Μακάριος Αιγύπτιος - Macarius of Egypt/Πνευματικές Ομιλίες - Homiliae spirituales (MPG 034 0449 0822)/EnglishTranslation(A J MASON D D)/ Homily XI-XX
- 1 HOMILY XI
- 1.1 That the power of the Holy Ghost in man s heart is like fire ; and, what things we need, in order to distinguish the thoughts that spring up in the heart; and concerning the dead serpent fixed by Moses at the top' t of the pole, which was a type of Christ. The Homily contains two dialogues, one between Christ and the evil one, Satan ; the other between sinners and the same.
- 2 HOMILY XII
- 3 HOMILY XIII
- 4 HOMILY XIV
- 4.1 Those who give their thoughts and their mind to God do so in the hope that the eyes of their heart may be enlightened, and God vouchsafes to them mysteries in the greatest sanctity and purity, and imparts to them of His grace. What we who desire to attain the good things of heaven ought to do. Then the apostles and the prophets are compared to the sun's rays coming in at a window. The Homily also teaches what is Satan's " Earth," and what that of the angels, and that both are intangible and invisible.
- 5 HOMILY XV
- 5.1 This Homily teaches at large how the soul ought to behave herself in holiness and chastity and purity towards her Spouse Christ Jesus, the Saviour of the World. It contains also certain discussions full of great instruction, viz., whether at the resurrection all the members are raised up, and a great many more concerning Evil, and Grace, and Free Will, and the dignity of human nature.
- 6 HOMILY XVI
- 7 HOMILY XVII
- 8 HOMILY XVIII
- 9 HOMILY XIX
- 10 HOMILY XX
Εδώ θα βρείτε το Πρωτότυπο κείμενο στην Patrologia Gracea Migne. [ Original File]
Here you will find the Orignal Text from Patrologia Gracea Migne. [ Original File]
That the power of the Holy Ghost in man s heart is like fire ; and, what things we need, in order to distinguish the thoughts that spring up in the heart; and concerning the dead serpent fixed by Moses at the top' t of the pole, which was a type of Christ. The Homily contains two dialogues, one between Christ and the evil one, Satan ; the other between sinners and the same.
1-- THAT heavenly fire of the Godhead, which Christians receive in their hearts now in this present world, that same fire which now ministers inwardly in the heart becomes outward when the body is dissolved, and recomposes the members, and causes a resurrection of the members that had been dissolved. As the fire that ministered on the altar at Jerusalem lay buried in a pit during the time of the captivity, and the selfsame fire, when peace came and the captives returned home, was renewed, as it were, and ministered in its accustomed manner, 1 so now the heavenly fire works upon this body that is so near us, which after its dissolution turns to mire, and renews it, and raises up the bodies that had decayed. The inward fire that now dwells in the heart becomes then external, and causes a resurrection of the body. .. ;
2-- The fire in the furnace under Nabuchodonosor was no divine fire, but a creature; but the Three Children, be- cause of their righteousness, while they were in the visible fire, had in their hearts the divine and heavenly fire ministering within their thoughts and exerting its energy in them. That very fire showed itself outside them. It stood between them and the visible fire, and restrained it, that it should not burn the righteous, nor do them any manner of hurt. In like manner, when the mind of Israel and their thoughts were bent upon departing far from the living God and turning to idolatry, Aaron was compelled to tell them to bring their golden vessels and ornaments. Then the gold and the vessels, which they cast into the fire, became an idol, and the fire, as it were, copied their intention. That was a wonderful thing. They, secretly, in purpose and thought, determined upon idolatry, and the fire accordingly fashioned the vessels thrown upon it into an idol, and then they committed idolatry openly. 1 As, then, the Three Children, having thoughts of righteousness, received in themselves the fire of God, and worshipped the Lord in truth, so now faithful souls receive that divine and heavenly fire, in this world, in secret; and that fire forms a heavenly image upon their humanity. 3-- As the fire formed the golden vessels, and they became an idol, so does the Lord, who copies the intentions of faithful and good souls, and forms an image even now in the soul according to their desire, and at the resurrection it appears external to them, and glorifies their bodies within and with- out. But as the bodies of some are at this time decayed for a season, and dead, and dissolved, so also are their thoughts decayed by the action of Satan, and are dead to the life indeed, and buried in mire and earth ; for their soul is perished. As, therefore, the Israelites cast the golden vessels into the fire, and they became an idol, so now the man has given over his pure and good thoughts to evil, and they have been buried in the mire of sin, and are become an idol. And what shall a man do to discover them, and discern them, and cast them out of his own fire ? Here the soul has need of a divine lamp, even of the Holy Ghost, who sets in order the darkened house. It needs the bright sun of righteousness, which enlightens and rises upon the heart, as an instrument to win the battle.
4-- That woman who lost the piece of silver, first lighted the lamp, and then set the house in order, and thus, the house being set in order and the lamp lit, the piece of silver was found, buried in dirt and filth and earth. So now the soul cannot of itself find its own thoughts, and disen- gage them ; but when the divine lamp is lit, it lights up the darkened house, and then the soul beholds its thoughts, how they lie buried in the filth and mire of sin. The sun rises, and then the soul beholds its loss, and begins to recall the thoughts that were mingled among the dirt and the uncleanness. For indeed the soul lost her image when she transgressed the commandment.
5-- Suppose there is a king, and he has goods and servants under him to minister to him, and he happens to be taken by his enemies and carried captive. When he is taken and removed from his country, his ministers and servants cannot but follow after him. Thus Adam was created pure by God for His service, and these creatures were given him to minister to his wants. He was appointed lord and king of all creatures. But when the evil word came to him, and conversed with him, he first received it by the outward hearing, then it penetrated through his heart, and took possession of all his being. When he was thus seized, creation, which served him and ministered to him, was seized with him. Through him death reigned over every soul, and defaced every image of Adam in conse- quence of his disobedience, so that men were turned and came to the worship of devils. Lo, the fruits of the earth, which were created good by God, are offered to the devils bread, and wine, and oil ; and they set animals upon their altars ; yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. 1
6-- At this point comes He in person, who fashioned body and soul, and undoes the whole business of the wicked one, and his works accomplished in men's thoughts, and renews and forms a heavenly image, and makes a new thing of the soul, that Adam may again be king over death and lord of the creatures. In the shadow of the law, Moses was called the Saviour of Israel, because he brought them out of Egypt So now the true Redeemer, Christ, goes through into the hidden places of the soul, and brings it out of dark Egypt, and the heavy yoke, .and the bitter bondage. He commands us, therefore, to come out of the world, and to become poor of all visible things, and to have no earthly care, but night and day to stand at the door, and wait for the time when the Lord shall open the closed hearts, and shall pour upon us the gift of the Spirit.
7-- He told us therefore to leave gold, silver, kinsfolk, to sell that which we have and distribute to the poor, and to treasure it up and seek it in heaven. For where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also. 2 The Lord knew that in this quarter Satan prevails over the thoughts, to drag them down to anxiety for material, earthly things. For this reason God, in providential care for thy soul, told thee to renounce all, in order that even against thy will thou mightest seek the heavenly riches, and keep thy heart Godwards ; for even if thou shouldest wish to return to the creaturely things, thou findest nothing visible in thy possession. Wiliest thou, nillest thou, thou art compelled to send thy mind to heaven, where thou hast treasured these things and laid them up ; for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.
8-- In the law God commanded Moses to make a serpent of brass, 1 and lift it up, and fix it upon the top of a pole, and as many as were stung by the serpents, when they fixed their attention upon the brazen serpent, obtained healing. This was done by way of a dispensation, in order that those who were held by earthly cares, and the worship of idols, and the pleasures of Satan, and all manner of ungodliness, might by this means to some extent look upward to things above, and gaining a respite from things below, might give heed to higher things, and again proceed from these to that which is highest; and thus advancing little by little to the higher and loftier kind, might learn to know that there is a Most Highest surpassing all the creation. So likewise He commanded thee also to make thyself poor, and to sell all and give to the poor, in order that after that, even if thou shouldest wish to sink down upon the earth, it might be impossible. Searching into thy heart, thou beginnest to commune with thy thoughts, " Inasmuch as we have nothing upon earth, let us be get- ting heavenwards, where our treasure is, where we have set up a business." Thy mind begins to uplift an eye to the height, to seek the things above, and in so doing to make progress.
9-- What, however, is the dead serpent? The serpent fixed upon the top of the pole healed those that were stung. The dead serpent overcame the live ones. Thus it is a figure of the body of the Lord. The body which He took of the ever Virgin Mary, He offered it up upon the cross, and hung it there, and fastened it upon the tree; and the dead body overcame and slew the live serpent creeping in the heart. Here was a great marvel, how the dead serpent slew the live one ; but as Moses made a new thing, when he made a likeness of the live serpent, so also the Lord made a new thing from the Virgin Mary, and put this on, instead of bringing with Him a body from
heaven. The heavenly Spirit entered in and wrought in Adam, 1 and brought him into combination with the God- head, and put on human flesh, and fashioned it in the womb. As no serpent of brass was ever commanded by the Lord to be made in the world until Moses, so a new and sinless body was never seen in the world until the Lord. For when the first Adam transgressed the com- mandment, death reigned over his children without exception. So a dead body overcame the live serpent.
10-- This wonderful thing is to the Jews a stumbling- block, and to the Greeks foolishness. 2 But what says the apostle? But we preach Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness, but to us that are saved Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 3 In the dead body is life. Here is redemption ; here is light. Here the Lord comes to death, and discourses with him, and bids him bring the souls out of hell and death, and give them back to Him. Behold then, death, troubled at these things, goes in to his ministers, and gathers together all his powers ; and the prince of wickedness produces the bond-deeds, and says, "See, these obeyed my words; see how men worshipped us." But God, who is a just judge, displays His justice here also, and says to him, " Adam obeyed thee, and thou didst take possession of all the hearts of him. Humanity obeyed thee. What is My body doing here ? This is without sin. That body of the first Adam was under obligation to thee, and thou hast a right to keep the bond-deeds of it ; but to Me all bear witness that I never sinned. I owe thee nothing, and all bear witness that I am the Son of God. Above the heavens came a voice and bore witness upon the earth, This is My beloved Son; hear Him* John witnesses, Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world ; l and the scripture again, Who did no sin, neither was guile found in Him ; 2 and, The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me. 3 And thou thyself, O Satan, bearest witness to Me, saying, / know Thee, who Thou art, the Son of God;* and again, What have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth ? art Thou come to torment us before the time? 5 There are three that bear witness to Me He that is above the heavens sends forth a voice ; they that are on earth; and thou thyself. Therefore I purchase the body that was sold to thee through the first Adam ; I cancel thy bonds. I paid the debts of Adam, when I was crucified and descended into hell; and I command thee, O hell and darkness and death, bring out the imprisoned souls of Adam." Thus the evil powers, stricken with terror, give back the imprisoned Adam. n. But when you hear that at that time the Lord delivered the souls from hell and darkness, and went down to hell, and did a glorious work, do not imagine that these things are so very far from your own soul. Man is capable of admitting and receiving the evil one. Death keeps fast hold of the souls of Adam, and the thoughts of the soul lie imprisoned in the darkness. When you hear of sepulchres, do not think only of visible ones; your own heart is a sepulchre and a tomb. When the prince of wickedness and his angels burrow there, and make paths and thoroughfares there, on which the powers of Satan walk into your mind and thoughts, are you not a hell, a tomb, a sepulchre, a dead man towards God? There it was that Satan coined reprobate silver. In this soul he sowed seeds of bitterness. It is leavened with old leaven ; a fountain of mire springs there. Well, then, the Lord comes into souls that seek after Him, into the deep of the heart-hell, and there lays His command upon death, saying, " Bring out the imprisoned souls that are seeking after Me, which thou detainest by force." So He breaks through the heavy stones that lie on the soul, opens the sepulchres, raises up the man that is dead indeed, brings out of the dark jail the imprisoned soul.
12-- Just as if a man were bound hantl and foot with chains, and some one came and loosed his bands, and let him walk free without interference, so the Lord looses from its bonds the soul that is bound with the chains of death, and lets it go, and sets the mind free to walk at ease and unhindered into God's air. Suppose a man were in the middle of a river in full flood, and overwhelmed by the water lay lifeless, drowned, with dreadful monsters all round him. If another man, who is not used to swimming, should wish to save the one who fell in, he too is lost, and is drowned with him. Clearly there is need of a skilled swimmer, an expert, to go out into the depth of the water of the gulf, and dive, and bring up the drowned man there among the monsters. The water itself, when it sees a man skilled and knowing how to navigate it, helps such a man, and bears him up to the surface. The soul, in the same way, has been plunged and drowned in the abyss of darkness and the deep of death, and is dead and parted from God among dreadful monsters ; and who is able to go down into those secret chambers and the depths of hell and death, except that expert Workman who fashioned the body? In His own person He enters into two quarters, into the depth of hell, and into the deep gulf of the heart, where the soul with its thoughts is held fast by death, and brings up out of the darksome hole the Adam that lay dead. And death itself, through practice, becomes an assistance to man, like the water to the swimmer.
13-- What difficulty is there to God in entering into death, or into the deep gulf of the heart either, and calling up the dead Adam from thence ? In the natural world there are houses and tenements where mankind dwell, and there are places where wild beasts dwell, lions, or dragons, or other venomous beasts. If the sun, which is but a creature, enters in every direction, through windows, through doors, and into the dens of lions, and into the holes of serpents, and comes out again without taking any harm, how much more does the God and Lord of all enter into the holes and dwelling-places where death pitched his tent, and into souls, and rescue Adam from thence without being injured by death ? The rain, too, comes down from heaven, and reaches down into the lower parts of the earth, and there moistens and renews the dried roots, and makes there a new growth.
14-- One man maintains conflict and hardship and war against Satan. This man's heart is contrite ; he is in care and mourning and tears. Such an one has come to stand in two separate realms. If, then, in this state of things he perseveres, the Lord is with him for the battle, and protects him ; for he seeks in earnest, and knocks at the door till He opens to him. Again, if you see here a good brother, it is grace which has established him. But the man with- out foundation has no such fear of God. His heart is not contrite. He is in no fear, nor does he secure his heart and members, not to walk disorderly. This man's soul is altogether free, for he has not yet entered into conflict. There is then a difference between the man in conflict and hard- ship, and the man who does not know what battle is. Even the seeds, when cast into the ground, undergo hard- ship with the frosts, with the winter, with the coldness of the air, and in due season the growth is quickened.
15-- It sometimes happens that Satan talks in the heart, " See how many wrong things thou hast done ! See how many follies thy soul is filled with, and thou art weighed down with sins, that thou canst not be saved." This he does, to reduce thee to despair, and to make thee think that thy repentance is not acceptable. For since by the transgression wickedness entered in, it talks with the soul every hour, like man with man. Answer him then thou, " I have the testimonies of the Lord in writing, that say, I desire not the death of the sinner, but his repentance, and that he should turn from his wickedness and live." x It was for this that He came down, to save sinners, to raise the dead, to quicken lost lives, to give light to those in darkness. In truth He came, and called us to the adoption of sons, to a holy city which is ever at peace, to the life that never dies, to glory incorruptible. Only let us put a good^finish to our beginning. Let us abide in- poverty, in the condition of strangers, in suffering affliction, in petition to God, knock- ing importunately at the door. Near as the body is to the soul, the Lord is nearer, to come and open the locked doors of the heart, and to bestow on us the riches of heaven. He is good and kind to man, and His promises cannot lie, if only we continue seeking Him to the end. Glory be to the compassions of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen. established by grace, and has got beyond the state of division, the other has as yet no foundation at all, and is a mere collection of impulses. The mention of the seeds at the end of the section connects it with the end of the section before, and shews that the man who has not yet begun the combat is to be identified with the "drowned" man in the gulf of sin.
Concerning the state of Adam before he transgressed God's commandment, and after he had lost both his own image and the heavenly. The Homily contains some very profitable questions.
1-- ADAM, on transgressing the commandment, suffered a twofold disaster. He lost the pure and lovely possession of his nature, which was after the image and likeness of God ; and he lost also that very image in which was laid up for him according to promise all the heavenly inherit- ance. Suppose there were a coin, bearing the image of the king, and it were stamped afresh with a wrong stamp ; the gold is lost, and the image is of no value. Such was the disaster which befell Adam. Great riches and a great inheritance had been prepared for him. Suppose there were a great estate, and it had many sources of revenue in it ; here a nourishing vineyard, there fruitful fields, there flocks and herds, there gold and silver ; so valuable was the estate before the disobedience, the estate consisting in Adam's own vessel. But when he entertained evil intentions and thoughts, he was lost from God.
2-- We do not say, however, that everything was lost, and destroyed, and died. He died from God, but to his own nature he lives. For behold, the whole world walks the earth, and does its business. But God's eye sees their mind and their imaginations, and as it were looks round them and past them, and makes no communion with them, because nothing that they think is well-pleasing to God. If there are houses of promiscuous reception and of ill-fame, and places where disorders and debaucheries are carried on godly people, as they pass, loathe them, and seeing refuse to see, for these things are to them dead. So God casts an eye upon those who have revolted from His word and from His commandment, but His eye passes on from them, and makes no communion there, nor can the Lord find a resting-place in their thoughts.
3-- Question. How can any one be poor in spirit, especially when he is inwardly conscious that he is a changed man, and has made progress, and has come to a knowledge and understanding which he did not possess before ? Answer. Until a man acquires these things and makes progress, he is not poor in spirit, but has some opinion of himself; but when he comes to this understanding and point of progress, grace itself teaches him to be poor in spirit, which means that a man being righteous and chosen of God does not esteem himself to be anything, but holds his soul in abasement and disregard, as if he knew nothing and had nothing, though he knows and has. This is a fixed thing, like a law of nature, in the mind of men. Do you not see how our forefather Abraham, elect as he was, described himself as dust and ashes, 1 and David, anointed to be king, had God with him, and yet what does he say ? / am a worm and no man, a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people?
4-- Those therefore who desire to be fellow-heirs with these, and fellow-citizens of the heavenly city, and to be glorified with them, ought to have this humility of mind, and not to think themselves to be anything, but to keep the heart contrite. Though grace works after a different manner in each individual Christian, and has a diversity of members, yet all are of one city, of the same mind, of the same tongue, recognising one another. As there are many members in the body, but one soul is in them all and moves them, so one Spirit works differently in all, but they are of one city, and of one way. All the righteous have gone the straight and narrow way, being persecuted, tor- mented, reviled, living in goatskins, in dens, in caves of , the earth.^ The apostles likewise sa,y,JEven unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and reviled, and have no certain dwelling-place. 21 Some of them were beheaded, some crucified, others afflicted in various ways. And the Lord of prophets and apostles Himself, how did He fare, as if He had forgotten His divine glory ? He was made an example for us ; He wore in mockery a crown of thorns upon His head ; He submitted to spittings, buffets, and the cross.
5-- If God so fared on earth, thou oughtest also to copy Him. The apostles and the prophets fared thus, and we, if we would be built upon the foundation of the Lord and of the apostles, ought to copy them. The apostle says by the Holy Spirit, Be ye imitators of me, as I am of Christ* But if thou lovest the glories of men, and desirest to be worshipped, and seekest repose, thou art turned out of the way. It behoves thee to be crucified with the Crucified, to suffer with Him that suffered, that so thou mayest be glorified with Him that is glorified. The bride must needs suffer with the Bridegroom, and so become partner and fellow- heir with Christ. It is not feasible, without sufferings, and without the rough, straight, narrow way, to enter into the city of the saints, and be at rest, and reign with the King to ages without end.
6-- Question. You said that Adam lost both his own image and the heavenly one. If then he partook of the heavenly image, had he the Holy Ghost? Answer. So long as the Word of God was with him, and the commandment, everything was his. The Word Himself was to him an inheritance ; He was his clothing, and a glory that was his defence ; x He was his instruction. He suggested to him to give all things names: "Call this heaven, this sun, this moon, this earth, this a bird, this a beast, this a tree;" as he was taught, so he named them.
7-- Question. Had he the experience and fellowship of the Spirit? Answer. The Word Himself being with him was every- thing to him, whether knowledge, or experience, or inheri- tance, or instruction. What does John say of the Word? In the beginning was the Word. 2 You see that the Word was everything. If there was also an outward glory with him, let us take no offence at it ; for it says that they were naked, and that they did not look at each other ; and after transgressing the commandment they saw that they were naked, and were ashamed,
8-- Question. Then before this, were they clothed with the glory of God for a cloak? Answer. As in the case of the prophets, the Spirit wrought in them and taught them, and was within them, and appeared to them outwardly, so with Adam. The Spirit, when it pleased Him, was with him, and taught him, and suggested, " Speak thus," and he said it. For the Word was all things to him, and so long as he abode in the commandment he was a friend of God. And yet why should we be surprised if in spite of such conditions of existence he transgressed the commandment ? Those who have been filled with the Holy Ghost still have the thoughts of nature, and have the will to comply with them. Thus Adam, though pre- sent with God in paradise, transgressed of himself by his own will, and obeyed the evil side. Still, even after the transgression, he had knowledge.
9-- Question. What kind of knowledge ? Answer. When a robber^ is brought into court, and the trial begins, and the magistrate says to him, "When you were doing these wrong things, did you not know that you would be liable to be taken and put to death ? " He has not the face to say "No." He knew, and when punish- ment ensues, he remembers and confesses all. And does not the whoremonger know that he is doing wrong ? And the man who is stealing, does he not know that it is a sin ? Thus, even without the scriptures, do not men know from natural reasoning that there is a God ? They cannot say in that day, "We did not know that Thou, God, art." He says to them, " Did ye not know the thunders and light- nings from heaven, that there is a God who governs the creation ? " Why then did the devils cry out, Thou art the Son of God ; why art Thou come to torment us before the time ? 1 Even now at the shrines of martyrs they say, "You burn me, you burn me." They did not, then, know the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The trans- gression of Adam conveyed the knowledge.
10-- Every one begins to ask, what state Adam was in, and what happened to him. Adam himself received the knowledge of good and evil. We hear from the scriptures that he was in a state of honour and purity, and on trans- gressing the commandment he was cast out of paradise, and God was wroth with him. So he learns what things are good for him ; and having learnt what things are evil he secures himself, that he may not sin any more and fall into the condemnation of death. Now we know that the whole creation of God is governed by God. He it was that made heaven and earth, animals, creeping things, beasts. We see them all, but do not know the number of them. What man is there that knows ? God only, who is in all things, even in the unborn offspring of the animals. Does He not
know the things that are under the earth, and that are above the heavens ? ii. Let us then leave these things, and rather seek, like good men of business, to gain possession of a heavenly inheritance and the things that are profitable to our souls. Let us learn to gain possessions which will stay by us. If you, who are but human, begin to search the thoughts of God, and to say, " I have found out something, and com- prehend it," the human mind will be found surpassing the thoughts of God. But in this you are much mistaken; and the more you desire to search and get to the bottom, the more you get out of your depth, and fail to compre- hend anything. Those visitations of His which happen to you what He works day by day in you, and how these are beyond expression or comprehension ; you can do nothing but receive them with thankfulness, and believe. Have you been able to take cognisance of your own soul from the time when you were born till now ? If so, declare to me the thoughts that spring up in you from dawn to dusk. Tell me the cogitations of three days. Nay, you cannot. If then you could not comprehend the thoughts of your own soul, how can you find out the thoughts and mind of God ?
12-- Nay, eat as much bread as you find, and leave the wide earth to pursue its way ; go to the brink of the river, and drink as much as you need, and pass on, and seek not to know whence it comes, or how it flows. Do your best to have your foot cured, or the disease of your eye, that you may see the light of the sun, but do not enquire how much light the sun has, or how high it rises. The animal which is profitable for your use, that take : why do you go off to the hills and try to discover how many wild asses and other beasts dwell there ? The babe, when it comes to its mother's breast, takes the milk and thrives; it does not search for the root and well-spring from which it flows so. It sucks the milk, and empties the whole'measure ; and another hour passes the breast fills up. The babe knows nothing of it, nor the mother either, although the supply proceeds from all her members. If then, you seek the Lord in the depth, there you find Him. If you seek in the water, you find Him there, doing wonders. 1 If you seek Him in the den, there you find Him between two lions, guarding the righteous Daniel. If you seek Him in fire, there you find Him, succouring His servants. If you seek Him in the mountain, there you find Him with Elias and Moses. He is everywhere beneath the earth, and above the heavens, and within us as well. 2 He is everywhere. So too your own soul is near you, and within you, and without you ; for wherever you please, in countries far away, there your mind is, whether westward or eastward, or in the skies ; there it is found.
Let us then seek above all things to have the brand
and seal of the Lord upon us ; because in the day of judg- ment, when the severity of God 3 is shewn, and all the tribes of the earth, even all Adam, are gathered together, when the good Shepherd calls His own flock, all those who have the brand recognise their own Shepherd, and the Shepherd takes knowledge of those who have His own seal, and gathers them together from all the nations. Those that are His hear His voice, and go behind Him. The world is divided into two parts, and one flock is dark, which goes into eternal fire, and one is full of light, which is led up to the heavenly rest. What we now make our own, within our souls, the same then shines and is manifested, and clothes our bodies with glory.
14-- As in the season of the month of Xanthicus, 4 the roots buried in the earth put forth their own fruits, and their own blossoms and beauties, and bear fruit, and the good roots are manifested, and those that have thorns are made manifest, so in that day each one makes evident by his own body what he has done. The good things and the bad are alike manifested. There lies all the judgment and the retribution. There is another food besides this visible food. When Moses went up into the mount, he fasted forty days. He went up a man and no more ; he came down possessed of God. Now see ; we behold in ourselves that if the body is not supported by victuals, in a few days it is worn out; yet when Moses had fasted for forty days, he came down more full of vigour than all of them. It was because he was fed by God, and his body was provided with another and a heavenly food. The Word of God was made food to him, and he had a glory in his countenance. What happened to him was an example. That glory now shines inwardly in the hearts of Christians ; at the resurrec- tion, their bodies are covered, as they rise, with another, a divine, raiment, and are fed with a heavenly meat.
15-- Question. What is meant by a woman praying with her head uncovered ? Answer. Because in the apostles' time they wore their hair loose for a covering. For this reason the Lord and the apostles came into the world of creation, and taught it sobriety. The woman, however, stands as a type of the church. Whereas in the visible world the women at that time wore their hair undone for a covering, the church clothes and wraps her children in divine and glorified gar- ments. And in the old days of the church of Israel the congregation was one, and it was covered by the Spirit, and they were clothed with the Spirit for a glory, although they themselves did not correspond with it. Well, the word "church" is used of the individual soul, as well as of many ; for the soul gathers together all her faculties and is
thus a church to God. For the soul was fitted for com- munion with the heavenly Bridegroom, and mingles with the heavenly One. This is observed both of the many and of the one. Thus the prophet says of Jerusalem, I found thee desolate and naked, and I clothed thee* and so forth, as if he spoke of a single person.
Question. What does it mean when Martha said to
the Lord about Mary, " I am hard at work about many things, while she sits beside Thee"? 2 Answer. What Mary might well have said to Martha, the Lord, anticipating her, replied that she had left everything to sit at the Lord's feet, and bless God all day long. You see, her sitting was for love's sake. But that God's word may be made clearer, listen to this. If any one loves Jesus, and attends to Him in earnest, and not in a casual way, but in love abides by Him, God is already devising to make some return to that soul for its love, although the- man does not know what he is to receive, or what portion God is about to give to the soul. When Mary loved Him, and sat at His feet, the gift that was added to her was no casual gift ; He gave her a certain hidden virtue from His own substance. The very words which God spoke in peace to Mary were so many spirits, .and a power; and these words entering into her heart were made a soul to her soul and a spirit to her spirit, and a divine power was filled into her heart. Where that power shall lodge, it cannot but abide permanently, as a possession not to be taken away. For this reason the Lord, who knew what He gave her, said
- Mary hath chosen the good part. 3 But after a time the
things which Martha had done so eagerly in the way of service brought her to that gift of grace. She too received divine power in her soul.
17-- What is there to be surprised at if those who came to the Lord, and were personally attached to Him, received
His power, when the apostles spoke the word, and the Holy Ghost fell on those who believed? Cornelius received power from the word which he heard ; how much more, when the Lord spoke the word to Mary, or to Zacchaeus, or to the sinful woman who let her hair down and wiped the Lord's feet, or to the woman of Samaria, or to the robber, did power go out, and the Holy Ghost was mingled with their souls ? And still those who love God, and leave all things, and persevere in prayer, are taught in secret things that they knew not. The truth itself is mani- fested to them, according to their choice, and teaches them, / am the truth. 1 The apostles themselves, before the crucifixion, by continuing with the Lord, saw great signs how the lepers were cleansed and the dead raised up, and knew not how divine power goes up and down and ministers in the heart, and that they should be spiritually born again, and mingled with the heavenly soul, and become a new creation. Because of the signs which He did, they loved the Lord. But the Lord said to them, " Why marvel ye at the signs ? I give unto you a great inheritance, which the whole world hath not."
His words seemed strange to them, until He rose
from the dead, and carried up His body on our behalf above the heavens ; and then the Paraclete Spirit entered into their souls and was mingled with them, and the Truth in person manifests itself in faithful souls, and the heavenly Man comes to be with the man that thou art, and becomes one communion with thee. As many as give themselves to serve, and eagerly do all things out of zeal and faith and the love of God, that very service after a time brings them into the knowledge of the truth itself. The Lord is mani- fested to their souls, and teaches them the ways of the Holy Ghost. Glory and worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
What fruit God expects from Christians.
1-- ALL things that are seen were created by God, and He gave them to men for refreshment and enjoyment, and He gave them also a law of righteousness. But from the time of Christ's coming God seeks other fruit, and another righteousness, purity of the heart, a good conscience, kind words, holy and good thoughts, and all the discipline of the saints. The Lord says, "Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.* In the law it is written, Thou shalt not commit fornication ; but I say unto you, Thou shalt not desire, neither shalt thou be angry." He who wishes to be a friend of God, 2 and a brother and son of Christ, must do something more than other men, that is, to conse- crate heart and mind themselves, and to stretch up his thoughts towards God. In this way God secretly gives life and help to the heart, and entrusts Himself to it. When a man gives God his secret things, that is, his mind and thoughts, not occupying himself elsewhere, nor wandering away, but putting constraint upon himself, then the Lord deems him worthy of mysteries, in greater sanctity and purity, and gives him heavenly food and spiritual drink.
2-- A man who is possessed of much substance, and has both servants and children, gives a different kind of food to the servants from what he gives to his own born children, because the children are their father's heirs, and eat with him, being made like to their father. Even so Christ, the true Master of the house, who created all things Himself, nourishes the evil and the unthankful, but the children whom He has begotten of His own substance, to whom He has imparted of His grace, in whom the Lord is formed, these He provides beyond others with special refreshment and diet and meat and drink. Going up and down with Jesus their Father, they receive the gift of Himself, as the Lord says, He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me, and I in him, and he shall not see death. 1 Those who possess the true inheritance have been begotten as sons of a heavenly Father, and pass their time in their Father's house, as the Lord says, The servant abideth not in the house, but the son abideth for ever?
3-- If we then desire to be born of the heavenly Father, we ought to do something that exceeds the rest of man- kind diligence, effort, zeal, love, a good conversation, to be in faith and fear, as desiring to attain good things of such magnitude, and to inherit God. The Lord, it says, is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup. 3 Thus the Lord, beholding our good purpose and our endurance, performs His mercy, and cleanses us from the 'defilement of sin, and from the eternal fire that is in us, and makes us meet for the kingdom. Glory to His tender compassion and to the good pleasure shewn of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Those who give their thoughts and their mind to God do so in the hope that the eyes of their heart may be enlightened, and God vouchsafes to them mysteries in the greatest sanctity and purity, and imparts to them of His grace. What we who desire to attain the good things of heaven ought to do. Then the apostles and the prophets are compared to the sun's rays coming in at a window. The Homily also teaches what is Satan's " Earth," and what that of the angels, and that both are intangible and invisible.
i. ALL works visibly done in the world are done in hope, with a view to partaking of the results of the labour. If it were not for the assurance of enjoyment. from the toil, no advantage would be gained. The husbandman sows in hope of fruits, and is supported under his labours by the expectation. He that plougheth, the apostle says, plougheth in hope. 1 He that takes a wife, does it in hope of having heirs. The merchant commits himself to the sea and the risk of death for the sake of gain. So also in the Kingdom of Heaven a man gives himself up in hope that the eyes of his heart may be enlightened, 2 withdrawing from the affairs of this life, and keeping himself free- for prayers and supplications, looking for the Lord, when He shall come and manifest Himself to him, and shall cleanse him from the sin that dwells in him.
2-- He puts no confidence, 1 however, in his labours and manner of life, until he obtains the things hoped for, until the Lord comes and dwells in him in the full experience and energy of the Spirit. And when he tastes the goodness of the Lord, and delights in the fruits of the Spirit, and the veil of darkness is taken away, and the light of Christ shines upon him and works in him in joy unspeakable, then is he fully satisfied, having the Lord with him in great affection, as the merchant in the illustration rejoices when he has gained. But he still has conflict and fear from the robber spirits of wickedness, lest he should grow slftck and lose his labour, before he is accepted in the kingdom of heaven, in the Jerusalem which is above.
3-- Let us then beseech God that He would put off from us the old man, and put on us the heavenly Christ, here and now, so that being in gladness, and thus being led by Him, we shall be in great tranquillity. The Lord, who desires to fill us with the taste of the kingdom, says, With- out Me ye can do nothing. 2 And yet He knew how to enlighten many by means of the apostles. They were but creatures, but they nourished their fellow servants. Thoughts that were dead and cor- rupted they quickened and restored to life by their good conversation and instruction. It is possible for one creature to nourish and quicken another. The clouds, the rain and the sun, when so commanded, quicken the seeds of wheat or barley, though they are only creatures. Like light which comes in through a window, while the sun sends out his beams upon all the world, so the prophets were the lights of their own house of Israel, and no more ; but the apostles were suns, shooting out their beams into all the quarters of the world.
4-- Well, there is an "earth," on which the beasts dwell; and there is an " earth " in the air, in which the birds walk and live. If the birds wish to stand or walk on land, there are fowlers to catch them. The fishes too have an "earth," which is the water of the sea. Wherever anything is born, on land or in the air, there it has its existence, its susten- ance, and its pleasure. In the same way there is a Satanic " earth " and home, where the powers of darkness and the spirits of wickedness live and walk and take their pleasure ; and there is a luminous "earth " of the Godhead, where the camps of angels and of holy spirits walk and take pleasure. That darksome earth cannot be seen with the eyes of this body, nor be felt; neither is the luminous earth of the Godhead felt, or seen by the fleshly eyes. But to those who are spiritual both are discernible to the heart's eye, that Satanic earth of darkness and the luminous earth of the Godhead.
5-- The fable of those without says that there are moun- tains, which are fiery, because there is fire in them, and there are there animals like sheep. Those who hunt them make iron wheels, and cast hooks and throw them into the fire, because those animals have fire for their meat, and fire for their drink, their pleasure, their increase, and their life. Fire is everything to them. If you bring them out into another air, they die. When their coats are dirtied, they are not washed in water, but in the fire, and they get cleaner and whiter. Christians in like manner have that heavenly fire for their meat. That is their pleasure. That cleanses, and washes, and sanctifies their heart. That brings them to increase. That is their air and their life. If they go out of it, they are destroyed by the evil spirit, as the animals in the fable die when they leave the fire, as the fish when they leave the waters. As fourfooted beasts cast into the sea are drowned, as birds walking on the ground are taken by the fowlers, so the soul which will not stay in that " earth " is stifled and perishes. If it has not that divine fire for meat and drink and raiment, and cleans- ing of heart and sanctification of soul, it is taken by the evil spirits and demolished. But as for us, let us enquire in earnest whether we have been sown in that unseen " earth," and engrafted in the heavenly vine. Glory be to His mercies. Amen.
This Homily teaches at large how the soul ought to behave herself in holiness and chastity and purity towards her Spouse Christ Jesus, the Saviour of the World. It contains also certain discussions full of great instruction, viz., whether at the resurrection all the members are raised up, and a great many more concerning Evil, and Grace, and Free Will, and the dignity of human nature.
1-- A VERY wealthy man, a glorious king, sets his heart, it may be, on a poor woman, who possesses nothing but her own person. He becomes her lover, and desires to take her to live with him as his spouse. Then, if she shows all benevolence to her husband, retaining also her love to him, lo ! that poor needy woman, who possessed nothing, finds herself mistress of all that belongs to her husband. If, on the other hand, she should act contrary to duty and obligation, and should behave improperly in her husband's house, she is then cast out with disgrace and contumely, putting her two hands upon her head, as is said figura- tively in the law of Moses * concerning a wife who is disorderly and of no advantage to her husband. Then sorrow and great mourning become hers, while she reflects what wealth she is fallen from, and what glory has passed away from her, dishonoured as she is because of her folly.
2-- In like manner a soul which Christ the heavenly Bridegroom has espoused for mystical divine fellowship with Himself, and which has tasted of the heavenly riches, ought with great diligence sincerely to please Christ, her heavenly Wooer, and dutifully and properly to fulfil the service of the Spirit entrusted to her, to please God in all things, and to grieve the Spirit in nothing, and duly to preserve the modesty and love towards him in which beauty lies, and to behave herself well in the house of the heavenly King in all benevolence for the grace given to her. Behold, a soul like this is made mistress of all the good things of the Lord, and even the glorious body of His Godhead becomes hers. But if she fail, and act contrary to duty in her service, and do not the things that please Him, and follow not His will, nor co-operate with the grace of the Spirit which is with her, then she is deprived of her honours with disgrace and indignity, and banished from life, as being unprofitable and unfit for the fellowship of the heavenly King. Then over that soul there is woe and lamentation and weeping among all holy spirits unseen. Angels, powers, apostles, prophets, martyrs weep over her.
3-- For as there is joy in heaven, the Lord tells us, over one sinner that repenteth, 1 so is there great woe and weeping in heaven over one soul that falls away from the eternal life. As on earth, when a rich man dies, he is accompanied out of life with music and dirge and wailing by his own brethren and kinsfolk "and friends and acquaintances, so over that soul all the saints mourn with dirges and sad music. The Bible says the same thing elsewhere in figurative language. The pine is fallen, it says, mourn, ye cedars? For as Israel, when he was thought to please the Lord though he never pleased Him as he ought had a pillar of cloud to overshadow him, and a pillar of fire to give him shine; saw the sea divide before him, water clear pro- ceeding out of the rock ; but when their mind and intention turned from God, then they were delivered to serpents, or
to their enemies, being led away in sore captivities and tormented with bitter bondage. This the Spirit mystically declared in the prophet Ezekiel also, saying of such a soul, as of Jerusalem, / found thee naked in the wilderness, and I washed thee from the water of thine uncleanness, and I clothed thee with raiment, and put bracelets upon thy hands, and chains about thy neck, and earrings in thine ears, and thou becamest renowned among all the heathen. Fine flour and oil and honey didst thou eat, and after all thou didst forget My benefits, and wentest after thy lovers, and didst commit fornication with shame. 1
4-- So likewise the Spirit utters warning to the soul which through grace knows God, which after being cleansed from its former sins and adorned with the ornaments of the Holy Ghost, and after partaking of the divine and heavenly food, does not behave dutifully with much discretion, and does not properly preserve benevolence and love for Christ the heavenly Bridegroom, and so is rejected and put away from the life of which at one time it was a partaker. 2 For Satan can raise and exalt himself even against those who have reached such measures as these ; even against those who have known God in grace and power, sin still lifts itself up and strives to overthrow them. We must there- fore strive, and watch over ourselves intelligently, to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, as it is written. 3 As many as are made partakers of the Spirit of Christ, see that you do not behave contemptuously in any- thing, small or great, and do no despite to the grace of the Spirit, that you may not be excluded from the life of which you have already been made partakers. 2 After these words the Holkham MS. has in the margin, prima manu, the sentence : Because even those who have tasted with all assurance of the grace of the Holy Ghost are subject to fear ; for Satan has power against them if only he sees them grow negligent or high- minded.
5-- I will repeat this in a different character. If a servant comes into a palace, to be employed upon the vessels used there, he takes of what belongs to the king he himself has nothing to bring and ministers to the king with the king's own vessels. Here he needs much intelli- gence and judgment, that he may make no mistake in serving, by bringing one dish to the royal table when he should bring another, but should serve the courses, first and last, in the right succession. If through ignorance and want of judgment he does not serve the king in the right order, it is as much as his place and life are worth. In like manner a soul which is serving God in grace and the Spirit requires much discretion and knowledge, that it may commit no fault with the vessels of God, that is, in the service of the Spirit, by not keeping its own will in harmony with grace. It is possible in the service of the Spirit, performed secretly by the inner man, for the soul to serve the Lord in vessels of its own, that is, with its own spirit ; but God cannot be served without God's vessels, that is, without grace, so as to please Him in all His will.
6-- And when grace is received, there is then great need of intelligence and discretion which themselves are given by God to the soul that seeks them from Him in order to serve Him acceptably in the Spirit which is received, and not to be surprised into a mistake by sin, led astray by ignorance and presumption and carelessness, and acting contrary to what the Lord's will demands ; because punish- ment and death and mourning will be to such a soul. The holy apostle says, Lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.' 1 You see what fear he had, though he was God's apostle. Let us then beseech God that we, as many as have obtained the grace of God, may minister the service of the Spirit according to His will, in
more than an ordinary way, and may keep no company with the notion of contempt, in order that thus we may live in a manner pleasing to Him, and may serve Him with spiritual service according to His will, and having done this may inherit eternal life.
7-- Some one is compassed with infirmity. It happens that some of his members are sound, his eyesight perhaps, or something else, but the rest of his members are disabled. So it is in the spiritual world. A man may perhaps be sound in three members of his spirit, but he is not perfect ^or that. You see how many stages and measures of the Spirit there are, how the mischief is strained out and refined off bit by bit, and not all at once. The Lord's whole provi- dence and government, the rising of the sun, and every- thing that He has created, are for the sake of the kingdom, which the elect are to inherit, for the constitution of the kingdom of peace and concord.
8-- Christians therefore ought to strive continually, and never to pass judgment on anyone no, not upon the harlot on the street, or upon open sinners and disorderly persons but to regard all men with singleness of intention and purity of eye, so that it may become like a fixed law of nature to despise no one, to judge no one, to abhor no one, to make no distinctions between them. If you see a man with one eye, be not divided in your heart, but look upon him as if he were whole. If a man is maimed of one hand, see him as not maimed, the lame as straight, the palsied as whole. This is purity of heart, when you see sinners or sick people, to have compassion on them and be tender- hearted towards them. 1 It happens sometimes that the saints of the Lord sit in theatres and behold the deceit of the world. According to the inner man they are con- versing with God, while according to the outer man they appear to men as contemplating what goes on in the world.
9-- Worldly people are under one influence from the spirit of error, to mind earthly things ; Christians have another purpose, another mind ; they are of another world, another city. The Spirit of God has fellowship with their souls, and they tread down the adversary. It is written, The last enemy that is destroyed is death. 1 The godly are masters of all things ; but those who are slack in faith and sinners are the slaves of all, and the fire burns them, and the stone and the sword slay them, and in the end devils have dominion over them.
10-- Question. In the resurrection do all the members rise again? Answer. To God all things are easy; and He has so promised, though to human frailty and thought it appears impossible. For as God took of the dust and the earth, and constituted the body as a different kind of thing, not at all resembling the earth, and made many sorts of elements in it, such as hair, and skin, and bones, and sinews ; or as a needle thrown into the fire changes its colour and is converted into fire, although the nature of iron is not taken away, but still subsists ; so in the resur- rection all the members are raised up, and not a hair perishes, as it is written, 2 and all become light-like, all are plunged in light and fire, and changed, and yet are not, as some say, resolved and turned into fire, with nothing of their natural substance left. Peter is Peter, and Paul is Paul, and Philip is Philip. Each one remains in his own nature and personality, though filled with the Spirit. If you say that the nature is resolved, then Peter and Paul are no more, and God is everywhere and in all directions, and neither those who go away into hell are conscious of their punishment, nor are those who go" into the kingdom conscious of the benefit, n. Suppose there were a garden, planted with all sorts of fruit-trees, and there
were in it pear, or apple, and vine, with fruit and leaves ; and suppose the garden and all the trees and their leaves were changed and altered into another nature, and the former ones became light-like; so men are altered at the resurrection, and their members become holy and light-like.
12-- The men of God, then, ought to prepare themselves for conflict and combat. As a brave young man bears the blows that fall on him, and the wrestling match, and hits back, so Christians ought to put up with afflictions without and wars within, in order that, though belaboured, they may conquer by endurance. That is the Christian's road. Where the Holy Ghost is, there follow, like a shadow, persecution and wrestling. You see the prophets, how they were persecuted by their countrymen from first to last, while the Holy Ghost worked upon them. You see how the Lord, who is the Way and the Truth, was persecuted, not by another nation, but by His own. By His own race of Israel He was persecuted and crucified. So was it with the apostles. The Paraclete Spirit removed from the quarter whence the cross came, and passed to the Chris- tians. No Jew was persecuted ; Christians were the only martyrs. For this reason they ought not to be surprised. The truth must needs be persecuted.
13-- Question. Some say that evil enters from without, and that if a man pleases, he does not admit it, but sends it off. Answer. As the serpent spoke to Eve, and because of her compliance gained admission within, so to this day sin, which is without, gains admission through man's com- pliance. Sin has power and liberty to enter into the heart. For our thoughts are not external to us, but from within, out of the heart. The apostle says, / will that the men pray, without wrath and evil disputations. 1 For there
The word for "disputations" in the Greek is the
same which is used for "thoughts" in St. Matthew in the ens'iing passage. are thoughts proceeding out of the heart, as the Gospel says. 1 Go to prayer, and observe thy heart and mind, and determine to send up thy prayer to God pure, and look well there, whether there be nothing to hinder it, whether the prayer be pure, whether thy mind is wholly occupied with the Lord, as the husbandman's with his husbandry, the married man's with his wife, the merchant's with his merchandise ; or whether thou bendest thy knees to prayer, while others pluck thy thoughts asunder.
14-- But you say that the Lord came and condemned sin 2 by the cross, and that it is now within no longer. Suppose a soldier puts up his chariot at some one's house, he is free when he pleases to go in and out of that house. So sin is free to make its arguments heard in the heart. It is written, Satan entered into the heart of Judas. 3 But if you say that by Christ's coming sin was condemned, and that after baptism evil is no more at liberty to argue in the heart, do you not know that from the advent of the Lord to this day all that have been baptized have had bad thoughts at times? Have not some of them turned to vainglory, or to fornication, or to gluttony? All the worldly people dwelling within the pale of the church, are their hearts spotless and pure ? Or do we find that many sins are committed after baptism, and that many live in sin? So even after baptism the thief is free to enter, and to do what he likes.
15-- It is written, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart* But thou sayest, " I do love ; and I have the Holy Spirit." Hast thou constant remembrance, and passionate affection, and burning ardour for the Lord? Art thou fast bound that way day and night? If thou hast a love like that, thou art pure ; but if not, then search thou still, whether, if earthly business or foul and evil thoughts come thy way, thou hast no inclination to them, or whether thy soul is always drawn to love and long- ing after God. The thoughts of the world drag the mind down to earthly and corruptible things, and do not suffer it to love God or to remember the Lord. And oftentimes, on the other hand, the unlearned man goes to prayer, and bends the knee, and his mind enters into rest, and deep as he may dig and get below, the wall of evil that withstands him breaks down, and he enters into vision and wisdom, where potentates and wise men and orators cannot penetrate to understand and know the delicacy of his mind, since he is engrossed in divine mysteries. One who is inexperienced in judging of hearts does not know how to value them, for lack of experience. Well, Christians abhor the glorious things of the earth, and account them but dung 1 in comparison with the magnificence of those things a magnificence which works effectually in them.
Question. Is it possible for a man who has a gift of
grace to fall ? Answer. If he gets careless, he falls. The adversaries never are idle or shirk battle. How much more then ought you never to cease from the quest of God ? For great is your loss if you are careless, although you may think yourself to be exercised in the very mystery of grace.
17-- Question. Does grace remain after a man has fallen? Answer. It is God's desire to bring the man back to life, and He disposes him to weep his way back and to repent. If it does remain, it is for the purpose of making you a surer workman in repenting of those things by which you formerly did amiss.
Question. Are those who are perfect liable to
difficulty or warfare, or are they wholly free from anxiety? Answer. The adversary never ceases from warring. Satan is merciless in his hatred of men ; therefore he never shirks from warring against every man. But he is not seen to set upon all to the same degree. Governors of pro- vinces and counts at court pay tribute to the 'emperor ; but the man in that position has such confidence in his wealth of gold and silver that he meets his taxes out of super- fluous income, and feels no loss. A man who gives alms never feels it a loss, and in the same way Satan considers these things no part of his serious business. 1 But take a poor man, destitute even of daily food; he is beaten and tortured, because he cannot pay the tax ; he spends his time in being scraped and harried, and cannot die ; while another man is commanded to lose his head, and perishes at a moment's notice. So it is among Christians. There are some who are vigorously warred upon and scraped by sin ; and yet they become the firmer and wiser for the wars, despising the power of the adversary, and they are in no peril in that quarter, because they are unfallen and assured of their own salvation, because they have often practised in the war with evil, and have gained experience. Having God with them, they are led and are at rest.
19-- Others, however, who have not yet had practice, if they fall into a single difficulty, and war is stirred against them, sink at once into destruction and perdition. Like travellers in a city intending to see their dear ones and acquaintances, who meet many people in the market-places, but are not stopped by them, because their aim is to find their friends, and when they knock at the door outside and call, their dear ones open to them with joy ; but if they loiter in the market-places, and are deluded or detained by those who encounter them, the door is shut, 1 Macarius means that Satan can afford to let some persons alone. Like the taxes of the rich, or the charities of people in general, they mean no loss to him. and no one opens to them ; so those who press forward to reach our Master, Christ the true Beloved, ought to look down upon all others and take no notice of them. Counts and governors, who have entrance into the palace to the king, are in much fear, how they shall present their accounts, and lest for some mistake in answering for them- selves they should be brought to trial and to punishment ; but simple country folk, who have never set eyes on a prince, pass their days without anxiety. That is the way with this world beneath the sky, from kings down to the poor. Knowing nothing of the glory of Christ, they care only about matters of this life. Not readily does any one bethink him of the day of judgment. But those who in thought enter in before Christ's judgment seat, where His throne is, and pass their lives in His presence, are in fear and trembling continually, to make no mistake concerning His holy commandments.
20-- When the rich men of the earth have brought much fruit into their garners, they set to work again every day to get more, in order to have plenty, and not run short. If they presume upon the wealth laid up in the garners, and take things easily and add no more, but use up what they have stored already, they soon sink into want and poverty. So they have to labour and add, enlarging their intake, that they may not get behindhand. In Christianity, to taste of the grace of God is like that. Taste, it says, and see how gracious the Lord is. 1 This tasting is an effectual power of the Spirit in full certainty, ministering in the heart. As many as are the sons of light, and of the ministry of the New Covenant in the Holy Ghost, these have nothing to learn from men ; they are taught of God. 2 Grace itself writes upon their hearts the laws of the Spirit. They ought not therefore to rest their assurance only upon the scriptures that are written in ink; the grace of God writes the laws of the Spirit and the mysteries of heaven upon the tables of the heart 1 as well. For the heart governs and reigns over the whole bodily organism ; and when grace possesses the ranges of the heart, it reigns over all the members and the thoughts. For there, in the heart, is the mind, and all the faculties of the soul, and its expectation ; therefore grace penetrates also to all the members of the body.
21-- On the other hand, as many as are sons of darkness, sin reigns over their heart, and penetrates to all their members, for out of their hearts proceed evil thoughts, 2 and thus diffused puts the man in darkness. Those who say that evil is not born and bred in man, may have no anxiety about to-morrow, nor any desire either. For a certain length of time, evil ceases to cause trouble in them by suggesting some object of desire, so that a man will affirm on oath, "Such a passion no longer assails me." After a short while he is consumed with the desire, so that he is found guilty of perjury into the bargain. As water runs through a pipe, so does sin through the heart and thoughts. As many as will not have this notion, are refuted and mocked by sin itself, even if sin did not wish to triumph ; for evil endeavours to escape notice and to be hidden in the mind of man.
22-- If a man loves God, then God also mingles His love with him. Once trusted by man, He adds to him the trust of heaven, and the man becomes a twofold being. What- ever part of yourself you offer to Him, He mingles with your soul a like part of His own, that all that you do may be purely done, and your love pure and your prayer pure. Great is the dignity of man. See how mighty are the heaven and the earth, the sun and the moon ; but the Lord was not pleased to rest in them, but in man only. Man, therefore, is of more value than all created things I may
venture to say, not only than visible creatures, but invisible likewise, even than the ministering spirits. 1 It was not of Michael and Gabriel, the archangels, that He said, Let us make them after Our image and likeness? but about the spiritual substance of man, I mean his immortal soul. For it is written, The angels of the Lord encamp round about them that fear Him* The material creatures are bound by an unchangeable kind of nature. 23-- Heaven was once established for good and all the sun, the moon, the earth and the Lord had no pleasure in them, though they cannot alter from what they were created, neither have they any will. But you are for this reason after the image and likeness of God, because, as God is His own Master, and does what pleases Him and, if He pleases, has power to send the righteous to hell and sinners into the kingdom, but He does not choose to do so, nor does He admit the thought, for the Lord is a righteous judge so are you your own master, and if you choose to perish, you are of alterable nature. If you choose to blaspheme, to concoct poisons, to murder some- body, no one opposes or hinders you. If a man chooses, he is subject to God, and walks in the way of righteousness, and restrains his desires. This mind of ours is evenly balanced, having power to subdue by resolute thoughts the impulses and shameful desires of evil.
24-- If in a great house, where there are things of gold and silver, and garments of various kinds, and money, young men and women who live there suppress their own minds, though nature, by reason of indwelling sin, covets them all, and because of the human fear of their masters they check the impulses of desire, how much more, where the fear of God is, ought a man to fight and counteract the indwelling evil. God has enjoined on thee what thou canst do. The nature of irrational animals is tied. The serpent's nature
is bitter and venomous; therefore all serpents are such. The wolf is habitually ravenous ; all wolves are of the same nature. The lamb's gentleness makes it a prey ; all lambs are of the same nature. The dove is guileless and harm- less ; all doves are of the same nature. But man is not like that. One man is like a ravening wolf; another, like the lamb, is a prey. Both are of the stock of mankind.
25-- One man is not satisfied with his own wife, but goes a- whoring, while another does not so much as suffer a desire to rise in his heart. One man plunders his neighbour's goods ; another, in piety towards God, gives away his own. You see how alterable this nature is. You find it inclining to evil, you find it inclining again to good. In both cases it is in a position to assent to such action as it likes. Nature, then, is susceptible both of good and evil, either of divine grace or of the contrary power, but is under no com- pulsion. Adam himself to begin with, being in a state of purity, was sovereign of his own thoughts ; but from the time that he transgressed the commandment, mountains grievous to be borne lie on his mind, and the thoughts of evil mingling with it are all made his own, and yet not one of them is his own, because they are under the dominion of evil.
26-- You ought then to seek for a lamp to be lighted, that you may find pure thoughts. Those are the natural thoughts, which God made. People brought up at sea learn to swim, and when waves and billows rise, they 'are not surprised at it ; but those who are not used to these things, when even a little sea comes up, take fright and go under. So it is with Christians. As the mind of a child of three cannot take in or understand the mind of a grown- up reasoner, because there is a great difference of age between them, so Christians contemplate the world like infant children, with their eyes fixed upon the measure of grace. They are strangers to this age. Their city and their rest is elsewhere. Christians have the comfort of the Spirit, tears, and mourning, and sighing ; and even the tears are an enjoyment to them. They have fear also, in the midst of joy and rejoicing, and thus are they like men carrying their blood in their hands, having no confidence in themselves, or thinking themselves to be anything, but despised and rejected above all men.
27-- Suppose there were a king, who entrusted his treasure to some poor man. The man who received the charge of it does not hold it for his own, but always acknowledges his poverty, not daring to squander out of another's treasure. He bears continually in mind, not only that the treasure is another's, but "it was a mighty king who entrusted me with it, and whenever he pleases he takes it away from me." So ought those who have the grace of God to esteem themselves, to be humble-minded and to acknowledge their poverty. As the poor man who received the charge of the treasure from the king, if he presumes upon the treasure that is another's, and is proud as of wealth of his own, and his heart conceives arrogance, the king takes away his treasure, and the man who had it in charge is left poor as he was before ; so if those who have grace presume, and their hearts are puffed up, the Lord takes His grace from them, and they are left such as they were before receiving the grace from the Lord.
28-- There are many, who, in spite of grace being with them, are cheated by sin without observing it. Suppose there is a maid in a house, and also a young man ; and she is wheedled into consenting to him, and falls, and loses her character. So the dreadful serpent of sin is always with the soul, tickling and enticing it ; and if it consents, the in- corporeal soul enters into connexion with the incorporeal evil of that spirit. Spirit enters into connexion with spirit, and he who gives consent commits adultery in his heart, admitting the suggestion of the wicked one. This then is the measure of your conflict, not to commit this crime in your thoughts, but to resist with your mind, and do battle and conflict within, and not to comply, and to take no pleasure in the thought of what is wrong ; and if the Lord finds in you this preparation, at the last day He takes you to Himself in His kingdom.
29-- For there are things which the Lord so orders that He may not leave Himself without testimony of His divine grace and calling ; and there are others which He orders in the way of permission, that a man may be proved and exercised, that his self-determination may be made plain. Those in afflictions and temptations, if they endure, do not fail of the kingdom of heaven; therefore Christians in circumstances of distress are not vexed or grieved. If they are tried by poverty or suffering, they ought not to be sur- prised, but rather to take pleasure in poverty and reckon it as wealth, and fasting as feasting, and dishonour and obscurity as glory. On the other hand, if they should fall into circumstances which in this life are glorious, which incline them to worldly ease, or wealth, or glory, or luxury, they ought not to take pleasure in these things, but to shun them as they would shun fire.
30-- In the world around us, if a very small nation is stirred to war against the emperor, he is at no pains to go to the front in person, but sends soldiers with their officers, and they carry on the war. But if the nation in motion against him is a very great one, powerful enough to ravage his empire, the emperor himself is compelled to take the field, with those in the palace and in his camps, and to join in battle. Consider then your own dignity. God set Him- self in motion, in company with His camp I mean the angels and holy spirits and came to your protection in person, to deliver you from death. Take good care of yourself, then, and bethink yourself what a provision has been made for you. We use an illustration from this life, being still in it. Suppose there were an emperor, and he were to find a man in want and suffering, and were not ashamed of him, but treated his wounds with healing medicines, and brought him into his palace, and clothed him with the purple and the diadem, and made him partaker of the royal table ; even so Christ the heavenly King came to suffering man and healed him, and made him partaker of the royal table, and this without putting constraint upon his will, but by persuasion He sets him in such honour.
31-- It is written in the gospel that the Lord sent His servants, calling those who were willing, and declaring to them that dinner was ready ; but those who had been called excused themselves, alleging, one, "I have bought some yoke of oxen," another, " I have betrothed to myself a wife." l You see that the entertainer was ready, but the people invited refused. They alone were answerable for it. So great is the dignity of Christians. Consider how the Lord has prepared for them the kingdom, and calls them to enter in, and they will not. As for the gift which they are to inherit, one might say, if every one from the creation of Adam to the end of the world strove against Satan and endured afflictions, he would do nothing great in com- parison with the glory which he is to inherit ; for he will reign to ages without end with Christ. Glory to Him Who so loved a soul like this, for giving Himself and His grace and entrusting the soul therewith ! Glory to His greatness !
32-- According to all appearances, all we brethren who sit here have but one image and the one character of Adam. Well, have we in secret also, in the things within, one purpose among us all, and one heart? Are we all one, good and godly ? Or are there some of us who have fel- lowship with Christ and His angels, and others with Satan and the devils? And yet we all sit together appearing like one man ; every one of us bears the same character of Adam. You see how different the invisible substance, the inward man, is from the outward, when we all look like one man, and yet some are with Christ and the angels, and some with Satan and the unclean spirits. The heart contains an unfathomable depth. In it are reception-rooms, and bedchambers, doors, and porches, and many offices and passages. In it is the workshop of righteousness or of unrighteousness. In it is death ; in it is life. In it is the good traffic, and the contrary.
33-- Suppose there were a very great palace, and this were deserted, and became full of every evil smell, and of many dead bodies. Well, the heart is Christ's palace, and it is full of all uncleanness, and of crowds of many wicked spirits. It must be refounded and rebuilt, and its store- chambers and bedrooms put in order ; for there Christ the King, with the angels and holy spirits, comes to rest, and to dwell, and to walk in it, and to set His kingdom. I tell you, it is like a ship furnished with plenty of tackle, where the captain disposes of all, and sets them their tasks, finding fault with some, and showing others their way about. The heart has a captain in the mind, the conscience, which is ever judging us, thoughts accusing or else excusing one another^ 1
34-- You see that conscience will not slubber over such thoughts, which comply with sin, but at once judges them. It tells no lies. It attests what it must say before God in the day of judgment, as though judging us continually. Suppose there be a chariot and reins ; the animals and all the apparatus are under one driver ; so when he pleases, he is carried along by the chariot at a great rate, and when he pleases, he stops it. Whichever way he pleases to turn it, there it goes along with him. The whole chariot is in the driver's power. In like manner the heart contains many natural
faculties bound up with it, and it is the mind and conscience which chides and guides the heart, and calls from sleep the natural faculties that spring in the heart. The soul has many members, though it is but one.
35-- From the time that Adam transgressed the com- mandment, the serpent entered in and made himself master of the house, and became like a second soul beside the soul. For the Lord says, Whoso denieth not himself, and hateth not his own soul, is not My disciple^ and, He that loveth his soul shall lose it. 2 Sin entering into the soul has become like a member of it, and is united with the bodily man, and therefore many unclean thoughts spring up in the heart. He who does the wishes of his soul, does the wishes of evil, 3 because it is entwined and mingled with the soul. He who brings his soul into subjection, and is angry with himself and with the desires that beset him, is like one who subdues an enemy's city. This man is permitted to come to good measures of the Spirit, and is rewarded through the power of God with the pure man, and is made greater than himself; for such an one is deified, and made a son of God, receiving the heavenly stamp upon his soul. For His elect are anointed with the oil of consecration, and are made men of rank and kings.
36-- Such is the nature that men have. In the depth of wickedness and the bondage of sin, a man is at liberty to turn to what is good. A man bound over to the Holy Spirit, and inebriated with heavenly things, has power to
3 If the printed Greek text is right, Macarius is labouring to draw a distinction between "soul" and "heart." But it is not easy to make out, and it may well be .suspected that /capStas " of the heart" is an error for /caviar "of evil." I have translated accordingly. There seems to be no MS. authority for Kaicias, so that the error, if there is one, must be primitive. In the last clause of the sentence the Ilolkham MS. rightly reads TT) ^uxf; instead of 71 t|/Lx^. This would exactly suit the suggestion of Kaxias, repeating, after Macarius' manner, the preceding statement about sin. turn to evil. A woman clothed in rags, famished, and dirty all over, is with much labour brought to royal rank, and arrayed in purple and crown, and made a king's bride. She remembers her former filthy condition, and is half-minded to go back to her old state ; but she will not deliberately return to her former shame, for that would be folly. Yet even those who have tasted of the grace of God, and are partakers of the Spirit, if they do not take heed to them- selves, are extinguished, and become worse than they were before, when they were in the world. Not that God is liable to change, or impotent, or that the Spirit is Himself quenched ; 1 but men do not correspond to grace, and for this reason miscarry, and fall into a thousand evils. For those who have tasted of that gift have both things present with them, joy and comfort, fear and trembling, gladness and mourning. They mourn for themselves and for all Adam, since mankind is all one, and the tears of such persons are bread, and their mourning sweetness and refreshment.
37-- If you see a man proud and puffed up because he has a share of grace, this man, even if he should work miracles and raise the dead, but does not hold his soul worthless and contemptible, and continue poor in spirit and an object of abhorrence to himself, is cheated by sin with- out knowing it. Even if he works signs you cannot believe him, for the sign of Christianity is this, to be approved of God while earnestly shunning the notice of men, and even if a man has the entire treasures of the King, to conceal them, and to say continually, " It is not mine ; another has put this treasure in my charge. I am a poor man, and when He pleases, He takes it from me." If any one says, "I am rich ; I have enough. I have gained ; I need nothing more," he is no Christian ; he is a vessel of error and of the devil. The enjoyment of God is insatiable. The more any one tastes and eats of Him, the more he
hungers. Such men's ardour and passion for God is beyond restraint, and the more they endeavour to get on and make progress, the more they esteem themselves poor, as those that are in need and have nothing. This is what they say : " I am not fit for this sun to shine upon me." This is the sign of Christianity, this humility. 38-- But if a man says, " I am satisfied and filled," he is a deceiver and a liar. As the body of the Lord was glorified, when He went up into the mountain, and was transfigured into the divine glory and into the infinite light, so are the bodies of the saints glorified and shine like lightning. The glory that was within Christ was outspread upon His body and shone ; and in like manner in the saints, the power of Christ within them shall in that day be poured outwardly upon their bodies. For even now they partake of His substance and nature in their minds ; for it is written, He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are of one, 1 and, The glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given them. 2 As many lamps are lighted from one flame, the bodies of the saints, being members of Christ, must needs be what Christ is> and nothing else.
39-- Question. What advantage have Christians over the first Adam ? for he was immortal and incorruptible, both in body and in soul, whereas Christians die and come to corruption. Answer. The real death is within, in the heart, and is concealed, and it is the inner man that perishes. So if any one has passed from death unto life 3 in that hidden region, he does indeed live for ever, and never dies. Although the bodies of such men are dissolved for a season, they are raised again in glory, for they are hallowed. So we call the death of Christians sleep and repose. If the man were immortal, and his body exempt from corruption, the whole world, beholding the strange fact that Christian men's bodies were incorruptible, would come over to the good by a kind of compulsion, not by a voluntary decision. 40-- In order that the freedom of will which God gave man at the beginning might once for all be shewn and might abide, providence orders these matters, and bodily dissolution takes place, that it may be at the man's discretion to turn to the good or to the bad. For even one who is perfect in evil, deep in sin, making himself a tool of the devil, by whom he is completely mastered, is not bound by any necessity. He is at liberty to become a chosen vessel, 1 a vessel of life. In like manner on the other side those who are drunk with- the Godhead, although filled full with the Holy Ghost and under His dominion, are not held by any necessity, but have their free choice to turn and do what they please in the present world.
41-- Question. Is it by degrees that evil is diminished and rooted out, and a man advances in grace ? or is evil rooted out at once, when he receives a visitation ? Answer. As the unborn babe in his mother's womb is not at once fashioned into a man, but the image is formed by degrees and born, and even then is not fullgrown, but takes many years to develope, and become a man ; and again, as the seeds of barley or of wheat do not root the moment they are put in the ground, but storm and wind pass over them, and then in due time the ears form; and the man who plants a pear tree does not at once partake of the fruit ; so likewise in spiritual things, where there is so much wisdom and delicacy employed, it is only little by little that a man grows and comes to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature? not, as some say, " Off with one coat, and on with another."
42-- He who wishes to be a learned man goes and learns his letters. When he has got to the top there, off he goes to the Latin school, and is at the very bottom. When he gets to be top there too, off he goes again to the ad- vanced school, 1 and is once more at the bottom, a freshman. Then, when he becomes a "scholasticus," he is a freshman among the pleaders, and last of them all. When he once more rises to the top, he is then made a governor, and when he reaches the position of chief magistrate, he takes to him the aid of the assessor. Well, if the world of sense has such a series of promotions, how much more have the heavenly mysteries their promotions, and increase the number of grades, and then, through much practice and many a testing, the man who gets through is made perfect. Christians who have truly tasted of grace, and have the sign of the cross upon their mind and heart, these, from the king to the beggar, consider all things but dung and ill savour ; and these are able to know that the whole world of earth, and the treasures of the emperor, and his riches, and his glory, and the discourses of wisdom are but a vain show, having no solid basis, but passing away ; and whatever there is under the heaven, to them is easily contemned.
43-- Why so ? Because the things above the heavens are so strange and wonderful, which are not to be found in kings' treasures, nor in wisdom of words, nor in worldly glory, and dignities, and wealth such wealth they possess, who have the Lord and Creator of all things in their inmost man, a possession which does not pass away, but abides. Christians know the soul to be precious beyond all created things ; for man alone was made after the image and like- ness of God. Behold the heaven, how vast it is, and the earth ; and the creatures in them are valuable, and their 1 If ypaiJL(j.a.TiKS>v is the right reading here, it can hardly be used in the technical sense of "grammarian," as grammar must have been taught at the earlier stages. It probably denotes "literary," corre- sponding with jiafletV ypafifj-aTOi at the beginning of the section. 2x<Aa<rTi/cJ>s just below is an " advocate." Haywood refers to Suicer's note on the word, which well repays study. bodies are great; but man is valuable above all those bodies, inasmuch as the Lord was well pleased in him alone. The whales of the sea also, and the mountains, and the beasts, in outward appearance are greater than man. Behold then thy dignity, and of how great value thou art, that God hath made thee above angels, because for thy help and deliverance He came upon earth Himself in person.
44-- God and His angels came for thy salvation. The King, the King's Son, held council with His Father, and the Word was sent, and put on the garment of flesh, and concealed His own Godhead, that like might be saved by like, and laid down His life upon the cross. So great is the love of God towards man. The Immortal chose to be crucified for thee. Consider then how God loved the world, because He gave His only begotten Son for them. 1 How shall He not with Him freely give us all things ? 2 In another place it says, Verily I say unto you that He shall make him ruler over all His goods* Elsewhere it shews the angels as ministers of the saints. When Elias was in the mountain, and the foreigners came against him, the young servant said, "There are many coming against us, and we are by ourselves." Then Elias answered, " Do you not see camps and multitudes of angels with us round about succouring us ? " 4 You see that the Master and the multi- tudes of the angels are with His servants. How great then is the soul, and how much valued by God, that God and the angels seek after it for fellowship with themselves and for a kingdom ! And Satan and his powers seek after it for their own party.
45-- For as in the natural world kings are not waited upon by boorish people, but by those who are go*bd-looking and well-educated, so in the heavenly palace those who wait
upon the heavenly King are the blameless, the irreproach- able, the pure in heart. As in the palace good-looking maidens, that have no kind of blemish, the handsomest, go into the society of kings, so in the spiritual order, it is the souls that are adorned with all good manners which have the society of the heavenly King. In visible things, where a prince goes to stay, if it should happen that that house contains anything that is not clean, it is put to rights, and much cleaning takes place, and sweet odours are poured out ; how much more does the house of the soul, in which the Lord rests/ require cleaning, that He may be able to enter in and rest there, who is without spot or blemish ! In such a heart God and the whole church of heaven rests.
46-- In the natural world, if a father enjoys possessions, and has diadems and precious stones, he hides these in storehouses, and they are treasured up for his beloved son, and to him he gives them. So God has entrusted what He has gotten, with His own precious things, to the soul. In the natural order, if there is a war, and a king comes with his army to fight, and his side is inferior in numbers or in strength, immediately he sendeth an ambassage, desiring conditions of peace ; l but if it be a very great nation against an equal nation, and king against king say the king of the Persians against the emperor of the Romans the two kings have no choice but to move with all their forces. See then how great is thy dignity, that God has moved with His own forces that is, with angels and spirits to join issue with the adversary in order to deliver thee from death. God came for thy sake.
47-- Suppose a king were to find a poor man who had leprosy all over his body, and were not ashamed of him, but applied remedies to his wounds, and healed his sores, and then took him to the royal table, and arrayed him in purple, and made him a king ; that is what God did to the
race of men. He washed their wounds, and healed them, and brought them into the heavenly bridechamber. Great then is the dignity of Christians, so great that there is nothing to compare with it. But if the Christian becomes high-minded and allows evil to steal over him, he is like a city without a wall, and the robbers come into it from any quarter they please, with nothing to hinder them, and lay it waste and set it on fire. Thus, whilst thou art taking things easily, and paying no heed to thyself, the spirits of wickedness come in upon thee, and destroy and lay waste thy mind, dissipating thy thoughts upon this present world.
48-- Many people who are well informed about outward things, and pursue knowledge, and take pains about the correctness of their lives, consider that this constitutes per- fection, not looking deep into their hearts, or seeing the bad things there which keep the soul in. According to the inner meaning of evil, it is a root in the members ; the thief is in the house, that is, the opposing power. It is a defiant and an invisible force ; and unless a man sets him- self to combat sin, the inward evil gradually spreads, and by multiplying carries the man along into open sins, to commit them. Evil is continually gushing up like the eye of a well-spring. Be thou then busied upon stopping the streams of evil, lest thou shouldest fall into a thousand wrong things and be like one in stupor. Suppose there to be a nobleman living at ease in affluence, and the officers of the governor and those who serve warrants arrest him, carrying him off to the governor, saying, " You are accused on a serious charge, and your head is in danger." At the very tidings of such a fear, he loses all his ideas, and is like one in a stupor. 49-- Conceive, then, that it is thus with the spirits of wickedness. The world that you see round you, from the king to the beggar, are all in confusion and disorder and battle, and none of them knows the reason, or that it is the manifesta- tion of the evil which crept in through Adam's disobedience, the sting of death. 1 For the sin which crept in, being a kind of invisible power of Satan, and a reality, implanted all evils. Without being detected it works upon the inner man and upon the mind, and contends with the thoughts ; but men are not aware that they are doing these things at the instigation of an alien force. They think it all to be natural, and that they do these things of their own determina- tion, while those who have the peace of Christ in their minds, and His enlightenment, know very well the source of these movements.
50-- The world is subject to the lust of evil, and knows it not, and there is an unclean fire which kindles the heart, and so spreads into all the members, and disposes men to lasciviousness and a thousand wrong things. Those who let themselves be tickled and pleased with it commit the sin inwardly in the heart, and thus the evil gets room, and they fall into open impurity. Mark that the same is true of the love of money, and of vain glory, pride, envy, anger. A man is invited to a dinner, and many meats are offered him ; sin suggests that he should taste them all, and so his soul is pleased and becomes overloaded. Lusts are intolerable mountains, among which are rivers of dragons 2 and venom- ous beasts and serpents. As if a whale were to swallow up a man in its belly, so sin swallows up souls. They are burning flames of fire, and fiery darts of the wicked one. The apostle says, That ye may be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. 3 The evil got room, and has laid its foundations around the soul.
51-- But the prudent, when the passions bestir themselves, will not comply, but are angry with the evil desires, and make themselves enemies to themselves. For Satan has a great wish to rest and stretch himself in the soul, and is annoyed and cramped when the soul will not comply with him. Some there are under the command of the divine power, who if they see a young man with a woman may perhaps think a little, but their mind is not denied, nor do they inwardly commit sin; but it is not yet possible to be confident in such a case. There are others in whom the thing is at an end, quenched, and withered up ; but these are the measures of the great ones. As men in the trade go down naked Into the deep of the sea, into the watery death, to find there pearls that will do for a royal crown, and purple dye, so those who embrace the single life go naked out of the world, and go down into the deep of the sea of evil and into the gulf of darkness, and from those depths they take and bring up precious stones suitable for the crown of Christ, for the heavenly church, for a new world, and a city of light, and a people of angels.
52-- As in a net many kinds of fishes are included, and they cast back the worse kinds at once into the sea, so the net of grace is spread over all, and seeks satisfaction ; but men will not consent, therefore they are thrown back again into the very pit of darkness. As much sand is washed away before the gold is found, and that in very small grains like millet, so out of many there are few found to be approved. Those who have the work of the kingdom are made manifest, and those who only dress up the word of it appear. Those who are seasoned with the heavenly salt appear, and those who speak out of the treasures of the Spirit. The vessels in which God is well pleased appear, and He gives them His own grace ; while others with much patience eceive the hallowing power, in divers manners, as the Lord wills. So he who speaks, unless he be guided by heavenly light and wisdom, cannot satisfy the mind of every one, since there are so many different purposes, some at war, and some at rest.
53-- If a city has been laid waste, and one wishes to rebuild it, he at once demolishes completely the things that are ruinous and fallen, and so begins to dig and to lay his foundations where he dug, and to carry up the building, though there is as yet no house ; and he who wishes to make a pleasure garden in a waste, ill-smelling place begins first to clean it up, and to make a fence round it, and to prepare water-courses, and then he plants, and the plants grow, that thus after a long time the garden may bear fruit ; so the purposes of men since the fall are dried up, laid waste, and thorny. God said to the man, Thorns and thistles shall the earth bring forth to thee. 1 There is need, therefore, of much toil and labour, for a man to seek and lay up the foundation, till fire shall come into men's hearts, and shall begin to clear off the thorns ; and so they begin to be sanctified, glorifying the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
===That spiritual persons are subject to temptations and to the adversities which spring from the first sin. ===
1-- ALL spiritual substances, that is to say, of angels, and human souls, and devils, were made by the Creator innocent and perfectly simple. The fact that some of them turned to evil was an after-effect of their free will. It was by their own choice that they departed from the right way of thinking. If we say that they were so made by the Creator, we say that God is an unjust judge for sending Satan to the fire. There are certain heretics who say that matter is without beginning, and that matter is the root, and that the root is power, and an evenly matched power. To this you may fairly reply, " Which then is the conquer- ing power ? Certainly that of God. Then the vanquished is no longer a match, either in duration or in power." Those who say that evil is a substantive thing, know nothing. To God there is no substantive evil, according to His divine freedom from passion ; but in us it works with full force and makes itself felt, suggesting all foul con- cupiscences. It is not mixed up with us, however, as some say, like the mixture of wine with water ; it is as corn by itself and tares by themselves, though both in the same field ; as in a house, the thief in one part, and the master in another.
2-- Here is a well-spring running with clear water, and there is mud under it. When one stirs the mud, the whole well-spring is fouled. So the soul, when stirred, is fouled and mingled with evil, and Satan becomes one thing with the soul, both being spirits, in the act of fornication or of murder. For this reason, he that is joined to the harlot is one body. 1 But at another moment the soul subsists by itself, penitent for what it has done, and weeps and prays, and remembers God. For if the soul were always plunged in evil, how could it act thus ? since Satan is never willing that men should come to repentance, for he knows no compassion. The wife according to agreement with her husband becomes one with him, but at another moment they are parted ; because it often happens that one of them dies and the other lives. Something of the same kind takes place in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. They become one Spirit, for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. 2 This takes place when the man is swallowed up in grace.
3-- There are some, however, who have a taste of God, but are still subject to the influence of the enemy, and think it strange, in their lack of experience, that after the visitation of God they should still be subject to doubts about the mysteries of Christianity. Those who have grown old in them do not think it strange. As skilled husbandmen, from long experience, in a season of plenty are not entirely without care, but look forward to times of dearth and short supplies, and, on the other hand, when those times of dearth and short supplies overtake them, are not very despondent, in view of changes for the better, so in the spiritual realm, when the soul falls into divers temptations, 3 it neither con- siders it strange, nor is despondent, because it knows that it is permitted on sufferance to be tested and disciplined by evil. On the other hand, when it is in much wealth and contentment it is not without care, but looks forward to the coming change. The sun, which is a bodily and created thing, shines down into unsavoury places, where there are mud and
impurities, without being injured or defiled ; how much rather does the pure and holy Spirit keep company with the soul, when still subject to influence from the wicked one, without contracting anything from them. The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. 1
4-- When therefore a man is deep in, and is rich in grace, there is still a remnant of evil with him. He has a helper at hand to succour him. So when one is in adversities and in great billows of suffering, he ought not to despond ; for if Jie does, sin thrives and makes more way in him. But when one has constant hope in God, the evil diminishes and dries out. That some are palsied or maimed, in fever or sickness, this is a consequence of sin. For sin is the root of all evils, and the passions caused by the desires of the soul and by evil thoughts are owing to it. If there is a running spring, and the places about it are moist and boggy, yet when the weather gets hot, the spring and the places near it dry up. So with God's servants, upon whom grace abounds, this grace dries up the desire which comes from the wicked one, and that which comes from nature likewise ; since now the men of God are greater than the first Adam.
5-- God is infinite and incomprehensible. He shows Himself everywhere, in the mountains, and in the sea, and beneath the deep ; yet not by change of place, like the angels who come down from heaven to the earth. He is in heaven, and He is here. But you will say to me, " How can God be in hell ? or how can He be in the darkness, or in Satan, or in places that are unsavoury ? " I answer that He is impassible and contains all things, for He is infinite, while Satan, being His creature, is tied. That which is good is not soiled, nor darkened. If you say that He does not contain all things, including hell and Satan, you make Him limited with regard to that place where the wicked one is, so that we have to look for another, above Him. God must be everywhere ; but because of the mystery of the Godhead and the fineness in Him, the darkness, though contained in Him, comprehends Him not ; nor can the evil partake of His purity, even though it be in Him. To God there is no such thing as a substantive evil, since He is in nothing injured by it.
6-- To us, however, evil is a reality, because it dwells and works in the heart, suggesting wicked and defiling thoughts, and not allowing us to pray purely, but bringing our mind into captivity to this world. It has clothed itself with our souls, and touched even our bones and members. As Satan therefore is in the air, and God is in no way injured by being there also, so sin is in the soul, and the grace of God is there likewise, without suffering any injury. As a servant near his master is always in fear because of being so near, and does nothing without him, so ought we to refer our thqughts to our Master, Christ, who knows the heart, and to disclose them to Him, and to have within the hope and confidence that " He is my glory, and He is my Father, and He is my riches." Thou oughtest con- tinually to have in thy conscience care and fear. Even if a man has not the grace of God so firmly planted and fixed in him, that night and day the thing which hourly guides and wakens and directs him to good things is joined to his soul as by a natural bond, at least, let him see to it that he has this care, this fear, this labour, this contrition of heart continually fixed, as an unalterable fact of nature.
7-- Like a bee secretly forming her comb in the hive, grace secretly forms in hearts the love of herself, and changes them from bitterness to sweetness, from roughness to smoothness. As a silversmith and engraver, engraving a plate, partly covers up the various little animals that he is cutting, but when he has finished, displays it flashing with the light, so the Lord, the true artificer, engraves our hearts, and silently makes them new, until they pass away from the body, and then the beauty of the soul is shown. Those who wish to construct bowls, and to depict animals upon them, first make their design in wax, and then cast them after the likeness, so that the work is finished in accordance with that design. So sin, though it is a spirit, has an image, and assumes many forms; and in the same manner the inner man is like one of these animals, with an image and a shape, for the inner man is a likeness of the outer. Great then is the vessel, and precious, since in it alone of all the creatures the Lord was well pleased. And the good thoughts of the soul are like precious stones and pearls, and the impure thoughts are filled with dead men's bones and all uncleanness l and ill-savour.
8-- Christians then are of another world, sons of the heavenly Adam, a new race, children of the Holy Ghost, shining brethren of Christ, like their Father, the heavenly shining Adam. Of that city, of that kindred, of that power, they are not of this world, but of another world. He Himself says, Ye are not of this world, even as I am not of this world. 2 But as a merchant on a voyage of many stages, in the multiplication of his merchandise, sends to his friends to procure him houses, gardens, clothes that he requires, and when he sets out for home, brings with him great wealth, and his friends and kinsfolk welcome him with great rejoicing, so in spiritual things, if any are making the heavenly wealth their merchandise, their fellow citizens, the spirits of saints and angels, are aware of it, and say with admiration, " Our brethren on the earth have come into great wealth." So they, having the Lord with them at their de- parture, come with mighty rejoicing to those above, and those who belong to the Lord receive them, having prepared for them there houses, and gardens, and clothes all bright and costly.
9-- We need sobriety in all things, then, in order that the good things that we seem to have may not turn to our hurt. For those who are naturally kind, unless they secure them- selves, are gradually drawn aside by their very kindness ; and those who have wisdom are deceived by their wisdom. A man must be well tempered together in all directions, kindness with severity, wisdom with discretion, word with deed, in everything to trust in the Lord, not in himself. For virtue is seasoned with many different spices, as an article of necessary diet is seasoned with condiment of some kind not with honey only, but with pepper some- times and so is found good for food.
10-- Those who say that sin is not in man, are like people plunged under a deluge of many waters, who will not acknowledge it, but say, "We heard a sound of waters." Plunged under the depth of the waves of evil, they say that sin is not in their mind or thoughts. There is a difference between those who have a theory and talk, but are not seasoned with the salt of heaven who discourse of a royal table, but have never eaten or enjoyed it and a man who has had a sight of the king himself, to whom the treasures have been opened, and he has entered in, and inherited them, and eaten and drunk of the costly viands.
11-- If a mother has an only son, very handsome, wise, adorned with all things good, upon whom she sets all her hopes, and it falls out that she buries him, then endless distress comes upon her, and mourning that cannot be comforted. So ought the mind, when the soul has died to God, to take up mourning and tears, endless distress, to have a contrite heart, to be in fear and care, and at the same time to have a hunger and thirst for what is good continually. Such an one passes into the hands of God's grace and of hope, and he no longer remains in that mourning, but rejoices as one that finds a treasure, and again trembles for fear he should lose it, for the thieves are coming. Like a man who has suffered many losses by thieves, and has got away from them with much difficulty, and after this has come into great affluence and a large fortune, and has no more dread of loss because of his abundant wealth; so spiritual men, after first passing through many temptations and dreadful places, and then filled with grace and replete with good things, are no longer in terror of those who would plunder them, since their wealth is not small ; yet they fear, not with the beginner's fear of evil spirits, but with fear and care how to employ the spiritual gifts entrusted to them.
12-- Such an one despises himself beyond all sinners, and holds this notion implanted in him as if by nature, and the farther he advances in the knowledge of God, the more he considers himself an ignoramus, and the more he learns, the less he thinks he knows. It is grace which ministers this effect, and makes it like a part of nature in the soul. As a little child is carried by a strong young man, and he who carries it takes it about wherever he pleases, so the grace that works in the deep carries the soul, and lifts it up to the heavens, to the perfect world, to the everlasting rest. But even in grace there are measures and degrees of rank. The commander-in-chief, who has access to the king, differs from the captain. As a house that is filled with smoke discharges it also into the open air, so the evil compressed into the soul is discharged without and produces fruits. As those to whom is committed the government of a province or of the royal treasury are all the time in anxiety lest they should after all offend the king, so those who have been entrusted with a spiritual work are always in anxiety, and though they are at rest, are as if they had never found it. For the kingdom of darkness which had broken into the city of the soul, and the barbarous forces which keep possession of its ranges, are in course of expulsion from it.
13-- Christ the King sends to avenge the city, and throws the usurpers into chains, and settles heavenly troops and an armament of holy spirits there, as in their own country; and then the sun shines in the heart, and its rays run through into all the members ; and so a deep peace is the reigning power there. But the man's resolution in combat and strife, and his genuine worth, and his goodwill towards God, are then shown when grace withdraws and he will still be brave and cry to God. You, when you hear that there are rivers of dragons, and mouths of lions, and the dark forces beneath the heaven, and fire that burns and crackles in the members, think nothing of it, not knowing that unless you receive the earnest of the Holy Spirit,' 1 they hold your soul as it departs from the body, and do not suffer you to rise to heaven. In like manner, when you hear of the dignity of the soul, how precious the intelligent substance is, you do not understand that it was not of angels, but of human nature, that He said, Let Us make after Our image and likeness, 2 and that heaven and earth pass away, but that you were called to immortality, and adoption and brotherhood, and marriage with the King. In the world around us, all that belongs to the bridegroom is the bride's ; and all that belongs to the Lord, no matter what it is, He commits to you. He came to your aid in person, to call you up above ; and you neither consider nor understand your dignity. Justly the inspired man mourns over your fall, saying, Man being in honour hath no understanding, but is compared unto the beasts without reason, and is made like unto them. 3 Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
===Concerning the spiritual unction of Christians, and their glory, and that without Christ it is impossible to be saved or to become a partaker of eternal life. === PERFECT Christians, who have been permitted to arrive at measures of perfection and to come very near the King, these are continually consecrated to the cross of Christ. As in the days of the prophets the unction was more precious than all things else, since unction made them kings and prophets, so now spiritual men, who are anointed with the heavenly unction, become Christs according to grace, so that they too are kings, and prophets of heavenly mysteries. These are sons, and lords, and gods, made prisoners and captives, 1 plunged deep, crucified, conse- crated. If the anointing of oil, which came from a material plant, a visible tree, had such force that those who were anointed received dignity beyond dispute for it was a fixed rule, so that they were appointed kings ; David, for instance, after being anointed, immediately fell into persecutions and was afflicted, and then after seven years became king how much more do all who are anointed in mind and the inner man with the hallowing and cheering oil of gladness? the heavenly spiritual oil, receive the stamp of that kingdom of. the imperishable and everlasting power, the earnest of the Spirit* the Holy Ghost the Comforter. He is called the Comforter, because He comforts and cheers those who are in afflictions.
2-- These, being anointed from the tree of life, Jesus Christ, the heavenly plant, are privileged to come to measures of perfection, the measures of the kingdom and the adoption, truly sharers of the secrets of the heavenly King, having free access to the Almighty, entering into His palace, where the angels and the spirits of the saints are, even while they are still in this world. Although they have not yet received the perfect inheritance prepared for them in that age, they are sure, from the earnest which they have now received, as if already crowned and reigning ; and being about to reign with Christ, they are not surprised at the abundance and freedom of the Spirit. Why ? Be- cause while still in the flesh they had that relish of sweetness, and that effectual working of power.
3-- When a man is a friend of the emperor, employed about the palace, acquainted with his secrets, and seeing his purple, if that man is made emperor himself and crowned, he is not surprised or taken aback, since he has long been exercised in the secrets of the palace. No boorish or uneducated person, or stranger to the secret, can go in and reign, but only those of experience and training. So Christians, who in that age are to reign, are not surprised, having already learned the secrets of grace. When man first transgressed the commandment, the devil covered the soul all over with a covering of darkness. Then grace comes, and wholly removes the veil, so that the soul, now cleared, and regaining its proper nature, created without blemish and clear, continually beholds clearly with its clear eyes the glory of the true light and the true sun of righteousness l beaming in the heart itself.
4-- As at the end of the world the firmament is removed and the righteous thenceforth live in the kingdom and the light and the glory, seeing nothing else but how Christ in glory is always on the right hand of the Father, so these
men even now are caught away into that age, and are taken captive, and behold all the beauties and the wonders that are done there. On earth as we are, we have our citizen- ship in heaven^ 1 spending our time and activities in that world, so far as the mind and the inner man are concerned* As the visible eye, when clear, always clearly sees the sun, so the mind perfectly cleansed always sees the glory of the light of Christ, and is with the Lord night and day, in like manner as the Lord's body united with the Godhead is always with the Holy Ghost. Men do not, however, attain these measures in a moment, but with labour and pains and much contention. Some there are who have grace with them working and abiding, yet evil also is with them inwardly, and the two modes of citizenship, of light and of darkness, are at work upon the same heart.
5-- But you will say to me, " What communion hath light with darkness P 2 Where is the divine light darkened or troubled ; and the undefiled and pure, where is it defiled?" It is written, The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not? We must not therefore think of these things under a single aspect and without dissection. So great is the repose of some men in God's grace that they become stronger than the evil that is with them, and having a gift of prayer and much repose in God, at another moment they are under the influence of evil thoughts, and are deceived by sin, though they are still in the grace of God. Light-minded people, who have not learned the business, when grace to some extent works upon them, imagine that there is no more such a thing as sin. But those who have discretion and are prudent dare not deny that even when we have the grace of God we are liable to the influence of foul and polluting thoughts.
6-- We have often found among the brethren that they have found such gladness and grace that for five or six years, they say, concupiscence had withered away, and after this, when they supposed that they were free from it, the evil, which had been concealed, set upon them, and they were all on fire with concupiscence, so that they were sur- prised, and said, "After so long a time, whence did this evil rise against us?" No man of sound mind dares to say, "While grace is with me, I am completely set free from sin." Both the two characters are at work upon the mind. People of no experience in these matters, when grace has had some little effect upon them, imagine that they have already conquered, and are perfect Christians. For my part, I say that the fact is this ; when the sun is in the sky, shining in a clear air, and clouds come about him and cover him, and make the air thick, and yet the sun, far within, is not robbed either of his light or of his proper being, so is it with those who are not completely cleansed. Being in the grace of God, and yet held by sin beneath the surface, they have the natural motions and their actual thoughts strong towards God, and yet are not entirely belonging to good. 7-- And on the other hand some who under the surface are held by the good side, the side of grace, are still in bondage and subjection to bad thoughts and the side of evil. It needs great discretion, therefore, to know by experi- ence that this is the state of the case. I assure you that even the apostles, though they had the Comforter, were not entirely without anxiety. With joy and gladness they had fear and trembling, proceeding from grace itself, not from the side of evil; but the same grace secured them, that they might not swerve, though it were but a little. If a man throws a bit of a stone against a wall, it does not injure the wall or move it from its place. A dart flung at one who wears a breast-plate hurts neither the iron nor the wearer's body; it strikes and bounds back. So even though a fragment of evil got near the apostles, it did not injure them, because they were clothed with the perfect power of Christ, and they, being themselves perfect, were at liberty to work their righteousnesses.
8-- Since then some will have it that after grace the soul is without anxiety, God requires the will of the soul, even in the perfect, for the service of the Spirit, that they may act in agreement. The apostle says, Quench not the Spirit. 1 Some among them were unwilling to be burdensome to others ; some walked for themselves ; others took from men of the world and distributed to the poor. This was a worthier part. Some who have grace care only about them- selves, others endeavour to benefit their neighbour's souls also. These are far superior to the others. Some who have grace, for God's name's sake deliver up their bodies to mockeries and sufferings. These again are above those. Some in the pursuit of virtue are disposed to boast and to be honoured of men, saying that they are Christians and partake of the Holy Ghost. Others endeavour to hide themselves even from meeting men. These are much superior to those others. You see how even in perfection goodwill towards God completed by the natural will is found superior and in greater abundance. If a man clothed in beggarly garments should see himself in a vision rich, and on waking from sleep should see him- self again poor and naked, so those who utter a spiritual discourse seem to speak suitably enough, but if they have not the thing they discourse about verified in their mind by tasting and power and personal experience, they stand in a vain show. Or like a woman decked out in silks and arrayed in pearls, who offers herself in a place of ill fame, the heart of these men is a resort of unclean spirits, while they set themselves up to discourse of righteousness, when they have never had a glimpse of the realities.
10-- A fish cannot live out of the water ; no one can walk without feet, or see light without eyes, or speak without a tongue, or hear without ears. So without the Lord Jesus, and the working of divine power, no one can know the mysteries and wisdom of God, or be rich and a Christian. The wise, the warriors, the brave men, the philosophers of God, are those who are led and shepherded in the inner man by the divine power. The philosophers of the Greeks learn to make speeches; others are rude in speech* but rejoicing and exulting in the grace of God, men of piety. Let us judge which are the better. The kingdom of God, it says, is not in word, but in deed and in power. 2 n. For a man to say, "This bread is made of corn," is easy enough. He should tell us how bread is prepared in detail, and baked. To talk of freedom from passions, and of perfection, is easy ; but in experience to be brought to perfection is the lot of few. The gospel says in short compass, " Thou shalt not be angry ; thou shalt not covet. If any man smite thee on the cheek, turn to him the other also. If any man judge to take away thy cloak, give him thy coat also." 3 The apostle, tracing out how the work of cleansing should be done, little by little with patience and perseverance, teaches at large, first feeding with milk, like babes, then carrying on to growth and to full age. The gospel said that the garment was made of wool ; the apostle declared in detail, how it is made.
12-- So those who utter spiritual discourses, without tasting what they discourse of, are like a man who travels on a desert plain, assailed by burning heat, and being thirsty, draws a picture of a running stream of water, with a sketch of himself drinking, when all the while his lips are parched, and his tongue also, by the thirst that possesses him ; or as if a man should discourse of honey, that it is sweet, though never having tasted it, he does not know the force of the sweetness. Such is the case with those who make discourse about perfection, and rejoicing, or freedom from passions, without having the effectual working and personal knowledge of them. The things are not all as they describe them. When a man of that kind is once permitted to find himself in the reality, he judges in his own mind : "I have not found it to be as I supposed. I discoursed in one way, and the Spirit works in another."
13-- For Christianity is indeed meat and drink; and the more a man eats of it, the more his mind is allured by the sweetness, and is not to be restrained or satisfied, but asks for more, without ever being filled, and goes on eating. If a man is thirsty, and there is given him a pleasant draught, then, when he has begun to taste it, he gets the more eagerly close to the drink, more ardent for it than before. And indeed the tasting of the Spirit is well-nigh without a limit, so that it is really like the supposed case. And these are not mere words. This is the practical working of the Holy Ghost mysteriously ministering in the mind. Some imagine that because they abstain from marriage and other visible things, they are already saints. That is not so. Evil still lives and lifts itself up in the mind and in the heart. The saint is one who is cleansed and sancti- fied in the inner man. For where truth raises its head, there error attacks, endeavouring to conceal and obscure it.
14-- When the Jews possessed the priesthood, then those of that nation were persecuted and afflicted, because they stood firm in the truth, Eleazar and the Maccabees. Now that after the cross and the veil the Spirit has departed from them, the truth has been revealed here and works here. So those of this nation are persecuted in turn. The persecution and affliction which befell that nation was that the lovers of the truth might witness to it. For how shall the truth appear, unless it has adversaries who are false and oppose the truth? Even among the brethren there are some who endure sufferings and afflictions, and yet have need of much wariness, lest they fall. One of the brethren was once at prayer with a certain person, and was taken captive by divine power, and caught away, and saw the city of Jerusalem above, and shining figures, and infinite light, and heard a voice, saying, " This is the place of repose of the righteous ; " and shortly after, he was puffed up, and imagined that what he had seen concerned himself, and after that, he was found to fall into the nethermost depths of sin, into a thousand evil things.
15-- If one who had been inside and aloft fell thus, how can the ordinary man say, "By fasting, and making myself a stranger, and dispersing my property, I am a saint already " ? Mere abstention from evil things is not perfec- tion only if thou hast entered into thy ruined mind, and hast slain the serpent that lies under the mind beneath the surface of the thoughts, and burrows into what we call the secret chambers and storehouses of the soul and murders thee for the heart is a deep gulf only, I say, if thou hast killed him, and cast- out all the uncleanness that was in thee. All the philosophers, and the law, and the prophets, and the coming of the Saviour, have to do with purity. There is no man, Jew or Greek, that does not love purity, though they cannot be pure. We must go on seeking how and by what means the purity of the heart may be gained. Certainly no other way than through Him who was crucified for us. He is the way, the life, the truth, the door, the pearl, the living heavenly bread. Without that truth it is impossible to know truth, or to be saved. As therefore in regard to the outer man and visible affairs thou didst renounce all and hast distributed thy property, so in the matter of worldly wisdom, if thou hast knowledge and the force of words/thou oughtest to cast all away, and to esteem them as nothing, that so thou mayest be built up by the foolishness of preaching? which preaching is the true wisdom, which has not the pride of words, but has a power that works effectually by means of the holy cross. Glory be to the consubstantial Trinity for ever. Amen.
===Concerning the Christians' treasure, which is Christ and the Holy Ghost, who practises them in various ways to come to perfection. === i. IF a man is very rich in this world, and possesses a hidden treasure, out of that treasure and wealth that he has he purchases whatever he has a mind to purchase. What- ever rare articles in the world he fancies, he readily amasses them, relying upon the treasure, because by means of it he easily procures any piece of property he fancies. In like manner those who seek at God's hand, and have found, and have the heavenly treasure of the Spirit, which is the Lord Himself shining in their hearts, accomplish every righteousness of virtues, and every acquisition of goodness commanded by the Lord, out of the treasure of Christ in them, and by means of it they amass a yet more abundant heavenly wealth. By means of that heavenly treasure they effect every virtue of righteousness, relying upon the multi- tude of the spiritual riches within them, and easily work ev'ery righteousness and commandment of the Lord by means of the invisible wealth of grace that is in them. The apostle says, Having this treasure in earthen vessels, 1 that is, the treasure which it was granted to them in this life to possess within themselves, the sanctifying power of the Spirit ; and again, Who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification , and redemption*
2-- So one who has found and has within him this heavenly treasure of the Spirit, effects thereby every righteousness of commandments and every accomplishment of virtues un- blameably and purely, without forcing and with ease. Let us therefore beseech God, and seek and beg of Him, to bestow on us the treasure of His Spirit, and that thus we may be able to walk in all His commandments unblameably and purely, and to fulfil all the righteousness of the Spirit purely and perfectly, by means of the heavenly treasure, which is Christ. For he that is poor and naked and needy and famished in the world can acquire nothing; his poverty restrains him ; but the possessor of treasure, as I said, easily acquires such articles as he fancies, without painful effort. Thus the soul that is naked and destitute of the fellowship of the Spirit, and lies under the horrible poverty of sin, cannot, if it would, produce any of the fruits of the Spirit of righteousness in truth, before partaking of the Spirit.
3-- Nevertheless, every one should force himself to ask of the Lord to be permitted to receive and find the heavenly treasure of the Spirit, so as to be able without difficulty and with readiness to do all the commandments of the Lord unblameably and purely, which before he could not succeed in doing, whatever force he might use. Poor and naked of the fellowship of the Spirit, how could he acquire such heavenly possessions, without any spiritual treasure or wealth ? But the soul which has found the Lord, the true treasure, by seeking of the Spirit and faith and much patience, works out the fruits of the Spirit, as I said before, with ease ; and all righteousness and commandments of the Lord, which the Spirit has commanded, she does, in herself, and by herself, purely, and perfectly, and unblameably.
4-- Let us use another illustration. If there is a rich man, and he makes a costly repast, he spends out of his wealth and the treasure that he has, and is under no fear that he will run short of anything, being so rich ; and so he entertains the guests whom he has invited at cost and with splendour, setting before them many different dishes of the latest fashion. The poor man, who has no such wealth, if he wishes to provide a repast for a few friends, has all to borrow, the very dishes, the drapery, and every- thing else ; and then, after the invited guests have dined on a poor man's dinner, when it is over, he gives back to each person that he had borrowed of, a silver dish, a piece of drapery, or whatever else it was, and so, when all is given back, he himself remains poor and naked, having no wealth of his own to entertain himself with.
5-- In the same way, when those who are rich in the Holy Ghost, really having the heavenly wealth and the fellowship of the Spirit in themselves, speak to any the word of truth, when they impart spiritual discourses to any and desire to entertain souls, it is out of their own wealth and out of their own treasure, which they possess within themselves, that they speak, and out of this that they entertain the souls of the hearers of the spiritual discourse ; and they have no fear lest they should run short, because they possess within themselves a heavenly treasure of goodness, upon which they draw to entertain those whom they are spiritually feasting. But one who is poor, and does not possess of the wealth of Christ, and has no spiritual wealth in his soul, yielding a stream of all goodness, both of words and of deeds, and of divine ideas, and of mysteries unspeakable, even if he wishes to speak a word of truth and to entertain some of his hearers, yet not possessing in himself the word of God in power and reality, but only repeating from memory, and borrowing words from various parts of the bible, or what he has heard from spiritual men, and relating and teaching this see, he seems to entertain others, and others enjoy what he tells them, but after he has gone through it, each word goes back to the source from which it was taken, and he himself remains once more naked and poor, having no treasure of the Spirit for his own, upon which he draws to entertain others, not being himself first entertained, nor rejoicing in the Spirit.
6-- For this reason we should first seek from God with labour of heart and in faith, that He would grant us to find His wealth, the true treasure of Christ, in our hearts, in the power and effectual working of the Spirit. In this way, first finding in ourselves the Lord to be our profit and salvation and eternal life, we may then profit others also, as is possible and attainable, drawing upon Christ, the treasure within, for all goodness of spiritual words, and setting forth mysteries of heaven. For thus it pleased the goodness of the Father to dwell in every one who believes and asks of Him. He that loveth Me, it says, shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him ; J and again, We will come, I and My Father, and will make Our abode with him. 2 Thus the infinite kindness of the Father willed; thus the inconceivable love of Christ was pleased ; thus the unspeakable goodness of the Spirit promised. Glory to the unspeakable compassion of the Holy Trinity.
7-- For those to whom it has been given to become children of God, and to be born from above of the Spirit, who have within them Christ shining and refreshing them, are led in many different ways of the Spirit, and acted upon by grace invisibly in the heart, in spiritual rest. Let us employ figures of tangible enjoyments in the world, to signify in some measure the dealings of grace in the heart. There are times when they are as if entertained at a royal banquet, and rejoicing with 'joy and gladness inexpressible. At another moment they are like a bride reposing in com- munion with her bridegroom in a divine repose. Another time they become like angels without bodies, they are so light and unencumbered, body and all. Another time they are as if drunken with strong drink, being exhilarated and intoxicated with the Spirit, with the intoxication of divine and spiritual mysteries. 8-- Another time they are as if in weeping and lamentation for the human race ; and in sup- plication for the whole Adam they take up a mourning and a weeping, being consumed by the love of the Spirit towards mankind. At another they are fired by the Spirit with such rejoicing and love, that if it were possible they would take every man into their own hearts, without distinguishing between bad and good. Sometimes they are so humbled beneath all others in the humility of the Spirit, that they think themselves to be the last and least of all. Sometimes the Spirit keeps them in such joy unspeakable 1 that they are wearied out. Another time they are like a mighty man who has taken the king's whole armour, and come down upon his enemies to battle, and fights against them power- fully, and has conquered ; for, like him, the spiritual man takes the heavenly weapons of the Spirit, and comes down upon the enemies, and battles with them, and puts them under his feet. 9-- At another time the soul reposes in a certain great quietness and calm and peace, with no sense of anything else but spiritual pleasure, and repose unspeak- able, and well-being. At another, it is instructed by grace in a kind of unspeakable understanding and wisdom, and the knowledge of the unsearchable Spirit, in things which it is impossible to utter with tongue and speech. So various are the dealings of grace in them, and in so many ways does it lead the soul which it refreshes according to the will of God, and exercises it in different manners, in order to restore it to the heavenly Father perfect and faultless and pure.
10-- But the operations of the Spirit of which I have spoken belong to the great measures which are near perfec- tion. For these various refreshings of grace, though they
are expressed in different manners, are constantly brought to bear upon such people, one operation succeeding another. For when the soul arrives at the perfection of the Spirit, perfectly cleansed from passion, -and united and mingled with the Spirit Paraclete by that unspeakable communion, and is permitted to become spirit itself in mixture with the Spirit, then it is made all light, all eye v all spirit, all joy, all rest, all gladness, all love, all compassion, all goodness and loving-kindness. As in the bottom of the sea a stone is encompassed on every side by water, so these men, mingled in every way with the Spirit, are made like Christ, having in themselves the virtues of the power of the Spirit unalterably, being faultless and spotless and pure within and without. ii. Restored by the Spirit, how can they produce outwardly the fruit of evil ? At all times and in all circumstances the fruits of the Spirit shine forth in them. Let us then beseech God, and believe in love and much hope, that He may give us the heavenly grace of the gift of the Spirit, that that Spirit Himself may govern us also, and guide us into all the will of God, and refresh us in all the variety of His refreshing, in order that through such governance and exercise of grace, and spiritual improvement, we may be allowed to attain the perfection of the fulness of Christ, as the apostle says, That ye may be filled with all the fulness of Christ, 1 and again, Till we all come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. 2 The Lord has promised to bestow on all that believe in Him and ask in truth the mysteries of the unspeakable communion of the Spirit. Let us therefore devote ourselves entirely to the Lord, and hasten to obtain the good things we have spoken of. Dedicated in soul and body, and nailed to the cross of Christ, let us become fit for the eternal kingdom, glorifying the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
Christians who desire to make progress and to grow ought to force themselves to every good thing, so as to deliver themselves from indwelling sin, and to be filled with the Holy Ghost.
i. THE man who desires to come to the Lord, and to be found worthy of eternal life, and to become the dwelling- place of Christ, and to be filled with the Holy Ghost, that he may be able to produce the fruits of the Spirit, and perform the commandments of Christ purely and faultlessly, ought to begin by first believing the Lord steadfastly, and giving himself wholly to the words of His commandments, and renouncing the world altogether, that his whole mind may be occupied about nothing secular. And he should persevere continually in prayer, continually waiting in ex- pectant faith for the visitation and succour of the Lord, keeping the aim of his mind always fixed upon this. Then he should force himself to every good work and to all the commandments of the Lord, because of sin that is present with him. For instance, let him force himself to humility of mind in sight of all men, and to consider himself less and worse than them, not seeking honour, or praise, or the glory of men, from anyone, as it is written in the gospel, 1 but always having the Lord only before his eyes, and His commandments, desiring to please Him only in the meek- ness of the heart, as the Lord says, Learn of Me, because
I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
2-- In like manner let him accustom himself to be merci- ful, kind, compassionate, good, to the utmost of his power, as the Lord says, Be ye good and kind, even as your heavenly Father is pitiful ; 2 and again He says, // ye love Me, keep My commandments ; 3 and again, Be violent, for the violent take the kingdom of heaven by force,* and, Strive to enter in by the strait gate. 5 Above all things let him keep the humility and conduct of the Lord, and His meekness and behaviour, as his pattern, in all never-forgetful memory. Let him persevere in prayers, always beseeching and believing, that the Lord may come and dwell in him, and may perfect and strengthen him in all His command- ments, and that the Lord Himself may become'the dwelling- place of his soul, and thus one day, what he now does by force with a reluctant heart, he may do willingly, accustom- ing himself always to what is good, and being ever mindful of the Lord, and in much love waiting for Him in the Holy Spirit. Then the Lord, beholding such a purpose, and his good diligence, how he forces himself to the remembrance of the Lord, and ever compels his heart, whether it will or no, to that which is good, and to humility and meekness and charity, and guides it to the best of his power by force, shows mercy upon him, and delivers him from his enemies and from indwelling sin, filling him with the Holy Ghost; and thus afterwards without force or labour he does all the commandments of the Lord in truth, or rather the Lord in him does His own commandments, and then he brings forth the fruits of the Spirit purely.
3-- But before this, in coming to the Lord, a man must thus force himself to that which is good, even against the inclination of his heart, continually expecting His mercy with no doubtful faith, and force himself to charity, when he has no charity force himself to meekness, when he has no meekness force himself to pity, and to have a merciful heart force himself to be looked down upon, and when he is looked down upon, to bear it patiently, and when he is made light of or put to shame, not to be angry, as it is said, Beloved, avenge not yourselves * to force himself to prayer, when he has not spiritual prayer ; and thus God, beholding him thus striving, and compelling himself by force, in spite of an unwilling heart, gives him the true prayer of the Spirit, gives him true charity, meekness, bowels of mercies? true kindness, and in short fills him with the fruits of the Spirit.
4-- But if a man forces himself only to prayer, when he has no prayer, that he may obtain the grace of prayer, but will not force himself to meekness and humility and charity and the rest of the Lord's commandments, and takes no pains or trouble or striving to succeed in these, as far as purpose and freewill can go, sometimes a grace of prayer is given him, in part, with refreshment and gladness from the Spirit, according to his asking ; but in character he is like what he was before. He has no meekness, because he did not seek it with pains, or prepare himself beforehand to become so. He has no humility, because he did not ask for it, or force himself to it. He has not charity towards all men, because he had no concern or striving about it in his asking for prayer ; and in the accomplishment of his work, he has no faith and trust in God, because he did not know himself, did not discover that he was without it, or take trouble at any cost to himself, seeking from the Lord to obtain firm faith towards Him and a real trust.
5-- For as everyone forces and compels himself to prayer in spite of the reluctance of the heart, so ought he to force himself likewise to trust, and so to humility, and so to charity, and so to meekness, sincerity and simplicity, and so unto all patience and longsuffering (according to that which is written) with joyfulness ; J and so to think little of himself, and to esteem himself poor and last ; and so not to engage in conversation to no profit, but always to meditate and speak the things of God with mouth and heart ; so also not to be angry or clamorous, according to that which is said, Let all bitterness, and anger, and clamour, be put away from you, with all malice ; 2 to all the ways of the Lord, to all practice of virtue and of good and noble living, to all behaviour of goodness, to all humility of meekness, not to be proud, high-minded, or puffed up, or to speak against any one.
6-- To all these things must a man force himself, who desires / to approve himself to Christ and to please Him in order I that the Lord, seeing his earnestness and purpose in com- I pelling himself thus to all goodness and simplicity, and kindness and humility, and charity and prayer, and driving himself to them by force, may give him His whole self the Lord Himself in truth doing all these things purely in him , without labour or forcing, which before he could not do even by force because of sin that was with him ; and all the practices of virtue come to him like nature. For from that time onward, the Lord coming and dwelling in him, and he in Him, Himself performs in him His own com- mandments, without effort, filling him with the fruits of the Spirit. But if a man forces himself only to prayer, until he shall receive a gift of it from God, but does not in like manner force and compel and accustom himself to these other things, he cannot in truth perform them purely and faultlessly. He should prepare himself in this way to that which is good to the best of his power ; for sometimes the divine grace comes to him while asking and praying. For God is good and kind, and to those who ask Him He gives what they ask. But if a man has not the things of which we
have spoken, and has not accustomed or adapted himself to them beforehand, even if he receives grace, he will lose it, and falls by pride, or at least makes no progress or increase in the grace that came to him, since he does not give him- self to the commandments of the Lord with a will. For the dwelling-place and repose of the Spirit is humility, chanty and meekness, and the other commandments of the Lord.
7-- One who wishes to please God in truth, and to receive from Him the heavenly grace of the Spirit, and to increase and be perfected in the Holy Ghost, ought, there- fore, to force himself to all the commandments of God, and to subdue his heart, however unwilling it may be, according to the saying, Therefore hold I straight all Thy command- ments, and all false ways I utterly abhor. 1 As a man forces and compels himself to perseverance in prayer, until he has succeeded in this, so in like manner, if he only /will, he forces and compels himself to all the practices of virtue, and forms a good habit, and thus always asking and praying the Lord, and obtaining his petition, and receiving a taste of God, and becoming a partaker of the Holy Ghost, he causes the gift that was bestowed on him to grow and thrive, resting in his humility, in charity, in meekness.
8-- The Spirit Himself bestows these things upon him, and teaches him true prayer, true charity, true meekness, to which before he forced himself, and sought for them, and cared for them, and meditated upon them, and they were given him ; and having thus grown up and been perfected in God, he is permitted to become an heir of the kingdom. The humble never falls. Whence indeed could he fall, being lower than all ? A proud mind is a great humiliation ; a humble mind is a great exaltation and honour and dignity. Let us therefore force and compel ourselves to humility, though our heart may dislike it, and to meekness, and to charity, praying and beseeching God in faith, hope, and
charity incessantly with such an expectancy and aim, that He would send His Spirit into our hearts, that we may pray and worship God in spirit and in truth, 1 9-- that the Spirit Himself may pray in us, that the Spirit Himself may teach us true prayer, which now we have not, though we force ourselves to it ; true humility, which now we cannot attain, even by force ; may teach us to bring forth in truth bowels of mercies, 1 kindness, and all the commandments of the Lord, without pain or forcing, as the Spirit Himself knows how, filling us with His fruits ; and thus the com- mandments of the Lord being fulfilled by us through His Spirit, who alone knows the will of the Lord, and the Spirit having perfected us in Himself and Himself perfected in us, when we are once cleansed from every defilement and spot of sin, He will present our souls pure and faultless, like fair brides, to Christ, we resting in God in His kingdom, and God resting in us world without end. Glory to His com- passions and to His mercy and love, that He has vouchsafed such honour and glory to mankind, has vouchsafed to make them sons of the heavenly Father, and has called them brethren of His own. To Him be glory for ever. Amen.
Only Christ, the true Physician of the inner man, can htal the soul, and array it in the garment of grace.
1-- IF any one is naked for want of the divine and heavanly raiment, which is the power of the Holy Ghost as it is said, // any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His l let him weep and beseech the Lord, that he may receive the spiritual raiment from heaven, that his soul, now naked of the heavenly operation, may be clothed, beciuse the man who is not clad in the raiment of the Spirit is covered with much shame of vile affections. 2 In the outer world, if any one is naked, he is in great shame and disgrace, and friends turn away from friends when they are naked, and kinsfolk from those belonging to them, and children, seeing their father stripped naked, have turned their faces away, not to look upon their father's naked body, and have gone backwards and covered him, and have not till then turned their faces to him. In the same way God's face is turned away from souls that are not clothed with the raiment of the Spirit in full assurance, from men who have not put on the Lord Jesus Christ 3 in power and reality.
2-- The first man when he beheld himself naked was ashamed, so great is the disgrace attaching to nakedness. If then in bodily things nakedness means so much shame, how much more is the soul which is naked of divine power, and wears not, nor is clad with the unspeakable, incorruptible heavenly raiment, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in reality, covered with still greater shame and disgrace of vile affec- tions ; and every one who is naked of that divine glory ought to be as much ashamed of himself and as much aware of his disgrace, as Adam was when he was naked. Although he made himself an apron of fig-leaves, he wore his shame and nakedness none the less, acknowledging his poverty. Let such a soul then ask of Christ, who gives glory and arrays therewith in light unspeakable, not making for itself a cloak of vain thoughts, deceiving itself with the imagination of a righteousness of its own, or fancying that it possesses the vesture of salvation.
3-- If anyone takes his stand upon a righteousness and redemption of his own, not looking for the righteousness of God which is the Lord, as the apostle says, Who is made to its righteousness and redemption?- he labours in vain and to no purpose. For all the dream of a righteousness of his own is at the last day manifested as nothing but filthy rags, as the prophet Esaias says, All our righteousness is as filthy rags. 2 Let us then beg and implore God to clothe us \\ith the garment of salvation? our Lord Jesus Christ, the un- speakable light, which souls that have once worn it shall never put off again, but in the resurrection their bodies also shall be glorified by the glory of the light, with which faith- ful and noble souls are even now clad, as the apostle saySj He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.* Glory to His unspeakable compassion and His inexpressible mercy.
4-- And again, as the woman that was diseased with an issue of blood, on believing truly and touching the Lord's hem, at once found cure, and the flow of the unclean fountain of her blood dried up, so every soul that has the incurable wound of sin, the fountain of unclean and evil thoughts, if it only comes to Christ and implores in true faith, finds saving cure of that incurable fountain of the passions, and that fountain which sends up the unclean thoughts fails and dries up through the power of Jesus only ; nothing else can cure this wound. For the enemy at the transgression of Adam so contrived to wound and darken the inner man, the directing mind which sees God. 1 Thenceforth his eyes looked clearly upon bad things and upon the passions, but were shut out from the good things of heaven.
5-- He was so sore wounded that none could cure him but the Lord only. To Him alone it was possible. He came and took away the sin of the world ; 2 that is, He dried up the unclean fountain of the thoughts of the soul. As that diseased woman spent all that she had upon those who professed to be able to cure her, but could be healed by none, until she approached the Lord, truly believing and touching the hem of His garment, and then at once felt the cure, and the issue of blood staunched, so the soul, wounded at the beginning with the incurable wound of evil passions, none, whether righteous men, or fathers, or prophets, or patriarchs, had force to heal.
6-- Moses came, but he could not bestow a complete cure. Priests, gifts, tithes, sabbaths, new-moons, washings, sacri- fices, burnt offerings, and every other righteousness, was performed under the law, and the soul could not get cured- and cleansed from the unclean issue of bad thoughts. Every righteousness of the soul was unavailing to heal man, until the Saviour came, the true Physician, who cures with- out cost, who gave Himself a ransom for mankind. He alone accomplished the great, saving deliverance and cure of the soul. He set it free from bondage, and brought it out of darkness, glorifying it with His own light. He dried
up the fountain of unclean thoughts that was in it. Behold, it says, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world*
7-- The earth could not be cured and healed of so great an invisible plague by any medicines of her own, that is, by righteous actions proceeding only from herself; but by the heavenly divine nature of the gift of the Holy Ghost. Only by this medicine could man find cure and attain life, being cleansed in heart by the Holy Ghost. But as that woman, though she could not be cured, and remained undone, yet had feet to come to the Lord, and coming to find cure ; and as that blind man, though he could not pass over and come to the Lord, because he could not see, yet sent a swifter messenger in his voice, saying Thou Son of David, have mercy on me, 2 and thus believed and found cure by the Lord's coming to him and making him to see clearly, so the soul, though undone by vile affections, and blinded by the darkness of sin, yet has the power of will to cry out and call to Jesus, that He would come and work eternal deliverance for the soul.
8-- Had not that blind man cried out, had not that sick woman come to the Lord, they would not have found cure ; so, unless a man comes to the Lord of his own free will and with whole purpose of heart, and petitions Him with assurance of faith, he finds no cure. Why was it that they were at once cured on believing, while we have not yet seen truly clear, and have not been cured of the hidden affections? And yet the Lord takes more thought for the immortal soul than for the body, the soul which, if it once gains clear sight, according to him who says, Open thou mine eyes 3 shall never again be blinded, and once cured shall never have wrecked health. If the Lord came upon earth and took such care of perishable bodies, how much more of the immortal soul, made after His own likeness ? It is because of our unbelief, because of our divided mind, because we do not love Him with all the heart, nor really believe Him, that we have not yet found the spiritual cure and salvation. Let us then believe Him, and come to Him in reality, that He may speedily work in us the true cure. He has promised to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?- and to open to them that knock, and to be found of them that seek, 2 and He that has made the promise cannot lie. To Him be glory and might for ever. Amen.