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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 2: That GOD alone is able to deliver us out of the bondage of the wicked ruler.

1. LET us beseech GOD that he would divest us of the old man, because he alone is able to take away sin from us, they being stronger than us, that have taken us captive, and detain us prisoners in their own kingdom. But he has promised to rescue us from this sore bondage. As when the sun shines, and the wind blows, the sun indeed has a distinct nature of his own, and the wind likewise another nature, and yet no man is able to make an actual separation of the wind from the suns unless GOD alone shall make the wind to cease, that it may blow no longer;-even so is sin blended with the soul, although both retain their own nature. It is impossible therefore to separate the soul from sin, unless GOD make a calm, and put a stop to this evil wind, which dwells in the soul and body.

2. And again, as a man that sees a bird flying may desire also to fly himself, but not having wings, it is impossible he should fly;-just so a man may be willing to be pure, and without blame, and without spot, and to be always with GOD; but he has not wherewithal to compass it. He is willing to fly up into the divine air, and into the liberty of the Holy Spirit; but, unless he receive wings for his purpose, he can never do it.

3. Let us therefore beseech GOD that he would give us " the wings of the dove," his Holy Spirit, that so " we may fly to him and be at rest;" and that he would separate the evil wind, and cause it to cease from usj both in soul and body: for he only is able to bring it to pass. It is only " the Lamb of GOD that takes away the sin of the world." He alone it is that showed this mercy to them that believe in him, that they are redeemed from sin. And for those that wait for him, and hope in him, and seek after him, will he work this unspeakable salvation.

4. As in a dark and cloudy night a boisterous wind blows, and searches and shakes every plant and seed, so man also, when he is fallen under the power of the devil, and is in the midst of the night and darkness, is ruffled, and shocked, and tossed about by the dreadful wind of sin that blows. It moreover searches his whole nature, his soul, his thoughts, and mind. And all the members of his body share in the commotion; and nothing is left free from it; neither is there the least part, either of soul or body, but what suffers from the sin that dwells in us. There is also the day of light, and the divine wind of the Holy Spirit, that breathes upon souls, and refreshes them that are in the light; and pierces through the whole substance of the soul and its thoughts; and withal gently fans and refreshes all the members of the body with divine and inexpressible rest.

5. The Lord has also put on them the raiment of the kingdom of light, surpassing all description,-the garments of faith, of hope, of love, of joy, of peace, of goodness, of kindness,-and all the other robes of light and life; the divine, living robes of that rest which is unspeakable: that as GOD himself is love, and joy, and peace, and kindness, and goodness, so may the new man be through grace.

6. And as the kingdom of darkness and sin are hid in the souls of sinners, until the day of the resurrection, at which time their very bodies also shall be covered over with the darkness which lies now hid in the soul,-thus also does the kingdom of light now enlighten and reign in the souls of the saints; but is hid from the eyes of men till the day of the resurrection; at which time the body itself shall be covered and glorified by the light of the Lord, that the body may reign together with the soul; which even now is actually refreshed and enlightened with the light eternal, Glory be to his mercies and tender compassion, for that he has pity on his servants, and enlighteneth and delivers them out of the kingdom of darkness, and vouchsafes his own light to them, and his own kingdom: to whom be glory and power, for ages! Amen.

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