Macarius the Egyptian: The covenant is within, and the battle within Wednesday, Jul 20 2016 

Macarius3The glory of Moses which he had upon his countenance was a figure of the true glory.

For as in that case the Jews were not able to look steadfastly upon the face of Moses (2 Cor. 3:7), so now Christians receive that glory of light in their souls, and the darkness, not bearing the radiance of the light, is blinded and banished.

They were made known to be the people of God by circumcision; here, God’s peculiar people receive the sign of circumcision inwardly in their heart.

The heavenly knife cuts away the unwanted portion of the mind, which is the impure uncircumcision of sin.

With them was a baptism sanctifying the flesh; with us, a baptism of Holy Ghost and fire, for this is what John preached: He shall baptize you with Holy Ghost and fire (Matt. 3:11).

There they had an outer tabernacle and an inner, and into the first the priests went continually, accomplishing the services; but into the second went the high priest alone once every year, with blood, the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest (Hebrews 9:6ff).

Here, on the other hand, those who have the privilege enter into the tabernacle not made with hands, whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Christ (Heb. 6:20).

It is written in the law that the priest should take two doves, and kill the one, and sprinkle the living one with its blood, and loose it and let it fly free.

That which was done was a figure and shadow of the truth; for Christ was slain, and His blood sprinkling us has made us to grow wings, for He has given us the wings of the Holy Ghost, that we may fly without hindrance into the air of the Godhead.

To them was given a law written upon tables of stone; but to us, spiritual laws, engraven upon fleshy tables of the heart (2 Cor. 3:3) for it says, I will put My laws in their hearts, and upon their minds will I write them (Heb. 10:16).

All those things were temporary and to be done away; but now all are accomplished in truth on the inner man.

The covenant is within, and the battle within. In short, whatsoever things happened unto them were done in a figure, and were written for our admonition (1 Cor. 10:11).

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 47, 1-3, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

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Macarius the Egyptian: “He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit” Tuesday, Jan 19 2016 

Macarius3The mind that is never off the search of itself and the quest of the Lord avails to gain possession of its own soul – the soul that was in the perdition of the passions – by always bringing itself into captivity to the Lord with main force and earnestness, and by cleaving to Him only, as it is said, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5); that by means of such striving and longing and seeking the mind may attain to become with the Lord one Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17) of the gift and grace of Christ.

[…] Lovely it is, when the soul, devoting herself wholly to the Lord, and cleaving to Him only, and dwelling mindfully in His commandments, and worthily honouring the Spirit of Christ which has come upon her and overshadowed her, is permitted to be one Spirit and one composition with Him, as the apostle says, He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17).

But if a man gives himself away to cares, or glory, or power, or human honours, and seeks after these things, and his soul is mixed up and enters into composition with earthly considerations, or is bound and held by anything belonging to this age, and if such a soul longs to transfer itself and escape and get away from the darkness of passions, in which it is held by the evil powers, it cannot do so, because it loves and does the will of darkness, and does not perfectly hate the practices of wickedness.

Let us therefore prepare ourselves to travel to the Lord with an undivided will and purpose, and to become followers of Christ, to accomplish whatever He wills, and to think upon His commandments to do them (Psalm 102/103:18). Let us sever ourselves altogether from the love of the world, and attach our souls to Him only, and keep in mind Him only as our business and care and quest.

If we have to be somewhat busied also in body, with the business laid upon us, and with obedience for God’s sake, let not the mind be parted from its love and quest and longing after the Lord; so that striving in such a mind, and journeying along the way of righteousness with an upright intention, and always taking heed to ourselves, we may obtain the promise of His Spirit, and may through grace be delivered from the perdition of the darkness of the passions, by which the soul is exercised, that we may be made meet for the eternal kingdom, and permitted to enjoy all eternity with Christ, glorifying the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit forever.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 9, 11-13, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

Macarius the Egyptian: The fire of the love of Christ Thursday, Oct 29 2015 

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].

Macarius the Egyptian: The inner man regards all men with a pure eye Sunday, Sep 6 2015 

Macarius3Continued from here….

The case stands thus, as if some foggy power hangs over and forms a light screen, like a dense air, though the lamp is burning and shining all the while, even as a veil hangs over yonder light.

So this man confesses that he is not perfect or altogether free from sin.

He says that the middle wall of partition has been broken through and shattered, and yet, at some point not wholly broken, nor at all times.

There are moments when grace kindles up and comforts and refreshes more fully; there are moments when it retreats and clouds over, according as grace itself manages for the man’s advantage.

But who is there that has come to the perfect measure at particular seasons, and has tasted and had direct experience of that world?

A perfect Christian man, one completely free, I have not yet seen.

Although one and another is at rest in grace, and enters into mysteries and revelations and into much sweetness of grace, still sin is yet present within.

By reason of the exceeding grace and of the light that is in them, men consider themselves free and perfect; but inexperience deceives them. They are under the influence of grace, but I have never yet seen a man that is free.

I myself at times have in part come to that measure, and I have learned to know that it does not constitute a perfect man.

Question. Tell us, if thou wilt, what measures thou art in?

Answer. After the sign of the cross, grace now acts thus. It calms all the members and the heart, so that the soul, for much joy, appears like an innocent child, and the man no longer condemns Greek or Jew, sinner or worldling.

The inner man regards all men with a pure eye, and the man rejoices over all the world, and desires that all should worship and love, Greeks and Jews.

At another moment, like the king’s son, he is as bold in the Son of God as in a father, and doors are opened to him, and he enters within to many mansions (John 14:2).

And the further he goes in, doors are again opened in progression, a hundred mansions leading to a hundred beyond, and he is rich, and the richer he is, other new wonders are again disclosed to him.

And he is entrusted, as a son and an heir, with things that cannot be told by mankind or put into syllables by mouth and tongue. Glory to God. Amen.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 8, 5-6 @ Pravoslavie.

Macarius the Egyptian: The light shining in the heart Thursday, Jul 2 2015 

Macarius3Continued from here….

To some…the sign of the cross has appeared in light and fastened itself upon the inward man.

[…]  At another time there was brought as it were a shining garment, such as there is none on earth in the course of this world, nor is it possible for human hands to make the like;

for as when the Lord went up into the mountain with Peter and John, He changed the fashion of His raiment and made it to flash with light, so was it with this garment, and the man who was clothed with it wondered and was amazed.

Another while, the light shining in the heart disclosed the inner, deeper, hidden light, so that the man, swallowed up in the sweetness of the contemplation, was no longer master of himself, but was like a fool or a barbarian to this world by reason of the surpassing love and sweetness, by reason of the hidden mysteries;

so that the man for that season was set at liberty, and came to perfect measures, and was pure and free from sin; yet afterwards grace retreated, and the veil of the adverse power came; notwithstanding, grace still shews itself in part, and he stands on the first and lowest step of perfection.

There are twelve steps, we might say, which a man has to pass before he reaches perfection. For a season that measure has been attained, and perfection entered upon; and then grace gives in, and he comes down by one step, and stands on the eleventh.

Here and there one man rich in grace has stood always, night and day, in perfect measures, at liberty and in purity, always captive and aloft.

Well now, if the man to whom those marvelous things were shewn, of which he has had actual experience, were to have them always present with him, he would be unable to undertake the dispensation of the word and the burden of it, nor could he endure to listen to, or take any interest in, any ordinary thing, concerning himself, or concerning the morrow, but only to sit in a corner, aloft and intoxicated.

So the perfect measure has not been given, in order that he may be free to take an interest in his brethren, and in the ministry of the word. Nevertheless the middle wall of partition has been broken through (Ephesians 2:14) and death is overcome.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 8, 3-4 @ Pravoslavie.

Macarius the Egyptian: A man goes in to bend the knee… Monday, Jun 1 2015 

Macarius3A man goes in to bend the knee, and his heart is filled with the divine influence,

and his soul rejoices with the Lord, like bride with bridegroom, according to that word of the prophet Esaias which says

As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall the Lord rejoice over thee (Isaiah 62:5),

and it comes to pass that being all day engaged he gives himself to prayer for an hour,

and the inward man is rapt in prayer into the unfathomable deep of that other world in great sweetness, so that his whole mind is up aloft, rapt away thither, and estranged from things below.

For the time being forgetfulness comes into him with regard to the interests of the earthly mind, because his thoughts are filled and taken captive to divine and heavenly things,

–to things infinite and past comprehension, to wonderful things which no human lips can express, so that for that hour he prays and says, “Would God that my soul might pass along with my prayer!”

Question. Can anyone enter into these things at all times?

Answer. Grace is constantly present, and is rooted in us, and worked into us like leaven, from our earliest years, until the thing thus present becomes fixed in a man like a natural endowment, as if it were one substance with him.

But, for the man’s own good, it manages him in many different ways, after its own pleasure.

Sometimes the fire flames out and kindles more vehemently; at other times more gently and mildly.

The light that it gives kindles up at times and shines with unusual brightness; at others it abates and burns low.

The lamp is always burning and shining, but when it is specially trimmed, it kindles up with intoxication of the love of God; and then again by God’s dispensation it gives in, and though the light is always there, it is comparatively dull.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 8, 1-2 @ Pravoslavie.

Macarius the Egyptian: The grace of God writes the laws of the Spirit and the mysteries of Heaven on the tables of the heart Sunday, Jan 19 2014 

Macarius3January 19th is the feast of St Macarius the Egyptian (eastern calendar).

When the rich men of the earth have brought much fruit into their garners, they set to work again every day to get more, in order to have plenty, and not run short.

If they presume upon the wealth laid up in the garners, and take things easily and add no more, but use up what they have stored already, they soon sink into want and poverty.

So they have to labour and add, enlarging their intake, that they may not get behindhand.

In Christianity, to taste of the grace of God is like that. Taste, it says, and see how gracious the Lord is (Psalm 35:8).

This tasting is an effectual power of the Spirit in full certainty, ministering in the heart.

As many as are the sons of light, and of the ministry of the New Covenant in the Holy Ghost, these have nothing to learn from men; they are taught of God (1 Thess. 4:9).

Grace itself writes upon their hearts the laws of the Spirit.

They ought not therefore to rest their assurance only upon the scriptures that are written in ink; the grace of God writes the laws of the Spirit and the mysteries of heaven upon the tables of the heart as well (2 Cor. 3:2).

For the heart governs and reigns over the whole bodily organism; and when grace possesses the ranges of the heart, it reigns over all the members and the thoughts.

For there, in the heart, is the mind, and all the faculties of the soul, and its expectation; therefore grace penetrates also to all the members of the body.

On the other hand, as many as are sons of darkness, sin reigns over their heart, and penetrates to all their members, for out of their hearts proceed evil thoughts (Matt. 15:19), and thus diffused puts the man in darkness.

Those who say that evil is not born and bred in man, may have no anxiety about tomorrow, nor any desire either.

For a certain length of time, evil ceases to cause trouble in them by suggesting some object of desire, so that a man will affirm on oath, “Such a passion no longer assails me.”

After a short while he is consumed with the desire, so that he is found guilty of perjury into the bargain.

As water runs through a pipe, so does sin through the heart and thoughts.

As many as will not have this notion, are refuted and mocked by sin itself, even if sin did not wish to triumph; for evil endeavours to escape notice and to be hidden in the mind of man.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 15, 20-21, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

Macarius the Egyptian: The heart is Christ’s palace where Christ the King comes to rest Sunday, Nov 24 2013 

Macarius3Consider how the Lord has prepared for Christians the kingdom, and calls them to enter in, and they will not.

As for the gift which they are to inherit, one might say, if everyone from the creation of Adam to the end of the world strove against Satan and endured afflictions, he would do nothing great in comparison with the glory which he is to inherit.

For he will reign to ages without end with Christ. Glory to Him Who so loved a soul like this, for giving Himself and His grace and entrusting the soul therewith! Glory to His greatness!

[…] Suppose there were a very great palace, and this were deserted, and became full of every evil smell, and of many dead bodies.

Well, the heart is Christ’s palace, and it is full of all uncleanness, and of crowds of many wicked spirits. It must be refounded and rebuilt, and its store-chambers and bedrooms put in order.

For there Christ the King, with the angels and holy spirits, comes to rest, and   to dwell, and to walk in it, and to set His kingdom.

I tell you, it is like a ship furnished with plenty of tackle, where the captain disposes of all, and sets them their tasks, finding fault with some, and showing others their way about.

The heart has a captain in the mind, the conscience, which is ever judging us, thoughts accusing or else excusing one another.

[…] God and His angels came for thy salvation. The King, the King’s Son, held council with His Father, and the Word was sent, and put on the garment of flesh, and concealed His own Godhead, that like might be saved by like, and laid down His life upon the Cross.

So great is the love of God towards man. The Immortal chose to be crucified for thee. Consider then how God loved the world, because He gave His only begotten Son for them. How shall He not with Him freely give us all things?

In another place it says, Verily I say unto you that He shall make him ruler over all His goods. Elsewhere it shews the angels as ministers of the saints.

When Elias was in the mountain, and the foreigners came against him, the young servant said, “There are many coming against us, and we are by ourselves.” Then Elias answered, “Do you not see camps and multitudes of angels with us round about succouring us?”

You see that the Master and the multitudes of the angels are with His servants. How great then is the soul, and how much valued by God, that God and the angels seek after it for fellowship with themselves and for a kingdom!

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 15, 31; 33; 44, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

Macarius the Egyptian: Crucified with the crucified, glorified with Him that is glorified Tuesday, Nov 12 2013 

Macarius3How can anyone be poor in spirit, especially when he is inwardly conscious that he is a changed man, and has made progress, and has come to a knowledge and understanding which he did not possess before?

Until a man acquires these things and makes progress, he is not poor in spirit, but has some opinion of himself.

But when he comes to this understanding and point of progress, grace itself teaches him to be poor in spirit.

This means that a man being righteous and chosen of God does not esteem himself to be anything, but holds his soul in abasement and disregard, as if he knew nothing and had nothing, though he knows and has.

This is a fixed thing, like a law of nature, in the mind of men. Do you not see how our forefather Abraham, elect as he was, described himself as dust and ashes (Gen. 18:27), and David, anointed to be king, had God with him, and yet what does he say? “I am a worm and no man, a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people (Ps. 22:6).

Those therefore who desire to be fellow-heirs with these, and fellow-citizens of the heavenly city, and to be glorified with them, ought to have this humility of mind, and not to think themselves to be anything, but to keep the heart contrite.

[…] All the righteous have gone the straight and narrow way. […] And the Lord of prophets and apostles Himself, how did He fare, as if He had forgotten His divine glory? He was made an example for us; He wore in mockery a crown of thorns upon His head ; He submitted to spittings, buffets, and the cross.

If God so fared on earth, thou oughtest also to copy Him. The apostles and the prophets fared thus, and we, if we would be built upon the foundation of the Lord and of the apostles, ought to copy them.

The apostle says by the Holy Spirit, “Be ye imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” But if thou lovest the glories of men, and desirest to be worshipped, and seekest repose, thou art turned out of the way.

It behoves thee to be crucified with the Crucified, to suffer with Him that suffered, that so thou mayest be glorified with Him that is glorified. The bride must needs suffer with the Bridegroom, and so become partner and fellow-heir with Christ.

It is not feasible, without sufferings, and without the rough, straight, narrow way, to enter into the city of the saints, and be at rest, and reign with the King to ages without end.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 12, 3-5, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

Macarius the Egyptian: God opens the locked doors of the heart and bestows on us the riches of heaven Monday, Oct 21 2013 

Macarius3One man maintains conflict and hardship and war against Satan. This man’s heart is contrite; he is in care and mourning and tears. Such a one has come to stand in two separate realms.

If, then, in this state of things he perseveres, the Lord is with him for the battle, and protects him; for he seeks in earnest, and knocks at the door till He opens to him.

Again, if you see here a good brother, it is grace which has established him.

But the man without foundation has no such fear of God. His heart is not contrite. He is in no fear, nor does he secure his heart and members, not to walk disorderly.

[…] There is then a difference between the man in conflict and hardship, and the man who does not know what battle is.

Even the seeds, when cast into the ground, undergo hardship with the frosts, with the winter, with the coldness of the air, and in due season the growth is quickened.

It sometimes happens that Satan talks in the heart, “See how many wrong things thou hast done! See how many follies thy soul is filled with, and thou art weighed down with sins, that thou canst not be saved.”

This he does, to reduce thee to despair, and to make thee think that thy repentance is not acceptable. For since by the transgression wickedness entered in, it talks with the soul every hour, like man with man.

Answer him then thou, “I have the testimonies of the Lord in writing, that say, I desire not the death of the sinner, but his repentance, and that he should turn from his wickedness and live.”

It was for this that He came down, to save sinners, to raise the dead, to quicken lost lives, to give light to those in darkness. In truth He came, and called us to the adoption of sons, to a holy city which is ever at peace, to the life that never dies, to glory incorruptible.

Only let us put a good finish to our beginning. Let us abide in poverty, in the condition of strangers, in suffering affliction, in petition to God, knocking importunately at the door.

Near as the body is to the soul, the Lord is nearer, to come and open the locked doors of the heart, and to bestow on us the riches of heaven.

He is good and kind to man, and His promises cannot lie, if only we continue seeking Him to the end. Glory be to the compassions of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]: Spiritual Homily 11,14-15, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

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