Μακάριος Αιγύπτιος - Macarius of Egypt/Πνευματικές Ομιλίες - Homiliae spirituales (MPG 034 0449 0822)/EnglishTranslationSmallCollection(Revd D R Jennings)/Homily XII-XXII
- 1 HOMILY 12: Christ alone is able to heal the soul, and to adorn her with the robe of grace
- 2 HOMILY 13: That no man, unless he is strengthened by Christ, is able to get clear of the stumbling blocks of Satan; and what they ought to do that are desirous of the divine glory
- 3 HOMILY 14: Concerning the truth and excellency of the soul, and how it is tempted by Satan and obtains deliverance
- 4 HOMILY 15: Concerning the worth and condition of the Christian
- 5 HOMILY 16: The misery of the soul when, by reason of sin, the Lord does not dwell in her
- 6 HOMILY 17: God executes the dispensations of his grace upon mankind, after a two-fold manner
- 7 HOMILY 18: Concerning the progress of a Christian
- 8 HOMILY 19: What kind of change Christ works in the Christian
- 9 HOMILY 20: No art or wealth of this world, but the manifestation of Christ alone, is able to heal man
- 10 HOMILY 21: An allegorical explanation of things done under the Law
- 11 HOMILY 22: It is not enough for a man to be taken from the delights of this world, unless he attain to the happiness of the other
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HOMILY 12: Christ alone is able to heal the soul, and to adorn her with the robe of grace
1. IF any one is naked for want of the heavenly clothing, which is the power of the Spirit (as it is said, "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his"), let him weep, and entreat the Lord that he may receive the spiritual clothing which is from heaven; that he may have a covering for his soul, disrobed of the divine power. For he is clothed with vile affections, that is not clad with the garment of the Spirit.
2. For as in the things that are seen, if anyone is naked, he is in much confusion and disgrace; and even friends turn away from their friends that are naked; thus does God turn away from the souls that are not clothed with the garment of the Spirit in the full assurance of faith, as not "having put on the Lord Jesus Christ" in power and in truth.
3. The very first man, when he beheld himself naked, was ashamed. So great is the dishonour that attends nakedness! If therefore, in relation only to the body, being naked exposes us to so much shame, how much rather is the soul that is unclothed of the divine power, that is not clad with the raiment not to be described, immortal and spiritual, the Lord Jesus Christ, himself, covered over with shame and dishonourable affections! Every one that is unclothed of that divine glory ought to be ashamed of himself, and to acknowledge the disgrace he is under; as Adam was ashamed with respect to his body being naked, though he made himself a covering of fig leaves. Let therefore such a soul ask of Christ, who clothes it with glory which surpasses all expression, without making to itself any covering of vain thoughts, or being deluded with an opinion of its own righteousness.
4. For if any one stands only upon his own righteousness, not looking for the righteousness of God, which is the Lord, who, as the apostle speaks, is made to us righteousness and redemption, the pains he takes are vain and fruitless. For such an opinion of his own righteousness is at the last day plainly laid open as a filthy rag, as says the prophet, "All our righteousness is as filthy rags." Let us therefore beg of God, and entreat him that we may put on the garment of salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ. Glory be to his tender mercies and compassion, which surpass all expression and utterance!
5. As the woman that was diseased with an issue of blood, when she had touched the hem of our Lord's garment, was healed immediately and the impure fountain of her blood was dried up, so every soul that has the incurable wound of sin, the fountain of unclean and wicked thoughts, if she will come to Christ, recovers her health; and that fountain which sends forth impure thoughts, only through the power of Jesus, abates and is dried up.
6. To him alone is this possible. For as that woman who had spent all she was worth upon those that had promised to heal her, was yet cured by no man 'til such time as she came to the Lord and touched his hem, so is it with the soul that has been wounded from the beginning with this incurable wound of sinful affections; which none of the righteous, neither the fathers, nor the prophets, or patriarchs have been able to cure.
7. Moses came, but was not able to give perfect health. The priests, the gifts, tithes, new moons, washings, sacrifices, whole burnt offerings, and every other branch of righteousness, were punctually observed under the Law; and yet the soul could not be healed and cleansed from the impure fountain of sinful thoughts. Neither could all its righteousness avail any thing, 'til such time as the Saviour came himself, the true Physician, who healeth freely -- who gave himself as a ransom for the race of mankind. He alone wrought the great and saving redemption, and cure of the soul: he it was that set it free from the state of bondage, and brought it out of darkness, having glorified it with his own light. He has dried up the fountain of unclean thoughts; for "behold", says the scripture, "the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world!"
8. Its own medicines out of the earth, that is, its own righteous actions, were not able to heal it of so great a plague. But by the heavenly and divine nature, the gift of the Holy Spirit, was man capable of recovering health, being purified in his heart by the Holy Spirit. Let us therefore have faith in him, and come to him in truth, that he may speedily perform his healing operation within us. For he has promised to "give to them that ask him his Holy Spirit, and to open to them that knock, and to be found of them that seek him" -- and he that promised cannot lie.
To him be glory and might for ever! Amen.
HOMILY 13: That no man, unless he is strengthened by Christ, is able to get clear of the stumbling blocks of Satan; and what they ought to do that are desirous of the divine glory
1. THEY in whom the divine law is grafted in the heart, having the eyes of their mind enlightened, are able to get clear of the stumbling blocks of the wicked one. But they that are not honoured with the word of God, being vainly puffed up, imagine that by their own free will they can cut off all occasions of sin, which yet is condemned through the mystery of the cross alone.
2. For it is impracticable to go upon the asp and the basilisk, and to tread upon the lion and the dragon, unless we are first enabled by him that said to the apostles, "Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents, and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy." For were the human nature able, without the complete armour of the Holy Spirit, to stand against the wiles of the devil, we had never been told by the apostle, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." He therefore that is desirous to be made partaker of the divine glory, ought, with an insatiable affection, with his whole heart and strength, night and day to seek help from God.
3. Wherefore endeavour all you can to become the child of God, without blame, and to enter into that rest "whither the forerunner Christ is entered for us." Do your utmost that your name be written in the church in heaven with the first-born; that you may be found "at the right hand of the Majesty on high." Study to enter into the holy city, the peaceful Jerusalem. Pour out tears day and night, according to him that said, "Every night wash I my bed, and water my couch with my tears." For "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy." Wherefore the prophet expresses himself with confidence, "Hold not thy peace at my tears."
4. Seek him only who said, "I am come to send fire on earth, and how I would it were already kindled." For this burning of the Spirit it is that kindles up new life in the heart. This divine fire is used to enlighten souls, and to try them as the pure gold in the furnace, but to consume sin as thorns and stubble. This inflamed the heart of Cleopas and his companion, as our Saviour was talking to them after the resurrection. This burns up the beam in the inward eye, and restores the mind to its purity; that so, upon recovering its native power of seeing, it may incessantly behold the wonders of God. Let us pray this fire that it would come to us also; that we, walking at all times in the light, may never -- no, not for a moment -- "dash our feet against a stone"; but, as lights shining in the world, may hold forth the word of eternal life, that, enjoying the good things of God, we may rest with the Lord in life, glorifying the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. To whom be glory for ever! Amen.
HOMILY 14: Concerning the truth and excellency of the soul, and how it is tempted by Satan and obtains deliverance
1. DO NOT slightly regard the noetic nature of the soul. The immortal soul is a vessel of great price. Observe how great the heaven is and the earth; and yet God took not any great complacency in them, but in thee only. Behold thy own worth and high descent, that the Lord should come on an embassy -- and that not by angels, but in his own person, with the purpose to recall thee that hadst been lost; and to restore to thee the original formation of Adam in his purity. For man was Lord of all, from heaven above to the depths beneath, and pure from sin, [the image] and likeness of God. But through the transgression he is fallen, and wounded, and dead.
2. Question: Is natural concupiscence rooted out by the coming of the Holy Spirit? Answer: Sin is rooted out, and man receives the original formation of Adam in his purity. Through the power of the Spirit, he comes up to the first Adam; yea, is made greater than him.
3. Question: Is Satan let loose to a certain degree, or does he make war as he pleases? Answer: If he were permitted to war at pleasure he would put an end to all. If the silversmith and the goldsmith put on fire by rule, for if there is more than enough, the gold and silver is lost; and if man has skill enough to proportion his burdens to his beast, suitable to the strength they have to carry, how much more does God, who knows the capacities of men, loosen the reins of the adverse power in different degrees? In the same proportion, therefore, as any one is able to receive and sustain the fight -- so far is Satan let loose upon him.
4. Question: Does Satan ever be still, and is man freed from the war; or, has he war as long as he lives?Answer: Satan at no time sleeps. As long as anyone lives in this world and wears flesh, he finds war. But, when the fiery darts of the wicked one shall be quenched, what then is there that hurts the man? Since he has the King to befriend him, one that gives an helping hand, he receives no manner of damage. For when a man has passed through all degrees and is become the King's friend, can he after that be liable to injury from any one?
5. Christians are clothed with the Spirit, and are at rest. Though war arises from without, they are inwardly fortified with the power of the Lord, and are no more concerned for Satan. Just so, when he tempted our Lord in the wilderness for forty days, what real hurt was it, that he could outwardly approach his body? For within was God. In like manner Christians, though outwardly they are tempted, yet inwardly are they filled with the divine nature, and so nothing is injured. These degrees, if any man attain to them, he is come to the perfect love of Christ and to the fullness of the Godhead. But he that is not so, still inwardly retains the war. He is one hour refreshed in prayer, and another in a state of affliction. For so is the will of the Lord: because such a one is as yet but an infant, he trains him up to the battle; and there spring up in him both light and darkness, and rest and affliction; and that, whatever gifts he has (for many of the brethren have had the gifts of healing, revelation and prophecy), however, not having attained to perfect charity, the war came upon them and they fell. Indeed, if any one comes to perfect love, he is for ever after bound and captivated by grace. But if any one make but small advances towards this, he is still in bondage to fear, and to war, and to falling.
HOMILY 15: Concerning the worth and condition of the Christian
1. KNOW, O man, thy high descent and worth: how precious you art as the brother of Christ, the friend of the king, the spouse of the heavenly Bridegroom! For whosoever shall discover the worth of his soul, he is also able to discover the power and the mysteries of the divine nature, and thereby to be the more abased; for as much as by the power of God it is that any one sees his fall. But in the same manner that he passed through sufferings and the cross and so was glorified, and sat down on the right hand of the Father, so does it behove you also to suffer with him, and to be crucified with him, and so to rise again, and sit together, and to be joined together with Christ, and forever to reign together with him.
2. Christianity, therefore, is no trivial matter: it is a great mystery. Consider therefore well thy high descent, that you art called to royal dignity, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation." For the mystery of Christianity is foreign to this world. The glory of a king, together with his riches, which are seen, are earthly, corruptible and passing away; but that kingdom, and those riches, are divine things, things heavenly and glorious, never passing away; for they reign together with the heavenly King in the church in heaven. And he truly is "the first-born from the dead"; but then are they the first-born also. Yet are they in their own eyes the very least of all, and greatly set at nought. Nay, this is become to them as it were natural, and riveted into them to esteem themselves nothing.
3. Question: Do they then not know that they are possessed of something which they had not before?Answer: They do: but still they look upon themselves to be of no esteem. Though with God they are precious, yet with themselves they are not so -- but just as if they had known nothing at all.
4. Question: How is it that the apostle says, "Though I have all knowledge, and all prophecy, and speak with the tongues of angels, I am nothing?" Answer: In respect of that charity, which is perfect, are these but small matters; and he that is in any of these degrees may fall. 1 have seen men that have been admitted to the whole circle of gifts, and been partakers of the Spirit, and these very persons, not having attained to perfect charity, have fallen. One of the noble order sold all his goods, set them that were slaves at liberty, and was himself a person of prudence and understanding; yet, in the midst of all, by conceiving an opinion of himself, he fell in the event into scandalous impurities and endless mischiefs, Another, in time of persecution, yielded up his body and was hung up, and his senses taken away; afterwards he was thrust into prison. There attended him one of the women according to the faith; and having contracted familiarity with her, even while in custody, he fell into fornication. See! The rich man that sold his goods, and he that gave up his body to martyrdom, how they fell! Another, that lived with me in the same house and prayed with me, was rich in grace. There was given him the gift of healing, and he not only cast out devils but healed likewise those that were afflicted with grievous sicknesses, simply by putting his hands upon them. After this, growing careless, he was puffed up, and fell into the very lowest depths of sin. See I even he that had the gift of healing fell. You see how they fall before they come to perfect love! But he that arrives at this is plunged all over, and carried off captive into another world.
5. Question: What is the meaning of those words, "Which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man?" Answer: At that time the great men, and the righteous, and the kings, knew that the Redeemer was to come: but that his blood was to be poured out upon the cross, they neither knew nor had heard, neither had it entered into their heart that there was to be the baptism of fire and of the Holy Spirit; and that Christians were to receive the Comforter, and be clothed with power from on high, and be filled with the Godhead, and mixed together with the Holy Spirit. Of this they knew nothing, neither had it entered into their heart. For Christians now grow rich in a quite different way, and are carried up into the Godhead. But though possessed of so much joy and comfort, they are yet in fear and trembling.
Question: What fear and trembling? Answer: A jealous fear, that they make no false step in any one instance; but harmonizes with grace. For a man does not immediately arrive at perfection. First, he enters the lists and fights with Satan, and after a long course and fight he carries off the trophies of victory, and becomes a Christian. For if merely by hearing a man is made perfect without any further trouble, then even those that frequent the theatre, and whore-mongers, shall all go into the kingdom. But this cannot be: the way is strait and narrow. We must go through this rugged way, and hold out with patience, and be afflicted, and so enter into life.
6. But this is the way to God, to travel the road of life in much patience, in hope, in humbleness of mind, in poverty of spirit, in meekness; and through these is a man possessed of righteousness within himself. But, the righteousness we are speaking of is the Lord himself. These commandments are as marks of the royal way, leading them that travel in it up to the heavenly city. For, says he, "Blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed are the meek; blessed are the merciful; blessed are the peace-makers." This is Christianity.
Glory be to the tender mercies of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, for ever! Amen.
HOMILY 16: The misery of the soul when, by reason of sin, the Lord does not dwell in her
1. Woe to that way, wherein none walks, neither heareth in it the voice of man! For it is become a receptacle of beasts. Woe to the soul, when the Lord walks not in her, neither driveth out of her the spiritual beasts of wickedness with his voice! Woe to the house, when the master of it does not inhabit it! Woe to the earth, when it has no husbandman to till it! Woe to the ship, when it has no pilot; for then it is tossed about with the waves and storms! Woe to the soul, when it has not the true Pilot in her! For then, being in the sea of darkness, tossed about by the waves of unruly passions, at the mercy of wicked spirits, it obtains in the end destruction. Woe to the soul, when it wants Christ to till it with care, that it may bring forth the good fruits of the Spirit! For lying waste, and being full of thorns and thistles, in the end it is burnt with fire. Woe to the soul, when it has not Christ, the Master, dwelling in it! For then is it a wilderness; yea, is, filled with the ill savour of disorderly affections, the sink of all corruption.
2. As in Egypt, during the three days' darkness, the son saw not his father neither the brother his brother, the darkness concealing them; so when Adam had transgressed the commandment, the veil of darkness came upon his soul and now he saw not his true and heavenly Father, and neither his brother, the Lord, nor his friends and kindred, the holy angels. And even to this time, they, upon whom Christ the Sun of Righteousness, has not risen, and in whom the eyes of the soul have not been opened, are under the same darkness of sin, and have not eyes to behold their Father.
3. For this every one ought to know: that there are eyes within these outward eyes, and a sense of hearing more inward than this of the outward ear. And as these eyes of ours sensibly behold and know the face of a friend, or one we love; so do the eyes of a faithful soul, enlightened with divine light, see the true Friend, the Bridegroom, the Lord. And thus beholding the only beauty, which surpasses expression, it is wounded with divine love; it is directed to all the virtues of the Spirit; and obtains the boundless and never-failing love of her Lord.
HOMILY 17: God executes the dispensations of his grace upon mankind, after a two-fold manner
1. THE wisdom of God being infinite and incomprehensible, he executes the dispensations of his grace upon mankind after an unsearchable manner, with great variety, that they may be manifest that seek him with all their heart, and endure all manner of danger and labour upon his account. Some are set out with the favours and gifts of the Holy Spirit, immediately, as soon as they ask, without toil, and sweat, and fatigue; God affording them grace, not by chance, but by a wisdom that exceeds all expression. Let these who so quickly obtain the divine grace, be sensible of the benefit and kindness that has been shown them, and of the sweetness of God, according to the proportion of grace received, without any pains of their own: let them give proof of their diligence and their conflict, and make a suitable return for those gifts, by giving their whole selves to the love of the Lord, doing his will only, and withdrawing themselves perfectly from all carnal desire.
2. On others, though they have withdrawn from the world, and persevere in prayer, and fasting and diligence, God does not immediately bestow his grace and rest, and the gladness of the Spirit, but withholds the gift, that he may see whether they thought him the faithful and true God, who has promised, to give to then that ask, and to open to them that knock, the door of life; that he may observe whether they endure to the end, asking and seeking; or whether through remissness they fall off, not holding on to the end.
3. For some that receive not in a little time are the more desirous after heavenly things; and every day adds to their former industry, and speed, and struggle, and hunger and thirst after that which is good; nothing, dispirited, by the trials that are present with their souls, nor turning to impatience, or despair; yea, the more the Lord puts them upon the trial, so much the more eager, diligent, and obstinate they are, in seeking after the gift of God; being fully assured that God cannot lie, who has promised to give his grace, to them that continue to ask.
4. Wherefore suitably to this assurance, do they make an estimate of themselves wherein they are deficient; whether it be in labour, or conflict, or application, or any other point, and when they make this scrutiny; with all the exactness they are able, they force and urge themselves, all they can, to do what is well-pleasing to the Lord; as having this full confidence, that God, who is true, will not deprive them of the gift of the Spirit, if they persevere to the end in the expectation of him: but they shall receive the heavenly grace, while they continue in the flesh, and shall obtain eternal life.
5. And thus do they direct their eye to the Lord, looking for him only with great desire, and ever waiting for the consolation of grace, and taking no comfort in any thing of this world. At the same time the Lord himself is already, after a hidden manner, present with them, and succours and preserves them, and is their support. Although they have not obtained the grace of the Spirit, and the refreshment of the heavenly gift, yet let them not fear; they that take up such an intention, and endeavour, and pains, and desire of virtue, and continue in it to the end, shall of a truth obtain life and the everlasting kingdom.
6. Let not therefore any of the brethren be lifted up against his brother, so as to say, "I have the spiritual gift, and you have not." For you know not what the morrow may bring forth, or what end his will be, and what your own. But let every one, looking well to himself, sift his conscience at all times, and prove the work of his heart, what application and conflict he has in his mind towards God. And aiming at the perfect mark of liberty, and freedom from disorderly affections, let him run without intermission, never placing his confidence in any gift or in any act of righteousness.
Glory and worship be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, for ever! Amen.
HOMILY 18: Concerning the progress of a Christian
1. AS MANY lights and burning lamps are kindled by the fire, but all the lamps and lights are lighted up from one nature, thus Christians also are lighted up from one nature, and shine from the divine fire, the Son of God, and have these lamps flaming in their hearts, shining before him while on earth, even as he himself.
2. Christians therefore are lights that have the oil in themselves, that is, "the fruits of righteousness." But if they are not lighted up from the light of the Godhead in themselves, they are nothing. The Lord was a burning light through the Spirit of the Godhead abiding substantially in him, and inflaming his heart according to his human part.
3. For as a rotten bag that is filled with pearls, so are Christians also, who being outwardly despicable, have in the "inward man the pearl of great price." But others are like whited sepulchres, without indeed they are beautiful; but within are full of dead men's bones. They are dead before God, and clothed with all manner of shame and filth, and the darkness of the enemy.
4. The Christian ought at all times to be mindful of God. For it is written, "You shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart"; that he may not only love the Lord, when he goes into his oratory, but that even when walking, and in company, and when eating, he may retain the memory of God, and a natural affection for him. Indeed to what thing so ever the heart of any one is linked, that is his god. If the heart at all times desires God, he is the Lord of the heart. But if any one that has outwardly renounced all, and is stripped of his possessions, yet is wedded to himself, or to worldly desires; wheresoever his heart is chained, that is his god. And he is found to have come out of the world indeed through the broad gate, but through a wicket to have gone in again.
5. But if a man at all times cleaves fast unto the Lord, and places his confidence and hope upon him, then none can hurt him. For though the demons are strong as the strong mountains, they are burnt by prayer, as wax by fire. Yet in the mean time great is the struggle and fight that lies upon the soul against them. There are the rivers of dragons, and the mouths of lions. But the fire of love burns up all.
6. As a man that is a complete worker of evil is insatiable after mischief, so Christians that have been baptised into the Holy Spirit are insatiable after God. Yet while they have a mixture of sin, they are liable to fear, and travel through frightful places.
7. For as merchants, though they have now a fair wind and a smooth sea, are in fear lest of a sudden there should be a contrary wind and the sea grow tempestuous; so Christians, though they have in themselves the favourable wind of the Spirit blowing, yet are in concern lest the wind of the adverse power should rise upon them and stir up a tempest in their souls. There is need therefore of great industry, that we may come to the haven of rest, to the perfect world, to eternal life and pleasure, to the "city of the saints, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to the church of the first-born."
8. Nor ought we to be secure. For as a garden that is set with fruit trees and sweet-smelling plants, all well laid out and contrived with beauty, and has withal a little wall for an hedge, to keep it; if it should so fall out that a rapid river runs by it, and by little and little dissolves the foundation, having once gained entrance, it roots up all that was planted. Even thus is the heart of man: it has good thoughts and desires, but there are rivers of corruption ever approaching. And if the mind give way but a little to unclean thoughts, lo, the spirits of error have entered in, and overturned all the beauties that were there, and laid the soul waste.
9. As the eye is little beyond all the members, and yet contains the heaven, the stars, the sun, the moon, cities, and other creatures -- for all these are seen under one, are formed and imagined in the pupil of the eye. Thus also the heart is a little vessel. And yet there are dragons, and there are lions, the poisonous beasts, and all the treasures of wickedness, and there are rugged ways, and precipices. In like manner there is God, there are the angels, there is the life and the kingdom, there is the light, there are the treasures of grace: there are all things.
1O. And yet many find them not. For as when the alarm of war is sounding, the wise men and the great ones were not there; but the poor, and the unlearned are sent forth, and they work a victory over their enemies, and receive from the king the rewards of their victory, and crowns, and dignities. Thus also is it in heavenly things. It is the poor and unlearned from the beginning that love the truth, do what it requires, fight the good fight, and receive from God the grace of his Spirit. But the wise and great flee the war; neither do they make any progress, and consequently they are left behind them who have fought and overcome. And the Lord has promised, "Where I am, there also shall these my servants be." And they shall reign together with the Father, and with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit, even to ages of ages! Amen.
HOMILY 19: What kind of change Christ works in the Christian
1. HE that comes to God, and desires to be the person that sitteth with Christ upon his throne, ought to come to him upon this very view, that he may be changed from his former state and conversation; that he may be a new man, who carries nothing of the old man about him: "For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." For our Lord Jesus Christ came for this very reason, that he might change, renew, and create afresh this soul that had been perverted by vile affections, tempering it with his own divine Spirit. He came to work a new mind, and a new soul, and new eyes, new ears, a new spiritual tongue; yea, to make them that believe in him new men, that he might pour into them the new wine, which is his Spirit.
2. For as the enemy, when he had gotten man into his own hands, wrought him anew for himself, having clothed him with vile affections, and poured into him the spirit of sin; so also the Lord, having redeemed him from the enemy, wrought him anew, and poured his own Spirit into him. For he that changed the nature of the burning fire to bedew them that were in the furnace, and for Daniel's sake tamed the nature of the lions, can also transform the soul that was grown wild by sin into his own goodness and peace by the Holy Spirit of promise.
3. For as the shepherd can heal a diseased sheep and keep him from the wolves, so the true Shepherd is able to heal the sheep that was lost, even man from the leprosy of sin. The priests and Levites, and the teachers that were before, were never able to heal the soul by their oblations of gifts and sacrifices; yea, they were not able to heal themselves. "For it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sin." But the Lord can heal every disease, and every sickness of the soul. And the true healing of the soul is from the Lord only.
4. The good shepherd therefore healeth the sheep. But the sheep itself can never heal the sheep. And unless man be healed, there is no entrance for him into the congregation of the Lord in heaven. Thus also was it said in the law through a shadow: "A leper shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord." But he commanded the leper to go to the priest, who was to bring him into the house of his tabernacle, put his hands upon the leprosy, the place marked with the infection, and heal it. After the same manner, Christ, the true high priest of good things to come, in condescension to leprous souls, enters into the tabernacle of their body, takes care of their disorders, and healeth them. And thus will the soul be able to enter into the heavenly church of the saints of the true Israel. But every soul that bears the leprosy of sin in her affections, and will not come to the true high-priest and be taken care of now, finds no admission into the camp of the saints. It behoves therefore the soul that truly believeth in Christ, to be changed from her present nature into another nature, which is divine, and to be wrought new herself through the power of the Holy Spirit. And to obtain this, will be allowed to us who believe and love him in truth, and walk in all his holy commandments.
5. No man can of himself go over the sea unless he have a vessel, which is able to go upon the waters; after the same manner is it impossible for the soul to pass over the sea of sin, and the abyss of the powers of darkness unless it receive the Spirit of Christ that walks, and makes its way over all wickedness, by means of which he will arrive by a quick and straight passage at the heavenly port of rest.
6. But as a ship stands in need of a pilot, in order to sail well; the Lord himself is a pilot to the faithful soul, and conveys it through all the waves of wickedness, and the strong winds of sin, without Christ, it is impossible for any one to get over the wicked sea of the powers, of darkness. "They mount up", says the Psalmist, "to the heavens, and go down again to the depths." But he is well acquainted with the whole art of a pilot, and tramples upon their fierce waves. For he, says the apostle, "Having himself been tempted, is able to succour them that are tempted."
7. We ought therefore to believe with our whole heart his unspeakable promises, to love the Lord, and to be industrious in all virtues, and to beg continually, that we may receive the promise of his Spirit entirely and perfectly; that so our souls might be quickened whilst we are yet in the flesh. For unless the soul shall in this world receive the sanctification of the Spirit through much faith and prayer, and be made partaker of the divine nature (through which it will be able without blame and in purity to per form every commandment), it is unfit for the kingdom of heaven. For whatever good a man has possessed in this world, the same shall in that day be his life, through the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit for ever! Amen.
HOMILY 20: No art or wealth of this world, but the manifestation of Christ alone, is able to heal man
1. HE that has made Christ his choice, ought to look upon all things in this world as out of his way and foreign to him. For he that truly follows after the cross of Christ, having renounced all things, even his own soul, ought to have his mind fixed upon the love of Christ; preferring the Lord before parents, brethren, wife, children, kindred, friends, and possessions. For this has Christ plainly declared in these words, "Every one that has not left father, or mother, or brethren, or wife, or children, or lands, and follows not me, is not worthy of me." For in no other is there found salvation and rest for mankind.
2. How many kings have there sprung from the race of Adam, whose thoughts have been lifted up by their royal power. Yet not one of these has so much as known that corruption which from the transgression of the first man broke in upon the soul. There have also been several wise men in the world, and variety of artificers. But all these being held fast by the serpent dwelling within, and being sensible of the sin that cohabited with them, because the captives and slaves of the wicked power, without gaining any advantage from their knowledge and skill.
3. The world therefore, thus stored with all manner of varieties, is like a rich man that is possessed of great and splendid houses, gold and silver, and possessions; but being distressed with pains and distempers, cannot with all that wealth release himself of his infirmity. No application of any thing relating to this life, neither riches nor strength, rescue the soul from sin; nothing less than the appearance of Christ, that alone is able to cleanse both soul and body. Wherefore having disengaged ourselves from the cares of this life, let us devote ourselves to the Lord, crying to him night and day. For this visible world, and the rest which it affords, the more they seem to cherish the body, so much the more do they sharpen the disorders of the soul, and increase her illness.
4. God has created both the heaven and the earth, the sun, and the moon, the waters, the trees, and all kinds of living, creatures. But in none of these does God take up his rest. The creation is under his command, but he has no where fixed his throne, nor vouchsafed communion with himself, to any but man, in whom alone he is well pleased, to whom he has imparted himself, and in whom he has taken up his rest. Do you behold here the near relation of God to man, and of man to God? Wherefore the soul having made trial of all the creatures, has not found any rest for herself but in the Lord alone. Nor has the Lord found pleasure in any other, but man only.
5. If you open your eyes towards the sun, you find his orb in the heaven but his light and rays glancing full upon the earth, and the whole force of his light, and his brightness shooting down upon it. So likewise doth our Lord sit in person "at the right hand of the Father, above all principality and power"; but his eyes extended to the hearts of men upon earth, that he may raise them to the place where he himself is. Yea, "He has raised us up together with him, and made us sit together at his right hand in heavenly places." To Him be glory for ever. Amen.
HOMILY 21: An allegorical explanation of things done under the Law
1. THE glory of Moses, which he had upon his face, was a type of the true glory. For whereas the Jews were not able to fix their eyes upon the face of Moses; so do Christians receive that glory of light within their souls; and the darkness dulls not the splendour of it.
2. They were manifested by circumcision, that they were the people of God; but here the peculiar people of God receive the sign of circumcision within, in their heart. For the heavenly sword cutteth off the unclean foreskin of sin.
3. Among them baptism sanctified the flesh; but with us is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and of fire.
4. There was an outward tabernacle and an inward; and into the first the priests went at all times, accomplishing the service of God. Into the second, once a year, "went the high priest only, with blood; the Holy Spirit this signifying that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest." But we all enter into the "tabernacle not made with hands, whither the Forerunner is entered for us, Christ."
5. It is written in the Law that "the priest shall take two pigeons, and kill the one", but sprinkle the living one with her blood and let it go, that it may fly away free. This was a type and shadow of the truth: for Christ was slain, and his blood having been sprinkled, has made us to bear wings. He has "given us of his Holy Spirit", that we might fly without impediment into the Godhead.
6. To them was given the law written upon "tables of stone"; but to us, that "written upon the tables of the heart." For, says he, "I will put my laws into their heart, and in their mind will I write them." And indeed all those things were abolishable and temporary. But they are now accomplished in the inward man.
7. The Lord spoke to Moses, "to take a lamb without spot, and kill it, and with the blood of it to anoint the thresholds and the doors, that he that destroyed the firstborn of the Egyptians should not touch them." For the angel that was sent, beheld the sign of the blood from afar and withdrew. But he went into the houses which had not the sign, and "slew every first-born. He also commanded that leaven should be put away out of every house." Moreover, he commanded them to eat it a with their loins girt, and with their feet shod with sandals, and having staves in their hands." Thus does he command them with all haste to eat the passover of the Lord, and not to break a bone of it before the Lord. They came out of Egypt, as the Egyptians were burying their first-born. And they had joy upon their freedom from the hard bondage. But these had grief and wailing for the destruction of their children. All these things are the mystery of the soul, redeemed by the coming of Christ. If the soul groan and cry to God, he sends the spiritual Moses to deliver her from the bondage of the Egyptians. First, it cries and groans, and then does it obtain the beginning of its redemption. But then does he command that all the old leaven be purged out of every house, to cast out as much as possible all the actions and "devices of the old man, which is corrupt" -- his wicked thoughts and sordid conceptions. The lamb ought to be slain and sacrificed, and the blood of it to stain the doors. For Christ, the true and immaculate Lamb, was slain, and with his blood are the thresholds of the heart anointed; that the blood of Christ, which was shed upon the cross, might become life and redemption to the soul. Then, after the anointing is over, he commandeth them at even to eat the lamb, being girt about with girdles, and shod with sandals, having staves in their hands; for unless the soul be prepared as much as in her lies, she is not allowed to eat of the Lamb. He brings the souls out of Egypt and out of bondage, her first-born being slain in their coming out. For some part of the power of the spiritual Pharaoh is already fallen. Grief possesses the Egyptians; for they groan with grief at the salvation of the captives. Blessed is that soul which is redeemed from darkness! And woe be to that soul which does not cry and groan to him who is able to deliver her from those hard and bitter exactors. The children of Israel, having kept the passover, depart. The soul advances forwards, having once received the life of the Holy Spirit and tasted of the Lamb, and been anointed with his blood, and fed upon the true bread, the Living Word.
8. The pillar of fire and the pillar of the cloud go before, protecting them. The Holy Spirit supports these, cherishing them, and directing their souls in a sensible manner. Pharaoh, having knowledge that the people were fled, had the confidence, even after the slaughter of the first-born, to pursue after them with the whole body of his people. How exact is the resemblance! When the soul has first made its escape, the power of God succours her, leading her into truth. But when the spiritual Pharaoh has notice that the soul is revolted, he pursues her hard with afflictions and temptations. Here is she tried; here is she tempted; here is her love towards him that brought her our of Egypt made manifest. She beholds the forces of the enemy coming upon her, yet not having her in their power. For in the very midst, between her and the Egyptians, does the Lord stand. Withal, she beholds before her the sea of affliction, and is unable to retire backward, having on that side also enemies ready prepared; nor yet can she advance forwards. She has therefore the sentence of death in her, by reason of the throng of the wicked spirits that surrounds her. Such is the way which God has appointed to lead to life: to be in affliction, and in straits, and temptations; that thence the soul may afterwards make her way to the true land of the glory of the sons of God. When therefore the soul has no hope in herself, through the overbearing affliction, and the death before her eyes in that very juncture does she, with a strong hand, an high arm, through the shining forth of the Holy Spirit, break through the power of darkness; and passes through, escaping out of the frightful places, and having shot through the sea of darkness, and the all-devouring fire.
These are the mysteries of the soul, which are brought to pass in the man who is industrious to come to the promise of life, and who is redeemed out of the kingdom of death, and made partaker of the Holy Spirit.
HOMILY 22: It is not enough for a man to be taken from the delights of this world, unless he attain to the happiness of the other
1. IF any man who has renounced this world and is estranged from the delights of it, both possessions and father and mother, for the sake of the Lord, and having crucified himself becomes a stranger, poor and indigent; yet does not find in himself the divine refreshment, in the room of the refreshment of this world, arid instead of the delights which are temporary, the delights of the Spirit; if, instead of this temporary and fleshly communion, he is not acquainted with the communion of the heavenly Bridegroom and instead of the joy of this world, he possesses not within the joy of the Spirit, the consolation of the heavenly grace; if, instead of this temporary fruition, he does not possess that incorruptible fruition of God -- this person is pitiable above all men he is deprived of the things here, and hath no enjoyment of the gifts divine.
2. He that has renounced this world, ought even now to pass in, through the Spirit, into another world, and there to have his conversation and his pleasures, and to enjoy the spiritual good things, being born of the Spirit as the Lord has said, "He that believeth in me, is passed front death to life." For as much as there is another death besides that which is before our eyes, and another life besides that which does appear; so says the Scripture, "She that lives in pleasure is dead while she lives", and "Let the dead bury their dead. For the dead shall not praise thee, O Lord; but we that are alive will bless thee."
3. The soul that is born of God, collecting all her thoughts, enters in unto the Lord, into "the house which is from heaven, not made with hands"; and all her thoughts become heavenly, pure, and holy. For he that is once set free from the darkness of this world, finds thoughts pure and divine, because God has been pleased to make him partaker of the divine nature.
4. If both your body and soul were spent every hour throughout your whole life for the sake of such good things, what would this amount to? O, the inexpressible compassion of God! that so freely grants himself to them that believe, to inherit God, and for God to dwell in the body of man, and the Lord to have man for his house. For as God created heaven and earth for man to dwell in, so has he created both the body and soul of man for his own house; that he may dwell and rest in the body as in his own house, having the soul for his bride, made according to his image. "For I have espoused you", says the apostle, "to one husband, that I may present you a chaste virgin to Christ."
5. This is the Lord; she [the soul] is a servant. This is the Creator; she a creature. This is the Workman; she the workmanship. There is nothing common to both natures. But through his boundless, unutterable, and in conceivable love and tender compassion, has it pleased him to dwell in this work of his hands, his precious and choice work, "that we might be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures"; for his wisdom and fellowship, for his own mansion-house, for his own precious and pure Bride. Wherefore promises such good things being set before us, and such made to us, and the good pleasure of the Lord towards us having been such. Children! let us not be negligent, neither delay our quick return to eternal life, and to-devote ourselves to the good pleasure of the Lord, wholly and entirely.
6. Let us therefore beseech the Lord, that, by the power of his Godhead, he would redeem us from the darkness of our vile affections; and that, having vindicated his own image and work, he would make it to shine out. And thus shall we be thought worthy of the communion of the Spirit, giving glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen.