Μακάριος Αιγύπτιος - Macarius of Egypt/Πνευματικές Ομιλίες - Homiliae spirituales (MPG 034 0449 0822)/EnglishTranslation(A J MASON D D)/ Homily XXXI-XL
- 1 HOMILY XXXI
- 2 HOMILY XXXII
- 3 HOMILY XXXIII
- 4 HOMILY XXXIV
- 5 HOMILY XXXV
- 6 HOMILY XXXVI
- 7 HOMILY XXXVII
- 8 HOMILY XXXVIII
- 9 HOMILY XXXIX
- 10 HOMILY XL
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]
The believer ought to be changed in mind, and gather up all his thoughts in God; for in these all service of God consists.
1-- THE believer ought to ask of God to be changed in his purposes, by an alteration of heart from bitterness to sweet, and remember how the blind man was healed, the woman with an issue of blood likewise obtained healing by the touch of His hem, the nature of lions was tamed, the nature of fire was deadened. Because God is the highest good ; and unto Him thou oughtest to gather up thy mind and thoughts, and to think of nothing else, but to watch expectantly for Him.
2-- Let the soul, therefore, be as one that gathers in straying children and admonishes the thoughts which sin has scattered, and bring them home into her body, always watching for the Lord in fasting and charity, when He shall come and gather her in truth. The future being uncertain, let her set her hope yet more upon her Pilot, with a good hope, and remember how Rahab, when living among aliens, believed the Israelites, 1 and was admitted to share their privilege, while the Israelites in their affections turned back into Egypt. As therefore Rahab received no harm by dwelling among the aliens, but her faith made her at home in the portion of the Israelites, so sin shall not harm those who in hope and faith wait for the Redeemer, who at His coming changes the thoughts of the soul, and makes them godlike, heavenly, good, and teaches the soul prayer prayer true, undistracted, unwandering. Fear not, He says, / go before thee, and will level the mountains; I will break in pieces the gates of brass and cut in sunder the bars of iron. 1 And again, Beware, He says, that there be not a secret thought of wickedness in thy heart; say not in thy heart, This nation is strong and powerful. 21
3-- If we do not become slothful and give over the field to the unruly thoughts of evil, but compel our minds to obey our will, forcing our thoughts to the Lord, assuredly the Lord will come to us with His will and take us in unto Himself in truth. All well-pleasing and all service are in the thoughts. Therefore endeavour to please the Lord, always looking for Him within, seeking Him in thy thoughts, and forcing and constraining thine own will and purpose to stretch upwards continually towards Him. Then see how He comes unto thee and makes His abode with thee. 3 In proportion as thou gatherest up thy mind to seek Him, He is far more constrained by His own tender compassion and kindness to come to thee and give thee rest. He stands contemplating thy mind, thy thoughts, thy inten- tions, observing how thou seekest Him, whether with thy whole soul, not indolently, not carelessly.
4-- And when He sees thy diligence to seek Him, then He manifests Himself and appears to thee, and imparts to thee of His own succour, and makes the victory thine, delivering thee from thine enemies. Having first contem- plated thy seeking unto Him, and how thy whole expecta- tion is without ceasing fixed on Him, He then teaches and gives thee true prayer, true charity, which is Himself in thee made all things paradise, tree of life, pearl, crown, builder, husbandman, sufferer, incapable of suffering, man, God, wine and living water, lamb, bridegroom, warrior, armour, Christ all in all. And as the babe knows not how to take care of itself, or do for itself, but looks only to its mother, waiting until she has pity on it and takes it up, so faithful souls always hope only in the Lord, ascribing all righteousness to Him. As without the vine the branch is dried up, so is he who desires to be justified without Christ. As is the robber and the thief, who does not enter through the entrance, but climbeth up some other way^- so is he who is justified to himself without the Justifier.
5-- Let us therefore take this body of ours, and make an altar of it, and lay upon it every intention of ours, and beseech the Lord that He would send from heaven the great invisible fire, and consume the altar and everything upon it, and that all the priests of Baal, which are the opposing activities, may fall; and then we shall see the spiritual rain coming in the soul like a man's footprint, 2 so that it becomes the promise of God in us, as it is said in the prophet, / will raise up and build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen, and will build again the ruins thereof? in order that the Lord with His own loving kind- ness may shine upon the soul which is dwelling in night and darkness, in the drunkenness of ignorance, so that it may wake to soberness and walk without stumbling, per- forming the works of day and of life. For where the soul feeds, thence is it nourished, either from the world, or from the Spirit of God ; and God is there nourished, and lives, and rests, and goes up and down.
6-- To conclude, every one, if he will, shall prove himself, whence he is nourished, and where he lives, and what con- dition he is in, so that having thus perceived, and gained an accurate estimate, he may give himself perfectly to the movement towards that which is good. Well, in praying, take heed to yourself at prayer, observing your thoughts
and your motions, where they come from, whether from God or from the adversary, and who it is that supplies your heart with nourishment, the Lord, or the world-rulers of this age. And when, O soul, thou hast proved and known, ask the Lord with labour and longing for heavenly nourishment and growth and the motions of Christ, accord- ing to the saying, Our conversation is in heaven,* and not, as some imagine, in a shape or fashion. Behold, the mind and disposition of those who have only a form of godliness is like the world. Behold their agitation, and the fluctua- tion of their purposes, their unstable judgment, their timidity and fear, according to that which is said, Groaning and trembling shall thou be upon the earth. 2 According to their unbelief and the confusion of their unstable thoughts, they are tossed about every hour, like all the rest of men. Such men only differ from the world in fashion, not in mind, 3 and only in bodily observances of the outer man; while in heart and mind they are pulled this way and that way in the world, and are involved in earthly ties and those of unprofitable cares, not having gained the peace from heaven in their hearts, as the apostle says, Let the peace of God rule in your hearts* the peace which reigns and renews the minds of believers in the love of God and of all the brotherhood. Glory and worship to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
The glory of Christians abides even now in their souls, and will be manifested at the time of resurrection, and will glorify their bodies in correspondence with their piety.
i. THE languages of this world differ. Every nation has a language of its own. But Christians learn one new language, and are all instructed under one wisdom of God, not a wisdom of this world, nor of this passing age. And as Christians walk in this creation, they come upon new and heavenly sights, and upon glories and mysteries, taking occasion by what meets their senses. There are various kinds of tame animals, as horse and ox. Each of them has its own body and its own voice. So also among wild beasts ; the lion has its own body and its own voice, and the stag likewise. And among creeping things there is great variety, and among winged creatures there are many forms of body. The body and voice of the eagle is one, the body and voice of the hawk is another. There are the same varieties in the sea many bodies unlike each other ; and in the earth there are many seeds, but each seed has its own fruit. There are many trees ; but some trees are bigger and some smaller, and the crops that they bear are very different ; for each kind of tree has a flavour of its own. And there are herbs, and great differences between them some profitable for health, others only for fragrance. But each tree produces from within the clothing which meets the eye, leaves, and blossoms, and fruits. The seeds likewise bring forth from within the clothing that we see. The lilies themselves produce their raiment from within, and adorn the sward.
2-- Even so those Christians, to whom it has been granted to gain in this life the heavenly raiment, have that raiment dwelling in their souls ; and when it is foreordained of God that this creation should be dissolved, and that heaven and earth should pass away, then the heavenly raiment, which here and now had clothed and glorified their souls, and which they had possessed in their hearts, that same shall assuredly enrobe with glory their naked bodies also, which rise from the tombs, the bodies which awake in that day, even with the invisible heavenly gift and raiment which Christians receive even now. But as the sheep or the camels, when they find grass, greedily and hastily get to the food and store up provender within themselves, and in time of hunger bring up the same from their maw, and chew the cud, and have for their food what they had before laid in ; so in like manner those who have now seized the kingdom of heaven, and living in spirit have tasted of the heavenly food, at the time of resurrection have that same to cover and to warm all their members.
3-- As then we spoke of the variety of seeds, that many are sown in the same ground and yield a diversity of fruits, all unlike each other ; and likewise of trees, that some ' are bigger and some less, but one ground holds the roots of them all ; even so the heavenly church, being but one, is without number, and each is adorned by the. glory of the Spirit in a manner peculiar to himself. For as the birds produce out of their own bodies the raiment of their feathers, and great is the variety among them for some flit along near the ground, while others soar in the air or as the heaven is one, and contains in itself many stars, some brighter, some greater, some smaller, but all are fixed in the heaven ; so the saints are in divers manners rooted in the one heaven of the Godhead and in the earth invisible. So also the thoughts which come to Adam 1 are different when they come, but the Spirit coming into the heart makes one thought and one heart, for both those above and those below are governed by the same Spirit.
4-- But what are the animals that divide the hoof ? 2 Since with their cloven hoof they make straight way, they are set for a figure of those who walk uprightly in the law. But as the body's shadow is from the body itself, but cannot fulfil any fleshly function for a shadow cannot bind up wounds, or give food, or speak and yet it is from the body itself, and shows in advance the coming of the body, so the ancient law is a shadow of the new covenant. The shadow reveals the truth beforehand, but it had no ministration of the Spirit. Moses, clothed in flesh, could not enter into the heart, and take away the filthy garments of darkness. Only spirit of spirit and fire of fire dissolves the power of the evil darkness. Circumcision, in the shadow of the law, foreshows the true circumcision of the heart approaching. The baptism of the law is a shadow of the true realities. That baptism washed the body ; but here a baptism of fire and Spirit cleanses and washes the polluted mind. 5-- There a priest compassed with infirmity 3 entered into the holy place offering sacrifice for himself and for the people ; here the true High Priest, even Christ, entered once for all into the tabernacle not made with hands and the altar above, ready to cleanse those who ask .Him, and the conscience that has been defiled, for He says, / will be with you until the end of the world.* The high priest had on his breast two precious stones, and they bore the names of the twelve patriarchs. What was done there was a type. For in such a manner the Lord put on the apostles and sent them as evangelists and heralds of the whole world. You see how the shadow shows the approach of the reality. Yet just as
the shadow has no function to perform, and heals no troubles, so neither could the ancient law heal the wounds or troubles of the soul ; for indeed it had no life.
6-- The conjunction of two particular things makes a perfect whole for example, two covenants. Man was made after the image and similitude of God : he has two eyes, two eyebrows, two hands, two feet, and if he should chance to have but one eye, or one hand, or one foot, it is something to find fault with. If a bird has but one wing, it cannot possibly fly with it. So the nature of mankind, if it remains naked and by itself, and does not receive the mixture and communion of the heavenly nature, has failed to be put right. It remains naked and deserving of blame in its own nature, in great defilement. For the soul itself was surnamed the temple and habitation of God, and the King's bride ; for it says, / will dwell in them, and walk in them. 1 So it pleased God; because He came down from holy heavens and embraced thy reasonable nature, the flesh, which is of the earth, and mingled it with His divine Spirit, in order that thou, the earthy, mightest receive the heavenly soul. And when thy soul has communion with the Spirit, and the heavenly soul enters into thy soul, then art thou a perfect man in God, and an heir, and a son.
7-- But as neither the ages above nor those below can take in the greatness and incomprehensibleness of God, so neither the worlds above nor those on earth are able to comprehend His minuteness, and how He makes Himself small to those who are minute and small. As His greatness is incomprehensible, so also is His minuteness; and it comes to pass that He arranges for thee to be in afflictions, and sufferings, and humiliations ; and the things which thou deemest to be contrary to thee, these prove to be for thy soul's good. If thou desirest to be in the world, and to become rich, misfortune meets thee. Thou beginnest to think with thyself, "Because I have failed in the world, what if I were to go away and renounce it and serve God ? " When thou art come to this point, thou hearest the com- mandment saying, " Sell what thou hast ; l hate fleshly society ; serve God." Then thou beginnest to thank thy misfortune in the world, that "on that account I am found obedient to the commandment of Christ." Well then, in part, so far as outward things go, thou hast changed thy mind, and with- drawn from the world and from fleshly society : it behoves thee therefore to be changed in mind likewise from the fleshly temper to the heavenly temper. Well, at the very sound thereof, thou beginnest to discriminate, and thou no longer hast rest, but only care and trouble to gain what thou hast heard of. 8-- And when thou deemest thyself to have done all by renouncing, the Lord taketh account with thee. " Why dost thou boast ? Did not I create thy body and thy soul ? Did not I make the gold and silver ? What hast thou done ? " The soul begins to make confession and to beseech the Lord, and say, " All things are Thine. The house I am in is Thine. My clothes are Thine. From Thee is my food, and of Thee am I supplied for every need." Then the Lord begins to reply : " I thank thee. The goods are thine own. The good will is thine own ; and because of thy love towards Me, since thou hast made Me thy refuge, come, I will now give thee what hitherto neither thou hast gained, nor do men have it upon earth. Take Me, thy Lord, with thine own soul, that thou mayest ever be with Me in joy and gladness."
9-- A woman espoused to a husband brings all that she has and her whole dowry, and out of her great affection casts it into the hands of her husband, and says this : " I have nothing of my own. All that I have is yours ; and my dowry is yours, and my soul and my body are yours." So also the wise soul is virgin to the Lord, having communion with His Holy Spirit. But as He, when He came upon earth, suffered and was crucified, so it behoves thee also to suffer with Him. When thou withdrawest from the world, and beginnest to seek God, and to discriminate, then thou findest thyself at war with thine own nature in its old habits and the custom that thou hast grown up with ; and in warring against custom, thou discoverest thoughts that oppose thee, and war against thy mind, and these thoughts drag thee and make thee stray into the material world from which thou earnest out. So thou beginnest to wage conflict and battle, setting in motion thoughts against thoughts, mind against mind, soul against soul, spirit against spirit ; and there the soul is in agony of fear. 10-- For there is revealed a certain hidden, subtle power of darkness seated in the heart ; and the Lord is nigh thy soul and body, seeing thy battle, and puts in thee secret heavenly thoughts, and begins to give thee rest in secret. But He suffers thee to be chastened for a while, and grace provides that thou shouldest come into these very afflictions ; and when thou comest into rest, grace makes herself known to thee, and shows thee that it was for thy benefit that she permitted thee to be exercised. It is as when a rich man has a child, and the child a tutor. For a while he makes him smart with straps ; and the chastisement, and the stripes, and the weals appear grievous, until the child becomes a man, and then he begins to thank the tutor. So does grace chastise thee by design, until thou comest unto a perfect man. 1 ii. The husbandman flings the seed in every direction; and he who plants a vine wishes that all of it should bear fruit. So he applies the pruning-hook, and if he finds no fruit, he is grieved. So the Lord wishes His word to be sown in the hearts of men. But as the husbandman is grieved at the unrepaying ground, so the Lord is grieved at the unrepaying heart which bears no fruit. As the winds
blow everywhere, over all creation, and as the sun lightens upon all the world, so the Godhead is everywhere, and is everywhere found. If thou seekest Him in heaven, He is found there in the thoughts of the angels. If thou seekest Him upon earth, He is found here also in the hearts of men. But few out of many are found the Christians who are well pleasing to Him. Glory and majesty to the Father, and to the Son, and the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
We ought to pray to God continually and with attention'
1-- IT behoves us to pray, not by bodily habit, nor with a habit of crying, nor by a custom of silence, or of bending the knees, but soberly, taking heed to our minds, to wait upon God, until He shall come to us and visit the soul through all its modes of jegress and its paths and senses, and so to be silent when we ought, and to cry out when we ought, and to pray with loud crying, so long as the mind is strong towards God. As the body, when at work, is entirely occupied with the work on which it is engaged, and all the members of it help one another, so let the soul be entirely given up to asking and love towards the Lord, not wander- ing and carried about with thoughts, but with all its might endeavouring and gathering itself up with all its thoughts, and bent upon waiting for Christ.
2-- And thus will He lighten upon it, teaching it the true asking, giving it the pure spiritual prayer, which is worthy of God, and the worship which is in spirit and' in truth. 1 But as one who has taken up the profession of merchandise is not content with a single device for getting gain, but presses forward to increase and multiply his gain in every direction, after one device pursuing another, and then running on to another expedient, and always shying off from what is unprofitable, runs to that which is more lucrative ; so let us also fit our souls out with versatility and skill, to obtain the great true gain, even God, who teaches us truly to pray. In this way the Lord rests upon the soul's good intention, making it a throne of glory, and sitting and resting upon it. That was what we heard from the prophet Ezekiel, concern- ing the spiritual creatures harnessed to the chariot of the Lord. He represents them to us as eyes all over, as the soul is that carries God, or rather is carried by God ; it becomes all eye.
3-- As a house that has its master at home is full of all orderliness and beauty and seemliness, so the soul which has its Lord with it, and abiding in it, is full of all beauty. It has the Lord with His spiritual treasures for its inhabitant and its charioteer. But woe to the house whose master is away, and whose lord is not present. It is desolate, and broken down, full of all uncleanness and disorder. There, as the prophet says, sirens and demons dwell. 1 In the deserted house are cats and dogs, and all uncleanness. Woe to the soul that does not arise from its grievous fall, nor receive the fair Master of the house, even Christ, for its inhabitant, but remains in its uncleanness, and has within it those who persuade and compel it to have enmity with its own Bridegroom, and desire to corrupt its thoughts from Christ.
4-- But when the Lord sees that to the best of its ability the soul recollects itself, always seeking and waiting for the Lord night and day, and crying to Him, even as He com- manded to pray without ceasing in everything, 2 He will avenge it, as He promised, 3 cleansing it from the evil within it, and will present it unto Himself a bride without blemish and without spot.* Now if you believe that these things are true, as indeed they are, take heed to yourself, whether your soul has found the light to guide it, and the true meat and drink, which is the Lord. If you have not, seek night and day, that you may receive. When you see the sun, seek the true Sun, for you are blind. When you behold the light, look into your soul, whether you have found the true Light, the good Light. All the things which meet the senses are a shadow of the true realities of the soul. There is another man within, besides the man who is seen ; and eyes, which Satan has blinded, and ears, which he has deafened; and Jesus came to make this inward man whole. To whom be the glory and the might, with the Father and the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
Concerning the glory of Christians which shall be vouchsafed to their bodies at the resurrection, and they shall be enlightened together with the soul.
1-- As the bodily eyes see everything clearly, so to the souls of the saints the beauties of the Godhead are manifest and visible, and Christians are mingled with them and think upon them. To the bodily eyes that glory is hidden, but to the believing soul it is clearly revealed the soul which was dead, which the Lord raises out of sin, even as He wakens the dead bodies also, and prepares for it a new heaven and a new earth, and a sun of righteousness, giving it all things out of His own Godhead. There is a true world, and a living earth, and a fruitful vine, and a bread of life, and living water ; as it is written, / believe to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, 1 and again, Unto them that fear the Lord shall the sun of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings ; 2 and the Lord said, I am the true vine* and again,/ am the bread of life* and again, He that drinketh of the water that I shall give him, there shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 5
2-- For the whole coming of the Lord was for man's sake man who lay dead in the grave of the darkness of sin, of the unclean spirit and of evil powers that now in this world He might raise man up and quicken him, and cleanse him from all blackness, and enlighten him with His own light, and array him in His own garments, the heavenly garments of His own Godhead. But at the resurrection of the bodies, whose souls were raised before and glorified before, then the bodies also are glorified with them, and are enlightened by the soul which had been enlightened and glorified in this life. For the Lord is their home, their tabernacle and their city. They are clothed with the habi- tation from heaven, not made with hands* the glory of the divine light, as being made children of light. They will gaze upon each other with no evil eye ; for evil has been taken away. There is there no male nor female, bond nor free, 2 for all alike are changed into a divine nature, being good, and Gods, and children of God. There brother will then speak peace to sister without confusion, for all are one thing in Christ, at rest in one light. One will gaze upon another, and in the gazing will forthwith shine back in truth, at the true contemplation of light inexpressible.
3-- Thus in many shapes and many varying divine glories they look upon each other, and each is astonished and rejoices with joy unspeakable, 3 gazing upon the other's glory. You see how the glories of God are beyond all utterance, and are incomprehensible, of light inexpressible, and of mysteries eternal, and of good things without number. As, in the world of sense, it is impossible for any one to comprehend in number the plants, or seeds, or various blossoms of the earth, and it is out of the question for any one to measure or understand the entire wealth of the earth ; or as in the sea it is impossible for a man to com- prehend the living creatures in it, or their number, or their kinds, or their differences, or the measure of its water or the measure of its place ; or as in the air it is impossible to know the number of the birds, or their kinds or variety ; or as it is impossible to comprehend the greatness of the sky, or the positions of the stars, or their courses ; so is it impos- sible to speak or to recount the wealth of Christians, which is infinite and incomprehensible. For if these creatures are so infinite and incomprehensible to men, how much more He that created and prepared them ! A man ought therefore rather to rejoice and be glad because such wealth and such an inheritance is prepared for Christians, that no one can utter it or reckon it up. With all diligence and humility therefore we ought to set ourselves to the Christian's contest and to receive that wealth. For the inheritance and portion of Christians is God Himself. The Lord Himself, it says, is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup. 1 Glory to Him who gives Himself, and mingles His own holy nature with the souls of Christians, for ever. Amen.
Concerning the old Sabbath and the new.
1-- IN the shadow of the law given by Moses God com- manded that every man should rest on the sabbath and do nothing. This was a type and shadow of the true sabbath given to the soul from the Lord. For the soul to which it has been granted to be set free from base and foul thoughts both keeps true sabbath and enjoys true rest, being idle and at leisure so far as the works of darkness are concerned. There, in the typical sabbath, although they rested in bodily fashion, their souls were in bondage to wickednesses and sins. This, the true sabbath, is true rest, the soul being idle and cleansed from the suggestions of Satan, and resting in the eternal rest and joy of the Lord.
2-- As then He enjoined that even the unreasoning animals should rest on the sabbath day, that the ox should not be forced under the yoke of necessity, and that they should not lade the ass for the animals also were to rest from their heavy works so when the Lord came and gave the true eternal sabbath, He gave rest to the soul which was burdened and heavy laden with the burdens of the iniquity of unclean imaginations, and labouring perforce at the works of unrighteousness, as being in bondage to bittqr masters ; and He lightened it of the burdens, hard to be borne, of vain and impure imaginations; and He took away the yoke, the bitter yoke, of the works of unrighteous- ness, and refreshed the soul when it was wearied with the imaginations of uncleanness.
3-- The Lord calls man to rest, saying, Come, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ; * and as many souls as are obedient and draw near, He makes them rest from all these heavy, burdensome, unclean thoughts, and they are idle from all iniquity, keeping a true, delicious, holy sabbath, and celebrate a festival of the Spirit, a festival of joy and gladness unspeakable ; and they perform a pure service, well pleasing to God, out of a pure heart. This is the true and the holy sabbath. Let us therefore beseech God that we also may enter into this rest, 2 that we may be idle from base and evil and vain imaginations, that thus we may be able to serve God out of a pure heart, and celebrate the feast of the Holy Ghost. Blessed is he who enters into that rest. Glory to Him whose good pleasure it is, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.
===Concerning the twofold resurrection of souls and bodies, and of the divers glory of the risen. === i. THE resurrection of dead souls is even now. The resurrection of bodies is in that day. But as the stars, though fixed in heaven, are not all equal, but one differs from another 1 in brightness and magnitude, so in spiritual things there are advances, according to the measure of faith, in the Spirit Himself, 2 one man richer than another. The scripture says, He that speaketh in a tongue speaketh by the Spirit of God. He is a spiritual man, speaking to God. But he that prophesieth, edifieth the church. 3 The latter had the greater abundance of grace. The one edifies himself only ; the other his neighbour also. This is like a grain of corn sown in the earth ; the same grain out of the same heart 4 produces many grains differing from each other. And again the ears, some are larger, some smaller, but all are gathered into one threshing-floor, one barn ; though they differ, one bread is made of them.
2-- Or as in a city there are multitudes of people, and some are infant children, some men, or young men ; but all drink water of one well, and all eat of one bread, and have one air to breathe; or as lamps are, one with two wicks and one with seven, but where the greater abundance of light is, the illumination is greater. So as many as are in fire and light cannot be in darkness ; but there is much differ- ence. If a father has two sons, one a child, the other a young man, he sends the one abroad to foreign cities and countries, but the little one he keeps continually under guard, because he can do nothing. Glory be to God. Amen.
Concerning Paradise and the spiritual law.
1-- THE friendship of the world, according to that which is written, is enmity with God. 1 For which cause the scripture bids every one to keep his own heart with all diligence, 2 that keeping in it the word, like a paradise, a man may enjoy grace, not hearing the serpent that winds within, when he counsels the things that make for pleasure, whereby is engendered the wrath that slays a brother, and the soul that brings it forth perishes, but hearing the Lord when He says," Take heed to faith and hope, through which is engendered love towards God and man, which gives eternal life." Into this paradise Noe entered, keeping the com- mandment and working, and through love was redeemed from the wrath. Keeping this paradise, Abraham heard the voice of God. Keeping this, Moses received glory in his countenance. David likewise keeping this worked, from whence he gained the mastery of his enemies ; and Saul too, so long as he -kept his heart, prospered, but when at last he transgressed, at last he was forsaken. For the word of God follows each man by measure according to proportion. So long as a man holds fast, he is held fast ; and so long as he guards, he is guarded.
2-- For this cause the whole company of holy prophets, apostles, martyrs, kept the word in their hearts, caring for nothing else, but despising earthly things, and abiding in the commandment of the Holy Ghost, and preferring before all things the Spirit's love of God and the Spirit's good, not in word only or in mere knowledge, but in word and deed as well, by actual practice, choosing poverty instead of wealth, dishonour instead of glory, suffering instead of pleasure, affliction instead of enjoyment, and for that reason love instead of wrath. For as they hated the sweet things of life, they rather loved those who took them away, as working with them to the purpose, forbearing to know good and evil. 1 They neither denied those who were good, nor blamed those who were evil, esteeming all alike to be envoys of the Master's dispensation. Therefore they had a well-disposed benevolence towards all. When they heard the Lord say, Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven, 2 then they reckoned those who wronged them as benefactors, because from them they received occasion for their own forgiveness. When again they heard, As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also unto them, 3 then they began to love good men also according to conscience. Leaving their own righteousness, and seeking the righteousness of God, they naturally found love also included in it.
3-- For the Lord, in giving many commandmentsconcerning love, bade us seek the righteousness of God* for He knows that it is the mother of love. There is no other way to be saved but through our neighbour ; according as He enjoined, Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. 5 This is the spiritual law, written in faithful hearts, the fulfilling of the first law. 6 I came not, He says, to destroy the law, but to fulfil. 7 How is it fulfilled? Let me tell you. The first law, by reasonable occasion of him who sinned, condemned, over and above, him that was sinned against ; for wherein thou judgest another thou condemnest thyself. 8 So says the law : In the midst of judgment, judgment ; in the midst of striking, a stroke}-
4-- Forgiveness is the fulfilling of the law. We have called it a "first law"; not that God has set two laws before men, but one law, which is spiritual in its nature, but in regard to retribution, it awards to each man the retribution which is just, forgiving him that forgives, and contending with him that contends. With the clean, it says, thou shall be clean, and with the froward thou shall wrestle* Therefore those who spiritually fulfil it, and are favoured in proportion, came to love with a spiritual love not only those who did them good, but also those that reproached them and persecuted them, Iooking7or a recom- pense of good things. Of good things, I say ; not because they acquiesced in the wrongs done to them, but because they did good to the souls of the wrongdoers. They com- mitted them to God as the means by which they obtained the beatitude ; as it says, Blessed are ye, when they shall revile you, and persecute you.*
5-- It was under a spiritual law that they were taught to, be thus minded. While they endured, and preserved their inward meekness, the Lord, looking upon the patience of the heart under attack and of the love that lost not its self- control, broke through the middle wall of partition, 4 ' and they cast away perfect hatred, and their love was no longer against the grain, but with relief. The Lord brought to nought the sword that turned every way, 5 which stirs the thoughts, and they entered into that within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even the Lord ; 6 and they revelled in the fruits of the Spirit, and having beheld things to come in security of heart, no longer, as the apostle says, in a glass, and darkly, 1 they said what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, how many things God hath prepared for them that love Him. 2 But I will ask this wonderful question. 6-- Question. If it has not entered into the heart Of man, how do you come to know it especially when you confessed in the Acts that you were men of like passions 9 with us? Answer. Well, listen what answer Paul makes to this. But God, he says, hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit ; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the depths of God* But lest any one should say that to them the Spirit was given because they were apostles, but that we are naturally incapable of it, he says elsewhere in prayer, That God would give you to be strengthened with might in the inward man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts ; 5 and again, But the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty ; 6 and again, But if any have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. 7
7-- Let us therefore pray to partake of the Holy Spirit in full assurance and experience, and to enter in whence we came out, and that for the future the serpent may be kept away from us, the parent of wrath, the counsellor of vain glory, the spirit of carking and surfeiting ; so that having gained a firm faith we may keep the commandments of the Lord, and may grow up in Him unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature, 8 that we may no longer be under dominion to the deceit of this world, but may be in the full assurance of the Spirit, and not disbelieve, that the grace of God has pleasure even in sinners when they repent (far that which is bestowed according to grace is not measured
by comparison with previous infirmity ; otherwise grace is no more grace ;) 1 but believing in the Almighty God may come with simple and not over-anxious heart to Him who through faith bestows the participation of the Spirit, and not through comparison of the works of nature ; for it says, Ye received not the Spirit by the works of the law, but by the hearing of faith. 2
8-- Question. What is the meaning of the text, / had rather speak five words in the church with my under- standing ? 3 Answer. The word church is understood of two several things, the assembly of the faithful, and the compound soul. When it is taken spiritually, of the individual man, the church denotes him as a compound whole. "Five words" mean the comprehensive virtues which build up the whole man in varying modes of distribution. As he who spoke in the Lord comprehended all wisdom in his five words, so he who follows the Lord builds up godliness to abundance through the five virtues. Five they are, and they comprehend all ; first prayer, then temperance, alms, poverty, patience. These, performed with longing desire and set purpose, are words of the soul spoken by the Lord and heard by the heart. The Lord works, and then the Spirit speaks without sound, and the heart performs in outward manifestation, in proportion as it desires.
9-- And as these virtues contain all virtues, so they are productive of each other. If the first is wanting, there is an end of all. Likewise through the second come those that follow, and so on. How shall any one pray except under the operation of the Spirit ? And the scripture bears me out when it says, No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 ' And how will a man perse- vere who enters on a course of temperance without prayer and with no assistance ? And he who is not temperate in everything, how shall he do alms to the hungry or the wrongdoer ? And he who does no alms, will not himself willingly submit to poverty. And again, resentment is akin to the desire of money, whether it has or whether it has not. But the virtuous soul is thus built up into the church, not because of what it has done, but because of what it has desired. It is not his own work that saves a man, but He who bestows on him the power. If any one therefore endures the marks of the Lord, 1 let him not pride himself on anything, even if he have done some ordinary thing, but only on having loved and taken pains with a view to action. Never think that you have been beforehand with the Lord in your virtue, according to him who says, It is He that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. 2
10-- Question. What then does the scripture charge a man to do? Answer. We have already said that a man has by nature the power of taking pains, and this is what it demands. It charges therefore that a man should first consider, and that when he has considered, he should love, and should use his will to take pains. But to have the mind influenced, or to endure the labour, or to accomplish the work, this the grace of the Lord bestows on the man who has willed and believed, Man's will therefore is like a material support. Where the will is not present, even God Himself does nothing, though He could, because of man's freedom. The effectual working of God depends upon the will of man. On the other hand, if we give our whole will, He ascribes to us the whole work. Wonderful is God in all things, and altogether beyond the grasp of our understanding ; but we men endeavour to speak some portion of His wonders, relying upon the scripture, or rather made intelligent by it. For who, it says, hath known the mind of the Lord? 3 But He says Himself,
How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye would not, 1 so that we believe by this that it is He who gathers us, and demands of us nothing but the will. But what is it that manifests the will, except voluntary labour ? 1 1 . For as iron when it saws, and fells, and delves, and plants, gets worn itself and fails ; but there is another who sets it in motion and applies it, and when it is battered makes it red hot and renews it ; so although man becomes worn and wearied in working that which is good, yet the Lord works secretly in him, and when he is weaned and battered, comforts and renews his heart, as the prophet says, Shall the axe boast itself apart from him that heweth, or the saw exalt itself apart from him that draws it ? 2 So is it also with regard to evil, when a man obeys it and makes himself ready for it. Then Satan also draws and sharpens him, as the robber his sword. We have likened the heart to iron, because of its insensibility to things and its great hardness. But we ought not, like insensible iron, to be ignorant of Him who holds us otherwise we should not change quickly from the word which is our husbandman to the suggestion of the evil one but rather, like the ox and ass, to know Him who drives and guides us according to disposition; for it says, The o% knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but Israel knoweth Me not. 3 Let us therefore pray to receive. the knowledge of God, and to be instructed in the spiritual law to the accomplishment of His holy commandments, glorifying the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.
===Great exactness and intelligence is required to discern true Christians, and who these are. ===
1-- MANY who appear to be righteous are taken for Christians. It is a task for skilled men and experts to try whether such men have really the stamp and image of the King, lest perchance they should be counterfeits of the works of skilled men, and skilled men wonder at them and criticise them. But people who are not skilled cannot test deceitful workers, 1 for they too wear the shape of monks and Christians. For the false apostles also suffered for Christ, and they also preached the kingdom of heaven. That is why the apostle says In perils more abundant, in afflictions above measure, in prisons more abundant? wishing to show that he had suffered more than they.
2-- Gold is easily found; but pearls and precious stones which do for a king's diadem are seldom found, for many times none that will do are found. So Christians also are built up into the crown of Christ, that those souls may be made partakers with the saints. Glory to Him who so loved that soul, suffered for it, and raised it up from the dead. But as a veil was put over the face of Moses, that the people might not gaze upon his face, so now a veil lies upon your heart, that you may not behold the glory of God. When this is taken away, then He shines forth and mani- fests Himself to Christians, to those who love Him and seek Him in truth, as He says, / will manifest Myself to him, and will make My abode with him. 1
3-- Let us endeavour then to come to Christ, who cannot lie, that we may obtain the promise, and the new covenant, which the Lord has made new 2 through His cross and death, having burst the gates of hell and sin and brought out the faithful souls, and given them the Comforter within, and brought them into His kingdom. Let us reign then with Him, even we, in Jerusalem, His city, in the heavenly church, in the choir of the holy angels. The brethren who have been long time exercised and tried, these can succour the less experienced, and feel for them.
4-- For some who had made themselves sure, and had been mightily worked upon by grace of God, have found their members so sanctified that they reckoned that con- cupiscence does not occur in Christianity, but that they had acquired a sober and chaste mind, and that from henceforth the inward man was raised aloft to divine and heavenly things, so that they really imagined such an one to have come already to the perfect measures. And when the man imagined that he was already near the calm haven, billows rose up against him, so that he found himself again in the middle of the ocean, and was carried where sea was sky and death was ready. Thus sin entered after all, and wrought all manner of evil concupiscence? And again a certain class of persons having some grace vouchsafed to them, and having received a drop, so to speak, out of the whole deep sea, find it hour by hour, and day by day, such a work of wonder, that the man who is under its influence is amazed and astounded at the strange, surprising opera- tion of God, to think that he should be given such wisdom. After this, grace enlightens him, guides him, gives him peace, makes him good in every way, being itself divine and heavenly, so that in comparison with that man kings and potentates, wise men and nobles are esteemed as least and worthless. After a time and season things change, so that of a truth such a man esteems himself a greater sinner than all others ; and again at another season sees himself like a great colossal king, or a king's powerful friend ; again at another season sees himself weak and a beggar. Then the mind falls into perplexity, why things should be thus and then thus. Because Satan in his hatred of the good suggests evil things to those who attain virtue, and strives to overthrow them. That is his occupation.
5-- But do not submit to him, while you work at the righteousness that is accomplished in the inner man, where stands the judgment seat of Christ, together with His un- defiled sanctuary, that the testimony of your conscience may glory in the cross of Christ, who has purged your con- science from dead works, 1 that you may serve God with your spirit, that you may know what you worship, accord- ing to Him who said, We worship that which we know. 2 Obey God who guides you. Let your soul have com- munion with Christ, as bride with bridegroom. For this mystery is great, it says ; but I speak concerning Christ and 3 the blameless soul. To Him be the glory for ever. Amen.
Why the Holy Scripture was given to us by God.
i. As a king writes letters to those upon whom he wishes to confer patents and special gifts, and signifies to them all, " endeavour to come quickly to me, that you may receive from me royal gifts " ; and if they do not come and receive them, they will be none the better off for having read the letters, but, on the contrary, are liable to be put to death for not choosing to go and be honoured by the king's hand ; so God, the King, has sent to men the holy scriptures as His letters, declaring by them that they should pray to God and believing should ask and receive a heavenly gift of the substance of His Godhead ; for it is written, That we should be made partakers of the divine nature. 1 But if man will not come, and ask, and receive, he is none the better off for having read the scriptures, but is rather liable to death, because he did not choose to receive from the heavenly King the gift of life, without which it is impossible to obtain immortal life, which is Christ. .To whom be glory for ever. Amen.
1-- CONCERNING exterior discipline, and what practice is best and first, know this, beloved, that all the virtues are bound up together. The one is linked to the other, like a kind of spiritual chain ; prayer to love, love to joy, joy to meekness, meekness to humility, humility to service, service to hope, hope to faith, faith to obedience, obedience to simplicity. 1 And on the opposite side, evil things are bound one to another, hatred to anger, anger to pride, pride to vainglory, vainglory to unbelief, unbelief to hard- ness of heart, hardness of heart to carelessness, careless- ness to sloth, sloth to sullenness, sullenness to want of endurance, want of endurance to love of pleasure. The other parts of vice likewise are dependent upon each other ; so also on the good side the virtues are dependent on each other and connected.
2-- But the chief of all good endeavour, the topmost of right actions, is perseverance in prayer. From it we may daily gain increasingly the rest of the virtues through asking them of God. By it is formed, in those to whom it is vouchsafed, the fellowship of the holiness of God and of spiritual energy, and the attachment of the disposition of the mind to the Lord in love unspeakable. The man who compels himself every day to persevere in prayer is enflamed with divine affection and fiery longing by spiritual love towards God, and receives the grace of the sanctifying perfection of the Spirit.
3-- Question. Since there are some who sell their goods, and emancipate their slaves, and perform commandments, yet do not seek to receive the Spirit in this world, living thus, do they not go into the kingdom of heaven ? Answer. This is a subtle matter. Some say that there is one kingdom and one hell; but we say that there are many grades and differences and measures, both in the kingdom and in hell. As there is one soul in all the members, which operates aloft in the brain, and also moves the feet beneath, so the Godhead contains all creatures, the heavenly, and those under the bottomless pit, and is every- where fulfilled in the creation, although it transcends the creatures, because it is infinite and incomprehensible. This Godhead looks upon men, and providentially orders all things according to reason; and when some pray, not knowing what they seek, and some fast, others continue in service; God being a just judge, gives to each a reward according to the measure of faith. What they do, they do for the fear of God; but not all these are sons, or kings, or heirs.
4-- And in the world there are some who are murderers, others fornicators, and others extortioners, while others distribute their own possessions to the poor. . Upon both these classes the Lord keeps His eye, and to those who do good He gives refreshment and reward. For there are superior measures, and there are little measures, and in light and glory there are differences, and in hell itself and punishment appear poisoners and robbers, as well as others who have committed only little sins. Those who say that there is one kingdom and one hell, and that there are no degrees, say ill. How many worldly people there are who are now continually at theatres and other disorderly things, and how many there are now who pray and fear God ! On these and those alike God keeps an eye, and, like a just judge, prepares refreshment for the one and punishment for the other.
5-- As men harness horses and drive chariots and race them against each other, while each struggles to overcome and conquer his opponent, so is there a spectacle in the heart of those who strive, the evil spirits wrestling with the soul, and God and the angels beholding the contest. At each hour many fresh devices are set on foot by the soul, and likewise by iniquity within. The soul has many secret devices, and in due time produces them and gives them birth. Iniquity likewise has many devices and inventions, and gives birth hour by hour to fresh devices against the soul. The mind is charioteer, and harnesses the chariot of the soul, holding the reins of the thoughts ; and thus it runs against the chariot of Satan, where he too has harnessed against the soul.
6-- Question. If prayer is rest, how do some say, "We cannot pray," and will not continue in prayer? Answer. Rest itself, when it abounds, produces com- passion and other forms of service, such as to visit the brethren, to serve them with the word. Nature itself desires to go and see the brethren, to speak a word. Nothing thrown in the fire can remain in its own nature. It cannot help becoming fire. If you throw pebbles into the fire, they become a little lime. 1 The man who wishes to plunge at large into the sea, and to get into the middle of the ocean, is submerged and disappears from sight, while the man who goes in step by step wishes to come up and float on the top and get out at the haven to see the people on shore. So in the spiritual world a man enters into the depth of grace, and again bethinks him of his companions,
and nature itself desires to go to one's brethren to fulfil duties of charity, and to prove the word.
7-- Question. How can the two things be in the heart together, grace and sin? Answer. As when there is fire outside a brazen vessel, then when you put fuel under, the vessel gets hot, and the inside of it boils and bubbles up, because the fire outside burns up beneath ; but if a man pays no attention, and puts no fuel under, the fire begins to get less hot, and almost to go out ; so grace, which is the heavenly fire, is both inside you and outside you. So if you pray, and give your thoughts to the love of Christ, see how you supplied the fuel, and your thoughts become fire, and are plunged in longing after God ; and even if the Spirit withdraws a little, as though It were outside you, still It is within you, and Its signs are seen outside you. But if one is careless, lending himself a little either to worldly affairs or to wandering, iniquity comes back and enters into the soul, and begins to afflict the whole man. The soul therefore remembers its former rest, and begins to be afflicted, and to suffer without intermission.
8-- The mind has again given heed to God. The former rest has begun to draw near it. It begins to seek more earnestly. "I beseech Thee," it says, "O Lord." Little by little is added to it the fire which kindles and refreshes the soul, as the hook lifts the fish out of the depth by little and little. If this were not so, and he were not to taste of bitterness and death, how could he have discerned the bitter from the sweet, and death from life, and given thanks to the life-giving Father and Son and Holy Ghost, for ever ? Amen.