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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters (St. Basil of Caesarea) > Letter 39

Letter 39

ST. BASIL OF CAESAREA

Julian to Basil.

The proverb says You are not proclaiming war, and, let me add, out of the comedy, O messenger of golden words. 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 Astydamas ) 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, wherever you will, with my best wishes.

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Source. Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202039.htm>.

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