Part 4
Chapter 4—Of Efficacious  Grace

Section 13—Basilius Caesariensis. A.D. 370.

Basil of Caesarea asserts, that sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, and entirely owing to the preventing grace of God. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, he says,[1] that “there is no sanctification without him; and that[2] we have learnt concerning him by the divine writings, auto estin o tous agious, agious epoiese, that he it is who makes the saints saints, and gives divine life to them that ask God by him.”' And in another place,[3] “The Spirit is not a creature, but the character of God's holiness kai pege tois pasin agiasmou, ‘and the fountain of holiness to all,' as the apostle teach; we are called in the holiness of the Spirit; makes us a new creature, abiding for ever.” And elsewhere,[4] “It was impossible to be born again me prolabouses charitos tou Theou, without the preventing grace of God.” “Faith,” he says, “is the work of God,” and he means not what God requires of us, but what he works in us. “if our faith in the Son,” says he,[5] “is the work of God, for this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent, he himself, that is the Son, cannot be the work of God.” Moreover he says,[6] that “faith is not in us through geometrical proofs, but tais tou Pneumatos energeis, by the effectual operations of the Spirit.” Again; he affirms[7] that “is to be held for certain, and to be confessed, that the grace of every good thing, and so the patience of those things which we suffer for the sake of Christ, para Theou uparchein, are from God:” for the proof of which he cites John 3:27; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Philippians 1:29. He frequently ascribes the whole of salvation to the free grace of God, to which he gives all the glory, and rejects boasting in the creature. “Let no man,” says he,[8] “praise my industry by which I am saved from dangers; for salvation is not in the power or wisdom of man, but in the grace of God.” And elsewhere,[9] “Nothing is left for thee, O man, of which thou canst boast, whose glorifying and hope lie in this, that thou mortify all thy will, and seek life to come in Christ, of which we having in these things the first fruits, entirely live by the grace and gift of God (Phil. 2:13). Why therefore, I pray thee, dost thou extol thyself as if thou didst good things of thine own, when thou shouldest give thanks for gifts to the giver of them? (1 Cor. 4:7). God is not made known to thee by thy righteousness, but thou to God by his goodness (Gal. 4:9). Thou hast not apprehended Christ by thine own power, but Christ thee by his coming (Phil. 3:12).”


[1] De Spirit. Sancto, c. 16, p. 180.

[2] Contr. Eunom. 1. 5, p. 139, vol. 2.

[3] Ibid. p. 117.

[4] De Baptismo, 1. 1, c. 2, p. 650.

[5] Contr. Eunom. 1. 4, p. 99.

[6] In Psalm 115. p. 313.

[7] Moral. Reg. 55, p. 331, vol. 2.

[8] In Psalm 33, p. 215.

[9] De Humilitate, p. 550.