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TRANSLATIONS OF CHRISTIAN LITERATURE FIFTY SPIRITUAL HOMILIES OF ST. MACARIUS THE EGYPTIAN A, J. MASON, D.D. GENERAL EDITORS: W. J. SPARROW-SIMPSON, D.D., W. K. LOWTHER CLARKE, B.D. SERIES I GREEK TEXTS
- 1 FIFTY SPIRITUAL HOMILIES OF ST. MACARIUS THE EGYPTIAN
- 2 HOMILY I =
- 2.1 An allegorical interpretation of the vision described in the prophet Ezekiel
- 2.2 An allegorical interpretation of the vision described in the prophet Ezekiel
- 2.3 HOMILY II
- 2.4 HOMILY III
- 2.5 HOMILY IV
FIFTY SPIRITUAL HOMILIES OF ST. MACARIUS THE EGYPTIAN
HOMILY I =
An allegorical interpretation of the vision described in the prophet Ezekiel
1-- THE blessed prophet Ezekiel relates a glorious and inspired vision or apparition which he saw, and his descrip- tion is that of a vision full of mysteries unspeakable. He saw in the plain a chariot of Cherubim, four spiritual living creatures. Each living creature had four faces, one the face of a lion, another the face of an eagle, another the face of a calf, and the fourth the face of a human being. To every face there were wings, so that there were no hinder parts to any of them. Their backs were full of eyes ; their bellies likewise were thick set with eyes ; there was no part about them that was not full of eyes. There were also wheels to every face, wheel within wheel. In the wheels there was a Spirit. And Ezekiel saw as it were the likeness of a man, and under his feet as it were a work of sapphire. The Cherubim-chariot J and the living creatures bore the Master who rode upon them. Wheresoever He chose to go, it was with face forward. Beneath the Cherubim he saw as itwere a man's hand supporting and carrying.
- "= HOMILY I ==
An allegorical interpretation of the vision described in the prophet Ezekiel
1-- THE blessed prophet Ezekiel relates a glorious and inspired vision or apparition which he saw, and his descrip- tion is that of a vision full of mysteries unspeakable. He saw in the plain a chariot of Cherubim, four spiritual living creatures. Each living creature had four faces, one the face of a lion, another the face of an eagle, another the face of a calf, and the fourth the face of a human being. To every face there were wings, so that there were no hinder parts to any of them. Their backs were full of eyes ; their bellies likewise were thick set with eyes ; there was no part about them that was not full of eyes. There were also wheels to every face, wheel within wheel. In the wheels there was a Spirit. And Ezekiel saw as it were the likeness of a man, and under his feet as it were a work of sapphire. The Cherubim-chariot J and the living creatures bore the Master who rode upon them. Wheresoever He chose to go, it was with face forward. Beneath the Cherubim he saw as itwere a man's hand supporting and carrying." cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.
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2-- And this that the prophet saw was in substance true and certain, but it signified and foreshadowed something else, mysterious and divine a mystery hidden verily from ages and from generations* but in the last times made mani- fest 2 Sit the appearing of Christ. The mystery which he beheld was that of the soul, that was to receive her Lord, and to become a throne of glory 3 for Him. For the soul that is privileged to be in communion with the Spirit of His light, and is irradiated by the beauty of the unspeak- able glory of Him who has prepared her to be a seat and a dwelling for Himself, becomes all light, all face, all eye ; and there is no part of her that is not full of the spiritual eyes of light. That is to say, there is no part of her darkened, but she is all throughout wrought into light and spirit, and is full of eyes all over, and has no such thing as a back part, but in every direction is face forward, with the unspeakable beauty of the glory of the light of Christ mounted and riding upon her. As the sun is of one like- ness all over, without any part behind or inferior, but is all glorified with light throughout, and is, indeed, all light, with no difference between the parts, or as fire, the very light of the fire, is alike all over, having in it no first or last, or greater or less, so also the soul that is perfectly irra- diated by the unspeakable beauty of the glory of the light of the face of Christ, and is perfectly in communion with the Holy Ghost, and is privileged to be the dwelling-place and throne of God, becomes all eye, all light, all face, all glory, all spirit, being made so by Christ, who drives, and guides, and carries, and bears her about, and graces and adorns her thus with spiritual beauty ; for it says, the hand of a man was under the Cherubim, 4 because He it is that is carried upon her and directs her. , 3-- The four living creatures which bore the chariot were a symbol of the ruling factors x of the soul. As the eagle is the king of birds, and the lion of wild beasts, and the bull of tame ones, and man of creatures in general, so the soul also has its ruling factors. They are the will, the conscience, the intelligence, and the faculty of love. By these the chariot of the soul is controlled, and upon these God rests. According to another interpretation the symbol- ism is applied to the church of the saints in heaven. As it is here said that the living creatures were exceeding high, and full of eyes, and it was not possible for any one to apprehend the number of the eyes, or the height, because the knowledge of these was not given ; and as it is with the stars in the sky, to see and wonder at them was given to all men, but to know and apprehend the number was not given ; and with the plants of the earth, to enjoy them was given to all, but it is impossible for any one to know the number of them ; so with regard to the church of the saints in heaven, to enter into it and enjoy it was given to all who will but strive, but how to see and apprehend the number is reserved for God alone to know. The Rider, then, is conveyed and carried by the chariot or throne of the living creatures which are all eye, or, in other words, by every soul that has become His throne and seat, and is now eye and light. He is mounted thereon, and governs her with the reins of the Spirit, and guides her according to His understanding. For as the spiritual living creatures went not whither they were minded to go, but whither He that sat upon them and directed them knew and willed, so here it is He that holds the reins and drives by His Spirit, and they go accordingly, not by their own will when they are minded to go through heaven. Some- times, discarding the body, He drives and takes the soul in thought through heaven ; sometimes, when so it pleases Him, He comes into the body and its affairs ; sometimes, when so minded, to the ends of the earth, and discovers to the soul mysteries revealed. Oh, the noble and good and only true Charioteer ! In like manner shall our bodies also be privileged at the resurrection, the soul being thus pre-glorified even now, and mingled with the Spirit.
4-- That the souls of the righteous become heavenly light, the Lord Himself told the apostles, when He said, Ye are the light of the world 1 He first wrought them into light, and ordained that through them the world should be enlightened. Neither do men light a lamp, He says, and put it under the bushel, but on the lampstand, and it giveth light to all that are in the hotise. 2 Let your light so shine before men. In other words, Hide not the gift which ye have received from Me, but give to all that are minded to receive it. Again, The light of the body is the eye ; if thine eye be full of light, thy whole body is enlightened, but if thine eye be evil, thy whole body is dark. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness? As the eyes are the light of the body, and, so long as the eyes are well, the whole body is enlightened, but, if any accident befalls them and they are darkened, the whole body is in darkness, so the apostles were set to be the eyes and light of the whole world. The Lord therefore charged them by this saying, If ye who are the light 'of the body, stand fast and turn not aside, behold, the whole body of the world is enlightened ; but if ye who are the light are darkened, how great is that darkness, which is nothing less than the world. So the apostles, being themselves light, administered light to those, who believed, enlightening their hearts with that heavenly light of the Spirit by which they were themselves enlightened.
5-- And being themselves salt they seasoned and salted every believing soul with the salt of the Holy Ghost ; for the Lord said to them, Ye are the salt of the earth, 1 mean- ing by earth the hearts of men. They administered in the souls of men the heavenly salt of the Spirit, seasoning them and rendering them free from corruption and from going bad, instead of that unsavoury condition they were in. Flesh, if it be not salted, corrupts and is filled with ill savour, so that every one turns from the evil odour, and worms creep into the corrupted flesh, and there dwell, and feed, and burrow; but when the salt comes, the worms that dwell there are destroyed, and the offensive smell is at an end ; for it is the property of salt to kill worms and to banish an ill smell. In the same manner, every soul that is not salted with the Holy Ghost, and does not partake of the heavenly salt, which is the power of God, corrupts, and is filled with the ill odour of bad thoughts, so that the countenance of God turns from the dreadful odour of the vain thoughts of darkness, and from the passions that dwell in such a soul. The evil and dreadful worms, which are the spirits of wickedness, and the powers of darkness, walk up and down in it, and dwell there, and burrow, and creep, and devour it, and bring it to decay. My wounds stink and are corrupt, says the Psalm. 2 But when the soul flies to God for succour, and believes, and asks for the salt of life, which is the good Spirit that loves mankind, then the heavenly salt comes, and kills those dreadful worms, and banishes the ill savour, and cleanses the soul by the effectual working of its power, and thus the soul is made sound and free from deterioration by that true salt, and is restored to being useful and serviceable to the heavenly Lord. That is why in the Law God, using a figure, commanded that every sacrifice should be salted with salt. 3
6-- First the sacrifice must be slain by the priest, and die,
then cut in pieces and salted, and then laid upon the fire. Unless the priest first slays the lamb, so that it dies, it is neither salted nor brought to the Lord for a burnt offering. Thus our soul also must come to Christ, the true High- priest, and be slain by Him, and die to its own mode of thought, and to the evil life of sin which it lived before. The life must go out of it that life of bad passions. . As the body, when the soul goes out of it, is dead, and lives no longer with the life which it lived before, and neither hears nor walks, so when Christ, our heavenly Highpriest, by the grace of His power, slays our life to the world and puts it to death, it dies to the life of evil which it lived, and no longer hears, nor speaks, nor maintains any citizenship in the darkness of sin, because the evil passions which were its soul have by grace gone out of it. The apostle cries, The world is crucified to me, and I unto the world* The soul which yet lives in the world, and in the darkness of sin, and has not been done to death by Him, but still has the soul of wickedness in it, that is, the activity of the darkness of the passions of evil, and is governed by it, does not belong to the body of Christ, does not belong to the body of light, but is indeed the body of darkness, and is still part and parcel of the darkness ; while they who have the soul of light, that is, the power of the Holy Ghost, form part and parcel of the light.
7-- But some one may say, How is it that" you call the soul the body of darkness, when it is no creation of the darkness? Attend, and understand me aright. As the coat or garment that you have on was made by another, and you wear it, and your house was created or built by another, and you live in it, so when Adam transgressed the commandment of God, and hearkened to the wicked serpent, he was sold, or sold himself, to the devil, and the evil one put on his soul like a garment his soul, that fair
creation, which God had fashioned after His own image. Thus the apostle says, Having stripped the principalities and powers, He triumphed over them in the cross. 1 This was the purpose of the Lord's coming, that He might cast them out, and recover His own house and temple, man. For this reason, the soul is called the body of the darkness of wickedness, as long as the darkness of sin is in it, because there it lives to the evil world of darkness, and is there held fast. So Paul calls it the body of sin, the body of death, saying, that the body of sin might be destroyed* and, Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? 3 On the other hand, the soul which has believed God, and has been rescued from sin, and done to death out of the life of darkness, and has received the light of the Holy Ghost as its life, and by that means has come to life indeed, spends its existence in the same for ever after, because it is there held fast by the light of the Godhead. For the soul in itself is neither of the nature of the Godhead, nor of the nature of the darkness of wickedness, but is a creature intellectual, beauteous, great, and wonderful, a fair likeness and image of God. It was through the transgression that the wickedness of the passions of darkness entered into it.
8-- Whichever the soul, then, is mixed with, it is thence- forward united with the same in the motions of the will. Either it has the light of God within it, and lives in the same, in all virtues, and belongs to the light of rest, or it has the darkness of sin, and meets with condemnation. The soul that desires to live with God in rest and eternal light must come, as was said before, to Christ the true High- priest, and be slain, and die to the world, and to the former life of the darkness of wickedness, and be translated into another life and to a conversation that is divine. As when a man dies in some city, he neither hears the voice of the people there, nor their talking, nor the noise that they
make, but is once for all dead, and is translated to another region, where there are no voices and none of the cries of that city, even so the soul, when it is once slain and dead to that city of the evil passions in which it dwells and lives, hears no longer within itself the voice of the communings of darkness; no longer is heard the talking and crying of vain disputation, or of the hubbub of the spirits of darkness ; but it is translated into a city all full of goodness and peace, into the city of the light of the Godhead, and there it lives, and hears, and there it has its citizenship, and talks, and communes, and there it works spiritual works, that are worthy of God.
9-- Let us therefore pray that we ourselves may be slain through His power, and die to the world of the wickedness of darkness, and that the spirit of sin may be destroyed in us, and that we may put on and receive the soul of the heavenly Spirit, and be translated from the wickedness of darkness into the light of Christ, and may rest in life through world after world. For as on the race-course the chariots run, and the one that gets the start of the other is a clog, and check, and hindrance to the other, so that it cannot make progress and get to victory first, so do the thoughts of the soul and of sin run in man. If the thought of sin happens to get the start, it clogs and checks and hampers and hinders the soul, so that it cannot get near to God and carry off the victory from it. But where the Lord mounts and takes the reins of the soul into His own hands, He always wins, skilfully managing and guiding the chariot of the soul into a heavenly and inspired mind for ever. He does not war against wickedness ; having always supreme power and authority in Himself, He works Himself the victory. So the Cherubim are driven, not where they are inclined of themselves to go, but where the Rider or Charioteer directs. Where He wills, they go; and He supports them. The hand of a man, it says, was under them. These holy souls are driven and guided by the Spirit of Christ, who holds the reins, whithersoever He pleases when He pleases, in heavenly communings ; when He pleases, that it should be in the body ; where He pleases, there they minister. As the wings are the feet of the bird, so the heavenly light of the Spirit takes up the wings of the thoughts of worthy souls, guiding and managing as He knows best.
10-- When thou hearest these things, therefore, look to thyself, whether thou art in deed and in truth possessed of them in thine own soul. They are not mere words spoken ; it is a work of truth going on in thy soul. If thou hast it not, but art destitute of such spiritual good things, thou oughtest to have continual grief and sorrow and trouble, as one still dead to the kingdom. Like one that is wounded, be always crying to the Lord, and ask in faith, that this true life may be vouchsafed even to thee. When God made this body of ours, He did not grant to it that it should have life either from His own nature or from the body itself, nor meat and drink, raiment and shoes; He appointed that it should have all the supplies of life from without, making the body in itself quite naked, and it is impossible for the body to live at all apart from things outside itself, without food and drink and clothing. If it attempts to subsist upon its own nature alone, taking nothing from without, it wastes and perishes. In the same manner is it with the soul also. It has not the divine light, though it is created after the image of God. So has He ordered its conditions, and has been pleased that it should not have eternal life of its own nature ; but of His Godhead, of His Spirit, of His light, it has spiritual meat and drink, and heavenly clothing, which are the soul's life, the life indeed.
11-- As, then, we have seen that the body's life is not from itself, but from without, from the earth, and apart from the things without it is impossible for it to live, so also, unless the soul be born now into that land of the living l and spiritually draw nourishment from it and make increase, growing up unto the Lord, and be arrayed from the Godhead with the ineffable raiment of heavenly beauty, without that sustenance it is impossible for it to live, of itself, in enjoyment and rest. The divine nature contains the bread of life, which said, / am the bread of life 2 and living water? and wine that maketh glad the heart of man* and the oil of gladness , 5 and the whole variety of the food of the heavenly Spirit, and the heavenly raiment of light which comes from God. In these things the eternal life of the soul consists. Woe to the body when it stands upon its own nature, because then it wastes and dies ; and woe to the soul if it takes its stand upon nothing but its own nature, and puts its trust in nothing but its own works, not having the fellowship of the Spirit of God, because it dies, not having the eternal life of the Godhead vouchsafed to it. When men are sick, as soon as the body is no longer able to receive nourishment, all hopes of them are given over, and all true friends and kinsfolk and lovers are in tears. In the same way, God and the holy angels are in tears over souls that are not nourished with the heavenly nourishment of the Spirit, and have not come to life in incorruption. These things, I say again, are not merely words that are spoken, but the work of spiritual life, the work of truth accomplished upon the soul that is worthy and faithful.
12-- If then thou art become a throne of God, and the heavenly Charioteer has mounted thee, and thy whole soul has become a spiritual eye, and thy whole soul light \ and if thou hast been nourished with that nourishment of the Spirit, and if thou hast been made to drink of the Living Water, and if thou hast put on the garments of the ineffable light ; if thine inward man is established in the experience
and full assurance of all these things, behold, thou livest, thou livest the eternal life indeed, and thy soul from hence- forth is at rest with the Lord. Behold, thou hast received these things from the Lord and possesses! them in truth, that thou mayest live the true life. But if thou art con- scious that thou hast none of these things, then weep, and mourn, and lament, because even yet thou hast not found the eternal heavenly riches. Be in trouble therefore for thy penury, beseeching the Lord night and day, because thou hast stopped short in the dreadful poverty of sin. Would to God that a man had even gained as much as this trouble because of his poverty that we did not go on without a care, as though we were full ! because one that is seriously troubled, and seeks and asks of the Lord continually, will soon find redemption and the heavenly riches, as the Lord said at the conclusion of His discourse of the Unjust Judge and the Widow, How much more shall God avenge them that cry to Him night and day ? Yea, I say imto you, He shall avenge them speedily * To whom be glory and power for ever. Amen.
Concerning the kingdom of darkness, that is, of sin, and that God alone is able to take away sin from us, and to deliver us out of the bondage of the evil prince . . . . 12
1-- THE kingdom of darkness, the evil prince, having taken man captive at the beginning, enveloped and clothed the soul in the power of darkness, as a man might clothe another. "And that they may make him king, and clothe him with royal garments, so that from head to foot he may wear royal apparel." 1 In this manner the evil prince clothed the soul and all its substance with sin. He defiled it all, and brought it all into captivity to his kingdom, leaving not one member of it free from him not the thoughts, not the understanding, not the body; he clothed it all with the purple of darkness. For as it is the body that suffers, not one part or member of it, but the whole is liable to suffer together, so the whole soul suffered the passions of un- happiness and sin. The evil one clothed the whole soul, which is the indispensable part or member -of man, with his own unhappiness, which is sin, and thus the body became liable to suffering and decay.
2-- For when the apostle says, Put off the old man? he means a complete man, with eyes for eyes, ears for ears, hands for hands, and feet for feet. For the evil one has defiled the entire man, soul and body, and dragged him 1 The source of the quotation, if it is one, seems not to be known. It is intended, apparently, to give the idea of a complete envelopment. down, and has clothed the man with an "old man," polluted man, unclean, at enmity with God, not subject to the law of God, 1 and all identified with sin, that he may no longer see as the man himself wishes, but may see wrongly, and hear wrongly, and have feet that are swift to do evil, and hands that work iniquity, and a heart that devises evil things. Let us therefore beseech God that He would put off the old man from us ; because He alone is able to take away sin from us, for those that have taken us captive, and that detain us in their kingdom, are too mighty for us. But He has promised to deliver us from this sore bondage. When there is a hot sun and a wind blowing, the sun and the wind each have a body and nature of their own, but no one can separate between sun and wind, unless God, who alone can, should make the wind to cease from blowing. In like manner sin is mingled with the soul, though each has its own nature. 3-- It is impossible to separate between the soul and sin, unless God should stop and repress this evil wind, which dwells in the soul and in the body. A man watches a bird flying, and wishes to fly himself, but he cannot, because he has no wings. Even so the will is present 2 with a man to be pure, and blameless, and with- out spot, and to have no wickedness in him, but to be always with God ; but he has not the power. To fly into the air of God and the liberty of the Holy Ghost may be his wish, but unless wings are given him, he cannot. Let us then beseech God to bestow upon us the wings of a dove, even of the Holy Ghost, that we may fly to Him and be at rest, 3 and that He would separate and make to cease from our souls and bodies, that evil wind, which is the sin that dwelleth in the members of our souls and bodies. None but He can do it. Behold, it says, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world* He alone has shewn
this mercy to those men who believe Him, redeeming them from sin ; and for those who are always waiting for Him, and hope, and seek without ceasing, He achieves this unutterable salvation.
4-- As in a gloomy black night a fierce wind blows, and stirs and searches and shakes all the plants and seeds, so when man falls under the power of the darkness of the devil's night, and is in night and darkness, he is agitated by that dreadful wind of sin that blows, and is shaken and stirred, and searched through all his nature, his soul, his thoughts, his understanding ; and all the limbs of his body are shaken, and no member of either soul or body escapes free and immune from the sin that dwelleth in us. In like manner there is a day of light and a divine wind of the Holy Ghost, which blows and refreshes the souls that are in the day of the light of God. It penetrates all the sub- stance of the soul and its thoughts, and all the being and all the members of the body, refreshing and resting them with a divine, unspeakable rest. This is what the apostle de- clared when he said, We are not children of the night or of darkness, for ye are all the sons of light and the sons of day. 1 And as yonder, in the state of error, the old man put on man as a complete whole, and wears the garment of the kingdom of darkness, the garment of blasphemy, unbelief, unconcern, vainglory, pride, avarice, lust, and all the other trappings of the kingdom of darkness, ragged, unclean, and abominable ; so here, all who have put off the old man, which is from beneath the earth all whom Jesus has stripped of the clothing of the kingdom of darkness have put on the new and heavenly man, Jesus Christ, once more corresponding, eyes to eyes, ears to ears, head to head, to be all pure, and wearing the heavenly image.
5-- The Lord has clothed them with the clothing of the kingdom of ineffable light, the clothing of faith, hope, charity, of joy, peace, goodness, kindness, and all the other divine and living clothing of the light of life, of inexpressible rest, that, as God Himself is love, and joy, and peace, and kindness, and goodness, so the new man may be through grace. And as the kingdom of darkness, and sin, are hidden in the soul until the day of resurrection, when the bodies also of sinners shall be covered with the darkness that is now hidden in the soul, so the kingdom of light, and the heavenly Image, Jesus Christ, now mystically enlightens the soul, and reigns in the soul of the saints, but is hidden from the eyes of men, and only with the eyes of the soul is Christ truly seen, until the day of resurrection ; but then the body also shall be covered and glorified with the light of the Lord, which is now in the man's soul, that the body also may reign with the soul which now receives the kingdom of Christ and rests and is enlightened with eternal light. Glory to His mercies and His tender compassion, for that He has such pity on His servants, and enlightens them, and delivers them from the kingdom of darkness, and bestows upon them His own light and His own kingdom. To Him be glory and might for ever. Amen.
That the brethren ought to live in sincerity, simplicity, love, and peace with each other, and to carry on contest and war in their inward thoughts . ..... 16 =
1-- THE brethren ought to dwell together in much charity, whether they are praying, or reading the scriptures, or doing some kind of work, that they may have the foundation of mutual charity. In this way, those various inclinations may find favour, and those who pray, and those who read, and those who work, can all live in sincerity and simplicity with each other to their profit. What is written ? Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth, 1 in order that as the angels in heaven dwell together in great concord, peace, and charity, and there is no such thing there as pride, or as envy, but they live together in charity and sincerity, so should the brethren dwell together. Some thirty, perhaps, are under one government ; they cannot continue all day and night at one thing. Some give themselves up to prayer for six hours, and then would like to read ; others are very ready to serve, while others work at some form of labour.
2-- Whatsoever they are about, the brethren ought to be in charity and cheerfulness with each other. Let him who is at work say of him who is at prayer, " The treasure that my brother gets is common, and therefore mine." Let him who prays say of the reader, " The profit which he gets by reading is to my advantage." Let him who is at work say,
"The service which I am doing is for the benefit of all." As the members of the body, being many, are one body,' 1 and help each other, and each performs its own function, but the eye sees on behalf of the whole body, and the hand labours for all the members, and the foot, as it walks, carries them all, and another member suffers with all alike, so let the brethren be with one another. Let not him who prays judge the labouring brother because he is not at prayer. Let not him that is at work judge the one who is praying, or say, " He lies by, while I am working." Let not him who serves judge some one else, but let each one do whatever he is doing to the glory of God. Let him who reads hold him who prays in chanty and cheerfulness, with the thought, " It is for me that he prays " ; and let him who prays think of him who is at work, " What he is doing is done for the benefit of us all."
3-- Thus much concord and peace and unity in the bond of peace 2 holds them all fast, and they are enabled to live together in sincerity and simplicity and the favour of God. No doubt the principal thing among these is continuance in prayer; but one thing is required, that a man should have treasure in his soul, and the life which is the Lord in his mind that whether he is working, or praying, or read- ing, he should have that possession which passes not away, which is the Holy Ghost. There are some who say thus that the Lord requires of men only the fruits that are visible, and that it is for God to rectify the things that are hidden. That is not the case. As a man secures himself with regard to the outer man, so ought he to carry on strife and war in his thoughts. The Lord requires of thee to be angry with thyself, and to do battle with thy mind, and neither to consent nor to take pleasure in the thoughts of wickedness.
4-- Nevertheless, to root out sin and the evil that is ever
i with us, this can only be accomplished by the divine power. It is not possible or within a man's competence to root out sin by his own power. To wrestle against it, to fight against it, to give and receive blows, is thine ; to uproot is God's. If thou hadst been able to do it, what need was there of the coming of the Lord ? As the eye cannot see without light, as a man cannot speak without a tongue, or hear without ears, or walk without feet, or work without hands, so he cannot be saved without Jesus, nor enter into the kingdom of heaven. If thou sayest, " In outward con- duct, I do not commit fornication or adultery, I am not covetous ; therefore I am righteous," thou art wrong in this, thinking that thou hast fulfilled all. Sin has not only three departments against which a man ought to ensure himself, but ten thousand. Arrogance, presumption, unbelief, hatred, envy, deceit, hypocrisy, whence are they ? Oughtest thou not to wrestle and strive against these in the hidden places in thy thoughts ? If there is a robber in the house, at once thou art distressed ; he does not allow thee to be at ease ; thou beginnest to strike back ; blows are exchanged. So ought the soul to strike back, to resist, to repel force by force.
5-- What follows ? By resisting and taking trouble and pains, the will begins to get the upper hand. It falls ; it recovers itself. Sin throws it again in ten, in twenty conflicts. It conquers the soul and throws it ; then the soul after a time in one engagement conquers the sin. If the soul perseveres and in no direction flags, it begins to have the best of it, to see through the enemy, and to carry off the trophies of victory from sin. But if the man is strictly examined even at this point, sin still is too hard for him, until he comes to a perfect man, to the measure of his stature,* and perfectly conquers death; for it is written The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 2 Thus
will they get the upper hand, and be the conquerors of the devil. But if, as we observed before, a man should say, " I do not commit fornication or adultery ; I am no money-lover ; and that is enough," in this reckoning he has contended against three forces, but against twenty others that sin can employ upon the soul he has not contended, and is there- fore beaten. He ought to contend against them all, and to strive ; for the mind, as I have said many times, is an even match for it, and possesses a power that is well balanced against sin, to withstand and repel its suggestions. 6-- If you say that the opposing power is too strong, and that evil has complete sovereignty over man, you make God unrighteous when He condemns mankind for submit- ting to Satan, because Satan is so strong, and wields a power which compels submission. "Thou makest Satan greater and stronger than the soul, and then commandest me, ' Do not submit.' It is as though a young man should wrestle with a little child, and the child, when he is worsted, is condemned for getting worsted. This is a great in- justice." I tell you then that the human mind is a good match for the enemy and evenly balanced against him ; and a soul of that kind, when it seeks, finds help and succour, and redemption is vouchsafed to it. The contest and struggle is not an unequal one. Let us glorify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
Christians ought to accomplish their race in this world with heed and care, that they may gain heavenly praises from God and angels.
i. WE who wish to achieve the life of Christianity with any great thoroughness must before anything else cultivate with all our might that faculty of the soul which discerns and discriminates, in order that, having acquired a delicate sense of the difference between good and evil, and always dis- tinguishing the things with which pure nature has been unnaturally adulterated, we may behave ourselves in a straightforward manner, without offence. By using this power of discernment as a kind of eye, we may keep free from any union or connexion with the suggestions of sin, and thus the heavenly gift may be vouchsafed to us by which we become worthy of the Lord. Let us take an illustration from the visible world ; for there is a likeness between the body and the soul, between the things of the body and the things of the soul, and between the objects of sense and those which are hidden.
2-- The body has the eye for its guide. The eye, by seeing, guides the whole body straight. Imagine a man going through woody regions, full of thorns and miry places, where fire also breaks out, and there are swords stuck in the ground, and precipices and frequent waters are found there. The active, heedful, nimble traveller, using the guidance of his eye, passes those difficult places with great attention, gathering up his garment on every side with 20