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« on: February 28, 2005, 08:55:12 PM »

Considering that there now is a Modern Church Fathers section I thought I would start an Early Church Fathers section. I think it best to try to restrict the quotes to before the 6th Century.

"Another night -- God knows, I do not, whether within me or beside me ... most words which I heard and could not understand, except at the end of the speech it was represented thus: 'He who gave his life for you, he it is who speaks within you.'  Thus I awoke, joyful. 

On a second occasion I saw Him praying within me, and I was as it were, inside my own body, and I heard Him above me-- that is, above my inner self.  He was praying powerfully with sighs.  And in the course of this I was astonished and wondering, and I pondered who it could be who was praying within me.  But at the end of the prayer it was revealed to me that it was the Spirit.  And so I awoke and remembered the Apostle's words: 'Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we know not how to pray as we ought.  But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for utterance.' And again: 'The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.'"
-St.Patrick Confession
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2005, 12:18:04 AM »

"It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not eat the flesh of one's brethren through slander."

-Abba Hyperechios
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2005, 12:30:09 PM »

"'For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do according to good will.' (Phil. 2:13) What could well be clearer than the assertion that both our good will and the completion of our work are fully wrought in us by the Lord? And again 'For it is granted to you for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him.' (Phil. 1:29) Here also he declares that the beginning of our conversion and faith, and the endurance of suffering is a gift to us from the Lord." - St. John Cassian, The Conferences, 3: The Conference of Paphnutius, 15

 
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2005, 01:16:30 PM »

"Let no one deceive you, monk, with the notion that you can be saved while a slave to sensual pleasure and self-esteem."
-Saint Maximos the confessor
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2005, 01:55:51 PM »

ß++-â+++¦-üß+¦-ä. - ß+¡-â-Ç+¦-ü -äß+¦++ ++ß+¦+++¦-ä-ä+¦++ ß+Ñß+¦+++¦++, ß+É-åß++ ß+à -Ç+¦++-ä+¦ ++ß+¦++ -äß+¦ +¦+++¦-â-äß+¦+++¦-ä+¦ +¦+¦+++¦+¦ß+¦++++-à -â+¦++, ß+Ç-åß++ ß+æ+¦ß+¦-â-ä++-à  +¦ß+¦ -äß+¦ -ç-üß+¦-â+¦+++¦ +++¦+++¦ß+¦++++-à -â+¦+++ç  ++ß+ò-ä-ë +¦+¦ß+û +¦+¦ß++ -ä++ß++-é -Ç+¦+¦+¦+¦ß+++¦-é ß+Ç-ü+¦+¦++++ß+¦++++-à -é, +++++¦+¦++ß+¦-é ++ß+¦++ ß+Ç-Ç+¦ß++-ü-ë-é ß+ö-ç+¦+¦++, -Ç+¦++-ä+¦-çß+¦+++¦++ +¦ß+¦ -äß+¦ -ç-üß+¦-â+¦+++¦ -â-à ++++ß+¦+¦+¦+¦++.
Isocrates: Like we see the bee sit on all the flowers but only take what is useful from each, thus, those who want to learn, should taste of everything and keep what is good.

ß+ê++ß+¦-ç+¦-ü-â+¦-é. - +ħ+ù-ä++-é ß+æ-â-ä+¦+¦+++¦ß++-é -Ç+¦-üß+¦ +úß+¦++-ë+++¦, +¦+¦ß++ +¦+++¦++ß+++++¦++++-é ß+ñ-Ã¥++++, -äß+¦++ ++ß+¦++ ß+Ç-ü+¦-â-ä+¦-üß+¦++ -ç+¦ß+û-ü+¦ -ä++ß+û-é ++++-üß+++++¦-é, -äß+¦++ +¦ß+¦ +¦+¦+++¦ß+¦++ -äß++ -â-äß+¦+++¦-ä+¦ -Ç-ü++-â+¦+¦+¦++ß+¦++++++ ß+ö-ç-ë++. ß+ÿ+¦+¦-ü+¦-ä+¦-â-äß+¦-ü++-à  +¦ß+¦-ü ß+ñ+¦-ä++ -ç+¦+++¦++++ß+ª +¦+¦ß+û-â+++¦+¦ -äß+¦++ +¦++ß+¦-ä-ä+¦++.
Anacharsis - Called to dinner by Solon he fell asleep and was seen having his left hand over his genitals while the right hand over his mouth. He considered the mouth needing a greater restrain.


... oops they are not early church fathers...  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2005, 11:11:37 AM »

Very many wish to be vouchsafed the Kingdom without labors, without struggles, without sweat; but this is impossible.
If you love the glories of men, and desire to be worshipped, and seek comfort, you are going off the path. You must be crucified with the Crucified One, suffer with Him that suffered, that you may be glorified with Him that is glorified.- St. Macarius of Egypt
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2005, 02:46:57 PM »

And after a little: "Therefore the God-man, Jesus Christ, tho Son of God, is truly born for us of the Holy Ghost and the ever-virgin Mary. And so in the two natures the Word and Flesh become one, so that while each substance continues naturally perfect in itself, what is Divine imparteth without suffering any loss, to the humanity, and what is human participates in the Divine; nor is there one person God, and another person man, but the same person is God who is also man: and again the man who is also God is called and indeed is Jesus Christ the only Son of God; and so we must always take care and believe so as not to deny that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Very God (whom we confess as existing ever with the Father and equal to the Father before all worlds) became from the moment when He took flesh the God-man. Nor may we imagine that gradually as time went on He became God, and that He was in one condition before the resurrection and in another after it, but that He was always of the same fulness and power." And again a little later on: "But because the Word of God17 vouchsafed to come down upon manhood by assuming manhood, and manhood was taken up into the Word by being assumed by God, God the Word in His completeness became complete man. For it was not God the Father who was made man, nor the Holy Ghost, but the Only Begotten of the Father; and so we must hold that there is one Person of the Flesh and the Word: so as faithfully and without any doubt to believe that one and the same Son of God, who can never be divided, existing in two natures18 (who was also spoken of as a "giant"19 ) in the days of His Flesh truly took upon Him all that belongs to man, and ever truly had as His own what belongs to God: since even though20 He was crucified in weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God."
-Leporius quoted by St.John Cassian the Roman http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/NPNF2-11/Npnf2-11-79.htm#P6859_2460948

Could this be where St.Justin of Chelije got the word God-man? I honestly can't remember any other Saints using the word.
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2005, 01:41:35 PM »

The elder want to show us that neither the fear of God or almsgiving or faith or temperance or any other virtue can be achieved without humility. This is why he says, "We need humility more than anything else, to be ready, to be ready to say, "Forgive me for anything that is said to us." All the temptations of the enemy are destroyed by humility. Bretheren can you see how great the power of humility is? Do you see how effective it is to say, "forgive me". Why then is the devil called adversary and as well as enemy? He is called enemy because he hates man and goodness and is incedious. He is called adversary because he tries to prevent any good thing. Is somebody wants to pray, he opposes him, placing obstacles in his way, through bad memories, by subordinating his thoughts, and through despondancy. If somebody wants to give alms, he holds him back through averous and miserliness. If somebody wants to keep vigil, he will stand in his way using lethergy and indolence. Simply put he opposes every good thing we undertake this is why he is not only called enemy, but adversary too. However every action of the adversary is destroyed by humility. Humility is very great indeed each of the saints walked in humility and shortened his journey by working hard as it written: "Look on my humility and my pain and forgive all of my sins. Psalms 25:18
"Humility also can gain us entrance, but it will take longer let us therefore humble ourselves for a little while and we will be saved. If we cannot work hard because of our weakness, let us try to humble ourselves ", as the Elder Abba John once said. I believe in the mercies of God, but through the small effort made with humility we shall also find ourself in the position of those saints who labored and worked hard for the love of God. Yes we are weak and cannot work hard, but can we not humble ourselves?

            -From the writings of Saint Dorotheos
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2005, 02:43:19 PM »

Paradise is therefore a land of fertility-that is to say, a soul which is fertile-planted in Eden , that is, in a certain delightful or well-tilled land in which the soul finds pleasure . . . There was a fount which irrigated the land of Paradise. Is not this stream our Lord Jesus Christ, the Fount as well as the Father of Eternal Life? It is written:'For with thee is the fountain of life.' Hence: 'From within him there shall flow living waters.' We read of a fountain and a river which irrigates in Paradise the fruti-bearing tree that bears fruit for Life Eternal. You have read, then, that a fount was there adn that 'a river rose in Eden' that is in your soul there exists a fount. this is the meaning of Solomons's words: 'Drink water out of they own cistern and they own well.' This regers to the frount which rose out of that well-tilled soul full of pleasant things, this fount which irrigates Paradise, that is to say, the soul's virtues that blossom because of their emminent merits . . . But how is this fount called the Wisdom of God? That this is a fount the Gospel tells us in the words,'If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink.' Wisdom is a fount according to the Prophet:'Come and eat my bread and drink my wine which I have mingled for you.' As Wisdom is the fountain of life, it is also the fountain of other virtues which guide us to the course of eternal life. Therefore, the stream that irrigates Paradise rises from the soul when well-tilled not from the soul which lies uncultivated. The results therefrom are fruit trees of diverse virtues . . . prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice."
St.Ambrose Paradise
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2005, 11:44:39 AM »

CHAP. II.--THAT THE EYES OF THE SOUL MUST BE PURGED ERE GOD CAN BE SEEN.

But if you say, "Show me thy God," I would reply, "Show me yourself, and I will show you my God." Show, then, that the eyes of your soul are capable of seeing, and the ears of your heart able to hear; for as those who look with the eyes of the body perceive earthly objects and what concerns this life, and discriminate at the same time between things that differ, whether light or darkness, white or black, deformed or beautiful, well-proportioned and symmetrical or disproportioned and awkward, or monstrous or mutilated; and as in like manner also, by the sense of hearing, we discriminate either sharp, or deep, or sweet sounds; so the same holds good regarding the eyes of the soul and the ears of the heart, that it is by them we are able to behold God. For God is seen by those who are enabled to see Him when they have the eyes of their soul opened: for all have eyes; but in some they are overspread, and do not see the light of the sun. Yet it does not follow, because the blind do not see, that the light of the sun does not shine; but let the blind blame themselves and their own eyes. So also thou, O man, hast the eyes of thy soul overspread by thy sins and evil deeds. As a burnished mirror, so ought man to have his soul pure. When there is rust on the mirror, it is not possible that a man's face be seen in the mirror; so also when there is sin in a man, such a man cannot behold God. Do you, therefore, show me yourself, whether you are not an adulterer, or a fornicator, or a thief, or a robber, or a purloiner; whether you do not corrupt boys; whether you are not insolent, or a slanderer, or passionate, or envious, or proud, or supercilious; whether you are not a brawler, or covetous, or disobedient to parents; and whether you do not sell your children; for to those who do these things God is not manifest, unless they have first cleansed themselves from all impurity. All these things, then, involve you in darkness, as when a filmy defluxion on the eyes prevents one from beholding the light of the sun: thus also do iniquities, 0 man, involve you in darkness, so that you cannot see God.
-St.Theophilus of Antioch
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2005, 03:42:29 PM »

St. Gregory of Nyssa, from his first sermon on the Beatitudes:

"You are pleased because you are handsome, because your hands move quickly, because your feet are nimble, because your curls are tossed by the wind and your cheeks show a downy beard...You look at such things, but you do not look at yourself. Let me show you as in a mirror your true image.

"Have you ever witnessed the mysteries of the cemetery? Have you seen the heaps of bones tossed hither and thither? Skulls without flesh on them, fearful and ugly, the sockets empty. The grinning jaws and the limbs strewn about. Look at these things: there you will find yourself. Where, then, is the flower of youth?...Where, in all these bones, are the things that make you proud?"
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2005, 08:11:33 PM »

"Do not think, then, that you have died to sin, so long as you suffer violence, whether waking or sleeping, at the hands of your opponents. For while a man is still competing in the arena, he cannot be sure of victory."

St Isaiah the Solitary, "On Guarding the Intellect"
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2005, 11:55:56 PM »

Regard yourselves as delivered out of Egypt from a harsh servitude, where inquity ruled over you; and as having passed through the Red Sea by baptism, in which you received the seal of Christ's bloody cross. Prune yourselves therefore of past sins, those enemies of yours which pursued you from the rear. For as the Egyptians perished in teh very waters traversed by the people of God, so your sins were blotted out in the waters in which you were baptized.
Seek now the Heavenly Kingdom, the land of promise to which you have been called, and be vigilant in resisting temptations throughout this earthly life, which is nothing else than as desert wherein you are sojourners. By partaking of the holy Altar, you receive your manna along with the drink that flows from the rock. All this the Apostle Paul has in mind and inculcates in his preaching when he says," I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that our fathers were all udner the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud and in the sea. And did all eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)
St.Augustine Sermon "To the Newly Baptized - Easter Week"
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2005, 06:02:48 PM »

Didn't Tertullian fall into paganism?

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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2005, 07:05:25 PM »

Could this be where St.Justin of Chelije got the word God-man? I honestly can't remember any other Saints using the word.

The God-man word was introduced during The Fourth Ecumenical Council. It declares a dogmatic truth of Orthodox Faith.
Analysis can be found: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/hist_fourth.aspx
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2005, 10:33:34 PM »

Didn't Tertullian fall into paganism?

May peace be upon thee and with thy spirit.
Tertullian fell into Montanism and later fell out of Montanism and founded his own sect which was reconciled to the Church many years later by St.Augustine.



The God-man word was introduced during The Fourth Ecumenical Council. It declares a dogmatic truth of Orthodox Faith.
Analysis can be found: http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/hist_fourth.aspx

It has to be earlier than that because St.John Cassian's Seven Books On the Incarnation Against Nestorius was written before the Fourth Ecumenical Council. What I was trying to find out is who first started calling Jesus Christ the God-man or at least to try to find out who was the first Father to do so.
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2005, 11:47:41 AM »

"VII. But do ye also, if you bear me any good will-ye who are my husbandry, my vineyard, my own bowels, or rather His Who is our common Father, for in Christ he hath begotten you through the Gospels9 -shew to us also some respect. It is only fair, since we have honoured you above all else: ye are my witnesses, ye, and they who have placed in our hands this-shall I say Authority, or Service? And if to him that loveth most is due, how shall I measure the love, for which I have made you my debtors by my own love? Rather, shew respect for yourselves, and the Image committed to your care,10 and Him Who committed it, and the Sufferings of Christ, and your hopes therefrom, holding fast the faith which ye have received, and in which ye were brought up, by which also ye are being saved, and trust to save others (for not many, be well assured, can boast of what you can), and reckoning piety to consist, not in often speaking about God, but in silence for the most part, for the tongue is a dangerous thing to men, if it be not governed by reason. Believe that listening is always less dangerous than talking, just as learning about God is more pleasant than teaching. Leave the more accurate search into these questions to those who are the Stewards of the Word; and for yourselves, worship a little in words, but more by your actions, and rather by keeping the Law than by admiring the Lawgiver; shew your love for Him by fleeing from wickedness, pursuing after virtue, living in the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, drawing your knowledge from Him, building upon the foundation of the faith, not wood or hay or stubble,11 weak materials and easily spent when the fire shall try our works or destroy them; but gold, silver, precious stones, which remain and stand."
St.Gregory the Theologian Oration III

Believe that listening is always less dangerous than talking, just as learning about God is more pleasant than teaching.

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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2005, 12:33:54 PM »

V Accordingly, brethren, of these mountains was John also, who said, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." This mountain had received peace; he was contemplating the divinity of the Word. Of what sort was this mountain? How lofty? He had risen above all peaks of the earth, he had risen above all plains of the sky, he had risen above all heights of the stars, he had risen above all choirs and legions of the angels. For unless he rose above all those things which were created, he would not arrive at Him by whom all things were made. You cannot imagine what he rose above, unless you see at what he arrived. Dost thou inquire concerning heaven and earth? They were made. Dost thou inquire concerning the things that are in heaven and earth? Surely much more were they made. Dost thou inquire concerning spiritual beings, concerning angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, principalities? These also were made. For when the Psalm enumerated all these things, it finished thus: "He spoke, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created."8 If "He spoke and they were made," it was by the Word that they were made; but if it was by the Word they were made, the heart of John could not reach to that which he says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," unless he had risen above all things that were made by the Word. What a mountain this! How holy! How high among those mountains that received peace for the people of God, that the hills might receive righteousness!
-St.Augustine First Tractate on John
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« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2005, 12:43:24 AM »

I like this one from St. John Cassian.

From the Philokalia Volume 1:

On the Eight Vices

On Pride:

"The thief who received the kingdom of heaven, though not as the reward of virtue, is a true witness to the fact that salvation is ours through the grace and mercy of God. All of our holy fathers knew this and all with one accord teach that perfection in holiness can be achieved only through humility."
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Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain:

"Let us not expect the spiritual spring if we don't first pass through the spiritual winter during which the spiritual vermin die.  We mustn't expect the divine to blossom within us if the human hasn't first died."
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that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2005, 01:54:03 AM »

While the Orthodox Church does not consider him to be a Church Father, Origen says a lot of brilliant and insightful stuff. For example...

"And let us take heed in regard to each sin, as if we were descending into some gate of death (Matt. 16:18) if we sin; but when we are lifted up from the gates of death, let us declare all the praises of the Lord in the gates of the daughter of Zion. (Ps. 9:13-14)" - Origen, Commentary on Matthew, 12, 13

We throw that phrase, the "gates of hades" or "gates of death" around sometimes, without really thinking about what it might actually be talking about and how it might actually effect us. Origen is not alone in his thought here either.
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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2005, 02:17:39 AM »

St. Chrysostom on Corinthians I, XIII, 13.

How then is love the greatest?
In that those pass on.
(Homily XXXIV)
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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2005, 12:03:46 AM »

And now I pray that I may speak worthily of those most exalted Intelligences, and as their Hierarchy is revealed in the Scriptures.
 It is clear that the Hierarchy is similar in its nature and has close affinity with those First Beings who are established after the Godhead, which is the Source of their Being, as though within Its Portals, transcending all - created powers, both visible and invisible. Therefore we must recognize that they are pure, not as having been cleansed from stains and defilements, nor as not admitting material images, but as far higher than all baseness, and surpassing all that is holy. As befits the highest purity, they are established above the most Godlike Powers and eternally keep their own self-motive and self-same order through the Eternal Love of God, never weakening in power, abiding most purely in their own Godlike identity, ever unshaken and unchanging. Again, they are contemplative, not as beholding intellectual or sensible symbols, nor as being uplifted to the Divine by the all-various contemplations set forth in the Scriptures, but as filled with Light higher than all immaterial knowledge, and rapt, as is meet, in the contemplation of that Beauty which is the superessential triune Origin and Creator of all beauty. In like manner they are thought worthy of fellowship with Jesus, not through sacred images which shadow forth the Divine Likeness, but as truly being close to Him in that first participation of the knowledge of His Deifying Illuminations. Moreover, the imitation of God is granted to them in a preeminent degree, and as far as their nature permits they share the divine and human virtues in primary power.
In the same manner they are perfect, not as though enlightened by an analytical knowledge of holy variety, but because they are wholly perfected through the highest and most perfect deification, possessing the highest knowledge that Angels can have of the works of God; being Hierarchs not through other holy beings, but from God Himself, and since they are uplifted to God directly by
 their pre-eminent power and rank, they are both established immovably beside the All-Holy, and are borne up, as far as is allowable, to the contemplation of His Intelligible and Spiritual Beauty. Being placed nearest to God, they are instructed in the true understanding of the divine works, and receive their hierarchical order in the highest degree from Deity Itself, the First Principle of Perfection. 
-St.Dionysus the Areopagite Celestial Hierarchy
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« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2005, 12:09:34 AM »

Tractate LXIX.
St.John XIV. 4-6.

1. We have now the opportunity, dearly, beloved, as far as we can, of understanding the earlier words of the Lord from the later, and His previous statements by those that follow, in what you have heard was His answer to the question of the Apostle Thomas. For when the Lord was speaking above of the mansions, of which He both said that they already were in His Father's house, and that He was going to prepare them; where we understood that those mansions already existed in predestination, and are also being prepared through the purifying by faith of the hearts of those who are hereafter to inhabit them, seeing that they themselves are the very house of God; and what else is it to dwell in God's house than to be in the number of His people, since His people are at the same time in God, and God in them? To make this preparation the Lord departed, that by believing in Him, though no longer visible, the mansion, whose outward form is always hid in the future, may now by faith be prepared: for this reason, therefore, He had said, "And if I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come i again, and receive you to myself; that whereI am, there ye may be also. And whither I goye know, and the way ye know." In replyto this "Thomas saith unto Him Lord, we know not whither Thou goest: and how can we know the way?" Both of these the Lord had said that they knew; both of them this other declares that he does not know, to wit, the place to which, and the way whereby, He is going. But he does not know that he is speaking falsely; they knew, therefore, and did not know that they knew. He will convince them that they already know what they imagine themselves still to be ignorant of. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life." What, brethren, does He mean? See, we have just heard the disciple asking, and the Master instructing, and we do not yet, even after His voice has sounded in our ears, apprehend the thought that lies hid in His words. But what is it we cannot apprehend? Could His apostles, with whom He was talking, have said to Him, We do not know Thee? Accordingly, if they knew Him, and He Himself is the way, they knew the way; if they knew Him who is Himself the truth, they knew the truth; if they knew Him who is also the life, they knew the life. Thus, you see, they were convinced that they knew what they knew not that they knew.

2. What is it, then, that we also have not apprehended in this discourse? What else, think you, brethren, but just that He said, "And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know"? And here we have discovered that they knew the way, because they knew Him who is the way: the way is that by which we go; but is the way the place also to which we go? And yet each of these He said that they knew, both whither He was going, and the way. There was need, therefore, for His saying, "I am the way," in order to show those who knew Him that they knew the way, which they thought themselves ignorant of; but what need was there for His saying, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life," when, after knowing the way by which He went, they had still to learn whither He was going, but just because it was to the truth and to the life He was going? By Himself, therefore, He was going to Himself. And whither go we, but to Him, and by what way go we, but by Him? He, therefore, went to Himself by Himself, and we by Him to Him; yea, likewise both He and we go thus to the Father. For He says also in another place of Himself, "I go to the Father;"1 and here on our account He says, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." And in this way, He goeth by Himself both to Himself and to the Father, and we by Him both to Him and to the Father. Who can apprehend such things save he who has spiritual discernment? and how much is it that even he can apprehend, although thus spiritually discerning? Brethren, how can you desire me to explain such things to you? Only reflect how lofty they are. You see what I am, I see what you are; in all of us the body, which is corrupted, burdens the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things.2 Do we think we can say, "To Thee have I lifted up my soul, O Thou that dwellest in the heavens"?3 But burdened as we are with so great a weight, under which we groan, how shall I lift up my soul unless He lift it with me who laid His own down for me? I shall speak then as I can, and let each of you who is able receive it. As He gives, I speak; as He gives, the receiver receiveth; and as He giveth, there is faith for him who cannot yet receive with understanding. For, saith the prophet, "If ye will not believe, ye shall not understand."4

3. Tell me, O my Lord, what to say to Thy servants, my fellow-servants. The Apostle Thomas had Thee before him in order to ask Thee questions, and yet could not understand Thee unless he had Thee within him; I ask Thee because I know that Thou art over me; and I ask, seeking, as far as I can, to let my soul diffuse itself in that same region over me where I may listen to Thee, who usest no external sound to convey Thy teaching. Tell me, I pray, how it is that Thou goest to Thyself. Didst Thou formerly leave Thyself to come to us, especially as Thou camest not of Thyself, but the Father sent Thee? I know, indeed, that Thou didst empty Thyself; but in taking the form of a servant,5 it was neither that Thou didst lay down the form of God as something to return to, or that Thou lost it as something to be recovered; and yet Thou didst come, and didst place Thyself not only before the carnal eyes, but even in the very hands of men. And how otherwise save in Thy flesh? By means of this Thou didst come, yet abiding where Thou wast; by this means Thou didst return, without leaving the place to which Thou hadst come. If, then, by such means Thou didst come and return, by such means doubtless Thou art not only the way for us to come unto Thee, but wast the way also for Thyself to come and to return. For when Thou didst return to the life, which Thou art Thyself, then of a truth that same flesh of Thine Thou didst bring from death unto life. The Word of God, indeed, is one thing, and man another; but the Word was made flesh, or became man. And so the person of the Word is not different from that of the man, seeing that Christ is both in one person; and in this way, just as when His flesh died. Christ died, and when His flesh was buried, Christ was buried (for thus with the heart we believe unto righteousness, and thus with the mouth do we make confession unto salvation6 ); so when the flesh came from death unto life, Christ came to life. And because Christ is the Word of God, He is also the life. And thus in a wonderful and ineffable manner He, who never laid down or lost Himself, came to Himself. But God, as was said, had come through the flesh to men, the truth to liars; for God is true, and every man a liar.7 When, therefore, He withdrew His flesh from amongst men, and carried it up there where no liar is found, He also Himself-for the Word was made flesh-returned by Himself, that is, by His flesh, to the truth, which is none other but Himself. And this truth, we cannot doubt, although found amongst liars, He preserved even in death; for Christ was once dead, but never false.

4. Take an example, very different in character and wholly inadequate, yet in some little measure helpful to the understanding of God, from things that are in peculiarly intimate subjection to God. See here in my own case, while as far as pertains to my mind I am just the same as yourselves, if I keep silence I am so to myself; but if I speak to you something suited to your understanding, in a certain sense I go forth to you without leaving myself, but at the same time approach you and yet quit not the place from which I proceed. But when I cease speaking, I return in a kind of way to myself, and in a kind of way I remain with you, if you retain what you have heard in the discourse I am delivering. And if the mere image that God made is capable of this, what may not God, the very image of God, not made by, but born of God; whose body, wherein He came forth to us and returned from us, has not ceased to be, like the sound of my voice, but abides there, where it shall die no more, and death shall have no more dominion over it?8 Much more, perhaps, might and ought to have been said on these words of the Gospel; but your souls ought not to be burdened with spiritual food, however pleasant, especially as the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak
-St.Augustine "Tractates on the Gospel of St.John"
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« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2005, 12:26:11 AM »

It is not possible to express in language the pleasure which the presence of friends causes, but only those who have experienced it know. One can ask a favor, and receive a favor, from a friend without suspicion. When they make a request of us, we are grateful to them; but when they are slow to ask, then we are sad. We have nothing which is not theirs. Often, though despising all earthly things, nevertheless, on their account, we do not wish to depart from this life; and they are more desirable to us than the light. Yes, indeed, a friend is more desirable than the light itself. (I speak of the genuine friend.) And do not object; for it would be better for us for the sun to be extinguished than to be deprived of friends. It would be better to live in darkness than to be without friends. And how can I say this? Because many who see the sun are in darkness. But those who are rich in friends could never be in tribulation. I speak of the spiritual friends who set nothing above friendship. Such was Paul, who would willingly have given his own soul, without having been asked, and would have willingly fallen into Hell for his brethren, [Romans 9:3]. With so burning an affection is it proper to love. Take this as an example of friendship. Friends surpass fathers and sons, that is, friends according to Christ.

What about monks, then, one might ask, and those who live as hermits on tops of mountains? They are not without friends. They have fled from the tumult of the marketplace, but they have many of one accord with them, and are closely bound to each other in Christ. And it was in order that they might accomplish this that they withdrew. For, since the zeal of business leads to many disputes, they have left the world to cultivate godly love with great strictness. The skeptic then might say: What? If a man is alone, may he also have friends? I, indeed, would wish, if it were possible, that we were all able to live together; but, in the meantime, let friendship remain unmoved. For it is not the place that makes the friend. Furthermore, the monks have many who admire them; but no one would admire unless they loved. Also, the monks pray for the entire world, which is the greatest evidence of friendship.

For the same reason we embrace each other in the Divine Liturgy; in order that being many, we may become one. And we make common prayer for the uninitiated, for the sick, for the fruits of the earth, and for travelers by land and by sea. Behold the strength of love in the prayers, in the holy mysteries, in the preaching. This is the cause of all good things. If we apply ourselves with due care to these precepts, we shall both administer present things well and obtain the Kingdom.
-St.Anthusa (mother of St.John Chrysostom) from a letter to her son on friendship
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« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2005, 08:01:40 PM »

"Why are we so ready to judge our neighbour?  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 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?"  St. Dorotheos of Gaza, On Judging Others

Just for fun, an Early Church Mother Smiley

Blessed Amma, St. Syncletike, is quoted in the Evergetinos, as saying, that "to the struggling despondent souls, even the smallest good should be praised and marvelled at, to encourage their struggle to do good.  And their faults, at least to them, we must treat them as the least and unworthy of note.  Why?  Because the devil, wishing to secure spiritual destruction, tries to cover the sins of accomplished ascetics to create pride in these men.  In the neophytes/novices, he constantly exposes them to cause them despair, so that they might abandon their efforts/ascesis.  Let us never forget the boundless compassion of God.  His longsuffering and loving kindness, and so long as we truly repent, he annuls His just judgments against us.  Rahab was a prostitute, but repented, and was the repentant woman whom Holy Tuesday's service is devoted to.  St. Paul was a persecutor, but became a chosen vessel.  The thief on the cross next to the Lord's said repentful words, and was promised Paradise, was first to open the doors.  The Publican and the Pharisee, the Prodigal Son and many other parables illustrate the Lord doesn't want the death of any sinner, but his repentance and return to Him"
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« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2005, 04:37:50 PM »

Just a little correction to the post of St. Syncletike.  Where is talks about Rahab, after the comma it should read "as was", not "and was".  The latter makes it look like the blessed Saint was saying Rahab was the repentant woman at Christ's feet, which is an obvious chronological incongruency.  But the error is not the saints, it is my typing error.
Thanks,
Ted
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« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2005, 07:30:43 PM »

He who seeth his own sins , seeth not the sins of others.

        -Saint Moses the Ethiopian
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2005, 11:44:49 AM »

CHAPTER CXXXVIII -- NOAH IS A FIGURE OF CHRIST, WHO HAS REGENERATED US BY WATER, AND FAITH, AND WOOD: [i.e., the Cross.]

"You know, then, sirs," I said, "that God has said in Isaiah to Jerusalem: 'I saved thee in the deluge of Noah.' By this which God said was meant that the mystery of saved men appeared in the deluge. For righteous Noah, along with the other mortals at the deluge, i.e., with his own wife, his three sons and their wives, being eight in number, were a symbol of the eighth day, wherein Christ appeared when He rose from the dead, for ever the first in power. For Christ, being the first-born of every creature, became again the chief of another race regenerated by Himself through water, and faith, and wood, containing the mystery of the cross; even as Noah was saved by wood when he rode over the waters with his household. Accordingly, when the prophet says, 'I saved thee in the times of Noah,' as I have already remarked, he addresses the people who are equally faithful to God, and possess the same signs. For when Moses had the rod in his hands, he led your nation through the sea. And you believe that this was spoken to your nation only, or to the land. But the whole earth, as the Scripture says, was inundated, and the water rose in height fifteen cubits above all the mountains: so that it is evident this was not spoken to the land, but to the people who obeyed Him: for whom also He had before prepared a resting-place in Jerusalem, as was previously demonstrated by all the symbols of the deluge; I mean, that by water, faith, and wood, those who are afore-prepared, and who repent of the sins which they have committed, shall escape from the impending judgment of God.

St.Justin the Philosopher "Dialogue with Trypho"
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« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2005, 12:44:45 AM »

SERMON LXII. (ON THE PASSION, XI.) I. The mystery of the Passion passes man's comprehension. The Feast of the Lord's Passion that we have longed for and that the whole world may well desire, has come, and suffers us not to keep silence in the tumult of our spiritual joys: because though it is difficult to speak often on the same thing worthily and appropriately, yet the priest is not free to withhold from the people's ears instruction by sermon on this great mystery of God'S mercy, inasmuch as the subject itself, being unspeakable, gives him ease of utterance, and what is said cannot altogether fail where what is said can never be enough. Let human frailty, then, succumb to God's glory, and ever acknowledge itself unequal to the unfolding of His works of mercy. Let us toil in thought, fail in insight, falter in utterance: it is good that even our right thoughts about the Lord'S Majesty should be insufficient. For, remembering what the prophet says, "Seek ye the Lord and be strengthened: seek His face always," no one must assume that he has found all he seeks, lest he fail of coming near, 174 if he cease his endeavours. And amidst all the works of God which weary out man's wondering contemplation, what so delights and so baffles our mind's gaze as the Saviour's Passion? Ponder as we may upon His omnipotence, which is of one and equal substance with the Father, the humility in God is more stupendous than the power, and it is harder to grasp the complete emptying of the Divine Majesty than the infinite uplifting of the" slave's form" in Him. But we are much aided in our understanding of it by the remembrance that though the Creator and the creature, the Inviolable God and the possible flesh, are absolutely different, yet the properties of both substances meet together in Christ's one Person in such a way that alike in His acts of weakness and of power the degradation belongs to the same Person as the glory. II. The Creed takes up S. Peter's confession as the fundamental doctrine of the Church. In that rule of Faith, dearly-beloved, which we have received in the very beginning of the Creed, on the authority of apostolic teaching, we acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we call the only Son of God the Father Almighty, to be also born of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Ghost. Nor do we reject His Majesty when we express our belief in His crucifixion, death, and resurrection on the third day. For all that is God's and all that is Man's are simultaneously fulfilled by His Manhood and His Godhead, so that in virtue of the union of the Possible with the Impossible, His power cannot be affected by His weakness, nor His weakness overcome by His power. And rightly was the blessed Apostle Peter praised for confessing this union, who when the Lord was inquiring what the disciples knew of Him, quickly anticipated the rest and said, "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." And this assuredly he saw, not by the revelation of flesh or blood, which might have hindered his inner sight, but by the very Spirit of the Father working in his believing heart, that in preparation for ruling the whole Church he might first learn what he would have to teach, and for the solidification of the Faith, which he was destined to preach, might receive the assurance, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The strength, therefore, of the Christian Faith, which, built upon an impregnable rock, fears not the gates of death, acknowledges the one Lord Jesus Christ to be both true God and true Man, believing Him likewise to be the Virgin's Son, Who is His Mother's Creator: born also at the end of the ages, though He is the Creator of time: Lord of all power, and yet one of mortal stock: ignorant of sin, and yet sacrificed for sinners after the likeness of sinful flesh. III. The devil's devices were turned against himself. And in order that He might set the human race free from the bonds of deadly transgression, He hid the power of His majesty from the raging devil, and opposed him with our frail and humble nature. For if the cruel and proud foe could have known the counsel of God's mercy, he would have aimed at soothing the Jews' minds into gentleness rather than at firing them with unrighteous hatred, lest be should lose the thraldom of all his captives in assailing the liberty of One Who owed him nought. Thus he was foiled by his malice: he inflicted a punishment on the Son of God, which was turned to the healing of all the sons of men. He shed righteous Blood, which became the ransom and the drink for the world's atonement. The Lord undertook that which He chose according to the purpose of His own will. He permitted madmen to lay their wicked hands upon Him: hands which, in ministering to their own doom, were of service to the Redeemer's work. And yet so great was His loving compassion for even His murderers, that He prayed to the Father on the cross, and begged not for His own vengeance but for their forgiveness, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And such was the power of that prayer, that the hearts of many of those who had said, "His blood be on us and on our sons," were turned to penitence by the Apostle Peter's preaching, and on one day there were baptized about 3,000 Jews: and they all were "of one heart and of one soul," being ready now to die for Him, Whose crucifixion they had demanded. IV. Why Judas could not obtain forgiveness through Christ. To this forgiveness the traitor Judas could not attain: for he, the son of perdition, at whose right the devil stood, gave himself up to despair before Christ accomplished the mystery of universal redemption. For in that the Lord died for sinners, perchance even he might have found salvation if he had not hastened to hang himself. But that evil heart, which was now given up to thievish frauds, and now busied with treacherous designs, had 175 never entertained aught of the proofs of the Saviour's mercy. Those wicked ears had heard the Lord's words, when He said, "I same not to call the righteous but sinners," and "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost," but they conveyed not to his understanding the clemency of Christ, which not only healed bodily infirmities, but also cured the wounds of sick souls, saying to the paralytic man, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee saying also to the adulteress that was brought to Him, "neither will I condemn thee; go and sin no more," to show in all His works that He had come as the Saviour, not the Judge of the world. But the wicked traitor refused to understand this, and took measures against himself, not in the self-condemnation of repentance, but in the madness of perdition, and thus he who had sold the Author of life to His murderers, even in dying increased the amount of sin which condemned him. V. The cruelty oaf Christ's crucifixioni s lost in its wondrous power. Accordingly that which false witnesses, cruel leaders of the people, wicked priests did against the Lord Jesus Christ, through the agency of a coward governor and an ignorant band of soldiers, has been at once the abhorrence and the rejoicing of all ages. For though the Lord's cross was part of the cruel purpose of the 'Jews, yet is it of wondrous power through Him they crucified. The people's fury was directed against One, and the mercy of Christ is for all mankind. That which their cruelty inflicts He voluntarily undergoes. in order that the work of His eternal will may be carried out through their unhindered crime. And hence the whole order of events which is most fully narrated in the Gospels must be received by the faithful in such a way that by implicit belief in the occurrences which happened at the time of the Lord's Passion, we should understand that not only was the remission of sins accomplished by Christ, but also the standard of justice satisfied. But that this may be more thoroughly discussed by the Lord's help, let us reserve this portion of the subject till the fourth day of the week God's grace, we hope, will be vouchsafed at your entreaties to help us to fulfil our promise: through Jesus Christ our Lord, &c. Amen.

-St.Leo the Great
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« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2005, 10:25:06 PM »

For if man, who had been created by God that he might live, after losing life, through being injured by the serpent that had corrupted him, should not any more return to life, but should be utterly [and for ever] abandoned to death, God would [in that case] have been conquered, and the wickedness of the serpent would have prevailed over the will of God. But inasmuch as God is invincible and long-suffering, He did indeed show Himself to be long-suffering in the matter of the correction of man and the probation of all, as I have already observed; and by means of the second man did He bind the strong man, and spoiled his goods, and abolished death, vivifying that man who had been in a state of death. For at the first Adam became a vessel in his (Satan’s) possession, whom he did also hold under his power, that is, by bringing sin on him iniquitously, and under color of immortality entailing death upon him. For, while promising that they should be as gods, which was in no way possible for him to be, he wrought death in them: wherefore he who had led man captive, was justly captured in his turn by God; but man, who had been led captive, was loosed from the bonds of condemnation.

St. Ireneus, “Against the Heresies,” Book 3, Chp. 23.


Troparion - Tone 4

In your manner a participant,
And in your throne a successor of the Apostles,
You discovered action an entrance into visions,
O inspired one of God.
Therefore directing the Word of Truth,
You suffered for the faith even unto blood.
O Bishop and Martyr Irenaues,
Pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved!
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2005, 01:33:20 AM »

There is need of constant prayer lest we defect from the heavenly kingdom, as have the Jews to whom it was first promised. This the Lord makes unmistakably clear by saying: “Many will come from East and West and recline at the banquet table with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven, whereas those born to the kingdom will be driven into the darkness outside, there to wail and gnash their teeth” ... Our Lord shows that the Jews were formerly children of the kingdom, but after the name “Father” disappeared from among them, so did the kingdom. The Jews have remained in darkness for having forsaken the Light. ~ St. Cyprian

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www.hungersite.com  Ãƒâ€šÃ‚  www.freedonation.com you can donate up to 20 times at freedonation.  http://www.pomog.org/ has online 1851 Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton English translation of Septuagint.http://www.cnrs.ubc.ca/greekbible/ Original Koine Septuagint and New Testament.
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St Anthony the Great


« Reply #31 on: July 10, 2006, 04:11:28 PM »

Saint Anthony the Great: "I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility."" 

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Kirie Iisu Hriste, eleison me!
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« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2006, 12:11:17 AM »

Polycarp, and the presbyters(2) with him, to the Church of God sojourning at Philippi: Mercy to you, and peace from God Almighty, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, be multiplied.

CHAP. VII.--AVOID THE DOCETAE, AND PERSEVERE IN FASTING AND PRAYER.

"For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;"(18) and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross,(19) is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.(20) Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from(21) the beginning; "watching unto prayer,"(22)

St. Polycarp to the Philippians
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St. Matthew's Gospel 22nd Chapter:
37  Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
38  This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39  And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour a
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« Reply #33 on: December 08, 2006, 12:22:51 AM »

On the Incarnation of the Word

Part 55.
2. On the other hand, while idolatry and everything else that opposes the faith of Christ is daily dwindling and weakening and falling, see, the Saviour’s teaching is increasing everywhere! Worship then the Saviour “Who is above all” and mighty, even God the Word and condemn those who are being defeated and made to disappear by Him.

End of excerpt by St. Athanasius

My comment --

St. Athanasius could say this even when he was surrounded by apostasy and threats against his own life (due to the Arian heresy) on every side because he looked forward to the final victory of Christ and while the battle raged, St. Athanasius, contra mundum, would have nothing to do with the apostates. The Arian persecution of the Church lasted until the final victory against the Arians by St. Isadore of Seville (reposed in the Lord 636 A.D.), the last of the Church Fathers in the west. The peace that St. Athanasius speaks of is not a worldly peace (i.e. given by the world and not from above), worldly peace is only offered by Satan. St. Athanasius speaks of the peace that passes all understanding which is given by God to faithful Christians alone. The Church always has battles to fight for she is the Church Militant.
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St. Matthew's Gospel 22nd Chapter:
37  Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
38  This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39  And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour a
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« Reply #34 on: December 08, 2006, 12:24:38 AM »

ST. AUGUSTINE, THE CITY OF GOD
 
BOOK XX.
 
CHAP. 19.--WHAT THE APOSTLE PAUL WROTE TO THE THESSALONIANS ABOUT THE MANIFESTATION OF ANTICHRIST AS THE TEMPLE OF GOD, THE FALSE CHURCH, WHICH SHALL PRECEDE THE DAY OF THE LORD.

I see that I must omit many of the statements of the gospels and epistles about this last judgment, that this volume may not become unduly long; but I can on no account omit what the Apostle Paul says, in writing to the Thessalonians, "We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,"(2) etc.
No one can doubt that he wrote this of Antichrist and of the day of judgment, which he here calls the day of the Lord, nor that he declared that this day should not come unless he first came who is called the apostate --apostate, to wit, from the Lord God. And if this may justly be said of all the ungodly, how much more of him? But it is uncertain in what temple he shall sit, whether in that ruin of the temple which was built by Solomon, or in the Church; for the apostle would not call the temple of any idol or demon the temple of God. And on this account some think that in this passage Antichrist means not the prince himself alone, but his whole body, that is, the mass of men who adhere to him, along with him their prince; and they also think that we should render the Greek more exactly were we to read, not "in the temple of God," but "for" or "as the temple of God," as if he himself were the temple of God, the Church.(3) Then as for the words, "And now ye know what withholdeth," i.e., ye know what hindrance or cause of delay there is, "that he might be revealed in his own time;" …(St. Justin Martyr says this is Jesus Christ Himself Who “withholdeth”)…"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now holdeth, let him hold until he be taken out of the way: and then shall the wicked be revealed?" … That which there is no doubt he said is this, that Christ will not come to judge the quick and dead unless Antichrist, His adversary, first come to seduce those who are dead in soul; although their seduction is a result of God's secret judgment already passed. For, as it is said "his presence shall be after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all seduction of unrighteousness in them that perish." For then shall Satan be loosed, and by means of that Antichrist shall work with all power in a lying though a wonderful manner. …they shall be such signs and wonders as shall seduce those who shall deserve to be seduced, "because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved." Neither did the apostle hesitate to go on to say, "For this cause God shall send upon them the working of error that they should believe a lie." For God shall send, because God shall permit the devil to do these things, the permission being by His own just judgment, though the doing of them is in pursuance of the devil's unrighteous and malignant purpose, "that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Therefore, being judged, they shall be seduced, and, being seduced, they shall be judged. But, being judged, they shall be seduced by those secretly just and justly secret judgments of God, with which He has never ceased to judge since the first sin of the rational creatures; and, being seduced, they shall be judged in that last and manifest judgment administered by Jesus Christ, who was Himself most unjustly judged and shall most justly judge.


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St. Matthew's Gospel 22nd Chapter:
37  Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
38  This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39  And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour a
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« Reply #35 on: December 08, 2006, 11:54:43 AM »

IRENAEUS AGAINST HERESIES – BOOK I  (Chap. I to Chap. XV)

BOOK I

PREFACE.

1. INASMUCH(1) as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, which, as the apostle says,(2) "minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith," and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, [I have felt constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations.] These men falsify the oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation. They also overthrow the faith of many, by drawing them away, under a pretence of [superior] knowledge, from Him who rounded and adorned the universe; as if, forsooth, they had something more excellent and sublime to reveal, than that God who created the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein. By means of specious and plausible words, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge;(3) and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth.

2. Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself.


CHAP. X.--UNITY OF THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD.

1. The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations(6) of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father "to gather all things in one,"(7) and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess" to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He may send "spiritual wickednesses,"(9) and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning [of their Christian course], and others from [the date of] their repentance, and may surround them with everlasting glory.

2. As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions(1) of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shineth everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these (for no one is greater than the Master); nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it.

 
3. It does not follow because men are endowed with greater and less degrees of intelligence, that they should therefore change the subject-matter [of the faith] itself, and should conceive of some other God besides Him who is the Framer, Maker, and Preserver of this universe, (as if He were not sufficient(2) for them), or of another Christ, or another Only-begotten. But the fact referred to simply implies this, that one may [more accurately than another] bring out the meaning of those things which have been spoken in parables, and accommodate them to the general scheme of the faith; and explain [with special clearness] the operation and dispensation of God connected with human salvation; and show that God manifested longsuffering in regard to the apostasy of the angels who transgressed, as also with respect to the disobedience of men; and set forth why it is that one and the same God has made some things temporal and some eternal, some heavenly and others earthly; and understand for what reason God, though invisible, manifested Himself to the prophets not under one form, but differently to different individuals; and show why it was that more covenants than one were given to mankind; and teach what was the special character of each of these covenants; and search out for what reason "God(3) hath concluded every man(4) in unbelief, that He may have mercy upon all;" and gratefully(5) describe on what account the Word of God became flesh and suffered; and relate why the advent of the Son of God took place in these last times, that is, in the end, rather than in the beginning [of the world]; and unfold what is contained in the Scriptures concerning the end [itself], and things to come; and not be silent as to how it is that God has made the Gentiles, whose salvation was despaired of, fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers with the saints; and discourse how it is that "this mortal body shall put on immortality, and this corruptible shall put on incorruption;"(6) and proclaim in what sense [God] says, "'That is a people who was not a people; and she is beloved who was not beloved;"(7) and in what sense He says that "more are the children of her that was desolate, than of her who possessed a husband." For in reference to these points, and others of a like nature, the apostle exclaims: "Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"(9) But [the superior skill spoken of] is not found in this, that any one should, beyond the Creator and Framer [of the world], conceive of the Enthymesis of an erring AEon, their mother and his, and should thus proceed to such a pitch of blasphemy; nor does it consist in this, that he should again falsely imagine, as being above this [fancied being], a Pleroma at one time supposed to contain thirty, and at another time an innumerable tribe of AEons, as these teachers who are destitute of truly divine wisdom maintain; while the Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said
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St. Matthew's Gospel 22nd Chapter:
37  Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
38  This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39  And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour a
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« Reply #36 on: December 08, 2006, 06:42:44 PM »

APHRAHAT THE PERSIAN SAGE,

DEMONSTRATION VIII.--OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.

1. At all times controversies arise on this matter, how the dead shall rise and with what body they shall come?(4) For lo! the body wears out and is corrupted; and the bones also, no doubt, as time lengthens out over them, waste away and are not to be recognised. And when thou enterest a tomb in which a hundred dead men are buried, thou findest not there an handful of dust. And thus say those that reflect on these things:--" We know of course that the dead shall rise; but they will be clothed in a heavenly body and spiritual forms. And if it is not so, these hundred dead that were buried in one tomb, of whom after a long time elapses there remains nothing at all there, when the dead shall be quickened, and shall be clothed in a body and rise, unless they shall be clothed in a heavenly body, from whence shall their body come? For lo! there is nothing in the tomb."

2. Whosoever reflects thus is foolish, and without knowledge. When the dead were brought in, they were something; and when they were there for a long time, they became nothing. And, when the time shall have come that the dead shall rise, that nothing shall become something according to its former nature, and a change shall be added to its nature. O thou unwise who reflectest thus, hear that which the blessed Apostle said when he was instructing a foolish man like thee; for he said fool, the seed which thou sowest unless it die is not quickened; and that which thou sowest is not like that which grows up into blade, but one bare grain of wheat or barley or some other seedling. And to each one the seeds is given its own body. But God clothes thy seed with its body as He wills.(5)

3. Therefore, O fool, be instructed by this, that each of the seeds is clothed in its own body. Never dost thou sow wheat and yet reap barley, and never dost thou plant a vine and yet it produced figs; but everything grows according to its nature. Thus also the body that was laid in the earth is that which shall rise again. And as to this, that the body is corrupted and wastes away, thou oughtest to be instructed by the parable of the seed; that as the seed, when it is cast into the earth, decays and is corrupted, and from its decay it produces and buds and bears fruit. For the land that is ploughed, into which seed is not cast, produces not fruit, even if that land drinks in all the rain. So the grave in which the dead are not buried, from it men shall not issue forth in the quickening of the dead, though the full voice of the trumpet should sound within it. And if, as they say, the spirit of the just shall ascend into heaven and put on a heavenly body, they are in heaven. And He Who raises the dead dwells in heaven. Then when our Saviour shall come, whom shall He raise up from the earth? And why did He write for us:--The hour shall come, and now is, that the dead also shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and they shall live and come forth from their tombs?(1) For the heavenly body will not come and enter into the tomb, and again go forth from it.

4. For thus say those who are stubborn in folly:--Why did the Apostle say,--Different is the body which is in heaven from that which is on earth?(2) But he that hears this, let him hear also the other thing that the Apostle said:--There is an animal body, and there is a spiritual body.(3) And again he said:-- We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed.(4) And again he said:--This that shall die must clothe itself with that that shall not die, and this which is corruptible must clothe itself with that which is incorruptible.(5) Again he said:-- We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every man may be rewarded in his body for everything that before time was done by hun, whether good or evil.(6) Again he said:-- What shall those do that are baptized for the dead? For if the dead rise not, why are they baptized for them?(7) Again he said:--If there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen, and if Christ is not risen then your faith is vain, and our preaching. And if so we are found false witnesses in that we testified of God, that He raised up Christ, Whom He raised not up.(Cool Therefore, if the dead rise not, there is no judgment. And if there is no judgment, then let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die. Be not deceived; evil communications corrupt good purposes.(9) Now as to this that the Apostle said:--The body that is in heaven is different from that which is on the earth, let this word be thus understood by thee. When the body of the just shall arise and be changed, it is called heavenly. And that which is not changed is called earthly, according to its earthly nature.

5. But hear, my beloved, another word like this, which the Apostle has spoken. For he said:-- The spiritual man judgeth everything, and he is judged by no one.(1) And again he said:-- They that are spiritual are spiritually minded, and they that are carnal are carnally minded.(2) And again he said:-- When we were in the flesh, the weaknesses of sins were working in our members that we might become fruit for death.(3) Again he said:--If the Spirit of Christ is in you, ye are spiritual.(4) All these things the Apostle said, while he was clothed in the flesh but was doing the works of the Spirit. Thus also in the Resurrection of the dead, the righteous shall be changed, and the earthly form shall be swallowed up in the heavenly, and it shall be called a heavenly body. And that which shall not be changed, shall be called earthly.

6. Concerning then this Resurrection of the dead, my beloved, according to my power I will instruct thee. For from the beginning God created Adam; moulded him from the dust of the earth, and raised him up. For if, while Adam was not, He made him from nothing, how much easier now is it for Him to raise him up; for lo! as a seed he is sown in the earth. For if God should do those things that are easy for us, His works would not appear mighty to us. For lo! there are amongst men artificers who make wonderful things, and those who are not artificers of the works stand and wonder how they were done; and the work of their fellows is difficult in their eyes. How much more should not the works of God be as a marvel! But for God this was no great thing, that the dead should be quickened. Before seed was sown in the earth, the earth produced that which had not been cast into it. Before it had conceived, it bore in its virginity. How then is this difficult, that the earth should cause to spring up again what had been cast into it, and after conception should bear? And lo! her travail-pains are near; as Isaiah said, Who hath seen anything like this and who hath heard such things as these? that the earth should travail in one day, and a people should be born in one hour?(1) For Adam unsown sprang up conceived he was born. But lo! now his offspring are sown, and wait for the rain, and shall spring up. And lo! the earth teems with many, and the time of her bringing forth is at hand.

7. For all our fathers, in hope of the Resurrection and the quickening of the dead, were looking forward and hastening; as the blessed Apostle said, If the righteous had been looking forward to that city from which Abraham went forth, they would have had an opportunity of again turning back and to it; but they showed that they were looking forward to one better than it, namely thai which is in heaven.(2) They were looking forward to be released and to go speedily thither. And from that which I am writing unto thee, understand and observe that they were looking forward to the Resurrection. For Jacob our father, when he was dying, bound Joseph his son with an oath, and said to him, Bury me in the tomb of my fathers, with Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebecca.(3) And why, my beloved, did Jacob not wish to be buried in Egypt, but with his fathers? He showed beforehand, that he was looking forward to the quickening of the dead; that, when the Resurrection shout should be raised and the sound of the trumpet (heard), he might rise up near to his fathers, and might not at the time of the Resurrection be mingled with the wicked who shall return to Sheol and to punishment.

8. Thus also Joseph bound his brethren by an oath,(4) and said to them:--When God shall remember you, take up my bones from hence with you. And according to the word of Joseph his brethren did, and kept the oath a hundred and twenty-five years. At that time when the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt, then Moses took up the bones of Joseph when he went forth.(5) And the bones of the righteous man were more precious and better in his estimation than the gold and the silver that the children of Israel took from Egypt when they spoiled them. And the bones of Joseph were forty years in the wilderness; and at that time when Moses fell asleep, he gave them in inheritance to Joshua the son of Nun. The bones of Joseph his father were better in his estimation than all the spoil of that land which he subdued. And why did Moses give the bones of Joseph to Joshua? Clearly, because he was of the tribe of Ephraim the son of Joseph. And he buried them in the land of promise, that there might be in that land a treasure, (even) that of the bones of Joseph (that were) buried therein. And also at the time that Jacob was dying, he blessed his tribes, and showed them what would happen to them in the latter days, and said to Reuben:--Reuben, thou art my firstborn, might and the beginning of my strength. Thou hast gone astray; as water, thou shalt not abide, because thou wentest up father's bed. Truly thou defilest my couch and wentest up.(6) From the time that Jacob fell asleep until the time that Moses fell asleep two hundred and thirty-three years elapsed. Then Moses wished by his priestly power to absolve Reuben from his transgression and sin, in that he had lain with Bilhah, his father's concubine; that when his brethren should rise, he might not be cut off from their number. So he said in the beginning of his blessing:--Reuben shall live and not die, and shall be in the number.

9. And also when the time came that Moses should sleep with his fathers, he was grieved and distressed, and he sought of his Lord and entreated that he might pass over to the land of promise. And why, my beloved, was the righteous Moses grieved because he did not enter into the land of promise? Clearly, because he wished to go and be buried with his fathers, and not be buried in the land of his adversaries, in the land of Moab. For the Moabites hired Balaam the son of Beor to curse Israel. Therefore Moses wished not to be buried in that land, test the Moabites should come and take vengeance on him by taking up and casting forth the bones of that righteous man. And the Lord performed an act of grace towards Moses. For He brought him forth to Mount Nebo, and showed him all the land, making it pass before him. And as Moses gazed upon all the land, and gazed upon the mountain of the Jebusites where the Tabernacle was to dwell, he was grieved and wept when he saw the tomb in Hebron where his fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried, that he should not be buried with them, nor his bones cast upon their bones, that he might rise along with them in the Resurrection. But when he had seen all the land, his Lord encouraged him and said to him, "I myself will bury thee and hide thee, and none shall know thy tomb." So Moses died according to the word of the mouth of the Lord, and He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-Peor, where Israel had sinned, and no man has known his sepulchre unto this day.(1) Two goodly benefits did his Lord accomplish for Moses in not making known his tomb to the children of Israel. He rejoiced that his adversaries should not know it, and cast forth his bones from his tomb; and in the second place, that the children of his people should not know it, and make his tomb a place of worship, for he was accounted as God in the eyes of the children of his people. And understand this, my beloved, from hence, that when he left them and went up to the mountain, they said:(2)--As for this Moses who brought us up from the land of Egypt we know not what has become of him. So they made them a calf and worshipped it, and they remembered not God Who brought them up from Egypt by means of Moses with a mighty hand and an uplifted arm.(3) Because of this, God had respect unto Moses, and did not make known his tomb; lest, if He should make known his tomb, the children of his people might go astray, and make them an image, and worship it and sacrifice to it, and so by their sins disquiet the bones of the righteous man.

10. And Moses again proclaimed clearly the Resurrection of the dead, for he said as from the mouth of his God:--It is I that cause to die and it is I that make able.(4) Again also Hannah said thus in her prayer:--The Lord causeth to die and quickeneth ; He bringeth down to Sheol and bringeth up (therefrom).(5) The Prophet Isaiah also said thus:--Thy dead shall live, O Lord, and their bodies shall rise, and they that sleep in the dust shall awake and praise thee.(6) David also proclaimed, saying:--For lo! for the dead Thou workest wonderful things, and the mighty ones shall rise and make confession unto Thee, and those that are in the tombs shall recount Thy grace.(7) And how in the tombs shall they recount the grace of God? Clearly, when they shall hear the sound of trumpet summoning them, and the cornet sounding forth from on high, and the earthquake that shall be, and the tombs that shall be opened, then the mighty ones shall arise in glory, and recount one to another in the tombs, saying, "Great is the grace that is performed towards us. For our hope was cut off; yet (another) hope has arisen for us. We were imprisoned in darkness, and have come forth to the light. We were sown in corruption, and have risen in glory. We were buried naturally, and we have risen spiritually. Again we were sown in weakness, and have risen in power." This is the grace that they shall tell of in the tombs.

11. And it was not only in words, my beloved, that God said:--" I quicken the dead," but also in deeds He showed it to us by many testimonies; that we might have no hesitation (concerning it). He showed it beforehand plainly; for through Elijah a wonder was manifested, (in proof) that the dead shall live and that they that sleep in the dust shall arise. For when the son of the widow died, Elijah raised him up and gave him to his mother. And Elisha again, his disciple, raised up the son of the Shunamite; that the testimony of two might be established and confirmed for us. And also again when the children of Israel cast a dead man on the bones of Elisha, that dead man revived and arose. And the witness of three is certain.

12. And also through the Prophet Ezekiel, the Resurrection of the dead was manifestly shown, when God brought him forth to the valley and showed him many bones, and made him pass by them round about them, and said to him:--Son of these bones live? And Ezekiel said to Him: Thou knowest, O Lord of lords. And the Lord said to him:--Prophesy, O Son Man, over these bones; prophesy and say to the dry bones, Hear the word of the Lord of lords. And when he had caused them to hear those words, there was a shaking and a noise, and the bones were gathered together, even those that were crushed into pieces and broken. And when the Prophet saw them, he was astonished, for they came together from all sides, and each bone received its fellow, and each joint approached its fellow-joint, and they ordered themselves, one on another. And their dryness was made moist, and the joints were united by the ligatures, and the blood grew warm in the arteries, and skin was stretched over the flesh, and hair grew up according to its nature. But they lay prostrate and there was no breath in them Then again He commanded the Prophet, and said to him Prophesy unto the spirit and say to it, Come, O spirit, from the four winds, and breathe upon these slain men that they may live. And when he caused them to hear this second word, the spirit entered into them, and they revived and stood up upon their feet, a very great host.

13. But why, my beloved, was it that those dead did not rise because of the one word (spoken) through Ezekiel, and why was not their resurrection, both of bones and spirit, accomplished (through that one word)? For lo! by one word the bones were fitted together, and by another the spirit came. It was in order that full perfection might be left for our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with one utterance and one word will raise up at the last day every body of man. For it was not the word that was insufficient, but its bearer was inferior. And with regard to this, understand and observe that when Elijah also, and Elisha his disciple, raised the dead, it was not with one word that they raised them up, but after they had prayed and made intercession and delayed no little time, then they arose.

14. And our Lord Himself, in that His first Coming raised up three that were dead, that the testimony of three might be made sure. And He raised up each one of them with two words each. For when He raised up the widow's son, He called him twice, saying to him, Young man, young man, arise.(2) And he revived and arose. And again, He twice called the daughter of the chief of the synagogue, saying to her, Damsel, damsel, arise.(3) And her spirit returned and she arose. And after Lazarus died, when He came to the place of burial. He prayed earnestly and cried with a loud voice and said, Lazarus, come forth.(4)And he revived and came out of his tomb.

15. And concerning all this that I have explained to thee, that those dead persons were raised with two words each, it was because for them two resurrections take place; that former one, and the second, that which is to come. For in that resurrection in which all men shall rise, none shall fall again; and by one word of God, sent forth through Christ, all the dead shall rise in the twinkling of an eye, speedily. For He Who brings it to pass is not feeble or insufficient. For with one word of summons He will cause all the ends (of the world) to hear, and all that are laid (in the grave) shall leap forth and rise up; and no word shall return void to Him that sent it forth, but as it is written in the Prophet Isaiah,(1) who compares the word to rain and snow; for he said:--As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and return not thither, but fertilize the earth and cause it to bring forth and give seed to the sower and bread for food, so shall the word be that goes forth from My mouth, and it shall not return to Me void, but shall accomplish whatsoever I desire and shall accomplish that for which I shall have sent it. For the rain and the snow do not return to heaven, but accomplish in the earth the will of Him that sends them. So the word that He shall send through His Christ, Who is Himself the Word and the Message, shall return to Him with great power. For when He shall come and bring it, He shall come down like rain and snow, and through Him all that is sown shall spring up and bear righteous fruit, and the word shall return to His sender; but not in vain shall His going have been, but thus shall He say in the presence of His sender:--Behold, I and the children that the Lord has given Me.(2) And this is the voice through which the dead shall live. Concerning it our Redeemer testifies, saying:--The hour shall come when even the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth from their tombs;(3) as it is written, In the beginning was the voice, that is the Word.(4) Again He said, The Word became a body and dwelt amongst us.(5) And this is that voice of God which shall sound from on high and raise up all the dead.

16. Again, our Lord explained to the Sadducees with regard to the resurrection of the dead, when they brought forth to Him the parable of the woman who was married to seven husbands, and said to Him:--Lo! the woman was wife of them all; in the Resurrection of the dead, to which of them shall she be wife?(6) Then our Lord said to them:--Ye do greatly err, and ye know not the Scriptures nor the power of God. For they who are worthy of that world and of that Resurrection front the dead, they that are men do not take wives, nor are the women married to husbands, for they cannot die, for they are as the angels of God and children of the Resurrection. But concerning the Resurrection, that the dead shall rise, have ye not read in the Scripture that God said to Moses out of the bush, "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob." And lo! He is not God of the dead, for they all are alive unto Him.(7)

17. And there are those who even while they live are dead unto God. For He laid a commandment on Adam and said to him, In the day that thou shalt eat of the tree, thou shall surely die.(Cool And after he had transgressed the commandment, and had eaten, he lived nine hundred and thirty years; but he was accounted dead unto God because of his sins. But that it may be made certain for thee that a sinner is called dead even when he lives, I will make it clear to thee. For thus it is written in Ezekiel the Prophet, As I live, saith the Lord of lords, I desire not the death of the dead sinner.(9)

18. Moreover our Lord said to that man who said to Him:--Let me go and bury my father, and I will come to Thee.(1) And our Lord said to him, Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou, preach the Kingdom of God. But how is this word understood by thee, my beloved? Didst thou ever see the dead burying their dead? Or how shall a dead man arise to bury another dead man? But receive this explanation from me, that a sinner, while he is living, is dead unto God; and a righteous man, though dead, is alive unto God. For such death is a sleep, as David said, I lay down and slept, and awake.(1) Again Isaiah said, They that sleep in the dust shall awake.(2) And our Lord said concerning the daughter of the chief of the synagogue, The damsel is not dead, but sleeping a slumber.(3) And concerning Lazarus, He said to His disciples:--Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go to waken him.(4) And the Apostle said:--We shall all sleep, but we shall not all be changed.(5) And again he said:--Concerning those that sleep, be ye not grieved.(6)

19. But it is right for us to be afraid of the second death,(7) that which is full of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and of groanings and miseries, that which is situated in outer darkness. But blessed shall be the faithful and the righteous in that Resurrection, in which they expect to be awakened and to receive the good promises made them. But as for the wicked who are not faithful, in the Resurrection woe to them, because of that which is laid up for them! It would be better for them according to the faith which they possess, were they not to arise. For the servant, for whom his Lord is preparing stripes and bonds, while he is sleeping desires not to awake, for he knows that when the dawn shall have come and he shall awake, his Lord will scourge and bind him. But the good servant, to whom his Lord has promised gifts, looks expectantly for the time when dawn shall come and he shall receive presents from his Lord. And even though he is soundly sleeping, in his dream he sees something like what his Lord is about to give him, whatsoever He has promised him, and he rejoices in his dream, and exults, and is gladdened. As for the wicked, his sleep is not pleasant to him, for he imagines that lo! the dawn has come for him, and his heart is broken in his dream. But the righteous sleep, and their slumber is pleasant to them, in the day-time and the night-time, and they take no thought of all that long night, and like one hour is it accounted in their eyes. Then in the watch of the dawn they awake with joy. But as for the wicked, their sleep lies heavy upon them, and they are like a man who is laid low by a great and deep fever, and tosses on his couch hither and thither, arid he is terrified the whole night long, which lengthens itself out for him, and he fears the dawn when his Lord will condemn him.

20. But our faith thus teaches, that when men fall asleep, they sleep this slumber without knowing good from evil. And the righteous look not forward to their promises, nor do the wicked look forward to their sentence of punishment, until the Judge come and separate those whose place is at His right hand from those whose place is at His left. And be thou instructed by that which is written, that when the Judge shall sit, and the books be opened before Him and the good and evil deeds recited, then they that have wrought good works shall receive good rewards from Him Who is good; and they that have done evil deeds shall receive evil penalties from the just Judge. For towards the good, He changes not His nature; and He proves Himself just because He justly condemns many. But towards the evil He changes His nature, in that world where grace is lost in justice; and He proves Himself just to all. And grace will not be joined with justice towards them. Like as grace avails not (to remedy) detriment, so justice (avails not to assist) grace. For grace is far from the judge, but justice urges the judge. If grace be nigh to any one, let him turn himself towards it, and not deliver himself into the hands of justice, test it condemn him, exacting for his shortcomings the penalty at his hands. And if grace be far from any one, justice will bring him to the trial, and by it he will be condemned, and go away to the torment.

21. But hear, my beloved, this proof that retribution shall take place at the end. For when the Shepherd divides His flock and sets some on His right hand and some on His left.(1) until He shall have acknowledged the service of the good, then He will cause them to inherit the kingdom; and until He shall have rebuked the evil and they are condemned, then He will send them to the torment. And as to them that sent messengers after the King, saying, This man shall not be king over us,(2) when He shall receive the kingdom and return, then His adversaries shall be slain before Him. And the labourers who hastened and were wearied in the vineyard, shall not receive the reward till the labour shall cease. And the traders who received the money, when the Lord of the money shall come, then shall He exact the usury. And the virgins who, while waiting for the bridegroom, slumbered and slept because He delayed to come, when they shall hear the cry, then they shall awake and trim their lamps; and they that are wise shall enter in; and the foolish shall be shut out. And they who were before us in entering the faith, without us shall not be made perfect.(3)

22 From all these things, understand thou, my beloved, as it has been made certain for thee, that as yet no one has received his reward. For the righteous have not inherited the kingdom, nor have the wicked gone into torment. The Shepherd has not as yet divided His flock. And lo! the workmen enter into the vineyard, and as yet have not received the reward. And lo! the merchants are trading with the money. And as yet their Lord has not come to take the account. And the King has gone to receive the Kingdom, but as yet He hats not returned the second time. And those virgins that are waiting the bridegroom are sleeping up to the present time, and are awaiting the cry when they will awake. And the former men who toiled in the faith until the last men shall come, shall not be made perfect.

23. But they who are babes in understanding say:--" If no one has received his reward, why did the Apostle say, When we shall depart from the body, we shall be present with the Lord ?"(4) But recollect, my beloved, that I instructed thee concerning this matter in the Demonstration concerning Solitaries,(5) that the spirit which the righteous receive, according to its heavenly nature, goes to our Lord until the time of the Resurrection, when it shall come to put on the body in which it dwelt. And at every time it has the memory of this in the presence of God, and looks eagerly for the Resurrection of that body in which it dwelt, as the Prophet Isaiah said about the Church of the Gentiles:--They that make mention of thee shall be faithful and stand before the Lord, and thou shalt not give them rest.(6) But as to the wicked, they have none to make mention of them before the Lord, because the Holy Spirit is far removed from them, because they are animal, and are buried after the manner of animals.

24. And again, (the followers of) doctrines, which are instruments of the Evil One, are offended by the word which our Lord spake, No one has ascended up to heaven but He Who came down from heaven, the Son of Man, Who was in heaven.(7) And they say, "Lo! our Lord testified that no earthly body has ascended to heaven." In their ignorance they cannot apprehend the force of this. For when our Lord instructed Nicodemus, he did not apprehend the force of the saying. Then our Lord said to him:--"No one has ascended into heaven, so as to come down and relate to you whatsoever is there. For if I have spoken unto you of those things that are in the earth, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I shall speak unto you of those things which are in heaven?(Cool For lo! no other witness besides Me has come down from thence, to bear witness concerning those things which are in heaven, so that ye should believe. For Elijah went up thither, but he came not down along with Me to bear witness, that the testimony of two might be sure."

25. But as for thee, my beloved, have no doubt as to the Resurrection of the dead. For the living mouth (of God) testifies :-I cause to die and I make alive.(1) And both of them proceeded out of one mouth. And as we are sure that He causes to die, and we see it; so also it is sure and worthy of belief, that He makes alive. And from all that I have explained to thee, receive and believe that in the day of the Resurrection thy body shall arise in its entirety, and thou shalt receive from our Lord the reward of thy faith, and in all that thou hast believed, thou shalt rejoice and be made glad.

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St. Matthew's Gospel 22nd Chapter:
37  Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
38  This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39  And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour a
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« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2006, 10:11:28 PM »

Early Church Fathers Collection

http://www.zeitun-eg.org/ecfidx.htm

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/index.htm

e-Catena: Compiled Allusions to the NT in the Ante-Nicene Fathers

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/e-catena/


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St. Matthew's Gospel 22nd Chapter:
37  Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
38  This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39  And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour a
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« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2006, 11:50:15 PM »

A mega collection of the Church Fathers –

Internet Christian Library, Guide to Early Church Documents:

http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/christian-history.html#fathers

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St. Matthew's Gospel 22nd Chapter:
37  Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind.
38  This is the greatest and the first commandment.
39  And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour a
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« Reply #39 on: January 06, 2007, 10:18:42 PM »

"And thou shalt be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For thou hast become God: for whatever sufferings thou didst undergo while being a man, these He gave to thee, because thou wast of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality." - Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, 10, 30
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« Reply #40 on: June 08, 2007, 10:51:51 PM »


 "A brother sinned and the presbyter ordered him to go out of church. But Abba Bessarion got up and went out with him, saying, 'I, too, am a sinner.'" - The Desert Fathers
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« Reply #41 on: June 22, 2007, 02:12:14 PM »

"Strive as hard as you can to love every man. If you cannot do this, at least do not hate anybody. But even this is beyond your power unless you scorn worldly things."    St Maximos the confessor; 4th century (writing) on love #82, Pholokalia vol. II.
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« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2007, 08:25:08 PM »

God bless!+

St. Dionysios the Areopagite when visiting the Theotokos:

"I witness by God, that besides the very God Himself, there is nothing else filled with such divine power and grace. No one can fully comprehend what I saw. I confess before God: when I was with John, who shone among the Apostles like the sun in the sky, when I was brought before the countenance of the Most Holy Virgin, I experienced an inexpressible sensation. Before me gleamed a sort of divine radiance which transfixed my spirit. I perceived the fragrance of indescribable aromas and was filled with such delight that my very body became faint, and my spirit could hardly endure these signs and marks of eternal majesty and heavenly power. The grace from her overwhelmed my heart and shook my very spirit. If I did not have in mind your instruction, I should have mistaken Her for the very God. It is impossible to stand before greater blessedness than this which I beheld."


In CHRIST
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« Reply #43 on: November 02, 2007, 08:21:42 AM »

St. Basil the Great:
"The tongue, which is created by Christ, cannot bear to utter anything against Him... Do not deceive yourselves, God cannot be mocked, He judges us according to our own mouth, He justifies us by our words, and by our words, He convicts us".
« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 08:22:01 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2007, 08:12:09 PM »

St. Pachomios:

"Go to the tombs, and see that the assurance of men is nothing."
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If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.
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