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Author Topic: Early Church Fathers  (Read 46122 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #315 on: May 10, 2014, 03:17:27 PM »

He also said, 'The acquisition of Christian books is necessary for those who can use them. For the mere sight of these books renders us less inclined to sin, and incites us to believe more firmly in righteousness.'

-- St. Epiphanius of Salamis (d. 403), Sayings of the Desert Fathers

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« Reply #316 on: May 13, 2014, 06:51:37 PM »

If you make a habit of listening to spiritual teaching, your intellect will escape from impure thoughts.

God alone is good and wise by nature; but if you exert yourself your intellect also becomes good and wise through participation.

-- St. Thalassios the Libyan (d. c. mid-7th century), On Love, Self-control and Life in Accordance with the Intellect, 2.36-37
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« Reply #317 on: May 17, 2014, 01:31:33 PM »

If then thou art become a throne of God, and the heavenly Charioteer has mounted thee, and thy whole soul has become a spiritual eye , and thy whole soul light; and if thou hast been nourished with that nourishment of the Spirit, and if thou hast been made to drink of the Living Water, and if thou hast put on the garments of the ineffable light; if thine inward man is established in the experience and full assurance of all these things, behold, thou livest, thou livest the eternal life indeed, and thy soul from henceforth is at rest with the Lord . Behold, thou hast received these things from the Lord and possesses them in truth, that thou mayest live the true life.

But if thou art conscious that thou hast none of these things, then weep, and mourn , and lament, because even yet thou hast not found the eternal heavenly riches. Be in trouble therefore for thy penury, beseeching the Lord night and day, because thou hast stopped short in the dreadful poverty of sin. Would to God that a man had even gained as much as this trouble because of his poverty— that we did not go on without a care, as though we were full! because one that is seriously troubled, and seeks and asks of the Lord continually, will soon find redemption and the heavenly riches...

-- Pseudo-Macarius (4th century), Fifty Spiritual Homilies, 1.12
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« Reply #318 on: May 21, 2014, 09:05:30 PM »

The good servant receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face.

St. Clement of Rome, 1st Century (Corinthians 34)
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Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #319 on: May 22, 2014, 12:20:36 PM »

Why are we so ready to judge our neighbor? Why are we so concerned about the burden of others? We have plenty to be concerned about, each one has his own debt and his own sins. It is for God alone to judge, to justify or to condemn. He knows the state of each one of us and our capacities, our deviations, and our gifts, our constitution and our preparedness, and it is for him to judge each of these things according to the knowledge that he alone has. For God judges the affairs of a bishop in one way and those of a prince in another. His judgment is for an abbot or for a disciple, he judges differently the senior and the neophyte, the sick man and the healthy man. Who could understand all these judgments except the one who has done everything, formed everything, knows everything?

I remember once hearing the following story: a slave ship put in at a certain port where there lived a holy virgin who was in earnest about her spiritual life. When she learned about the arrival of the ship she was glad, for she wanted to buy a small serving maid for herself. She thought to herself, 'I will take her into my home and bring her up in my way of life so that she knows nothing of the evils of the world.' So she sent and inquired of the master of the ship and found that he had two small girls who he thought would suit her. Whereupon she gladly paid the price and took one of the children into her house. The ship's master went away. He had not gone very far when there met him the leader of a dancing troupe who saw the other small girl with him and wanted to buy her; the price was agreed and paid, and he took her away with him.

Now take a look at God's mystery; see what his judgment was. Which of us could give any judgment about this case? The holy virgin took one of these little ones to bring her up in the fear of God, to instruct her in every good work, to teach her all that belongs to the monastic state and all the sweetness of holy commandments of God. The other unfortunate child was taken for the dancing troupe, to be trained in the works of the devil. What effect would teaching her this orgiastic dancing have, but the ruin of her soul? What can we have to say about this frightful judgment? Here were two little girls taken away from their parents by violence. Neither knew where they came from; one is found in the hands of God and the other falls into the hands of the devil.

Is it possible to say that what God asks from the one he asks also from the other? Surely not! Suppose they both fell into fornication or some other deadly sin; is it possible that they both face the same judgment or that their fall is the same? How does it appear to the mind of God when one learns about the Judgment and about the Kingdom of God day and night, while the other unfortunate knows nothing of it, never hears anything good but only the contrary, everything shameful, everything diabolical? How can he allow them to be examined by the same standard?
 
-- St. Dorotheos of Gaza (d. 6th century), Discourses and Sayings, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1977), pp. 133-134

(Quoted in the Hermitage of the Holy Cross newsletter for May 2014)

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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #320 on: May 22, 2014, 10:23:23 PM »

Prayer is the flower of gentleness and of freedom from anger. Prayer is the fruit of joy and thankfulness. Prayer is the remedy for gloom and despondency

-- Evagrios Pontikos (d. 399), On Prayer: One Hundred and Fifty-Three Texts, 14-16
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« Reply #321 on: June 02, 2014, 07:52:32 PM »

For, as I before said, it cannot be that they who enjoy the hearing of such things as these [ie. The Gospel], and who are in the company of such an Apostle [ie. John], should depart without receiving some great and remarkable advantage, be it man, woman, or youth, that partakes of this table. If we train by words the animals which we have, and so tame them, how much more shall we effect this with men by this spiritual teaching, when there is a wide difference between the remedy in each case, and the subject healed as well. For neither is there so much fierceness in us as in the brutes, since theirs is from nature, ours from choice; nor is the power of the words the same, for the power of the first is that of the human intellect, the power of the second is that of the might and grace of the Spirit.

Let then the man who despairs of himself consider the tame animals, and he shall no longer be thus affected; let him come continually to this house of healing, let him hear at all times the laws of the Spirit, and on retiring home let him write down in his mind the things which he has heard; so shall his hopes be good and his confidence great, as he feels his progress by experience. For when the devil sees the law of God written in the soul, and the heart become tablets to write it on, he will not approach any more. Since wherever the king's writing is, not engraved on a pillar of brass, but stamped by the Holy Ghost on a mind loving God, and bright with abundant grace, that (evil one) will not be able even to look at it, but from afar will turn his back upon us. For nothing is so terrible to him and to the thoughts which are suggested by him as a mind careful about Divine matters, and a soul which ever hangs over this fountain...

-- St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), Homily 3 on the Gospel of John
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« Reply #322 on: June 02, 2014, 08:28:38 PM »

How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God! Life in immortality, splendour in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence, faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! And all these fall under the cognizance of our understandings [now]; what then shall those things be which are prepared for such as wait for Him? The Creator and Father of all worlds, the Most Holy, alone knows their amount and their beauty. Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those that wait for Him, in order that we may share in His promised gifts.

St. Clement of Rome, 1st Century (Corinthians 35)
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Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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« Reply #323 on: June 05, 2014, 06:52:21 PM »

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.

-- Pseudo-Macarius (4th century), Fifty Spiritual Homilies, 11.15
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« Reply #324 on: June 12, 2014, 01:17:04 PM »

The which may be illustrated in human nature: for not only in the present life, but in the future also, each individual man will consist of soul and body; nor will his body ever be converted into soul, or his soul into body; but while each individual man will live for ever, the distinction between the two substances will continue in each individual man for ever. So likewise in Christ each substance will for ever retain its own characteristic property, yet without prejudice to the unity of Person.

-- St. Vincent of Lerins (d. c. 450), The Commonitory, 13
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« Reply #325 on: June 15, 2014, 05:21:57 PM »

On Love For The Poor

All of it.

-- St. Gregory the Theologian (d. c. 390), Oration 14
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« Reply #326 on: June 24, 2014, 12:35:53 AM »

I purpose to quote to you Scriptures, not that I am anxious to make merely an artful display of words; for I possess no such faculty, but God's grace alone has been granted to me to the understanding of His Scriptures, of which grace I exhort all to become partakers freely and bounteously, in order that they may not, through want of it,  incur condemnation in the judgment which God the Maker of all things shall hold through my Lord Jesus Christ.

-- St. Justin Martyr (d. c. 165), Dialogue with Trypho, 58
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« Reply #327 on: December 11, 2014, 11:58:21 PM »

And to as many as continue in their love towards God, does He grant communion with Him. But communion with God is life and light, and the enjoyment of all the benefits which He has in store. But on as many as, according to their own choice, depart from God, He inflicts that separation from Himself which they have chosen of their own accord. But separation from God is death, and separation from light is darkness; and separation from God consists in the loss of all the benefits which He has in store. Those, therefore, who cast away by apostasy these forementioned things, being in fact destitute of all good, do experience every kind of punishment. God, however, does not punish them immediately of Himself, but that punishment falls upon them because they are destitute of all that is good. Now, good things are eternal and without end with God, and therefore the loss of these is also eternal and never-ending.

It is in this matter just as occurs in the case of a flood of light: those who have blinded themselves, or have been blinded by others, are for ever deprived of the enjoyment of light. It is not, [however], that the light has inflicted upon them the penalty of blindness, but it is that the blindness itself has brought calamity upon them: and therefore the Lord declared, "He that believeth in Me is not condemned," that is, is not separated from God, for he is united to God through faith. On the other hand, He says, "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God;" that is, he separated himself from God of his own accord. "For this is the condemnation, that light is come into this world, and men have loved darkness rather than light. For every one who doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that he has wrought them in God." (John 3:18-21)

- St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5.27.2
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« Reply #328 on: December 12, 2014, 09:30:01 PM »

Moreover also: “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12), for no virtue is acquired without effort, nor can anyone attain to that mental stability which he desires without great sorrow of heart, for “man is born to trouble” (Job 5:7) and in order that he may be able to attain to “the perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) he must ever be on the watch with still greater intentness, and toil with ceaseless carefulness.

-- St. John Cassian (d. 435), Conferences, 7.6
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« Reply #329 on: December 13, 2014, 10:44:48 PM »

Moses baptized but it was in water, and before that in the cloud and in the sea. This was typical as Paul saith; the Sea of the water, and the Cloud of the Spirit; the Manna, of the Bread of Life; the Drink, of the Divine Drink.  John also baptized; but this was not like the baptism of the Jews, for it was not only in water, but also "unto repentance."  Still it was not wholly spiritual, for he does not add "And in the Spirit." Jesus also baptized, but in the Spirit.  This is the perfect Baptism. And how is He not God, if I may digress a little, by whom you too are made god?

-- St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 39.17
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« Reply #330 on: December 18, 2014, 03:04:19 AM »

And how become they one flesh? As if thou shouldest take away the purest part of gold, and mingle it with other gold; so in truth here also the woman as it were receiving the richest part fused by pleasure, nourisheth it and cherisheth it, and withal contributing her own share, restoreth it back a Man. And the child is a sort of bridge, so that the three become one flesh, the child connecting, on either side, each to other. For like as two cities, which a river divides throughout, become one, if a bridge connect them on both sides, so is it in this case; and yet more, when the very bridge in this case is formed of the substance of each. As the body and the head are one body; for they are divided by the neck; but not divided more than connected, for it, lying between them brings together each with the other. And it is the same as if a chorus that had been severed should, by taking one part of itself from this quarter, and the other again from the right, make one; or as these when come into close rank, and extending hands, become one; for the hands extended admit not of their being two. Therefore to wit He said with accuracy of expression, not “they shall be one flesh” but joined together “into one flesh” (Gen. 2:2 LXX), namely, that of the child. What then? when there is no child, will they not be two? Nay, for their coming together hath this effect, it diffuses and commingles the bodies of both. And as one who hath cast ointment into oil, hath made the whole one; so in truth is it also here.

I know that many are ashamed at what is said, and the cause of this is what I spoke of, your own lasciviousness, and unchasteness. The fact of marriages being thus performed, thus depraved, hath gained the thing an ill name: for “marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled.” (Heb. 13:4) Why art thou ashamed of the honorable, why blushest thou at the undefiled? This is for heretics, this is for such as introduce harlots thither. For this cause I am desirous of having it thoroughly purified, so as to bring it back again to its proper nobleness, so as to stop the mouths of the heretics. The gift of God is insulted, the root of our generation; for about that root there is much dung and filth. This then let us cleanse away by our discourse. Endure then a little while, for he that holdeth filth must endure the stench. I wish to show you that ye ought not to be ashamed at these things, but at those which ye do; but thou, passing by all shame at those, art ashamed at these; surely then thou condemnest God who hath thus decreed.

-- St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), Homily 12 on Colossians
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« Reply #331 on: December 20, 2014, 09:18:18 PM »

What shall we do,  then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. For by His infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immovable foundation of His own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by His own word  into existence. So likewise, when He had formed  the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them [within their proper bounds] by His own power. Above all, with His holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent [of His creatures], and truly great through the understanding given him— the express likeness of His own image. For thus says God: “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness. So God made man; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26-27). Having thus finished all these things, He approved them, and blessed them, and said, “Increase and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). We see,  then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.

-- St. Clement of Rome (d. c. 99), First Letter to the Corinthians, 33
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