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Death of Chrift.
Containing the Space of 38 YEARS.
Printed for T. MEIGHAN, in Drury-Lane.
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The FOURTH AGE.
Of CHRIST 379. Of GRATIAN and VALENTINIAN II. 5. Of THEODOSIUS I. Of DAMASUS 13.
AINT Bafil's laft hours of life approaching, the whole city in the fulness of their grief went to fee him, ready to use violence to his foul, and force it, if the thing were poffible, not to quit its habitation. But the time was come when the faint was to make a prefent for the new-year to his Master, and with these words in his mouth; Into thy hands, O VOL. III.
Lord, I commend my fpirit, departed this life the 1st of January. He took all his riches of this world with him to heaven, and did not leave enough for a tomb-stone; but the people not only erected an everlasting monument for him in their hearts, but alfo made folemn funerals for him to the laft degree of magnificence. His facred remains were carried by the hands of faints, and accompanied by fuch a confluence of people that many were ftifled in the crowd. Every one was for touching the hem of his garment, and the bed on which he flept, thinking to receive fome benefit from thence. Sighs and lamentations drowned the finging of the pfalms, and he was regretted by the very Pagans and Jews. All the world wept his death as lofing the doctor of truth and band of unity to the church. Those that knew him took a pleasure to recount his minuteft actions, and every expreffion that dropped from his mouth; and their love to him was fuch, that they affected to imitate him in his geftures, his beard, his palenefs and even in his faults, as his flow way of delivery, &c. they took the fashion of his bed, his cloaths and fpare table. Among the many panegyrics made in his honour, we have four remaining, viz. (1.) of his brother S. Gregory of Niffa; (2.) of S. Ephrem; (3.) of S. Amphilochius; and (4.) of S. Gregory N zianzen. Thofe of S. Gregory of Niffa and Amphilochius were pronounced the 1ft of January, the day the Greek Church honours his memory, whereas the Latin Church celebrates it the day of his ordination, June 14th. S. Gregory Nazianzen's panegyric
panegyric was fome years after S. Bafil's death, in which he difplayed the virtues of his friend in fuch a manner, as made the difcourfe as immortal as the faint he praised. He had elfewhere defcribed the beauties of his pen when I read, fays S. Gregory, his Treatife of the Creation, I feem to behold my Creator ftriking all things out of nothing when I run over his writings against the heretics, methinks the fire of Sodom fparkles to my view, flafhes upon the enemies of the faith, and confumes their criminal tongues to ashes. When I confider his Treatife of the H. Ghoft, I find the God working within me, and I am no longer afraid of publishing aloud the truth. When I meet with his explications of the Scripture, I dive into the most profound abyfs of myfteries. When I hear him refound the praife of martyrs, I contemn my body and feem animated with the fame noble ardour of battle. Thus far S. Gregory, who neither flatters as a friend, nor exaggerates as an orator. For there is no author whofe works bear a ftronger impreffion upon the mind than S. Bafil's. His difcourfe has a wonderful energy and delicacy of expreffion, enriched with a large stock of thoughts, not wire-drawn, nor beaten into leaf-gold, but confifting of folid maffy treafure. Photius gives his writings the character of being a just model of eloquence, in which he equalled the most celebrated of the ancient greek, authors, as Plato and Demofthenes; and Erafmus fays, that he bore the prize from them all, having their excellencies without their faults. Du Pin fays his Letters, which were very numerB 2