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St. Basil the Great, From his Letters

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Page 13

 Letter 22, Without address; On the Perfection of the Life of Solitaries.


MANY things are set forth by inspired Scripture as binding upon all who are anxious to please God. But, for the present, I have only deemed it necessary to speak by way of brief reminder concerning the questions which have recently been stirred among you, so far as I have learnt from the study of inspired Scripture itself. I shall thus leave behind me detailed evidence, easy of apprehension, for the information of industrious students, who in their turn will be able to inform others. The Christian ought to be so minded as becomes his heavenly calling, and his life and conversation ought to be worthy of the Gospel of Christ. The Christian ought not to be of doubtful mind, nor by anything drawn away from the recollection of God and of His purposes and judgments. The Christian ought in all things to become superior to the righteousness existing under the law, and neither swear nor lie. He ought not to speak evil; to do violence; to fight; to avenge himself; to return evil for evil; to be angry. The Christian ought to be patient, whatever he have to suffer, and to convict the wrong-doer in season, not with the desire of his own vindication, but of his brother's reformation, according to the commandment of the Lord. The Christian ought not to say anything behind his brother's back with the object of calumniating him, for this is slander, even if what is said is true. He ought to turn away from the brother who speaks evil against him; he ought not to indulge in jesting. he ought not to laugh nor even to suffer laugh makers.

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