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Fathers of the Church

Letter CLXXXIII: to the Senate of Samosata

Description

Basil exhorts the Senate of Samosata to rally around their banished bishop Eusebius.

Provenance

St. Basil's correspondence is a copious and invaluable store of information for the history of the Eastern Church in the fourth century, particularly in Cappadocia. Since he never found a real biographer, his letters represent the best source for his life and times, for his many activities and far-reaching influence, especially for his personality and his character. (Quasten)

by Basil the Great in 357-370 | translated by Blomfield Jackson, M.A

SEEING, as I do, that temptation is now spread all over the world, and that the greater cities of Syria have been tried by the same sufferings as yourselves, (though, indeed, nowhere is the Senate so approved and renowned for good works, as your own, noted as you are for your righteous zeal,) I all but thank the troubles which have befallen you.

For had not this affliction come to pass, your proof under trial would never have been known. To all that earnestly strive for any good, the affliction they endure for the sake of their hope in God is like a furnace to gold.

Rouse ye, then, most excellent sirs, that the labours you are about to undertake may not be unworthy of those which you have already sustained, and that on a firm foundation you may be seen putting a yet worthier finish. Rouse ye, that ye may stand round about the shepherd of the Church, when the Lord grants him to be seen on his own throne, telling each of you in his turn. some good deed done for the sake of the Church of God. On the great day of the Lord, each, according to the proportion of his labours, shall receive his recompense from the munificent Lord. By remembering me and writing to me as often as you can, you will be doing justice in sending me a reply, and will moreover give me very great pleasure, by sending me in writing a plain token of a voice which it is delightful to me to hear.

Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (PNPF II/VIII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.