BASIL THE GREAT: Seventh Epistle

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St Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea:  EPISTLE VII
   (To St. Gregory Theologos. Probable date: 359)
                        Translated by Rev. Blomfield Jackson
                        Edited by Friar Martin Fontenot, CANDLE Library


When I wrote to you
I was perfectly well aware
that no theological term is adequate
to the thought of the speaker,
or the want of the questioner,
because language is
of natural necessity
too weak to act in the service
of objects of thought.

If then, our thought is weak,
and our tongue weaker than our thought,
what was to be expected of me in what I said
but that I should be charged with poverty of expression?

Still, it was not possible
to let your question pass unnoticed.
It looks like a betrayal,
if we do not readily give an answer
about God to them that love the Lord.
What has been said, however,
whether it seems satisfactory,
or requires some further and more careful addition,
needs a fit season for correction.

For the present, I implore you,
as I have implored you before,
to devote yourself entirely
to the advocacy of the truth,
and to the intellectual energies God gives you
for the establishment of what is good.
With this be content.
And ask nothing more from me.

I am really less capable
that is supposed,
and am more likely to do harm to the word
by my weakness
than to add strength to the truth
by my advocacy.


The St. Pachomius Orthodox Library, St. Dionysius' Day, 1995.

Have mercy, O Lord, upon Thy servants the translator Blomfield and the Friar Martin.


               THE END, AND TO GOD BE THE GLORY!