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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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Page 23

4. Quest. 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?" Ans. 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; 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, purely 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. Quest. What is the meaning of those words, "Which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man?" Ans. 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 Ghost; 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: this they knew nothing of, 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. Quest. What fear and trembling? Ans. A jealous fear, that they make no false step in any one instance; but harmonize with grace. For a lean 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 whoremongers, 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, viz. 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 Ghost, for ever! Amen.

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