Exegetic Homilies (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 46)

Exegetic Homilies (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 46)

Translated by AGNES CLARE WAY
Copyright Date: 1963
Pages: 394
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    Exegetic Homilies (The Fathers of the Church, Volume 46)
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    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1146-6
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xvi)

    The exegetic writings usually attributed to St. Bas include the nine homilies on theHexaemeron, seventeen on thePsalms, and theCommentary on lsaiai sixteen chapters. These are all found in the ‘Opera Sanc Basilii’ of thePatrologia Graeca, Vols. 29-32. Four of the homilies on the psalms, the first,On Psalm 14, a second orOn Psalm 28, oneOn Psalm 37, and thatOn Psalm 115, as we as theCommentary on Isaia, are placed by the Benedictir editors in the Appendix of Volume 1 of St. Basil’s workPatrologia Graeca, Vol. 30, as doubtful or clearly...

    • HOMILY 1 Creation of the Heavens and the Earth
      (pp. 3-20)

      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.¹

      An appropriate beginning for one who intends to speak about the formation of the world is to place first in the narration the source of the orderly arrangement of visible things. For, the creation of the heavens and earth must be handed down, not as having happened spontaneously, as some have imagined, but as having its origin from God. What ear is worthy of the sublimity of this narrative? How well prepared should that soul be for the hearing of such stupendous wonders? Cleansed from the passions of the flesh,...

    • HOMILY 2 Invisible and Unfinished State of the Earth
      (pp. 21-36)

      This morning when we dwelt upon a few words, we found such hidden depth of thought that we despair completely of what follows. If the court of the sanctuary is so beautiful, and the vestibule of the temple is so august and magnificent, dazzling the eyes of our soul with its surpassing beauty, what must be the holy of holies? And who is fit to venture within the innermost shrine? Or who can look into its secrets? Indeed, even a glimpse of them is unattainable, and to explain what the mind conceives of them is exceedingly difficult. Since, however, rewards...

    • HOMILY 3 The Firmament
      (pp. 37-54)

      We have spoken of the works of the first, or rather, of one day. Let us not, indeed, deprive it of its dignity, which it naturally possesses, since it was produced separately by the Creator and was not counted in the general arrangement with the others. But, since my discourse yesterday reviewed the occurrences of that day and divided the explanation for the hearers, providing their souls with both morning nourishment and evening joy, now we are passing on to the wonders of the second day. I say this, not referring to the power of the narrator, but to the...

    • HOMILY 4 The Gathering of the Waters
      (pp. 55-66)

      There are some communities that feast their eyes on the manifold spectacles of conjurors from the dim morning twilight until evening itself. Nevertheless, they never have their fin of listening to soft and dissolute melodies, which undoubtedly engender in souls great impurity. Many even pronounce such people happy, because, leaving behind their business in the market or their plans for a livelihood from the arts, they pass the time of life allotted to them in all laziness and pleasure. They do not know that a theatre, flourishing with impure sights, is a common and public school of licentiousness for those...

    • HOMILY 5 The Germination of the Earth
      (pp. 67-82)

      Then god said, ‘Let the earth bring forth vegetation: the plant producing seed of its own kind, and the fruit tree that bears fruit containing seed of its own kind.’¹ Consequently, after the earth, rid of the weight of the water, had rested, the command had come to it to bring forth first the herb, then the trees. And this we see still happening even at the present time. For, the voice which was then heard and that first command became, as it were, a law of nature and remained in the earth, giving it the power to produce and...

    • HOMILY 6 Creation of the Lights of the Heavens
      (pp. 83-104)

      He who watches athletes ought to participate to some extent himself in the contest, a fact that may be realized from the laws for festivals, which prescribe that those who are present in the stadium shall sit with head uncovered. It seems to me that this is in order that he may not be a spectator only of the competitors but that each one may also, in a measure, be a competitor himself. In the same way, therefore, the reviewer of the great and marvelous spectacles and the listener to truly consummate and inexpressible wisdom, when present, should have from...

    • HOMILY 7 Creation of Crawling Creatures
      (pp. 105-116)

      Then god said, ‘Let the waters bring forth crawling creatures’ of different kinds ‘that have life, and winged creatures’ of different kinds ' that fly below the firmament of the heavens.’¹ After the creation of the lights, then the waters were filled with living creatures, so that this portion of the world also was adorned. The earth had received its ornamentation from its own plants; the heavens had received the flowers of stars and had been adorned with two great lights as if with the radiance of twin eyes. It remained for the waters, too, to be given their proper...

    • HOMILY 8 Creation of Winged Creatures and Those Living in the Waters
      (pp. 117-134)

      And ‘god said, “Let the earth bring forth all kinds of living creatures: cattle, crawling creatures, and wild animals.” And so it was.’¹ The command came, proceeding step by step, and the earth received its proper adornment. Fonnerly He had said: ‘Let the waters bring forth crawling creatures that have Iife’;² here, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures.’ Is the earth, then, possessed of life? And do the mad-minded Manichaeans hold the vantage point, since they put a soul in the earth? No, when He said: ‘Let it bring forth,’ it did not produce what was stored up in...

    • HOMILY 9 Creation of Land Animals
      (pp. 135-150)

      How did my morning repast of words appeal to you? Indeed, it has occurred to me that I should compare my talk with the kindness of a certain poverty stricken host, who was ambitious to be among those that offer a good table, hut, lacking costly foods, annoyed his guests by laying his poor fare upon the table in such abundance that his ambition was changed in him into disgraceful lack of taste. Well, such has been our method, unless you say differently. Yet, however it was, you must not disregard it. Elisha was by no means rejected as a...

    • HOMILY 10 A Psalm of the Lot of the Just Man
      (pp. 151-164)

      All scripture is inspired by God and is useful,¹ composed by the Spirit for this reason, namely, that we men, each and all of us, as if in a general hospital for souls, may select the remedy for his own condition. For, it says, ‘care will make the greatest sin to cease.’² Now, the prophets teach one thing, historians another, the law something else, and the form of advice found in the proverbs something different still. But, the Book of Psalms has taken over what is profitable from all. It foretells coming events; it recalls history; it frames laws for...

    • HOMILY 11 A Psalm of David which He Sang to the Lord, for the Words of Chusi, the Son of Jemini
      (pp. 165-180)

      The inscription of the Seventh Psalm seems in a way to be opposed to the history of the kingdoms where the facts about David are recorded.² For in the history, Chusi is mentioned as the chief companion of David and the son of Arachi, but in the psalm, Chusi is the son of Jemini. Neither he nor any other of those appearing in the history was the son of Jemini. Perhaps, he was called the son of Jemini for this reason, because he displayed great valor and manliness through a mere pretense of friendship, going over, as he pretended, to...

    • HOMILY 12 A Psalm of David against Usurers
      (pp. 181-192)

      Yesterday, when we were discussing with you the Fourteenth Psalm,¹ the time did not permit us to reach the end of our talk. Now, we have come as considerate debtors to pay the debt of our deficiency. There is a small part still to be heard, so it seems, and probably, it escaped the notice of most of you, so that you do not think that any of the psalm was omitted. Since we understand the great power in the affairs of life that this brief text possesses, we did not think that we ought to neglect the advantage of...

    • HOMILY 13 A Psalm of David at the Finishing of the Tabernacle
      (pp. 193-212)

      The twenty-eighth psalm has a general title, for it says, ‘A psalm of David,’ and it has something specific also, since it adds, ‘at the finishing of the tabernacle.’ But, what is this? Let us consider what the finishing is and what the tabernacle is, in order that we may be able to meditate on the meaning of the psalm. Now, as regards the history, it will seem that the order was given to the priests and Levites who had acquitted themselves of the work to remember what they ought to prepare for the divine service. Scripture, furthermore, solemnly declares...

    • HOMILY 14 A Psalm of a Canticle on the Dedication of the House of David
      (pp. 213-226)

      The physical structure of the body is, speaking figuratively, a harp and an instrument harmoniously adapted for the hymns of our God; and the actions of the body, which are referred to the glory of God are a psalm, whenever in an appropriate measure we perform nothing out of tune in our actions. Whatever pertains to lofty contemplation and theology is a canticle. Therefore, the psalm is a musical sermon when it is played rhythmically on the instrument with harmonic sounds. But the canticle is a melodious utterance expressed harmoniously without the accompaniment of the instrument. Accordingly, since this was...

    • HOMILY 15 A Psalm in Praise of the Power and Providence of God
      (pp. 227-246)

      Rejoice in the lord, O ye just; praise becometh the upright.¹

      The voice of exultation is familar in the Scripture, betokening a very bright and happy state of soul in those deserving of happiness. ‘Rejoice,’ therefore, ‘in the Lord, O ye just,’ not when the interests of your home are flourishing, not when you are in good health of body, not when your fields are filled with all sorts of fruits, but, when you have the Lord–such immeasurable Beauty, Goodness, Wisdom. Let the joy that is in Him suffice for you. He who exults with joy and happiness in...

    • HOMILY 16 A Psalm of David When He Changed His Countenance before Abimelech and Being Dismissed by Him Went Away
      (pp. 247-274)

      The subject of the psalm draws us to two premises. Both the actions of David in Nobe, the city of the priests, and those in Geth at the home of Achis, the king of the foreign nations, seem to be in agreement with the inscription. For, he changed his countenance when he conversed with Abimelech, the priest, concealing his flight and pretending to be zealous to perform the royal command and then, took the loaves of proposition and the sword of Goliath. Moreover, he also changed his countenance when, seized in the midst of the enemy, he perceived that they...

    • HOMILY 17 Unto the End for Those Who Shall be Changed, for the Sons of Core for Understanding
      (pp. 275-296)

      This psalm seems to be one that is adapted to perfecting human nature and that provides assistance for attaining the prescribed end for those who have elected to live in virtue. Indeed; in order that those advancing may attain perfection, there is need of the teaching which is provided by this psalm with the inscription, ‘Unto the end, for those that shall be changed.’ It really says in an obscure manner, ‘For men.’ For, we especially of all rational beings are subject to variations and changes day by day and almost hour by hour. Neither in body nor in mind...

    • HOMILY 18 A Psalm for the Sons of Core
      (pp. 297-310)

      Unto the end, for the sons of Core, ‘a Psalm for the hidden.’¹

      This psalm seems to me to contain the prophecy concerning the end of time. Paul, having knowledge of this end, says: ‘Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father.’² Or, since our actions lead us to the end, each one to the end proper to itself, the good leading toward happiness, and the base toward eternal condemnation, and since the counsels delivered by the Spirit in this psalm lead those obeying them to the good end, therefore it has been entitled: ‘Unto...

    • HOMILY 19 Unto the End, a Psalm for the Sons of Core on the Prosperity of the Wicked
      (pp. 311-332)

      Even among the gentiles certain men have formed ideas concerning the end of man and have arrived at various opinions about the end. Some declared that the end was knowledge; others, practical activity; others, a different use of life and body; but the sensual men declared that the end was pleasure. For us, however, the end for which we do all things and toward which we hasten is the blessed life in the world to come. And this will be attained when we are ruled by God. Up to this time nothing better than the latter idea has been found...

    • HOMILY 20 A Psalm of David on Hope in Defeat
      (pp. 333-340)

      When i compared the eagerness with which you listened and the inadequacy of my ability there came to my mind a certain similitude of a young child, already rather active but not yet weaned from its mother’s milk, annoying the maternal breasts which were dry from weakness. The mother, even though she perceived that the sources of her milk were dry, being pulled and torn by him, offered him her breast, not in order that she might nourish the infant, but that she might make him stop crying. Accordingly, even though our powers have been dried up by this long...

    • HOMILY 21 A Psalm of David for Idithun and a Body of Singers
      (pp. 341-350)

      We know two psalms with the title ‘For Idithun,’ the thirty-eighth and this one that we have at hand. And we think that the composition of the work is owed to David; that it was given to Idithun for his use that he might correct the passions of his soul, and also as a choral song to be sung in the presence of the people. Through it, also, God was glorified, and those who heard it amended their habits. Now, Idithun was a singer in the temple, as the history of the Paralipomenon testifies to us, saying: ‘And after them...

    • HOMILY 22 A Psalm of Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death
      (pp. 351-360)

      Having arrived so long in advance at these sacred precincts, of the martyrs, you have persevered from midnight until this midday appeasing the God of the martyrs with hymns, while awaiting our arrival. The reward, therefore, is ready for you, who prefer honor for the martyrs and the worship or God to sleep and rest. But, if we must undertake a defense of ourselves because of our delay and, to a great extent, desertion of you, we shall tell the cause. It is, that, as we administer a church of God, equal in honor to this, which is separated by...