St-Basil-the-GreatWhen we speak of the dispensations made for man by our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who will gainsay their having been accomplished through the grace of the Spirit?

Whether you wish to examine ancient evidence;—the blessings of the patriarchs, the succour given through the legislation, the types, the prophecies, the valorous feats in war, the signs wrought through just men;—or on the other hand the things done in the dispensation of the coming of our Lord in the flesh;—all is through the Spirit.

In the first place He was made an unction, and being inseparably present was with the very flesh of the Lord, according to that which is written, “Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is” “my beloved Son;” and “Jesus of Nazareth” whom “God anointed with the Holy Ghost.”

After this every operation was wrought with the co-operation of the Spirit.  He was present when the Lord was being tempted by the devil; for, it is said, “Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.” He was inseparably with Him while working His wonderful works; for, it is said, “If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils.”

And He did not leave Him when He had risen from the dead; for when renewing man, and, by breathing on the face of the disciples, restoring the grace, that came of the inbreathing of God, which man had lost, what did the Lord say?  “Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever ye retain, they are retained.”

And is it not plain and incontestable that the ordering of the Church is effected through the Spirit?  For He gave, it is said, “in the church, first Apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues,” for this order is ordained in accordance with the division of the gifts that are of the Spirit.

Moreover by anyone who carefully uses his reason it will be found that even at the moment of the expected appearance of the Lord from heaven the Holy Spirit…will be present with Him.

For who is so ignorant of the good things prepared by God for them that are worthy, as not to know that the crown of the righteous is the grace of the Spirit, bestowed in more abundant and perfect measure in that day, when spiritual glory shall be distributed to each in proportion as he shall have nobly played the man?

Basil the Great (330-379): On the Holy Spirit 16, 39-40.

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