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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

ACERTAIN brother asked an old man and said unto him, “If it should happen that a man fell into temptation, by the permission of God, for the benefit of his soul, what is it right for those to do who are made to stumble by the same temptation?” The old man answered and said unto him, “If he repent in very truth, and with all his heart, and make confession unto God in his repentance, [saying,] ‘I have been rightly humbled,’ and shall say unto God, ‘It is good for me that I have been humbled, so that I might learn Thy commandments,’ God is able to heal the consciences of those who have already offended Him.” And the old man spake and narrated the following:

There was a certain deacon in a coenobium in Egypt, and a rich man, who had been driven out and had departed from the presence of a governor who had dominion over him, came with his household to that coenobium; and the deacon stumbled and fell into adultery with the wife of one of those who were with him, and he became a laughing-stock unto every man. And he went to a certain man who was his friend, and revealed unto him the matter, and he said unto him, “Let no man know where I am”; for he hid himself in a secret part of the cell of him that loved him, and he said unto him, “Here bury thou me during my lifetime”; and having gone down into the darkness of that hidden place he repented unto God in very truth. And after a certain time, the river, which was nigh unto the place in the region wherein the deacon had hidden himself, did not rise according to its wont, and the people of the country having prayed and made supplication it was revealed unto one of the saints that, “Unless that deacon who is hidden among us come forth, the waters will not rise.” So they went and brought him out from the place where he was hidden, and when he had come, and had made a prayer, straightway the river rose, and those who had been formerly offended by him were now edified the more, and they profited through him greatly and glorified God.








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