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

NOW therefore, though I must here add a few remarks about my beloved brother, who hath lived with me from my youth up until this day, I will make an end to my discourse in the haven of silence. It is indeed a very long time since I first knew this man, who is worthy of blessings; and I never knew him either to eat or to fast with desire; and, in my opinion, he overcame also the lust for possessions, and especially the passion for empty praise, and that which was his own was sufficient for him. He never arrayed himself in fine and costly apparel, but being made contemptible he received [acts of] grace, and in return for God’s true mercy he continued thus even unto death. And this man accepted the temptation of devils a thousand times when they rose up against him, and at length one day a certain devil pressed him, and said unto him, “Agree thou with me for one day only, and commit sin only once, and any woman that thou shalt mention in this world I will bring unto thee.”

And on another occasion that devil strove with him for fourteen nights, even as he himself told me, and he used to kick him with his feet in the night-season, and say unto him, “Do not worship Christ, and I will never come near thee again.” And he answered and said unto him, “It is for this very reason that I worship Him, and I confess Him and glorify Him ten thousand times because thou art vexed thereby, and thou reelest away and dost tremble before Him.” In his coming in and going out he walked through one hundred and six cities (or provinces) several times, and in the greater number of them he tarried for some time. By the grace and mercy of Christ he never knew the temptation of a woman, not even in a dream, except in [his] warfare [against fornication]. I know that he received food from an angel thrice: One day he was in a parched desert, and had not upon him a morsel of bread, and he found three cakes of bread in his cloak. Another time, when he lacked [food], an angel appeared unto him in a vision and said unto him, “Go and take wheat and oil from such and such a man”; and thereupon there came to him the man from whom the angel had commanded him to take [wheat and oil], and said unto him, “Art thou such and such a man?” and he said unto him, “Yea, I am”; and the man said, “A certain One hath told thee to take thirty bushels of wheat from me, and twelve boxes of oil.”

Now over a matter of this kind, for such was his nature, he would boast. And I know that on very many occasions he used to weep over people who were in straits and difficulties, and who were living in poverty, and he would give them whatsoever he possessed, with the exception of his body only, which he was unable to give. Now I have seen him very many times weeping over a man who had been caught in a snare, and had fallen into sin, but through his tears he made him to become penitent, and to repent of his sin. This brother swore unto me once, saying, “I made supplication unto God that I would never make myself pleasing unto any man, especially the rich folk of the world, and the liars, lest they might give me whatsoever I had need of.”

Now it is sufficient for me that I have been held worthy to set down completely in writing, and to make mention of the man who, by the grace of God, was able to make perfect all these things. Behold the summary [of the contents] of the book hath been written above.

Here endeth the Second Part of the Histories of the Holy Fathers, which were compiled by the blessed Bishop Palladius, [and dedicated] to Lausus the Prefect. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, for ever! Amen








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