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CHRIST was no debtor, neither was kept in prison. He came; he paid down death for the prisoner, that He might release him from the bonds of death. Seest thou the benefits of the Resurrection? Seest thou the kindness of our Master ? Seest thou the greatness of His care for us? Let us not then be unmindful of so great a Benefactor ; nor let us, because the fast is
gone by, become the more remiss; but let us take more heed to the soul now than before ; lest, through pampering of the flesh, she be weakened; lest, while we attend to the servant, we neglect the mistress. For where is the benefit, inform me, of needless and excessive corporal size? The body itself is injured, and loses the nobleness of the soul. But let us partake of what is sufficient and needful, that we may fulfil what is becoming both for soul and body, lest in a moment we squander all the benefits we have collected from the fast. Do I forbid you to enjoy festival and relaxation? I forbid not this, but I exhort you to feast as is needful, to cut off excessive luxury, and not, by exceeding the bounds of moderation, to injure the health of the soul. For he who oversteps the limits of necessity will not even enjoy pleasure afterwards. And this is best known to those who have made the trial, and have thence engendered in themselves innumerable forms of disease, and undergone exceeding misery.
But that ye will obey our exhortations, I doubt not (for I know your
obedient mind): and therefore, concluding my exhortation on this subject, I would direct my discourse to those who have this evening been deemed worthy the gift of divine baptism, these fair plants of the Church, these spiritual flowers, these new soldiers of Christ. The day before yesterday the LORD was on the Cross; but now He is arisen. "And in like manner these, the day before yesterday, were under the power of sin ; but they have now arisen together with Christ. He died in the body, and arose; these were dead in sin, and have arisen from sin. The earth at this season of the spring bestows on us her roses, her violets, and her other flowers; nevertheless, the waters have exhibited to us a more luxuriant meadow than the earth. And wonder not, beloved, if meadows of flowers have germinated from the waters. Even from the beginning, the earth yielded not the vegetation of plants by her own proper nature, but in submission to the commandment of her Lord. Even then too, the waters brought forth moving animals, when they heard the commandment, “ Let the waters bring forth reptiles of living souls;"
;"* and the commandment became act: the inanimate existence brought forth living animals.
* Gen. i. 20. LXX. épeta Yux@v Śwow.
So also now the same commandment hath wrought all things. Then He spake, Let the waters bring forth reptiles of living souls; but now have they brought forth not reptiles, but spiritual graces. Then the waters brought forth irrational fishes, but now they have produced rational and spiritual fishes, fishes caught by the nets of the Apostles. For, “Follow Me,” says our LORD, and I will make you fishers of men. ."* Verily the mode of fishing is unusual, for fishermen always cast the fish out of the water, and kill the prey ; we cast them into the water, and the prey are born into life. There was formerly also among the Jews a pool of water; but learn what that pool signified, that having accurately learned the poverty of Judaism, thou mayest be able to know our riches. An Angel, says the Scripture, was wont to come down there, and trouble the waters; and he who first descended after the troubling of the water, enjoyed the benefit of healing.t The LORD of Angels descended into the streams of Jordan, and having sanctified the nature of the waters, healed the entire world. On this account in the former case, he who went down after the first was not healed; (for the benefit was vouchsafed to Jews who were infirm and grovelling on the earth,) but here, after the first the second descends, after the second the third and the fourth; and if you should say ten thousand, yea, cast the whole world into these spiritual streams, the grace is not exhausted, the gift is not expended, the streams are not defiled, the virtue is not diminished. Seest thou the greatness of the gift ? Hear ye, who to-day and this night have been enrolled citizens of Jerusalem which is above; and display a watchfulness worthy the greatness of the gifts, that you may draw down on yourselves more abundant grace. For a careful attention to what has been wrought in you invites the honourable regard of our Master.
It is not permitted thee, beloved, to live indifferently, but prescribe laws and rules to thyself, so as to fulfil all things with accuracy, and to exhibit much vigilance even about matters reputed indifferent. For all the present life is a contest and a struggle; and it becomes those who have once entered on this race of virtue to be temperate in all things; for “every one that striveth for the mastery,” says the Apostle, “is temperate in all things."I Seest thou not, in the games of strength, how those who undertake the conflict against men, take great care of themselves, and with how great temperance they exhibit the exercise of their bodily powers ? Thus too is it eminently here; since our struggle is not against men, but against the spirits of evil, let our exercise also be spiritual temperance; since also our arms, where with the Master hath arrayed us, are spiritual. Let then the eye * S. Matt. iv. 19.
* 1 Cor. ix. 25.
+ S. John v. 4.
have limits and rules, so as not promiscuously to range over every object that presents itself; and let the tongue have its rampart, so as not to run before the mind. For on this account also the teeth and the lips have been created for the preservation of the tongue, that the tongue might never open the doors at random and go forth; but when it had becomingly disposed its words, then it might advance with all comeliness, and utter such speeches as might afford grace to the hearers, and declare such matters as conduce to their edification. We must also avoid all disorderly laughter, preserve our gait quiet and steady, and our apparel composed. And once for all, it becomes him who is registered for the race of virtue to be orderly in all things. For the orderly disposition of the outward members is an image of the constitution in the soul. If we accustom ourselves to such a habit from the first, we shall for the future in treading the way, perform all virtue with facility, we shall need no great labour, and bring down on ourselves much assistance from above. For thus shall we be able both to traverse with safety the waves of the present life, and, ascending above the snares of the devil, obtain eternal benefits, through the grace and kindness of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, with Whom to the Father and to the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honour, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
TRAVELLING IN THE DESERT. As long as you are journeying in the interior of the desert you have no particular point to make for as your resting place. The endless sands yield nothing but small stunted shrubs—even these fail after the first two or three days, and from that time you pass over broad plains--you pass over newly reared hills-you pass through valleys that the storm of the last week has dug, and the hills and the valleys are sand, sand, sand, still sand, and only sand, and sand, and sand again. The earth is so samely, that your eyes turn towards heaven-towards heaven, I mean, in the sense of sky. You look to the sun, for he is your task-master, and by him you know the measure of the work that you have done, and the measure of the work that remains for you to do: he comes when you strike your tent in the early morning, and then, for the first hour of the day, as you move forward on your camel, he stands at your near side, and makes you know that the whole day's toil is before you—then for while, and a long while you see him no more, for you are veiled and shrouded, and dare not look upon the greatness of his glory, but you know where he strides over head, by the touch of his flaming sword. No words are spoken, but your Arabs moan, your camels sigh, your skin glows, your shoulders ache, and for sights you see the pattern, and the web of the silk that veils your eyes, and the glare of the outer light. Time labours on-your skin glows, and your shoulders ache, your Arabs moan, your camels sigh, and you see the same pattern in the silk, and the same glare of light beyond, but conquering time marches on, and by and by the descending sun has compassed the heaven, and now softly touches your right arm, and throws your lank shadow over the sand, right along on the way for Persia : then again you look upon his face, for his power is all veiled in his beauty, and the redness of flame has become the redness of roses—the fair wavy cloud that fled in the morning now comes to his sight once more -comes blushing, yet still comes on-comes burning with blushes, yet hastens, and clings to his side.
Then arrives your time for resting. The world about you is all your own, and there, where you will, you pitch your solitary tent; there is no living thing to dispute your choice. When at last the spot had been fixed upon, and we came to a balt, one of the Arabs would touch the chest of my camel, and utter at the same time a peculiar gurgling sound; the beast instantly understood, and obeyed the sign, and slowly sunk under me till she brought her body to a level with the ground : then gladly enough I alighted; the rest of the camels were unloaded, and turned loose to browse upon the shrubs of the desert, where shrubs there were, or where these failed, to wait for the small quantity of food which was allowed them out of our stores.
My servants, helped by the Arabs, busied themselves in pitching the tent, and kindling the fire. Whilst this was doing I used to walk away towards the east, confiding in the print of my foot as a guide for my return. Apart from the cheering voices of my attendants I could better know and feel the loneliness of the desert. The influence of such scenes, however, was not of a softening kind, but filled me rather with a sort of childish exultation in the selfsufficiency which enabled me to stand thus alone in the wideness of Asia—a short-lived pride, for wherever man wanders, he still remains tethered by the chain that links him to his kind; and so when the night closed round me, I began to return—to return as it were to my own gate. Reaching at last some high ground, I could see, and see with delight, the fire of our small encampment, and when, at last, I regained the spot, it seemed to me a very home that had sprung up for me in the midst of these solitudes. My Arabs were busy with their bread, -Mysseri rattling tea-cups, -the little kettle with her odd oldmaidish looks sat humming away old songs about England, and two or three yards from the fire my tent stood prim and tight, with open portal, and with welcoming look, like “ the old arm chair," of our Lyrist's “sweet Lady Anne."
At the beginning of my journey, the night breeze blew coldly; when that happened, the dry sand was heaped up outside round the skirts of the tent, and so the wind that everywhere else could sweep as he listed along those dreary plains was forced to turn aside in his course, and make way, as he ought, for the Englishman. Then within my tent, there were heaps of luxuries,—dining rooms, dressing-rooms,-libraries, bed-rooms, drawing-rooms, oratories, all crowded into the space of a hearth rug. The first night, I remember, with my books and maps about me, I wanted light,they brought me a taper, and immediately from out of the silent desert there rushed in a flood of life, unseen before. Monsters of moths of all shapes and hues, that never before perhaps had looked upon the shining of a flame, now madly thronged into my tent, and dashed through the fire of the candle till they had fairly extinguished it with their burning limbs. Those who had failed in attaining this martyrdom, suddenly became serious, and clung despondingly to the canvass.— Eothen, or Traces of Travel brought home from the East.
THE COMMONITORY OF S. VINCENT OF LERINS.
CHAPTER XXVIII. HERE I perceive it follows that I should prove by examples how, by quoting and comparing the consentient opinions of Ancient Fathers, the profane novelties of heretics have been both discovered and condemned. And yet this Divine consent of the Fathers we must diligently seek for and follow; not in all minor questions of the Divine law, but chiefly in the rule of faith. But not always, nor are all heresies to be uprooted by this means, but only new and recent ones, when first they take their rise, before they have impugned the rule of faith, whilst they are hindered by the necessities of the time, or before their poison has spread far and wide, and they have begun to corrupt the writings of the Fathers. But wide-spread and deep-rooted heresies we should never oppose in this manner, because, owing to lapse of time, they have had ample opportunities of stealing the truth. And therefore the abominations of more ancient schisms or heresies, we ought in no other way to confute, than, if need be, on the sole authority of the Scriptures; or else avoid them as already refuted, and condemned by the ancient universal councils of Catholic Priests. As soon, therefore, as any corrupt and ungodly error beginneth to break forth, and steals any passages of Holy Writ to defend itself, and deceptively and craftily expounds them; the opinions of the Fathers should be forthwith collected together for the due exposition of the Canon, by which the new, and therefore profane error