Macarius3God’s grace in man, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is vouchsafed to a faithful soul, proceeds with much contention, with much endurance and longsuffering, and temptations and trials, the man’s free will being tried by all manner of afflictions.

And when it does not grieve the Spirit in anything, but is agreeable to grace through all commandments, then it is permitted to obtain freedom from passions, and receives the fulfilment of the Spirit’s adoption, spoken of in a mystery, and of the spiritual riches, and of the intelligence which is not of this world, whereof true Christians are made partakers.

For this reason they are for all purposes superior to all the men of prudence, intelligence, and wisdom, who have the spirit of the world. For such an one judgeth all men (1 Cor. 2:15)…..

He knows each man, from whence he speaks, and where he stands, and what measures he is in; but not a man of those that have the spirit of the world is able to know and judge him, but only he that has the like heavenly Spirit of the Godhead knows his like, as the apostle says:

Comparing spiritual things with spiritual; but the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, for they are foolishness unto him: but he that is spiritual judgeth all men, yet he himself is judged by none (1 Cor. 2:13ff).

Such an one looks upon all things that the world holds glorious, its riches, its luxury, and all its enjoyments yea, and even its knowledge and all things belonging to this age, as loathsome and hateful.

As one that is possessed and burning with a fever loathes and rejects the sweetest food or drink that you offer him, because he burns with the fever and is vehemently exercised by it, so those who burn with the heavenly, sacred, solemn longing of the Spirit, and are smitten in soul with love of the love of God, and are vehemently exercised by the divine and heavenly fire which the Lord came to send upon the earth, and desire that it should speedily be kindled (Luke 12:49), and are aflame with the heavenly longing for Christ, these, as we said before, consider all the glorious and precious things of this age contemptible and hateful by reason of the fire of the love of Christ.

The love of Christ holds them fast and inflames them and burns them with a Godward disposition and with the heavenly good things of love; from which love nothing of all that are in heaven and earth and under the earth shall be able to separate them, as the apostle Paul testified, saying, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom. 8:35).

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 9, 7-9, trans. by A.J. Mason  [slightly adapted].

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