The vanity of human aid in the time of temptation (Basil of Caesarea)

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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Let us persuade ourselves, brothers, in the time of temptation not to run away to human hopes, nor to seek assistance for ourselves from them, but in tears and in groanings and in assiduous prayers and in strenuous watchfulness to make our petitions. For, that man receives help from troubles who despises human help as vain and stands firmly on the hope that is founded on Him who is able to save us, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power forever. Amen.

Basil of Caesarea, Homily 20 on Psalm 59, 5 in Saint Basil’s Exegetic Homilies, trans. Agnes Clare Way in The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, Volume 46 (Washington DC, 1963), p. 340.
 

Relztrah

Puritan Board Freshman
Nobody will discount the value of "groanings and in assiduous prayers and in strenuous watchfulness to make our petitions". But I think the quote needs some context. What then is the role of pastoral ministry in a time of temptation? Is this not running away to human hopes? I certainly don't despise godly human help as vain, especially in a time of temptation. That in fact is when I need it most. Now if Basil of Caesarea is referring to ungodly or unwise human help and counsel, then I fully agree.

Just this morning I was reading in 1 Samuel 23 verse 16 where it says, "And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God." Am I alone in thinking that I also need a Jonathan who will help me find strength in God at a time of trial or temptation?

Far be it from me to disagree with Basil of Caesarea, but some qualification is perhaps necessary.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Nobody will discount the value of "groanings and in assiduous prayers and in strenuous watchfulness to make our petitions". But I think the quote needs some context. What then is the role of pastoral ministry in a time of temptation? Is this not running away to human hopes? I certainly don't despise godly human help as vain, especially in a time of temptation. That in fact is when I need it most. Now if Basil of Caesarea is referring to ungodly or unwise human help and counsel, then I fully agree.

Just this morning I was reading in 1 Samuel 23 verse 16 where it says, "And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God." Am I alone in thinking that I also need a Jonathan who will help me find strength in God at a time of trial or temptation?

Far be it from me to disagree with Basil of Caesarea, but some qualification is perhaps necessary.
I think that he is not against using human aids as means while putting our ultimate hope in God. Asa was condemned for seeking help from physicians but not from the Lord. He was condemned not for going to physicians, but for not looking to the Lord as the ultimate source of deliverance.
 
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