Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Gregory the Theologian-Unity Found Its Rest In Trinity..

Saint Gregory The Theologian

BUT Monarchy is that which we hold in honour. It is, however, a Monarchy that is not limited to one Person, for it is possible for Unity if at variance with itself to come into a condition of plurality; but one which is made of an equality of Nature and a Union of mind and an identity of motion, and a convergence of its elements to unity - a thing which is impossible to the created nature - so that though numerically distinct there is no severance of Essence. Therefore Unity having from all eternity arrived by motion at Duality, found its rest in Trinity. This is what we mean by Father and Son and Holy Ghost. The Father is the Begetter and the Emitter; without passion of course, and without reference to time, and not in a corporeal manner. The Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Ghost the Emission; for I know not how this could be expressed in terms altogether excluding visible things. 

 For we shall not venture to speak of "an overflow of goodness," as one of the Greek Philosophers dared to say, as if it were a bowl overflowing, and this in plain words in his Discourse on the First and Second Causes. Let us not ever look on this Generation as involuntary, like some natural overflow, hard to be retained, and by no means befitting our conception of Deity. Therefore let us confine ourselves within our limits, and speak of the Unbegotten and the Begotten and That which proceeds from the Father, as somewhere God the Word Himself saith. 

When did these come into being? They are above all "When." But, if I am to speak with something more of boldness,-when the Father did. And when did the Father come into being. There never was a time when He was not. And the same thing is true of the Son and the Holy Ghost. Ask me again, and again I will answer you, When was the Son begotten? When the Father was not begotten. And when did the Holy Ghost proceed? When the Son was, not proceeding but, begotten-beyond the sphere of time, and above the grasp of reason; although we cannot set forth that which is above time, if we avoid as we desire any expression which conveys the idea of time. For such expressions as "when" and "before" and "after" and "from the beginning" are not timeless, however much we may force them; unless indeed we were to take the Aeon, that interval which is coextensive with the eternal things, and is not divided or measured by any motion, or by the revolution of the sun, as time is measured.  

How then are They not alike unoriginate, i f They are coeternal? Because They are from Him, though not after Him. For that which is unoriginate is eternal, but that which is eternal is not necessarily unoriginate, so long as it may be referred to the Father as its origin. Therefore in respect of Cause They are not unoriginate; but it is evident that the Cause is not necessarily prior to its effects, for the sun is not prior to its light. And yet They are in some sense unoriginate, in respect of time, even though you would scare simple minds with your quibbles, for the Sources of Time are not subject to time. 

 But they say, The Unbegotten and the Begotten are not the same; and if this is so, neither is the Son the same as the Father. It is clear, without saying so, that this line of argument manifestly excludes either the Son or the Father from the Godhead. For if to be Unbegotten is the Essence of God, to be begotten is not that Essence; if the opposite is the case, the Unbegotten is excluded. What argument can contradict this? Choose then whichever blasphemy you prefer, my good inventor of a new theology, if indeed you are anxious at all costs to embrace a blasphemy. In the next place, in what sense do you assert that the Unbegotten and the Begotten are not the same? If you mean that the Uncreated and the created are not the same, I agree with you; for certainly the Unoriginate and the created are not of the same nature. But if you say that He That begat and That which is begotten are not the same, the statement is inaccurate. For it is in fact a necessary truth that they are the same. For the nature of the relation of Father to Child is this, that the offspring is of the same nature with the parent. 

 Or we may argue thus again. What do you mean by Unbegotten and Begotten, for if you mean the simple fact of being unbegotten or begotten, these are not the same; but if you mean Those to Whom these terms apply, how are They not the same? For example, Wisdom and Unwisdom are not the same in themselves, but yet both are attributes of man, who is the same; and they mark not a difference of essence, but one external to the essence. Are immortality and innocence and immutability also the essence of God? If so God has many essences and not one; or Deity is a compound of these. For He cannot be all these without composition, if they be essences.


St Macarius the Great-There is a wide difference between Christians and the men of this world..


 1. THE world of Christians, and their way of life, and their mind, and discourse, and practice, is one thing; and that of the men of this world, another. And the difference between them is very wide. For the children of this world are tossed to and fro by unsettled seasonings, by earthly desires, and a variety of gross imaginations, whereby SATAN is continually sifting the whole sinful race of men.
2. For the word that was spoken to Cain by his Maker, “You shall go mourning and trembling, and be tossed about upon' the earth," is a type and image of all sinners, as to their inward state. For thus is the race of Adam tossed about with the incessant suggestions of fear and dread, and every kind of disturbance, the prince of this world tossing to and fro the soul that is not born of God; and variously disturbing the thoughts of mankind, as corn that is continually shifted about in a sieve; and shaking and ensnaring them all in worldly deceits, and the lusts of the flesh, with fears and troubles.

3. As from one Adam the whole race of mankind was spread over the earth,-so one taint in the affections was derived down into the sinful stock of men; and the prince of malice is sufficiently able to shift them all in restless, and gross, and vain, and troublesome reflections. For as one and the same wind is enough to stir, and shake all plants and seeds whatever,-so the prince of wickedness, as an hidden and blustering wind, tosseth to and fro all the race of men upon earth, and, carries them about with unsettled thoughts, and enticing them with the lusts of the world, fills every soul with ignorance, blindness, and oblivion, if it is not born from above.

4. For in this do true Christians differ from the whole race of mankind besides. They have their heart and mind constantly taken up with the thoughts of heaven; and, through the presence and participation of the Holy Spirit, do behold, as in a glass, the good things which are eternal, being born of GOD from above, and thought worthy to become the children of GOD in truth and power; and being arrived, through many conflicts and labors, to a settled and fixed state, to an exemption from trouble, to perfect rest, are never sifted more by unsettled and vain thoughts.
Herein are they greater and better than the world; their mind and the desire of their soul are in the peace of CHRIST, and the love of the Spirit; a they have passed from death to life." Wherefore the alteration peculiar to Christians does not consist in any outward fashions, but in the renovation of the mind, and the peace of the thoughts, and the love of the Lord, even the heavenly love. Herein Christians differ from all men besides. The Lord has given them truly to believe on him, and to be worthy of those spiritual good things. For the glory, and the beauty, and the heavenly riches of Christians are inexpressible, and purchased only with labor, and pains, and trials, and many conflicts. But the whole is owing to the grace of God.

 5. Now if the sight of. even an earthly king is desired by all men, (except those persons that are spiritual, who look upon all his glory as nothing, through their having experimentally known another heavenly glory;) if, I say, the men of this world are so desirous to behold an earthly king, with his splendor and glory-how much more are those upon whom that dew of the Spirit of life has dropped, and wounded their hearts with love for CHRIST; bound fast to that beauty, and the unspeakable glory, and the inconceivable riches of the true and eternal King; with desire and long- suffering after whom they are captivated, turning wholly to him, to obtain those unspeakable good things, which through the Spirit they actually behold already; and for whose sake they esteem all the glories, and honors, and riches of earthly kings as nothing? 
6. For they arc wounded with the Divine beauty; their desire is towards the heavenly King; and placing him only before their eyes in the abundance of their affection, they, for his sake, disengage themselves from all love of the world, and draw back from every earthly clog, that so they may be able ever to retain in their hearts that only desire. And they that are Christians in truth and power, rejoice at their departure out of the flesh, because they have " that house which is not made with hands." And therefore, if the house of the body be destroyed, they are in no fear; for they have the heavenly "house of the Spirit," and that "glory which is incorruptible." 
7. Let us therefore strive by faith to be possessed of that clothing, that when we resume the body, there be nothing wanting which may glorify our flesh in that day. For every one, so far as he has been thought worthy by faith to be made partaker of the Holy Spirit, in the same proportion shall his body also be glorified in that day. For that which the soul has treasured up within, in this present life, shall then be made manifest outwardly in the body.
8. For as the trees that have got over the winter do, by an invisible power, put forth from within, and shoot out leaves., and flowers, and fruits, as their clothing.and in like manner, as the flowers of the grass come out of the bosom of the earth, and the earth is covered and clothed-so, in the, day of the resurrection, and through the power of the a Sun of Righteousness," there shooteth out from within the glory of the Holy Spirit, covering the bodies of the saints, which glory they had before, within hidden in their souls. For whatever (the soul) has at present, the same comes forth at that time outwardly in the body.

9. Therefore ought every -one of us to strive, and be diligent in all virtue, and to believe and to seek it of the Lord; that the inward man may be made partaker of that glory in this present life, and have that holiness of the Spirit, that we may have at the resurrection wherewith to cover our naked bodies, and refresh us to all eternity in the kingdom of heaven. For CHRIST will come down from heaven, and raise to life all the kindred of Adam that have slept from the beginning of the world and he shall separate them all into two divisions; and them that have his own mark, that is, the seal of the Spirit, he shall place on his right hand. And then shall the bodies of these -be surrounded with a Divine glory from their good works, and themselves shall be full of the glory of the Spirit, which they had in their souls in this present life. So that, being thus glorified in the Divine light, and snatched away to " meet the Lord in the air, we," as it is- written, "shall ever be with the Lord," reigning with him world without end. Amen.

St Macarius the Great Spiritual Homilies

Μακάριος ὁ Μέγας-Φύλαξη τῆς καρδιᾶς

AΠΟΣΤΡΕΦΕΙ καὶ ἑαυτὴν ἡ ψυχὴ ἀπὸ ῥεμβασμῶν, φυλάττουσα τὴν καρδίαν τοῦ μὴ ῥέμβεσθαι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τὰ μέλη τῶν λογισμῶν αὐτῆς. Καὶ οὕτως ἀγωνιζομένη καὶ σπουδάζουσα καὶ συνέχουσα πάντοθεν ἐν πολλῇ προσοχῇ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος ἀπὸ κακῶν, ἄσχιστον καὶ ἄκαυστον καὶ ἄσπιλον τὸν καλὸν χιτῶνα τοῦ σώματος διαφυλάσσει. Καὶ αὐτὴ διὰ τοῦ γνωστικοῦ καὶ διανοητικοῦ καὶ διακριτικοῦ θελήματος αὐτῆς, τὸ δὲ πᾶν διὰ τῆς τοῦ Κυρίου δυνάμεως φυλαχθήσεται, αὐτὴ ἑαυτὴν ὅση δύναμις συσφίγγουσα καὶ πάσης ἐπιθυμίας κοσμικῆς ἀποστρέφουσα καὶ οὕτως ὑπὸ Κυρίου βοηθουμένη εἰς τὸ ἐξ ἀληθείας φυλαχθῆναι αὐτὴν ἀπὸ τῶν προειρημένων κακῶν. Ἐπὰν γὰρ ἴδῃ ὁ Κύριός τινα γενναίως ἀποστρεφόμενον τὰς τοῦ βίου ἡδονὰς καὶ περισπασμοὺς καὶ μερίμνας ὑλικὰς καὶ δεσμοὺς γηΐνους καὶ ῥεμβασμοὺς λογισμῶν ματαίων, δίδωσι τὴν ἰδίαν τῆς χάριτος βοήθειαν, ἄπτωτον διατηρῶν τὴν ψυχὴν ἐκείνην διεξερχομένην καλῶς τὸν ἐνεστῶτα πονηρὸν αἰῶνα. Καὶ οὕτως ἡ ψυχὴ ἐπαίνων οὐρανίων παρὰ Θεοῦ καὶ ἀγγέλων τεύξεται, ὅτι τὸν χιτῶνα τοῦ σώματος αὐτῆς καλῶς διεφύλαξε καὶ ἑαυτήν, ὅσον τὸ ἐν αὐτῇ δυνατόν, πᾶσαν ἐπιθυμίαν τοῦ κόσμου ἀποστραφεῖσα καὶ ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ βοηθηθεῖσα τὸν δρόμον τοῦ σταδίου τοῦ κόσμου τούτου καλῶς διεξελήλυθεν..

Ὥσπερ γὰρ σίδηρος ἢ μόλυβδος ἢ χρυσὸς ἢ ἄργυρος ἐπὶ πῦρ βληθέντα λύεται ἐκ τῆς φύσεως τῆς σκληρᾶς, εἰς ἁπαλότητα μεταβαλλόμενα, καὶ ἐφ᾿ ὅσον ἐν τῷ πυρὶ τυγχάνει, λύεται καὶ ἠλλοίωται τῆς φυσικῆς σκληρότητος διὰ τὴν τοῦ πυρὸς θερμὴν δύναμιν, τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον ἡ ψυχὴ ἀρνησαμένη τὸν κόσμον καὶ τὸν Κύριον μόνον ποθήσασα ἐν πολλῇ ψυχῆς ζητήσει καὶ πόνῳ καὶ ἀγῶνι, καὶ τὴν προσδοκίαν ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχουσα πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐλπίδι καὶ πίστει καὶ δεξαμένη ἐκεῖνο τὸ ἐπουράνιον πῦρ τῆς θεότητος καὶ ἀγάπης τοῦ Πνεύματος, τότε ἐξ ἀληθείας πάσης ἀγάπης κόσμου λύεται καὶ πάσης κακίας παθῶν ἐλευθεροῦται καὶ πάντα ἐκτὸς αὐτῆς ποιεῖται καὶ ἐξ αὐτῆς τῆς φυσικῆς ἕξεως καὶ σκληρότητος τῆς ἁμαρτίας μεταβάλλεται, καὶ πάντα περισσὰ ἡγεῖται πρὸς μόνον τὸν ἐπουράνιον νυμφίον ὃν ἐδέξατο ἀναπαυομένη ἐν τῇ ζεούσῃ καὶ ἀρρήτῳ αὐτοῦ ἀγάπῃ…
Εἰ γὰρ σαρκικῆς κοινωνίας ἀγάπη χωρίζει πατρός, μητρός, ἀδελφῶν, καὶ πάντα ἐξώτερα αὐτῶν γίγνεται ἐν τῷ νῷ, καὶ εἰ ἀγαπᾷ, ἐξωτέρως ἀγαπᾷ, τὴν δὲ διάθεσιν αὐτοῦ πᾶσαν εἰς τὴν σύνοικον αὐτοῦ κέκτηται, - «ἀντὶ τούτου» γάρ φησι «καταλείψει ἄνθρωπος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ προσκολληθήσεται τῇ γυναικί, καὶ ἔσονται οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν». Εἰ οὖν ἡ τῆς σαρκὸς ἀγάπη οὕτω λύει πάσης ἀγάπης, πόσῳ μᾶλλον ὅσοι κατηξιώθησαν ἐκείνου τοῦ ἁγίου καὶ ἐπουρανίου καὶ ἀγαπητοῦ Πνεύματος, ἐξ ἀληθείας κοινωνῆσαι πάσης ἀγάπης κόσμου λυθήσονται καὶ πάντα περισσὰ αὐτοῖς καταφανήσεται τῷ νενικῆσθαι αὐτοὺς τῷ οὐρανίῳ πόθῳ καὶ τῇ τρώσει αὐτοῦ ἡνῶσθαι. Ἐκεῖ γὰρ ἐπιποθοῦσιν, ἐκεῖ λογίζονται, ἐκεῖ ζῶσιν, ἐκεῖ οἱ λογισμοὶ αὐτῶν περιπατοῦσιν, ἐκεῖ ὁ νοῦς πάντοτε τὴν διατριβὴν ἔχει νενικημένος τῷ θείῳ καὶ οὐρανίῳ ἔρωτι καὶ πόθῳ πνευματικῷ. 

Τὸ λοιπόν, ὢ ἀγαπητοὶ ἀδελφοί, τοιούτων ἀγαθῶν προκειμένων καὶ τοσούτων ἐπαγγελιῶν ἡμῖν ὑπὸ τοῦ Κυρίου ἐπηγγελμένων πάντα τὰ ἐμπόδια ἀφ᾿ ἑαυτῶν ἀπορρίψωμεν καὶ πᾶσαν ἀγάπην τοῦ κόσμου ἀποστραφῶμεν καὶ πρὸς ἐκεῖνο μόνον τὸ ἀγαθὸν τῇ ζητήσει καὶ πόθῳ ἑαυτοὺς ἐκδῶμεν, ἵνα δυνηθῶμεν τυχεῖν ἐκείνης τῆς ἀρρήτου ἀγάπης τοῦ Πνεύματος, περὶ ἧς ὁ μακάριος Παῦλος παρῄνεσε σπεύδειν ἡμᾶς πρὸς αὐτὴν λέγων· «διώκετε τὴν ἀγάπην», ἵνα δυνηθῶμεν ἐκ τῆς σκληρότητος ἡμῶν τῆς ἀλλοιώσεως τῆς δεξιᾶς τοῦ ὑψίστου καταξιωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἡμερότητα καὶ ἀνάπαυσιν πνευματικὴν ἐλθεῖν, ἔρωτι θείου Πνεύματος τρωθέντες. Ὁ γὰρ Κύριος πολὺ φιλανθρωπεύεται σπλαγχνιζόμενος, πότε ἐπιστρέψομεν ὅλοι ἐξ ὅλου πρὸς αὐτόν, πάντων τῶν ἐναντίων ἑαυτοὺς ἐξαίροντες. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ ἡμεῖς διὰ πολλὴν ἀγνωσίαν καὶ νηπιότητα καὶ πρόληψιν κακίας ἀποστρεφόμεθα τὴν ζωὴν καὶ ἐμπόδια πολλὰ τιθέαμεν ἑαυτοῖς μὴ βουλόμενοι ἐξ ἀληθείας μετανοεῖν, ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὸς πολὺ σπλαγχνίζεται ἐφ᾿ ἡμᾶς μακροθυμῶν, πότε ἐπιστρέψαντες προσέλθωμεν πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ τὸν ἔσω ἡμῶν ἄνθρωπον φωτισθῶμεν, ἵνα μὴ καταισχυνθῶσι τὰ πρόσωπα ἡμῶν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως…
Εἰ γὰρ ἐπὶ τὰ λυόμενα καὶ ἀποθνῄσκοντα πάλιν σώματα οὕτως ἐσπλαγχνίσθη καὶ ἑκάστῳ ὃ ἐπεζήτει πεποίηκε προθύμως καὶ χρηστῶς, πόσῳ μᾶλλον τῇ ἀθανάτῳ ψυχῇ καὶ ἀδιαλύτῳ καὶ ἀφθάρτῳ, τυγχανούσῃ ἐν νόσῳ ἀγνοίας (τῆς κακίας ἀπιστίας τε καὶ ἀφοβίας καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν τῆς ἁμαρτίας παθῶν), προσερχομένῃ δὲ τῷ Κυρίῳ καὶ τὴν παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ βοήθειαν ἐπιζητούσῃ καὶ εἰς τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἀποσκοπούσῃ καὶ τὴν χάριν τοῦ πνεύματος παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ δέξασθαι ἐπιθυμούσῃ εἰς λύτρωσιν καὶ σωτηρίαν αὐτῆς καὶ πάσης κακίας καὶ παντὸς πάθους ἀπαλλαγήν, οὐ δωρήσεται τάχιον καὶ ἑτοιμοτέρως τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς ἰάσεως.

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