

Lord again said : 'If I wash thee not, thou shall have no part 
with me. 3191 And, if the soul requires further assistance from 
examples taken from persons like ourselves, let us recall the 
words of the Apostle: 'What do you mean, weeping and 
afflicting my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but 
to die also in Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus. 5192 
Who could be more estimable than John or more sincere 
than Peter, or what motives could have been more reverential 
than those which they alleged? I know, furthermore, that 
neither Moses, that holy man, nor the Prophet Jonas, con- 
tinued to be blameless before God when they entertained 
thoughts that were contrary to obedience. By these examples 
we are taught not to gainsay nor to offer hindrance nor suffer 
others to do so. And, if the Scriptures teach beyond a doubt 
that we dare not perform these particular actions or others 
like them, how much greater is our obligation to follow the 
example of the saints with regard to the rest, when they ^say : 
'We ought to obey God rather than men, 5193 and also: c lf it 
be just to hear you rather than God, judge ye, for we cannot 
but speak the things which we have seen and heard. 5194 

Q. 12. Whether each individual must be solicitous for all 
in all circumstances, or only for those under his charge, and, 
with regard to these latter, whether he must act according to 
the gift allotted to him by God through the Holy Spirit. 

R. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Only-begotten Son of God, by 
whom all things visible and invisible were made, 195 declared: 
'I am not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of 

191 John 13.8. 

192 Acts 21.13. 

193 Acts 5.29. 

194 Acts 4.19,20. 

195 Col. 1.16. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 427 

Israel 5 ; 196 and to His disciples He said: 'As the Father hath 
sent me, I also send you.' 197 He also admonishes them: 'Go ye 
not into the way of the Gentiles and into the city of the 
Samaritans, enter ye not. 3198 Then, after He had fulfilled the 
prophecy regarding Himself which David spoke as if in the 
person of God the Father: 'Thou art my son, this day have 
I begotten thee. Ask of me and I will give thee the Gentiles 
for thy inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for 
thy possession/ 199 He bids His Apostles: 'Going, therefore, 
teach ye all nations.' 200 How much more strictly ought each 
one of us obey the Apostle when he writes admonishing us 
'not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to 
be wise unto sobriety and according as God hath divided to 
every one the measure of faith! 2 ' 01 Furthermore, we should 
patiently await the time and the issue he proposes to us 
when he says again : 'Brethren, let every man wherein he was 
called, therein abide.' 202 The Apostle himself practiced very 
meticulously what he preached to others, for he says: 'they 
gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship, that 
we should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the circum- 
cision. 5203 

But, if ever the call of the love of God or of neighbor 
should require us to supply some deficiency, he who answers 
the summons will have the reward of voluntary obedience. 
This call is addressed to us when the love of God and His 
Christ demands that we fulfill this precept of the Lord: 'A 
new commandment I give unto you: that you love one 

196 Matt. 15.24. 

197 John 20.21. 

198 Matt. 10.5. 

199 Ps. 2.7,8. 

200 Matt. 28.19. 

201 Rom. 12.3. 

202 1 Cor. 7.24. 

203 Gal. 2-9. 



428 SAINT BASIL 

another as I have loved you.' 204 'Greater love than this no man 
hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 3205 We are 
called to love of neighbor either when a person in authority 
needs our support or when those in his charge require that 
some necessity be supplied. The Apostle says: 'Let no man 
seek his own, but that which is another's.' 206 The love which 
is according to Christ seeks not its own. 207 Elsewhere, the 
Apostle says: 'edify one another as you also do.' 208 If a man 
does not accomplish in word and work the mission upon 
which he was sent, he is therefore guilty of the blood of those 
who have not heard the Gospel, and he is unable to say with 
the Apostle, addressing the Ephesian elders: 'I am clean from 
this time of the blood of all of you. For I have not spared 
to declare unto you all the counsel of God.' 209 And whoever 
Is able to do more than what is enjoined, unto the edifi- 
cation of faith in the love of Christ, will have a recompense 
for this, as the Apostle intimated when he said: Tor if I 
do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my 
will, a dispensation is committed to me.' 210 

Q. 13 Whether it is necessary to suffer every kind of trial, 
even to the point of risking death, in fulfilling our duty of 
obedience to God, especially in caring for those committed 
to us. 

R. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of the 
living God, through whom all things visible and invisible 
were made, 211 who has life even as the Father who gave it 

204 John 13.34. 

205 John 15.13. 

206 1 Cor. 10.24. 

207 1 Cor. 13.5. 

208 1 Thess. 5.11. 

209 Acts 20.26,27. 

210 I Cor. 9.17. 

211 Col. 1.16. 



CONCERNING BAPTISM 429 

to Him and who received all power from the Father, when 
they approached to seize Him and lead Him to death that 
we might have justice and eternal life, went to meet death 
with great alacrity, saying: 'behold the Son of man shall be 
betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go. Behold, 
he that will betray me is at hand. 3212 Moreover, as it is writ- 
ten in the Gospel according to John : 'Jesus, therefore, know- 
ing all things that should come upon him, went forth and said 
to them: Whom seek ye? They answered him: Jesus of 
Nazareth. Jesus saith to them: 'I am he 5 ; 213 and, a little fur- 
ther on, He says: 'I have told you that I am he. If therefore 
you seek me, let these go their way.' 214 How much more will- 
ingly, therefore, should we bear with the trials which beset 
us in the natural course of things! By triumphing thus over 
the assaults of our enemies for the sake of obedience to God, 
we will glorify God, for we will cheerfully accept the annoy- 
ances which appear to be brought upon us by our enemies, 
inasmuch as we will have attained to the high purpose of him 
who said : Unto you it is given for Christ, not only to believe 
in him, but also to suffer for him.' 215 The Acts, in relating 
the hardships of the Apostles, tell of how they accepted con- 
tumely and death with joy that they might fulfill their mission 
of preaching according to the Lord's command. 216 

Furthermore, the Apostle means to instruct us when he 
says: 'Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall 
tribulations? or distress? or persecution? or hunger? or naked- 
ness? or danger? or the sword? (as it is written, For thy sake 
we are put to death all the day long. We are accounted as 
sheep for the slaughter). But in all these things we overcome 

212 Mark 14.41,42. 

213 John 18.43. 

214 John 18.8. 

215 Phil. 1.29. 

216 Acts 4,5. 



430 SAINT BASIL 

because of him that hath loved us. For I am sure that neither 
death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor 
dominations nor things present nor things to come nor height 
nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us 
from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus/ 217 The observ- 
ance of the commandments is, therefore, inextricably and com- 
pletely bound up with the charity which is in Christ., as the 
words of the Lord Himself show: 'If any one love me, he will 
keep my word, but he that keepth not my words, loveth me 
not' ; 218 and also: 'You are my friends if you do the things that 
I command you.' 219 Moreover, the command that we love one 
another is a new one and His own, and this command the 
Apostle fulfills when he says: 'So desirous of you, we would 
gladly impart unto you not only the gospel of Christ, but also 
our own souls; because you were become most dear unto us/ 220 
Keeping our gaze fixed upon Christ, therefore, let us, by glori- 
ous imitation of Him, increase our zeal. And thinking upon 
the saints, let us receive instruction from them to the full extent 
of our capacity, so that, rendered ever more zealous by them 
and observing every commandment of the Lord without spot 
or blame even unto death, we may attain to life everlasting 
and possess the kingdom of heaven, as He who cannot deceive 
has promised, Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, Only-begotten 
Son of the living God, 



217 Rom. 8.35-39. 

218 John I4.2$4. 

219 John 15.14. 

220 1 Thess. 2.8. 




HOMILY ON THE WORDS, 
'GIVE HEED TO THYSELF' 

OD WHO CREATED us has granted us the faculty of 
speech that we might disclose the counsels of our 
hearts to one another and that, since we possess our 
human nature in common, each of us might share his thoughts 
with his neighbor, bringing them forth from the secret re- 
cesses of the heart as from a treasury. If we were passing 
through this life with our minds bared for all to see, we should, 
in thinking, make direct and immediate contact with one 
another. But, inasmuch as the mind carries on its processes 
of thought beneath a covering of flesh, nouns and verbs are 
needed to make known the secrets of the mind. As soon, there- 
fore, as our mental faculty frames a meaningful utterance, it 
is conveyed by words, as by a ferry, and, flying through the 
air, it passes from the speaker to the auditor. If the passage 
of our words is attended by a deep tranquility and calm, they 
weigh anchor in the ears of our disciples, as in a peaceful 
haven, untroubled by storms. But, if a noisy protest on the 
part of our hearers, like an angry surge of the sea, oppose 
our words, they will be dispersed in the midst of their course 
through the air and, like a ship, they will be wrecked. By your 
silence, therefore, assure tranquility for my discourse. It may, 
perchance, prove to have something useful in it and worth 
carrying away. The word of truth is hard to catch and it can 
easily elude the inattentive listener. For this reason, the Holy 
Spirit wills that our words be concise and brief so as to express 
much in little and by condensation to make what is said easy 

431 



432 SAINT BASIL 

to retain in the memory. It is the natural function of speech 
neither to veil its meaning with obscurity nor to flow aimlessly 
about the subject in a wordy and inept manner. These faults, 
indeed, are avoided in the words which we have just quoted 
from one of the Books of Moses and which attentive listeners 
among you will recall perfectly, unless the very brevity of the 
quotation caused you, perhaps, to miss my citing of it. It ran 
as follows : 'Give heed to thyself, lest perhaps a wicked thought 
steal in upon thee. 51 

We men are easily prone to sins of thought. Therefore, He 
who has formed each heart individually, 2 knowing that the 
impulse received from the intention constitutes the major 
element in sin, has ordained that purity in the ruling part of 
our soul be our primary concern. That faculty by which we 
are especially prone to commit sin surely merits great care and 
vigilance. As the more provident physicians offset physical 
weakness by precautionary measures taken in advance, so the 
Protector of us all and the true Physician of our souls takes 
possession first and with stronger garrisons of that part of 
the soul which He knows is most liable to sin. The actions 
performed by the body require time, favorable opportunity, 
physical exertion, assistance, and other accessories. The move- 
ments of the mind, however, take place independently of 
time; they are performed without weariness; they are accom- 
plished effortlessly; every occasion is appropriate for them. 
For instance, some haughty person having nothing but con- 
tempt for decorum, although wearing outwardly the appear- 
ance of sobriety, may be sitting in the midst of persons who 
are admiring him for his virtue. Suppose that this man has 
run off in his thoughts, by a secret movement of the heart, 
to a place of sin. In imagination he beholds the objects of his 



1 Dem. 15.9. 

2 Ps. 32.15. 



GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 433 

desire; he fashions the image of some shameful rendezvous 
entirely within the secret workshop of his heart and within 
himself he draws vivid pictures of sensual pleasure. He has, 
unwitnessed, committed a secret sin, which will remain un- 
known to all until the coming of Him who will reveal the hid- 
den things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the 
hearts. 3 Beware, therefore, c lest perhaps a wicked thought steal 
in upon thee.' For, 'he who looks upon a woman to lust after 
her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart. 54 
The actions of the body, therefore, are retarded by many 
impediments, but he who sins in his intention has committed 
a transgression that is accomplished with the swiftness of 
thought. Where the lapse into sin is sudden, therefore, the 
power of swift protection has been granted us, 'lest perhaps,' 
as the Scripture declares, 'a wicked thought steal in upon 
thee.' And now, let us return to the theme of our discourse. 
'Give heed to thyself/ says the Scripture. Every animal 
has been endowed by God, the Creator of all things, with an 
interior power of self -protection. You would find upon care- 
ful observation that, as a rule, brute beasts have an instinctive 
aversion for what would be harmful to them. On the other 
hand, they are drawn by a certain natural attraction to the 
enjoyment of whatever is beneficial. Consequently, God, who 
is also our Teacher, has given to us this great precept, so that 
we may acquire by the aid of reason what animals have by 
their very nature and that we may do knowingly, by the at- 
tentive and diligent application of our reason, that which ani- 
mals do instinctively. Moreover, in obeying this, precept, we 
become vigilant custodians of the resources God has be- 
stowed on us, avoiding sin as the beasts shun noxious foods 
and following after justice as they seek for pasturage. 'Give 

3 1 Cor. 4.5. 

4 Matt. 5.28. 



434r SAINT BASIL 

heed to thyself that you may be able to distinguish between 
the injurious and the salutary. Now, inasmuch as the faculty 
of attention has a double aspect referring, in one sense, to 
an absorption in visible objects and, in another sense, to an 
intellectual gaze at incorporeal realities if we should assert 
that this precept has to do with the action of our bodily 
eyes, we should be indicating at the start that it cannot be 
obeyed. How could one encompass his whole person with a 
glance? The eye does not apply its power of sight to itself. 
It cannot view the head nor is it acquainted with the back, 
or the face, or the arrangement of the internal organs. Yet, 
to say that the precepts in the Scripture are impossible to 
fulfill is impious. It remains, therefore, to interpret the pre- 
cept as referring to a mental action. 'Give heed to thyself 
that is, examine yourself from all angles. Keep the eye of your 
soul sleeplessly on guard, for 'Thou art going in the midst 
of snares.' 5 Traps set by the enemy lie concealed everywhere. 
Look about you in all directions, therefore, 'that you may be 
saved as a swallow from the traps and as a bird from the 
snare. 56 The deer cannot be caught with traps because of the 
keenness of his vision; whence its name, deriving from its 
own sharpsightedness ( oxudorkias ) . A bird, if alert, easily 
flies out of the range of the huntsman's snare. See to it, then, 
that you are not more remiss than the animals in protecting 
yourself. Never let yourself be caught in the snares of the 
Devil and so become his prey, the captured plaything of his 
will. 7 

'Give heed to thyself that is, attend neither to the goods 
you possess nor to the objects that are round about you, but 
to yourself alone. We ourselves are one thing; our possessions 

5 Eccli. 9.20. 

6 Prov. 6.5. 

7 2 Tim. 2.26. 



GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 435 

another; the objects that surround us, yet another. We are 
soul and Intellect in that we have been made according to the 
image of the Creator. Our body is our own possession and the 
sensations which are expressed through it, but money, crafts, 
and other appurtenances of life in this world are extraneous 
to us. What, then, does the Scripture mean by this precept? 
Attend not to the flesh nor seek after its good in any form 
health, beauty, enjoyment of pleasures, or longevity and do 
not admire wealth and fame and power. Do not consider the 
accessories to your temporal existence to be of great conse- 
quence and thus, in your zealous concern for these things, 
neglect the life which is of primary importance to you. 'Give 
heed to thyself,' that is, to your soul. Adorn it, care for it, 
to the end that, by careful attention, every defilement incurred 
as a result of sin may be removed and every shameful vice 
expelled, and that it may be embellished and made bright 
with every ornament of virtue. Examine closely what sort of 
being you are. Know your nature that your body is mortal, 
but your soul, immortal; that our life has two denotations, so 
to speak: one relating to the flesh, and this life is quickly over, 
the other referring to the soul, life without limit. 'Give heed 
to thyself cling not to the mortal as if it were eternal; dis- 
dain not that which is eternal as if it were temporal. Despise 
the flesh, for it passes away; be solicitous for your soul which 
will never die. 

Acquire an exact understanding of yourself, that you may 
know how to make a suitable allotment to each of the two 
sides of your nature : food and clothing to the body and to the 
soul, the doctrines of piety, training in refined behavior, the 
practice of virtue, and the correction of vice. Do not fatten 
the body unduly and do not try to acquire physical bulk 'for 
the flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the 



436 SAINT BASIL 

flesh; for these are contrary one to another. 58 Take care never 
to provide the lower part of your nature with great power of 
dominion by adding weight to the flesh. As with scales, where, 
if you depress one side, the other is necessarily raised, so, in 
the case of the body and soul, excess in one inevitably causes 
defect in the other. If the body is sleek and corpulent, the 
mind, by a necessary consequence, is weak and languid in 
carrying on the activity proper to it. If, on the other hand, 
the soul is in good case and has been developed to its proper 
stature by the practice of virtue, the body suffers a correspond- 
ing deterioration. 

This precept, moreover, is at once useful to the sick and 
highly appropriate also to those who are in good health. In 
the case of physical illness, physicians exhort their patients 
to give heed to themselves and neglect nothing which pertains 
to their cure. The Scripture, likewise, the physician of our 
souls, restores to health a soul afflicted by sin with this brief 
remedy: 'Give heed, therefore, to thyself, 5 that you may be 
given assistance toward your recovery proportioned to the 
gravity of your transgression. Sin is a serious and difficult 
matter. You require frequent confession, bitter tears, pro- 
longed vigils, constant fasting. A fault is light and support- 
able; the penance done for it should be equally so. Only 
'give heed to thyself 5 that you may recognize the state of health 
or sickness in your soul. Many persons, from lack of atten- 
tiveness, contract serious and even incurable diseases and they 
are not even aware that they are ill. But, even to those in good 
health, this admonition is of no small assistance as regards 
their actions. Thus, the same remedy heals the sick and estab- 
lishes the sound in more perfect health. Every one of us,^ in- 
deed, who is instructed in the Holy Scripture is the adminis- 
trator of some one of those gifts which, according to the 



8 Gal. 5.17. 



GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 437 

Gospel, have been apportioned to us. In this great household 
of the Church not only are there vessels of every kind gold, 
silver, wooden, and earthen 9 but also a great variety of pur- 
suits. The house of God, which is the Church of the living 
God, 10 has hunters, travelers, architects, builders, farmers, 
shepherds, athletes, soldiers. To all of these this short admoni- 
tion will be appropriate, for it will produce in each profi- 
ciency in action and energy of will. You are a hunter sent 
forth by the Lord, who says: 'Behold, I send many hunters 
and they shall hunt them upon every mountain. 511 Take good 
care, therefore, that your prey does not elude you, so that, 
having captured them with the word of truth, you may bring 
back to the Saviour those who have been made wild and 
savage by iniquity. You are a wayfarer, like to him who 
prayed: 'Direct my steps.' 12 'Give heed to thyself that you 
swerve not from the path, that you decline neither to the right 
nor the left. 13 Keep to the King's highway. The architect 
should lay the firm foundation of faith which is Jesus Christ, 
and let the builder look to his materials : not wood, nor hay, 
nor stubble, but gold, silver, precious stones. 14 If you are a 
shepherd, take care that none of your pastoral duties is neglect- 
ed. And what are these duties? To bring back that which is 
lost, to bind up that which was broken, to heal that which is 
diseased. 15 If a farmer, dig around the unfriutful fig tree and 
administer remedies that will promite fecundity. 16 If a soldier, 
'labor with the gospel, war a good warfare' 17 against the 



9 2 Tim. 2.20. 

10 1 Tim. 3.15. 

11 Jer. 16.16. 

12 Ps. 118.133. 

13 Deut. 17.20. 

14 1 Cor. 3.11,12. 

15 Ezech. 34.16. 

16 Luke 13.8. 

17 2 Tim.1.8; 1 Tim. 1.18. 



438 SAINT BASIL 

spirits of wickedness. 18 'Take unto you all the armor of 
God' 19 against the desires of the flesh. Do not 'entangle your- 
self in secular businesses that you may please him to whom you 
have engaged yourself. 320 If an athlete, 'give heed to thyself 
lest you violate any of the laws for athletes, for no one is 
crowned except he strive lawfully. 21 Like Paul, run, fight, 
and strike with the fist. 22 Keep the eye of your soul unwaver- 
ingly alert, like a skillful boxer. Shield your vital parts with 
your hand. Keep your gaze fixed upon your opponent. In the 
race, stretch forth yourself to the things that are before; 23 
'So run that you may obtain'; 24 do battle with your invisible 
adversaries. 25 Such a one this precept would have you be as 
long as you live, neither losing heart nor resting, but soberly 
and vigilantly maintaining a watch over yourself. 

Time does not permit me to continue enumerating the vari- 
ous pursuits followed by those who are united in labor for 
Christ's Gospel and how the meaning of the precept applies 
to them all. 'Give heed to thyself : be sober, thoughtful, care- 
ful to preserve what you have and provident of the future. 
Do not lose by negligence that which you already possess and 
do not promise yourself the enjoyment of what is is not yours 
and perhaps never will be, as if you already possessed it. Is 
not this weakness of imagining that something hoped for is 
already possessed a natural trait in the young by reason of 
the frivolity of their minds? Whenever they are at leisure or 
in the stillness of night, they conjure up airy fantasies and 
are borne along the course of every extravagant fancy by the 

18 Eph. 6.12. 

19 Eph. 6.13. 

20 2 Tim.2.4. 

21 2 Tim, 2.5. 

22 1 Cor. 9.26. 

23 Phil. 3.13. 

24 1 Cor. 9.24. 

25 Eph. 6.12. 



GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 439 

agility of their minds. They promise themselves fame, a bril- 
liant marriage, model offspring, a good old age, universal 
esteem. Then, despite the fact that there is no foundation for 
such hopes, their minds swell nigh to bursting with dreams of 
achievements which men regard as supreme. They build fine 
large houses and fill them with all sorts of precious treasures. 
They encompass as great an area of land as their idle imagi- 
nation could conceive of as set apart from the whole of cre- 
ation. They store the produce therefrom in granaries fashioned 
by their vanity. To all this they add herds of cattle, a count- 
less throng of slaves, civil magistracies, positions of national 
leadership, military commands, battles, triumphs, royal power 
itself. And, although they attain to all these glories only in 
vain fantasy, they imagine, by reason of their excessive folly, 
that they are in actual and present possession of their hopes. 
Now, day-dreaming is a malady which commonly afflicts an 
idle and indolent mind; in order to restrain, as with a bridle, 
this mental flightiness, this swelling conceit of thought, the 
Scripture bids us obey that great and wise precept : 'Give heed 
to thyself. 3 Do not promise yourself non-existent possessions, 
but administer to advantage the things that are yours. 

Furthermore, I think that the Lawgiver has intended that 
this exhortation also should eliminate a very common human 
vice. It is easier for every one of us to busy ourselves with 
affairs that do not concern us than to look after our own. In 
order that we might not be guilty of this, the Scripture says 
[in effect] : Cease meddling with the affairs of another. Beware 
of spending your time in scrutinizing another's weakness. 'Give 
heed to thyself, 5 that is, turn the gaze of your soul toward 
self -scrutiny. Many there are, indeed, who, according to the 
Lord's words, see the mote in their brother's eye and see not 
the beam in their own. 26 You should, therefore, be constantly 



26 Matt. 7.3. 



440 SAINT BASIL 

examining whether your life conforms to this teaching. But, do 
not look around outside yourself to see whether you can dis- 
cover some blemish, as did that stern and boastful Pharisee 
who stood justifying himself and despising the publican. Con- 
tinually examine yourself as to whether you have committed 
any sin of thought, or whether your tongue has been guilty of 
any lapse by running ahead of your thought, or whether 
there has been any heedless or involuntary action on the part 
of your hands. If you find many defects in your way of liv- 
ing (as, being human, you surely will) , say with the publican : 
'O God, be merciful to me a sinner. 527 

'Give heed, therefore, to thyself.' This admonition, like a 
prudent counselor who keeps reminding you of the nature of 
things human, will be a useful ally when you are enjoying 
brilliant success and your whole life moves along like a stream. 
Even when you are cast down by adversities, it might profit- 
ably be recited again and again by your heart, that you may 
not be reduced to ignoble repining by despair; just as, in the 
former instance, it would keep you from being exalted through 
vanity to an overweening pride. Is your wealth your boast? Or 
are you proud of your lineage? Do you find cause for glory 
in your native land or in physical comeliness, or in the honors 
universally accorded you? 'Give heed to thyself, 5 for you are 
mortal; 'for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return. 328 
Pass in review those persons who have enjoyed positions of 
eminence before you. Where are they who held the civil 
magistracies? Where, the peerless orators? Where are they 
who had charge of the national assemblies the famous breed- 
ers of horses, the generals, the officials, the sovereigns? Have 
not all of these fallen to dust? Have they not all become 
legend? Is it not true that a few bones are the memorial to 

27 Luke 18.11-13. 

28 Gen. 3.19. 



GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 



441 



the life- of these men? Look down into their graves and see if 
you are able to discern which is the slave and which the mas- 
ter; which the pauper, and which the rich man. Distinguish, 
If you can, the captive from the king, the strong man from 
the weak, the comely from the ill-favored. If you remember 
your nature, you will never yield to vanity and you will be 
mindful of yourself if you give heed to yourself. 

On the other hand, suppose you are an ignoble and undis- 
tinguished person, poor and of lowly origin, without home or 
city, sick, in need of daily sustenance, in dread of the power- 
ful, cowering before everyone because of your abject con- 
dition; 'but he that is poor,' says the Scripture, 'beareth not 
reprehension.' 29 Yet, do not despair nor cast aside every good 
hope because your present state is quite unenviable. Rather, 
turn your thoughts to the blessings already granted you by 
God and to those reserved by promise for the future. First of 
all, you are a man, the only one of all living beings to have 
been formed by God. 30 Is not this enough to call forth the 
most ecstatic joy in a man who reasons intelligently that you 
have been formed by the very Hands of God who created all 
things? Secondly, having been made according to the image 
of the Creator, you are able to arrive at a dignity equal to that 
of the angels by leading a good life. You have been given a 
mind capable of understanding, through which you gain 
knowledge of God. You investigate, with the aid of your 
reason, the nature of existing things. You pluck the fruit, 
exceedingly sweet, of wisdom. All the animals on land, wild 
and tame, all those that live in the waters, all that fly through 
the air of this earth serve you and are subject to you. Have 
you not invented arts and founded cities, and devised all the 
tools which minister to necessity and luxury? Has not your 

29 Prov. 13.8. 

30 Gen. 2.7. 



442 SAINT BASIL 

rational faculty made it possible for you to sail the seas? Do 
not earth and waters yield nourishment for you? Do not air 
and sky and wheeling stars show forth to you their array? 
Why, then, are you dejected because you do not possess a 
horse with a silver bridle? You have the sun as a torchbearer, 
lighting your way in swiftest course all day long. The lustre of 
gold and silver is not yours, but you have the moon to shed her 
great beams of light around you. You do not mount a carriage 
inlaid with gold, but you have your feet, a vehicle belonging to 
you alone and adapted to you by nature. Why, then, do you 
admire those who have a full purse, but who need the feet 
of others to convey them from place to place? You do not 
take your slumber upon an ivory couch, but you have the 
ground which is more valuable than quantities of ivory. Sweet 
is the rest taken upon it and swiftly come by and free from 
care. You do not lie beneath a gilded roof, but you have 
the sky glittering overhead in all its expanse with the inde- 
scribable beauty of the stars. And these wonders are of a mor- 
tal kind; those which I shall now mention are still greater. 
For your sake, a God dwelt among men, 31 there was a distri- 
bution of the Holy Spirit, 32 death was destroyed, 33 hope of 
resurrection was confirmed, 34 a divine precept was given for 
leading a life of perfection, the way to God was shown by 
the commandments, 35 the kingdom of heaven was prepared, 36 
and crowns of justice 37 were made ready for him who has not 
fled from the labors to be undergone on behalf of virtue. 
Now, if you give heed to yourself, you will discover all this 

31 John 1.14. 

32 Hefo. 2.4. 

33 I Cor. 15.26,55. 

34 1 Cor. 15.12,22. 

35 Matt. 19.17,21. 

36 Matt. 25.34. 

37 2 Tim. 4.8. 



GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 443 

about yourself and still more. You will not be made discon- 
solate by your deficiencies, but you will take pleasure in what 
you do possess. This precept will be of great assistance if you 
keep it before your mind on all occasions. For example, sup- 
pose that anger overrules your reason and you are quite car- 
ried away by your wrath, so that you utter unseemly words 
and act in a rude and savage manner. If you give heed to 
yourself, you will control your wrath as you would an unruly 
and refractory young horse, laying on the blows of reason, 
like a lash. You will also govern your tongue and you will 
not use violence against the one who is provoking you to 
anger. Again, suppose evil desires are pricking your soul like 
goads and are subjecting you to wanton and licentious im- 
pulses. If you give heed to yourself, you will remember that 
this present delight will end in bitterness, and also that the 
pleasurable excitement now experienced by the body under 
the influence of sensual delight will beget the venomous worm 
that punishes us forever in hell. 38 If, moreover, you bear in 
mind that flesh by ardor will become the mother of everlasting 
fire, 39 lustful pleasure will be straightway put to flight and 
marvelous inner peace and quietness of soul will take its place, 
as the noisy clamor of giddy maid-servants is hushed at the 
entrance of a discreet mistress. 

'Give heed to thyself,' then and bear in mind that one 
part of your soul is rational and intelligent, the other emo- 
tional and non-rational. Authority belongs to the former by 
nature and to the latter, submission and obedience to the 
reason. Never, therefore, allow your mind to become the 
bound slave of the passions, nor permit the passions to rise 
up against reason and usurp power over the soul. In short, 
scrupulous attention to yourself will be of itself sufficient to 



38 Isa. 66.24; Mark 9.43,45,47. 

39 Matt. 25.41. 



444 SAINT BASIL 

guide you to the knowledge of God. If you give heed to your- 
self, you will not need to look for signs of the Creator in the 
structure of the universe; but in yourself, as in a miniature 
replica of cosmic order, you will contemplate the great wisdom 
of the Creator. From the incorporeal soul within you, learn 
that God is incorporeal and without local determination. 
Your soul, likewise, does not have local habitation as a dom- 
inant principle of its existence, but, because of its association 
with the body, it abides in a place. Believe that God is invisible 
from a consideration of your own soul. Your soul cannot be 
apprehended with bodily eyes. It has neither color, nor shape, 
nor any physical determination, but it is discernible by its 
operations alone. Do not, therefore, seek as regards God that 
cognition which is gained through the faculty of sight, but, 
supporting faith by the reason, keep your apprehension of 
Him a spiritual activity. Marvel at the manner in which the 
Artificer has joined the powers of the soul with the body so 
that they permeate it from end to end, bringing the most 
widely separated parts of it into alliance and uniting them all 
under one impulse of the breath. Consider, also, what this 
power is which the soul imparts to the body and what sym- 
pathy the body renders the soul in return; how, on the one 
hand, the body is given life by the soul and how the soul, on 
the other hand, is the recipient of pains from the body. Re- 
flect upon the stores of learning contained in the mind and 
ask yourself why it is that, when additional information en- 
ters in, it does not obscure the knowledge previously acquired, 
but our recollections remain clear and distinct, inscribed upon 
the ruling part of the soul as upon a bronze tablet. Think of 
how the soul destroys the beauty properly belonging to it by 
yielding to carnal passion and how, on the contrary, it re- 
covers the likeness to its Creator through the practice of vir- 
tue, after it has been purified from the shame of iniquity. 



GIVE HEED TO THYSELF 445 

Having thus contemplated your soul, direct your attention,, 
if you will, to the structure of your body. Admire the appropri- 
ateness with which the most skillful Artificer has fashioned it 
as a dwelling place for the rational soul. Of all living crea- 
tures, man alone He has made to stand erect, so that you may 
perceive from your very aspect that your life has a celestial 
origin. All quadrupeds keep their gaze fixed upon the ground 
and bow their heads toward their stomach. Man, however, 
was made to look upward so f that he might not dally with the 
pleasures of the table nor with lustful desires, but devote his 
whole energy to his journey heavenward. Moreover, the Cre- 
ator placed man's head at the highest point of his body and 
made it the seat of the principal senses. Here are located in 
close proximity sight, hearing, taste, and smell. And, although 
they are thus confined to so small an area, no one of them 
impedes the action of its neighbor. The eyes, of course, hold 
the topmost point of vantage, so that they may survey the 
entire body. Posted as they are under their little headlands, 
so to speak, they enjoy a full and unobstructed view. The 
sense of hearing, on the contrary, is not directly exposed to 
its stimulus, but the sounds in the air reach it by a circuitous 
route. This arrangement is dictated by the highest wisdom, 
so that while the voice, twisting its way along the tortuous 
windings of the ears, may pass through or rather, sound 
within nothing from outside which could act as an obstruc- 
tion to this sense may be able to steal its way in. Study, also 
the nature of your tongue. Observe how soft and supple it is 
and how, because of its power of varied and intricate move- 
ment, it can meet every requirement of language. Think of 
your teeth, which serve both as instruments for the voice in 
providing the tongue with a sturdy fulcrum and also act as 
aids in the taking of food, some of the teeth cutting the food 
and others grinding it. And so, when you have gone over 



446 SAINT BASIL 

all these points with suitable reflections upon each, when you 
have, in addition, studied the process of breathing, the man- 
ner in which the heart conserves its warmth, the organs of 
digestion and the veins, you will discern in all of these wonders 
the inscrutable wisdom of the Creator; so that you will be 
able to say with the Prophet: Thy knowledge is become 
wonderful' 40 from the study of myself. Give heed, therefore, 
to thyself/ that you may give heed to God, to whom be glory 
and empire for ever and ever. Amen. 

40 Ps. 138.6. 




HOMILY 10 
Against Those Who Are Prone to Anger 

JN THE CASE of medical precepts, the benefit to be 
derived from them, provided that these maxims are 
apposite and in accordance with the laws of the 
medical art, is most effectually demonstrated by the test of 
experience. The same is true of spiritual counsels. They mani- 
fest their wisdom and their value for the amendment of our 
life and the attainment of perfection by those who obey them 
when they receive the strong confirmation of results pro- 
duced. In Proverbs we read the explicit declaration: 'Wrath 
destroy eth even the prudent, 51 and the Apostle admonishes us 
as follows: 'Let all anger and indignation and clamour be 
put away from you with all malice. 52 The Lord, likewise, 
says that whoever gives way lightly to anger against his 
brother is in danger of the judgment. 3 Now, when we have 
had experience with the vice of anger, not as arising within 
ourselves, but attacking us from without, like a sudden tem- 
pest, then, especially, do we perceive the excellence of the 
divine precept. If we have ever yielded before such anger, as 
if giving passage to a strongly flowing stream, and have 
studied calmly the shameful paroxysms which commonly 
afflict persons who are in the grip of this passion, we have also 
recognized in actual fact the validity of the saying : A wrath- 
ful man is not seemly.' 4 Indeed, this vice, when it has once 
succeeded in banishing reason, itself usurps the dominion over 



! Prov. 15.1 (Septuagint) . 

2 Eph. 4.31. 

3 Matt. 5.22. 

4 Prov. 11.25 (Septuagint). 



447 



448 SAINT BASIL 

the soul. It makes a man wholly bestial and, In fact, it does 
not even allow him to be a man, since he no longer has the 
aid of his reason. The effect of anger upon persons aroused 
by this passion is like that of the poison in animals who carry 
venom. They become rabid, like mad dogs; they dart about 
like scorpions; they bite, like serpents. The Scripture also rec- 
ognizes the truth of this and applies the names of wild ani- 
mals to those who are under the power of any vice; for, by 
their wickedness, they acquire an affinity with them. Isaias 
calls them dumb dogs, 5 serpents, a generation of vipers, 6 etc. 
Certainly, they who are bent upon mutual destruction and 
upon doing harm to their fellow men, would be appropriately 
numbered with wild and poisonous beasts who by nature 
bear an implacable enmity toward mankind. Anger causes 
tongues to become unbridled, 7 and speech, unguarded. Phy- 
sical violence, acts of contumely, reviling, accusations, blows, 
and other bad effects too numerous to recount are born of 
anger and indignation. By indignation, also, the sword is 
sharpened; a human hand dares to take a human life. For 
this cause, brothers have lost sight of their brotherhood; 
parents and children have forgotten their natural bond. Angry 
men become strangers first to themselves, then to all their 
friends as well. Like mountain torrents which converge their 
streams in the valleys and sweep along with them everything 
in their path, the violent and uncontrolled onset of an angry 
man carries all before it. The wrathful have no respect for 
old age, nor for a virtuous life, nor ties of kinship, nor favors 
received in the past, nor for anything else worthy of honor. 
Anger is a kind of temporary madness. Its victims often plunge 
headlong into open peril, so careless of themselves are they 



5 Isa. 56.10. 

6 Matt. 23.33. 

7 James 1.26. 



AGAINST ANGER 449 

In their eagerness for revenge. Stung on all sides, as by a gad- 
fly, by the recollection of the authors of their wrongs, their 
wrath struggling and bounding within them, they do not rest 
until they have inflicted some hurt upon their tormenter, or, 
perhaps, as sometimes happens, until they themselves receive 
an injury. For, very often, objects which are broken through 
violent usage, In as much as they are shattered against resisting 
bodies, suffer greater injury than they inflict. 

Who could adequately describe the evil how vehement 
natures, fired with indignation for some trivial cause, shout 
and rage and leap upon their prey more ruthlessly than a 
venomous beast? Nor do they leave off until the flame has 
spent itself and the wrath within them has burst like a bubble 
in working great and even irremediable harm. Neither the 
point of the sword, nor fire, nor any means of inspiring fear 
is able to restrain the spirit frenzied with wrath, any more than 
such threats subdue persons possessed by the Devil (from 
whom angry men differ not at all, either in appearance or 
state of soul). In those who are thirsting for revenge, the 
blood boils around the heart as if it were seething and bub- 
bling over a high fire. Bursting forth to the surface, his passion 
reveals the angry man under a different aspect from his habi- 
tual one that is well known to all. It is as if a theatrical mask 
altered his appearance. His friends do not discern in his eyes 
their characteristic and wonted expression. His glance is wild 
and presently darts fire. He gnashes his teeth like a charging 
boar. His face is livid and suffused with blood, his body swells, 
his veins burst, his breathing is labored because of the tem- 
pest raging within. His voice is hoarse and strained, his utter- 
ance thick, his words without logic, sequence, order, or mean- 
ing. When his anger has, by aggravation, reached the point 
of uncontrollable fury, like a flame abundantly fed, then, 
indeed, is the spectacle indescribable and unbearable to wit- 



450 SAINT BASIL 

ness. His hands are lifted even against his kinsmen. No part 
of the body is safe. His feet trample ruthlessly upon the most 
vital organs and every object in sight becomes a weapon for 
his fury. And if such persons find arrayed against them an 
adversary who threatens them equally that is, with another 
fit of anger and a like frenzy they close with them, and both 
sides inflict and suffer as many injuries as the henchmen of 
so fierce a demon deserve. The combatants then carry off 
mutilated members as prizes for their wrath ; not infrequently, 
even death results. It had begun with one of the pair unjustly 
laying violent hands upon the other. The latter then returns 
the blow and refuses to give way. Their bodies get well pum- 
meled but anger deadens the pain. They have not time to 
become aware of their injuries, since their whole attention is 
taken up with wreaking vengeance. 

Do not, therefore, endeavor to cure one evil with another 
and do not try to outdo one another in inflicting harm. The 
victor in unrighteous combats is the more unhappy, for he 
bears away the greater share of guilt. Do not, then, return 
evil for evil and do not increase your debt of wickedness by 
paying it. If someone in a fit of anger has treated you despite- 
fully, bear the wrong in silence. But you, contrariwise, re- 
ceive into your own heart your adversary's gust of wrath and 
then you imitate the winds which return by a counter-blast 
whatever is flung against the direction in which they are blow- 
ing. Let not your enemy be your teacher and model. Do not 
imitate what you hate. Do not become a mirror, as it were, for 
an angry man by reflecting his image. His face is flushed. Why 
has not yours turned red? His eyes are suffused with blood. 
Do you mean to say that yours keep their placid expression? 
His voice is hoarse. Surely, yours is not gentle ! An echo in the 
desert is not so perfectly returned to the speaker as insults are 
turned back upon the reviler. Nay, the sound of an echo 



AGAINST ANGER 451 

comes back the same, but the insult is answered with increase. 
Now, what sort of taunts are they which revilers utter back 
and forth? One calls the other a common fellow of ignoble 
stock. He, in turn, calls the first a slave of slaves. One 
says, 'pauper'; the other answers, Vagabond.' One cries, 
'fool'; the other shouts, 'madman 5 ; until, like arrows, their 
armory of insults is exhausted. Then, when they have used 
up their stock of verbal abuse, they proceed to fighting it out 
with blows. Thus, anger stirs up strife, strife begets railing, 
railing leads to blows, blows to wounds, and from wounds, 
often enough, death results. Let us, however, check the evil 
at its source by making use of every device for expelling anger 
from our souls. By so doing, we could exterminate most of 
our vices along with this one, which serves as their root and 
source. Has someone insulted you? Bless him. Has he struck 
you? Suffer it. Has he despised you and set you at naught? 
Reflect that you are made of earth and that you will return 
to the earth. 8 Whoever arms himself beforehand with these 
considerations will find that every insult falls short of the truth. 
Thus will you make it impossible for your enemy to avenge 
himself, since you show yourself impervious to his taunts. 
Further, you will secure for yourself the great crown of pa- 
tience by making the insane fury of another the occasion for 
practicing your own philosophy. If you listen to me, there- 
fore, you also will add force to the insults cast at you. If he 
calls you common, ignoble, a nobody, then call yourself earth 
and ashes. You are not more worthy of honor than our 
father, Abraham, and he used to refer to himself in this way. 
If your enemy says you are an ignoramus, a beggar, a worth- 
less fellow, call yourself in the words of David, s a worm,' 10 

8 Gen. 3.19. 

9 Gen. 18.27. 
10 Ps. 21.7. 



452 SAINT BASIL 

bora of a dunghill. To these responses, add also Moses' noble 
conduct. When he was reviled by Aaron and Mary, he did 
not make accusations against them to God, but prayed for 
them. 11 Of whose disciples would you rather be the saints, 
the friends of God, or men filled with the spirit of iniquity? 
Whenever the temptation to revile another assails you, con- 
sider that you are being put to the test: whether you will 
practice patience and go over to God's side or give way to 
anger and run off to His Adversary. Give your reason the op- 
portunity of choosing the best part. For, either you will con- 
fer a kind of favor upon your enemy by giving him an ex- 
ample of mildness, or, by your disdaining to bandy insults 
with him, you will exact a crueler vengeance. What could be 
more painful to a hostile man than to see an enemy showing 
contempt for his insults? Retain your self-possession; be in- 
vulnerable to affronts. Let your enemy bark at you to no avail 
and let his rage burst upon himself. A man who strikes a 
person who has no feeling takes vengeance upon himself (for 
he did not succeed in exacting it from his enemy and he found 
no outlet for his wrath). In the same way, a person who 
showers abuse upon one who is insensible to his taunts finds 
himelf powerless to relieve his feelings, and, as I have said, he 
quite tears himself asunder. Moreover, what are the epithets 
that are applied to each of you under such circumstances? He 
is called an abusive fellow; you, a magnanimous one. He is 
dubbed irritable and rude; you, long-suffering and mild. He 
will suffer remorse for his words; you will never regret practic- 
ing virtue. 

But, why should I go on at great length? [The main con- 
sideration is that] his railing keeps your enemy from enter- 
ing the kingdom of heaven, for, railers shall not possess the 

11 Num. 12.lff. 



AGAINST ANGER 453 

kingdom of God. 12 Your silent endurance, on the other hand, 
entitles you to the kingdom, for 'he that shall persevere unto 
the end, he shall be saved.' 13 But, if you defend yourself and 
bandy insults with him, what excuse will you offer? That he 
provoked you? How do you deserve pardon on this ground? 
An adulterer who passes on the blame to his mistress, alleging 
that she led him into sin, is not regarded as less deserving of 
condemnation. There are no crowns where there are no antag- 
onists; nor defeats without adversaries. Hear the words of 
David: 'When the sinner stood against me.' He does not say: 
'I was provoked to anger,' but: 'I have set a guard to my 
mouth and I was humbled and kept silence from good 
things.' 14 You are angered by reviling because you consider 
such an action wicked, yet you, in turn, imitate it as if it were 
something good. You are entertaining that which you consider 
reprehensible. Or do you scrupulously analyze the wrongdoing 
of another and regard your own shameful action as of no 
consequence? Contumely is an evil, is it not? Do not imitate 
it, then. The fact that another provoked you does not consti- 
tute an excuse. Nay, you thereby become more justly an ob- 
ject of displeasure, in my opinion, because your enemy was 
not given an example of self-control. Upon beholding your 
angry foe behaving in a disgraceful manner, you did not re- 
frain from reproducing his image in yourself, but you took 
offense ; you became annoyed and, in turn, gave way to anger. 
Your passionate reaction really excuses the one who took the 
initiative in the quarrel, for by your response you release him 
from blame and you condemn yourself. If anger is wicked, 
why did you not 'decline from evil'? 15 If it deserves pardon, 

12 1 Cor. 6.10. 

13 Matt. 10.22. 

14 Ps. 38.2,3. 

15 Ps. 3f>.27. 



454 SAINT BASIL 

why were you offended with your opponent for losing his 
temper? You are, therefore, in no better situation for having 
responded to provocation instead of initiating it. In the con- 
tests where crowns are the prize, the victor is crowned not 
the first entrant. Consequently, not only is the inaugurator of 
a wicked action worthy of condemnation, but also the one 
who follows a wicked leader into sin. If he calls you a poor 
man and this is true, accept the truth. If he lies, what does it 
matter? You should not be angered by insults that do not 
apply to you any more than you should exult in praise which 
oversteps the limits of truth. Do you not observe how arrows 
are wont to pierce hard, resistant substances and how their 
force is weakened by a soft, yielding surface? Reflect that the 
same thing is true of reviling. He who resists it is pierced by 
it, but he who yields and gives way dissipates the evil directed 
against him by the gentleness of his manner. And why does 
the appellation, 'poor man, s disturb you? Remember your 
nature that you came into the world naked and naked will 
leave it again. 16 What is more destitute than a naked man? 
You have been called nothing that is derogatory, unless you 
make the terms used really applicable to yourself. Who was 
ever haled to prison because he was poor? It is not being poor 
that is reprehensible, but failing to bear poverty with nobility. 
Recall that the Lord, 'being rich, became poor for our sakes. 317 
If you are called foolish and ignorant, think of the insults 
with which the Jews reviled the true Wisdom: 'Thou art a 
Samaritan and hast a devil.* 18 If you are moved to anger, 
you make good the opprobrious names. What is more foolish 
than anger? If you remain unruffled, you silence your insolent 
assailant by giving him a practical illustration of self-control. 

16 Job 1.21. 

17 2 Cor. 8.9. 

18 John 8.48. 



AGAINST ANGER 455 

Were you struck? So also was the Lord. Were you spit upon? 
The Lord also suffered this, for 'He did not turn his face from 
the shame of the spittle.' 19 Were you falsely accused? So also 
was your Judge. Did they tear your garment? They stripped 
my Lord of His and parted His vesture among them. 20 You 
have not been condemned to death nor crucified. Much is 
being taken from you that you may the sooner be like Him. 
Let each of these considerations find entrance into your 
mind and check the tumid growth of wrath. By such pre- 
parations and by acquiring such dispositions, we quiet the 
leaping and throbbing of the heart, and restore it to tranquil 
steadiness. This, indeed, is the implication in the words of 
David: C I am ready and am not troubled.' 21 You must, there- 
fore, repress the violent and frenzied movement of the soul by 
recalling the example of holy men. How gently, for instance, 
the mighty David bore the fury of SemeL He did not allow 
himself to grow angry, but turned his thoughts to God, saying: 
'The Lord hath bid him curse David.' 22 Therefore, when he 
was called a man of blood and a wicked man, he did not 
become angry, but humbled himself as if he had met with 
deserved reproach. Rid yourself, then, of these two faults: 
that you should judge yourself as meriting great rewards or 
think that any man is below you in worth. Thus, anger will 
never be aroused in us, even when we are suffering indignities. 
It is indeed shameful for a man upon whom benefits have 
been conferred and who is under obligation for the greatest 
favors that, besides being guilty of ingratitude, he should be 
the first to resort to abuse and vituperation. This is a shameful 
act, but more so for the person who is guilty of it than for him 

19 Isa. 50.6. 

20 Matt. 27.31,35. 

21 Ps. 118.60. 

22 2 Sam. 16.10. 



456 SAINT BASIL 

who suffers it. Let that foe of yours upbraid you, but do you 
not upbraid him. Regard his words as a training ground in 
which to exercise philosophy. If you have not been pierced, 
you are still unwounded, and, if your spirit suffers some in- 
jury, confine the hurt within yourself; for the Psalmist says, 
'my heart within me is troubled/ 23 that is, he gave no outward 
expression of his feelings but repressed them, as a wave that 
breaks within the confines of the shore and subsides. Quiet 
your heart, I beg you, when it howls and rages. Make your 
passions honor the appearance on the scene of your reason, as 
an unruly boy respects the presence of a venerable man. 
How might we avoid the harm that comes from yielding to 
anger? by persuading our wrath to await the guidance of our 
reason; nay, by concentrating our efforts above all upon not 
allowing it to outstrip our reason. We should keep it curbed, 
as we would a horse, and obedient to our reason, which may 
be compared to a bridle, so that it may never leave its 
proper place, but allow itself to be led by the reason whither- 
soever it may direct it. The irascible part of the soul, 
however, is serviceable to us in many acts of virtue. When, 
for example, like a soldier who has left his arms in the 
keeping of his general, it promptly brings aid wherever it is 
ordered to go and is an ally for the reason against sin, anger 
is the sinew of the soul, which provides it with vigor for the 
accomplishment of good works. If the soul should become en- 
ervated from pleasure, anger hardens it as with a tincture 
of iron and restores it from a most weak and flaccid state 
to strictness and vigor. Unless your anger has been aroused 
against the Evil One, it is impossible for you to hate him as 
fiercely as he deserves. For, our hatred of sin should be as 
intense, I believe, as our love of virtue; and anger is very 



23 Ps. 142.4. 



AGAINST ANGER 457 

useful for bringing this about, if, as a dog the shepherd, it 
follows closely the guidance of the reason and remains quiet 
and docile to those who are helping it and readily obedient 
to the call of reason. It should be aroused to savagery by 
a strange face and voice, although the stranger may seem to 
be offering a service, but it should become servile and subdued 
at the summons of a friend and familiar. This co-operation 
between the irascible and the rational part of the soul is most 
excellent and appropriate. A person who lives in this manner 
will never compromise with treachery nor ever ally himself 
with anything harmful, but he always will raise the cry and 
fall upon the deceitful pleasure as if he were attacking a wolf. 
Such, then, is the advantage to be derived from anger if one 
knows how to handle it. In the case of other powers also, each 
becomes a good or an evil for its possessoor according to the 
use made of it. For example, a man who abuses the concu- 
piscible part of the soul by making it subservient to carnal 
enjoyment and impure pleasure becomes licentious and abom- 
inable, but one who directs this faculty toward the love of 
God and the desire for eternal goods is blessed and worthy 
of emulation. Again, he who administers well his rational 
faculty is reasonable and intelligent, but he who has sharpened 
his wits for the purpose of wronging his neighbor is a mischief 
maker and a villain. 

Let us not, therefore, make the faculties which were given 
us by the Creator for our salvation an occasion of sin for 
ourselves. To illustrate again: anger, aroused at the proper 
time and in the proper manner, produces courage, endurance, 
and continency; acting contrary to right reason, however, it 
becomes a madness. The Psalmist admonishes us : 4 Be ye angry 
and sin not.' 24 The Lord, moreover, threatens with condem- 

24 Ps. 4.5. 



458 SAINT BASIL 

nation one who lightly gives way to anger, but He does not 
forbid that anger be directed against its proper objects, as 
a medicinal device, so to speak. His words, 'I will put enmity 
between thee and the serpent' 25 and 'Let the Madianites find 
you their enemies,' 26 teach us to use anger as a weapon. There- 
fore did Moses, the meekest of all men, 27 demand retribution 
for the practice of idolatry and arm the Levites for the slay- 
ing of their brethren. Tut, every man,' he said, 'his sword 
upon his thigh; go from gate to gate and return through 
the midst of the camp and let every man kill his brother and 
neighbor and friend.' 28 Then, a little farther on: 'and Moses 
said : You have consecrated your hands this day to the Lord, 
every man in his son and in his brother, that a blessing may 
be given to you.' 29 What justified Phinees? Was not his a just 
anger against the fomicators? He, otherwise a mild and gentle 
man, upon beholding the public and shameless fornication of 
Zambri and the Madianite woman, who did not even veil with 
secrecy the disgraceful spectacle of their shameful act, refused 
to tolerate it and, making a right use of anger, pierced both 
of them through with his lance, 30 Again, did not Samuel, in 
just wrath, publicly slay Agag, the king of Amalec, after his 
life had been spared by Saul against the divine decree? 31 In 
this way, anger frequently ministers to good actions. As still 
another instance, it was in deliberate and reasonable anger, for 
the good of all Israel, that the zealot, Elias, put to death the 
four hundred and fifty men, priests of shame, and the four 
hundred men, priests of the groves, who ate at Jezabel's 



25 Gen. 3.15. 

26 Num. 25.17. 

27 Num. 12.3. 

28 Exod. 32.27. 

29 Exod. 32.29. 

30 Num. 25.8. 

31 1 Sam. 15.33. 



AGAINST ANGER 459 

table. 32 But you for trivial reasons become angry with your 
brother. Surely, it is on slight grounds indeed that you become 
angry when you lose your temper with someone merely be- 
cause he prods you to it. By acting thus, you imitate the be- 
havior of dogs which bite the stones when they cannot get 
hold of the person who is throwing them. The object of the 
provocation is deserving of pity, but the one who is the author 
of it merits hatred. Transfer your anger to him, the murderer 
of men, the father of lies, 33 the worker of sin, and sympathize 
rather with your brother, because, if he remains in sin, he will 
be consigned to everlasting fire along with the Devil. Now, as 
the words for indignation (thumos) and anger (orge) are 
different, so also are the significations which they bear very 
different. Indignation is a kind of flaring and sudden ebulli- 
tion of passion. Anger, on the other hand, nurses a grievance; 
the soul, itching, so to speak, for vengeance, constantly urges 
us to repay those who have wronged us. Accordingly, it is 
important to bear in mind that men err in both directions 
either by becoming furiously and swiftly aroused against those 
who provoke them to anger or by craftily and treacherously 
laying snares for their enemies. Both of these errors we are 
obliged to shun. 

How, then, could it be brought about that our passions 
would not be aroused against improper objects? How? First, 
by being grounded in the humility which the Lord taught in 
word and illustrated in act; when, on one occasion, He said: 
4 If any among you desire to be first he shall be the last of 
all,' 34 and when, at another time, He gently and calmly bore 
with the man who struck Him. 35 The Maker and Lord of 

32 I Kings 18.19ff. 

33 John 8.44. 

34 Mark 9.34. 

35 John 18.22,23. 



460 SAINT BASIL 

heaven and earth, He who is adored by every creature hav- 
ing sensation and reason, He, 'upholding all things by the 
word of his power, 536 did not cast that man living into hell 
the earth would have opened of itself to receive the impious 
wretch but He admonished and instructed him: 'If I have 
spoken evil, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why 
strikest thou me?' 37 If, according to the Lord's command, you 
have formed the practice of making yourself the last of all, 
then, under what circumstances would you ever experience 
displeasure on the ground of suffering an affront to your dig- 
nity? If a little child revile you, you make his taunts a subject 
for jest, and, if you are insulted by an insane person, you re- 
gard him as more worthy of pity than hatred. It is not, there- 
fore, the words themselves that are wont to arouse vexation, 
but it is our pride, stung by the person who reviled us, which 
causes this and also the unrealistic opinion every man has 
about himself. If you banish both of these from your mind, 
you will consider the insults cast at you as having no more sig- 
nificance than the hollow ring of an echo, 'Cease from anger 
and leave rage/ 38 therefore, that you may escape the trial of 
wrath which 'is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness 
and injustice of men/ 39 If, by the prudent use of reason, you 
could cut away the bitter root of indignation, you would re- 
move many other vices along with this, their source. Deceit, 
suspicion, faithlessness, malice, treachery, rashness, and a 
whole thicket of evils like these are offshoots of this vice. Let us 
not, then, bring upon ourselves a misfortune so great. It is a 
malady upon the soul, a dark mist over the reason. It brings 
estrangement from God, forgetfulness of the ties of kindred, 

36 Heb. 1.3. 

37 John 18.23. 

38 Ps. 36.8. 

39 Rom. 1.18. 



AGAINST ANGER 461 

cause for strife, a full measure of disaster. It is a wicked demon 
coming to birth in our very souls, taking prior possession of our 
interior, like a shameless tenant, and barring entrance to the 
Holy Spirit. Whenever there are enmities, strifes, bursts of 
anger, intrigues, rivalries, causing restless agitation in the soul, 
there the Spirit of Meekness does not take His rest. Accord- 
ingly, in obedience to the admonition of the blessed Paul, let 
us put away from ourselves all anger and indignation and 
clamor, with all malice, 40 and let us be kind and compassion- 
ate to one another, awaiting the blessed hope promised to 
the meek (for, 'Blessed are the meek; for they shall possess 
the land' 41 ) in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and 
empire for ever and ever. Amen. 

40 Eph. 4.31. 

41 Matt. 5.4. 




HOMILY 11 
Concerning Envy 

OD is GOOD and He Is the Giver of blessings to the de- 
serving. The Devil is wicked and the deviser of every 
form of iniquity. And as freedom from envy is con- 
sistent with the good, so envy relates to the Devil. Therefore, 
brethren, let us shun the vice of envy. Let us not be sharers 
in the works of our Adversary and so be found condemned 
together with him by the same sentence of doom. If the 
proud man is subject to the judgment pronounced upon the 
Devil, how will the envious man escape the punishment that 
was prepared for the Devil? No vice more pernicious than 
envy is implanted in the souls of men. This passion is first and 
foremost a personal detriment to the one guilty of it and does 
not harm others in the least. As rust wears away iron, so envy 
corrodes the soul it inhabits. More than this, it consumes the 
scrul that gives it birth, like the vipers which are said to be 
born by eating their way through the womb that conceived 
them. Now, envy is pain caused by our neighbor's prosperity. 
Hence, an envious man is never without cause for grief and 
despondency. If his neighbor's land is fertile, if his house 
abounds with all the goods of this life, if he, its master, en- 
joys continual gladness of heart all these things aggravate 
the sickness and add to the pain of the envious man. He is 
exactly like a person who, stripped of his clothing, is being 
pierced with wounds from all quarters. Is anyone brave 
and vigorous? This is a blow to the envious man. Is someone 
else handsomer than he? Another blow. Does so-and-so 

463 



464 SAINT BASIL 

possess superior mental endowment? Is he looked up to and 
emulated because of his wisdom and eloquence? Is someone 
else rich and eager to lavish his wealth in alms to the poor and 
charitable contributions, and does he receive great praise from 
the beneficiaries of his charity? All these blessings are like 
so many blows and wounds piercing the envious man to his 
heart's core. The worst feature of this malady, however, is 
that its victim cannot reveal it to anyone, but he hangs his 
head and is mute. He is troubled and he laments and is utterly 
undone by this vice. When he is questioned about his state, 
he is ashamed to make known his sad condition and say: 'I 
am envious and bitter and the good fortune of my friend 
distresses me. I am grieving over my brother's joy and I 
cannot endure the sight of others' blessings. The happiness 
of my neighbors I make my own misfortune.' This would he 
say if he were willing to tell the truth. But, not choosing to 
reveal these sentiments, he confines in the depths of his soul 
this disease which is gnawing at his vitals and consuming 
them. 

As a consequence, he does not call in a doctor for his mal- 
ady and he is unable to discover a healing remedy, although 
the Scriptures are filled with such medicines. The sick man 
awaits only one alleviation of his distress that, perchance, he 
may see one of the persons whom he envies fall into misfor- 
tune. This is the goal of his hatred to behold the victim of 
his envy pass from happiness to misery, that he who is ad- 
mired and emulated might become an object of pity. Then, 
when he sees him weeping and beholds him deep in grief, 
he makes peace and becomes his friend. He does not rejoice 
with him when he is glad, but he weeps with him when he 
is in sorrow. 1 The reversal in the condition of the envied one, 



1 Rom. 12.15. 



CONCERNING ENVY 



465 



his fall from such great prosperity to such bitter misfortune, 
he pities, and he speaks in glowing terms of his former state. 
This he does, not animated by humane sentiments or from 
sympathy, but that the misfortune may appear in a more ca- 
lamitous light. He praises the envied man's son after he is 
dead and extols him with a thousand ecomiums How fair 
he was to look upon! How quick to learn! How versatile! 
Yet, while the boy was living, he did not favor him with even 
a word of praise. If, however, he sees many persons joining 
in a chorus of eulogy, he reverses his attitude and envies the 
corpse. Wealth he admires after it has been lost. Beauty of 
body or strength and health he lauds and extols when illness 
comes. In a word, he is an enemy of present good fortune 
but its friend when it is no longer possessed. 

What could be more fatal than this disease? It ruins our 
life, perverts our nature, arouses hatred of the goods bestowed 
on us by God, and places us in a hostile relation toward Him. 
What drove the Devil, that author of evils, to wage furious 
war upon mankind? Was it not envy? Because of envy, too, 
he was guilty even of open conflict with God. Filled with 
bitterness against God because of His liberality toward man, 
he wreaked vengeance upon man, since he was unable to 
avenge himself upon God. Cain also attempted this man- 
euver Cain, that first disciple of the Devil, who learned 
from him envy and murder, crimes of brother against brother. 
This combination of vices Paul also presents to us when he 
says, 'full of envy, murder.' 2 What, then, did Cain do? He saw 
the honor conferred by God and was inflamed with jealousy. 
He slew the recipient of the honor in an effort to reach Him 
who had bestowed it. Since he could not contend with God, 
he followed the next best course and slew his brother. 3 Let us 



2 Rom. L29. 

3 Gen. 4.8. 



466 SAINT BASIL 

flee, brethren, from this disease that would teach us to wage 
war upon God. It is mother to homicide, does violence to 
nature, causes us to disregard the closest ties of kinship, and 
brings upon us an unhappiness based upon irrational motives. 
Why do you grieve, my friend, when you yourself have suf- 
fered no misfortune? Why are you hostile to someone who is 
enjoying prosperity, when he has in no way caused your own 
possessions to decrease? If you are vexed even upon receiving 
a kindness [from the object of your spite], are you not quite 
clearly envious of your own good? Saul is an example of 
this. He made David's great favors to himself a motive for 
enmity with him. First, after he had been cured of insanity 
by the divine and melodious strains of David's harp, he at- 
tempted to run his benefactor through with a spear. Then, 
on another occasion, it happened that he and his army were 
delivered from the hands of the enemy and saved from embar- 
rassment before Goliath. In singing the triumphal songs com- 
memorating this victory, however, the dancers attributed to 
David a tenfold greater share in the achievement, saying: 
'Saul slew his thousands and David his ten thousands.' 4 For 
this one utterance and because truth itself was witness to it, 
Saul first attempted murder and tried to slay David by treach- 
ery, then forced him to flee. But he still did not desist from his 
hatred, for he arrayed against him three thousand chosen men 
and combed the desert in search of him. If Saul had been 
asked the reason for his hostility, he would have been compel- 
led to admit that it was the favors received from David's hand. 
Moreover, even though Saul had been found asleep by David 
during the very time that the latter was being pursued, and 
although Saul lay, an easy victim, before his enemy, his life 
was again spared by that just man, for he refrained from doing 



4 1 Sam. 18.7. 



CONCERNING ENVY 467 

him violence. Not even this act of benevolence moved Saul, 
however. Again he gathered an army and again he set out 
in pursuit, until he was a second time apprehended by David 
in the cave where he more clearly revealed his own iniquity 
and made the virtue of David even more resplendent. 5 Envy 
is the most savage form of hatred. Favors render those who 
are hostile to us for any other reason more tractable, but kind 
treatment shown to an envious and spiteful person only 
aggravates his dislike. The greater the favors he receives, the 
more displeased and vexed and ill-disposed he becomes. He 
is more distressed by the resources of his benefactor than he 
is thankful for the benefits received. Envious persons surpass 
every species of animal in brutality of behavior. Wild beasts 
do not possess a ferocity equal to theirs. When dogs are fed, 
they become gentle; lions become tractable when their wounds 
are dressed; but the envious are rendered more savage by 
kind offices. 

What reduced the high-born Joseph to slavery? 6 Was it 
not the envy of his brethren? And here it is worth while 
noting the stupidity which this malady induces. Fearful that 
his dream would come true, they made their brother a slave, 
as if his being a slave would permanently exempt them from 
having to offer him homage. If dreams are true, what ruse 
will prevent the events foretold from coming to pass exactly 
as predicted? If the visions seen in dreams are false, why be 
envious of one who is under a delusion? As it turned out, in- 
deed, the ingenuity of Joseph's brethren was foiled by the 
providence of God. The device by which they thought to fore- 
stall the prophecy proved to be the means of clearing the way 
toward its fulfillment. If Joseph had not been sold and had 
not gone to Egypt, he would not, for chastity's sake, have 

5 1 Sam. 24.3ff; 26.7fT. 

6 Gen. 37.28. 



468 SAINT BASIL 

fallen victim to the intrigues of an unchaste woman. He would 
not have been cast into prison and become an intimate of 
Pharoah's ministers, nor would he have interpreted the dream 
whereby he obtained the rule of Egypt and was accorded the 
homage of his brethren who had recourse to him because 
of the famine. 7 

Let your thoughts turn now to that very bitter envy, touch- 
ing upon matters of the very highest importance, which the 
madness of the Jews caused to break out against the Saviour. 
Why did they envy Him? because of His miracles. And what 
were these miraculous works? the salvation of the needy. The 
poor were fed and war was declared against Him who fed 
them. The dead were restored to life and He who gave them 
life was the object of envy. Devils were driven out and He who 
commanded them to depart was the victim of treachery. Lep- 
ers were cleansed, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the blind 
saw 8 and their Benefactor was cast out. Finally, they awarded 
death to the generous Giver of Life as His recompense. They 
scourged the Liberator of mankind and pronounced a sen- 
tence of doom upon the Judge of the world. So all-pervading 
is the malice of envy. With this weapon alone, the Devil, the 
destroyer of our life, has been inflicting wounds upon all men 
and striking them down from the foundation of the world, 
and he will continue to do so until its consummation. He who 
rejoices in our ruin and who fell because of envy, brings about 
our destruction also through the same vice. Wise, therefore, 
was he, who forbids us even to dine in company with an envi- 
ous man, 9 and in mentioning this companionship at table, 
he implies a reference to all other social contacts as well. Just 



7 Gen. 39-43. 

8 Luke 7.22. 

9 Prov. 23.6. 



CONCERNING ENVY 469 

as we are careful to keep material which is easily inflammable 
as far away as possible from fire, so we must refrain insofar 
as we can from contracting friendships in circles of which 
envious persons are members. By so doing, we place ourselves 
beyond the range of their shafts. We can be caught in the 
toils of envy only by establishing intimacy with it. In the 
words of Solomon : 'A man is exposed to envy from his neigh- 
bor. 10 And so it is. The Scythian is not envious of the Egyp- 
tian, but each of them envies a fellow countryman. Among 
members of the same nation, the closest acquaintances and not 
strangers are objects of envy. Among acquaintances, neigh- 
bors and fellow workmen, or those who are otherwise brought 
into close contact, are envied and among these again, those 
of the same age and kinsmen and brothers. In short, as the 
red blight is a common pest to corn, so envy is the plague of 
friendship. One feature of this vice, however, calls for our 
approval the more vigorously it has been aroused, the more 
troublesome it is to the person afflicted. As arrows shot with 
great force come back upon the archer when they strike a 
hard and unyielding surface, so also do the movements of 
envy strike the envious person himself and they harm the 
object of his spite not at all Who, by his feelings of annoy- 
ance, ever caused a neighbor's goods to be diminished? But 
the envious person himself is consumed and pines away with 
grief. Even so, however, persons who suffer from this malady 
of envy are supposed to be even more dangerous than poison- 
ous animals, since these inject their venom by piercing their 
victim; then, gradually, putrefaction spreads over the infect- 
ed area, but some think that envious persons bring bad luck 
merely by a glance, so that healthy persons in the full flower 
and vigor of their prime are made to pine away under their 

10 Eccle. 4.4. 



470 SAINT BASIL 

spell, suddenly losing all their plumpness, which dwindles 
and wastes away under the gaze of the envious, as if washed 
away by a destructive flood. For my part, I reject these tales 
as popular fancies and old wives' gossip. But this I do say: 
the devils, who are enemies of all that is good, use for their 
own ends such free acts as they find congenial to their wishes. 
In this way, they make even the eyes of envious persons ser- 
viceable to their own purposes- Do you not shrink, therefore, 
from making of yourself a tool for the dread demon and sub- 
mitting to wickedness, whereby you become an enemy to per- 
sons who have not harmed you in any way and an enemy also 
of God who is good and in whom there is no envy? 

Let us fly from so abominable a vice. It is a lesson taught 
by a serpent, an invention of demons, the seed of discord, a 
pledge of punishment, a barrier to holiness, a path to hell, 
and a cause of losing heaven. The envious can, somehow, be 
clearly recognized by their very faces. Their eyes are dry and 
lustreless; their cheeks, sunken; their brow, contracted; their 
mind, distorted and confused by their passion and incapable 
of making valid judgments in handling their affairs. In their 
view, no work of virtue is praiseworthy, nor any eloquence, 
even though it be adorned with dignity and grace, nor any- 
thing else that deserves emulation and esteem. As vultures 
are attracted to ill-smelling places and fly past meadow after 
meadow and pleasant, fragrant regions, as flies pass by healthy 
flesh and swarm eagerly to a wound, so the envious avert 
their gaze from the brightness in life and the loftiness of good 
actions and fix their attention upon rottenness. If anything 
should go amiss (as human affairs often do) they publish 
it abroad and desire that this mistake may become as a brand 
upon those who committed it. They are like incompetent 
painters who show the identity of the figures in their draw- 
ings by a twisted nose, or a scar, or some deformity due to 



CONCERNING ENVY 471 

nature or accident. Envious persons are skilled in making 
what is praiseworthy seern despicable by means of unflattering 
distortions and in slandering virtue through the vice that is 
neighbor to it. The courageous man they call reckless; the 
temperate man, callous; the just man, severe; the clever 
man, cunning. A person of lavish tastes they term vulgar and 
one who is bountiful they name a profligate; on the other 
hand, the thrifty man is called niggardly. In general, all forms 
of virtue they invariably supply with a name taken over from 
its opposite vice. 

But, now, what course shall I take? Shall I limit my dis- 
course to the denunciation of this vice? That would be a half- 
cure, as it were. To show a sick man the seriousness of his 
malady with a view to inculcating a proper concern for his 
condition is not useless, but to abandon him at this point and 
not guide him toward health is tantamount to giving the sick 
man over entirely to his infirmity. What, then, is to be done? 
How might we avoid becoming affected by this disease and 
how, after we have contracted it, might we be cured? First, 
by not regarding the goods of this world human prosperity, 
renown, which fades like a flower, health of body as either 
great or admirable. We do not define our highest good in 
terms of these transitory things, but we are called to share in 
possessions that are real and eternal. Thus, the rich man is 
not enviable merely because of his wealth, nor the ruler be- 
cause of the grandeur of his exalted position, nor the strong 
man because of his physical vigor, nor yet the learned man 
because of his great power of eloquence. These are instruments 
for practicing virtue to those who use them well. They do not 
contain any intrinsic good. The man who makes bad use of 
them, therefore, is to be pitied as being like a person who 
voluntarily wounds himself with the sword which he had been 
given as a means of defense against his enemies. But the man 



472 SAINT BASIL 

who administers his possessions well and according to right 
reason, who acts as a steward of the goods received from God 
and does not amass wealth for his own private enjoyment, he 
is justly accorded praise and affection because of his charity 
to his brethren and the benevolence of his character. Again, 
a man may excel in mental acuteness and may win esteem 
for his eloquence in discoursing about God and his interpre- 
tation of His sacred words. Be not envious of such a one nor 
ever wish that an interpreter of the Sacred Scripture would 
hold his peace because, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he 
wins some favor and praise thereby from his hearers. The 
benefit is yours and through your brother the gift of doctrine 
is sent to you, if only you are willing to accept it. Besides, no 
one dams up a gushing spring, nor does anyone wear a 
blindfold when the sun is shining or envy those who behold 
the sun, but he prays that he, too, may enjoy this blessing. 
And when the stream of doctrine is gushing forth in the 
Church and a devout heart is welling up with the gifts of the 
Holy Spirit, do you not gladly give your attention? Do you 
not receive this favor with thanksgiving? Yet, the applause 
of the audience stings you and you would prefer that there 
would be neither benefit received nor praise given. What ex- 
cuse will you have for this before the Judge of our hearts? 
The good that is of the soul, therefore, we must regard as 
good by nature. Nevertheless, if a man who has a super- 
abundance of wealth and who takes pride in his position of 
sovereignty or in his vigor of body makes the right use of these 
goods, we ought to love and honor him as being supplied with 
resources which are generally serviceable for carrying on life 
in this world. He should, however, administer these possessions 
rightly. He will be generous in giving of his abundance to the 
needy and he will offer physical assistance to the infirm and 
regard that part of his wealth which is superfluous as belong- 



CONCERNING ENVY 473 

ing to any destitute person as much as it does to himself. On 
the other hand, the man who does not adopt this view toward 
these goods ought to be considered wretched rather than envi- 
able, inasmuch as he meets with stronger inducements to 
evil. This represents a way of losing one's soul at the cost of 
great exertion and labor. If, then, wealth is an instrument 
for perpetrating injustice, pitiable is the rich man. If it serves 
as an aid to virtue, envy is out of place, since all may derive 
benefit from the wealth, unless, perhaps, by an excess of 
malice, one would begrudge good to himself. 

To sum up, if, aided by your reason, your thinking is ele- 
vated above human considerations and is intent upon that 
which is truly noble and praiseworthy, you will by no means 
regard perishable earthly goods as objects for covetousness 
or envy. It is impossible, indeed, that envy should ever be 
present in a person so disposed, for he is not obsessed with the 
craving for worldly goods in the mistaken belief that they have 
great value. At all events, if you are desirous of glory and wish 
to outshine the crowd and if, for this reason, you cannot bear 
to hold second place (this, too, is likely to furnish occasion for 
envy), turn your aspirations, as one would change the course 
of a stream, toward the acquisition of virtue. Free yourself 
entirely from the desire for any kind of earthly riches or for 
the esteem to be gained from possessing worldly goods. Own- 
ership of these things is not under your control. But, be just 
and temperate, wise and brave and patient in the sufferings 
you endure in the name of piety. In this way, you will win sal- 
vation for yourself and, the greater your good deeds, the 
greater will be the glory manifested in you. Virtue is within 
our power and can be acquired by one who labors earnestly 
for it. A large fortune, physical vigor or beauty, or a high 
rank of dignity are not at our command. But, if virtue is 
a greater and more lasting good and is universally acknowl- 



474 SAINT BASIL 

edged as preferable, virtue is what we should strive to acquire. 
It cannot be present in the soul, however, unless the soul is free 
from all vice, especially envy. 

Surely, you are aware of how great an evil hypocrisy is, 
and it is the fruit of envy. This vice, above all others, causes 
double-dealing among men. Hypocrites maintain an outward 
semblance of charity, while keeping their hatred deeply hid- 
den within, like rocks under the surface of the sea, which, 
being covered with shallow water, bring unforeseen disaster 
to the unwary. If, then, death flows toward us from that 
source, as from a fountain, and also a loss of blessings, 
estrangement from God, transgression of the law, and, at the 
same time, the ruin of earthly prosperity, let us obey the 
Apostle and 'Let us not be made desirous of vainglory, pro- 
voking one another, envying one another,' 11 but rather, 'kind, 
merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven 
us in Christ Jesus our Lord,' 12 to whom be glory together with 
the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. 

U Gal. 5.26. 
12 Eph. 4.32. 




HOMILY 20 

Of Humility 

IOULD THAT MAN had abided in the glory which he 
possessed with God he would have genuine instead 
of fictitious dignity. For he would be ennobled by the 
power of God, illumined with divine wisdom, and made joy- 
ful in the possession of eternal life and its blessings. But, be- 
cause he ceased to desire divine glory in expectation of a bet- 
ter prize, and strove for the unattainable, he lost the good 
which it was in his power to possess. The surest salvation 
for him, the remedy of his ills, and the means of restoration 
to his original state is in practicing humility and not pretend- 
ing that he may lay claim to any glory through his own 
efforts but seeking it from God. Thus will he make amends 
for his error, thus will he be cured of his malady, thus will he 
return to the observance of the holy precept which he has 
abandoned. For the Devil, having caused man's ruin by hold- 
ing out to him the hope of false glory, ceases not to tempt 
him still by the same allurements and he devises innumerable 
schemes to this end. For instance, he represents a large for- 
tune to him as a great good, so that man will regard it as a 
cause for boasting and expend effort to obtain it. Wealth, 
however, leads not to glory but to great peril. To build a 
fortune is to lay the foundation for avarice and the acquisi- 
tion of money bears no relation to excellence of character. 
Rather, it blinds a man to no purpose, arouses vain conceit, 
and produces in his soul an effect something like an inflamed 
swelling. Now, a tumor combined with inflammation is neither 

475 



476 SAINT BASIL 

healthful nor beneficial to the body, but unwholesome, in- 
jurious, a source of danger, and a cause of death. Such an 
effect does pride engender in the soul. 

But money is not by any means the only instigator of 
arrogance. Men do not take pride only in the costly food and 
clothing which money buys, nor in setting luxurious tables 
with unnecessary extravagance, wearing superfluous orna- 
ments, building and furnishing immense piles for their homes 
and adorning them with all sorts of finery, and attaching to 
their person great throngs of slaves as attendants and innu- 
merables hordes of flatterers. [Not only by reason of wealth,] 
but also because of political honors, do men exalt themselves 
beyond what is due their nature. If the populace confer upon 
them a distinction, if it honor them with some office of au- 
thority, if an exceptional mark of dignity be voted in their 
favor by the people, thereupon, as though they had risen 
above human nature, they look upon themselves as well-nigh 
seated on the very clouds and regard the men beneath them 
as their footstool. They lord it over those who raised them to 
such honor and exalt themselves over the very ones at whose 
hands they received their sham distinctions. The position 
they occupy is entirely out of keeping with reason, for they 
possess a glory more unsubstantial than a dream. They are 
surrounded with a splendor more unreal than the phantoms 
of the night, since it comes into being or is swept away at the 
nod of the populace. A fool of this sort was that famous son 
of Solomon, youthful in years and younger still in wisdom, 
who threatened his people desiring a milder rule with an even 
harsher one and thereby destroyed his kingdom. 1 By his 
threat, the very expedient whereby he hoped to be elevated 
to a more royal state, he was bereft of the dignity already his. 
Strength of arm, swiftness of foot, and comeliness of body 

1 1 Kings 12.4,14. 



OF HUMILITY 



477 



the spoils of sickness and the plunder of time also awaken 
pride in man, unaware as he is that 'All flesh is grass and all 
the glory of man as the flower of the field. The grass is 
withered and the flower is fallen.' 2 Such was the arrogance 
of the giants because of their strength. 3 Such also was the 
God-defying pride of the witless Goliath. 4 Such a one was 
Adonias, exulting in his beauty 5 and Absalom, glorying in 
his luxuriant hair. 6 

Again, the goods which, of all man's possessions, appear 
to be the greatest and most enduring wisdom and sagacity 
these also are the causes of idle boasting and nourish false 
pride. For, if the wisdom which is from God be lacking, these 
acquistions are worthless. Even the Devil's plots against man 
worked against himself and unwittingly he contrived his own 
undoing by his schemes for the ruin of mankind. He did not 
so much injure him whom he hoped to alienate from God and 
eternal life as he betrayed himself, becoming as he did a rebel 
against God, doomed to death forever. He was himself caught 
in the snare he laid for the Lord. He was nailed to the cross 
upon which he hoped to crucify Him. He died the death 
wherewith he intended the Lord to be destroyed. But, if the 
Prince of this world, the supreme, consummate, and invisible 
master of worldly wisdom, is caught in his own traps and 
ends finally in ultimate folly, far more will his followers and 
supporters be thus ensnared, even though they devise a thou- 
sand wiles; 'professing themselves to be wise, they became 
fools.' 7 Pharoah resorted to trickery for the ruin of Israel, 
but his clever scheme was suddenly foiled from a quarter he 



2 Isa. 40.6,7. 

3 Gen. 6.4; Wisd. 14.6. 

4 1 Sam. 17.4ff. 

5 1 Kings lJ5ff. 

6 2 Sam. 14.26. 

7 Rom. 1.22. 



478 SAINT BASIL 

least suspected. The babe condemned to be exposed at his 
order was secretly reared in the royal household, destroyed 
his power and that of his whole nation, and led Israel to 
safety. 8 The homicide Abirnelech, bastard son of Gedeon, 
slew the seventy legitimate sons, and, thinking he had hit 
upon a ruse for securing his grasp on the royal power, he 
destroyed his accomplices in the crime. He, however, was 
in turned destroyed by them, and in the end was slain with 
a stone cast by a woman's hand. 9 Again, all the Jews devised 
a deadly plot against the Lord, saying to themselves: 'If 
we let him alone so, all will believe in him and the Romans 
will come and take away our place and nation.' 10 Passing 
from the conspiracy to the actual slaying of Christ with the 
intention of saving their place and nation, they suffered the 
loss of both through their intrigue, for they were not only 
cast out of their place, but were also made strangers to the 
laws and worship of God. In short, countless examples teach 
us that the profit of human wisdom is illusory, for it is a 
meagre and lowly thing and not a great and pre-eminent good. 
No sensible man, then, will be proud of his wisdom or of 
possessing the other goods 1 have mentioned, but will follow 
the excellent advice of blessed Anna and of the Prophet 
Jeremias: 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom and let 
not the strong man glory in his strength and let not the rich 
man glory in his riches.' 11 But what is true glory and what 
makes a man great? 'In this/ says the Prophet, 'let him that 
glorieth, glory, that he understandeth and knoweth that I 
am the Lord.' 12 This constitutes the highest dignity of man, 
this is his glory and greatness: truly to know what is great 

8 Exod. 1-3. 

9 Judges 9. Iff. 

10 John 11.48. 

11 1 Sam. 2.3; Jer. 9.23. 

12 Jer. 9.24. 



OF HUMILITY 479 

and to cleave to It, and to seek after glory from the Lord 
of glory. The Apostle tells us: 'He that glorieth may glory in 
the Lord,' saying: 'Christ was made for us wisdom of God, 
justice and sanctification and redemption; that, as it is writ- 
ten: He that glorieth may glory in the Lord.' 13 Now, this is the 
perfect and consummate glory in God: not to exult in one's 
own justice, but, recognizing oneself as lacking true justice, to 
be justified by faith in Christ alone. Paul gloried in despising 
his own justice and in seeking after the justice by faith which is 
of God through Christ, that he might know Him and the pow- 
er of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, be- 
ing made conformable to His death, 14 so as to attain to the res- 
urrection from the dead. Herewith topples the whole lofty 
pinnacle of arrogant pride. Naught, O man, remains for you 
to boast of, inasmuch as your glory and your hope consist in 
mortifying yourself in all things and in striving toward the 
life to come in Christ. The foretaste of this life we now enjoy, 
and we are already in possession of its goods, living as we do 
entirely by the grace and gift of God. God it is 'who worketh 
in us both to will and to accomplish according to his good 
will.' 15 God also reveals through His own Spirit His wisdom 
which is ordained unto our glory. 16 It is God who grants 
efficacy to our labors. 'I have labored more abundantly than 
all they,' says Paul, 'yet not I but the grace of God with me.' 17 
God delivers from dangers which are beyond all human re- 
course. 'We had in ourselves,' says the Apostle, 'the answer 
of death that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who 
raiseth the dead. Who hath delivered and doth deliver us out 

13 1 Cor. 1.30,31. 

14 Phil. 3.9,10. 

15 Phil. 2.13. 

16 1 Cor. 2.7,10. 

17 1 Cor. 15.10. 



480 SAINT BASIL 

of so great dangers, in whom we trust that he will yet also 
deliver us.' 18 

Why, then, pray, do you glory in your goods as if they 
were your own instead of giving thanks to the Giver for His 
gifts? Tor what hast thou that thou hast not received? And 
if thou hast received, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst 
not received it?' 19 You have not known God by reason of your 
justice, but God has known you by reason of His goodness. 
'After that you have known God/ says the Apostle, 'or rather 
are known by God.' 20 You did not apprehend Christ because 
of your virtue, but Christ apprehended you by His coming. 
C I follow after,' says the Apostle, 'if I also may comprehend 
wherein I am also apprehended by Christ.'- 1 'You have not 
chosen me, 3 says the Lord, 'but I have chosen you.'" Yet 
you, because honor is accorded you, exalt yourself and find 
an occasion for pride in the mercy that is granted you. Know 
yourself, at length, for what you are Adam expelled from 
paradise, 23 Saul abandoned by the Spirit of God/ 4 Israel cut 
off from the sacred root. 'But thou standest by faith,' says 
the Apostle 'be not high-minded but fear.' 25 Judgment will 
be in accordance with grace, and the Judge will make exam- 
ination of how you have used the graces bestowed upon you. 
If you do not understand that you have received grace and by 
an excess of stupidity ascribe to yourself the success which is 
a gift of grace, you will fare no better than St. Peter. Indeed, 
you will not be able to surpass in love for the Lord him who 
loved Him so ardently that he desired to die for Him. Yet, be- 

18 2 Cor. 1.9,10. 

19 1 Cor. 4.7. 

20 Gal. 4.9. 

21 Phil. 3.12. 

22 John 15.16. 

23 Gen. 3.24. 

24 1 Sam. 16.14. 

25 Rom. 11.20. 



OF HUMILITY 



481 



cause he spoke boastfully, saying: 'Although ail shall be scan- 
dalized in thee, I will never be scandalized,' 26 he fell a victim 
to human cowardice and committed the act of denial, gaining 
prudence and caution through his fall. Moreover, he learned 
by discovering his own weakness to be indulgent to the weak. 
And clearly did he come to understand that, just as he had 
been lifted up by the helping Hand of Christ when he was 
sinking into the sea, 27 so, when he was in mortal danger from 
the billow of scandal because of his incredulity, he was pro- 
tected by the power of Christ who had foretold to him what 
was to be, saying: 'Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired 
that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee 
that thy faith fail not; and thou, being once converted, con- 
firm thy brethren.' 28 Peter, thus reproved, was deservedly 
given aid, for he had learned how to put away his pride and 
show forbearance toward the weak. Again, that stern Phari- 
see, who in his overweening pride not only boasted of himself 
but also discredited the publican in the presence of God, made 
his justice void by being guilty of pride. The publican went 
down justified in preference to him because he had given glory 
to God, the Holy One, and did not dare to lift his eyes, but 
sought only to win mercy, accusing himself by his posture, 
by striking his breast, and by entertaining no other motive 
except propitiation. 29 Be on your guard, therefore, and bear 
in mind this example of grievous loss sustained through arro- 
gance. The one guilty of insolent behavior suffered the loss 
of his justice and forfeited his reward by his bold self-reliance. 
He was rendered inferior to a humble man and a sinner be- 
cause in his self-exaltation he did not await the judgment of 
God, but pronounced it of himself. Never place yourself above 



26 Matt. 26.33. 

27 Matt. 14.30,31. 

28 Luke 22.31,32. 

29 Luke 18.11-14. 



482 SAINT BASIL 

anyone, not even great sinners. Humility often saves a sinner 
who has committed many grievous transgressions. Do not, 
then, justify yourself as regards another and never condemn 
yourself on the verdict of God by justifying yourself on the 
basis of your own. 'I judge not my own self/ says Paul, 'for 
I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet I am not here- 
by justified; but he that judgeth me is the Lord.' 30 

Think you that you have done something good? Give thanks 
to God and do not exalt yourself above your neighbor. 'Let 
every one prove his own work, 3 says the Apostle, 'and so he 
shall have glory in himself only and not in another.' 41 How 
have you helped your neighbor by making a profession of faith 
or by suffering exile for the Name of Christ, or by enduring 
austerities with constancy? The gain is not another's, but 
yours. Take care not to repeat the fall of the Devil. He, in 
exalting himself above man, fell at the hands of man, and is 
delivered up to be trodden upon as a footstool to him who 
had been under his heel. Another example is the fall of the 
Israelites. Although they vaunted their superiority over the 
Gentiles whom they regarded as unclean, they themselves 
became, in reality, unclean, but the Gentiles were made clean. 
And the justice of the Israelites became as the rag of a men- 
struous woman, 22 but the wickedness and impiety of the Gen- 
tiles was passed over because of their faith. In short, bear in 
mind that true proverb: 'God resisteth the proud but to the 
humble he giveth grace. s33 Keep as your familiar that word of 
the Lord: 'Everyone that humbleth himself shall be exalted 
and he that exalteth himself shall be humbled.' 34 Be not an un- 
just judge of yourself and do not weigh your case favorably to 

30 1 Cor. 4.3,4. 

31 Gal. 6.4. 

32 Isa. 64.6. 

33 1 Pet. 5.5; James 4.6. 

34 Luke 14.11. 



OF HUMILITY 483 

yourself. If you appear to have something in your favor, do 
not, counting this to your credit and readily forgetting your 
mistakes, boast of your good deeds of today and grant yourself 
pardon for what you had done badly yesterday and in the past. 
Whenever the present arouses pride in you, recall the past to 
mind and you will check the foolish swelling of conceit. If you 
see your neighbor committing sin, take care not to dwell exclu- 
sively on his sin, but think of the many things he has done 
and continues to do rightly. Many times, by examining the 
whole and not taking the part only into account, you will find 
that he is better than you. God does not examine man accord- 
ing to the part, for He says: 'I come to gather together their 
works and thoughts.' 35 Furthermore, when He rebuked Josa- 
phat for a sin committed in an unguarded moment, He men- 
tioned also the good he had done, saying: 'But good works 
are found in thee.' :5<i 

Such reminders as these regarding self-exaltation we should 
keep reciting constantly to ourselves, demeaning ourselves that 
we may be exalted, in imitation of the Lord who descended 
from heaven to utter lowliness and who was, in turn, raised 
to the height which befitted Him. In everything which con- 
cerns the Lord we find lessons in humility. As an infant, He 
was straightway laid in a cave, and not upon a couch but in 
a manger. In the house of a carpenter and of a mother who 
was poor, He was subject to His mother and her spouse. He 
was taught and He paid heed to what He needed not to be 
told. He asked questions, but even in the asking He won ad- 
miration for His wisdom. He submitted to John the Lord re- 
ceived baptism at the hands of His servant. He did not make 
use of the marvelous power which He possessed to resist any 
of those who attacked Him, but, as if yielding to superior 

35 Isa. 66.18. 

36 2 Par. 19.3. 



484 SAINT BASIL 

force, He allowed temporal authority to exercise the power 
proper to it. He was brought before the high priest as though 
a criminal and then led to the governor. He bore calumnies 
in silence and submitted to His sentence, although He could 
have refuted the false witnesses. He was spat upon by slaves 
and the vilest menials. He delivered Himself up to death, the 
most shameful death known to men. Thus, from His birth 
to the end of His life, He experienced all the exigencies which 
befall mankind and, after displaying humility to such a 
degree, He manifested His glory, associating with Himself in 
glory those who had shared His disgrace. Of this number, 
the blessed disciples are first, who, poor and destitute, passed 
through this world, not adorned with the knowledge of 
rhetoric, not accompanied by a throng of followers, but un- 
attended, as wanderers and solitaries, traveling on land and 
sea, scourged, stoned, hunted, and, finally, slain. These are 
divine teachings inherited from our fathers. Let us follow 
them, so that out of our abasement may spring up eternal 
happiness, that true and perfect gift of Christ. 

But how shall we, casting off the deadly weight of pride, 
descend to saving humility? If such an aim governed our 
conduct under all circumstances, we should not overlook the 
least detail on the ground that we would suffer no harm there- 
from. The soul comes to take on a resemblance to its preoccu- 
pations and it is stamped and molded to the form of its acti- 
vities. Let your aspect, your garb, your manner of walking 
and sitting, your diet, bed, house and its furnishings reflect a 
customary thrift. Your manner of speaking and singing, your 
conversation with your neighbor, also, should aim at modesty 
rather than pretentiousness. Do not strive, 1 beg you, for arti- 
ficial embellishment in speech, for cloying sweetness in song, 
or for a sonorous and high-flown style in conversation. In all 
your actions, be free from pomposity. Be obliging to your 



OF HUMILITY 



485 



friends, gentle toward your slaves, forbearing with the fro- 
ward, benign to the lowly, a source of comfort to the afflicted, 
a friend to the distressed, a condemner of no one. Be pleasant 
in your address, genial in your response, courteous, accessible 
to all. Speak not in your own praise, nor contrive that others 
do so. Do not listen to indecent talk, and conceal insofar as 
you can your own superior gifts. On the other hand, where 
sin is concerned, be your own accuser, A1 and do not wait for 
others to make the accusation. Thus, you will be like a just 
man who accuses himself in the first speech made in court, 
or like Job who was not deterred by the crowd of people in 
the city from declaring his personal guilt before all. 38 Be not 
rash in rebuking, nor quick to do so. Do not make accusation 
while your passions are aroused (for such action savors of 
willfulness), nor condemn anyone in matters of slight conse- 
quence as if you yourself were perfectly just. Receive those 
who have fallen away and give them spiritual instruction, 
'considering thyself also lest thou be tempted, 3 as the Apostle 
advises. 89 Take as much care not to be glorified among men 
as others do to obtain this glory, as you remember the words 
of Christ, that one forfeits a reward from God by voluntarily 
seeking renown from men or doing good to be seen by men. 
'They have received their reward,' He says. 40 Do not cheat 
yourself by desiring to be seen by men, for God is the great 
Witness. Strive for glory with God, for His is a glorious 
recompense. Suppose you have been deemed worthy of the 
episcopate and men throng about you and hold you in es- 
teem. Come down to the level of your subordinates, 'not as 
lording it over the clergy,' 41 and do not behave as worldly 



37 Prov. 18.17. 

38 Job 31.34. 

39 Gal. 6.1. 

40 Matt. 6.2. 

41 1 Peter 5.3. 



486 SAINT BASIL 

potentates do. The Lord bade him who wishes to be first to be 
the servant of all. 42 To sum up, strive after humility as be- 
comes a lover of this virtue. Love it and it will glorify you. 
Thus you will travel to good purpose the road leading to that 
true glory which is to be found with the angels and with God. 
Christ will acknowledge you as His own disciple before the 
angels 4:i and He will glorify you if you imitate His humility, 
for He says : 'Learn of me because I am meek and humble of 
heart and you shall find rest to your souls.' 44 To Him be glory 
and empire for ever and ever. Amen. 

42 Mark 10.44. 

43 Luke 12.8. 

44 Matt. 11.29. 




HOMILY 21 

On Detachment from Worldly Goods and Concerning the 
Conflagration Which Occurred in the Environs of the Church 

THOUGHT, well-beloved, that, Inasmuch as I had so 
vigorously plied you with the goad of my words on 
every and all occasions, you regarded me as a trouble- 
some fellow, overbold for a stranger and for a man who is 
himself guilty on similar charges. Yet, by my rebukes you 
were moved to kindliness and the blows of my tongue you 
transformed into incentives to greater zeal. This, of course, is 
not a matter for surprise, since you are wise in the things of 
the spirit. Solomon says somewhere in his writings: 'Rebuke 
a wise man and he will love thee. 51 Therefore, my brethren, 
I now again employ the same kind of exhortation in my desire 
to rescue you, insofar as I am able, from the snares of the 
Devil. Dearly beloved, it is a long and varied warfare which 
the Enemy of truth daily wages against us. He attacks us, as 
you know, by turning our own desires as arrows against our- 
selves and ever draws from our own selves the power to do us 
harm. Since, however, the Lord greatly limited his power by 
inviolable laws and did not permit him to destroy our race 
at once by his attacks, the malicious demon, taking advantage 
of our folly, wins his victories by stealth. Wicked and avari- 
cious men whose business and deliberate policy It is to become 
rich at others' expense, but who have not the power to make 
use of open violence, are wont to lie in wait along the high- 
ways, and, if they espy any region nearby that Is either cleft 
by deep ravines or shaded by a thick growth of bushes, they 

I Prov. 9.8. 

487 



488 SAINT BASIL 

hide therein and, screened by such coverts from the traveler's 
range of vision, they suddenly leap upon him. Thus, no one is 
able to see the perilous traps before he falls into them. In the 
same way, our Enemy, hostile to us from the beginning, sneaks 
into the shadows of worldly pleasures which grow thickly 
enough about the road of life to hide the Brigand while he 
plots against us. There he lurks in secret and spreads his nets 
for our destruction. If, then, we would safely traverse the road 
of life lying before us, and offer to Christ our body and soul 
alike free from the shame of wounds, and receive the crown 
for this victory, we must always and everywhere keep the 
eyes of our soul wide open, holding in suspicion everything 
that gives pleasure. We must unhesitatingly pass by such 
things, without allowing our thoughts to rest in them, even if 
we think that we see gold lying before us in heaps, ready to 
be picked up by any who so desire. ('If riches abound,' says 
the Scripture, 'set not your heart upon them. 5 ') We must pay 
no heed, even if the earth bud forth every kind of delicacy 
and offer luxurious dwellings to our gaze ( for 'our conversa- 
tion is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, 
our Lord Jesus Christ' ) s ; nor should we take notice when 
dancing and merry-making and reveling and banquets ringing 
with the sound of the flute are offered for our enjoyment (for 
the Scripture says: 'Vanity of vanities and all is vanity.' 4 ). 
Pay no attention, either, if there be placed before you beauti- 
ful bodies wherein dwell wicked souls ('Flee from the face of 
a woman as from the face of a serpent,' says the Wise Man. 5 ) 
Heed it not even if you are offered powers and sovereignties, 
throngs of attendants and flatterers, or a high and splendid 
throne which holds cities and nations in voluntary servitude 

2 Ps. 61.11. 

3 Phil. 3.20. 

4 Eccle. 1.2. 

5 Eccli. 21.2. 



ON DETACHMENT 48!: 

(for 'all flesh is grass and all the glory of man as the flower oi 
the field. The grass Is withered and the flower is fallen.' 6 ). 
Beneath all these pleasures which are so delightful lurks our 
common Enemy, waiting to see whether we will swerve from 
the straight path and fall into his lair, captivated by the entice- 
ments our eyes behold. Indeed, it is greatly to be feared that, 
by running recklessly after these delights and regarding the 
pleasure derived from their enjoyment as not harmful in the 
least, we may swallow the hook of treachery concealed in the 
first taste. Then, drawn on by this first experience, half will- 
ing and half reluctant, we become attached to these pleasures 
and are dragged without our realizing it into the Brigand's 
awful den, that is, to death. 

Therefore, brethren, it is necessary and beneficial for us 
all to gird ourselves up like wayfarers or runners and, by 
ensuring our souls complete ease and lightness for this journey, 
to push straight on to the road's end. Nor should anyone 
think that I am a coiner of words because I have been calling 
human life a road [or a way] ; for David, the Prophet, also 
applied this word to life. He says in one place: 'Blessed are 
the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord,' 7 
and in another passage, he cries out to his Lord: 'Remove 
from me the way of iniquity; and out of thy law have mercy 
on me.' 8 Again, praising to the sweet accompaniment of his 
lyre the swift aid of God afforded him against those who 
treated him despitefully, he said: 'And who is God but our 
God? God who hath girt me with strength, and made my way 
blameless.' 9 Rightly he considered that the sojourn of men 
on earth, whether illustrious or ignoble, should in all in- 
stances be so named. As they who are hastening to complete a 



6 Isa. 40.6,7. 

7 Ps. 118.1. 

8 Ps. 118.29. 

9 Ps. 17.3233. 



490 SAINT BASIL 

strenuous journey easily reach the end of the road by taking 
one step forward and then another, one foot being placed 
upon the ground in rapid alternation with the other, as if 
their feet were vying with each other to complete the course, 
so they who have been introduced into this life by the Creator, 
advancing from the very beginning by moments of time in 
perpetual succession, arrive at the end of their life. Does not 
our life in this world seem to you also to stretch before us like 
a long road, a journey broken at intervals by the periods of 
life as by stages in a journey? It has its beginning for each of 
us in the travail of our mothers and the end of its course in 
the shelter of the grave. All men it conducts thither, some 
rapidly, others more slowly; the latter passing through all 
the intervals of time, the former not even tarrying for the 
first stages of life. Now, in the case of other roads, those 
leading from city to city, it is possible if one so desires to turn 
aside and not travel at all. This road, however, draws those 
who travel it by main force toward the end which has been 
appointed by the Lord, even if we should prefer to prolong 
our course. And it is not possible, dearly beloved, for one who 
has once passed through the gate which leads toward this 
life and has set out upon this road not to arrive at the end 
of it. Each of us, after leaving the maternal womb, is straight- 
way seized and borne along by the flow of time, ever leaving 
behind the day already lived and never able to return to 
yesterday, however much we may desire to do so. Yet, we 
rejoice in being borne onward and, as if we were receiving 
some gain, we are glad to pass from one period of life to the 
next. We consider it a happy event when manhood succeeds 
boyhood and when old age follows upon man's estate. We 
do not think of the fact that as much of time as we have used 
up at each stage of our life is so much of life already lived; 
nor do we realize that our life time is being spent, although 



ON DETACHMENT 491 

we always measure it according to what has passed by and 
flowed away. Moreover, we do not reflect how uncertain 
is the length of time He who has sent us on this journey wills 
we should have to finish our course. We know not when He 
will unbar the gates of entrance to each runner, nor do we 
bear in mind that we must prepare ourselves daily for our 
departure hence and keep our eyes fixed upon the Lord 
awaiting His nod. For He says: 'Let your loins be girt and 
lamps burning in your hands; and you yourselves like to men 
who wait for their lord when he shall return from the wed- 
ding; that when he cometh and knocketh they may open to 
him immediately.' 10 

Furthermore, we are unwilling to take into careful consider- 
ation which kind of burdens will be light for the course we 
must run, which can help on their way those who have 
gathered them together, and what sort will make the life 
hereafter very happy for us by reason of their being adapted 
to the nature of those who carried them. Neither are we will- 
ing to ascertain which are the heavy, uncomfortable ones that 
drag on the ground and that are by their nature absolutely 
unsuited to men and do not allow their bearers to pass through 
that narrow gate. But we leave behind what we ought to 
pick up and take along and we add to our collection what we 
ought to pass over. That which can be naturally assimilated 
by us, and which can constitute a true adornment of body 
and soul alike, we do not even advert to, but possessions which 
will ever be alien to us and only brand us with shame these 
we try to acquire, toiling fruitlessly and laboring like a man 
who would delude himself with the hope that he could fill 
a sieve with water. This truth I think every child even is 
aware of: that none of the pleasures of this life, the pursuit 
of which has caused madness in so many, are or can be truly 



10 Luke 12.35,36. 



492 SAINT BASIL 

possessed by us. They are, indeed, foreign to all alike to 
those who appear to be enjoying them as well as to those 
who have not yet obtained them. Even if certain individuals 
should gather together an immense store of gold in this life, 
it would not remain permanently in their possession. Although 
they would have left nothing undone for its secure protection 
in every way, it would either escape them while they were yet 
alive, passing into the hands of persons stronger than they, 
or it would presently be lost to them at their death, its nature 
not being such that it could accompany them at their depar- 
ture hence. But some who are drawn along the inevitable 
road by that power which forcibly separates our souls from 
this miserable flesh, turning back many times to their riches, 
bewail the hard labor which they had endured from their 
youth to amass it. The wealth, however, which had only in- 
flicted upon them the toil of acquisition and the guilt of 
avarice, passes on into the hands of others. Even if a man 
would own countless acres of land, magnificent houses, and 
herds of every kind of animal, if he should be endowed, also, 
with absolute sovereignty among men, he will not possess 
these things forever. After enjoying the brief prestige they 
bring, he will, in his turn, give up his abundance to others, 
while he himself will be placed under a bit of earth. In 
many cases, even before a man is buried, even prior to his 
departure form this world, he sees his goods pass on to others 
perhaps his enemies. Do we not know of many fields, 
houses, cities, and nations that have taken the name of other 
masters while they who had previously possessed them are 
still alive? Have we not also observed how those who were 
once slaves ascend the throne of sovereignty and how they 
who used to be called lords and masters are wont to take 
their place in the ranks of their subjects and bow down to 
their own slaves when their fortunes suffer a sudden reversal, 
as by a throw of the dice? 



ON DETACHMENT 493 

As for the concoctions we devise as food and drink and 
all the superfluities which arrogant wealth provides for the 
satisfaction of the capricious and undisciplined appetite, could 
they ever really belong to us, even if we were continually being 
surfeited with them? Edibles which produce some slight pleas- 
ure for the palate when they are only casually tasted we find 
offensive as soon as they are eaten in excess and we eagerly 
cast them out as if life were to be seriously endangered by their 
remaining in our intestines for any length of time. At any 
rate, overeating has been the cause of death for many and 
the reasons for their not having any further enjoyment. Again, 
are not wanton chamberings, impure embraces, and all such 
acts of a maddened and frenzied mind manifestly and in every 
respect detrimental to nature and notoriously harmful? Do 
they not represent the loss or diminution of powers which are 
in a very real sense proper and personal to the individual, 
since by such unions the body is weakened and depleted of 
aliment that is in the highest degree congruent with it and 
preservative of its members? So, it is the experience of every- 
one who engages in such wanton acts that, immediately after 
the deed, when the sting of the flesh is quieted and the mind, 
coming finally to abhor that which it has initiated, recollects 
itself as if from a fit of drunkenness or any such turbulent 
experience, and takes time to advert to its condition [it gen- 
erally happens to such a person, I say,] that a strong remorse 
for his intemperate conduct sweeps over him. He perceives 
that his body has been very much enfeebled and that it has 
been rendered torpid and quite without strength for the ac- 
complishment of his duties. Even the masters of the gym- 
nastic schools are aware of this and have laid down a rule 
of continence for the palaestra which protects the bodies 
of the youths against the danger of such pleasure. The contes- 
tants themselves are not permitted even so much as to gaze 



494 SAINT BASIL 

upon the fair and glistening forms of their antagonists, if, 
indeed, they would have their head adorned with the crown; 
for incontinency in a wrestling match gives rise to laughter, 
but does not win a crown. 

All these pleasures, then, it is well for us to pass by with 
our eyes closed, for they are absolutely foreign to our nature, 
superfluous, and not capable of being really possessed by 
anyone. On the other hand, we should be at great pains for 
those possessions which can truly be ours. What, then, really 
belongs to us? A soul, whereby we live, a light and spiritual 
being which has no need of anything weighty, and a body, 
which was provided for the soul by the Creator as a vehicle 
for carrying on life. This, therefore, is man: a mind united 
with a fitting and serviceable body. This mode of existence 
was prepared by the all-wise Artificer of the universe in our 
mothers' wombs. This, the time of travail brought to the light 
out of the darkness of their marriage chambers. This being 
it is which was appointed to rule over the earth. For him, 
creation lies outspread, an exercise-ground for virtue. For 
him, the law was made, commanding the imitation of the 
Creator in accordance with his powers and a reproducing up- 
on earth, as if in rough outline, of the good order of heaven. 
This is the being which departs from this world at the sum- 
mons. This it is which will be placed before the tribunal of 
God who sent it forth, this it is which will be called to account. 
This being will receive the recompense for the deeds per- 
formed during this life. Moreover, it is evident that virtues 
become our possession when they are, through practice, 
woven into our nature. They do not abandon us while we 
labor on this earth, unless we voluntarily and forcibly cast 
them out by giving entrance to vice. They eagerly run ahead 
of us as we hasten toward the next world. They place their 
possessor in the ranks of the angels and shine for all eternity 



ON DETACHMENT 495 

under the gaze of the Creator, Riches, power, renown, pleas- 
ure, and the whole throng of such follies which increase daily 
by reason of our stupidity do not enter into this life with us, 
nor do they accompany anyone in leaving this world. For 
every man, this saying of the just man of old is unalterably 
and sovereignly true: 'Naked came I out of my mother's 
womb and naked shall I return thither.' 11 

A man who has his own best interests at heart will therefore 
be especially concerned for his soul and will spare no pains 
to keep it stainless and true to itself. If his body is wasted by 
hunger or by its struggles with heat and cold, if it is afflicted 
by illness or suffers violence from anyone, he will make small 
account of it, and, echoing the words of Paul, he will say 
in each of his adversities: 'but though our outward man is 
corrupted, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 512 
When he sees mortal danger approaching, he will not show 
fear, but he will say courageously to himself: 'We know, if 
our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we haye 
a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in 
heaven. 513 But, if a man would also have mercy upon his body 
as being a possession neceesary to the soul and its cooperator 
in carrying on the life on earth, he will occupy himself with 
its needs only so far as is required to preserve it and keep it 
vigorous by moderate care in the service of the soul. He will 
by no means allow it to become unmanageable through satiety. 
If ever he observe that it is inflamed by desires more than 
is good, he will address to it the precept of Paul : 'We brought 
nothing into this world, and certainly we can carry nothing 
out. But having food and wherewith to be covered, with these 
we are content. 314 By continually reciting these words to his 

11 Job 1.21. 

12 2 Cor. 4.16. 

13 2 Cor. 5.1. 

14 1 Tim. 6.7,8. 



496 SAINT BASIL 

body, he will render it tractable and nimble for its journey 
to heaven and he will have a stronger helpmate in the tasks 
that lie ahead. But, if he should permit it to become over- 
bearing and to be surfeited with food of all sorts every day, 
it will, at length, like a wild beast, drag him forcibly to the 
earth along with itself, and there he will lie, groaning to no 
avail. And, when he is brought before the Lord and asked 
for the fruits of the journey on earth which was granted him, 
he will make long lament, since he has none to present, and 
he will dwell in everlasting darkness, uttering loud reproaches 
against luxury and its deceits, by which he was robbed of the 
time of his salvation. Yet, he will have no profit any more of 
of his laments; for 'who,' says David, 'shall confess to thee in 
hell?' 15 

Let us, then, flee with all speed the possibility of commit- 
ting voluntary suicide. And if anyone has fallen victim in the 
past to deception and has amassed riches for himself through 
acts of injustice, fettering his mind to the protection of this 
wealth, or if anyone has contracted the ineffaceable defile- 
ment of fornication, or sated himself with other crimes, let 
him, while there is still time, before, he has gone down to final 
destruction, cast off the greater part of his burden; before 
his ship goes under, let him get rid of his ill-gotten wares, as 
mariners do. When a billow surges foaming out of the sea, 
threatening to engulf the ship weighed down with cargo, the 
sailors drastically reduce the load with all speed; even though 
they may be carrying necessities on the ship, they throw the 
cargo indiscriminately into the sea, in order to raise the ship 
above the waves and, if possible, save only their bodies and 
souls from the peril. Surely it befits us far more than sailors 
to think and act in this way. They lose on the spot whatever 
they throw overboard and, perforce, suffer poverty afterward. 



15 Ps. 6.6. 



ON DETACHMENT 



497 



We however, in proportion as we cast off our burden of 
iniquity, will store up ever greater and more precious riches 
for our souls. Fornication and other vices of this sort are utterly 
destroyed when they are repudiated and they are entirely 
wiped out by repentant tears. Holiness and justice thereafter 
take their place, and, like buoyant objects, they cannot be sub- 
merged by the waves. Furthermore, money, when it is cast 
off to good purpose, is not lost to those who have flung it away 
and cast it from them. As if deposited in other, safer ships 
the stomachs of the poor it is preserved and, reaching the 
harbor in advance, is kept for those who have rid themselves 
of it, not to their peril but unto glory. 

Let us, then, dearly beloved, determine upon a more ben- 
evolent course toward ourselves and distribute among many 
the weight of riches, if we would in reality possess our gains. 
These needy ones will joyfully bear it away and will lay up 
our wealth in the bosom of the Lord as in a safe treasury, 
'where the moth doth not consume and thieves do. not break 
through nor steal/ 16 Let us permit our wealth, which is meant 
for this purpose, to be poured out upon the needy. Let us not 
pass by the Lazaruses who continue even today to lie before 
our eyes, nor begrudge them the crumbs from our tables 
which suffice to still their hunger. By thus refusing to imitate 
the cruel Dives, we shall escape the fire of hell which was his 
portion. 17 Otherwise, we shall pray loudly to Abraham, loudly 
also to those who have led righteous lives, but our cries will 
be of no avail; 'No brother can redeem, shall man redeem? 518 
Every one of them will cry out to us and say: Do not seek 
mercy which you yourself failed to show to others. Desire not 
to receive such great favors, since you were so parsimonious in 



16 Matt. 6.20. 

17 Luke 16.19ff. 

18 Ps. 48.8. 



498 SAINT BASIL 

bestowing lesser ones. Enjoy the goods you gathered together 
in your lifetime. Weep now, since then you had no pity upon 
beholding your brothers' tears. These things they will say to 
us, and justly. And I am afraid that they will accuse us with 
sharper words than these, since, as you well know, our wicked- 
ness is greater than that of the rich man in the Gospel. Not 
wholly in the interest of thriftiness do we ignore our brethren 
lying prostrate upon the ground, and not in order to save our 
wealth for children or other relatives do we close our ears 
to the needy. We spend our money in pursuit of baser aims 
and make our extravagence an incentive to evil for those who 
pander to this lavish spending. How many men and women 
some rich men keep in attendance upon their table ! Of these, 
some there are who beguile their host with vile jests; some 
enkindle the flame of incontinency by indecent glances and 
movements; some, in their efforts to amuse their host, en- 
gage in ribald repartee, and others mislead him by false 
flattery. Npt only are these persons rewarded with a sumptu- 
ous dinner, but they leave with their hands filled with costly 
gifts and so learn under our tutelage that to participate in 
such revelry and to perform such actions are more gainful 
than the practice of virtue. If, however, a poor man, scarcely 
able to speak from hunger, present himself to us, we turn away 
from him, a fellow man. We are revolted and we hasten to 
get away, as if we feared that by walking more slowly we 
might become involved in his misfortune. If he bow down 
to the ground in shame for his unfortunate condition, we say 
that he is practicing hypocrisy. If, goaded by the last stages 
of hunger, he look us boldly in the face, we call him a shame- 
less bully, and if, perchance, he be clothed in garments that 
are not torn (someone having given them to him), we drive 
him away as a greedy fellow and swear he is feigning poverty. 
If he be covered with rags that are falling to pieces, again 



ON DETACHMENT 499 

we drive him away as ill-smelling. Although he may invoke 
in his pleading the Name of the Creator and, although he 
solemnly and unremittingly pray that a like misfortune may 
not befall us, he is unable to change our pitiless decision. For 
this reason I am inclined to think that the fire of hell will be 
more intense for us than for the rich man in the Gospel. If 
time allowed and if my strength were equal to the task, I 
should fulfill my obligation to preach by recounting all the 
evidence contained in the Scripture on this point; but it is 
time for your dismissal, and you are weary. Yet, if I have 
omitted something through weakness of mind and tongue 
alike, do you formulate it for yourselves and apply it as an 
unguent to the wounds of your soul. 'Give an occasion to a 
wise man,' says the Scripture, 'and wisdom shall be added 
unto him. 319 'And God is able to make all grace abound in 
you; that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may 
abound to every good work.' 20 

But, now that our discourse has, as you see, come already 
into port, certain of the brethren are urging me back again 
to my course of advice and exhortation. They bid me not to 
pass over the marvel wrought yesterday by the Lord and not 
to keep silence respecting the memorial erected by the Saviour 
to His victory over the fury of the Devil, so that I may afford 
you an occasion for hymns of joyful exultation. As you know, 
the Devil has again manifested his savage hostility toward us. 
With flames of fire for weapons, he laid siege to the sacred 
enclosure of the church. Once more, however, our common 
mother won the victory and turned back upon the Foe his 
engines of war. He accomplished nothing except to make a 
public avowal of his hatred. Grace, like an opposing gust of 
wind, checked the hostile fall of the scales. The church re- 

19 Prov. 9.9. 

20 2 Cor. 9.8. 



500 SAINT BASIL 

mained unharmed. The tempest raised by our Adversary had 
not power to shake the rock upon which Christ had built the 
fold for His flock. 21 He is at His post even now, in our midst, 
who of old cooled the fiery furnace in Babylon. 22 How the 
Devil must be groaning today, since he did not reap the 
enjoyment he had planned to gain from his project. The vil- 
lain had enkindled a pyre near the church in order to spoil 
our good work. From all quarters the fire fanned by his vio- 
lent blasts was consuming whatever lay in its path, and feeding 
upon the surrounding air. Relentlessly, it approached the 
church, drawing us toward a participation in the disaster. 
But our Saviour caused this catastrophe to fall back upon 
the one who enkindled the blaze and bade him gather in his 
mad fury and take it to himself again. The Enemy made 
ready the bow of treachery, but he was forbidden to let fly 
the shaft rather, he let it fly, but it was turned back again 
on his own head. He had for his own portion the bitter tears 
he had meant us to shed. 

And now, brethren, let us make his wound still more un- 
bearable for our malicious Foe. Let us intensify his pain. How 
this can be done I will tell you, and do you, on your part, 
accomplish it. There are some who were rescued from the 
power of the fire by the Creator, but they escaped the peril 
with their lives only and there remain to them no resources for 
their future livelihood. Those of us, therefore, who have not 
suffered this adversity should place at their disposal our own 
goods. Let us embrace as brothers those who have barely 
escaped with their lives. Let us say of them, each with regard 
to each, 'He was dead and is come to life again, was lost and 
is found/ 23 And let us clothe the body that is like our own. Let 



21 Matt. 16.18. The circumstances of the fire referred to in this paragraph 
are unknown to me. 

22 Dan. 3.49. 

23 Luke 15.24. 



ON DETACHMENT 501 

us answer the contumely of the Evil One with our compassion, 
so that, even though he inflict injury, he may appear to do 
no great harm and may have no conquest to show for all his 
battling; so that, although he has stripped our brethren of 
their goods, he himself may be openly defeated by our liber- 
ality. 

And you, my brethren, who have barely escaped this disas- 
ter, must not be greatly cast down by the evils which have 
occurred, nor even be disturbed in mind. Dispel the mist 
of grief and give renewed vigor to your soul by entertaining 
more courageous thoughts. Make this even an occasion for 
winning your crown. If you remain undisturbed and, like 
true gold, all-gleaming from the fire, 24 more strongly con- 
firmed in the faith, you will increase the confusion of the 
Enemy, who will have failed to elicit even a tear from you by 
his plots. Recall to your minds the patience of Job. Say to 
yourselves as he did : 'the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken 
away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so also is it done. 525 No 
one should be led by his sufferings to think or to say that no 
Providence rules our affairs, nor should any man cast asper- 
sion upon the government and decree of the Lord. Let him 
contemplate the athlete just mentioned and provide himself 
with an adviser of wiser counsel. Let him review in his mind 
all the trials, one after another, in which Job distinguished 
himself and reflect that, for all the many shafts aimed at him 
by the Devil, he did not receive a mortal blow. The Devil 
took from him his domestic prosperity and planned to over- 
whelm him with reports of disasters, following closely upon 
one another. While the first messenger was announcing a 
heavy misfortune, another came, bringing news of more 
serious calamities. Evils were linked, one with another, and 

24 Prov. 17.3. 

25 Job 1.21. 



502 SAINT BASIL 

the catastrophes were like onrushing waves. Before the first 
lamentation had ceased, cause for another was at hand. That 
just man, however, stood firm as a rock, receiving the blasts 
of the tempest and reducing to foam the dash of the waves. 
He sent forth to the Lord a loving cry: The Lord gave, the 
Lord hath taken away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so also 
is it done 5 ; for he deemed worthy of tears none of the evils 
which were befalling him. But, when one came to report 
that, while his sons and daughters were feasting, a violent 
wind had blown down the chamber where the merry-making 
was going on, he rent his garments, showing his natural sym- 
pathy and proving by the action that he was a father who 
loved his children. But even at that moment he set a limit 
and measure to his grief and graced with words of piety the 
misfortune that had occurred : 'the Lord gave, the Lord hath 
taken away; as it hath pleased the Lord, so also is it done/ 
It was as if he were crying out: I was called a father for as 
long a time as He who made me wished it. He willed, in 
turn, to take from me the crown of offspring. I do not resist 
Him in what belongs to Him. May that which seems good 
to the Lord prevail. He is the Maker of my children; I am 
His instrument. Why should I, a servant, give way to useless 
mourning and bitter complaints against a decree which I am 
powerless to avoid? With such words did this just man shoot 
down the Devil. 

But, when the Enemy saw that Job was winning the victory 
and that he could not be shaken by any of these disasters, 
he brought up another siege machine, temptations of the 
flesh. He flayed his body with unspeakable afflictions and 
made it exude streams of worms. From a kingly throne, he 
brought him down to a seat on a dunghill. Yet, although 
he was buffeted there by the woes I have just mentioned, he 
remained steadfast. His body was lacerated, but he kept 



ON DETACHMENT 503 

Inviolate in the depths of his soul the treasure of piety. The 
Enemy, having now no further recourse and bethinking him- 
self of an ancient device of treachery, seduced the mind of 
Job's wife with an impious and blasphemous notion where- 
by she hoped to shake the athlete's resolution. She stood 
beside that just man, haranguing him at great length. She 
prostrated herself and struck her hands together at what she 
saw, casting revilings at him for the rewards his piety had 
brought, recounting the ancient prosperity of their house, 
calling attention to his present misfortunes, the state to which 
he was reduced, and the fine reward he had received from the 
Lord for his many sacrifices. On and on she spoke, expressing 
sentiments worthy of a woman's cowardly heart, yet such senti- 
ments as are capable of disturbing any man and of sub- 
verting even a noble mind. 'I go about, 3 said she, 'like a vag- 
rant and a hired servant. From a queen, I am become a slave. 
I am forced to keep my eyes on the hands of my servants; 26 
I, who once supported many, now consider myself fortunate 
to be fed at the expense of strangers.' She added that it would 
be a better and more beneficial thing for him to destroy him- 
self utterly and to blaspheme, thus sharpening the sword of 
the Creator's wrath, rather than that he prolong the labor of 
the struggle for himself and for her by persevering in the 
patient endurance of his misfortunes. Grieved by her words 
as by none of the evils that had previously afflicted him, he 
turned to his wife a countenance full of wrath. And what are 
his words? 'Why hast thou spoken like one of the foolish wom- 
en?' 27 'Repudiate, woman,' he says [in effect], 'this counsel 
How long wilt thou desecrate our life together by thy words ! 
Thou didst speak falsely (may God avert the evil!) of the 
way of life which was mine and thou didst plot against my 

26 Ps. 122.2. 

27 Job 2.10. 



504 SAINT BASIL 

life. Now, I think that half of myself has committed an im- 
pious act, since marriage has made us twain one body and 
thou hast committed blasphemy. If we have received good 
things at the hand of the Lord, shall we not receive evil? 28 
Recall to your mind our past blessings. Weigh our prosperity 
in the balance with these adversities. For no man is life alto- 
gether happy. To prosper in all things belongs to God alone. 
But, if you are made sorrowful by our present circumstances, 
console yourself by remembering the past. Now you weep, but 
in former days you laughed. Now you are poor, but you have 
been rich. You used to quaff a limpid stream of life. Drink 
with patient endurance this turbid draught. The waters of a 
river do not look perfectly clear. Our life, as you know, is a 
river, flowing ceaselessly and covered with waves flowing, one 
upon the other. Part of the stream has already flowed away; 
part still follows its course. A portion has just now gushed out 
of its spring; another is about to do so. All of us are hurrying 
toward the common sea of death. If we have received good 
things at the hand of the Lord, should we not receive evil? 
Do we compel our Judge to provide us always with the same 
abundance? Do we teach the Lord how He ought to arrange 
our life? He Himself holds the authority over His own de- 
crees. He directs our affairs as He wills. But He is wise, and 
He metes out that which is profitable to His servants. Do not 
curiously examine the Lord's decrees; only love the dispensa- 
tions of His wisdom. Whatever He may bestow upon you, 
receive it with gladness. In adversity prove that you are 
worthy of the joy that was previously yours.' 

Thus Job repulsed the Devil's attack and brought upon him 
the disgrace of total defeat. What happened then? His malady 
left him as if it had visited him to no avail and had gained 
no advantage. His flesh regained the health of a second youth. 

28 Ibid. 



ON DETACHMENT 505 

His life prospered again with all good things and doubled 
riches flowed in from all sides upon his house. One half con- 
sisted of his former wealth, as if he had lost nothing, and 
the other half represented the reward of patience which is 
bestowed upon a just man. But why did he receive in double 
measure houses, mules, camels, sheep, fields, and all the ac- 
coutrements of wealth while the number of children born to 
him remained equal to those who had died? It was because 
brute beasts and riches of all kinds are completely destroyed 
when they perish. Children, on the other hand, even if they 
are dead, live on in the best part of their nature. Therefore, 
when he was favored by the Creator with other sons and 
daughters, he possessed this portion of his goods also in double 
measure one family abiding with him to give joy to their 
parents, the other children gone before to await their father. 
All of them will stand about Job when the Judge of hu- 
man life will gather together the universal Church, when 
the trumpet which is to announce the coming of the King 
calls loudly to the tombs and demands the bodies which have 
been entrusted to their charge. Then, they who now appear 
to be dead will take their place before the Maker of the whole 
world more quickly than will the living. For this reason, I 
think, the Lord allotted to Job a double portion of his other 
wealth, but judged that he would be satisfied with the same 
number of children as before. Do you see how many blessings 
the just Job reaped from his patience? You, also, should there- 
fore, bear patiently any harm which may have come to you 
from yesterday's fire enkindled by a demon's treachery, and 
alleviate your feelings of distress over your misfortune with 
more courageous thoughts, in accordance with the words of 
the Scripture: 'Cast thy care upon the Lord and he shall 
sustain thee.' 29 To Him is owing glory everlasting. Amen. 



29 Ps. 54.23. 




ON MERCY AND JUSTICE 

JLESS ME, FATHER: Because the world is forgetting 
God, my brethren, injustice to neighbor and inhu- 
manity to the weak prevail, confirming the words of 
the holy Apostle: 'As they liked not to have God in their 
knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to 
do those things which are not convenient. Being filled with all 
iniquity, malice, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, 
contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, detractors, hateful 
to God, contumelious, prolid, haughty, inventors of evil 
things, disobedient to parents, foolish, without affection, 
without mercy.' 1 These sinners God is calling back to His 
service and He is instructing them to refrain from vice and to 
be diligent in showing compassion toward their neighbor, as 
the Prophet Isaias taught, speaking in God's stead : 'Cease to 
do perversely; learn to do well.' 2 The law contains many in- 
junctions forbidding us to wrong our neighbor and many pre- 
cepts directing us to be merciful and compassionate. If either 
of these admonitions be neglected, the other does not by itself 
justify a man. Benefactions to the needy, financed by unjust 
gains, are not acceptable with God; yet, a man who refrains 
from committing injustices, but does not share the goods he 
possesses with anyone, is not deserving of praise. With refer- 
ence to the unjust who dare to offer gifts to God, it is written : 
'The victims of the wicked are abominable to the Lord'; 3 
and, regarding the unmerciful: 'He that stoppeth his ear 
against the cry of the poor, shall also cry himself and shall not 

1 Rom. 1. 28-31. 

2 Isa. 1.16-17. 

3 Prov. 15.8. 

507 



508 SAINT BASIL 

be heard.' 4 Proverbs, therefore, gives us also the admonition: 
'Honor the Lord with thy just labors and give him of the first 
fruits of thy justice.' 5 If you will make an offering to God from 
the fruits of injustice and rapine, it would be better not to 
possess such wealth and not to make an offering. An unde- 
filed gift will carry our prayer to heaven, as it is written: 'the 
vows of the just are acceptable with him.' 6 On the other hand, 
if you have acquired gains from honest toil and do not make 
offerings to God, whereby the poor may be fed, robbery will 
be alleged against you, as He says through Malachy: 'First 
fruits and tithes are in your possession and there will be 
plunder in your houses.' 7 You must, therefore, combine jus- 
tice with mercy, spending in mercy what you possess with 
justice, as it is written: 'Keep mercy and justice and draw 
near to thy God always.' 8 Because God loves mercy and jus- 
tice, he who takes care to do mercy and justice draws near 
to God. It remains, then, for each to examine himself 
and for the rich man to take careful inventory of the private 
resources from which he is to offer gifts to God, to make sure 
that he has not oppressed a poor man, or used force against 
one weaker than himself, or cheated one dependent upon him, 
thus exercising license rather than justice. We are bidden to 
practice fairness and justice also toward our slaves. Do not 
employ force because you are in command and do not take 
advantage because it is within your power to do so. On the 
contrary, show forth the deeds of justice because you are able 
to perform the deeds of power. Your fear of God and your 
obedience to Him are not exhibited in abstaining from acts 
which are beyond your competence, but in that, being able 

4 Prov. 21.13. 

5 Pray. 3.9. 

6 Prov. 15.8. 

7 Mai. 3.8,10 (Septuagint) . 

8 Osee 12-6. 



ON MERCY AND JUSTICE 509 

to transgress the law, you do not transgress it. 9 If you give 
alms to the poor after you have despoiled them of their goods, 
it were better for you neither to have taken nor given. Why do 
you defile the wealth that is rightfully yours by adding unjust 
gains to it? Why do you make the gift from injustice which 
you are daring to offer an abomination by forming the inten- 
tion of showing mercy to some other poor man? Be merciful 
to the one whom you have wronged. Exercise benevolence 
toward him. Show him kindness and you will fulfill the duty 
of mercy with justice. God will have no part in avarice nor 
will the Lord be a comrade to thieves and robbers. He has 
not left us the poor to feed because He is unable to do this, 
but He asks from us, for our own good, the fruit of justice 
and mercy. Mercy does not spring from injustice, nor blessing 
from a curse, nor benefits from tears. God says to those who 
draw forth tears from the victims of their injustice: 'that 
which I have hated you did ; you covered my altar with tears, 
with weeping and groaning.' 10 Take pity on the goods you 
have acquired by your labors and do not commit injustice 
on the pretext of offering your mercy to God mercy which 
was made possible by injustice. This is vainglory and aspiring 
to the praises of men, not to the praise which is from God. 
Well does the Lord admonish us not to be seen by men. 11 If 
you show mercy with God as Witness, you will be sure of not 
doing it for selfish gain, since you are aware that this would 
not be pleasing to God your Witness. Let us, then, show 
mercy that we may receive it from God. But God bestows His 
mercy upon those only whom He commends and He does 
not commend an avaricious man. You are not entitled to offer 
gifts to God if you offend your brother. 'If thou offer thy gift 

9 Eccli. 31.10. 

10 Mai. 2.13. 

11 Matt. 6.1. 



510 SAINT BASIL 

at the altar,' says the Lord, 'and there thou remember that 
thy brother hath anything against thee, go first to be recon- 
ciled to thy brother; and then, coming thou shalt offer thy 
gift/ 12 Remember the publican, Zacheus, who asserted that 
he restored fourfold if he committed any fraud and distributed 
half of the remainder to the poor. 13 He wished to receive 
Christ into his house, you see, and he knew that Christ would 
approve of lavish alms to the poor only on condition that 
restitution be made for gains unjustly acquired. The Lord, 
therefore, commended the uprightness of Zacheus and said: 
This day is salvation come to this house.' 14 So much for those 
who fulfill the precept insofar as showing mercy is concerned 
but are careless of justice. To the man who refrains from com- 
mitting injustice, but is negligent in showing mercy, we say: 
'every tree that doth not yield fruit shall be cut down and 
cast into the fire.' 15 Never will such a tree be pleasing to the 
divine Husbandman who declared that He came seeking fruit 
on the fig tree and found none and who ordered it to be cut 
down that it might not cumber the ground. 16 It appears, also, 
that one who does not give back his pledge to a poor man 
stands condemned with God, for the following threat is di- 
rected against such a one : 'He who does not receive back his 
pledge will cry to me/ says the Lord, 'and I will hear him 
because I am compassionate.' 17 [Of old,] it was wicked and 
unlawful to gather the sheaves left after the harvest, or to 
glean the vines after the vintage, or to gather up the olives 
that remain after the trees were picked, because these things 
were to be left for the poor. 18 Now, if this was commanded 

12 Matt. 5.23,21. 

13 Luke 19.8. 

14 Luke 19.9. 

15 Matt. 3.10. 

16 Luke 13.7. 

17 Exod. 22.27. 
22 Luke 6.38. 

18 Deut. 24.19-21. 



ON MERCY AND JUSTICE 511 

those who were under the Law, what shall we say of those 
who are in Christ? To them the Lord says : 'Unless your jus- 
tice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you 
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 519 For this reason 
does the Apostle exhort us to share with the needy, not only 
the produce of our fields, and our profits, but also the work 
of our hands. 'Working with your hands/ he says, 'the thing 
which is good, that you may have something to give to him 
that suffereth need.' 20 And the Lord bids whoever would come 
after Him to sell all his possessions on behalf of the poor and 
then to follow Him. 21 Upon those who are already His fol- 
lowers and upon the perfect, however, He enjoins the accom- 
plishment of the duty of charity in a perfect and unrestricted 
manner, so that, having fulfilled the ministry as regards 
worldly goods, they may pass on to the ministry of the reason 
and the spirit. From others, moreover, He requires a continual 
sharing and communicating of that which they possess, that, 
by showing mercy, sharing their goods, and conferring bene- 
fits, they may reproduce in themselves the benevolence of 
God. 'Give,' He says, 'and it shall be given to you. 522 Further- 
more, He has promised that if they practice these virtues, they 
will be united with Him. These, indeed, are they who will 
stand at the right hand of the Lord. To them the King will 
say at His coming: 'Come, blessed of my Father, possess you 
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world. For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was 
thirsty and you gave me to drink. I was naked and you 
covered me, a stranger, and you took me in, sick and in 
prison and you came to me/ And when the just wonder and 
say: 'When did we do these things to you, Lord?' He will 

19 Matt. 5.20. 

20 Eph. 4.28. 

21 Matt. 19.21. 



512 SAINT BASIL 

answer: 'Amen, amen, I say to you, as long as you did it to 
one of these, my least brethren, you did it to me.' 23 Ready 
kindness shown to the saints is piety toward Christ and he 
who ministers zealously to the poor man becomes a comrade 
of Christ not only if he be rich and shares great pos- 
sessions, but even if he offers to the needy the little that he 
has, although it be merely a cup of cold water which he gives 
a disciple to drink in the name of a disciple. 24 The neediness of 
the disciples which to the worldling is poverty is a source of 
true riches to you, O man of wealth, for you become thereby 
a co-worker with Christ. You nourish the soldiers of Christ, 
and this, not under compulsion but willingly. The kingdom of 
heaven does not employ force, nor does it exact tribute, but 
it welcomes those who freely offer their goods, so that, in 
giving them away, they may receive and may be honored in 
bestowing honor, and that, in sharing their temporal pos- 
sessions, they may become partakers in eternal blessings. These 
thoughts let us ever keep in mind and before the eyes of our 
soul, that, when an opportunity offers, we may not pass it 
by and lose the present occasion in awaiting another; for, 
while we are thus waiting and postponing, we might be over- 
taken by death. The Lord make us fruitful, vigilant, and 
mindful of His commandments and grant that at His glorious 
coming we may be found ready and free from all impedi- 
ment, in Christ our God, to whom with the Father and the 
Holy Spirit be glory, empire, and honor now and always 
and forever and ever. Amen. 

23 Matt. 25.34-40. 

24 Matt. 10.42. 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Aaron, 30, 452 

Abimilech, 478 

Abraham, 16, 59, 335, 45 1, 
497 

Absalom, 477 

Achar, 43 

Adam, 24, 25 

Adonias, 477 

Agabus, 285 

Agag, 458 

Ambrose, St., v 

Ananias, 50, 208 

Angels, 11, 12, 18, 31, 36, 209, 
229, 494 

Anger, 447-461; control of, 
443; definition of, 459; 
effects of, observed in others, 
447-450; means of avoiding, 
459-461; proper exercise of, 
45 6-45 9 ; recommendations 
for proper reaction to, 450- 
456 

Anomaeans, 37 

Anthony of Egypt, St., v, vii, x 

Apostles, 17, 36, 47, 50, 62, 
309, 310, passim 

Ark of the Covenant, 46 

Ascete, 9-13, 15-31, 33-36, 207- 
215, 2 17-222;. conduct of: 
associations, 23 ; bodily mor- 
tification, x, 30, 435-436; 



conversation, 23, 27, 221, 
263; custody of the heart,. 
21, 22, 27, 33, 243; disci- 
pline, of passions, 34, 208, 
209, 214, 217, 443; of senses 
and bodily members, 21, 22, 
26-27, 33, 270-271; disobe- 
dience, 325; doctrinal dis- 
putes, 34-35; duties, 29, 34; 
injuries, 34-35; meals, 28^ 
280-281; posture, 21, 22, 27; 
praise, 35-36; prayer, 28-29; 
relations with elders, 27, 33; 
with relatives, 295-296; re- 
nunciation, xii, 18-22, 217, 
252-259; service of God, 35; 
silence, xii, 30, 33, 263 ; soli- 
tude, 33; wine, 35, 296-298; 
worldly interests, 34 - 35 ; 
women, 35, 296-298; see also 
Detachment; Ministry; Obe- 
dience; Work 

Ascetical Discourses, 15-31, 
207-215, 217-222 

Ascetical life, as celestial war- 
fare, 10; as spiritual war- 
fare, 12; avoidance of im- 
moderation in, 211-212; 
cross-bearing life, 15; life in 
Christ, 15, 21; life of con- 
tinency, 25; of discipline, 19;- 



515 



516 



INDEX 



of lowliness and recollection, 
15, 230; of virtue, 22, 30; 
way of the angels, 18, 209; 
see also Ascete 
Augustine, St., v 

Baptism, 100, conditions for, 
341-348; heaven promised 
through, 349-354; mark of 
a Christian, 204; meaning of 
death and regeneration in, 
357-376; need of instruction 
before, 339-340; of fire, 362, 
386; of water, 346, 371, 373, 
384; recipients of, nourished 
by Holy Eucharist, 386-390; 
reform of life required after, 
391-393; significance of 
naming of Trinity in, 376- 
386; superiority of, institut- 
ed by Christ, 354-356 

Barnabas, 322 

Basil, St., account of conver- 
sion, vii-viii; association with 
St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 
vi, vii; family, vi; monastic 
directives, ix-xii; Pontic re- 
treat, vi, viii; and Scripture, 
xi; social ideal of, xi; Stoic 
rigorism of, x; study of coe- 
nobitism, vii-ix 

Basil, the elder, vi 

Benedict, St., xii 

Cain, 465 

Candidates, reception and trial 
of, 259-261 



Cassian, xii 

Chaldeans, 26 

Cham, 25 

Charity, 420, 430; fraternal, 
24, 33, 34, 213, 217, 219, 
220, 328; goal of action, 
381-383; innate power, 239- 
241; judgment of others, 
134-136; love of God a 
natural tendency, 232-239; 
love of neighbor, 27-28, 426- 
428; mark of a Christian^ 
65-67 

Cherubim, 31 

Children, and parents, 193- 
194; reception and training 
of, 264-268, 329-330 

Christ, 15, 21, 34, 36, 42, 47, 
51, 55, 63, 339, 344, passim; 
baptism instituted by, 354- 
356; confession of, 79-80; 
illustrative of humility, 383- 
384; Incarnation of, 26, 319, 
343, 362, 370; name of, ia 
baptism, 376-386; Passion 
of, 62, 212; Resurrection of, 
154-155; trust in, 81-85, 89 

Christian, marks of, 65-67, 196- 
205 

Church, v, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 
50, 437, 505 

Cincture, 284-285 

Clothing, 281-284 

Commandments, sequence in* 
232 

Common life, ix, 213, 217-218, 
250-251, 286 



INDEX 



517 



Concerning Baptism, 339-430 
Concerning Faith, 57-69 
Confession, 15, 310 
Confessors, Holy, 36 
Conscience, daily examination 

of, 33, 215 
Continency, 22, 23, 219, 268- 

277, 435436 
Controversies, 326-327 
Core, 412 
Customs, human observance 

of condemned, 49-50, 89, 

255, 375, 376 

David, 17, 35, 36, 39, 40, 229, 
250, 310, 356, passim 

Deferrari, Roy J., vii 

Detachment, 33, 487-505; ex- 
hortations to, 496-499; from 
material goods, 434-435 ; 
man's true nature and, 494- 
496 ; necessity for, 242 ; plea- 
sures of life and, 489-494; 
purity and, 74-76, 144 

Devil, 25, 30, 35, 58, 60, 220, 
341, 342, 347, passim; futile 
malice of, 499-501; Job's re- 
sistance to, 501-505; wiles 
of, 487-489 

Director, spiritual, obedience 
to, 20-21, 26; qualities of, 
19-20 

Disobedience, in sins of omis- 
sion, 404-405; in those who 
do not accept superior's reg- 
ulations, 325; judgment of 



God upon, 39-53; treatment 
of, 289-290; see also Obedi- 
ence 

Dissertation on Ascetical Disci- 
pline, 33-36 

Dives, 497 

Elias, 269, 284, 458 

Emmelia, vi 

Envy, 463-474; avoidance of 
those afflicted by, 468-474; 
definition and symptoms of, 
463-465; effects and ulti- 
mate futility of, 465-468; 
hypocrisy and, 474; warped 
judgments resulting from, 
470-471 

Esau, 25 

Establishments, monastic, cen- 
tralization of, 301-304 

Eucharist, Holy, 101-103, 205, 
386-390, 395-396 

Eustathius of Sebaste, ix 

Ezechias, 333, 334 

Faith, definition of, 59; limita- 
tions of language for, 60-63 ; 
mark of a Christian, 203- 
204; methods of expound- 
ing, 58-60; profession of, 63- 
65; steadfast, 117 

Fathers, Holy, 34, 36 

Gedeon, 478 

Gluttony, 24-26, 279; avoid- 
ance of, 273-277 



518 



INDEX 



God, 17, 34, 36,51,53,55, 58, 
62-65, passim; gifts of, 137, 
138, 141-143; gratitude to, 
35; judgment of, 37-55; 
love of, 76-77,80, 86, 89-91, 
93-99, 104 3 119, 122-124, 
232-239; trust in, 81-85, 89; 
will of, a goal of action, 243- 
245, 300-301, 308, 381-383 
Goliath, 466, 477 
Gomorrha, 187 
Gregory Nazianzan, St., vi, vii 
Gregory of Nyssa, St., vii 
Gregory Thaumaturgos, St., vi 

Hcli, 46, 290 

Homilies, 431-505 

Hospitality, 115-117; 277-280 

Humility, 21, 29, 30, 33, 122, 
319, 475-486; hostility of 
certain apparent goods to, 
475-478; life of Christ illus- 
trating, 483-484; penalties 
suffered for violations of, 
482-483 ; rules for acquiring, 
484-486; true good of man 
found in, 478-483 

Hypocrisy, and envy, 474 

Introduction to the Ascetical 

Life, A n, 9-13 
Israelites, 25, 45, 46, 354, 397, 

413, 454, 468, 478, 482 

Jacob, 279 

James, St., 254, 352 

Jehu, 398 



Jereboam, 26 

Jezabel, 458 

fob, 17, 18, 45, 229, 272, 285, 

335, 485, 501-504 
John the Baptist, St., 71, 270, 

282, 284, 340, 354, 355, 361, 

366, 400, 403, 405, 425, 426 
Jonas, 397, 426 
Josaphat, 483 
Joseph, 368, 467 
Journeys, prescriptions for, 

320, 322 
Justice, 229-230, 507-512 

Laughter, 33, 271-272 
Lazarus, 335, 497 
Levites, 458 
Long Rules, 223-337 
Lot, 25 

Macrina, the elder, vi 
Macrina (sister of St. Basil), 

vi, vii 

Madianite woman, 458 
Marriage, 16-18, 189-190, 242; 

reception of married persons 

into monastic life, 262-263 
Martha, 279 
Martyrs, 36 
Mary (sister of Moses), 44> 

452 

Maximian, vi 
Medicines, proper use of, 330- 

337 

Meekness, 30 
Mercy, divine, and justice, 229- 

230,507-512 



INDEX 



519 



Ministry., exhortations to work 
of, 29; difficulties in, 249- 
250; organization in, 214 

Morals, 71-205 

Moses, 44, 240, 269, 348, 354, 
355, 364, 366, 392, 393, 397, 
403, 416, 426, 432, 452, 458 

Nabochodnoser, 26 
Neighbor, love of, 27-28, 77- 

79, 110, 426-428 
Nicodemus, 351 

Noe, 25 

Oaths, 34, 215 

Obedience, death to be risked 
in, 428-430; kinds of, 227- 
228; monastic, xi; obstacles 
to, 425-426; to divine com- 
mands, 224-231, 252-254, 
400-403, 407-417; to spirit- 
ual director, 20-21, 26 

Onesimus, 261 

Origen, vii 

Pachomius, coenobitism of, vii, 

viii, x 

Pasch, mystic, 210 
Patriarchs, 36 
Penalties, gravity of, 214, 436; 

how to accept, 329 
Penance, 71-74, 224 
Peter, St., 17, 50, 52, 61, 208, 

285, 294, 321, 423, 425, 426, 

480, 481 

Peter (brother of St. Basil), vi 
Pharaoh, 368, 468, 477 



P hit oc alia, vii 

Prayer, 28-29, 137-141, 152, 

212-213, 308-311 
Preachers, 162-184 
Preface on the Judgment of 

God, 37-55 

Priesthood, 184-185, 393-395 
Produce, monastic, sale of, 312- 

314 
Profession, religious, conditions 

for, 267 
Prophets, 36, 237, 348, 357 > 

379, 386, 418 

Renunciation, ascetical, xii,. 

18-22, 217, 252-259 
Rufinus, xii 

Saints, 59, 66, 67, 107, 186, 
229, 241, 254, 255, 269, 282, 
284, 310, 313, 335, 356, 373, 
386, 396, 406; 426, 430, 452, 
512 

Samuel, 17, 458 

Sara, 272 

Saul, 458, 466, 480 

Scandal, 111-114, 118, 422- 
425 

Scriptures, Holy, 18, 19, 22, 24, 
30, 34, 37-40,43,47, 51, 54, 
57, 67-69, 71, 75, 403-408, 
412, 416, 418, passim; ap- 
parent contradictions in, 
396-400; basis of St. Basil's 
monastic doctrine, xi; guid- 
ance of Holy Spirit needed 
for interpretation of, 357 



520 



INDEX 



Quotations from or references 
to Bibical writers or books: 

Acts, 37 n., 42 n., 50 n., 58 n., 
68, 72, 73, 83-85, 88, 98, 106, 
116, 128, 136, 138, 141, 142, 
144, 145, 151-154, 163, 165, 
167, 169, 170, 172-175, 178, 
180, 183-185, 188, 191, 196, 
201, 208 n., 212 m., 223 n., 
252 n., 254 n., 262 n., 275 n., 
285 n., 295 n., 298 n., 304 
n., 306, 307 n., 310 n., 321 
n., 322 n., 335 n., 426 n., 
428 n., 429 n. 

Amos, 278 n. 

Baruch, 64 

Canticle of Canticles, 234 

Colossians, 29 n., 60 n., 63 n., 
64 n., 85, 101, 105, 120, 134, 
135, 138, 152, 157, 161, 194, 
204 n., 253 n., 274 n., 308 n., 
315 n., 352 n., 359 n., 369 n., 
373 n., 379 n., 384-386 nn., 
39 In., 392 n., 396 n., 402 n., 
417 n., 426 n., 428 n. 

1 Corinthians, 13 n., 21 n., 35 
n., 41 n., 42 n., 50 n., 53 n., 
60-62 nn., 64 n., 66 n., 79, 
86, 88, 89, 94, 95, 102, 103, 
108, 109, 112, 117, 125, 128, 
129, 131, 134-137, 140, 142, 
145-147, 149, 155, 157, 168, 
169, 179, 188, 189, 195, 197, 
200,202, 203, 217 n., 227 n., 
23 In., 238 n., 242 n., 244 n., 
248-250 nn., 253 n., 259 n., 



262 n., 268 n,, 272-274 nn., 
279-282 nn., 286 n., 290 n., 
292 n., 295-299 nn., 302 n., 
314 n., 319 n., 320 n., 323- 
325 nn., 332 n., 334 n., 335 
n., 337 n., 350 n., 352 n., 
363 n., 372 n., 377 n., 378 
n., 382 n., 383 n., 388-390 
nn., 395 n., 396 n., 400 n., 
402 n., 408 n., 414-417 nn., 
420 n., 421 n., 424 n., 425 n., 
427 n., 428 n., 433 n., 437 n., 
438 n., 442 n., 452 n., 479 
n., 480 n., 482 n. 
2 Corinthians, 10 n., 40 n., 48 
n., 49 n., 57 n., 72, 74, 75, 
79, 83, 103, 109, 114, 125, 
126, 132, 133, 148, 151, 157, 
160, 177, 178, 180, 188, 198, 
205 n., 224 n., 226 n., 246 n., 
251 n., 254 n., 256 n., 267 
n., 268 n., 273 n., 291 n., 
292 n., 296 n., 300 n., 306 
n., 315 n., 329 n., 336 n., 
341-343 nn., 347 n., 353 n., 
354 n., 360 n., 362 n., 366 
n., 372 n., 374 n., 375 n., 
380 n., 382 n., 385 n., 389 
n., 390 n., 392 n., 394 n., 

396 n., 397 n., 406 n., 407 n., 
412 n., 420 n., 423 n., 454 
n., 480 n., 495 n., 499 n. 

Daniel, 26 n., 229, 270 n., 500 

n. 
Deuteronomy, 13 n., 23 n., 

49 n., 269 n., 297 n., 366 n., 

397 n., 403 n., 416 n., 432 
n., 437 n., 510 n. 



INDEX 



521 



Ecclesiastes, 63 n., 249 n., 271 
n., 308 n., 332 n., 412 n., 
469 n., 488 n. 

Ecclesiasticus, 35 n., 248 n., 
326 n., 434 n., 488 n., 509 n. 

Ephesians, 10 n., 42 n.., 57 n., 
61 n., 64 n., 68 n., 78, 87, 
91, 105, 106, 128, 132, 136, 
140, 157, 160, 172, 181, 189, 
192, 194, 197, 203, 205 n., 
228 n., 230 n., 249 n., 253 
n., 264 n., 281 n., 294 n., 
301 n., 304 n., 306 n., 307 
n., 3 18 n., 344 n., 349 n., 354 
n., 358 n., 362 n., 378-380 
nn., 383 n., 390 n., 392-394 
nn., 402 n., 417 n., 420 n., 
438 n., 447 n., 461 n., 474 
n., 511 n. 

Exodus, 44 n., 240 n., 269 n., 
458 n., 478 n., 510 n. 

Ezechiel, 287 n., 293 n., 328 n., 
371 n., 438 n. 

Galatians, 12 n., 55 n., 59 n., 
67 n., 74, 92, 101, 118, 119, 
145, 157, 160, 165, 166, 181, 
186, 187, 199, 204 n., 238 n., 
253 n., 254 n., 268 n., 287 
n., 342 n., 344 n., 345 n.. 
348 n., 352 n., 360 n., 365 
n., 367 n., 369-371 nn., 376- 
379 nn., 381 n., 385 n., 391- 
393 nn., 412 n., 416 n., 420 
n., 427 n., 436 n., 474 n. 
480 n., 482 n., 485 n. 

Genesis, 16 n., 23-25 nn., 210 
n., 225 n., 230 n., 269 n., 



272 n, 279 n., 283 n., 331 
n., 358 n., 368 n., 407 n., 
440 n., 441 n., 451 n., 458 
n., 465 n., 467 n., 468 n., 

477 n., 480 n. 

Hebrews, 162, 241 n., 282 n., 
362 n., 442 n., 460 n. 

Isaias, 41 n., 236 n., 238 n., 
287 n., 292 n., 357 n., 363 
n., 375 n., 385 n., 406 n., 
409 n., 412 n., 443 n., 448 
n., 455 n., 477 n., 482 n., 
483 n., 489 n., 507 n. 

James, 352 n., 448 n., 482 n., 

Jeremias, 29 n., 244 n., 258 n., 
287 n., 300 n., 318 n., 335 
n., 403 n., 405 n., 437 n., 

478 n. 

Job, 45 n., 264 n., 272 n., 285 
n., 335 n., 357 n., 398 n., 
454 n., 485 n., 495 n., 501 
n., 503 n., 504 n. 

Joel, 227 n., 363 n. 

John, 9 n., 16 n., 19 n., 42 n., 43 
n.,51 n., 53 n., 58 n., 59 n., 
62-66 nn., 72, 76-79, 81, 82, 
84, 86, 87, 89, 90, 92, 100- 
104, 108, 113, 115, 117, 128, 
131, 134-136, 144, 145, 148, 
149, 153, 165, 166, 168-172, 
174, 177, 178, 181, 186, 187, 
193, 197-199, 201-203, 204 
n. 226 n., 231 n., 233 n., 240 
n., 242 n, 243 n., 245 n., 252 
n., 254, 276 n., 285 n., 288 
n., 295 n., 313 n., 326 r., 
332 n., 335 n., 341 n., 342 



522 



INDEX 



n, 346 n, 349 n, 35Q n., 
352 n., 353 n., 355 n., 356 
n., 361 n, 366 n., 367 n., 
371 n., 372 n., 374 n., 376 n., 
377 n., 380 n., 381 n., 387- 
389 nn, 391 n., 399-401 nn., 
403 n., 406 n., 409 n., 413 
n., 422 n., 423 n., 426-430 
nn., 442 n., 454 n., 459 n., 
460 n., 478 n., 480 n. 

1 John, 220 n., 244 n. 

Judges, 38 n., 478 n. 

Josue, 43 n., 44 

1 Kings, 26 n., 269 n., 459 n., 
476 n., 477 n. 

2 Kings, 230 n., 285 n., 335 n., 
398 n. 

Leviticus, 30 n., 45 n., 292 n., 
350 n., 393 n., 395 n., 416 
n., 421 n. 

Luke, 17 n., 28 n., 33 n., 35 n., 
47 n., 57 n., 58 n., 66 n., 
74, 78, 80-82, 85, 87, 88, 90, 
91, 93, 94, 96, 97, 102, 104. 
107, 110, 116-118, 120, 122' 
127, 129432, 134, 137-139, 
141, 144, 148, 149, 151-154, 
156, 162, 165, 167, 168, 170- 
172 } 178, 180-183, 187, 189, 
192, 194, 195, 205 n, 223 n, 
225 n, 23 In, 235 n, 241 n, 
243 n., 246 n, 253-255 nn. 
257 n, 262 n, 269 n., 271 
n., 272 n., 275 n, 278 n., 279 
n, 281 n., 285 n., 288 n, 
292 n., 303 n., 307 n, 319 
n., 324 n., 334 n., 335 n., 



340 n, 344-347 nn., 349-351 
nn., 353 n., 360 n., 361 n., 
364 n, 382-384 nn., 388 n., 
397 n, 399 n., 404 n., 406 
n, 411 n, 414 n., 415 n., 
420 n, 422-424 nn., 438 n., 
440 n., 468 n., 481 n, 482 
n., 486 n., 491 n., 497 n,, 
500 n, 510 n, 511 n. 

Malachias, 228 n., 409 n., 413 
n, 508 n., 509 n. 

Mark, 15-17 nn., 20 n., 58 n., 
64 n., 71,84,89, 98,99, 110, 
122 3 129, 139, 151, 155, 175, 
212 n, 245 n, 254 n, 258 
n., 264 n., 294 n., 303 n., 355 
n., 400 n., 412 n., 413 n., 
429 n., 443 n., 459 n., 486 n. 

Matthew, 11 n., 17 n., 24 n., 
28-30 nn., 36 n., 40 n, 42 
n., 51-53 nn., 58 n., 60 n., 
62 n., 64 n, 65 n., 67 n, 71- 
73, 75-77, 79-81, 83, 84, 87, 
90, 92, 93, 95-100, 103, 105- 
109, 111, 113-126, 128-134, 
138-140, 142-153, 155, 156, 
158-160, 162, 164-166, 168, 
170, 173, 175-177, 179-183, 
186-189, 195, 197, 199-202, 
205 n., 212 n., 220 n., 223 n., 
224 n., 226-233 nn, 240 n., 
244 n, 250-259 nn, 261 n., 
270 n, 273 n, 274 n, 276 
n, 277 n, 282-285 nn, 290 
n, 291 n, 293 n, 295 n, 
300 n, 305-307 nn, 310 n 
313 n, 317 n, 319 n, 325 



INDEX 



523 



n., 332 n, 339-345 nn, 350- 
358 nn, 361-364 nn, 366 
n., 368 n., 372 n., 375 n., 
376 n., 381-384 nn, 386-388 
nn., 390 n., 393-395 nn., 397 
n., 399 n., 401 n., 402-407 
nn., 411-416 nn., 418420 
nn., 422 n., 423 n., 425 n., 
427 n., 433 n., 439 n., 442 
n., 443 n., 447 n., 448 n., 
452 n., 455 n., 461 n., 481 n., 
485 n., 486 n., 497 n., 500 
n., 509-512 nn. 

Micheas, 335 n., 418 n. 

Nahum, 363 n. 

Numbers, 25 n., 43-45 nn., 48 
n., 296 n., 412 n., 452 n., 
458 n. 

Osee, 418 n., 424 n., 508 n. 

1 Paralipomenon, 301 n. 

2 Paralipomenon, 483 n. 

1 Peter, 18 n., 45 n., 340 n., 
386 n., 397 n., 482 n., 485 n. 

Philemon, 261 n., 262 n r 

Philippians, 35 n., 64 n., 77, 
92,96,97,99, 115, 121, 122, 
137, 146, 160, 161, 171, 179, 
186, 199, 200, 235 n., 238 n., 
242 n., 255 n., 256 n., 291 
n., 303 n., 304 n., 357 n., 
363 n., 365 n., 367-369 nn, 
373 n, 375 n, 378 n, 382 
n, 386 n., 413 n, 420 n, 
429 n, 438 n, 479 n., 480 
n, 488 n. 

Proverbs, 22 n., 24 n, 27 n, 
68 n, 228 n., 241 n., 243 n. 



246 n., 249 n., 260 n., 269 
n., 271 n., 280 n, 293 n., 
297 n., 298 n., 307 n, 324 
n., 325 n, 334 n, 349 n., 
418 n, 420 n, 434 n., 441 
n., 447 n., 468 n, 485 n., 
487 n, 499 n., 501 n., 507 n., 
508 n. 

Psalms, 13 n., 35 n., 36 n, 39 
n., 40 n., 52 n, 54 n., 59 n., 
212 n., 228-231 nn, 235 n, 
238 n, 244 n, 245 n, 247 
n, 251 n, 252 n, 256 n, 
261 n, 264 n, 297 n, 309- 
311 nn, 315 n, 324 n, 339 
n, 356-358 nn, 361 n, 370 
n, 378 n, 398 n, 412 n, 
416 n, 418 n, 421 n, 427 
n, 432 n, 437 n, 446 n, 
451 n, 452 n, 455-457 nn, 
460 n, 488 n, 489 n, 496 
n, 497 n, 503 n, 505 n. 

Romans, 22 n, 34-36 nn, 39 
n, 41 n, 42 n, 45 n, 49 n, 
50 n, 57 n, 59 n, 64 n, 72, 
76-78, 82, 86, 88, 96, 100, 
104, 108, 110, 111, 119, 120, 
125, 130, 131, 134, 135, 142, 
145, 156, 159, 165, 171, 196, 
198, 202, 204 n, 210 n, 218 
n, 219 n, 224 n, 227 n, 
229 n, 230 n, 239 n, 240 
n, 250 n, 252 n, 269 n, 
282 n, 286 n, 291 n, 325 n, 
341-343 nn, 347 n, 352 n, 
358-360 nn, 362 n, 363 n., 
366 n, 368-375 nn, 377 n.. 



524 



INDEX 



380 n., 384 n., 385 n., 390-393 
nn., 389 n., 400 n., 403 n., 
410 n., 413 n., 416 n., 424 
n., 427 n., 430 n., 460 n.. 
464 n., 465 n., 477 n., 480 
n., 507 n. 

1 Samuel, 46 n., 47 n., 264 n. 
290 n., 458 n., 466 n., 467 
n., 477 n., 478 n., 480 n. 

2 Samuel, 455 n,, 477 n. 

1 Thessalonians, 68 n., 91, 95, 
98, 114, 138, 142, 144, 154, 
155, 161, 169, 171-173, 175 
177, 184, 186, 187, 202, 287 
n., 288 n., 308 n., 315 n., 367 
n., 382 n., 428 n., 430 n. 

2 Thessalonians, 39 n., 67 n. } 
88, 90, 129, 133, 140, 210 
n., 264 n., 307 n., 308 n., 
317 n., 318 n., 368 n., 418 n. 

1 Timothy, 34 n., 53 n., 124- 
127, 137-139, 157, 158, 163- 
166, 169, 184, 185, 189, 190, 
192, 193, 201, 210 n., 269 n., 
274 n., 276 n., 278 n., 282 
n., 284 n., 291 n., 293 n., 
299 n., 319 n., 320 n., 382 
n., 409 n., 424 n., 438 n., 
495 n., 

2 Timothy, 9 n., 20 n., 33 n., 
80, 105, 107, 123, 130, 148, 
153, 158, 180-182, 185, 200, 
201, 225 n., 230 n., 258 n., 
264 n., 269 n, 320 n, 327 
n., 360 n., 368 n., 370 n., 
407 n., 434 n., 437 n., 438 
n., 442 n. 



Titus, 80, 158, 161, 163, 167, 
183, 185, 188, 189, 193, 196, 
223 n., 274 n., 296 n. 

Wisdom, 477 n. 

Zacharias, 230 n., 282 



Self-scrutiny, 432-446 

Semei, 455 

Servants, and masters, 192-193 

Silas, 310 

Sin, gravity of, 85-88, 103, 104, 
341-348 

Sinners, association with, for- 
bidden, 292-293, 417-422; 
displeasing to God, 406-407; 
duties toward, 129-134, 188 

Slaves, treatment of runaway, 
261-262 

Sodom, 187 

Solitary life, advantages of, 
245-247; disadvantages, 210, 
247-252 

Solomon, 63, 241, 245, 280, 
307, 397, 412, 418, 469, 476, 
487 

Speaking, restricted use of, 222, 
296-298, 322-324, 327 

Spirit, Holy, 34-36, 42, 43, 54, 
55, 63-67, passim; gifts of, 
144-145; guidance of, 357 

Stewards, monastic duties of, 
298-300 

Stoicism, xi 

Superior, assistant to, 301, 
303-304, 322-324; consulta- 
tions with others, 330; func- 



INDEX 



525 



tions of, 214, 222, 287-288, 
318-321, 327-329; qualifica- 
tions for, 210-211, 218, 301, 
318-320; relations between 
subject and, 210, 218, 219, 
288-289, 291, 293-294, 324, 
326 

Temptation, and trial, 147-153 
Theodoret of Cyrus, xii 
Trades, appropriate for ascete, 

311-312; care of implements 

of, 316-317; choice of, 314- 

316 
Transactions, commercial, 313- 

314 
Trinity, Holy, 34, 65, 376-378, 

passim 

Virginity, 16, 195, 207-208, 
221-222 



Visitors, 213 

Widows, 191-192 

Wine, use of, 35, 212, 296-298 

Withdrawal, from monastic 
life, 305-306; treatment of 
those repudiating vows, 263- 
264 

Women, ix, 35, 190-191, 296; 
as ascetes, 12, 221-222; re- 
lations with consecrated, 
296-298 

Worldly possessions, renunci- 
ation of, 257-259, 434-435; 
use of, 124-129 

Work, physical, xii, 21, 29, 30, 
33, 211, 306-311, 317-318 

Zacheus, 510 
Zambri, 458 
Zeal, 91-92 
Zebedee, 254 




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5 m 



130450