Μακάριος Αιγύπτιος - Macarius of Egypt/Πνευματικές Ομιλίες - Homiliae spirituales (MPG 034 0449 0822)/EnglishTranslation(A J MASON D D)/ Homily XXI-XXX
- 1 HOMILY XXI
- 2 HOMILY XXII
- 3 HOMILY XXIII
- 4 HOMILY XXIV
- 4.1 The state of Christians is like merchandise, and like leaven. A s merchants amass earthly gains, so Christians gather together their thoughts that were scattered about the world. A s leaven turns the whole lump into leaven, so the leaven of sin permeates the whole race of Adam; but Christ puts a heavenly leaven of goodness in faithful souls.
- 5 HOMILY XXV
- 5.1 This Homily teaches that no man, without being strengthened by Christ, is capable of overcoming the stumbling-blocks of the evil one, and what those who desire the divine glory must do. It teaches also that through Adam's disobedience we came down into bondage to carnal passions, from which we are delivered by the mystery that is in the cross. It instructs us besides that the power of tears and of the divine fire is great.
- 6 HOMILY XXVI
- 7 HOMILY XXVI
- 8 HOMILY XXVII
- 9 HOMILY XXVIII
- 10 HOMILY XXIX
- 11 HOMILY XXX
Εδώ θα βρείτε το Πρωτότυπο κείμενο στην Patrologia Gracea Migne. [ Original File]
Here you will find the Orignal Text from Patrologia Gracea Migne. [ Original File]
A Christian man has a twofold warfare set before him, an inward and an outward, the latter, in withdrawing from earthly distractions ; the former, in the heart, against the suggestions of the spirits of wickedness.
1-- THE man who wishes really to please God, and is in truth an enemy to the opposite party of evil, has to wrestle in two conflicts and two contentions one in the visible affairs of this life, by withdrawing from earthly distractions and from the love of worldly ties and from affections of sin the other, in hidden things, by fighting against the spirits of wickedness themselves, as the Apostle said, We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the dark- ness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 1
2-- When man transgressed the commandment, and was exiled from Paradise, he was bound down in two ways and with two different chains. One was in this life, in the affairs of this life, and in the love of the world, that is to say, the love of fleshly pleasures and lusts, of wealth, and glory, and possessions, of wife and children, of kinsfolk, of country, of particular places, of clothes, and of all other things of sense, from which the word of God bids him be loosed by his own free choice since what binds every man to the things of sense is his own consent in order that, having loosed and emancipated himself from all these, he may be able to master the commandment perfectly. But besides this, in the hidden region, the soul is hedged and hemmed and walled round, and bound with chains of darkness by the spirits of wickedness, unable to love the Lord as it would, or to believe as it would, or to pray as it would. On all sides, both in things manifest and in things hidden, contrariety has come down to us from the transgression of the first man.
3-- Accordingly, as soon as a man hears the word of God, and makes the effort, and casts away the affairs of this life and the bonds of the world, and denies all the fleshly pleasures, and looses himself from these, then, when attending con- stantly upon the Lord and giving all his time to Him, he is in a position to discover that there is another wrestling, in the heart, another hidden opposition, and another war with the suggestions of the spirits of wickedness, and another contest in front of him. Thus standing steadfast and calling upon the Lord in undoubting faith and much patience, and looking for the succour that comes from Him, he is enabled to obtain from that source inward deliverance from the bonds and hedges and earthworks and darkness of the spirits of wickedness, which are the workings of the hidden passions. 4-- But this war can be brought to nought by the grace and power of God. By himself no man can deliver himself from the contrariety and error of thoughts and of unobserved passions and of devices of the evil one. If, however, a man is entangled among the things of sense by the affairs of this world, and meshed in various earthly bonds, and carried away by the lusts of evil, he does not so much as discover that there is another wrestling and pummelling and battle within. Let it be that when a man makes the effort and takes himself away, and looses himself from these visible bonds of secular and material affairs and fleshly pleasures, and begins to attend constantly upon the Lord, emptying himself of this world, he is then at length in a position to recognise the inward wrestling of passions in the field against him, and the inward battle, and the evil thoughts : if, as I said before, he does not make the effort, and deny the world, and loose himself from earthly desires with all his heart, and determine wholly and entirely to cleave to the Lord, he does not discover the error of the hidden spirits of wickedness, and the hidden passions of evil, but is a stranger to himself, as one who knows not that he is wounded, and has hidden passions without being aware of them. He is still bound to the visible order, and entangled with the affairs of this world, and does not mind it.
5-- The man who has really denied the world, and has made the effort and flung off the burden of the earth, and has taken himself away from the vain desires of fleshly pleasures, and glory, and authority and human honours, and has withdrawn from them with his whole heart since the Lord secretly helps him in this open effort, in proportion to his denial of the will of the world and has taken his stand to serve the Lord, and attended constantly upon it with his whole self, body and soul, this man, I say, finds contrariety, and hidden passions, and unseen bonds, and secret battle and effort, and hidden striving; and thus beseeching the Lord, and receiving from heaven the armour of the Spirit, which the blessed apostle reckons up, the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, 1 and arming himself with these, he will be able to stand against the hidden wiles of the devil amidst the wickednesses of the present. Having provided himself with this armour by all prayer and perseverance and supplication and fasting, and all by faith, . he will be able to fight out the battle against the princi- palities and the powers, and the world rulers; and thus having overcome the opposing forces by the co-operation of the Spirit and his own earnestness in all virtues, he will become meet for eternal life, glorifying the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ; to whom be glory and might for ever. Amen.
Concerning the twofold state of those who depart out of this
i. WHEN the soul of a man departs out of the body, a great mystery is there accomplished. If it is under the guilt of sins, there come bands of devils, and angels of the left hand, and powers of darkness take over that soul, and hold it fast on their side. No one ought to be surprised at this. If, while alive and in this world, the man was subject and compliant to them, and made himself their bondman, how much more, when he departs out of this world, is he kept down and held fast by them. That this is the case, , you ought to understand from what happens on the good side. God's holy servants even now have angels continually beside them, and holy spirits encompassing and protecting them ; and when they depart out of the body, the bands of angels take over their souls to their own side, into the pure world, and so they bring them to the Lord ; to whom be glory and might for ever. Amen.
As only those born of the seed royal can wear the costly royal pearl, so only the children of God are allowed to wear the pearl of heaven.
1-- THE great, costly, royal pearl, which serves for a king's crown, is suitable only for a king, and only a king can wear it. Another man is not allowed to wear such a pearl. So unless a man is begotten by the royal Spirit of God, and is made to be of the royal family of heaven and a child of God, according as it is written, But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become children of God, 1 he cannot wear the costly pearl of heaven, the image of the inexpressible light, which is the Lord, being no king's son. For those who possess and wear the pearl, live and reign with Christ for ever. So said the apostle, As we have worn the image of the earthy, we shall also wear the image of the heavenly?
2-- As long as a horse grazes in the scrub among the wild animals he is in no subjection to men; but when he is caught for the purpose of taming, they put on him a heavy bridle, until he learns to walk properly and in good order. Then he is exercised by a skilled rider, that he may become serviceable for war; then they put armour on him, the breastplate and the coat of mail, and first they hang up a bridle and shake it before the horse's eyes, that he may get accustomed to it and not shy at it ; and when thus taught by his rider, he learns to war with the enemy. Without rider and without breastplate, a horse is of no use for war. But when he has been trained and is accustomed to the war, he no sooner smells the battle and hears the sound of it, than he charges readily upon the enemy of his own accord, so that the sound that he makes is enough to strike terror into the foe. In like manner, the soul, which since the transgression is wild and in no subjection, roams l in the desert of the world with the wild beasts, which are the spirits of wickedness, in sin withholding service. But when it hears the word of God, and believes, it is bridled by the Spirit, and puts away its wild ways and the fleshly mind, being guided by Christ its rider. Then it gets into distress, and the process of taming, and difficulty, that it may be proved, in order that by degrees it may be brought into subjection by the Spirit, the sin that is in it diminishing by degrees and disappearing. Thus the soul, putting on the breastplate of righteousness, and the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit? is taught to war against its enemies. Thus, being armed with the Spirit of the Lord, it contends against the spirits o4 wickedness, and quenches the fiery darts of the wicked one. Without the armour of the Spirit, it does not come into the righting line ; but when it has the Lord's armour, as soon as it hears and perceives hot battles, it goeth on, as it says in Job, with a shout and a cry? because at the very sound of its prayer the enemies fall prostrate. Thus having con- tended and conquered in the battle by the Spirit, it carries off crowns of victory with great boldness, and thus rests with the heavenly King ; to whom be glory and might for ever. Amen.
The state of Christians is like merchandise, and like leaven. A s merchants amass earthly gains, so Christians gather together their thoughts that were scattered about the world. A s leaven turns the whole lump into leaven, so the leaven of sin permeates the whole race of Adam; but Christ puts a heavenly leaven of goodness in faithful souls.
1-- CHRISTIANS are like merchants trading for very great gains. As merchants amass out of the earth earthly gains, so Christians collect together out of all the earth, by means of all virtues and the power of the Spirit, the thoughts of their own heart in this present age. This is the greatest and the true merchandise. For this world is opposed to the world above, and this present age to the eternity above. The Christian therefore, according to holy scripture, must deny the world, and be translated and pass in mind out of this present age, in which the mind is placed and exposed to allurements ever since the transgression of Adam, into another age, and in frame of thought must liv.e in the world of the Godhead above, as it is said, But our conversation is in heaven.*
2-- But there is no succeeding in this unless the soul will deny this world and shall believe in the Lord whole- heartedly, in which case the power of the Spirit of God is able to gather in the heart, now scattered over the whole earth, to the love of the Lord, and to translate its frame of mind into the eternal world. From the time of Adam's transgression the thoughts of the soul have been scattered away from the love of God to this present age, being mingled with material and earthly thoughts. But as Adam, when he transgressed, took into his system a leaven of evil affections, so by participation all who were born of him, and the whole race of Adam, partook of that leaven, and ever since it has grown and increased, until the affections of sin have so developed in men that they have come to fornications and lasciviousnesses and idolatries -and murders and other wrong things, until humanity is all leavened with evil. To such an extent has the evil developed among men, that they have come to think that there is no God, and to worship inanimate stones instead, and to be unable so much as to take in the notion of a God. To such an extent has the leaven of wrong affections leavened the race of the old Adam.
3-- In the same manner, the Lord, when He came on earth, was pleased to suffer on behalf of all, and to pur- chase them with His own blood, and to put the heavenly leaven of goodness in faithful souls, when they have been humbled under sin, and then by a process of growth and development to fulfil in them every righteousness enjoined upon them and all virtues, until they are leavened into one in that which is good, and become with the Lord one Spirit, according to St. Paul's saying, 1 so that sin and wickedness cannot even in thought come into the soul so completely and entirely leavened with the Divine Spirit, as it is said, Charity thinketh no evil, and the rest. 2 But without the previous leavening from heaven, which is the power of the Divine Spirit, it is impossible for the soul to be leavened with the goodness of the Lord, and to arrive at life, even as the race of Adam could never have been perverted to such malice and wickedness, if the previous
leavening of malice, which is sin, had not crept into him, being, as it is, a power of Satan of a spiritual and immaterial nature.
4-- If a person were to knead flour without first putting in leaven, however much pains he may think good to take, turning it over and over, and working it up, the lump remains unleavened and unfit for food; but if leaven is put in, it draws to itself the whole lump of flour, and works it all to leaven, as the Lord said in His comparison of the kingdom, The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened. 1 If there were meat, and a person were to take all manner of care of it, but did not salt it with the salt which destroys worms and prevents ill odour, the meat stinks and decays and becomes unservice- able to man. In the same way conceive of all mankind as being so much meat or dough, and imagine the salt and the leaven to belong to another world, the divine nature of the Holy Ghost. Now if this heavenly leaven of the Spirit, this good, holy salt of the Godhead, from yonder age and from yonder home, be not mixed and put into the human nature of men, there is no ridding the soul of the ill odour of wickedness, there is no leavening it from the heaviness and unleavened condition of evil.
5-- Whatever the soul may think fit to do of itself, what- ever care and pains it may take, relying only, upon its own power, and thinking to be able to effect a perfect success by itself, without the co-operation of the Spirit, it is greatly mistaken. It is of no use for the heavenly places ; it is of no use for the kingdom that soul which supposes that it can achieve perfect purity of itself, and by itself alone, without the Spirit. Unless the man who is under the influence of passions will come to God, denying the world, and will believe with patience and hope to receive a good
thing foreign to his" own nature, namely the power of the Holy Ghost, and unless the Lord shall drop upon the soul from on high the life of the Godhead, such a man will never experience true life, will never recover from the drunkenness of materialism ; the enlightenment of the Spirit will never shine in that benighted soul, or kindle in it a holy [daytime ; it will never awake out of that deepest sleep of ignorance, and so come to know God of a truth through God's power and the efficacy of grace.
6-- Unless a man is permitted thus through faith to receive grace, he is not qualified or adapted for the kingdom ; but on the other hand, if he receives the grace of the Spirit, and does not at all change his mind, or do despite to grace by negligence or wrong-doing, and thus contends for some time without grieving the Spirit, he shall be enabled to obtain eternal life. As one perceives the workings of evil by the passions, by anger, by concupi- scence, by envy, by heaviness, by wicked thoughts and other wrong things, so ought one to perceive the grace and power of God by the virtues, by kindness, by goodness, by cheer- fulness, by gaiety, by divine gladness, in order to be likened to and mingled with the good and divine nature, with the kind and holy workings of grace. When the will is gradually and progressively tested by time and oppor- tunity, whether it is continually at one with grace and is found well-pleasing, it comes gradually to be altogether in the Spirit, and so being wrought by the Spirit to holiness and purity is made meet for the kingdom. Glory and worship to the undefiled Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
This Homily teaches that no man, without being strengthened by Christ, is capable of overcoming the stumbling-blocks of the evil one, and what those who desire the divine glory must do. It teaches also that through Adam's disobedience we came down into bondage to carnal passions, from which we are delivered by the mystery that is in the cross. It instructs us besides that the power of tears and of the divine fire is great.
1-- Those upon whom the divine law is written, not with ink and letters, but implanted in hearts of flesh, these, having the eyes of their mind enlightened, and reaching after a hope, not tangible and seen, but invisible and immaterial, have power to get the better of the stumbling- blocks of the evil one, not by themselves, but from the power that never can be defeated. But those who have not been honoured with God's word, nor instructed by divine law, are vainly puffed up? and fancy that by their own free will they can bring to nought the- resources of sin sin which is only condemned through the mystery contained in the cross. It lies in the power of man's free will to resist the devil, but it does not extend to an abso- lute command over the passions. Except the Lord build the house, it says, and keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain, and the builder laboureth in vain. 2
2-- You cannot go upon the asp and basilisk? and tread under your feet the lion and the dragon, without first purging yourself as far as human ability goes, and being strengthened by Him who said to the apostles, Behold, I have given you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy. 1 If human nature had had force, without the whole armour of the Holy Ghost, to stand against the wiles of the devil, 2 the apostle would not have said, The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly? and again, Whom the Lord shall destroy with the Spirit of His mouth. 4 ' That is why we are bidden of the Lord to pray, Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 5 If we are not delivered by the superior power from the fiery darts of the wicked one and admitted to the adoption of sons, our social existence is in vain ; we are far from the power of God.
3-- Accordingly, one who wishes to be a partaker of the divine glory, and to see as in a glass the form of Christ in the ruling faculty of his own soul, 6 ought with insatiable affection and an inclination which is never filled, with all his heart and all his might, by night and when it is day, to seek the help which comes mightily from God, of which, as I have said before, it is impossible to partake, unless a man first abstains from the luxury of the world, from the desires of the opposing power, which is alien to the light, and is an activity of wickedness with no kinship to a good activity, but wholly estranged from it. Therefore, if you wish to know why we, who were created in honour and put to live in 'paradise, came at last to be compared unto the beasts that have no understanding and were made like to them, 7 having fallen from the glory of innocence, understand that, having become by the transgression the slaves of the fleshly passions, we shut ourselves out of the happy land of the living,' 1 and being reduced to captivity we are still sitting by the waters of Babylon 2 ; and because we are still held in Egypt, we have not yet inherited the land of promise, flowing with milk and honey. 3 We have not yet been leavened with the leaven of sincerity, 4 but are still in the leaven of wickedness. Our heart is not yet sprinkled with the blood of God ; for the snare of hell, 5 and the hook of sin is still fixed in it. 4-- We have not yet taken to our- selves the gladness of Christ's salvation, for the sting of death 6 is still rooted in us. We have not yet put on the new man, which after God is created in holiness? since we have not yet put off the old man which is corrupt according to the sinful lusts. 8 We have not yet borne the image of the heavenly? nor been made conformed to His glory. We have not yet worshipped God in spirit and in truth, 11 because sin reigns in our mortal body.' 1 ' 2 - We have not yet beheld the glory of the incorruptible, for we are still under the operation of the moonless night - 14 We have not yet put on the armour of light, 15 since we have not yet put off the armour and the darts and the works of darkness. We have not yet been transformed by the renewing of the mind, for we are still conformed to this world 16 in the vanity of the mind 11 We are not yet glorified with Christ, because we have not suffered with Him. 18 We do not yet bear in our body the marks of Him, 19 and are not in the secret of the cross of Christ, for we are still in the affections and lusts of the flesh. 20 We are not yet heirs of God and joint
heirs with Christ,' 1 for the spirit of bondage is still in us, not that of adoption. 2 We have not yet become the temple of God and the habitation of the Holy Ghost, 3 for we are still the temple of idols and the hold of the spirits of wickedness because of our propensity to the passions.
5-- In truth we have not yet acquired simplicity of conduct or the brightness of the mind. We have not yet had vouchsafed to us the guileless and reasonable milk 4 and the growth invisible. The day has not yet dawned upon us, nor the day star risen in our hearts. 5 We have not yet been mingled with the sun of righteousness? nor begun to flash with His rays. We have not yet received the likeness of the Lord nor been made partakers of the divine nature. 1 We have not yet become the genuine purple of the King, nor the unfalsified image of God. We are not yet smitten with the passionate love of God, or stricken by the spiritual charity of the Bridegroom. We are not yet acquainted with that ineffable communion, and have not experienced the power and peace that there is in sanctification. To sum it all up, we are not yet a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people? forasmuch as we are still serpents, a generation of vipers?
6-- How should we be anything but serpents, we who are not found in obedience to God, but in the disobedience which came by the serpent ? How to bewail the calamity as it deserves, I cannot find. How to cry aloud and weep to Him that is able to expel the error lodged within me, I do not know. How shall I sing the Lord's song in a strange land ? 10 How shall I lament for Jerusalem ? How shall I flee from the grievous bondage of Pharaoh ? How am I to quit the foul place of sojourn ? How can I deny the bitter tyranny? How can I get out of the land of Egypt ? How can I cross the Red Sea ? how pass the great wilderness? how escape perishing from the bite of serpents ? how conquer the aliens ? How shall I utterly destroy the heathen within me ? How shall I receive the oracles of the law of God upon these tables of mine ? How shall I see the true pillar of light, and of the cloud pro- ceeding from the Holy Ghost? How shall I enjoy the manna of eternal delight ? how drink the water from the life-giving rock ? How am I to pass over Jordan, entering into the good land of promise? How am I to see the Captain of the Lord's host, whom Joshua the son of Nun, when he saw Him, immediately fell down and worshipped ?
7-- Unless I go through all this and destroy the heathen within me, I cannot go into the sanctuary of God x and rest, nor become a partaker of the glory of the King. Therefore labour to become a child of God without fault, and to enter into that rest, 2 whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Christ. 3 Labour to be enrolled in the church in heaven with the firstborn* that you may be found at the right hand of the majesty 5 of the Most High. Labour to enter into the holy city, the Jerusalem that is at peace, that is above, above all, where also is Paradise. You have no other way to be admitted to these wonderful and blessed types, unless you pour out tears day and night, like him who says, Every night wash I my bed, and water my couch with my tears. 6 You know well that they that sow in tears shall reap in joy. 1 The prophet says boldly, Hold not Thy peace at my tears; 8 and again, Put my tears into Thy bottle ; are not these things noted in Thy book ? 9 and, My tears have been my meat day and night; 1 and in another psalm, / have mingled my drink with weeping. 21
8-- For the tear that is really shed out of much affliction and anguish of heart 3 in the knowledge of the truth, with burning of the inward parts, is indeed a food of the soul, supplied from the heavenly bread, of which Mary pre- eminently partook, when she sat at the feet of the Lord and wept, after the testimony of the Saviour Himself. He says, Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. 4 ' O those precious pearls in the flow of blessed tears ! O that immediate and ready hearing ! What a strong, wise mind ! What keen love of the Spirit of the Lord, moving vehemently towards the unsullied Bride- groom ! What a sting of desire in the soul for God the Word ! What swift communion of the bride with the heavenly Bridegroom !
9-- Imitate her then, my child; imitate her whose eyes were fixed upon nothing but Him only, who said, / am come to send fire upon the earth, and I would that it were already kindled? There is indeed a burning of the Spirit, which burns hearts into flame. The immaterial divine fire his the effect of enlightening souls and 'trying them, like unalloyed gold in the furnace, but of consuming iniquity, like thorns or stubble ; for our God is a consuming fire, 6 taking vengeance on them that know Him not in flaming fire, and on them that obey not His gospel. 1 It was this fire that worked in the apostles, when they spoke with fiery tongues. It was this fire which shone by the voice round St. Paul, enlightening his mind, but blinding his sense of sight ; for not without the flesh did he see the power of that light. It was this fire which appeared to Moses in the bush. This fire, in the shape of a chariot, caught up Elias from the
earth. The blessed David was seeking the operation of this fire when he said, Examine me, Lord, and prove me: try out my reins and my heart.* 10-- It was this fire which warmed the heart of Cleopas and those with him while the Saviour talked after His resurrection. So the angels and ministering spirits partake of the shining of this fire, according to what is said, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flaming fire.' 2 ' It is this fire which burns up the beam that is in the inward eye, making the mind clear, that, recovering its natural power of penetra- tion, it may see without interruption the wonderful things of God, according as one says, Open Thou mine eyes, that I may see the wondrous things of Thy law. 3 This fire drives away devils, and destroys sin ; but it is the power of resur- rection, and the effectual working of immortality, the illumination of holy souls, and the strengthening of rational powers. Let us pray that this fire may reach us also, that always walking in light, we may never for a moment dash our feet against a stone, 4 ' but shining as lights in the world, may hold forth the word of everlasting life ; 5 that enjoying ourselves among the good things of God we may rest with the Lord in life, glorifying the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Concerning the worth and value, the power and efficiency of the immortal soul, and how it is tempted by Satan and obtains deliverance from the temptations. It contains also some questions full of very great instruction.
1-- Do not regard lightly the immaterial substance of the soul, beloved one. The immortal soul is a precious vessel. See how great the heaven and the earth are, and God was not satisfied with them, but only with thee. Consider thy dignity and thy nobility, that to thy succour the Lord came in person, not by the medium of angels, to recall thee who wert lost, thee who wert wounded, and to restore to thee the primal fashioning of the pure Adam. For man was master from the sky above to the things beneath, and capable of discerning the affections, without any connexion with devils, pure from sin, the image and likeness of God. But by the transgression he is lost, and wounded and brought to death. Satan has darkened his mind. In one thing this is so, and in another he lives and discerns, and has a will.
2-- Question. When the Holy Ghost comes, is not the natural desire eradicated along with the sin ? Answer. I have already said that sin is eradicated, and man recovers the primal fashioning of the pure Adam. Man, however, by the power of the Spirit and the spiritual regeneration, not only comes to the measures of the first Adam, but is made greater than he. Man is deified.
3-- Question. Is Satan let loose upon us by measure, or does he fight as he pleases ? Answer. As for him, his attack is not directed only against Christians, but against idolaters, and against all the world. If therefore he were allowed to fight as he pleases, he would have demolished all. Why ? Because that is his object and his will. But as the potter puts his vessels in, and heats the furnace gradually by measure, not overmuch, lest, if they were baked too violently, they should crack, and not too little, lest they should be spoiled by being half- baked ; and if the silversmith or goldsmith applies the fire by measure, for if the fire is in excess, the gold and the silver are melted, and get watery, and are spoiled; and if the mind of man knows how to measure the burden to the beast, to the camel or whatever animal it is, according to its burden-bearing capacity ; how much rather does God, knowing what vessels men are, let loose the enemy power accordingly, in different degrees ?
4-- And as the earth is one, but here is rocky and there rich, and one part is suitable for vine-culture, another for growing wheat or barley, so do these fields of human hearts and wills differ from each other, and so are the gifts of grace from above bestowed. To one is given a ministry of the word, to another discernment, to a third gifts of healings. 1 God knows a man's capacity for stewardship, and distributes His different gifts accordingly. In the like manner with regard to warfare the enemy power is let loose upon men by a kind of measure, according as each man is able to receive and bear the brunt.
5-- Question. When a man has received the divine power, and is in some degree altered by it, does he still remain in the state of nature ? Answer. In order that the will may be tested, even after grace, to see what way it inclines and gives consent, nature remains as it was before, the hard man in his hardness, and the light-hearted in his light-heartedness. It sometimes
happens that an unlearned person is spiritually born again, and converted to a state of wisdom, and hidden mysteries are made known to him ; and yet he remains by nature an unlearned man. Another was made by nature hard ; and he gives up his will to godliness, and God accepts him ; but the hardness of his nature remains, though God is satis- fied in him. Another is of kindly habits, gentle, and good : he gives himself to God, and God accepts him ; but if he does not continue in works of goodness, He is not satisfied. The whole nature of Adam 1 is liable to change, for better or for worse, capable of what is wrong, yet, if it so pleases, without carrying it into effect.
6-- It is like writing in a book. You write what you did not mean to write, and you erase it again. The book takes any kind of writing. So the hard man gave his will to God, was converted to what is good, was accepted by God ; for God, to show His compassions, accepts men of all kinds, every sort of disposition. The apostles, when they came into a city, stayed there some time, and healed some of those who were ill, and others not. The apostles them- selves would have liked to raise all their dead, and bring to health all who were ill, and they had not entirely their own way : they were not permitted to do all that they liked. In like manner, when Paul was seized by the ethnarch, if the grace that was with him had but willed it, he would have made ethnarch and wall to cleave asunder and he a man possessed of the Paraclete ; but the apostle was let down by means of a basket. 2 Where then was the divine power that was with them ? These things happened providentially, that in some matters they did signs and wonderful works, and in some were powerless, in order to show the difference of faith between those who believed not and those who believed, and to test and display the freedom of the will, whether some would take offence at their weaker side. If the apostles had done every single thing that they liked, men and their free will would have been planted in God's service by compulsory force because of the miracles, and it would no longer have been the work of faith or of unbelief. Christianity is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.*
7-- What is written'of Job is not without significance, how Satan desired him. 2 He was not able to do anything of himself, without leave. What does the devil say to the Lord ? " Give him into my hands : surely he will bless Thee to Thy face." 3 Job is the same to-day, and God is the same, and the devil is the same. In proportion as a man finds the help of God, and is zealous and fervent in grace, Satan desires him, and says to the Lord, "Because Thou succourest him, and helpest him, he serves Thee : let him go, and deliver him to me, surely he will bless Thee to Thy face." So, just because the soul is comforted, grace with- draws, and the soul is delivered to temptations. The devil comes, bringing ten thousand evils to bear despair, giving it up, wicked thoughts afflicting the soul, to loosen it and estrange it from hope of God.
8-- But the prudent soul, when in miseries and affliction, never despairs, but holds what it holds, and whatever he may bring to bear, it endures amidst ten thousand tempta- tions, saying, " If I die for it, I will not let Him go." Then, if the man endures to the end, the Lord begins to argue with Satan, " Thou seest how many miseries and afflictions thou hast brought to bear upon him ; and he has not listened to thee, but serves Me, and fears Me." Then the devil is ashamed, and has nothing more to say. In Job's case, if he had known that in spite of falling into tempta- tions Job would dare and not be worsted, he would never
have desired him, for fear of being ashamed. So it is still with those who endure afflictions and temptations ; Satan is ashamed and sorry, because he has got nothing by it. The Lord begins to reason with him, "Behold, I gave thee permission ; behold, I suffered thee to tempt him. Wast thou able to do anything ? Did he listen to thee at all ? "
9-- Question. Does Satan know all a man's thoughts and intentions ? Answer. If one man, by being with another, knows about him, and you, who are twenty years old, know the affairs of your neighbour, can Satan fail to know your reasonings ? He has been with you from your birth. He is six thousand years old. 1 Yet I do not say that he knows what a man will do before he tempts him. The tempter tempts, but does not know whether the man will yield or not yield, till such time as the soul gives up its will into bondage. Nor do I say that the devil knows all the thoughts and devices of the heart. Suppose there is a tree with many branches and many limbs. A man may be able to grasp two or three branches of the tree. So the soul has many branches and many limbs. There are some branches of thought and intention which Satan grasps ; there are other thoughts and intentions not grasped by Satan. 10-- In one thing the side of evil is the stronger when thoughts spring up, in another the man's thought is more than conqueror, receiving succour and deliverance from God, and resisting sin. At one point the man is mastered, at another he has his will. Sometimes he comes to God with fervour, and Satan knows it, and sees that he is acting against him, and cannot restrain him. Why ? Because he has the will to cry to God; he has the natural fruits of loving God, of believing, of seeking and coming. In the outer world, the husbandman tills the. ground ; but in spite of his tilling, he needs rains and showers from above. If no moisture comes from above, the husbandman has no profit from his tilling of the ground. So is it with the spiritual world. There are two factors to be taken into consideration. The man must cultivate with a will the ground of his heart, and labour upon it for God requires the man's labour and toil and travail. But unless clouds of heaven make their appear- ance from above, and showers of grace, the husbandman does not profit by his toil. ii. This is the mark of Christianity however much a man toils, and however many righteousnesses he performs, to feel that he has done nothing, and in fasting to say, " This is not fasting," and in praying, " This is not prayer," and in perseverance at prayer, " I have shown no persever- ance; I am only just beginning to practise and to take pains " ; and even if he is righteous before God, he should say, " I am not righteous, not I ; I do not take pains, but only make a beginning every day." He should every day have the hope and the joy and the expectation of the coming kingdom and deliverance, and to say, " If to-day I have not been delivered, I shall to-morrow." As the man who plants a vine has the joy and the hope in himself, before ever he embarks upon the toil, and sketches out vineyards in his mind, and reckons up the income, when there has been no wine yet, and so enters upon the toil for the hope and expectation make him labour cheerfully, and for the time being he incurs many expenses out of pocket ; and in like manner the man who builds a house, and the man who tills a field, are at much expense to them- selves first, in hope of the advantage to come; so it is here. If a man does not keep before his eyes the joy and the hope, " I shall find deliverance and life," he cannot endure the afflictions, or the burden, and adopt the narrow way. It is the presence of hope and joy that make him labour and endure the afflictions.
12-- But as it is not easy for a brand to escape from the fire, so neither can the soul escape out of the fire of death, except with a great deal of trouble. For the most part, Satan, under pretext of good thoughts, that in such and such a way you can please God, offers suggestions to the soul, and underhand seduces it to subtle and specious notions, and it does not know how to discern that it is being seduced, and thus it falls into the snare and perdition of the devil. 1 The most deadly weapon of the combatant and champion is this, to enter into the heart and make war there upon Satan, and to hate himself and to deny his own soul, to be angry with it and rebuke it, and to resist the desires that dwell there, and grapple with his thoughts, and fight with himself.
13-- If outwardly you keep your body from corruption and fornication, but inwardly commit adultery, to God you are an adulterer and a fornicator in your thoughts, and you have gained nothing by the virginity of your body. If there is a young woman and a young man, and he by guile wheedles her till she is corrupted, she then becomes an object of loathing to her spouse, because she has been unfaithful. So the incorporeal soul, if it holds fellowship with the serpent that lurks within, the wicked spirit, goes a-whoring from God, as it is written, Everyone that looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already in his hearth There is a fornication effected in the body, and there is a fornication of the soul, when it holds fellowship with Satan. The same soul is partner and sister either of devils, or of God and the angels ; and if it com- mits adultery with the devil, it is unfit for the heavenly Bridegroom.
14-- Question. Is Satan ever quiet, and a man set free from warfare, or has he war as long as he lives ? Answer. Satan is never quiet from warring. As long as ever a man lives in this world and wears the flesh, he has to
war. But when all the fiery darts of the wicked one are quenched, 1 what harm does it do the man, if Satan does try conclusions with him ? A man is a friend of the king's, and an adversary brings a suit against him. When he has the king to favour and befriend him, and the king gives him a helping hand, he takes no harm. When any one succeeds in passing through all ranks and degrees and becomes a friend of the king's, no one then can do him any harm. There are in the outward world cities which receive gifts and subsidies from the emperor. If they do perform some service, they lose nothing by it, when they gain and get such advantages from the emperor. So Christians, even if the enemy fights against them, have taken up their quarters with the Godhead, and have put on the power and rest from on high, and do not mind the war.
15-- As the Lord put on the body, leaving behind all principality and power, so Christians put on the Holy Ghost, and are at rest. Even if war comes outwardly, Satan may knock, but they are secured within by the power of the Lord, and do not mind Satan. He tempted the Lord in the wilderness forty days, and what harm did it do Him, to approach His body outwardly ? Inwardly He was God. So Christians, though outwardly tempted, are in- wardly filled with the Godhead, and are in nothing injured. But if any one has reached these measures, he has arrived at the perfect love of Christ, and at the fulness of the Godhead. One that is not so, has still war within. For an hour he is at rest in prayer ; at another hour he stands in affliction and at war. Such is the will of the Lord. Because he is still a child, He practises him in the wars ; and both things spring up in him, light and darkness, rest and affliction. They rest in prayer, and at another hour they are in distress.
Do you not hear what Paul says, "Though I have
all gifts, though I give my body to be burned, though I speak with the tongues of angels, and have not charity, I am nothing. 1 These gifts serve only as inducements. Those who are contented with them, are but children, though in the light. Many of the brethren have come to such measures, and had gifts of healing, and revelation and prophecy, and because they did not reach the perfect love, wherein lies the bond of perfectness, 2 war came upon them, and they took no heed, and fell. But if anyone reaches the perfect love, that man is from thenceforth fast bound, and is the captive of grace. If anyone approaches within a little of the measure but does not reach to be fast bound in love itself, such an one is still subject to fear, and war, and falling, and unless he takes good care of himself, Satan throws him.
17-- In this way many have erred when grace came to them. They thought that they had attained perfection, and said, " That is enough ; we need no more." But the Lord has no end, and there is no comprehending Him. Christians do not presume to say, " We have comprehended," 3 but are humbled, still seeking night and day. In the outer world, there is no end to learning, and no man knows it except a scholar who has acquired some degree of learning. So in the matter before us, God cannot be comprehended or measured, unless by those who have had a taste of Llim, whom they have personally received, and they recognise their own incapacity. If a man who has a smattering of learning goes to a country place, where the people are no scholars, he is admired by them as a scholar, because they are altogether illiterate, and have no means of judging. But let that same man with his small amount of learning pass into a city where there are rhetoricians and real scholars ; he dare not appear among them, or open his mouth, because the true scholars consider him illiterate. Question. If a man who is still at war, and who still has both these things in his soul sin and grace is removed from this world, where does he go, when both sides have a hold upon him ? Answer. He goes where his mind aims, and where his love is. Only if affliction and war come upon you, you ought to resist, and to hate it. That the war comes upon you is not your doing, but to hate it, is ; and then the Lord, seeing your mind, that you are striving, and that you love Him with your whole soul, parts death from your soul in one moment which is not hard for Him to do and takes you to His bosom and into the light. In a moment of time He snatches you out of the mouth of darkness, and trans- lates you at once into His kingdom. For to God all things are easy to do in a moment of time, if only your love is set upon Him. God needs man's working, because the soul is capable of fellowship with the Godhead.
19-- I have often already made use of the parable of the husbandman, how after labouring and putting his seed into the ground he must wait for the rain from above. Unless clouds appear and winds blow, the labour of the husband- man is of no use. The seed lies bare. Apply this to the spiritual order. If the man rests only upon his own working, and does not receive in addition something which his nature cannot supply, he cannot yield to the Lord fruits worthy of Him. Now what is man's working ?. To renounce, to go out of the world, to pray when it is hard, to be on the watch, to love God and the brethren. This is his own doing. But if he rests upon this working of his own, and does not hope to receive anything else besides, and the winds of the Holy Ghost do not blow upon the soul, and if clouds of heaven do not appear, nor rain from heaven fall and moisten the soul, the man cannot yield to the Lord fruits worthy of Him.
20-- It is written that when the husbandman sees the branch bearing fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit, but that which beareth not fruit he rooteth out, and giveth it to burning. 1 But this is the part of man, that whether he fasts, or keeps watch, or prays, or does some fine thing, he should ascribe all to the Lord, and say, " If God had not enabled me, I could not have fasted, or prayed, or gone out of the world." In this way, God, seeing your intention, that you ascribe to God the things that are yours, which you do of your own nature, bestows upon you in return the things that are His the spiritual things, the divine and heavenly things. And what are they ? The fruits of the Spirit, gladness and mirth.
21-- Question. But since there are natural fruits like these, love, faith, prayer, show us the difference, how the natural things are, and how the spiritual. Answer. The things which you do of yourself are all very well, and acceptable to God, but they are not quite pure. For instance, you love God, but not perfectly. The Lord comes, and gives a love which is unchangeable, the heavenly love. You pray in the natural manner with wandering and doubt ; God gives you the pure prayer, in Spirit and in truth.' 2 ' In the visible world, the soil of itself for the most part produces thorns ; the husbandman digs, works it carefully, puts in seed, but the thorns which no one sowed, spring up and multiply; for after the transgression it was said to Adam, Thistles and thorns shall the earth bring forth unto thee* The husbandman again takes trouble, digs up the thorns, and yet they multiply. Apply this spiritually. Since the transgression the ground of the heart brings forth thorns and thistles. The man works it, takes trouble, and still the thorns of the evil spirits spring up. Then the Holy Ghost Himself helpeth the infirmities of men, 4 and the Lord puts heavenly seed in that ground of the
heart, and works it ; and though the seed is cast, the thistles and thorns still spring up. Again the Lord and the man together work the ground of the soul, and yet the evil spirits and the thorns shoot up there and grow, until the summer comes, and grace abounds, and the thorns are withered by the heat of the sun.
22-- For though evil is present with nature, yet it no longer has the same dominion over it, or the same range. The delicate blades of the wheat may be choked by the tares ; but when summer comes, after the drying off of the fruits, the tares harm the wheat no more. If there should happen to be thirty peck of pure wheat, and a mixture of tares of perhaps a quart * is in it, what comparison does it bear ? It is swamped in the abundance of the wheat. So in grace, when the gift of God and grace abounds in the man, and he is rich in the Lord, and yet evil is present to some extent, it cannot seriously harm the man, nor has it any force or range against him. The coming of the Lord and His provision had this object to liberate those who were in bondage to evil, and bound over, and subject to it, and to make them conquerors of the death of sin. Brethren therefore ought not to think it strange, if some people give them trouble, with a view to getting rid of evil.
23-- In the Old Testament, Moses and Aaron, when they held the priesthood, had much to suffer. Caiaphas, when he occupied their seat, himself persecuted and condemned the Lord ; yet the Lord, in respect for the priesthood, suffered him to execute the office. The prophets likewise were persecuted by their own nation. Peter was the suc- cessor of Moses, entrusted with Christ's new church and with the true priesthood ; for we have now a baptism of fire and the Spirit, and a circumcision in the heart. For the divine and heavenly Spirit lodges in the mind ; nevertheless even these perfect ones, so long as they are in the flesh, are not free from anxiety, because of the freedom of their will, but are still subject to fear, and for that same reason are allowed to be tempted. But if the soul succeeds in reaching that city of the saints, then, but not before, it is able to live without trouble and temptations. 'There, no longer is there anxiety, or trouble, or weariness, or old age, or Satan, or warfare, but rest, joy, peace, and salvation. The Lord is in the midst of them, and He is called the Saviour, becauses He saves the captives. He is called the Physician, forasmuch as He gives the heavenly and divine medicine, and heals the sufferings of the soul ; for in some respects they have dominion over the man. To speak of them in comparison, Jesus is King and God \ Satan is an usurper and a tyrant.
24-- Well, God and His angels wish to adopt this man for the kingdom with themselves, the devil likewise and his angels desire to adopt him to themselves. The soul is in the middle between the two subsistences, and to whichever side the will of the soul inclines, of that side it becomes a possession and a son. And as a father, who sends his son to a foreign country, where he will meet with venomous creatures by the way, gives him remedies and antidotes, in order that if the venomous creatures or dragons attack him he may give them his remedy and kill them 1 ; so endeavour, I charge you, to receive the heavenly remedy, the healing and antidote of the soul, that by means of it you may kill the poisonous beasts of unclean spirits. It is indeed no easy matter to get a clean heart; only with much effort and labour can a man get a clean conscience and heart, that the evil may be quite eradicated.
25-- It sometimes happens that grace comes to a man without his heart being cleansed. The reason why those 1 This seems a strange way of using a medicine, but Haywood refers to the story of Bel and the Dragon, verse 27-- who have fallen fell was that they did not believe that after grace smoke and sin could still be present with them. But all the righteous have gone the straight and narrow way to please God, and gone on it to the end. Abraham was rich toward God, as well as to the world, but he called himself dust and ashes.' 1 David says, A very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people, a worm and no man. 2 In like manner all the prophets and apostles were ill-treated and reviled. The Lord Himself, who is the Way, and is God, when He came for thy sake, not for His own, to be a pattern to thee of every good thing see to what humilia- tion He came, having taken the form of a servant^ who is God, the Son of God, King, the Son of the King, giving healing remedies and curing those that are wounded, when He Himself appeared outwardly as one of the wounded*
26-- But do not despise His divine dignity when thou beholdest Him outwardly humbled as one like us. It was for our sake that he appeared thus, not for His own. Consider, at the hour when they cried, Crucify Him, crucify Him, 5 and the multitude came together, how He was humbled beyond all men. In the ordinary world, if there be a malefactor, and he receives sentence from the magistrate, he is then abhorred by the whole people, and set at nought. So was the Lord at the hour of the cross. As a man that was going to die, He was held of no account by the Pharisees. And when they spat in His face, and put on Him the crown of thorns, and buffeted Him, what further humiliation could He have undergone ? It is written, / gave My back to the smiters, and I hid not My face from shame and spitting, and my cheeks from buffeting* If God condescends to such insults and sufferings and humilia- tion, thou, who art by nature clay and of mortal nature, howsoever thou mayest be humbled, thou wilt never do anything like Thy Master. God for thy sake humbled himself, and thou wilt not be humbled for thine own sake, but art proud and puffed up. He came to take upon Him thy afflictions and thy burdens, and to give Thee His own rest ; and thou art unwilling to bear troubles and to suffer in order to gain healing for thy wounds. Glory be to His patience and long-suffering for ever. Amen.
This Homily, like the foregoing, describes at length the dignity and status of a Christian man. Then it teaches many useful things concerning free will, intermixing some questions full of divine wisdom.
1-- KNOW, O man, thy nobility and thy dignity, how honourable thou art, the brother of Christ, the friend of the King, the bride of the heavenly Bridegroom. He who has learned to know the dignity of his own soul, is in a position to know the power and the mysteries of the Godhead, and thereby to be the more humbled; since by the power of God a man beholds the greatness of his own fall. But as He passed through passion and cross before He was glorified and sat down on the Father's right hand, so thou also must suffer with Him, be crucified with Him, and so ascend and sit with Him, and be joined with the body of Christ, and reign for ever with Him in that world if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. 1
2-- For those who prove able to overcome and pass the fences of evil, enter into the heavenly city, which is at peace, and is full of many good things, where the spirits of just men 2 are at rest. Therefore we ought to take great pains and strive mightily for this ; for it is not right for the Bridegroom, who came for thy sake, to suffer and be crucified, while the bride, for whose sake the Bridegroom came, idles along and wanders. A harlot gives herself away disorderly to anybody ; so the soul has given herself away to every devil, and is corrupted by those spirits. There are some who have sin and evil because they choose to have it, others against their choice. What is the meaning of this? Those who have evil of their own choice are those who have given away their will to evil, and take pleasure in it, and make friends with it. These have peace with Satan, and make no war in their thoughts with the devil. But those with whom it is against their choice, have the sin that is in them warring in their members, as the apostle says 1 ; and the misty power and the veil is against their choice, and they do not consent to it in their thoughts, and take no pleasure in it, nor comply with it, but contend with it by word and deed, and throw their whole weight against it, and are angry with themselves. These are far nobler and more honourable in God's eyes than the others, who of their own choice give away their wills to evil, and have pleasure in it.
3-- Suppose a king were to find a poor maiden, clothed in rags, and were not ashamed, but took away her soiled clothes, and washed off her blackness, and adorned her with splendid clothes, and made her a partner of the king, and gave her a share of his table and the banquet ; so did the Lord find the soul wounded and stricken, and gave her medicine, and took off her the black garments and the disgrace of sin, and clothed her with royal, heavenly garments, the garments of the Godhead, all shining and glorious, and put a crown upon her, and made her a par- taker of the royal table for joy and gladness. And as when there is a pleasure garden, and it has there fruit trees, and all sweet-smelling ones, and there are there many charming spots, all lovely and filled with fragrance and refreshment, and whoever goes there is delighted and refreshed ; so are the souls in the kingdom, all in joy, delight, and peace.
Kings and lords they are, and gods ; for it is written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. 1
4-- Christianity, then, is no ordinary thing. This mystery is great. 2 Recognise therefore thy nobility, that thou art called to kingly dignity, a chosen generation, a royal priest- hood, and a holy nation? The mystery of Christianity is foreign to this world. The visible glory of the emperor and his wealth are earthly, and perishable, and passing away; but that kingdom and wealth are divine things, heavenly and glorious, never to pass away or be dissolved. For they reign together with the heavenly King, in the heavenly church, and He is the firstborn from the dead* and they also are firstborn. And yet, though they are all this, chosen and approved before God, in their own eyes they are the least, and highly disapproved ; and this is fixed in them like a part of nature, to esteem themselves nothing.
5-- Question. Are they then unaware that they have received something additional, and have acquired what they had not before, that was foreign to their nature ? Answer. What k l say is that they are not approved, 5 and that they have made no progress, and they do not know how they acquired what they had not ; but while they are all this, grace itself comes and teaches them not to count their soul dear,* for all their progress, but to count them- selves naturally the reverse of dear, and dear though they are to God, to themselves they are not so. With all their progress and knowledge of God, they are as if they knew nothing, and rich as they are before God, in their own eyes they are poverty stricken. But as Christ took the form of a servant? and conquered the devil by humility, so at the beginning it was by pride and self-esteem that the serpent overthrew Adam ; and the same serpent, lurking in hearts, still casts down and destroys the race of Christians by self- esteem.
6-- If a man is free and well born, according to the world, and possessed of much wealth, and continues to make money, and increases his income, he loses his senses, and becomes self-confident, and becomes unbearable, and kicks and cuffs everybody. That is the way with some people of no discretion, who, on finding some little enjoyment and power of prayer, began to be puffed up and to lose their senses, and to pass sentence ; and so they fell to the lowest parts of the earth. The same serpent who threw Adam out by pride, saying, Ye shall be as gods, 1 still suggests pride in men's hearts, saying, "You are perfect; you have enough ; you have got rich ; you have no need ; you are blessed." There are others in the world, who have riches, and improve upon them with large incomes, and yet hold within the bounds of discretion, and neither boast nor are lifted up, but keep their level, because they know that after affluence comes dearth; and again when loss and dearth befall them, they are not dismayed, but still keep level, knowing that the turn of plenty will come back ; and by long training in these matters, they are never surprised, and in times of increase and plenty are not elated, and if loss comes upon them, they are not surprised.
7-- Christianity is in practice something like this the tasting of the truth, the eating and drinking of the truth, to eat and drink on and on in reality and to good effect. Suppose there to be a spring, and some one that is thirsty begins to drink of it, and then before he has done some one carries him off, and will not allow him to be as much filled as he desires, that man is the more inflamed for having tasted of the water, and he makes the more earnest effort to get it. So in the spiritual order a man tastes and partakes
of heavenly sustenance, and then, before he has done, it withdraws, and no one enables him to take his fill.
8-- Question. Why is he not allowed to take his fill ? Answer. The Lord knows the man's weakness, that he is easily lifted up. Therefore He withdraws, and permits the man to be exercised and put to trouble. If you receive but a little, and no one can put up with you, you are so puffed up with it, how much more intolerable you would have been if some one had given you your fill at once ' But God, knowing that weakness, providentially brings you into troubles, that you may be humble, and the more earnest in seeking God. A poor man according to the world found a purse of gold, and was so light with pleasure that he began to proclaim, " I have found a purse ; I am a rich man " ; then by the report the loser heard of it, and recovered it. Another man, who was rich, lost his senses, and began to kick, and to be insolent to everybody, and to exalt himself above certain persons, when the emperor heard of it, and confiscated his property. So it is in the spiritual realm. If some people taste but a little refresh- ment, they do not know how to manage it, but lose even what they had received, for sin tempts them, and darkens their mind.
9-- Question. How do some fall after the visitation of grace? Is not Satan shown to be much the weaker? Where it is day, how can there be night? Answer. It is not that grace is quenched of feeble; but in order that your free-will and your liberty may be tested, which way it inclines, grace makes way for sin ; and then you again draw nigh to the Lord with your will, and en- treat that grace may visit you. How is it written, Quench not the Spirit ? 1 The Spirit cannot be quenched, but is always light ; but you, if you are careless and do not with your own will correspond, are yourself quenched and lose
the Spirit. In like manner it says, Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye were sealed unto the day of redemption. 1 You see that it lies in your own will and freedom of determination to honour the Holy Spirit and not to grieve Him. I assure you that freedom of choice remains even in perfect Christians, who are subjugated to what is good and intoxicated with it, and the consequence is that, though put to the proof by ten thousand evils, they turn to that which is good.
10-- As when persons of rank and wealth and high birth by their own will and choice forsake their wealth and birth and dignities, and go and put on poor sordid clothing, and dishonour instead of respect, and bear hardship, and are held of no account, this is all left to their own discretion. You may believe me, that even the apostles, perfected as they were in grace, were not hindered by that grace from doing as they desired, if they wished occasionally to do a thing that was not pleasing to grace. Our nature is susceptible of good and bad, and the adverse power acts by persuasion, not compulsion. You have free choice to incline which way you will. Do you not read that Peter was to be blamed? and that Paul went and reproved him. In spite of being what he was, he was still to be blamed. And Paul, for all his spirituality, of his own will, engaged in a dispute with Barnabas, and they grew so sharp that they withdrew from one another. 3 And that same Paul says, Ye that are spiritual, restore such an one, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.* 1 There ! the spiritual are tempted, because their freedom of will remains ; and the enemies keep plying them as long as they are in this world.
11-- Question. Could not the apostles sin, if they chose? or was grace too mighty for their wills ? Answer. They could not sin, because they could not choose to sin, being in light and in such grace. I do not say that grace in them was weak. What I say is that grace permits even perfect spiritual persons to have the use of their will, and power to do what they choose, and to turn in which direction they like. And human nature, which is weak, has power to turn, even when good is present with it. If there are people in full armour, with breastplate and other arms, they are then well protected inside, and the enemies do not attack them ; or if they attack, it is within the power of their will either to make use of those arms, and to fight and struggle with the foe, and to carry off the victory, or to take a liking to that foe, and come to terms with him, and refrain from fighting, in spite of the armour. In the same way, Christians, arrayed with perfect power, and possessed of the armour of heaven, can, if they are so minded, take a liking to Satan, and come to terms with him, and desist from the war. Nature is liable to change, and a man can, if he pleases, become a son of God or a son of perdition. His freedom of will remains.
12-- It is one thing to give a description of bread and table, and another to eat and take the relish of that bread, and to be strengthened in all your members. It is one thing to speak in words about a delicious drink, and another to go and draw from the very spring, and to take your fill of the delicious drink. It is one thing to discourse of war, and of noble combatants and warriors, and another to go yourself into the fighting-line, and to close with the enemy, and to go in and out, and to take and give, and to carry off the victory. In spiritual things the same holds good. It is one thing to give descriptive accounts with a certain head-knowledge and correct notions, and another in substance and reality, in full experience, and in the inward man, and in the mind, to possess the treasure and the grace and the taste and the effectual working of the Holy Ghost. Those who utter bare words, make a parade and are puffed up by their mind. 1 Our speech, it says, and our preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; 2 and again elsewhere, The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned? A man like that does not fall. To many who sought after God, the door has been opened, and they have seen a treasure, and have entered into it ; and in the midst of their joy, while they were saying, "We have found a treasure," He has shut the doors upon them. Then they began to cry aloud, and to mourn, and to seek the more. " We found a treasure and have lost it." Grace withdraws of set purpose, that we may seek more earnestly. The treasure is shown, to encourage us to seek after it.
13-- Question. Some say that after grace a man has passed from death unto life. Can then one who is in the light have impure thoughts? Answer. It is written, Having begun in the Spirit, do ye now finish in the flesh ? 4 It says again, Put on the whole armour of the Spirit, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil? Naturally enough, these are two different places one where he was when he put on the armour, and one where he is when he fights with the princi- palities and powers in the light, or in the darkness. Again, That ye may be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one } Q and again, Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, 7 and again, It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the gift of God, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and fell away, to renew them again. 8 There ! those who were enlightened and have tasted fall away. You see that a man has the power of will to agree with the Spirit, or to grieve Him. Certainly he takes up arms with a view to going to battle and contending against the foe ; certainly he was enlightened, in order to campaign against the darkness.
14-- Question. What does the apostle mean by saying, Though I have all knowledge and all prophecy, and speak with the tongues of angels, I am nothing ? l Answer. We ought not to understand it to mean that the apostle is nothing ; but in comparison with that charity which is perfect, these things are little, and he who is in these measures may fall ; but he who has charity is beyond falling. I can assure you, that I have seen men who had come by all the spiritual gifts and were partakers of the Spirit, who, not having attained perfect charity, fell. One, a nobleman by birth, renounced the world, sold his possessions, gave his slaves their liberty ; being a man of prudence and understanding, he was renowned for his strict and holy life; and meanwhile, conceiving an opinion of himself and getting proud, at last he came down to debaucheries and a thousand bad things. 15-- Another in time of persecution gave his own body, and was a confessor. When peace was restored, he was set free, and had a great name. His eyelids were injured by having been smoked. This man, being much glorified and called to prayers, took victuals, and gave to his servant, and his mind was as if he had never heard the word of God. Another gave his body under persecution, and was hung up, and scraped, and then flung into prison. There he was religiously served by one of the sisters-regular. He contracted a familiarity with her, while in prison, and fell into fornication. Observe the fall of the rich man who sold his possessions, and of him who gave his body to martyrdom. 16-- Another, a prudent ascetic, who lived with me in the same dwelling and prayed with me, was so rich in grace that in praying beside me he would be struck speechless, grace boiled so within him. There was given him also the gift of healings, and he not only drove away devils, but those who were bound hand and foot and had dreadful sufferings he would cure by the imposition of his hands. Then he relaxed his care, and being much glorified by the world, and taking pleasure in it, he became vain, and' fell into the lowest depths of sin. Observe the fall of one who had the gift of healing. You see how men fall, before reaching the measures of charity. For one who arrives at charity is bound and intoxicated ; he is drowned, and carried captive to another world, as if he had no consciousness of his own nature.
17-- Question. What is the meaning of the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man ? 1 Answer. At that time, the great and the righteous men, and kings and prophets, were aware indeed that the Re- deemer was coming ; but that He should suffer and be crucified, and His blood poured out upon the cross, they neither knew, nor had they heard it ; neither had it entered into their heart that there should be a baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and that in the church bread and wine should be offered, the symbol of His flesh and blood, and that those who partake of the visible bread eat spiritually the flesh of the Lord, and that the apostles'and Christians receive the Paraclete, and are endued with power from on high, 2 and are filled with the Godhead, and their souls mingled with the Holy Ghost. This the prophets and kings knew not, neither did it enter into their heart. Now, Christians have a very different wealth, and their hearts are set upon the Godhead; but for all this joy and comfort, they are still under fear and trembling.
18-- Question. What fear and trembling ?
Answer. That they may make no mistake, but correspond with grace. It is like a man possessed of treasures, who is journeying to places where there are robbers. He is glad of the riches and the treasure ; but he is in fear lest the robbers should set upon him and spoil him of them ; and as one who carries his blood in his hands, so is he. Look, so far as outward things go, we have all made our renuntia- tion, and are strangers, without possessions, and deprived of fleshly fellowship. Now, there lies the body in prayer ; the brethren must say whether the mind is in correspondence with the body. Artisans and foremen in the world usually apply their whole body to their business and their mind too, both night and day. Now look well to yourself. Your body is strange to this world ; is your mind alienated from the age ? do you never wander into the world ? Every man of the world, soldier, or merchant, wherever his body is, has his mind also there fixed, and there is his treasure. It is written, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 1 19-- What treasure is your mind after? Is it wholly and entirely Godwards, or not? If it is not, you must tell me what it is that hinders. .Certainly they are evil spirits, Satan and the devils, who have hold of the mind, and put fetters on the soul. The devil is very wily, and has many conjuring tricks, and loopholes, and all manner of shifts, and keeps hold of the ranges and thoughts of the soul, and will not allow it to pray properly and to draw nigh to God. For nature itself is capable of fellow- ship with the devils and spirits of wickedness, and likewise with angels and the Holy Ghost. It is the temple of Satan, or the temple of the Holy Ghost. Examine your mind, brethren; which are you in fellowship with? angels, or devils ? Whose temple are you ? a habitation of God, or of the devil ? With what treasure is your heart filled ? grace, or Satan? Like a house that has been filled with evil smells and filthiness, it must be thoroughly cleansed, and set in order, and filled with all fragrance and treasures, that the Holy Ghost may come instead of Satan, and may rest in the hearts of Christians.
20-- Not the moment, however, that he hears the word of 1 God, does a man come to be of the good side. If hearing made him of the good side at once, there would no longer be conflicts, or critical battles, or a race. Without further ado, if only he had heard, he would have come into peace and to perfect measures. But the facts are otherwise. You take away the man's free will, if you say so, and deny the existence of the opposite power, wrestling with the mind. What we say is this, that the man who hears the word comes to compunction, and after that, grace purposely withdraws, for the man's good, and he enters into training and the discipline of battle, and engages in a struggle and contest with Satan, and only after a long race and contest carries off the prizes of victory, and becomes a Christian. If merely hearing made a man to belong without more ado to the good, then all the theatre-people and the whore- mongers will go into the kingdom and the life. No one will give them this without effort and striving, because it is a straight and narrow way. By this rough way we have to travel, and to endure, and bear affliction, and so to enter into life.
21-- If it were possible to succeed without effort, Christi- anity would no longer be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence^ There would be no faith and unbelief. You would make man a creature of necessity, incapable of turn- ing to good or evil. It is only to one who can turn to either side that a law is given one who is at liberty to do battle with the adverse power. No law is laid down for a nature that is under necessity. The sun, the heaven and the earth, call for no legislation ; such creatures are of a nature
governed by necessity, and for this reason they are not liable to reward or punishment. Reward and glory are prepared for him who turns to the good ; hell and punish- ment are prepared for this convertible nature, capable of fleeing from the evil and throwing its weight upon the right-hand side, the side of good. If you say that he is not of an alterable nature, you make the good man un- deserving of praise. For one who is good and kind by nature does not deserve praise for it, though he may be very desirable. What is not good by choice is not praiseworthy, however desirable it may be. Praise is only deserved by one who by his personal resolution with effort and struggle makes the good his own through free-will and choice.
22-- As if when the Persians have a camp on one side and the Romans a camp on the other, two winged youths of equal powers should come forth from them and engage in a struggle, so the opposing force and the mind are in equipoise. Satan has power to influence and entice the soul to his own will, and the soul has equal power to resist and to refuse any compliance with him. Both powers, good and evil, act by suasion, not by compulsion. A choice like this may count upon divine assistance, and is able in its struggle to receive weapons from heaven, and by them to root out evil and conquer it. To resist sin is in the power of the soul, though without God it cannot conquer the evil or root it out. Those who say that sin is like a mighty giant and the soul like a little child are wrong. If things were so ill-matched, sin like a giant and the soul like a little child, the Law-giver would be unjust, in having given man a law to struggle against Satan.
23-- This is the foundation of the way to God in much patience, in hope, in humility, in poverty of spirit, in meek- ness to travel along the way of life; and it is by these things that a man can come to have righteousness in himself. By righteousness we mean the Lord Himself. These com- mandments, which so enjoin us, are like milestones and waymarks that stand by the king's highway, which leads wayfarers up to the heavenly city. We read, Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the peacemakers. 1 That is what you may call Christianity. If any one does not travel by this way, he has wandered where there is no way; he uses a bad foundation. Glory to the compassions of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
This Homily describes and bewails the calamity of the soul, that by reason of sin the Lord does not dwell in it ; and concerning John the Baptist, that none among those born of women is greater than he.
i. As once God was wroth with the Jews, and gave Jerusalem openly over to its enemies, and they which hated them were lords over them, 1 - and there was no longer any feast there, or any offering; so, being wroth with the soul, He gave it over to its enemies, both to devils and to passions ; and so, when these had seduced it, they ruined it utterly, and no longer was there any feast there, or any incense or offering sent up by it to God, its tokens being filled in the streets, 2 dreadful beasts and serpent spirits of wickedness making their domicile within it ; and as a house, if it has not the master resident in it, gets clothed with darkness and shame and abuse, and filled with dirt and filth, so the soul which has not its Master with His angels making merry in it, gets filled with the darkness of sin, and the shame of passions, and all manner of disgrace.
2 This curious expression reads like a quotation or a reference to some prophetic passage, but I am unable to trace it. If the text is right the soul's tokens (yvwpiffp.o.ra} seem to answer to the eK0f/j.aTa, or advertisements, of Ezek. xvi. 24-- Their " being filled " in the streets is perhaps a way of saying that the streets are filled with them. Other translators construct the sentence differently ; as Hay wood, "her tokens in the public ways being filled with frightful beasts." The grammar would admit of this, but it makes little sense. I suspect, however, that Tr\-r)ff06VT&v is a primitive error for \tiffdevruv or
2-- Alas for the street, if no one walks in it, nor hears in it the voice of man, because it becomes the habitation of wild beasts. Alas for the soul when the Lord takes not His way in it, and drives not out of it with His voice the spiritual wild beasts of wickedness. Alas for the house when the master does not live in it. Alas for the land when it has not the husbandman to till it. Alas for the ship when it has not the steersman, because it is carried along by the waves and surges of the sea and is lost. Alas for the soul when it has not Christ, the true steersman, in it, because finding itself in the sea of the bitterness of darkness, and tossed by the surge of passions, and storm-beaten by the winds of evil spirits, it ends by gaining perdition. Alas for the soul, when it has not Christ to till it carefully, that it may be able to bring forth good fruits of the Spirit ; because left desolate, and filled with thorns and thistles, its fruit in the end is the burning of fire. Alas for the soul when it has not Christ, its Master, living in it ; because, left desolate, and being filled with the noisome odour of passions, it finds itself the habitation of iniquity.
3-- As the husbandman, when he goes to till the ground, must take the proper tools and clothing for tilling, so Christ, the King, the heavenly and true husbandman, in coming to humanity, which had been laid desolate by sin, put on the body, and carried the cross for His tool, and so tilled the desolate soul, and took out of it the thorns and thistles of evil spirits, and plucked up the tares of sin, and burned up with fire every weed of its sins ; and thus tilling it with the wood of the cross He planted in it that fairest paradise of the Spirit, bearing every fruit that is sweet and desirable for God as its owner.
4-- And as in Egypt, during the three days' darkness, the son saw not his father, nor brother, brother, nor true friend his friend, because the darkness hid them, so when Adam transgressed the commandment and fell from his former glory, and came under the power of the spirit of the world, and the veil of darkness fell upon his soul, from his time and until the last Adam, the Lord, they saw not the true Father in heaven, or the good, kind mother, the grace of the Spirit, or the sweet and desired Brother, the Lord, or the friends and kindred, the holy angels, with whom He rejoiced, making merry and keeping festival. And it was not only until the last Adam, but even to this day those upon whom the Sun of righteousness, 1 Christ, has not arisen, and in whom the eyes of the soul have not been opened and enlightened by the true light, are still under the same darkness of sin, wrought upon by the same influence of pleasures, subject to the same punishment, not yet having eyes to behold the Father.
5-- This is a thing which every one ought to know, that there are eyes deeper within than these eyes, and a hearing deeper within than this hearing. As these eyes sensibly behold and recognise the face of a friend or beloved one, so the eyes of the worthy and faithful soul, being spiritually enlightened with the light of God, behold and recognise the true Friend, the sweetest and greatly longed for Bride- groom, the Lord, while the soul is shone upon by the adorable Spirit; and thus beholding with the mind the desirable and only inexpressible beauty, it is smitten with passionate love of God, and is directed into all virtues of the Spirit, and thus possesses an unbounded, unfailing love for the Lord it longs for. What therefore is more blessed than that everlasting voice of John, when he shows the Lord before our eyes, saying, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 2
6-- Truly among them that are born of women there is none greater than John the Baptist? He is the fulfilment of all the prophets. All the prophets prophesied of the Lord, showing His coming afar off: John prophesied of
the Saviour and showed Him before all eyes, crying aloud and saying, Behold the Lamb of God I x What a sweet and beautiful voice of him who shews then and there Him whom he heralded ! Greater than John is none of them that are born of women. Bui he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he 2 the apostles, born of God from above, who received the firstfruits of the Comforter Spirit for they were allowed to be His fellow- judges and partners of His throne; they have been made redeemers of men. You find them dividing the sea of evil powers, leading believing souls through. You find them husbandmen, tilling the vine of the soul. You find them bridesmen, marrying souls to Christ : / have espoused you, it says, to one Husband. 3 You find them giving life to men. In short, you find them in sundry parts and in divers manners* serving the Spirit. This is the little one who is greater than John the Baptist.
7-- As the husbandman governs a yoke of oxen and tills the ground, so the Lord Jesus, the fair true Husbandman, yoked the apostles two and two and sent them forth, tilling with them the ground of those who hear and truly believe. Only this is worth saying, that the kingdom of God and the preaching of the apostles is not in the word of hearing only, like one who knows a set of words and rehearses them to others, but the kingdom is in power and effectual working of the Spirit. This was the sad case of the children of the Israelites ; always studying the scriptures, and in fact making the Lord the theme of their study, and yet not receiving the truth itself, they parted with that inheritance to others. So those who rehearse to others words of the Spirit, while they do not themselves possess the word in power, part with the inheritance to others. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
God works the dispensations of grace upon mankind after a twofold manner, intending to require the fruits of it by a just judgment.
i. THE wisdom of God, being infinite and incompre- hensible, works thexlispensations of grace incomprehensibly and unsearchably upon the human race in various fashions for the testing of our free will, so that those who love Him with their whole heart, and will endure every danger and toil for God's sake, may be made manifest. To some the gifts and endowments of the Holy Ghost come in advance, directly they draw near in faith and prayer, without labour, or sweat, or toil. Sometimes, while they are still in the world, God gives them grace, not idly, nor out of season, nor at random, but in an unspeakable and incomprehensible wisdom, in order to try the determination and free will of those who have so quickly received the grace of God, whether they were sensible of the benefit and of the kindness and sweet- ness of God that was shewn them, in proportion to the grace received without pains of their own, in return for which they ought to show diligence, and run well, and fight hard, and to bear the fruit of will and purpose and love, and to give back a requital for their spiritual gifts, by yielding themselves wholly up to the love of the Lord, and accom- plishing His will alone, and perfectly withdrawing from all carnal affection.
2-- To others, even when they have withdrawn from the world, and have renounced this age, according to the gospel, and pass their time in much perseverance in prayer and fasting and diligence and the other virtues, God does not immediately grant the grace and the refreshment and rejoicing of the Spirit, being patient with them and reserving the gift. And this He does, not idly, nor unreasonably, not at random, but with unspeakable wisdom, for the testing of their free will, to see whether they have counted God faithful and true who promised l to give to them that ask and to open the door of life to them that knock, to see whether after believing His word in truth they continue to the end in full assurance of faith and diligence, asking and seeking, and will not prove faint-hearted, and draw back, and give up, and in unbelief and hopelessness despise the quest, not persevering to the end, because of the putting off of the time, and because of the testing of their will and purpose.
3-- For he who does not receive at once, is the more kindled through God's delay and patience, and the more desirous of the good things of heaven, and every day adds to his longing and diligence, his running and striving, and every disposition of virtue, his hunger and thirst after that which is good, not slacking for the sinful suggestions which are present in the soul, or turning aside to despise or forget or despair; nor again under pretence of patience will he give himself over to slackness, using this argument, that " Some day or other I shall receive the grace of God," and from this enticed by sin into carelessness. On the contrary, so long as the Lord Himself in His delay is patient over him, testing the faith and love of his will, the man himself ought the more keenly, the more laboriously, without giving in, without turning faint, to seek the gift of God, having once for all believed and assured himself, that God is true and cannot lie, who has promised to give His grace to those who ask with faith to the end, in all perseverance.
4-- For God is faithful and true in His leading of faithful
souls, and they have set to their seal that He is true, 1 accord- ing to the true word. Therefore in accordance with this intuition of faith they examine themselves to see in what respects they on their part are lacking in labour, in striving, in diligence, in faith, in love, or in the rest of the dispositions of virtue; and thus examining with all minute exactness, they force and constrain themselves to the best of their power to please the Lord, having once for all believed that God, being true, will not cheat them of the gift of the Spirit, if they continue to the end with all diligence serving Him and waiting upon Him, but that they will have the heavenly grace vouchsafed to them, while they are still in the flesh, and will obtain eternal life.
5-- And so they set in motion all their love towards the Lord, denying everything else, and looking only for Him with much desire and hunger and thirst, and always waiting for the refreshment and consolation of grace, and not willingly finding consolation or refreshment or binding attachment in anything of this world ; but always resisting material attractions they look only for the help and succour of God, when the Lord Himself is secretly present already to souls that take upon them this kind of diligence, and purpose of heart and endurance, and helps them, and preserves them, and confirms them unto every fruit of virtue, even though they are in trouble and distress, even though they have not yet in certainty of the truth and in manifestation to the soul received the grace of the Spirit and the refreshment of the heavenly gift, and have not had experience of it in full consciousness, because of the unspeakable wisdom of God, and His inexpressible judg- ments, in which He tries believing souls in various ways, with a view to a love which is of the will and of purpose. For there are bounds and measures and degrees of choice and purpose, and of the will to love, and of disposition to obey
all His holy commandments with might and main; and when souls thus fill up the measure of their love and duty, they are permitted to receive the kingdom and the eternal life.
6-- For God is just and just are His judgments, and with Him there is no respect of persons ; and He judges each in proportion to the varying benefits with which He has endowed mankind benefits of body or of spirit, whether knowledge, or understanding, or discernment and will require the fruits of virtue accordingly, and will render to each the due reward of his works in the day of judgment. He will come, we are told, and will render to every man according to his deeds, 1 and mighty men shall be mightily tormented, for mercy will soon pardon the meanest; 2 and the Lord says, The servant which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes ; but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes; and unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required, and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. 3 The knowledge and under- standing I have mentioned may be variously thought of, either according to grace and the heavenly gift of the Spirit, or in conformity with the natural intelligence and discern- ment, and through the instruction of the divine scriptures. Of each man will be required the fruits of virtue in propor- tion to the benefits conferred upon him from God, whether natural, or given by God's grace. Therefore every man is inexcusable before God in the day of judgment, for every man will be required to answer of his will and purpose according to what he knew of the fruits of faith and love and every other virtue towards God, whether he knew by hearing, or had never heard the word of God.
7-- For the faithful, truth-loving soul, looking to the eternal blessings laid up for the righteous, and to the unspeakable benefit of the grace of God that is to visit it, esteems itself, and its diligence and pains and labour, all unworthy in comparison with the unspeakable promises of the Spirit. This is the poor in spirit, whom the Lord pronounced blessed; this is he who hungers and thirsts after righteousness ; 1 this is he who is contrite in heart. Those who take upon them this purpose and diligence and pains and longing after virtue, and continue therein to the end, will be enabled to obtain life and the eternal kingdom in truth. Therefore let no brother be exalted against his brother, or proceed to form an opinion of himself under the cheating influence of sin, to think, " Behold, I for my part possess a spiritual gift." It is not fit that Christians should have these notions. You know not what the morrow may do for him; you are ignorant what his end will be, and what your own. Let each give heed to himself, and examine his own conscience at all times, and try the work of his heart, what diligence and striving towards God his mind has ; and looking towards the perfect mark, of liberty, and of freedom from passions, and of the Spirit's rest, let him run without stopping and without 'sloth, never satisfied with any spiritual gift or with any righteous attainment. Glory and adoration to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
The soul that is to enter into the kingdom of God must be born of the Holy Ghost ; and how this is effected.
1 . THOSE who hear the word ought to give proof of the work of the word in their own souls. The word of God is no idle word, but has its own work upon the soul. For this reason it is sometimes called a " work," with a view to the "work" being found in the hearers. May the Lord, then, grant the work of the truth in the hearers, in order that the word may be found fruitful in us. For as the shadow precedes the body, but the shadow manifests the body, while the truth is the body itself, so the word is like a shadow of the truth of Christ. But the word precedes the truth. Fathers upon earth beget children of their own nature, from their own body and soul, and when they are begotten they educate them carefully with all diligence as their own children, until they become full-grown men and successors and heirs. For the aim and whole care of the fathers from the outset is to beget children and to have heirs, and if they had not begotten them, they would have had great sorrow and grief, and on the other hand they had corre- sponding joy when they had begotten them. Their kinsfolk and neighbours likewise rejoice.
2-- In the same way our Lord Jesus Christ, taking thought for the salvation of man, employed from the outset all His pro- vidential care through the fathers and the patriarchs, through the law and the prophets, and in the end came Himself, and despising the shame of the cross, endured death ; and all this toil and care of His was in order that He might beget children from Himself, from His own nature, being pleased that they should be begotten of the Spirit from above, of His own Godhead. And as those fathers, if they have no children, are grieved, so the Lord, who loved mankind as His own image, willed to beget them of the seed of His own Godhead ; so, if any of them will not come to such a birth, to be born of the womb of the Spirit of the Godhead, Christ is submitted to great grief, after suffering for them and enduring so much to save them.
3-- For the Lord wills all men to have the privilege of this birth. He died for all, and called all to life. But life is the birth from above of God. Without it the soul cannot live. The Lord says, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 1 And so, on the other hand, as many as believe the Lord, and come and receive the privilege of this birth, cause joy and great gladness in heaven to the parents that begat them ; and all angels and holy powers rejoice over the soul that is born of the Spirit and has become spirit itself. For this body is a similitude of the soul, and the soul is the image of the Spirit ; and as the body without the soul is dead, and unable to do anything at all, so without the heavenly soul, that is, without the Divine Spirit, the soul is dead from the kingdom, being unable to do any of the things of God without the Spirit.
4-- As the portrait painter keeps an eye upon the king's face and draws, and when the king's face is towards him, attending to him at his painting, he draws the portrait easily and well, but when he turns his face away, he cannot draw, because the face is not gazing at the painter ; in like manner Christ, the good artist, for those who believe Him and gaze continually at Him, straightway portrays after His own image a heavenly man. Out of His own Spirit, out of the substance of light itself, the ineffable light, He paints a heavenly image, and bestows upon it its good and gracious Spouse. If a man does not gaze constantly at Him, over- looking everything else, the Lord will not paint His image with His own light. We must therefore gaze upon Him, believing and loving Him, throwing away all else, and attending to Him, in order that He may paint His own heavenly image and send it into our souls, and thus, wearing Christ, we may receive eternal life, and even here may have full assurance and be at rest.
5-- As the golden coin, if it does not receive the imprint of the king's image, does not come upon the market, and is not stored in the king's treasuries, but is discarded, so the soul, if it has not the image of the heavenly Spirit in light unspeakable, even Christ imprinted on it, is not fit for the treasuries above, and is discarded by the good merchants of the kingdom, the apostles. He who was invited, and did not wear the wedding garment, was cast out as an alien into the alien darkness, for not wearing the heavenly image. This is the mark and sign of the Lord imprinted upon souls, being the Spirit of light unspeakable. And as a dead man is useless, and of no use to those of the place, and so they carry him outside the city and bury him, so the soul which does not bear the heavenly image of the divine light, the life of the soul, is cast away and discarded ; for a dead soul is of no use to that city of the saints, not bearing the luminous and Divine Spirit. For as in the world the soul is the life of the body, so in the eternal heavenly world the life of the soul is the Spirit of the Godhead. Without the life of the Spirit, this soul is dead to those above, and of no use.
6-- He therefore that seeks to believe and come to the Lord, should entreat that he may receive here on earth the Divine Spirit ; for that Spirit is the life of the soul, and for this cause the Lord came, that He might give life to the soul here on earth, even His Spirit. For He says, While ye have the light, believe in the light ; the night cometh, when ye can no longer work. 1 Therefore if any man has not sought, while here, and received life for his soul, even the divine light of the Spirit, when he departs out of the body, he is separated forthwith in the regions of darkness on the left hand, not entering into the kingdom of heaven, having his end in hell with the devil and his angels. 2 As gold or silver, when cast into the fire, becomes purer and better attested, and nothing can impair it, such as wood or hay for it devours everything that comes near it, for they also become fire so the soul going up and down in the fire of the Spirit and in the divine light will surfer no harm by any of the evil spirits. Even if anything shall draw nigh it, it is consumed by the heavenly fire of the Spirit. Or as a bird, when aloft on the wing, is in no anxiety, fear- ing not the bird-catchers nor evil beasts, for up so high it derides them, so the soul, receiving the wings of the Spirit, and flying into the heights of heaven, is above everything, and derides them all.
7-- And Israel after the flesh, when Moses that day divided the sea, went through it below ; but these, being God's children, walk on the top over the sea of bitterness of the evil powers. Their body and their soul have become the house of God. In that day when Adam fell, God came walking in the garden. He wept, as it were, beholding Adam, and said, " After what good things, what evils hast thou chosen ! After what glory, what shame dost thou wear ! How dark art thou now ! how ill-looking ! how corrupt ! After what light, what darkness hath covered thee ! " And when Adam fell and died from God, his Maker bewailed him ; angels, and all the powers, the heavens, the earth, and all the creatures mourned over his death and fall, for they saw him that had been given them for their king become the servant of a hostile and evil power. Therefore he clothed himself with darkness in his own soul, a bitter and an evil darkness, for he was made a subject of the prince of darkness. This was he who was wounded by the robbers, and became half dead, as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho*
8-- Lazarus also, whom the Lord raised, who stank so that no one could go near the sepulchre, was a symbol of Adam whose soul had come to stink and was filled with blackness and darkness. But thou, when thou hearest of Adam, and the wounded man, and Lazarus, let not thy mind go off as it were to the hills, but be thou within in thy soul, for thou thyself bearest the sajne wounds, the same stench, the same darkness. We all are his sons, of that dark race, and all partake of the same stench. The malady from which he suffered, we all, who are of Adam's seed, suffer from the same. Such a malady has befallen us, as Esaias says, It is not a wound, nor a bruise, nor an inflamed sore ; it is not possible to apply a mollifying ointment, nor oil, nor to make bandages? Thus were we wounded with an incurable wound ; the Lord alone could heal it. For this reason He came in His own person; because none of the ancients, nor the law itself, nor the prophets, were able to heal this wound. He alone by His coming healed that sore of the soul, that incurable sore.
9-- Let us then welcome our God and Lord, the true healer, who alone is able to come and cure our souls, after He has laboured so much for our sake. He is always knocking at the doors of our hearts, that we may open to Him, that He may enter in and rest in our souls, and we may wash and anoint His feet, and He may make His abode with us. The Lord in that passage reproached the man who did not wash His feet ; 1 and again He says else- where, Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open unto Me, and I shall come in unto him. 2 To this end He endured to suffer many things, giving His own body unto death, and purchasing us out of bondage, in order that He might come to our soul and make His abode with it. For this cause the Lord says to those on the left hand in the day of judgment, that are sent by Him to hell with the devil, / was a stranger, and ye took Me not in ; I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat ; 1 was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink? His food and His drink, His clothing and shelter and rest is in our souls. Therefore He is always knocking, desiring to enter into us. Let us then receive Him, and bring Him within into ourselves; because He is pur food and our drink and our eternal life, and every soul that has not now received Him within and given Him rest, or rather found rest in Him, has no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven with the saints, and cannot enter into the heavenly city. But Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, bring us thereunto, glorifying Thy name, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.