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

AND it came to pass on a certain occasion that certain heretical monks, who were in the habit of wearing garments made of hair, and who had heard concerning the blessed Pachomius, rose up and came to his monastery; and they said unto certain monks of Rabbâ, “Our father hath sent us to your Rabbâ with a message, saying, ‘If thou art in truth a man of God, and if thou art confident that God will hearken unto you, come hither, and let us walk together across the river on our feet, so that every man may know which of us hath more freedom of speech before God than the other.’ ” And when the brethren informed Rabbâ concerning these things, he was exceedingly angry with them, and said unto them, “Why did ye undertake to listen to those who have said these things? Know ye not that requests of this kind are things which are foreign to God, and are wholly alien to our rule? And besides this, they are not even things which are thought well of by men who live in the world. For what law of God teacheth us to do these things? And moreover, our Redeemer commandeth us to the contrary in the Holy Gospel, saying, ‘Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth’ (St. Matthew 6:3). For thou [thinkest] of something which is more wretched than the want of mind [i.e., foolishness] in imagining that I should give up mourning for my sins, [or cease to think] how I may flee from everlasting punishment, or that, even if I were a boy in my thoughts I could ever come to [make] such a demand as that.”

And the brethren answered and said unto him, “How is it then that this man, who is a heretic and alien to God, should be so bold as to call upon thee to do this [thing]?” And Rabbâ answered and said unto them, “He is able to pass over the river as one who travelleth over dry land through the neglect of God, and the Calumniator helpeth him, so that his wicked heresy may not be brought to naught, and so that the faith of those who have gone astray may be more finally established by means of works of audacity which he performeth through him. Get ye out then, and say unto those who have brought such a message as this: ‘Thus saith the man of God, Pachomius, I devote all my strivings, and all my anxious care, not that I may pass over the river by walking on the waters thereof, but in trying to flee from the judgement of God, and to escape, by the might of the Lord, from such Satanic wiles as these.’ ” Then having said these things to the brethren he strictly forbade them to think greatly of their integrity, and to lust after the sight [of him walking across the river on the water], and to go with those who pry into such matters as these; [and he said] “We must not voluntarily follow after such matters as these, and we must not put God to the test by such questions, for concerning the knowledge of events before they happen He hath commanded us by His Holy Scriptures, saying, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, saith the Lord’ ” (Deuteronomy 6:16).








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