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A few more particulars about Macarius may be gathered from the ancient collections of Apophthegms of the Fathers^ printed by Migne in the same volume with the works of Macarius, but it is not always possible to be sure that the Macarius referred to is the great Egyptian, nor whether the anecdotes have any historical foundation.

Apophthegm 1

One of them gives, as from Macarius himself, the account of his withdrawal into the desert of Scetis. When he was a young man, he had settled himself in a cell in some part of Egypt, and the people of the place seized him and made him their dericus. Not wishing to undertake the duty, he removed to another spot, where a pious man, who had not renounced the world, attached himself to him and helped him in the basket-making by which he earned his liveli- hood. It happened that a girl in the village had fallen into sin, and alleged that she had been seduced by " the anchorite." "Then they came out and took me into the village, and hung sooty kitchen pots round my neck, and handles of broken wine-jars, and paraded me round every quarter of the village, beating me and saying, * This monk has seduced our girl. Have him, have him.' They beat me nearly to death. One of the old men came and said, ' How long will you go on beating the strange monk ? ' The man who served me was following behind me with shame, for they were insulting him much and saying, * Look at this anchorite whose part you took ; what has he done ? ' The girl's parents said, 'We shall not let him off till he gives us a surety for her maintenance'; and I told my helper, and he became surety for me. When I got to my cell, I gave him all the baskets I had, saying, ' Sell them, and give my wife to eat.' And I said to my mind, { Maca- rius, see, thou hast found thyself a wife ; thou must work a bit harder to support her ' ; and I worked night and day, and gave it her." When the time came for the birth of the child, the girl confessed that she had been lying, and wanted all the village to go to him to make amends. " And when I heard that, not to be troubled with the men, I arose and fled into the Scetis here. That was the original cause of my coming hither."

Apophthegm 2

Macarius one day came from Scetis to the Nitrian hills, to attend the celebration of the eucharist by the abbot Pambo. " And the old man said, ' Speak a word to the brethren, father.' He answered, 'I have not yet become a monk, though I have seen monks. Once as I was sitting in my cell at Scetis, my thoughts troubled me, saying, Go into the desert, and see what you shall see there. I stayed fighting with the thought five years, saying, Perhaps it comes from demons. But when the thought persisted, I went into the desert, and found there a lake of water, and an island in the middle of it ; and the beasts of the desert came to drink of it ; and among them I saw two naked men; and my body was afraid, for I thought they were spirits. But when they saw me afraid, they spoke to me : Fear not ; we too are men. And I said to them, Whence are ye, and how came ye into this desert ? And they said, We belong to a convent, and we made an agreement and came out hither, now forty years ago. One of us is an Egyptian, the other a Libyan. And they asked me, saying, How is the world ? and does the water [of the Nile] come in its season, and has the world its plenty? I said, Yes; and I asked them, How can I become a monk ? and I said to them, I am weak, and can- not do like you. And they said to me, And if you cannot do like us, sit in your cell and weep for your sins. And I asked them, When winter comes, are ye not cold? and when the hot weather comes, are not your bodies burned ? But they said, It was God who made this ordinance for us, and we are neither cold in winter, nor does the heat in summer hurt us. So, as I said, I have not yet become a monk, but I have seen monks. Forgive me, brethren.' "

Apophthegm 3

" Some of the fathers once asked the abbot Macarius the Egyptian, ' How is it that whether you eat or whether you fast, your body is dry ? ' The aged man answered, ' The stick which pokes the faggots in the fire gets eaten through- out with the fire ; so, if a man cleanses his mind with the fear of God, the fear of God itself eats up his body.' "

Apophthegm 4

" They said that the abbot Macarius the Egyptian, going up from Scetis with a load of baskets, was so tired that he sat down and prayed, saying, ' O God, Thou knowest that I cannot' ; and immediately he was found at the river."

Apophthegm 5

"It is said that two brethren at Scetis went wrong, and the abbot Macarius the City Man [/. e. the Alexandrian] expelled them. Certain men came and told the great abbot, Macarius the Egyptian. He said, ' They are not expelled ; it is Macarius that is expelled.' For he loved him. The abbot Macarius heard that he had been expelled by the old man, and fled to the marsh. So the great abbot Macarius went out, and found him bitten by the mosquitoes, and said to him, * Thou didst expel the brethren, and they had to retire to the village. I expelled thee, and thou fleddest hither like a pretty maiden to her chamber. I called the brethren, and enquired of them, and they assured me that they had not done the thing. Take heed, brother, that thou be not mocked of devils ; for thou sawest nothing. Do penance for thy fault.' He answered, 'If thou wilt, give me a penance.' The old man, seeing his humility, said, 'Go, and fast for three weeks, eating once a week,' knowing that this was his constant practice, to fast all the week days."

Apophthegm 6

" A brother once met abbot Macarius the Egyptian, and said to him, 'Abba, say something to me that I may be saved.' The old man said, ' Go to the burying-ground and revile the dead.' The brother went, and reviled them, and threw stones at them, and came and reported to the old man. He said to him, ' Did they not answer thee ? ' He said, 'No.' The old man said, 'Go again to-morrow and praise them.' So the brother went, and praised them, call- ing them apostles, and saints, and righteous men, and came to the old man, and said, ' I praised them.' And he said to him, ' Did they make no answer ? ' The brother said, No.' The old man said, 'Thou knowest how much thou didst insult them, and they answered nothing, and how much thou didst praise them, and they spake nothing to thee. If thou wouldest be saved, become thou dead like them. Reck nothing of the wrongs done by men, nor of their praise, any more than the dead do ; and thou mayest be saved.' "

Apophthegm 7

" Once as the abbot Macarius was passing through Egypt with some brethren, he heard a child say to his mother, ' Amma, a rich man loves me, and I hate him ; and a poor man hates me, and I love him.' The abbot Macarius won- dered when he heard it. The brethren said to him, * What was there to wonder at in the saying, father ? ' The old man said to them, ' Truly, our Lord is rich and loves us, and we will not listen to Him ; but our enemy the devil is poor and hates us, and we love his uncleanness.'"

Apophthegm 8

" Once upon a time, the abbot Macarius visited the abbot Antony, and after conversing with him returned to Scetis. The fathers came out to meet him, 'and as they talked, the old man said to them, ' I told the abbot Antony that we have no offering [of the eucharist] in our place.' And the fathers began to talk of other things, and did not enquire of the old man what he had answered ; and the old man did not tell them. One of the fathers has said that when fathers see that the brethren do not ask them questions about a thing that would do them good, they 'constrain themselves to begin the subject, but if the brethren then do not constrain them [to continue], they say no more, that they may not be found like those who speak when no one asks them, and the conversation is only froth."

Apophthegm 9

"The abbot Vitimius related that the abbot said : Once, as I sat at Scetis, two young strangers came down there. One had a beard, the other the beginnings of a beard. They came to me, saying, 'Where is the cell of abbot Macarius ? ' And I said, ' What do you want with him ? ' They said, ' We have heard of him and of Scetis, and we came to see him.' I said, ' I am he.' And they begged pardon, saying, 'We wish to stay here.' Seeing that they looked delicately nurtured, and as if they came from a home of wealth, I said to them, ' You cannot settle here.' The elder of them said, ' If we cannot settle here, we must go elsewhere.' I said to my own thoughts, * Why should I persecute them and be a cause of offence to them ? The difficulties will soon make them run away of themselves.' And I said to them, * Come, make yourselves a cell, if you can.' They said, 'Show us a place, and we will make one.' The old man gave them a hatchet, and a wrap full of bread, and some salt, and showed them a hard piece of rock, saying, ' Quarry here, and fetch yourselves wood from the marsh, and make a thatch, and settle.' I thought to myself, he said, that they would take themselves off because of the labour. But they asked me, what they should work at here. I said, 'Plaiting,' and I took palm leaves from the marsh, and showed them how to start a plait, and how to sew them up, and said, ' Make your baskets, and give them to the guards, and they will bring you bread.' Then 1 went away. But they patiently did all that I had told them, and they never came to me for three years. And I remained wrestling with my thoughts, saying, How then are they getting on with their business, that they have not come to ask advice ? Those from afar come to me, but these who are near have never come. Nor did they go to others. They only went to church, in silence, to receive the offering. And I prayed to God, with a week of fasting, to show me their business ; and after the week I arose and went to them, to see how they were situated. When I knocked, they opened, and greeted me in silence, and I said a prayer and sat down. And the elder beckoned to the younger to go out, and sat down to weave his plait without saying a word. And at the hour of none he knocked, and the younger came, and made a little gruel, and at a sign from the elder he set a table, and put on it three biscuits, and stood in silence. Then I said, ' Rise, let us eat ' ; and we stood and ate ; and he brought the water-bowl, and we drank. When evening came, they said to me, ' Art thou going ? ' I said, ' No, I will sleep here.' And they laid me a mat by myself apart, and another for themselves in a corner, and they took off their girdles, and their wrappers, and laid themselves down together on their mat before me. When they were laid down, I prayed to God to show me their business ; and the roof was opened, and it became as light as day, but they did not see the light. And when they thought that I was asleep, the elder touched the younger one on the side, and they got up, and girded themselves, and stretched their hands towards heaven. And I saw them, without their seeing me. And I beheld the devils coming at the younger one like flies : some attempted to settle on his mouth, and some on his eyes ; and I beheld an angel of the Lord holding a sword of fire, and making a rampart round him, and driving off the devils. They could not get near the elder. About daybreak they lay 'down, and I made as though I awoke, and they likewise. The elder said to me this and no more, ' VVouldest thou that we should say the twelve psalms ? ' I said, 'Yes.' And the younger sang five psalms of six verses and an Alleluia, and at each verse a torch of fire came out of his mouth and went up to heaven. Likewise when the elder opened his mouth to sing, there came out like a cable of fire and reached to heaven. I also repeated a little by heart ; and as I went out I said, ' Pray for me.' They bowed to me in silence. So I knew that the elder one was perfect, but that the enemy was still warring with the younger. A few days later, the elder brother fell asleep ; and on the third day after, the younger ; and when some of the fathers visited the abbot Macarius, he took them to their cell, saying, ' Come, see the martyrdom l of the little strangers. ' "

Apophthegm 10

" The abbot Paphnutius, the disciple of the abbot Ma- carius, related that the old man said, ' When I was a boy, I was tending calves with the other boys, and they went to steal figs ; and as they ran, one of the figs dropped, and I picked it up and ate it ; and when I remember it, I sit and weep.' "

Apophthegm 11

" They related of abbot Macarius the Egyptian, that one day he was going up from Scetis to the Nitrian hills, and when he drew near the place, he said to his disciple, ' Go a little in front.' And as he walked in front, he met a certain heathen priest, and the brother called out to him, crying, 'Aha, devil, where art thou running?' The man turned, and beat him well, and left him half killed, and took up his stick and ran. When he got a little further, the abbot Macarius met him, and said to him, 'Salvation to thee, weary one.' Surprised at this, the man came to him and said, * What good sawest thou in me, that thou didst accost me ? ' The old man said to him, ' Because I saw thee tired, and thou knowest not that thy labour is in vain.' The other said to him, ' And I was touched by thy salutation, and saw that thou art on God's side ; but another bad monk met me and insulted me, and I beat him to death.' And the old man knew that it was his disciple. Then the priest seized him by the feet and said, ' I will not leave thee till thou makest a monk of me.' Then they went up to where the monk was, and they carried him, and brought him into the church of the hill. And when they saw the priest with him, they were astonished ; and they made him a monk, and many of the heathens became Christians because of him. Therefore the abbot Macarius said that a bad word makes even good people bad, but a good word turns bad people into good."