Macarius3How should we be anything but serpents, we who are not found in obedience to God, but in the disobedience which came by the serpent?

How to bewail the calamity as it deserves, I cannot find.

How to cry aloud and weep to Him that is able to expel the error lodged within me, I do not know.

How shall I sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

How shall I lament for Jerusalem? How shall I flee from the grievous bondage of Pharaoh?

How am I to quit the foul place of sojourn? How can I deny the bitter tyranny? How can I get out of the land of Egypt?

How can I cross the Red Sea? how pass the great wilderness? how escape perishing from the bite of serpents? how conquer the aliens?

How shall I utterly destroy the heathen within me? How shall I receive the oracles of the law of God upon these tables of mine?

How shall I see the true pillar of light, and of the cloud proceeding from the Holy Ghost?

How shall I enjoy the manna of eternal delight? how drink the water from the life-giving rock? How am I to pass over Jordan, entering into the good land of promise?

How am I to see the Captain of the Lord’s host, whom Joshua the son of Nun, when he saw Him, immediately fell down and worshipped?

Unless I go through all this and destroy the heathen within me, I cannot go into the sanctuary of God and rest, nor become a partaker of the glory of the King.

Therefore labour to become a child of God without fault, and to enter into that rest, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Christ.

Labour to be enrolled in the church in heaven with the firstborn that you may be found at the right hand of the majesty of the Most High. Labour to enter into the holy city, the Jerusalem that is at peace, that is above, above all, where also is Paradise.

You have no other way to be admitted to these wonderful and blessed types, unless you pour out tears day and night, like him who says Every night wash I my bed, and water my couch with my tears.

You know well that they that sow in tears shall reap in joy. The prophet says boldly Hold not Thy peace at my tears.

[…] For the tear that is really shed out of much affliction and anguish of heart in the knowledge of the truth, with burning of the inward parts, is indeed a food of the soul.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 25,6-8, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.