Macarius3Let us illustrate in some measure by examples the methods of the Spirit in the soul.

At a certain time then are they elated, as at a royal banquet, and rejoice with joy and gladness not to be expressed.

At another season are they as the bride, that in communion with the bridegroom enjoys divine pleasures.

At other times they are as the angels, which are not clogged with this earthly tabernacle.

At other times, they are in grief and lamentation for all mankind, and interceding for the whole stock of Adam.

They take up a wailing and a weeping for it; the love of the Spirit for the human nature kindling and flaming out within them.

At other times the joy and love of the Spirit inflames them to that degree that, were it possible, they would snatch up every man into their own hearts, not making the least distinction of the bad from the good.

At other times they are humbled so far below every other person in the self-abasement of the Spirit, as to think themselves inferior to and less than all.

At other times they are like a strong man, that, having put on the royal armour, and coming down in battle upon his enemies, fights valiantly against them and overcomes them.

For in like manner, he too that is spiritual takes the heavenly weapons of the Spirit, and comes upon his enemies and fights them and treads them under his feet.

At other times does the soul rest in great silence, and calmness and peace, being given up to spiritual pleasure, and rest unspeakable.

At other times it is instructed by grace in a sort of understanding and wisdom not to be described, and a knowledge of the Spirit that is past finding out, in such things as it is impossible for the tongue to utter.

So very various is the way of grace in them, and such variety is there in the manner after which it conducts the soul, refreshing it according to the will and pleasure of God.

And with equal variety does it exercise her, thereby to restore her perfect and blameless, and pure to our heavenly Father.

These several refreshments of grace are expressed indeed very differently. However, there is no intermission of their influence; but one operation continually succeeds another.

For when the soul is thoroughly cleansed from all its corrupt affections, and is united, by an ineffable communion, to the Spirit, the Comforter, and is thoroughly mixed with the Spirit, and is become spirit itself, then is it all light, all eye, all spirit, all joy, all rest, all gladness, all love, all heart, all goodness and clemency.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [this homily, like much of the Macarian corpus is generally attributed to the anonymous author known as Pseudo-Macarius]; Spiritual Homily 10, 6-9, trans. by the Revd D.R. Jenning; full text, with corrections and editorial, at the Monachos.net Library Project.

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