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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 115

Letter 115

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

To the heretic Simplicia.

We often ill advisedly hate our superiors and love our inferiors. So I, for my part, hold my tongue, and keep silence about the disgrace of the insults offered me. I wait for the Judge above, Who knows how to punish all wickedness in the end, even though a man pour out gold like sand; let him trample on the right, he does but hurt his own soul. God always asks for sacrifice, not, I think, because He needs it, but because He accepts a pious and right mind as a precious sacrifice. But when a man by his transgressions tramples on himself God reckons his prayers impure. Bethink yourself, then, of the last day, and pray do not try to teach me. I know more than you do, and am not so choked with thorns within. I do not mind tenfold wickedness with a few good qualities. You have stirred up against me lizards and toads, beasts, it is true, of Spring time, but nevertheless unclean. But a bird will come from above who will devour them. The account I have to render is not according to your ideas, but as God thinks fit to judge. If witnesses are wanted, there will not stand before the Judge slaves; nor yet a disgraceful and detestable set of eunuchs; neither woman nor man, lustful, envious, ill-bribed, passionate, effeminate, slaves of the belly, mad for gold, ruthless, grumbling about their dinner, inconstant, stingy, greedy, insatiable, savage, jealous. What more need I say? At their very birth they were condemned to the knife. How can their mind be right when their feet are awry? They are chaste because of the knife, and it is no credit to them. They are lecherous to no purpose, of their own natural vileness. These are not the witnesses who shall stand in the judgment, but rather the eyes of the just and the eyesight of the perfect, of all who are then to see with their eyes what they now see with their understanding.

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202115.htm>.

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