Page:Againstprofanede00kebl.djvu/30

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24
AGAINST PROFANE DEALING

Lastly; in the General Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451,—one of those Councils which our

his own private opinion, and the custom of his own diocese, not an indication of the mind of the whole Church. But his words will not bear this out. He says, “First, what in all such things is most important, is the custom received among us, which we are able to allege, equivalent to a law, since our rules were delivered to us by holy men. And it is as follows: if haply one overcome by unclean desire, fall into lawless intercourse with two sisters, neither to account it marriage, nor at all to receive such an one into the great body of the Church, until they have separated.” Comparing this with St. Basil's usual way of speaking of Church traditions, and also with the instances of previous Church enactment above alleged, there can be no reasonable doubt, that by the “we,” and “us,” and “our rules,” St. Basil is designating the whole Church of Christ, not the province of Cappadocia or diocese of Cæsarea only. The ingenious expounder above referred to has indeed tried to make out from the letter that it was an open question in the Church, one rule prevailing, through St. Basil's influence, in the diocese of Cæsarea, the other in that of Tarsus, under Diodorus. But Diodorus was not at that time Bishop of Tarsus, but only a Priest in Antioch: [St. Basil, Ep. 99. §.3.] and St. Basil speaks of it as quite a new “importation of mischief into our practice.” He implies that he was speaking not of an opposite custom, but of a single instance ventured on in defiance of all caution: for he says, “I pray that either our advice may prove stronger than the passion, or that this impiety may not come to sojourn in