Monthly Archives: November 2015

Selected Sunday Scriptures- #99

The first passage for today comes from the Gospel according to St. Luke:

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” 13 And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. 14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” 17 As he said this, all his adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.

(Luke 13:10-17)

Most of the commentary I’ve seen on this passage has fixated on the Sabbath official. I, on the other hand, want to talk about the woman. There is something noteworthy about her affliction, I think. When she meets Jesus she cannot look straight at all. What this meant is that she probably couldn’t look at Jesus, especially to gaze at His face. Which calls to mind this section of Psalm 27:

And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies round about me;
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
    be gracious to me and answer me!
Thou hast said, “Seek ye my face.”
    My heart says to thee,
“Thy face, Lord, do I seek.”

(Psalm 27: 6-8)

Jesus lifted this woman’s head up, and how did she respond? She “praised God” in her own way, just as David did in his. The stooped woman is symbolic of humanity. We are all bent over by sin and the works (burdens) of the Evil One such that we cannot see God. His beauty, manifested in all creation, is hidden from us. Instead we can only look at the ground, at the world, and the things of it. Ultimately, that cannot help but mean that we are fixated upon those things tied to sin. There is no escape for us from this, at least, not any escape to be found in the things of the world. Only Jesus can set us free, only He can lift us up and help us escape the bondage of sin. And only after we have been freed by Him, and lifted up (just as He was lifted up), can we truly see the face of God.

Also worthy of note is that Jesus called the woman over. And she heard him, and obeyed, and came to him. She recognized His voice:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

(John 10:1-5)

We too must listen carefully, that we can hear his voice when He calls to us. That is easier said than done, of course, as the world is filled with distractions. If we become lost in them, we might not hear Him call out. So instead do as St. Paul taught us to do:

22 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

(Ephesians 4:22-24)

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Saturday Saints- #92

This day belongs to the letter “L.” Therefore our saint for today is Saint Livinius of Ghent:

Saint Livinus (c. 580 – 12 November 657), also Livinus of Ghent, was an apostle in Flanders and Brabant, venerated as a saint and martyr in Catholic tradition and more especially at the Saint Bavo Chapel, Ghent. His feast day is 12 November.

The legend goes that Livinus was born from Irish nobility. Upon studies in England, where he visited Saint Augustine of Canterbury, he returned to Ireland. He later went on a peregrinatio Domini and left Ireland for Ghent (Belgium) and Sealand (Netherlands) where he preached. During one of his sermons, Livinus was attacked in the village of Esse, near Geraardsbergen by a group of pagans who cut out his tongue and severed his head.

The villages of Sint-Lievens-Esse, where he was murdered, and Sint-Lievens-Houtem, where he was buried, were named after him.

Source: His wiki, located here.



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Happy Thanksgiving

Today’s normal Tradition Thursday post is on hold on account of the holiday. The series will resume next week. In the meantime, some Scripture and words of wisdom from some Saints. We start with Psalm 118:

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his steadfast love endures for ever!

Let Israel say,
    “His steadfast love endures for ever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
    “His steadfast love endures for ever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
    “His steadfast love endures for ever.”

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
    What can man do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
    I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
12 They surrounded me like bees,
    they blazed[a] like a fire of thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
13 I was pushed hard,[b] so that I was falling,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has become my salvation.

15 Hark, glad songs of victory
    in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
16     the right hand of the Lord is exalted,
    the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
    and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me sorely,
    but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank thee that thou hast answered me
    and hast become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders rejected
    has become the head of the corner.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord!
    O Lord, we beseech thee, give us success!

26 Blessed be he who enters in the name of the Lord!
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
    up to the horns of the altar!

28 Thou art my God, and I will give thanks to thee;
    thou art my God, I will extol thee.

29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    for his steadfast love endures for ever!

(Psalm 118)

Next we have the Letter from St. James:

17 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

(James 1:17-18)

Then we move to St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians:

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, 13 forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

(Colossians 3:12-17)

And now a few more saints:

In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.

-St. Teresa of Avila

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.

-St. Ambrose of Milan

Count your Blessings, and be grateful for what you have. Share freely with those without. And thank God unceasingly.

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The Mammon Trap- Replacing The Holy Spirit

[This post will almost certainly need some after-the-fact clarification. If anything needs some clearing up, let me know in the comments.]

I. Introduction

Today’s post relies on my recent Background post, found here.

I’m not sure if he was the first one to say it or not, but Rollo Tomassi of The Rational Male was the first person I ever saw who made the claim that “the Feminine Imperative has replaced the Holy Spirit in Churchianity.” Others have made similar statements, including Dalrock, but Rollo is the first I recall saying something to that effect.  I never gave it much thought, even as I saw some truth behind it. So I never stopped to grasp what was really happening with that phenomenon. Or what it actually meant on a theological level. But in the past few months I have been studying Eastern Spirituality and broadening my grasp of Christian theology. During that time I came across the model which was highlighted in that recent background post of mine. Once I became familiar with it, I came to a deeper appreciation of the insidiousness of what is really happening with the whole “replacing the Holy Spirit” with the “FI.” This post will examine what is going on, and why it is so dangerous.

II. Replacing the Irreplaceable

I’m going to break up this next section into smaller pieces, in the hopes that it makes it easier to understand. Several different ideas have to come together for this to make any sense.

A. Trust Your Feelings

The “feminized church” plays a major role in this deviancy. Others have covered in depth, and likely to a degree far better than I could achieve, the extent of the “Feminizing” of Christian teaching and doctrine in recent years (and decades and centuries, etc.). I will leave that to them and others posts. My focus is on the particular results here. However, I will say that much of this is owed to ignorance or misinformation about human nature, in particular female nature. More on that a little later. Without going too far into it, I suspect that the lead off point for this particular false doctrine finds its origins in the whole “Woman Good/Man Bad” line of thought. At its core this false teaching advances the idea that there is some inherent kind of unique “goodness” in Woman that is just waiting to manifest itself. At least, it would if Men would just get out of the way- or even better, affirmatively enable it. I am going to quote from the Dalrock link above, to provide just one example of this [there are plenty others to be found]:

God has equipped every woman with a marriage manual in her heart, designed to instruct her husband in how to meet her unique needs.

What she does have is that unique marriage manual in her heart for your marriage which is given to her from God.  The way that a man becomes the man that God has called him to be is to become the husband his wife needs him to be.  The only way to become the husband our wife needs us to be is to read our personal marriage manual.  How do we read that marriage manual?  We listen to her heart.

There are several things going on here:

  1. First, on the face of it we see an argument that a Woman’s “heart” is to be trusted- we are to listen to it.  Specifically, we are to trust a woman’s feelings, because that is what is meant by “heart” here. By we I mean both men and women. After all, if the man can trust the woman’s feeling she should be able to trust her own, right?
  2. On a deeper level, this line of thinking essentially argues that a woman’s feelings act as a direct manifestation of God’s Will. He created them in order to “teach” others. In other words, a woman’s feelings are almost a radio to God, not unlike the Ark in Raiders of the Lost Ark:
  3. Again, this kind of thinking relies on this belief that there is something inherently good in Woman that isn’t present in Man, or that there is something inherently bad in Man that isn’t present in Woman. It basically turns a blind eye to the Fall and its consequences. Both men and women suffer from the effects of Original Sin- neither sex is inherently “good”, or “bad.” We are both fallen- all have fallen short.
  4. This line of thought shows real ignorance of female nature. Part of the problem is that female sin manifests itself differently than male sin. Oftentimes male sin is more obvious, while female sin and sinful inclinations are more subtle and more circumspect (think Potiphar’s wife). So it can be easier to miss female specific, or female favored sins. At least, it can be easy for men to miss them. And this line of thought can only get real traction with male support.

When you combine all of this together  you have a recipe for disaster- the Feminine is elevated, and the Masculine is denigrated. This is a disaster because in elevating the Feminine in toto, you are also elevating female sins (or at least feminine centered ones). They are granted cover by virtue of being linked to the feminine.

B. The Deceitful Heart

This brings me to what I discussed in the Background post. In that post, I explained that human beings have a Body, Soul and Spirit, each of which possesses a corresponding Heart component (and love associated with it). When we speak of Heart in connection to the Body, we are referring to emotions, to feelings. The prophet Jeremiah had this to say about that particular aspect of the human Heart:

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately corrupt;
    who can understand it?

(Jeremiah 17:9)

We know that the Holy Prophet Jeremiah was referring to the Heart “component” of the human Body here because he refers to it as corrupt. Neither our Soul nor Spirit is “desperately corrupt”- but our Body is, because of Original Sin.

One consequence of Original sin is that the human Body has what St. Thomas Aquinas called the Law of the Fomes of Sin- what St. Paul called the Law of/in the Flesh. Our bodies have been corrupted or weakened, and thus prone to temptation. Now, this weakness or corruption is not absolute, but it is potent. A result of it is that our Appetites have become disordered, and no longer serve the Soul and Spirit. Instead they extinguish the life of the Spirit, and attempt to subvert the Soul so that it serves them (aka, Overbear the Will).

Feelings and emotions are tied to both our Sense function, as as well as our Appetites. They may well (and almost certainly do) have a connection to our Soul in addition, but they definitely are connected to our Body. This means that our emotions and feelings are susceptible to the weakness in our Flesh. Thus, our Feelings are not to be trusted. They may reveal some truth, but their very nature is deceptive. They work towards satisfying the desires of our Appetites, even when, perhaps especially when, those Appetites are no longer aligned with Reason.

C. Led Astray

Ultimately, we cannot trust the flesh- it will lead us astray, and keep us from living a Spiritual Life. The Flesh (our Body) and the Spirit, because of Original Sin, are opposed to one another. They no longer are in harmony, as they were in the Garden of Eden.

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.

(Galatians 5:16-17)

Yet gratifying the desires of the flesh is exactly what Churchians would have us do when they tell us to trust the heart of Women- to trust in female feelings. In so doing, we are basically being told to trust in the desires of the flesh- so long as that flesh is Female. Further, they expect us to act on the desires of the flesh, in other words, to gratify it. As St. Paul clearly states, this is incompatible with a Spiritual Life. By doing that, we cater to, and focus on, worldly matters. Not Spiritual ones.

When you think about it, this whole doctrine is utterly absurd. Consider the reverse scenario- would a call for women to trust in the desires of the flesh of men gain any support at all? Much less anywhere near the support that “Woman Good/Man Bad” gets? Of course not. Nor should it. But again, this absurdity doesn’t stop plenty of people from believing it, or something like it.

What all of this leads to is a de facto replacement of the Holy Spirit by female desires of the flesh. Now, on the face of it, the Holy Spirit is technically still there in Churchian teaching. But as a practical matter living a Spiritual Life is impossible, effectively pushing the Holy Spirit out of a Christian’s life. As St. Paul explained, we can live a Spirit-led life or gratify the desires of the flesh. But when most Christians are taught to trust and follow female feelings, and to realign their interests to serve unshackled female Appetites, they are gratifying the flesh. This focuses them on the world, and not God, thus a Spirit-led life is not possible.


III. The Mammon Trap

This ultimately all concludes with what I call the Mammon Trap. To quote from our Lord and Savior:

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

This is just another way of saying what St. Paul did in his Letter to the Galatians: We can serve God and live a Spirit-led life, or we can serve Mammon and gratify the desires of the flesh. We have to choose between one or the other. There is no “third way.”

A significant part of living a Christian life is based on two things: 1) to know what is Good (aka, how to serve God and live a Spiritual Life) and 2) to desire that Good. In the context of God and Mammon, this means that we must 1) understand how to serve God, and not Mammon, and 2) desire to serve God, and not Mammon.

[To make a historical aside, the Western Church gave priority to the first part- knowledge. The Eastern Church, on the other hand, focused on the latter- desire. ]

The tragedy going on is this: Churchianity has pulled a bait and switch- the Mammon Trap. The choice Jesus gave us was to serve God, or serve Mammon. But Churchianity has instead given its adherents a choice between Mammon on one hand, and Mammon on the other.

How so? Simple. The obvious Mammon- love of money and other uncontested evil, is still present. But what the other option should be, serving God, has been replaced by serving the whims of female feelings (and other feminine centered concerns). So the end result is this:

Serve female feelings (disguised as serving God) or serve Mammon

As explained earlier, to orient ourselves to serve female feelings (whether that of others for men, or their own feelings for women) means that we cannot live a Spiritual life. Serving God requires living a Spirit-centered life. Which, to follow that path, is not possible. Therefore the end result is that the choice presented by Churchians is no choice at all. They are pointing us towards Mammon either way. The whole thing is a trap for souls, as people who find themselves caught up in it aren’t able to live a Spirit-led life and be reborn from above, as Jesus explained in John 3.

IV. Conclusion

That brings this post to an end. To recap, Churchianity teaches that men and women alike should trust in female feelings and emotions as they represent God’s Will. This has the effect of precluding one from living a Spiritual life. As a result, Churchianity has created a trap for its adherents, as they are forced to choose to serve Mammon on the one hand, and Mammon on the other.

My readers are invited to offer their thoughts on what I’ve said in this post. Like it or hate it, feel free to voice your thoughts below. I will try and clarify anything I’ve said within as needed, and as time permits.


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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #98

Today’s post is going to focus on the Holy Spirit. This owes itself to the post that will go live Monday, which focuses on a Christian’s spiritual life. I was unable to finish it the previous week, or rather, I was unhappy with it, so I held off until now. Hopefully it will prove to be worth the extra effort. We begin with St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you.

12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

(Romans 8:1-17)

St. Paul tells us that living a Spiritual Life is essential to gaining Eternal Life with God. Anything that gets in the way of our Spiritual life must be excised, lest it carry us off to death.

This brings us to St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

(1 Tim 4:1-5)

We were warned from the beginning about false doctrines. Sadly, such warnings have largely fallen on deaf ears.

Finally, we conclude with St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians:

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him,”

10 God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.

14 The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

(1 Cor 2:6-16)

To be a Spiritual person is to be able to perceive the things of God, and to know only what God knows. It allows us to transcend our human limitations, and achieve trust wisdom and understanding. The greatest of the pagan philosophers could never achieve the understanding that was gained by the lowliest of those who lived Spiritual lives as servants of the Lord.

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Saturday Saints- #91

Our letter for today’s saint is the letter “K.” This letter, being less common, leads to today’s saint, who lived in Poland, Saint Kinga:

Saint Kinga of Poland (also known as Cunegunda; Polish: Święta Kinga, Hungarian: Szent Kinga) (5 March 1224 – 24 July 1292) is a saint in the Catholic Church and patroness of Poland and Lithuania.

She was a fascinating woman. A few facts about her:

  • She was born a Princess- her father was the King of Hungary
  • Both of her sisters were saints as well
  • She took part in a Josephite marriage with Prince Bolislaw the Chaste
  • After her husband’s death she became a contemplative and wouldn’t let anyone refer to her past station in life as a Princess

This and more can be found at her wiki, located here.

St. Kinga


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Tradition Thursday-#44

The series on St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechetical Lectures continues onward. Today’s post features a bit more than half of his 18th lecture. Its focus is the resurrection of the dead:

Ezekiel 37:1

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones.

1. The root of all good works is the hope of the Resurrection; for the expectation of the recompense nerves the soul to good works. For every labourer is ready to endure the toils, if he sees their reward in prospect; but when men weary themselves for nought, their heart soon sinks as well as their body. A soldier who expects a prize is ready for war, but no one is forward to die for a king who is indifferent about those who serve under him, and bestows no honours on their toils. In like manner every soul believing in a Resurrection is naturally careful of itself; but, disbelieving it, abandons itself to perdition. He who believes that his body shall remain to rise again, is careful of his robe, and defiles it not with fornication; but he who disbelieves the Resurrection, gives himself to fornication, and misuses his own body, as though it were not his own. Faith therefore in the Resurrection of the dead, is a great commandment and doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church; great and most necessary, though gainsaid by many, yet surely warranted by the truth. Greeks contradict it , Samaritans disbelieve it, heretics mutilate it; the contradiction is manifold, but the truth is uniform.

2. Now Greeks and Samaritans together argue against us thus. The dead man has fallen, and mouldered away, and is all turned into worms; and the worms have died also; such is the decay and destruction which has overtaken the body; how then is it to be raised? The shipwrecked have been devoured by fishes, which are themselves devoured. Of them who fight with wild beasts the very bones are ground to powder, and consumed by bears and lions. Vultures and ravens feed on the flesh of the unburied dead, and then fly away over all the world; whence then is the body to be collected? For of the fowls who have devoured it some may chance to die in India, some in Persia, some in the land of the Goths. Other men again are consumed by fire, and their very ashes scattered by rain or wind; whence is the body to be brought together again ?

3. To you, poor little feeble man, India is far from the land of the Goths, and Spain from Persia; but to God, who holds the whole earth in the hollow of His hand Isaiah 40:12, all things are near at hand. Impute not then weakness to God, from a comparison of your feebleness, but rather dwell on His power. Does then the sun, a small work of God, by one glance of his beams give warmth to the whole world; does the atmosphere, which God has made, encompass all things in the world; and is God, who is the Creator both of the sun, and of the atmosphere, far off from the world? Imagine a mixture of seeds of different plants (for as you are weak concerning the faith, the examples which I allege are weak also), and that these different seeds are contained in your single hand; is it then to you, who art a man, a difficult or an easy matter to separate what is in your hand, and to collect each seed according to its nature, and restore it to its own kind? Can you then separate the things in your hand, and cannot God separate the things contained in His hand, and restore them to their proper place? Consider what I say, whether it is not impious to deny it?

4. But further, attend, I pray, to the very principle of justice, and come to your own case. You have different sorts of servants: and some are good and some bad; you honour therefore the good, and smitest the bad. And if you are a judge, to the good you award praise, and to the transgressors, punishment. Is then justice observed by you a mortal man; and with God, the ever changeless King of all, is there no retributive justice ? Nay, to deny it is impious. For consider what I say. Many murderers have died in their beds unpunished; where then is the righteousness of God? Yea, ofttimes a murderer guilty of fifty murders is beheaded once; where then shall he suffer punishment for the forty and nine? Unless there is a judgment and a retribution after this world, you charge God with unrighteousness. Marvel not, however, because of the delay of the judgment; no combatant is crowned or disgraced, till the contest is over; and no president of the games ever crowns men while yet striving, but he waits till all the combatants are finished, that then deciding between them he may dispense the prizes and the chaplets. Even thus God also, so long as the strife in this world lasts, succours the just but partially, but afterwards He renders to them their rewards fully.

5. But if according to you there is no resurrection of the dead, wherefore do you condemn the robbers of graves? For if the body perishes, and there is no resurrection to be hoped for, why does the violator of the tomb undergo punishment? You see that though you deny it with your lips, there yet abides with you an indestructible instinct of the resurrection.

6. Further, does a tree after it has been cut down blossom again, and shall man after being cut down blossom no more? And does the grain sown and reaped remain for the threshing floor, and shall man when reaped from this world not remain for the threshing? And do shoots of vine or other trees, when clean cut off and transplanted, come to life and bear fruit; and shall man, for whose sake all these exist, fall into the earth and not rise again? Comparing efforts, which is greater, to mould from the beginning a statue which did not exist, or to recast in the same shape that which had fallen? Is God then, who created us out of nothing, unable to raise again those who exist and are fallen ? But you believe not what is written of the resurrection, being a Greek: then from the analogy of nature consider these matters, and understand them from what is seen to this day. Wheat, it may be, or some other kind of grain, is sown; and when the seed has fallen, it dies and rots, and is henceforth useless for food. But that which has rotted, springs up in verdure; and though small when sown, springs up most beautiful. Now wheat was made for us; for wheat and all seeds were created not for themselves, but for our use; are then the things which were made for us quickened when they die, and do we for whom they were made, not rise again after our death ?

7. The season is winter , as you see, the trees now stand as if they were dead: for where are the leaves of the fig-tree? Where are the clusters of the vine? These in winter time are dead, but green in spring; and when the season has come, there is restored to them a quickening as it were from a state of death. For God, knowing your unbelief, works a resurrection year by year in these visible things; that, beholding what happens to things inanimate, you may believe concerning things animate and rational. Further, flies and bees are often drowned in water, yet after a while revive ; and species of dormice , after remaining motionless during the winter, are restored in the summer (for to your slight thoughts like examples are offered); and shall He who to irrational and despised creatures grants life supernaturally, not bestow it upon us, for whose sake He made them?

8. But the Greeks ask for a resurrection of the dead still manifest; and say that, even if these creatures are raised, yet they had not utterly mouldered away; and they require to see distinctly some creature rise again after complete decay. God knew men’s unbelief, and provided for this purpose a bird, called a Phoenix. This bird, as Clement writes, and as many more relate, being the only one of its kind , arrives in the land of the Egyptians at periods of five hundred years, showing forth the resurrection, not in desert places, lest the occurrence of the mystery should remain unknown, but appearing in a notable city , that men might even handle what would otherwise be disbelieved. For it makes itself a coffin of frankincense and myrrh and other spices, and entering into this when its years are fulfilled, it evidently dies and moulders away. Then from the decayed flesh of the dead bird a worm is engendered, and this worm when grown large is transformed into a bird—and do not disbelieve this, for you see the offspring of bees also fashioned thus out of worms , and from eggs which are quite fluid you have seen wings and bones and sinews of birds issue. Afterwards the aforesaid Phoenix, becoming fledged and a full-grown Phoenix, like the former one, soars up into the air such as it had died, showing forth to men a most evident resurrection of the dead. The Phoenix indeed is a wondrous bird, yet it is irrational, nor ever sang praise to God; it flies abroad through the sky, but it knows not who is the Only-begotten Son of God. Has then a resurrection from the dead been given to this irrational creature which knows not its Maker, and to us who ascribe glory to God and keep His commandments, shall there no resurrection be granted?

9. But since the sign of the Phoenix is remote and uncommon, and men still disbelieve our resurrection, take again the proof of this from what you see every day. A hundred or two hundred years ago, we all, speakers and hearers, where were we? Know we not the groundwork of the substance of our bodies? Do you not know how from weak and shapeless and simple elements we are engendered, and out of what is simple and weak a living man is formed? And how that weak element being made flesh is changed into strong sinews, and bright eyes, and sensitive nose, and hearing ears, and speaking tongue, and beating heart, and busy hands, and swift feet, and into members of all kinds ? And how that once weak element becomes a shipwright, and a builder, and an architect, and a craftsman of various arts, and a soldier, and a ruler, and a lawgiver, and a king? Cannot God then, who has made us out of imperfect materials, raise us up when we have fallen into decay? He who thus flames a body out of what is vile, cannot He raise the fallen body again? And He who fashions that which is not, shall He not raise up that which is and is fallen?

10. Take further a manifest proof of the resurrection of the dead, witnessed month by month in the sky and its luminaries. The body of the moon vanishes completely, so that no part of it is any more seen, yet it fills again, and is restored to its former state ; and for the perfect demonstration of the matter, the moon at certain revolutions of years suffering eclipse and becoming manifestly changed into blood, yet recovers its luminous body: God having provided this, that you also, the man who art formed of blood, might not refuse credence to the resurrection of the dead, but might believe concerning yourself also what you see in respect of the moon. These therefore use thou as arguments against the Greeks; for with them who receive not what is written fight thou with unwritten weapons, by reasonings only and demonstrations; for these men know not who Moses is, nor Esaias, nor the Gospels, nor Paul.

11. Turn now to the Samaritans, who, receiving the Law only, allow not the Prophets. To them the text just now read from Ezekiel appears of no force, for, as I said, they admit no Prophets; whence then shall we persuade the Samaritans also? Let us go to the writings of the Law. Now God says to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob ; this must mean of those who have being and subsistence. For if Abraham has come to an end, and Isaac and Jacob, then He is the God of those who have no being. When did a king ever say, I am the king of soldiers, whom he had not? When did any display wealth which he possessed not? Therefore Abraham and Isaac and Jacob must subsist, that God may be the God of those who have being; for He said not, I was their God, but I am. And that there is a judgment, Abraham shows in saying to the Lord, He who judges all the earth, shall He not execute judgment Genesis 18:25?

12. But to this the foolish Samaritans object again, and say that the souls possibly of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob continue, but that their bodies cannot possibly rise again. Was it then possible that the rod of righteous Moses should become a serpent, and is it impossible that the bodies of the righteous should live and rise again? And was that done contrary to nature, and shall they not be restored according to nature? Again, the rod of Aaron, though cut off and dead, budded, without the scent of waters Job 14:9, and though under a roof, sprouted forth into blossoms as in the fields; and though set in dry places, yielded in one night the flowers and fruit of plants watered for many years. Did Aaron’s rod rise, as it were, from the dead, and shall not Aaron himself be raised? And did God work wonders in wood, to secure to him the high-priesthood, and will He not vouchsafe a resurrection to Aaron himself? A woman also was made salt contrary to nature; and flesh was turned into salt; and shall not flesh be restored to flesh? Was Lot’s wife made a pillar of salt, and shall not Abraham’s wife be raised again? By what power was Moses’ hand changed, which even within one hour became as snow, and was restored again? Certainly by God’s command. Was then His command of force then, and has it no force now?

13. And whence in the beginning came man into being at all, O you Samaritans, most senseless of all men? Go to the first book of the Scripture, which even you receive; And God formed man of the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7 Is dust transformed into flesh, and shall not flesh be again restored to flesh? You must be asked too, whence the heavens had their being, and earth, and seas? Whence sun, and moon, and stars? How from the waters were made the things which fly and swim? And how from earth all its living things? Were so many myriads brought from nothing into being, and shall we men, who bear God’s image, not be raised up? Truly this course is full of unbelief, and the unbelievers are much to be condemned; when Abraham addresses the Lord as the Judge of all the earth, and the learners of the Law disbelieve; when it is written that man is of the earth, and the readers disbelieve it.

14. These questions, therefore, are for them, the unbelievers: but the words of the Prophets are for us who believe. But since some who have also used the Prophets believe not what is written, and allege against us that passage, The ungodly shall not rise up in judgment , and, For if man go down to the grave he shall come up no more Job 7:9, and, The dead shall not praise You, O Lord —for of what is well written, they have made ill use— it will be well in a cursory manner, and as far as is now possible, to meet them. For if it is said, that the ungodly shall not rise up in judgment, this shows that they shall rise, not in judgment, but in condemnation; for God needs not long scrutiny, but close on the resurrection of the ungodly follows also their punishment. And if it is said, The dead shall not praise You, O Lord, this shows, that since in this life only is the appointed time for repentance and pardon, for which they who enjoy it shall praise the Lord, it remains not after death for them who have died in sins to give praise as the receivers of a blessing, but to bewail themselves; for praise belongs to them who give thanks, but to them who are under the scourge, lamentation. Therefore the just then offer praise; but they who have died in sins have no further season for confession.

15. And respecting that passage, If a man go down to the grave, he shall come up no more, observe what follows, for it is written, He shall come up no more, neither shall he return to his own house. For since the whole world shall pass away, and every house shall be destroyed, how shall he return to his own house, there being henceforth a new and different earth? But they ought to have heard Job, saying, For there is hope of a tree; for if it be cut down, it will sprout again, and the tender branch thereof will not cease. For though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the rocky ground; yet from the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth a crop like a new plant. But man when he dies, is gone; and when mortal man falls, is he no more Job 14:7-10? As it were remonstrating and reproving (for thus ought we to read the words is no more with an interrogation ); he says since a tree falls and revives, shall not man, for whom all trees were made, himself revive? And that you may not suppose that I am forcing the words, read what follows; for after saying by way of question, When mortal man falls, is he no more? he says, For if a man die, he shall live again ; and immediately he adds, I will wait till I be made again ; and again elsewhere, Who shall raise up on the earth my skin, which endures these things. And Esaias the Prophet says, The dead men shall rise again, and they that are in the tombs shall awake. Isaiah 26:19 And the Prophet Ezekiel now before us, says most plainly, Behold I will open your graves, and bring you up out of your graves. Ezekiel 37:12 And Daniel says, Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame Daniel 12:2 .

16. And many Scriptures there are which testify of the Resurrection of the dead; for there are many other sayings on this matter. But now, by way of remembrance only, we will make a passing mention of the raising of Lazarus on the fourth day; and just allude, because of the shortness of the time, to the widow’s son also who was raised, and merely for the sake of reminding you, let me mention the ruler of the synagogue’s daughter, and the rending of the rocks, and how there arose many bodies of the saints which slept Matthew 27:52, their graves having been opened. But specially be it remembered that Christ has been raised from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20 I speak but in passing of Elias, and the widow’s son whom he raised; of Elisseus also, who raised the dead twice; once in his lifetime, and once after his death. For when alive he wrought the resurrection by means of his own soul 2 Kings 4:34; but that not the souls only of the just might be honoured, but that it might be believed that in the bodies also of the just there lies a power, the corpse which was cast into the sepulchre of Elisseus, when it touched the dead body of the prophet, was quickened, and the dead body of the prophet did the work of the soul, and that which was dead and buried gave life to the dead, and though it gave life, yet continued itself among the dead. Wherefore? Lest if Elisseus should rise again, the work should be ascribed to his soul alone; and to show, that even though the soul is not present, a virtue resides in the body of the saints, because of the righteous soul which has for so many years dwelt in it, and used it as its minister. And let us not foolishly disbelieve, as though this thing had not happened: for if handkerchiefs and aprons, which are from without, touching the bodies of the diseased, raised up the sick, how much more should the very body of the Prophet raise the dead?

17. And with respect to these instances we might say much, rehearsing in detail the marvellous circumstances of each event: but as you have been already wearied both by the superposed fast of the Preparation , and by the watchings , let what has been cursorily spoken concerning them suffice for a while; these words having been as it were sown thinly, that you, receiving the seed like richest ground, may in bearing fruit increase them. But be it remembered, that the Apostles also raised the dead; Peter raised Tabitha in Joppa, and Paul raised Eutychus in Troas; and thus did all the other Apostles, even though the wonders wrought by each have not all been written. Further, remember all the sayings in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, which Paul wrote against them who said, How are the dead raised, and with what manner of body do they come 1 Corinthians 15:35? And how he says, For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised ; and how he called them fools , who believed not; and remember the whole of his teaching there concerning the resurrection of the dead, and how he wrote to the Thessalonians, But we would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as the rest which have no hope 1 Thessalonians 4:13, and all that follows: but chiefly that, And the dead in Christ shall rise first.

18. But especially mark this, how very pointedly Paul says, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:53 For this body shall be raised not remaining weak as now; but raised the very same body, though by putting on incorruption it shall be fashioned anew —as iron blending with fire becomes fire, or rather as He knows how, the Lord who raises us. This body therefore shall be raised, but it shall abide not such as it now is, but an eternal body; no longer needing for its life such nourishment as now, nor stairs for its ascent, for it shall be made spiritual, a marvellous thing, such as we cannot worthily speak of. Then, it is said, shall the righteous shine forth as the sun Matthew 13:43, and the moon, and as the brightness of the firmament. Daniel 12:3 And God, fore-knowing men’s unbelief, has given to little worms in the summer to dart beams of light from their body , that from what is seen, that which is looked for might be believed; for He who gives in part is able to give the whole also, and He who made the worm radiant with light, will much more illuminate a righteous man.

19. We shall be raised therefore, all with our bodies eternal, but not all with bodies alike: for if a man is righteous, he will receive a heavenly body, that he may be able worthily to hold converse with Angels; but if a man is a sinner, he shall receive an eternal body, fitted to endure the penalties of sins, that he may burn eternally in fire, nor ever be consumed. And righteously will God assign this portion to either company; for we do nothing without the body. We blaspheme with the mouth, and with the mouth we pray. With the body we commit fornication, and with the body we keep chastity. With the hand we rob, and by the hand we bestow alms; and the rest in like manner. Since then the body has been our minister in all things, it shall also share with us in the future the fruits of the past.

20. Therefore, brethren, let us be careful of our bodies, nor misuse them as though not our own. Let us not say like the heretics, that this vesture of the body belongs not to us, but let us be careful of it as our own; for we must give account to the Lord of all things done through the body. Say not, none sees me; think not, that there is no witness of the deed. Human witness oftentimes there is not; but He who fashioned us, an unerring witness, abides faithful in heaven , and beholds what you do. And the stains of sin also remain in the body; for as when a wound has gone deep into the body, even if there has been a healing, the scar remains, so sin wounds soul and body, and the marks of its scars remain in all; and they are removed only from those who receive the washing of Baptism. The past wounds therefore of soul and body God heals by Baptism; against future ones let us one and all jointly guard ourselves, that we may keep this vestment of the body pure, and may not for practising fornication and sensual indulgence or any other sin for a short season, lose the salvation of heaven, but may inherit the eternal kingdom of God; of which may God, of His own grace, deem all of you worthy.

21. Thus much in proof of the Resurrection of the dead; and now, let me again recite to you the profession of the faith, and do you with all diligence pronounce it while I speak , and remember it.


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Selected Sunday Scriptures- #97

The post, like the one before it in this series, will hopefully tie into my continuing series on human nature and some of the ills of the present age. This brings me to the first few verses from Scripture, from Luke’s Gospel:

10 “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

(Luke 16:10-13)

Then we move to the Gospel according to John:

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

(John 14:15-17)

Now we move to the Gospel according to Matthew:

22 Then a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it they said, “It is only by Be-el′zebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; 26 and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Be-el′zebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. 30 He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

(Matthew 12:22-32)

Finally, we conclude with St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

(Galatians 6:7-10)

These verses will hopefully make senses in light of that future post.

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Saturday Saints- #90

Today’s letter for a Saint is the letter “J.” Given that letter, and given what has happened recently in France, it seems appropriate that today’s Saint is Joan of Arc:

Joan of Arc (French: Jeanne d’Arc, IPA: [ʒan daʁk]; 6 January c. 1412 – 30 May 1431), nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” (French: La Pucelle d’Orléans) is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Joan of Arc was born to Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle, a peasant family, at Domrémy in north-east France. Joan said she received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret, and Saint Catherine instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. The uncrowned King Charles VII sent Joan to the siege of Orléans as part of a relief mission. She gained prominence after the siege was lifted in only nine days. Several additional swift victories led to Charles VII’s coronation at Reims. This long-awaited event boosted French morale and paved the way for the final French victory.

On 23 May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne by the Burgundian faction which was allied with the English. She was later handed over to the English, and then put on trial by the pro-English Bishop of Beauvais Pierre Cauchon on a variety of charges. After Cauchon declared her guilty she was burned at the stake on 30 May 1431, dying at about nineteen years of age.

Twenty-five years after her execution, an inquisitorial court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr. In the 16th century she became a symbol of the Catholic League, and in 1803 she was declared a national symbol of France by the decision of Napoleon Bonaparte. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. Joan of Arc is one of the nine secondary patron saints of France, along with St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis, St. Michael, St. Remi, St. Petronilla, St. Radegund and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

More can be found out about her at her wiki, located here.

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Tradition Thursday- #43

And the series on St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s Catechetical Lectures continues. Today we finish up his 17th lecture:

25. In this power of the Holy Ghost, Philip also in the Name of Christ at one time in the city of Samaria drove away the unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice; and healed the palsied and the lame, and brought to Christ great multitudes of them that believe. To whom Peter and John came down, and with prayer, and the laying on of hands, imparted the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, from which Simon Magus alone was declared an alien, and that justly. And at another time Philip was called by the Angel of the Lord in the way, for the sake of that most godly Ethiopian, the Eunuch, and heard distinctly the Spirit Himself saying, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot. He instructed the Eunuch, and baptized him, and so having sent into Ethiopia a herald of Christ, according as it is written, Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hand unto God , he was caught away by the Angel, and preached the Gospel in the cities in succession.

26. With this Holy SpiritPaul also had been filled after his calling by our Lord Jesus Christ. Let godly Ananias come as a witness to what we say, he who in Damascus said to him, The Lord, even Jesus who appeared to you in the way which you came, has sent me, that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Acts 9:17 And straightway the Spirit’s mighty working changed the blindness of Paul’s eyes into newness of sight; and having vouchsafed His seal unto his soul, made him a chosen vessel to bear the Name of the Lord who had appeared to him, before kings and the children of Israel, and rendered the former persecutor an ambassador and good servant—one, who from Jerusalem, and even unto Illyricum, fully preached the GospelRomans 15:19, and instructed even imperial Rome, and carried the earnestness of his preaching as far as Spain, undergoing conflicts innumerable, and performing signs and wonders. Of him for the present enough.

27. In the power of the same Holy Spirit Peter also, the chief of the Apostles and the bearer of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, healed Æneas the paralytic in the Name of Christ at Lydda, which is now Diospolis, and at Joppa raised from the dead Tabitha rich in good works. And being on the housetop in a trance, he saw heaven opened, and by means of the vessel let down as it were a sheet full of beasts of every shape and sort, he learned plainly to call no man common or unclean, though he should be of the Greeks. Acts 10:11-16 And when he was sent for by Cornelius, he heard clearly the Holy Ghost Himself saying, Behold, men seek you; but arise and get you down, and go with them, nothing doubting; for I have sent them. And that it might be plainly shown that those of the Gentiles also who believe are made partakers of the grace of the Holy Ghost, when Peter had come to Cesarea, and was teaching the things concerning Christ, the Scripture says concerning Cornelius and them who were with him; While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word; so that they of the circumcision also which came with Peter were astonished, and when they understood it said that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

28. And in Antioch also, a most renowned city of Syria, when the preaching of Christ took effect, Barnabas was sent hence as far as Antioch to help on the good work, being a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith ; who seeing a great harvest of believers in Christ, brought Paul from Tarsus to Antioch, as his fellow-combatant. And when crowds had been instructed by them and assembled in the Church, it came to pass that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch ; the Holy Ghost, methinks, bestowing on the believers that new Name, which had been promised before by the Lord. And the grace of the Spirit being shed forth by God more abundantly in Antioch, there were there prophets and teachers of whom Agabus was one. Acts 11:28 And as they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And after hands had been laid on them, they were sent forth by the Holy Ghost. Now it is manifest, that the Spirit which speaks and sends, is a living Spirit, subsisting, and operating, as we have said.

29. This Holy Spirit, who in unison with Father and Son has established the New Covenant in the Church Catholic, has set us free from the burdens of the law grievous to be borne—those I mean, concerning things common and unclean, and meats, and sabbaths, and new moons, and circumcision, and sprinklings, and sacrifices; which were given for a season, and had a shadow of the good things to comeHebrews 10:1, but which, when the truth had come, were rightly withdrawn. For when Paul and Barnabas were sent to the Apostles, because of the question moved at Antioch by them who said that it was necessary to be circumcised and to keep the customs of Moses, the Apostles who were here at Jerusalem by a written injunction set free the whole world from all the legal and typical observances; yet they attributed not to themselves the full authority in so great a matter, but send an injunction in writing, and acknowledge this: For it has seemed good unto the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication ; showing evidently by what they wrote, that though the writing was by the hands of human Apostles, yet the decree is universal from the Holy Ghost: which decree Paul and Barnabas took and confirmed unto all the world.

30. And now, having proceeded thus far in my discourse, I ask indulgence from your love , or rather from the Spirit who dwelt in Paul, if I should not be able to rehearse everything, by reason of my own weakness, and your weariness who listen. For when shall I in terms worthy of Himself declare the marvellous deeds wrought by the operation of the Holy Ghost in the Name of Christ? Those wrought in Cyprus upon Elymas the sorcerer, and in Lystra at the healing of the cripple, and in Cilicia and Phrygia and Galatia and Mysia and Macedonia? Or those at Philippi (the preaching, I mean, and the driving out of the spirit of divination in the Name of Christ; and the salvation by baptism of the jailer with his whole house at night after the earthquake); or the events at Thessalonica; and the address at Areopagus in the midst of the Athenians; or the instructions at Corinth, and in all Achaia? How shall I worthily recount the mighty deeds which were wrought at Ephesus through Paul, by the Holy GhostActs 19:1-6? Whom they of that City knew not before, but came to know Him by the doctrine of Paul; and when Paul had laid his hands on them, and the Holy Ghost had come upon them, they spoke with tongues, and prophesied. And so great spiritual grace was upon him, that not only his touch wrought cures, but even the handkerchiefs and napkins , brought from his body, healed diseases, and scared away the evil spirits; and at last they also who practised curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men.

31. I pass by the work wrought at Troas on Eutychus, who being borne down by his sleep fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead; yet was saved alive by Paul. I also pass by the prophecies addressed to the Elders of Ephesus whom he called to him in Miletus, to whom he openly said, That the Holy Ghost witnesses in every city, saying — and the rest; for by saying, in every city, Paul made manifest that the marvellous works done by him in each city, were from the operative power of the Holy Ghost, by the will of God, and in the Name of Christ who spoke in him. By the power of this Holy Ghost, the same Paul was hastening to this holy city Jerusalem, and this, though Agabus by the Spirit foretold what should befall him; and yet he spoke to the people with confidence, declaring the things concerning Christ. And when brought to Cesarea, and set amid tribunals of justice, at one time before Felix, and at another before Festus the governor and King Agrippa, Paul obtained of the Holy Ghostgrace so great, and triumphant in wisdom, that at last Agrippa himself the king of the Jews said, Almost you persuade me to be a Christian. This Holy Spirit granted to Paul, when he was in the island of Melita also, to receive no harm when bitten by the viper, and to effect various cures on the diseased. This Holy Spirit guided him, the persecutor of old, as a herald of Christ, even as far as imperial Rome, and there he persuaded many of the Jews to believe in Christ, and to them who gainsaid he said plainly, Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the Prophet, saying unto your fathers, and the rest.

32. And that Paul was full of the Holy Ghost, and all his fellow Apostles, and they who after them believed in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, hear from himself as he writes plainly in his Epistles; And my speech, he says, and my preaching was not in persuasive words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. 1 Corinthians 2:4 And again, But He who sealed us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the earnest of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 1:22 And again, He that raised up Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit which dwells in you. Romans 8:11 And again, writing to Timothy, That good thing which was committed to you guard through the Holy Ghost which was given to us.

33. And that the Holy Ghost subsists, and lives, and speaks, and foretells, I have often said in what goes before, and Paul writes it plainly to Timothy: Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in later times some shall depart from the faith1 Timothy 4:1—which we see in the divisions not only of former times but also of our own; so motley and diversified are the errors of the heretics. And again the same Paul says, Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it has now been revealed unto His Holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit. Ephesians 3:5 And again, Wherefore, as says the Holy GhostHebrews 3:7; and again, The Holy Ghost also witnesses to us. And again he calls unto the soldiers of righteousness, saying, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:17 And again, Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. And again, The grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all2 Corinthians 13:14 .

34. By all these proofs, and by more which have been passed over, is the personal, and sanctifying, and effectual power of the Holy Ghost established for those who can understand; for the time would fail me in my discourse if I wished to quote what yet remains concerning the Holy Ghost from the fourteen Epistles of Paul, wherein he has taught with such variety, completeness, and reverence. And to the power of the Holy Ghost Himself it must belong, to grant to us forgiveness for what we have omitted because the days are few, and upon you the hearers to impress more perfectly the knowledge of what yet remains; while from the frequent reading of the sacred Scriptures those of you who are diligent come to understand these things, and by this time, both from these present Lectures, and from what has before been told you, hold more steadfastly the Faith in One God the Father Almighty; and in our Lord Jesus Christ, His Only-Begotten Son; and in the Holy Ghost the Comforter. Though the word itself and title of Spirit is applied to Them in common in the sacred Scriptures,— for it is said of the Father, God is a SpiritJohn 4:24, as it is written in the Gospel according to John; and of the Son, A Spirit before our face, Christ the Lord , as Jeremias the prophet says; and of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Holy GhostJohn 14:25, as was said—yet the arrangement of articles in the Faith, if religiously understood, disproves the error of Sabellius also. Return we therefore in our discourse to the point which now presses and is profitable to you.

35. Beware lest ever like Simon thou come to the dispensers of Baptism in hypocrisy, your heart the while not seeking the truth. It is ours to protest, but it is yours to secure yourself. If you stand in faithRomans 11:20, blessed are you; if you have fallen in unbelief, from this day forward cast away your unbelief, and receive full assurance. For, at the season of baptism, when you have come before the Bishops, or Presbyters, or Deacons —(for its grace is everywhere, in villages and in cities, on them of low as on them of high degree, on bondsmen and on freemen, for this grace is not of men, but the gift is from God through men,)— approach the Minister of Baptism, but approaching, think not of the face of him you see, but remember this Holy Ghost of whom we are now speaking. For He is present in readiness to seal your soul, and He shall give you that Seal at which evil spirits tremble, a heavenly and sacred seal, as also it is written, In whom also ye believed, and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

36. Yet He tries the soul. He casts not His pearls before swine; if you play the hypocrite, though men baptize you now, the Holy Spirit will not baptize you. But if you approach with faith, though men minister in what is seen, the Holy Ghost bestows that which is unseen. You are coming to a great trial, to a great muster , in that one hour, which if you throw away, your disaster is irretrievable; but if you be counted worthy of the grace, your soul will be enlightened, you will receive a power which you had not, you will receive weapons terrible to the evil spirits; and if you cast not away your arms, but keep the Seal upon your soul, no evil spirit will approach you; for he will be cowed; for verily by the Spirit of God are the evil spirits cast out.

37. If you believe, you shall not only receive remission of sins, but also do things which pass man’s power. And may thou be worthy of the gift of prophecy also! For you shall receive grace according to the measure of your capacity and not of my words; for I may possibly speak of but small things, yet you may receive greater; since faith is a large affair. All your life long will your guardian the Comforter abide with you; He will care for you, as for his own soldier; for your goings out, and your comings in, and your plotting foes. And He will give you gifts of grace of every kind, if you grieve Him not by sin; for it is written, And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you were sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 What then, beloved, is it to preserve grace? Be ready to receive grace, and when you have received it, cast it not away.

38. And may the very God of All, who spoke by the Holy Ghost through the prophets, who sent Him forth upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost in this place, Himself send Him forth at this time also upon you; and by Him keep us also, imparting His benefit in common to us all, that we may ever render up the fruits of the Holy Ghost, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperanceGalatians 5:22-23, in Christ Jesus our Lord:— By whom and with whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory to the Father, both now, and ever, and for ever and ever. Amen.


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