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Very deep are the secret chambers of the soul, which grows in part with the growth of grace or of wickednesses.
1 . THE precious vessel of the soul is of great depth, as it says in a certain place, He seeketh out the deep, and the heart. 1 When man swerved from the commandment, and came under sentence of wrath, sin took him for her subject ; and being herself like a great deep of bitterness in subtilty and depth, she entered within and took possession of the ranges of the soul, even to the deepest inner chambers of it. In such fashion as this let us liken the soul and sin when mixed with it, as if there should be a great big tree with many branches and it has its roots in the deepest parts of the earth. So the sin which had come in, taking possession of the ranges of the deepest chambers of the soul, came to be customary and to have the first say, growing up with each man from infancy, and going up and down with him, and instructing him in evil things.
2-- When therefore the influence of divine grace has over- shadowed the soul according to the measure of each man's faith, and he receives help from on high, still grace has overshadowed him only in part. Let not a man imagine that his whole soul has been enlightened. There is still a large range of wickedness within, and the man has need of much labour and pains, corresponding to the grace given him. That is the reason why divine grace began to visit the soul only in part, though it had power to cleanse and perfect the man in the turn of an hour, in order to test the man's purpose, whether he preserves his love towards God entire, not complying with the evil one in anything, but lending himself wholly to grace. In this way the soul, approving itself time after time, and grieving grace in nothing, nor using it despitefully, is helpecl by this method of little by little ; and grace itself finds range in the soul, and strikes root even to the deepest parts and reasonings of it, when the soul on many occasions approves itself and corresponds with grace, until the whole soul is embraced by the heavenly grace, which thenceforth reigns in the vessel itself.
3-- But if any one is not very humble, he is delivered to Satan, and is stripped naked of the divine grace that was given him, and is tempted with many afflictions, and then his self-esteem is shewn in its true colours, because in reality he is naked and wretched. He who is rich in the grace of God ought to be very humble and contrite of heart, and to consider himself as poor and having nothing. None of it is his own. Another gave it him, and takes it away when He pleases. He who humbles himself thus before God and men is able to keep the grace that was given to him, as the Lord says, He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 1 Elect though he be of God, let him be reprobate to him- self; and being really faithful, let him consider himself unworthy. Such souls are well pleasing to God, and are quickened in Christ, to whom be glory and might for ever. Amen.
Not external things, but internal, advance or injure a man, namely the Spirit of grace or the spirit of wickedness.
1-- SUPPOSE there is a great city, and it is deserted, the walls all broken down, and it be taken by enemies, its greatness is of no use. Care then must be taken in pro- portion to its greatness that it should have strong walls, that the enemy may not come in. In like manner, souls adorned with knowledge and intelligence and acuteness of mind are like great cities. But careful inquiry must be made whether they are fortified with the power of the Spirit, lest the enemy should get into them and lay them waste. The wise men of the world, Aristotle, or Plato, or Socrates, 1 being prudent in knowledge, were like great cities, but they were made waste by enemies, because the Spirit of God was not in them.
2-- But as many simple folk as are partakers of grace are like little cities fortified by the power of the cross. They only fall from grace for two causes, and perish either because they cannot bear the afflictions that are brought upon them, or because, having tasted the sweets of the pleasures of sin, they continued in them. Those who tread the way cannot go through without temptations. As in childbirth the beggar and the queen have the same pangs, and as the rich man's land and the poor man's alike, if they receive not the necessary culture, cannot bear worthy fruits, so in the culture of the soul not the wise man, not the rich man, reigns in grace, unless through endurance, and afflictions, and many a labour. The life of Christians ought to be of that kind. As honey, being sweet, does not admit of anything bitter or poisonous, so Christians are good to all who come near them, good or bad, as the Lord says, Be ye good, like your heavenly Father. 1 The thing that injures and pollutes a man is from within. Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts? as the Lord says ; because the things which defile the man are from within.
3-- From within, creeping and advancing in the soul, is the spirit of wickedness, calculating, inciting, which is the veil of darkness, the old man, which those who flee to God must put off, and put on the heavenly, new man, which is Christ. 3 Nothing outside can hurt a man, only the spirit of darkness dwelling in the heart, alive and active ; so that every one in his thoughts ought to possess the conflict, that Christ may shine upon his heart. To whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Concerning the progress of a Christian man, the whole power of which depends upon the heart, as is here described in various ways. i. As many lamps and burning torches are kindled from the fire, but all the torches and lamps are kindled and shine from a single nature, so Christians are kindled and shine from a single nature, the divine fire, the Son of God, and have their torches burning in their hearts, and shine before Him while on earth, as He did. For it says, Therefore hath God, even Thy God, anointed Thee with the oil of gladness.' 1 That is why He was called Christ, in order that we also, being anointed with the same oil with which He was anointed, might become Christs, of the one substance and one body. It says again, Both He that sanctifieth and they which are sanctified are all of one. 2 2-- Christians, then, in one direction are like lamps containing the oil in themselves, that is, the fruits of righteousness : but if it be not kindled from the lamp of Godhead within them, they are nothing. The Lord was the burning lamp? because of the Spirit of the Godhead which abode substantially in Him and set on fire His heart according to His human nature. As if there were a rotten pouch filled with pearls, so Christians ought to be lowly and easily despised in the outward man, but inwardly in the inner man they have the pearl of great price* Others are like to whited sepulchres, outwardly painted and decorated, but within full of dead men's bones, 1 of much stench and unclean spirits. They are dead from God, and clothed with all shame and filthi- ness and with the darkness of the adversary.
3-- The apostle says that the child, so long as he is little, is under tutors and governors 2 of evil spirits, which spirits do not wish the child to grow up, lest he should become a full-grown man, and begin to aim at the advantage of the house, and to claim the lordship. The Christian ought at all times to have God in remembrance ; for it is written, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart',* that he may love the Lord not only when he goes into the place of prayer, but that in walking, and talking, and eating, rje may have the remembrance of God, and love and dutiful affection for Him. It says, Where thy mind is, there also is thy treasure* To whatever thing a man's heart is tied, and where his desire draws him, that is his God. If the heart at all times desires God, He is the Lord of his heart. But if a man after renouncing and making himself without possessions, and without home, and fasting if this one is still tied to the man that he is, or to worldly affairs, or to house, or to the charm of parents, where his heart is tied and his mind is captive, that is his God, and he is found to have gone out of the world by the front door, but to have entered and thrown himself into the world by the side door. As sticks thrown into the fire cannot resist the power of the fire, but are forthwith burned up, so the devils desiring to fight with a man to whom the Spirit has been vouchsafed are burned and consumed by the divine power of the fire, if only the man is at all times cleaving to the Lord, and keeping his trust and his hope towards Him. And even if the devils are strong as strong mountains, they are burned by prayer, like wax by fire. But meantime great is the struggle and the battle against them which awaits the soul. There are rivers of dragons, 1 and mouths of lions. There is fire which flames into the soul. As the 'perfect evildoer, drunk with the spirit of error, is insatiable to evil, either murdering, or committing adultery, so Christians, when they have been baptized into the Holy Spirit, are without experience of evil ; but those who have grace, but are still mingled with sin, these are subject to fear, and travel through fearful places. 4-- For as merchants on a voyage, though they find a wind to suit them and the sea calm, but have not yet reached the haven, are always subject to fear, lest suddenly a contrary wind should stir and the sea rise into billows, and the ship be in peril, so Christians, even if they have in themselves a favourable wind of the Holy Spirit blowing, are nevertheless yet subject to fear, lest the wind of the adverse power should rise and blow on them, and stir disturbance and billows for their souls. There is need therefore of great diligence, that we may arrive at the haven of rest, at the perfect world, at the eternal life and pleasure, at the city of the saints, at the heavenly Jerusalem, at the church of the firstborn? Unless a man gets through these measures, he is under much fear, lest in the meantime the evil power should effect some fall.
5-- As a woman who has conceived carries her babe within in the dark, so to speak, and in covert ; but if by and by the child comes forth at the proper time, it sees a new creation, which it never saw before, of sky and earth and sun, and immediately friends and kinsfolk with cheerful countenances receive it into their arms ; but if through some derangement it happens that the child is displaced, then the surgeons whose business it is are obliged to use the knife, and the child is thus found to pass from death to death, from darkness to darkness so think of what happens in the spiritual world. As many as have received
the seed of the Godhead, these have it invisibly, and because of sin which dwells there also they conceal it in dark and obscure places. If therefore they make them- selves sure, and preserve the seed, these in due time are visibly born again, and then at the dissolution of the body the angels and all the companies above receive them with cheerful countenances. But if after receiving the weapons of Christ to fight manfully a man grows slack, such a one is immediately delivered over to the enemies, and at the dissolution of the body passes from the darkness which now encompasses him to another and a worse darkness, and to perdition.
6-- Suppose there to be a garden with many fruit trees and other sweet-smelling plants, and that it were all well tilled and laid out for beauty, and that it had also a small wall by way of hedge to preserve it, and suppose that a vehement stream goes through there, though but a little of the water dashes against the wall and saps the foundation, it gets itself a course, and little by little breaks up the foundation, and finds entrance and tears its way, and roots up all the plants, and mars all the tilling, and makes it fruitless. So is it with man's heart. It has its good thoughts ; but the streams of evil also are always near the heart, desiring to cast it down, and to incline it to its own side. Then if the mind be ever so little light, and yield to unclean thoughts, behold, the spirits of error have found scope, and have entered in, and have overturned the beauties that were there, and have destroyed the good thoughts and laid the soul waste.
7-- As the eye is little in comparison of all the members, and the pupil, small as it is, is a great vessel, because it sees at one glance sky, star, sun, moon, cities and other creatures, and likewise these things, seen at the glance, are formed and imaged in the little pupil of the eye ; so is the mind in the heart, and the heart itself is but a little vessel, and yet there are dragons, and there lions, and there venomous beasts, and all the treasures of wickedness ; and there are rough uneven ways, there chasms ; there likewise is God, there the angels, there life and the kingdom, there light and the apostles, there the heavenly cities, there the treasures, there are all things. For as is a fog laid upon all the world, so that man sees not man, so is the darkness of this age, laid upon all creation and upon every nature of man from the trans- gression; for which cause, being overshadowed of the darkness, they are in night, and pass their lives in dreadful places. And as is a thick smoke in a single house, so is sin, with its filthy thoughts, settling upon the thoughts of the heart, and creeping over them, and an infinite multitude of devils.
8-- As in the natural order, when a war is in preparation, the wise men and the great personages do not go to it, but fear death and stay away ; and raw recruits, and the poor, and the ignorant are put forward ; and it so falls out that they get a victory over the enemies, and pursue them out of their borders, and receive from the king rewards of victory and crowns, and come to promotions and dignities, and those great ones are found to be behind them ; so is it in the spiritual order. The ignorant begin by hearing the word, and do the work thereof with the love of the truth in their thoughts, and receive from God the grace of the Spirit; while the wise, and those who seek the word in subtle fashion, these fly from the war, and make no advancement, and are found behind those who fought and conquered.
9-- As, when the winds blow vehemently, they move all the creatures under heaven, and succeed in making a great sound, so the power of the enemy buffets and carries the thoughts along, and shakes the depths of the heart at will, and scatters the thoughts for its own advantage. Like tax-collectors sitting in the narrow ways, and laying hold upon the passers-by, and extorting from them, so do the devils spy upon souls, and lay hold of them ; and when they pass out of the body, if they are not perfectly cleansed, they do not suffer them to mount up to the mansions of heaven and to meet their Lord, and they are driven down by the devils of the air. But if whilst they are yet in the flesh, they shall with much labour and effort obtain from the Lord the grace from on high, assuredly these, together with those who through virtuous living are at rest, shall go to the Lord, as He promised, Where I am, there shall also My servant be, 1 and to endless ages they reign with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
===What change and renewal is wrought in a Christian man by Christ, who has healed the afflictions and diseases of the soul. ===
1-- HE who comes to God, and desires to be in truth a partner of Christ's throne, ought to come with a view to this end, that he may be changed and altered from his former condition and conduct, and be made a good and new man, who brings nothing of the old man with him. // any man be in Christ, it says, he is a new creature.* This was 'the very purpose of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, to change and alter and renew nature, and to create afresh this soul that was overturned by passions through the transgression, mingling it with His own Spirit, the Spirit of Godhead. New mind, and new soul, and new eyes, new ears, a new spiritual tongue, and in short new men altogether this was what He came to make of those who believe Him, or let us say new bottles, anointing them with His own light of knowledge, that He might change their wine into new wine, which is His Spirit ; for new wine, He says, must be put into new bottles. 2 '
2-- As the enemy, when he had got man into subjection, made him new for himself, enveloping him in lusts of wickedness, and anointing him with the spirit of sin poured into him the wine of all iniquity and evil doctrine ; so the Lord, having delivered him from the enemy, made him new, anointing him with His own Spirit, and poured into him the wine of life, the new doctrine of the Spirit. He who changed the nature of the five loaves into the nature of a multitude, and gave a voice to the irrational nature of an ass, and converted the harlot to chastity, and prepared the nature of burning fire to bedew those who were in the furnace, and tamed for Daniel the nature of savage lions ; He is able also to change the soul, which was waste and had become savage, from sin into His own goodness and loving-kindness and peace, by the holy and good Spirit of promise. 1
3-- As a shepherd knows how to cure the scabby sheep, and to protect it from wolves, so Christ, the true shepherd, when He came, was alone able to cure and to convert man, the lost and scabby sheep, from the scab and leprosy of sin. The priests and Levites and teachers before were unable to cure the soul by the oblations of gifts and sacrifices, and by their sprinklings of blood, wherewith indeed they were un- able even to cure themselves. For it is not possible, it says, that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin. 21 But the Lord said, showing the impotence of the physicians of the time, Ye will surely say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself;* as much as to say, "I am not like them, who cannot so much as heal themselves. I am the true physician, and the good shepherd, who lay down My life for the sheep,* who am able to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease of the soul. 5 I am the sheep without spot, that was offered once, and that am able to cure those that come to Me." The true healing of the soul is from the Lord only. Behold, it says, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, 6 that is to say, of the soul that has believed Him, and that loves Him with a whole heart.
4-- The good Shepherd, then, heals the scabby sheep. Sheep cannot heal sheep. And except man, the reasonable sheep, be healed, there is no entrance for him into the heavenly church of the Lord. It is thus said even in the law through shadow and image. Concerning the leper, and him who has a blemish, the Spirit speaks figuratively, with this meaning ; A leper, or one that hath a blemish, shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord ; l but it charged the leper to go to the priest, and with much entreaty to take him to the house of his tabernacle, and [ask him] to lay his hands upon the leprosy, indicating the spot where the leprosy had attacked him, and to heal it. After the same manner, Christ, the true high priest of good things to come, 2 bending over souls that are afflicted with the leprosy of sin, enters into the tabernacle of their body, and heals and cures their disorders. Thus the soul will be enabled to enter into the heavenly church of the saints of the true Israel. For any soul that bears the leprosy of the sin of the passions, and has not come to the true high priest, and been healed now in the camp of the saints, cannot enter into the heavenly church. For [that church] being without blemish, and pure, seeks souls that are without blemish and pure. Blessed, says the scripture, are the pure in heart, for they shall see God*
5-- The soul which really believes Christ must be changed and altered from its present evil condition to a new con- dition which is good, and from its present lowly nature into another nature which is divine, and be itself made new by the power of the Holy Ghost. Thus can it be fit for the heavenly kingdom. These things can be obtained by us if we believe and love Him in truth, and live by all His holy commandments. If in the time of Elisaeus the casting of light wood upon the waters brought up the heavy iron, how much more in this case will the Lord send forth His light, buoyant, good, and heavenly Spirit, and by means of Him bring up the soul that is sunk in the waters of wickedness, and make it light, and wing it to the heights of heaven, and alter and change it out of its own nature.
6-- In the visible world, no one can pass and get across the sea of himself, without having the light and buoyant ship, built of wood, which alone is able to walk over the waters for if a man treads upon the sea, he is drowned and perishes. In the same way no soul can of itself cross and pass over and get beyond the bitter sea of sin, and the dangerous deep of the wicked powers of the darkness of the passions, unless he shall receive the buoyant, heavenly, winged Spirit of Christ, which walks over all wickedness and passes on, whereby he shall be enabled to arrive by a straight, right course at the heavenly haven of rest, at the city of the kingdom. And as those who are in the ship do not draw, or drink of the sea, nor have their clothing or their food from it, but bring these things with them from abroad in the ship, so the souls of Christians do not take from this world, but from above, out of heaven, heavenly sustenance, and spiritual clothing; and living thereby, embarked in the ship of the good, life-giving Spirit, pass beyond the adverse evil powers of principalities and dominions. And as all ships are built of one substance of wood, that by means of them men may get over the bitter sea, so from one Godhead's heavenly light of the divers gifts of the one Spirit, all Christian souls receive power and fly high over all wickedness.
7-- But since the ship needs also a pilot, and a sweet, well-tempered wind to make a good passage, the Lord Himself becomes all these in the faithful soul, carrying it over the terrible storms and the wild waves of wickedness, and the blasts of the violent winds of sin, mightily and skilfully and expertly, as He knows how, dispersing their tempest. Without Christ, the heavenly pilot, it is impos- sible for any to pass the wicked sea of the powers of darkness, and the gusts of bitter temptations. They go up, it says, to the heavens, and down again to the deep. 1 But Christ possesses all a pilot's knowledge, both of wars and temptations, treading over the wild waves. For in that He Himself, it says, was tempted, He is able to succour them that are templed?
8-- So our souls must be altered and changed from their present condition to another condition, and a divine nature, and be made new instead of old that is, good and kind and faithful, instead of bitter and faithless, and being thus made fit, be restored to the heavenly kingdom. The blessed Paul writes thus of his own change, and of the apprehension wherewith he was apprehended of the Lord : / follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ? How then is he appre- hended of God ? Like as if some usurper were to seize and carry off a captivity, and it were then apprehended or caught by its true sovereign, so when Paul was under the influence of the usurping spirit of sin, he persecuted the church and made havoc of it. But since he acted through zeal for God according to ignorance, supposing himself to be contending for truth, he was not disregarded, but the Lord apprehended him, shining about him unspeakably, the heavenly King and true, vouchsafing His own voice to the man, and striking him like a slave, 4 set him free. Behold the Master's goodness and power of changing, how He is able to change souls that were enveloped in sin and had relapsed into wildness, and in a moment of time to convert them to His own goodness and peace !
9-- All things are possible with God ; as it proved in the touched the head of a slave with a rod in the presence of the magistrate, as an act of emancipation. case of the robber. In a moment of time he was changed through faith, and restored to paradise. This was the purpose of the Lord's coming, to alter and create our souls anew, and make them, as it is written, partakers of the divine nature, 1 and to give into our soul a heavenly soul, that is the Spirit of Godhead leading us to all virtue, that we might be enabled to live eternal life. May it be that with all our hearts we should believe His inexpressible promises, be- cause He is true that promised. 2 - We must love the Lord, and be diligent every way in all virtues, and ask persistently and continually, so as to receive the promise of His Spirit completely and to perfection, that our souls may be brought to life while we are still in flesh. For if the soul shall not receive in this world the hallowing of the Spirit through much faith and prayer, and be made partaker of the divine nature, being mingled with grace whereby it shall be able to fulfil every commandment unblameably and purely, it is not made for the kingdom of heaven. What good thing a man has gained here, the same in that day will be his life, through the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
No art, no wealth of this world, but only the appearing of Christ, is able to cure man, whose great kinship with God this Homily sets forth.
1-- HE that has chosen the solitary life ought to consider all things that are concerned with this world as alien and strange to himself. One who in truth pursues the cross of Christ, denying all things, yea, and his own life also, 1 ought to have his mind nailed to the love of Christ, esteeming the Lord before parents, brethren, wife, children, kindred, friends, possessions. This Christ set forth, when He said, " Every one that hath not left father, or mother, or brethren, or wife, or children, or lands, and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me." 2 In nothing else is salvation and peace found for men, as we have been told. How many kings have appeared of the race of Adam, possessing all the earth, thinking great things because of their royal power ; and yet none of them, for all this kind of advantages, had the power to discern the evil which had invaded the soul in consequence of the first man's transgression, and had darkened it, that it knew not the change which had passed over it that the mind at first was pure and saw its Master, being in honour, and now, because of its banishment, is clothed with shame, the eyes of the heart being blinded, that it may not behold that glory, which our father Adam before his disobedience beheld.
2-- There have been also divers kinds of wise men according to the world ; of whom some have displayed excellence by means of philosophy; others have been admired for their expertness in sophistry, others have dis- played oratorical skill ; others have been men of letters and poets, and have composed histories according to the con- ventional plan. There have also been different kinds of artificers, who have practised the arts according to the world. Some have carved in wood all kinds of birds and fishes, and figures of men, and in those have endeavoured to display their excellence. Some have taken in hand to fashion portraits, statues in bronze and the like ; others have erected great and beautiful buildings; others, mining the earth, bring up the silver and gold that perishes, others precious stones. Others, possessing personal beauties, were elated by the comeliness of their countenances and were the more enticed by Satan, and fell into sin. And all these artificers of whom I have spoken, being held by the serpent who dwells within, and not knowing the sin that abode with them, have been captives and slaves to the evil power, gaining no advantage from their science and their art.
3-- The world, then, which is filled with all varieties, is like a rich man, who possesses splendid great houses, and gold and silver, and divers properties, and service of all sorts in abundance ; and yet is oppressed by sufferings and sicknesses all at the same time, and all his kinsfolk stand beside him, with all his riches, unable to relieve him of his infirmities. No pursuit belonging to this life, not brethren, not wealth, not courage, nor all other things that we have mentioned, relieve of sin the soul which has been immersed by sin, and cannot discern things clearly. Only the appearing of Christ is able to cleanse soul and body. Let us then rid ' ourselves of all temporal care, and devote ourselves to the Lord, crying to Him night and day. This visible world, and the satisfaction found in it, appear to solace the body, but so much the more do they sharpen the maladies of the soul, and increase the mischief from which it suffers.
4-- A certain prudent man, 1 desiring to spare no pains in the inquiry, made it his business to gain an experience of all the things that come to pass in this world, if he might by chance profit by them. He had recourse to kings, poten- tates, rulers, and found no saving cure from that quarter to apply to his soul, and after spending a long time with them was none the better for it. He went again to the wise men of the world and the orators : he quitted them also in the same way, having gained no benefit from them. He made the tour of the painters, and of those who raise the gold and silver from the earth, and of all the artists, and was unable to discover any remedy for his own wounds. At last, taking leave of them, he began to seek God for him- self, God who -heals the diseases and maladies of the soul. But while he kept an eye upon himself and thought these matters over, his mind was found wandering among those very things from which he had ostensibly withdrawn because he hated them.
5-- As some woman who in the world is rich and possesses much money, and a fine house, is bereft of protection, and those who set upon her to injure her and to lay her build- ings waste are many; and she, not brooking the affront, goes about seeking a powerful man to marry her, well suited for the purpose and educated in all directions ; and when after much anxiety she gains such a husband, she rejoices over him, and finds in him a strong wall ; in the same way the soul, after the transgression, having been for a long time afflicted by the adverse power, and having fallen into great isolation, a widow and desolate? deserted by the heavenly Husband because of the transgression of the commandment, and made the sport of all the opposing 1 Macarius appears to be summing up the experiences of Ecclesiastes.
powers ; for they drove her out [of her wits, bewildering her out of her heavenly understanding, so that she does not see what they have done to her, but thinks that she was made like that from the beginning ; then, having learned, by being told, of her desolation and unprotected state, she groaned before the clemency of God, and found life and salvation why? Because she returned to her kindred. For there is no tie of blood or suitableness like that between the soul and God, and between God and the soul. God made the various kinds of birds some to burrow in the ground, and to have their sustenance and satisfaction from thence ; for some He ordained that they should dive under the waters, and have their life from thence. He fashioned two worlds one above, for the ministering spirits* and appointed that they should have their social life there \ the other below for men, under this atmosphere. He created also heaven and earth, sun and moon, waters, trees that bear fruit, all manner of races of animals. But in none of them does God find rest. All the creation is governed by Him ; and yet He did not fix His throne in them, or establish communion with them, but was well pleased with man alone, entering into communion with him, and resting in him. Seest thou the kinship of God with man, and of man with God ? Therefore the sagacious and prudent soul, after going the round of all created things, found no rest for herself, except in the Lord ; and the Lord was well pleased in nothing except in man alone.
6-- If you open your eyes towards the sun, you find his orb in the sky, but his light and his beams inclining to the earth, and all the power of its light and its radiance bearing down upon the earth. So also the Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father above all princi- pality and power? but He keeps His eye intent upon the hearts of men on earth, that He may bring those who wait
for the succour that He gives, up to where He is ; because He says, Where I am, there shall My servant also be, 1 and Paul again, He hath raised us up together with Him and made us sit together with Him at His right hand in heavenly places. 2 Animals without reason are much more sagacious than we. They are all joined each to its own kind, wild to wild, and sheep to their own species ; and you you do not ascend to your heavenly kin, which is the Lord, but give yourself over and consent in your thoughts to the thoughts of evil, making yourself an ally of sin, and fighting on its side against yourself, thus making yourself prey for the enemy to devour ; as if a bird were caught by the eagle and eaten up, or a sheep by the wolf, or a child that knows nothing were to stretch out its hand to the serpent, and were bitten by it and killed. The parables have as it were their living counterparts in the spiritual reality.
7-- As a wealthy maiden, betrothed to a husband, may receive ever so many presents before the marriage, orna- ments, or dresses, or costly vessels, but is not satisfied until the time of the wedding comes and she is made one with him, so the soul, when it is engaged as a bride to the heavenly Bridegroom, receives as an earnest from the Spirit gifts of healings, it may be, or of knowledge, or of revela- tion, but it is not satisfied with these, until it attains the complete union, namely, charity, which can never change nor fail, which sets those who have longed for it free from passion and from agitation. Or as a babe that is decked with pearls and costly clothes, when it is hungry, thinks nothing of the things that it wears, but despises them, and cares only for its nurse's breast, how it may get the milk; so reckon it to be, I pray you, even with the spiritual gifts of God. To whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Concerning the difference between God's word and the worlds, and between God's children and the children of this world.
1-- THE Word of God is God, and the word of the world is world ; and there is a great difference and distance between the Word of God and the word of the world, and between the children of God and the children of the world. Everything that is begotten resembles its parents. If then the offspring of the Spirit shall choose to give itself up to the word of the world and the things of the earth and the glory of the present order, it is mortified and perishes, being unable to find the true satisfaction of life. Its satisfaction is only there, whence it was begotten. As the Lord says, he who is encompassed by cares of this life and bound by earthly bonds is choked, and becometh unfruitful from the Word of God. 1 In like manner also he who is possessed by a fleshly intention, who is a man of the world, if he should wish to listen to the Word of God, is choked, and becomes like one devoid of reason ; for, being accustomed to the deceits of evil, when such men hear about God, they are as it were oppressed by tiresome discourse, and their minds are sick of it.
2-- Paul says, The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit; for they are foolishness unto him. 2 ' And the prophet says, The word of God was to them as vomit. 3
You see that it is not possible to live except according to the word that each was born to. You must listen to another way of putting it. If the carnal man gives himself up to be changed, he begins by dying in that quarter, and becoming unfruitful as regards that former life in wicked- ness. But as if a man is subject to a disease or a fever, although his body is prostrate upon the bed, unable to accomplish any of the activities of the earth, his mind is not quiet, but plucked this way and that, in concern about his business, and seeks the physician, sending his friends to him ; so the soul, weak with passion from the transgression of the commandment, and in a state of impotence, comes to the Lord and believes and finds His help ; and when it has denied its former evil life, although it still lies in its old weakness, unable to accomplish in truth the works of life, yet to be zealously concerned about the life, to ask of the Lord, to seek the true Physician this it has and can.
3-- It is not as some say, who are led astray by wrong teachings, that man is dead once for all, and cannot accom- plish anything good whatsoever. A babe has no force to accomplish anything, and is unable to go on its own feet to its mother; but yet it rolls itself, and makes a noise, and cries, seeking after its mother. The mother mean- while pities it, and rejoices that the little one seeks after her with pains and crying; and though the babe cannot come to her, yet because of the child's much seeking the mother comes to it herself, all over-mastered by love for her babe, and takes it up, and cherishes it, and nurses it with great affection. This is what God does, in His kind- ness towards man, with the soul that comes to Him and longs for Him. Nay, much more, impelled by charity, He of His own accord, in the goodness which is inherent in Him and is all His own, cleaves to the intention of that soul, and becomes one spirit with it, according to the apostolic saying. 1 When the soul cleaves to the Lord, and the Lord pities and loves, coming to it and cleaving to it, and the intention from that time remains continually faithful to the grace of the Lord, they become one spirit, one composite thing, one intention, the soul and the Lord ; and while the body belonging to it is prostrate upon earth, the intention of the soul has its conversation wholly in the heavenly Jerusalem, mounting even to the third heaven, and cleaving to the Lord, and ministering to Him there.
4-- And He, while sitting in the throne of majesty on high, in the heavenly city, is wholly in company with the soul, in the body that belongs to it. He has set her image above in Jerusalem, the heavenly city of the saints, and has set His own image, the image of the unspeakable light of His Godhead, in her body. He ministers to her in the city of the body, while she ministers to Him in the heavenly city. She has inherited Him in heaven, and He has inherited her upon earth. The Lord becomes the soul's inheritance, and the soul becomes the inheritance of the Lord. If the intention and mind of sinners in darkness can be so far from the body, and is able to sojourn at a distance, and to travel in a moment to distant countries, and oftentimes, while the body is prostrate on the earth, the mind is in another country, in company with him or her whom it loves, and sees itself living there \ if, I say, the soul of the sinner is so light and volatile that his mind is not debarred from places far away, much more does the soul from whom the veil of darkness has been taken away by the power of the Holy Ghost, and her mental eyes have been enlightened through the heavenly light, and she has been perfectly delivered from the passions of shame, and has been made pure through grace, serve the Lord wholly in heaven in the spirit, and serve Him wholly in the body, and find herself so expanded in thought as to be everywhere and where she wills, and, where He wills, to serve the Lord.
5-- This is what the apostle says, That ye may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be -filled unto all the fulness of God. 1 Consider the unspeakable mysteries of the soul from which the Lord takes away the darkness that lies over her, and reveals her, and is revealed to her ; how He expands and extends the thoughts of her mind to the breadths and lengths and depths and heights of all creation, visible and invisible. A great and divine work and wonderful indeed is the soul. In fashioning her, God made her such as to put no evil in her nature, but made her after the image of the virtues of the Spirit. He put in her the laws of virtues, discernment, knowledge, prudence, faith, charity, and the other virtues, according to the image of the Spirit.
6-- Even now in knowledge and prudence and charity and faith the Lord is still found and manifested to her. He has put in her intelligence, divers faculties, will, the ruling mind. He has seated in her much other subtlety besides. He made her mobile, volatile, unwearying. He bestowed on her to come and go in a moment, and in her thoughts to serve Him where the Spirit wills. Altogether He created her such as to be His bride, and capable of fellowship with Him, that He might be mingled with her, and be one spirit with her, as the apostle says, He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 2 To whom be glory for ever. Amen.
An allegorical interpretation of the things done under the Law.
1-- THE glory of Moses which he had upon his coun- tenance was a figure of the true glory. For as in that case the Jews were not able to look steadfastly upon the face of Moses, 1 so now Christians receive that glory of light in their souls, and the darkness, not bearing the radiance of the light, is blinded and ;banished. They were made known to be the people of God by circumcision : here, God's peculiar people receive the sign of circumcision inwardly in their heart. The heavenly knife cuts away the unwanted portion of the mind, which is the impure uncircumcision of sin. With them was a baptism sancti- fying the flesh; with us, a baptism of Holy Ghost and fire, for this is what John preached ; He shall baptize you with Holy Ghost and fire?
2-- There they had an outer tabernacle and an inner, and into the first the priests went continually, accomplishing the services; but into the second went the high priest alone once every year, with blood, the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest? Here, on the other hand, those who have the privilege enter into the tabernacle not made with hands, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Christ. 4 It is written in the law that the priest should take two doves, and kill the one, and sprinkle the living one with its blood, and loose it and let it fly free. 1 That which was done was a figure and shadow of the truth ; for Christ was slain, and His blood sprinkling us has made us to grow wings, for He has given us the wings of the Holy Ghost, that we may fly without hindrance into the air of the Godhead.
3-- To them was given a law written upon tables of stone; but to us, spiritual laws, engraven upon fleshy tables of the heart* for it says, I will put My laws in their hearts, and upon their minds will I write them? All those things were temporary and to be done away ; but now all are accomplished in truth on the inner man. The covenant is within, and the battle within. In short, whatsoever things happened unto them were done in a figure, and were written for our admonition.* God foretold to Abraham the future, saying, Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they shall afflict it, and make it to serve four hundred years. 5 This was fulfilled in the image of the shadow. The people became a stranger, and was enslaved by the Egyptians, and was afflicted in clay and brick. 6 Pharaoh set over them superintendents and taskmasters, that they should do their works by compulsion ; and when the children of Israel groaned unto God by reason of their tasks, 7 then He looked upon them through Moses; 8 and having smitten the Egyptians with many plagues, He brought them out of Egypt, in the month of flowers, when first the pleasant spring appears, and the gloom of winter is passing off.
4-- And the Lord spake unto Moses, to take a lamb with- out blemish, and to slay it, and to smear the blood of it upon the doors and the lintels, that he that destroyed the firstborn
of the Egyptians might not touch them. 1 The angel that was sent saw the sign of the blood from afar and removed ; but he entered into the houses that were not signed, and slew all the firstborn. Moreover He commanded leaven to be put away out of every house, and enjoined that they should eat the lamb that was slain with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and that they should eat it with their loins girt, and their shoes upon their feet, and with their staves in their hands ; and thus He commanded them to eat the Lord's passover with all haste in the evening, and not to break a bone of the lamb. 5-- He brought them forth also with silver and gold, 2 commanding them to borrow every- one of his Egyptian neighbour vessels of gold and of silver ; and they came out of Egypt while the Egyptians were burying their firstborn, and joy was theirs for their riddance of the squalid bondage, and grief and wailing to the others for the destruction of their children. Wherefore Moses says, This is the night in which God promised to deliver us. 3 All these things are a mystery of the soul, redeemed by the coming of Christ. For Israel is interpreted to be the mind beholding God. 4 He is set free from the bondage of darkness, from the Egyptian spirits. 6-- For since at the transgression man died the dreadful death of the soul, and received curse upon curse Thistles and thorns shall the ground bring forth unto thee, 5 and again, Thou shalt till the ground, and it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her fruits 6 thorns and thistles sprouted and sprang up in the ground of his heart. His enemies by guile took away his glory, and clothed him with shame. His light was taken away, and he was clothed in darkness. They murdered his soul. They scattered and divided his faculties and dragged his mind down from its height, and Israel became the man who is bondservant to the true Pharaoh, and he set over him his overseers and taskmasters, those spirits of wickedness which compel him, whether he will or no, to do his wicked works, and to fulfil the tale of mortar and of brick. These withdrew him from his heavenly state of mind, and brought him down to material, earthly, clayey works of wickedness, and words and devices and reason- ings that are vain. Taken from her proper height, the soul found herself in a kingdom of hatred to man, where bitter rulers compel her to build them the evil cities of sin.
7-- But if the soul groans and cries unto God, He sends forth to her the spiritual Moses, who delivers her from the bondage of the Egyptians : but she cries and groans first, and only then begins to receive deliverance, being herself also 1 delivered in the month of new blossoms, 2 in the springtime, when the ground of the soul can put forth the fair and blossoming boughs of righteousness, and the bitter winter storms of the ignorance of darkness are over, and of the great blindness that comes of shameful deeds and sins. Then also He bids all old leaven 3 to be removed out of each house, namely the deeds and dispositions of the old man which waxeth corrupt^ to cast away, as far as possible, wicked thoughts and uncleanly imaginations.
8-- The lamb must be slain and sacrificed, and the blood of it be smeared upon the doors : for Christ, the true, good Lamb, without blemish, was slain, and the lintels of the heart were anointed with His blood, that the blood of Christ shed upon the cross might be to the soul for life and deliverance, and to the devils of Egypt for woe and death. The blood of the Lamb without blemish is indeed woe to them, and joy and gladness to the soul. Then, after the anointing, He bids to eat the lamb at even, and the unleavened bread, with bitter herbs, with loins girt and shoes on feet, and staff in hand. Unless the soul be prepared beforehand on every side, to the best of her power, through good works, it is not given to her to eat of the lamb. And though the lamb be sweet, and the unleavened bread excellent, yet the bitter herbs are bitter and harsh j for with much affliction and bitterness the soul eats of the lamb and of the good unleavened bread, while the sin that is with her afflicts her. 9-- And it says that it shall be eaten at even. The time of even is midway between light and darkness. So the soul being near this deliver- ance is midway between light and darkness, while the power of God stands firm and will not suffer the darkness to come over the soul and swallow it up. And as Moses said, This is the night of the promise of God, 1 so Christ, when the book was given Him in the synagogue, as it is written, called it the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of redemption.- There it was a night of retribution ; here, a day of redemption. And rightly so ; for all those things were a figure and shadow of the truth, and in a mystical prefiguration sketched the true salvation of the soul that has been shut up in darkness, and secretly bound with fetters in the lowest pit, 3 and shut in with gates of brass,* and cannot be set at liberty without the redemption of Christ.
10-- So He brings the soul out of Egypt and the bondage in it, the firstborn of Egypt being destroyed at the exodus. Already a part of the power of the true Pharaoh falls. 1 It seems probable that Macariushad in view the passage Ex. xii. 42, where, in the second half of the verse, Aquila and Symmachus used an expression for " a night of observations " which might be understood.as "a night of expectation," and so "of promise." Above, in 5, this is still further paraphrased.
Mourning possesses the Egyptians. They groan for grief at the salvation of the captive. He commands them to borrow of the Egyptians vessels of gold and of silver, and to take them and go out. The soul in going out of the dark- ness takes back her vessels of silver and gold, namely her own good faculties purified seven times in the fire, 1 in which God is served and satisfied. The devils that were neighbours to her wasted and held and squandered her faculties. Blessed is the soul that is redeemed out of dark- ness, and woe to the soul that does not cry and groan to Him that is able to rescue her from those hard and bitter taskmasters. IT. The children of Israel march away, when they have kept the passover. The soul moves onwards, when it has received the life of the Holy Ghost, and has tasted of the Lamb, and been anointed with His blood, and has eaten the true bread, the living Word. A pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud went before the Israelites, protecting them : the Holy Ghost strengthens these, warming and guiding the soul in a way that can be felt. When Pharaoh and the Egyptians knew of the people's escape, and of their own loss of their bondservice, he took courage to pursue, even after the destruction of the firstborn. He hastily harnessed his chariots, and with all his people he made speed after them to destroy them ; but when he was now on the point of getting .in among them, a cloud stood betwixt them, hindering and darkening the one, and guiding the other with light and protecting them. Not to prolong this dis- course by developing the whole story, take the parable in all particulars as referring to spiritual things.
12-- When first the soul escapes from the Egyptians, the power of God draws near and helps it, leading it to the truth. But when the spiritual Pharaoh, the king of the darkness of sin, perceives that the soul is in revolt and is escaping from his kingdom, he catches up the faculties so long held in possession for these are his goods and, clever as he is, hopes that the soul will come back to him. But when he learns that it is fleeing from his tyranny for good and all a more audacious thing than the slaughter of the firstborn and the stealing of the faculties he dashes at it, fearing that if the soul clean escapes, no one will be found to fulfil his will and work. He pursues it with afflictions and temptations and invisible wars. There it is tested ; there it is tried ; there appears its love towards Him who brought it out of Egypt. For it is delivered over to be tested and tried in all manner of ways. 13-- It beholds the power of the enemy desiring to get at it and do it to death, and not able to do so. Between it and the Egyptian spirits the Lord stands. It beholds before it a sea of bitterness and affliction or despair. It can neither win its way back, seeing the enemy ready for it, nor move forward, for the terror of death, and afflictions grievous and manifold encompassing it, make it to see death. The soul therefore loses all opinion of itself, having the sentence of death in itself* because of the swarm of evil ones that surrounds it. And when God sees the soul fallen into the terror of death, and the enemy ready to swallow it up, then, then indeed He gives it a little succour, dealing patiently with the soul, and testing it, whether it stands fast in faith, whether it has love towards Him. For so has God appointed the way that leadeth unto life, 2 to be with affliction and distress, and much testing, and very bitter temptations, that from thence the soul may afterwards arrive at the true land of the glory of the children of God. When therefore the soul gives up all opinion of itself and renounces itself, because of the exceeding affliction and the death before its eyes, in that instant with a strong hand and an uplifted arm He rends the power of darkness through the shining of the Holy Ghost, and the soul passes through the dreadful places, escaping and passing through the sea of darkness and of the all-devouring fire.
14-- These are mysteries of the soul which are truly brought to pass in a man who earnestly endeavours to come to the promise of life, and is redeemed out of the kingdom of death, and receives the earnest from God, and partakes of the Holy Ghost. Thereupon the soul delivered from amidst her foes, and having passed through the bitter sea by the power of God, and beholding her enemies destroyed before her eyes, whose bondservant she was before, rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1 comforted by God, and at rest in the Lord. Then the Spirit -which she has received sings a new song unto God, with the timbrel, that is the body, and the invisible strings of the harp, which is the soul and its most subtle faculties, and the key of divine grace for striking the chords, and lifts up praises to Christ who quickeneth. For as it is the breath that speaks, when it passes through the pipe, so is the Holy Ghost through holy men who bear the Spirit, singing hymns and psalms, and praying to God with a pure heart. Glory to Him who has delivered the soul from the bondage of Pharaoh, and has made her His own throne, and house, and temple, and His pure bride, and has brought her into the kingdom of eternal life, while yet in this world.
15-- In the law, unreasoning animals were offered in sacrifice, and unless they were slain, the offerings were not acceptable ; and now, unless sin be slain, the offering is not acceptable with God, nor true. The people came to Marah, where was a well that gave bitter water, unfit to drink. So God commanded Moses, when he was in despair, to throw a tree into the bitter water, and when the tree was thus cast in, the water was made sweet, and being converted from its
bitterness became serviceable and fit for the people of God to drink. In the same way the soul has been made bitter from drinking the poison of the serpent and becoming like to his bitter nature, and made sinful. Wherefore God casts the tree of life even into the bitter fountain of the heart, and it is converted from its bitterness and made sweet, being mingled with the Spirit of Christ ; and thus being made good for use it passes on to the service of its Master, for it becomes spirit clothed in flesh. Glory to Him who con- verts our bitterness into the sweetness and goodness of the Spirit. Woe to- him in whom the tree of life has not been cast ! He cannot obtain any change for the good.
The rod of Moses bore two images. To enemies it
presented itself as a serpent, biting and destroying ; to the Israelites as a staff, on which they found support. Thus the true wood of the cross, which is Christ, is the death of the enemy, the spirit of wickedness ; but to our souls, it is a staff, and a sure prop, and life, upon which they rest. There were formerly types and shadows of these true realities. The ancient service is a shadow and image of the present service. Circumcision, the tabernacle, the ark, the pot and the manna, the priesthood, the incense, the wash- ings, and, in short, all that was done in Israel, and in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, was done with reference to this soul, made after the image of God, and fallen under the yoke of bondage, and under the kingdom of the dark- ness of bitterness.
17-- For God desired to have communion with her, and espoused her to Himself as the King's bride, and He cleanses her from pollution, and washing her makes her bright from her blackness and her shame, and quickens her out of the state of death, and heals her of her shattered condition, and gives her peace, reconciling her enmity. For creature though she is, she has been espoused as bride to the King's Son; and by His own power God receives her to Himself, gradually accommodating Himself to her changes, until He has increased her with His own increase. For He stretches her out and lengthens her to an endless and immeasurable increase, until she becomes a bride without blemish and worthy of Him. First he begets her within Himself, and increases her through Himself, until she receives the full-grown measure of His love. For being Himself a perfect Bridegroom, He takes her as a perfect bride into the holy, mystical, undefiled fellowship of marriage; and then she reigns with Him to endless ages. Amen.
Concerning perfect faith in God.
1-- THE Lord in the gospel, wishing to bring His own disciples to a perfect faith, said, He that is faithful in little, is faithful also in much ; and he that is unfaithful in little, is unfaithful also in much. 1 What is the little? and what is the much? The little are the promises of this world, which He has undertaken to supply to those who believe Him, such as food, raiment, and the other things which are for the refreshment or health of the body, and so on ; enjoining that we should not be anxious at all concerning these, but with confidence in Him to trust that the Lord is always a provider for those who take refuge in Him. The much are the gifts of the eternal and imperishable world, which He has undertaken to supply to those who believe Him, and who are incessantly anxious concerning those things, and who ask Him for them. Because He has given commandment to that effect. Seek ye only, He says, His kingdom and righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you* that in this way each one may be proved by these little and temporal things, whether he believes God ; because He has undertaken to supply them, while we are free from anxiety about such things and are only con- cerned about eternal things to come.
2-- Then it is manifest that he believes concerning things imperishable, and is really seeking eternal good things, if he preserves his faith sound concerning the things of which we have spoken. For every one of those who obey the word of truth ought to prove and examine himself, and indeed to let himself be examined and proved by spiritual men, how far he has believed and given himself to God, whether really and truly according to His word, or in fancied justification and faith, imagining that he has faith within him. A man is proved and tested by the question whether he is faithful in the little, that is, concerning temporal things. How that is done, I will show you. Do you say that you believe the kingdom of heaven to be vouchsafed to you, and that you have been born from above and made a son of God, and a fellow-heir of Christ, to reign with Him through all eternity, and to take pleasure in light unspeakable during endless and innumerable ages like God? No doubt you will say, "Yes; that was why I withdrew from the world and have given myself to God."
3-- Examine yourself, then, whether earthly cares do not still hold you, and much thought concerning the food and clothing of the body, and other attentions and refreshments, as though you came by them of your own power, and were to make provision for yourself, when you were enjoined to have no anxiety at all concerning yourself. If you believe that you will receive things immortal, eternal, abiding, and abounding, how much more do you not believe that the Lord will supply you with these passing and earthly things, which God has given even to ungodly men, and to beasts and birds, even as He gave you commandment that you should not be anxious at all about them, saying, Take no thought what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or where- withal ye shall be clothed ; for after all these things do the Gentiles seek ! l But if you still have anxiety concerning these things, and have not trusted yourself wholly to His word, know that you have not yet believed that you shall receive the good things eternal, which are the kingdom of heaven, although you imagine that you believe, while you are still found unfaithful in the small things that perish. And again, as the body is of more value than raiment, so is the soul of more value than the body. Do you believe, then, that your soul is receiving healing at Christ's hand from the eternal wounds which with men are incurable, the wounds of the passions of sin, for the sake of which healing the Lord also came hither, that He might now cure the souls of the faithful of those incurable wounds, and cleanse them from the foulness of the leprosy of evil, He, the only true physician and healer? 4-- You will say, "Certainly I believe it. For this I stand, and this is my expectation.". Know, then, after searching yourself, whether bodily ailments do not carry you off to earthly physicians, as if Christ, whom you believed, could not heal you ! See how you deceive yourself, because you imagine that you believe, when you do not yet believe, as you ought, in truth. For if you believed the eternal, irremediable wounds of the immortal soul, and its disorders of evil, to be cured by Christ, you would have believed Him able to cure also the temporary disorders and maladies of the body, and would have had recourse to Him only, to the neglect of medical attentions and remedies. He who created the soul has made the body also ; and He who heals that immortal part, is able to cure the body also of its temporary disorders and maladies.
5-- But you will say, no doubt, "God has given to the body for its healing the herbs of the earth and its drugs, and has prepared the appliances of physicians for the disorders of the body, ordaining that the body which is of the earth should be cured by the various specifics of the earth." I agree with you that this is so. But take heed, and you will know how the matter stands, to whom these things are given, and for whom God has ordained them, according to His great and infinite kindness and love towards man. When man fell from the commandment which he had received, and came under the sentence of wrath, and was banished, as it were, into captivity and disgrace, or to toil in some mine, from the pleasure of paradise into this world, and came under the power of darkness, and was reduced to unbelief by the error of the passions, he fell thenceforward under the disorders and maladies of the flesh, instead of being free from disorder and malady, as before. And certainly all that are born of him have fallen under the same disorders. 6-- God, there- fore, ordained these remedies for the weak and unbelieving, not willing to destroy utterly the sinful race of men, because of His great loving-kindness, but gave medicine to the men of the world, and to all who are without, for solace, and healing, and care of the body, and permitted them to be used by those who could not yet entrust themselves wholly to God. But you, a monk, who have come to Christ, and desire to be a son of God, and to be born from on high of the Spirit, and are expecting promises higher and greater than the first man had, for all his freedom from disorder, even that God should please to give you the presence of the Lord, you, who are become a stranger to the world, ought to possess a belief, and a conception, and a manner of life, new and strange beyond all the men of the world. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
It is not enough to have got rid oj the pleasure of this world, unless a man gets the blessedness of the other. i. WHEN a man has quitted his home, and renounced this world, and has rid himself of the pleasure of the world, and of possessions, and of father and mother, for the Lord's sake, and has crucified himself, and made himself a stranger and poor and needy, but does not find in himself divine comfort instead of the comfort of the world, nor feel the pleasure of the Spirit in his own soul instead of the temporal pleasure, and is not clothed in the inward man with the garments of the light of the Godhead instead of those garments that perish, and does not know to satisfaction, instead of this temporal and carnal fellowship, the fellowship of the heavenly Bride- groom in his own soul, and has not the joy of the Spirit within instead of the tangible joy of this world, and does not receive the solace of heavenly grace and a divine repletion in the soul in the appearing to him of the glory of the Lord, as it is written ; 1 and, in short, instead of this temporal enjoyment, does not obtain even now in his own soul an enjoyment incorruptible, greatly to be desired; this man is become salt without savour; this man is beyond all men miserable; this man has been deprived of things here, and failed to enjoy divine gifts. He does 1 The reference is to Ps. xvii. 15, where the LXX version of the last clause is, I shall be filled to repletion in the appearing of Thy glory. not know divine mysteries through the working of the Spirit in the inner man.
2-- For this is the reason why a man is made a stranger to the world, in order that his soul may pass in mind into another world and age, according to the apostle. Our con- versation, he says, is in heaven ; 1 and again, Though we walk on earth, we do not war after the flesh. 2 Therefore, one who renounces this world must firmly believe that we ought in mind to pass even now through the Spirit into another age, and there to have our conversation and pleasure and enjoyment of spiritual good things, and to be born of the Spirit in the inner man, as the Lord said, He that believeth in Me, hath passed from death unto life. 3 Because there is another death besides the death that is seen, and another life besides the life that is seen. The scripture says, She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth*; and, Let the dead bury their dead 5 ; Because the dead shall not praise Thee, Lord, but we, the living, shall bless Thee. 6
3-- For as the sun, when he has risen upon the earth, is all there upon the earth, but when it comes to sunset, he gathers all his beams together, betaking himself to his own home ; so the soul which is not begotten from above of the Spirit is all on the earth, spread abroad in thought and mind all over the earth, even to the ends of it ; but when it is permitted to receive the heavenly birth and fellowship of the Spirit, it gathers all its thoughts together, and taking them still with it, enters in unto the Lord, into the dwelling from heaven, not made with hands, and all its thoughts become heavenly and pure and holy, making their way into the divine air. Delivered from the prison of the darkness of the wicked ruler, who is the spirit of the world, the soul finds pure and divine thoughts, because
it has seemed good to God to make man partaker of the divine nature. 1
4-- If, then, you are going to withdraw from all the affairs of this life, and if you persevere in your prayer, shall you not esteem this labour rather to be full of rest, and shall you not consider the little affliction and pain to be charged with joy and recreation exceeding great? If your body and your soul had been consumed away hour after hour throughout life for the sake of good things so great, what did that come to ? Oh, the unspeakable compassion of God, that He bestows Himself in free gift upon those who believe, that in a little space of time they should inherit God, and God should dwell in man's body, and that the Lord should find a fair home in man ! As God created the heaven and the earth for man to dwell in, so He created man's body and soul for a dwelling for Himself, to inhabit and take His rest in the body as in His own house, having for His fair bride the lovely soul, made after His own image. The apostle says, / have espoused you to one husband, to present you as . a chaste virgin to Christ 2 ; and again, Whose house we are. 3 As the husband with diligence treasures up all good things in his house, so the Lord lays up and treasures in the soul and body, which are His house, the heavenly wealth of the Spirit. Neither the wise by their wisdom nor the prudent by their prudence were able to comprehend the subtil ty of the soul, or to speak of it as it is, but only those to whom through the Holy Ghost that comprehension is revealed, and the exact knowledge concerning the soul is declared. Consider here, and discern, and understand, how. Listen. He is God; the soul is not God. He is the Lord ; it is a servant. He is Creator ; it is a creature. He is the Maker; it the thing made. There is nothing common to His nature, and to that of the soul. But by reason of His infinite, unspeakable, inconceivable love and compassion, it pleased Him to dwell in this thing of His making, this intelligent creature, this precious and extra- ordinary work, as the scripture says, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures?- for His wisdom and fellowship, for His own habitation, for His own precious and pure bride.
5-- When such good things are set before us, and such promises have been promised, and such has been the good pleasure of the Lord towards us, let us not neglect, O my children, nor delay to press to the life eternal, and to give up ourselves entirely to pleasing the Lord. Let us, then, beseech the Lord that by His own power of Godhead He would deliver us from the prison of the darkness of the passions of shame, and would cause His own image and handiwork to shine up, making the soul sound and pure, and so we may be permitted to have the fellowship of the Spirit, glorifying the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
It is God that works wonders through His saints.
1-- WHO was it that shut the doors of heaven? Elias? or was it God in him, who commanded the rain ? I trow that He who wields power over heaven was Himself seated in his mind, and that by his tongue the Word of God forbade rain to come down upon the earth, and spake again, and the gates of heaven were opened, and the rain came down. Likewise also Moses put down a rod, and it became a serpent, and he spake again and it became a rod; and he took ashes of the furnace and sprinkled, and it became boils ; and again he smote, and there came lice and frogs. Could the nature of men do these things ? He spake to the sea, and it was divided ; to the river, and it was turned into blood. Well, it is plain that a heavenly power was dwelling in his mind, and did these signs through Moses.
2-- David, how was he able, unarmed, to engage in battle with such a giant ? And when he hurled the stone at the Philistine, by David's hand the hand of God guided the stone, and it was the divine power itself that slew him and gained the victory. David could never have done it : he was too weak in body. Joshua, the son of Nun, when he came to Jericho, besieged it seven days, unable to do anything by his own nature ; but when God commanded, the walls fell down of themselves. And when he entered into the land of promise, the Lord said to him, "Go forward to battle " ; Joshua answered, " As the Lord liveth, I will not go without Thee." 1 And who is it that com- manded the sun to stand still another two hours in the conflict of battle? his nature alone, or the power that was with him? And Moses, when he engaged with Amalek, if he stretched out his hands towards heaven unto God, smote Amalek, but if he dropped his hands, Amalek prevailed.
3-- But when you hear of these things happening, let not your mind travel far away ; but since these things were a figure and shadow of the realities, apply them to yourself. When you shall stretch out the hands of your mind, and your thoughts, towards heaven, and shall be minded to cleave to the Lord, Satan shall get the worst of it with your thoughts. And as at Jericho the walls fell by the power of God, so now also the walls of evil that hinder your mind, and the cities of Satan, and your enemies, shall be utterly destroyed by the power of God. Thus, in the shadow, the power of God was continually present with the righteous, doing visible wonders ; and the divine grace dwelt in them inwardly as well. Likewise upon the pro- phets also it wrought, and ministered the Spirit in their souls, to prophesy, and to speak, when there was need to say great things to the world. For they did not speak at all times, but when the Spirit that was in them would. Yet the power was always with them.
4-- If, then, the Holy Ghost was poured out to such an extent upon the shadow, how much rather upon the New Covenant, upon the cross, upon the coming of Christ, where the outpouring and drunkenness of the Spirit took effect. It says, / will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh. 2 This is what the Lord Himself meant when He said, / will be with you until the end of the world .^ For every one that seeketh, findeth. 2 If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him* with power and much assurance, as the apostle says. 4 Such things, then, are found by measure, and time, and much labour, and patience, and affection towards Him, the senses of the soul being exercised, as the scripture says, 5 through good and through evil, that is, through the crafts and plots and manifold besetments and lyings in wait of evil on the one hand, and on the other through the various gifts and divers helps of the working and power of the Spirit. He who discovers the plotting of evil, defiling the inward man by means of the passions, and is not acquainted himself with the help of the Holy Spirit of truth, strength- ening his infirmity, and renewing his sour in gladness of heart, such an one goes his way without discernment, not discovering as yet the manifold dispensation of the grace and peace of God. And on the other hand, he who is helped by the Lord, and is found in spiritual mirth and heavenly gifts of grace, if he should imagine that he is no longer liable to be injured by sin, is deceived without his knowing it, not discerning the subtilty of evil, and not understanding the gradual growth of infancy to maturity in Christ. For through the supply of the Holy and Divine Spirit faith increases and makes progress, and at the same time every stronghold of wicked thoughts passes gradually to complete casting down. 6 Every one of us, therefore, ought to search whether he has found the treasure in this earthen vessel, 1 whether he has put on the purple of the Spirit, whether he has seen the King and found rest in His near presence, or still serves in the outermost parts of the house. The soul has many members, and great depth; and besides, sin has come in and taken possession of all its members and of the ranges of the heart. Then, when man seeks, grace comes to him, and takes possession, it may be of two members of the soul. So the inexperienced man, being comforted by grace, imagines that grace has taken posses- sion of all the members of his soul, and that sin is rooted out, But the greatest part is still under the power of sin, and only one part under grace ; and he is cheated and knows it not. We might write at greater length concerning these things to your sincerity of disposition, but we have given you thus briefly a starting point, that like men of understanding you may go to work upon it and search out the power of the words and become yet more understanding in the Lord, and increase your singleness of heart in His grace and in the power of the truth, so that holding fast your own salvation with all certainty, and being delivered from all interference of wickedness and craft of the adversary, you may have the privilege to be found unfallen and uncondemned in the day of judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ ; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.