Exegetic Homilies

By Saint Basil; Sister Agnes Clare C. D.P. Way | Go to book overview
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A Psalm of the Lot of the Just Man

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 life; it suggests what must be done; and, in general, it is the common treasury of good doctrine, carefully finding what is suitable for each one. The old wounds of souls it cures completely, and to the recently wounded it brings speedy improvement; the diseased it treats,

2 Tim. 3.16. St. Basil begins here his prologue in praise of the psalms, which includes the first four paragraphs. This prologue is also found in many manuscripts and editions of St. Augustine's commentaries on the psalms and was by many attributed to St. Augustine. However, it has now been shown that the prologue as found in St. Augustine's works is the prologue of St. Basil's homilies as translated by Rufinus. It is probably because of this prologue that St. Basil omitted the superscription of the Psalm 1, which reads: 'The Happiness of the Just and the Evil State of the Wicked.' The superscriptions of the Psalms usually indicated both their literary type and their authorship, occasion of delivery, or musical accompaniment. Cf. C. J. Callan, The New Psalter, pages 3-7.
Eccles. 10.4.


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