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St Macarius the Great Spiritual Homilies

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HOMILY 9: Concerning the spiritual unction and glory of Christians.

1.'THE Christians, who are come the nearest to the King, are at all times devoted to the cross of CHRIST; and when they are anointed with the heavenly unction, they commence kings and prophets of the heavenly mysteries. For if the anointing oil that came from an outward plant, had so much virtue that the persons anointed with it, were constituted kings thereby; how much more do they who are anointed with the sanctifying and cheering oil of gladness, the heavenly and spiritual oil, receive the sign of that incorruptible kingdom, and everlasting power, the earnest of the Spirit, the very spirit of holiness and comfort? It is called the Comforter, by reason of that comfort and support it bestows upon them that are in afflictions. These being anointed from the tree of life, JESUS CHRIST, from the heavenly plant, are thought worthy to come to perfection; to the kingdom, and the adoption, being admitted to the secret councils of the heavenly King, and having free access to the Almighty, entering into his very palace, where are angels, and the spirits of the holy persons, though at the same time they live in this present world. For though they have not actually received the inheritance prepared for them in that world, they are secure from the earnest of the Spirit, which they have received, as if they were already crowned, and in possession of the kingdom. Nor does •it seem a strange thing to them that they shall reign together with CHRIST, through the overflowing presence of the Spirit. For what reason? Even because though in the flesh, they have a relish of its sweetness, and that effectual working of his power.

2. For they that are to reign in the world to come, are before-hand acquainted with the mysteries of grace. Indeed since man transgressed the commandment, the devil has covered the whole soul with a dark veil. But when grace comes, the veil is thrown off; so that the soul becoming pure, and regaining its proper nature, a creature free from blame or spot, for ever after beholds with a clear sight the glory of the true light, and the true Sun of Righteousness flashing with his bright beams upon the heart itself.

3. For as when the heavens are done away, the righteous for ever after shall live in the kingdom, and light, and glory, beholding nothing else but after what manner CHRIST in glory is evermore at the right hand of the Father; so these also that are now taken out of. the World, behold all the beauties and the wonders which are wrought there.

For we that are upon earth, have our indenization in heaven; all our transactions, and our whole civil conduct, is in that world as to our mind, and the inner man. For as the outward eye, when clear, perfectly beholds the sun; so the mind that is perfectly cleansed, ever beholds the glory of the light of CHRIST, and is present with the Lord night and day, just as the body of our Lord, being joined to the Godhead, is ever present with the Holy Ghost. But these are heights men do not immediately attain to, nor without labor and affliction) and conflict, 4. But the unsteady and unskillful, whenever grace operates, imagine presently they have no more sin. Whereas they that have discretion, cannot deny, that even we who have the grace of GOD, may be molested again with evil thoughts, For we have often had instances of some among the brethren, that have experienced such a degree of joy and grace, as to affirm, that for five or six years running, they had no sin in them; and yet after all, when they thought themselves freed entirely from it, the corruption that lurked within, was stirred up anew, and they were well nigh burnt up.

5. There is need therefore of great discernment, that a person may by experience know that things are really thus. I tell you moreover, that even the apostles were not altogether without apprehension. For with that joy and gladness had.they also a fear and trembling, proceeding from grace itself, and not from corrupt nature. But that very grace was their security, that they might riot turn aside.

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