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St. Basil the Great, From his Letters

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Page 51

4. If any one in Syria is writing, this is nothing to me. For it is said "By thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shall be condemned." Let my own words judge me. Let no one condemn me for other men's errors nor adduce letters written twenty years ago in proof that I would allow communion to the writers of such things. Before these things were written, and before any suspicion of this kind had been stirred against them, I did write as layman to layman. I wrote nothing about the faith in any way like that which they are now carrying about to calumniate me. I sent nothing but a mere greeting to return a friendly communication, for I shun and anathematize as impious alike all who are affected with the unsoundness of Sabellius, and all who maintain the opinions of Arius. If any one says that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are the same, and supposes one thing under several names, and one hypostasis described by three persons, I rank such an one as belonging to the faction of the Jews. Similarly, if any one says that the Son is in essence unlike the Father, or degrades the Holy Ghost into a creature, I anathematize him, and say that he is coming near to the heathen error. But it is impossible for the mouths of my accusers to be restrained by my letter; rather is it likely that they are being irritated at my defence, and are getting up new and more violent attacks against me. But it is not difficult for your ears to be guarded. Wherefore, as far as in you lies, do as I bid you. Keep your heart clear and unprejudiced by their calumnies; and insist on my rendering an account to meet the charges laid against me. If you find that truth is on my side do not yield to lies; if on the other hand you feel that I am feeble in defending myself, then believe my accusers as being worthy of credit. They pass sleepless nights to do me mischief. I do not ask this of you. They are taking to a commercial career, and turning their slanders against me into a means of profit. I implore you on the other hand to stop at home, and to lead a decorous life, quietly doing Christ's work. I advise you to avoid communication with them, for it always tends to the perversion of their hearers. I say this that you may keep your affection for the uncontaminated, may preserve the faith of the Fathers in its integrity. and may appear approved before the Lord as friends of the truth.

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