Macarius3That heavenly fire of the Godhead, which Christians receive in their hearts now in this present world, that same fire which now ministers inwardly in the heart becomes outward when the body is dissolved, and recomposes the members, and causes a resurrection of the members that had been dissolved.

As the fire that ministered on the altar at Jerusalem lay buried in a pit during the time of the captivity, and the selfsame fire, when peace came and the captives returned home, was renewed, as it were, and ministered in its accustomed manner (2 Maccabees 1:19ff), so now the heavenly fire works upon this body that is so near us, which after its dissolution turns to mire, and renews it, and raises up the bodies that had decayed.

The inward fire that now dwells in the heart becomes then external, and causes a resurrection of the body.

The fire in the furnace under Nabuchodonosor was no divine fire, but a creature; but the Three Children (Daniel 3), because of their righteousness, while they were in the visible fire, had in their hearts the divine and heavenly fire ministering within their thoughts and exerting its energy in them.

That very fire showed itself outside them. It stood between them and the visible fire, and restrained it, that it should not burn the righteous, nor do them any manner of hurt.

In like manner, when the mind of Israel and their thoughts were bent upon departing far from the living God and turning to idolatry, Aaron was compelled to tell them to bring their golden vessels and ornaments (Exodus 32). Then the gold and the vessels, which they cast into the fire, became an idol, and the fire, as it were, copied their intention.

That was a wonderful thing. They, secretly, in purpose and thought, determined upon idolatry, and the fire accordingly fashioned the vessels thrown upon it into an idol, and then they committed idolatry openly.

As, then, the Three Children, having thoughts of righteousness, received in themselves the fire of God, and worshipped the Lord in truth, so now faithful souls receive that divine and heavenly fire, in this world, in secret; and that fire forms a heavenly image upon their humanity.

As the fire formed the golden vessels, and they became an idol, so does the Lord, who copies the intentions of faithful and good souls, and forms an image even now in the soul according to their desire, and at the resurrection it appears external to them, and glorifies their bodies within and without.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]; Spiritual Homily 11,1-3, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

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