Fathers of the Church
Letter CLXIII: to Count Jovinus
by Basil the Great in 357-370 | translated by Blomfield Jackson, M.A
ONE can see your soul in your letter, for in reality no painter can so exactly catch an outward likeness, as uttered thoughts can image the secrets of the soul. As I read your letter, your words exactly characterized your steadfastness, your real dignity, your unfailing sincerity; in all those things it comforted me greatly though I could not see you. Never fail, then, to seize every opportunity of writing to me, and to give me the pleasure of conversing with you at a distance; for to see you face to face I am now forbidden by the distressing state of my health. How serious this is you will learn from the God-beloved bishop Amphilochius, who is both able to report to you from his having been constantly with me, and fully competent to tell you what he has seen. But the only reason why I wish you to know of my sufferings is, that you will forgive me for the future, and acquit me of lack of energy, if I fail to come and see you, though in truth my loss does not so much need defence from me as comfort from you. Had it been possible for me to come to you, I should have very much preferred a sight of your excellency to all the ends that other men count worth an effort.
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.