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

THERE was a certain old man in Scete who, having become very sick indeed, was ministered to by the brethren, and he thought in his mind that they were tired of him, and he said, “I will go to Egypt, so that the brethren may not have to labour on my account.” And Abbâ Moses said unto him, “Thou shalt not go, for if thou goest, thou wilt fall into fornication”; and the old man was grieved and said, “My body hath long been dead, and sayest thou these things unto me?” So he went up to Egypt, and men heard about him, and they brought many offerings unto him, and a certain believing virgin came in faith to minister unto him. And after a time, when the old man had been healed, the young woman lay with him, and she conceived, and folk asked her, saying, “Whence hadst thou that which thou hast conceived?” And she said unto them, “From the old man,” and they believed her not. Now when the old man heard that they would not believe her, he said, “Yea, I have done this thing; but protect ye for me the child which shall be born.” And when the child had been born and was weaned, there was a congregation in Scete, and the old man went down carrying the child on his shoulder, and he went into the church before all the people; and when they saw him they all wept. Then the old man said unto the brethren, “Observe ye, O my brethren, this is the child of disobedience; take heed, then, unto yourselves, for I have committed this act in my old age, and pray ye for me”; and the old man went to his cell, and dismissed the things wherewith he hath lived, and returned to his former deeds, and after a time he arrived [once more] at his old measure of ascetic excellence.








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