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NPNF2-08. Basil: Letters and Select Works
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Letter XXXIX.20482048    To be placed probably in 362, if genuine.

Julian20492049    These Letters are placed in this order by the Ben. Editors as being written, if genuine, before Basil’s episcopate.  Maran (Vita S. Bas. Cap. ii.) is puzzled at Basil’s assertion in xli. that he learned the Bible with Julian, and points out that at Athens they devoted themselves to profane literature.  But this may have allowed intervals for other work.  In 344, when Basil was at Cæsarea, Julian was relegated by Constantius to the neighbouring fortress of Macellum, and there, with his elder half-brother Gallus, spent six years in compulsory retirement.  Sozomen tells us that the brothers studied the Scripture and became Readers (Soz. v. 2; Amm. Marc. xv. 2, 7).  Their seclusion, in which they were reduced to the society of their own household (Greg. Naz., Or. iii., Julian, Ad. Ath. 271 c.), may not have been so complete as to prevent all intercourse with a harmless schoolboy like Basil.  “Malgré l’authorité de dom Maran, nous croyons avec Tillemont, Dupont et M. Albert de Broglie, que cette lettre a été réellement adressée par Julien, non a un homonyme de St. Basile mais à St. Basile lui-même.”  Étude historique et littéraire sur St. Basile.  Fialon. to Basil.

The proverb says “You are not proclaiming war,”20502050    i.e.“your words are friendly.”  cf. Plat., Legg. 702 D.  οὐ πόλεμόν γε ἐπαγγέλλεις, ὦ Κλεινία. and, let me add, out of the comedy, “O messenger of golden words.”20512051    ὦ χρυσὸν ἀγγείλας ἐπῶν.  Aristoph., Plut. 268.  Come then; prove this in act, and hasten to me.  You will come as friend to friend.  Conspicuous and unremitting devotion to business seems, to those that treat it as of secondary importance, a heavy burden; yet the diligent are modest, as I persuade myself, sensible, and ready for any emergency.  I allow myself relaxations so that even rest may be permitted to one who neglects nothing.  Our mode of life is not marked by the court hypocrisy, of which I think you have had some experience, and in accordance with which compliments mean deadlier hatred than is felt to our worst foes; but, with becoming freedom, while we blame and rebuke where blame is due, we love with the love of the dearest friends.  I may therefore, let me say, with all sincerity, both be diligent in relaxation and, when at work, not get worn out, and sleep secure; since when awake I do not wake more for myself, than, as is fit, for every one else.  I am afraid this is rather silly and trifling, as I feel rather lazy, (I praise myself like Astydamas20522052    A playwright of Athens, who put a boastful epigram on his own statue, and became a byword for self-praise.  Vide Suidas s.v., σαυτὸν ἐπαινεῖς.) but I am writing to prove to you that to have the pleasure of seeing you, wise man as you are, will be more likely to do me good than to cause any difficulty.  Therefore, as I have said, lose no time:  travel post haste.  After you have paid me as long a visit as you like, you shall go on your journey, whithersoever you will, with my best wishes.


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