Basil the Great, venial/mortal sins?

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DTK

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Basil of Caesarea (AD. 329-379): How must we deal with those who avoid indeed the greater sins, but make no account of committing the smaller?

In the first place we must know that in the New Testament no such distinction is to be found. For there one sentence lies against all sins in the declaration of the Lord that he that committeth sin is the servant of sin. . . . On the whole, if we may speak of great and little sins at all, it is beyond controversy that the sin by which each man is overcome is great to each, and that which he is master of, small; just as among athletes he that overcomes is the stronger, and he that is overcome is weaker than his conqueror, whoever he be. For translation, see Richard Travers Smith, The Fathers for English Readers: St. Basil the Great (New York: Poit, Young and Company, 1879), p. 144.

Greek text: Πῶς δεῖ προσφέρισθαι τοῖς τὰ μείζονα τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων παραιτουμένοις, τὰ δἰ μικρὰ ἀδιαφόρῶς ποιοῦσιν;

Πρῶτον μὲν εἰδέναι χρὴ, ὅτι ἐν τῇ Καινῇ Διαθήνῇ ταύτην τὴν διαφορὰυ οὐκ ἔστι μαθεῖν. Μία γὰρ ἀπόφασις κατὰ πάντων ἁμαρτημάτων κεῖται, τοῦ Κυρίου εἰπόντος, ὅτι Ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν δοῦλός ἐστι τῆς ἁμαρτίας· ...Ὅγως δὲ, εἰ ἐπιτρεπόμεθα λέγειν μικρὸν καὶ μέγα ἁμάρτημα, ἀναντίῤῥητον ἔδει τὴν ἀπόδειξιν ἐκάστῳ μέγα εἶναι τὸ ἐκάστου κρατοῦν, καὶ μικρὸν τούτο, οὗ ἔκαστος χρατεῖ· ὥσπερ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀθλητῶν ὁ μὲν νικήσας ἐστὶν ἰσχυρότερος, ὁ δὲ ἡττηθεὶς ἀσθενέστερος τοῦ ἐπικρατεστέρου, ὅστις ἄν ᾖ.
See Regulae brevius tractatae, Interrogatio CCXCIII, PG 31:1288.

DTK
 
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