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In This Issue:
From the Director
Has God blessed you through classic Christian books? Would you like to share that blessing with others? The mission of the CCEL is to make Christian classics available. We do this primarily through the Internet, but net access is too expensive or unavailable in many parts of the world. For those areas we send free CCEL CDs to ministers, missionaries, students, and interested lay people. Would you like to help with this ministry? For the month of June, if you sign up for a one-year subscription to the CCEL, you will help support the Web site for free access around the world, and we will also send two free CCEL CDs to users in less-developed countries. Those CDs can be copied and given to others, repeatedly. You would be distributing hundreds or perhaps thousands of copies of classic Christian books to people without other access. To do so, click here to sign up for a one-year subscription.
Basil the Great's De Spiritu Sanctu
Like many Christians, I suffer from an under-developed theology of the Holy Spirit. One resource that has helped me begin to remedy this recently is Basil the Great's timeless "De Spiritu Sanctu," or "On the Holy Spirit." The fourth century was a time when the church was still hammering out much of its Trinitarian theology, and Basil's vigorous pneumatology helped ensure the Spirit's place in the doctrine of the church for centuries to come. This work was written around 374 A.D. to Basil's friend Amphilochius, as a direct response to the Pneumatomachi, who doubted that the Holy Spirit was God. Basil's argument rests on the overwhelming testimony of Scripture, and the fundamental inseparability of the Trinity. Basil argues vividly that the Spirit is integral to the most basic work of God in creation:
[The Spirit's] operations, what are they? For majesty ineffable, and for numbers innumerable. ... [The Spirit] existed; He pre-existed; He co-existed with the Father and the Son before the ages. ... Is it Christ's advent? The Spirit is forerunner. Is there the incarnate presence? The Spirit is inseparable. Working of miracles, and gifts of healing are through the Holy Spirit. Demons were driven out by the Spirit of God. The devil was brought to naught by the presence of the Spirit. Remission of sins was by the gift of the Spirit, for 'ye were washed, ye were sanctified ... in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the holy Spirit of our God.' There is close relationship with God through the Spirit, for 'God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.' The resurrection from the dead is effected by the operation of the Spirit, for 'Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; and Thou renewest the face of the earth'.
Now this same Spirit is poured out over the church, transforming the most flawed followers into God's instruments in creation. As Basil says, based on 2 Corinthians 3, "Just as objects which lie near brilliant colors are themselves tinted by the brightness which is shed around, so is [the Christian] who fixes his gaze firmly on the Spirit, by the Spirit's glory somehow transfigured into greater splendor, having his heart lighted up, as it were, by some light streaming from the truth of the Spirit."
Preaching Augustine: The CCEL Came to My Rescue
Editor's note: This is an excerpt from David Neff's article in Christian History's May 2005 newsletter. The full article is available at Christian History's Web site.
[The] CCEL ... contains about 700 classic writings, 500 of them coded with a special mark-up language called ThML (for Theological Markup Language). At CCEL I perused Calvin's comments on John 15 (good comments, but not in preachable form), and sermons by the fourth-century preachers Hilary of Poitiers and John Chrysostom, before I settled on what I would share with our congregation: Augustine's sermons on John 15:1-3 and 4-7. ...
Read this article at the Christian History Web site.
How have you used the CCEL to deepen your research, discover new voices, and enliven your faith? Submit a usage testimonial.
What's New at CCEL
Dimitrii Sokolof's Manual of the Eastern Orthodox Church's Divine Services
In recent years the Orthodox Church has become an object of curiosity and even admiration among Protestants. Even so, it remains to most a mysterious and complex institution, typified by chalices, icons, and elaborate services. A new addition to CCEL’s database provides a detailed explanation (including diagrams) of every element of Orthodox worship, from the formation of the fingers to make the sign of the cross to the number of days a mother must wait to take communion after giving birth to a child. Dimitrii Sokolof’s Manual of the Orthodox Church’s Divine Services is a wonderful resource for anyone who has interest in the Orthodox Church; potential Orthodox catechumens, Protestant worship leaders, and church history students alike will find elements of this 19th-century book helpful and fascinating.
Usage HintRecently Viewed links
Do you ever read books at the CCEL online, perhaps a chapter or a section a day? We have added a new feature to make it easier to find your place each day. The new Recently Viewed block gives links to your most recently viewed pages of three books. Click on a link to get back to your previous location. Note: This block only appears when you are logged in to the CCEL.
Classic Reflections on the Psalms
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