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St Macarius the Great Spiritual Homilies

HOMILIES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

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HOMILY 1: An allegorical explication of the vision described in the prophet Ezekiel.

1. THE blessed prophet Ezekiel having seen a vision from GOD, full of glory, made a relation of it, and committed it to writing; a vision full of mysteries, surpassing utterance. For he saw in a plain the chariot of the cherubim, four spiritual living creatures; each of which had four distinct faces: one the face of a lion, another that of an eagle, the third of an ox, and the last the face of a man. To every face there were wings, so that there were no hinder parts to any of them, nor any thing behind at all. Their necks were full of eyes, and their bellies in like manner were thick set with eyes; neither was there any one part about them at all free from eyes. There were also wheels to every face, a wheel within a wheel. And the Spirit was in the wheels. And he saw as it were the likeness of a man, and under his feet as it were a work of sapphire. And the chariot bore the cherubim, and the living creatures the Lord that sat upon them. Whithersoever they would go, it was straight. forward. And he saw under each cherub as it were the hand of a man supporting and carrying.

2. And this that the prophet saw, was true and certain. But the thing it signified, or shadowed forth beforehand, was a matter mysterious and divine, that very mystery which had been hid from ages and generations, but was made manifest at the appearing of CHRIST. For the mystery which he saw, was that of the human soul as she is hereafter to receive her Lord, and become herself the very throne of his glory. For the soul that is thought worthy to partake of the spirit of his light, and is irradiated by the beauty of his ineffable glory, (he having by that spirit prepared her for his own seat and habitation) becomes all light, all face, and all eye: neither is there any one part in her but what is full of these spiritual eyes of light; that is, there is no part in her darkened: but she is all entirely wrought into light and spirit, and is all over full of eyes, having no hinder part, or any thing behind; but appears to be altogether face, by reason of the inexpressible beauty of the glory of the light of CHRIST, that rides and sits upon her.

3. And as the sun is altogether of one likeness, without any hinder part or defect, but is all throughout bedecked with light, without the least variety of part; or as the light is all over of an exact likeness with itself, and admits of no distinction of first or last: so the soul that is thoroughly illuminated by the inexpressible beauty of the glory of the light of the face of CHRIST, and partakes of the Holy Spirit in perfection, and is thought worthy to become the mansion and the throne of GOD, becomes all eye, all light, and all face, and all glory, and all spirit; CHRIST himself who governs and drives, and carries and supports her, thus preparing her, and thus gracing and adorning her with spiritual beauty. For " the hand (says the text,) of a man was under the cherub;" because he it is that rideth in her, and directs her way.

4. But another way, it is applied to the church of the saints in heaven. And as it is said that the living creatures were exceeding high, full of eyes, and that it was impossible for any one to comprehend the number of the eyes, or the height; and as to behold and wonder at the stars in heaven was given to all men, hut to know or - comprehend the number of them was not given: so may I affirm also of the church of the saints in heaven, that to enter in and enjoy it, is granted to all that will but strive; but to know and comprehend the exact number there, is reserved for GOD alone.

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