Part 4
Chapter 5—Of Perseverance

Section 16—Basilius Caesariensis. A.D. 370.

Basil gives plain intimations, that such who are redeemed by Christ, and are truly gracious souls, shall never perish. “He,” says he,[1] “that has chosen the narrow and laborious way, before the smooth and easy one, shall not see everlasting corruption: namely, the affliction that shall endure for ever.” And a little after, “Persuasions of knowledge, falsely so called, give occasion of death to them that receive them; which death he shall not see who is redeemed by him, whom it hath pleased by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.” Virtue, grace, righteousness, holiness, faith, and such like, he represents as what always remain, and can never be destroyed. “Virtue,” he says,[2] “is the only possession, anaphaireton, ‘that cannot be taken away,' and continues with a man living and dying.” Again,[3] “Holiness and righteousness, which are brought in the room of them (sins), are easy and fight; kai ouk eidota kumasi kaluphthenai tisi, and which cannot be covered or borne down by any floods.” And elsewhere he observes,[4] that the preaching of the gospel has great power of leading and drawing unto salvation, and every soul is held by its immoveable doctrines, and is by grace confirmed pros ten adaleuton eis Christen pistin, in the unshaken faith of Christ.” And in another place[5] the question is asked, “What is the property of faith?” The answer is, “An undoubted full assurance of the truth of the divine word, which by no reason induced by natural necessity, or having the appearance of piety, diasaleuomenh, can be moved.” Once more he observes,[6] “that because God is in the midst of his own city, he gives it to asaleton, ‘stability,' whether this name of a city agrees with the Jerusalem that is above, or the church which is below.” Vossius[7] refers us to several of the homilies of this father, as militating against this doctrine of the saints' perseverance; but in some of them that are referred to, there are very strong expressions in favor of it; in the first of them he thus says,[8] “These words, I have loved because the Lord hath heard the voice of my prayer, seem to be equivalent to the words of the apostle, and to be said with the same affection by the prophet as by the apostle, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ! Shall tribulation, etc. Therefore I have loved all those things, knowing that I can bear those dangers for the sake of godliness.” And a little after, says he, “Not that I can by my own power strive against those sorrows; but because I have called upon the name of the Lord.” In the second stands this passage,[9] “Prudence itself will give to one that builds a house to lay the foundation upon a rock; that is, to found it in the faith of Christ, wote aseiston diamenein, that it may abide immoveable and firm.” And in the last of them, he observes,[10] “that we are not angels, but men, and fall and rise again, and that often in the same hour;” and instances in David and Peter; and of the latter he says, that “though he was a rock, yet he was not a rock as Christ; for Christ truly is the immoveable rock; but Peter so, because of the rock.” In the third of them he does indeed say,[11] that “sin abolishes the grace given us by the washing of regeneration; and that sin precedes the loss of grace, which is given through the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ.” But what he means by that grace is not very evident. And in the fourth[12] he says, that “the Spirit must needs excel them that receive, and are sanctified by him, when he comes; but are corrupted, he leaving them; he himself always being the fountain of everlasting life.” But then this must be understood of such who receive him not aright, for, as he elsewhere[13] expresses himself, “The saints receive water springing up unto eternal life, which opes gignetai en tois kalos labousi in them that receive it rightly, it becomes so.”


[1] Homil. in Psalm 48 p. 283.

[2] Homil. de Legend. Libr. Gentil. p. 575.

[3] Ibid. non Adhaerend. Reb. Secular. p. 563.

[4] Ibid. in Psalm 44 p. 254.

[5] Moral. c. 22, p. 386.

[6] Hom. in Psalm 45 p. 270.

[7] Hist Pelag. 1. 6, thes. 12, p. 566.

[8] Homil. in Psalm 114 p. 307.

[9] Ibid. in Princip. Proverbs p. 461.

[10] Ibid. de Poenitentia, p. 618, 619.

[11] Ibid. in aliqnot Script. loc. p. 546.

[12] Contr. Eunom. 1. 5, p. 139.

[13] Homil. in Psalm. 28 p. 173.