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To Bishop Basilius.
There is nothing remarkable in the reproaches that are directed against me being heard in silence by men who do not know me; but that your holiness should not refute the lies of my revilers, or at least should do so only to a certain extent, and with no great heartiness, passes the belief of any one who knows your character and conduct. And I say this not because friendship ought to be preferred to truth, but because the witness of truth is on the side of friendship. Your reverence has very often heard me preaching in church, and, in other assemblies where I have spoken on doctrinal questions; you have listened to what I have said, and I do not know of any occasion on which you have found fault with me for expressing unorthodox opinions. But what is the case at the present moment? Why in the world, my dear friend, do you not utter a word against falsehood, while you allow a friend to be calumniated and the truth to be assailed? If this is because you disregard the helpless and insignificant, remember the plain proclamation of the commandment of the Lord
Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones which believe in me, for I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. If however it is the influence of my calumniators which imposes silence upon you, you must listen to the other law which says
You shall not honour the person of the mighty and
Judge righteous judgment and
You shall not follow a multitude to do evil and
He that shuts his eyes from seeing evil and stops his ears from hearing of blood. You may find innumerable similar passages in holy Scripture, which I have thought it needless to collect when writing to a man brought up in the divine oracles, and watering Christian people with his teaching. But this I will say, that we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall give account of our words and deeds. I, who for every other reason dread this tribunal, now that I am encompassed with calumny, find my chief consolation in the thought of it.
Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1892.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2707102.htm>.
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