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

NOW therefore, O my brother, it sufficeth for me that I have called to mind all these things, and that I have handed them on in writing; for this thing did not happen without [the Will of] God, because thou wast moved in thy mind to command me to make this compilation and also to hand down in writing an account of the lives and acts of the holy fathers. And, according to the command of the love of God which is in thee, I will write down also the upright lives of holy women who have prospered in the good works of patient endurance, and afterwards I will also write down the account of the stumblings of those who have fallen away from a straight rule of life through the pride which seized upon them, and through the wicked and vain opinion that came upon their souls, and who were tripped up, and stumbled, and fell through their weakness and the war of the Adversary, although not of their own will, for after their fall they triumphed still more gloriously, and acquired rectitude. And I will do this for the benefit of those who are about to meet with this compilation, so that they may set the edifice of their building upon the firm ground of humility with zeal and care, and may fly from pride, and may take refuge in humility; and it shall be my object to write with extreme care concerning the humility of the holy men, and concerning their long-suffering, and concerning their patient endurance, and the questions which they asked each other, together with their answers, and the sundry and divers things which I shall be able to call to mind concerning the lives of the holy fathers. And, O thou faithful servant of Christ, having lighted upon this book with pleasure, and having derived therefrom sufficiently a demonstration of the Resurrection, and of the lives and labours of the holy fathers, and also of their patient endurance, and being able to grow up in a good hope, and to advance easily in virtues, turn thyself round for once, so that thou mayest see that which is behind thee, and seeing my feebleness do thou pray for me. And take good heed to guard thy soul, even as I know thou [hast been able to do] from [the time when] thou didst hold the consular power of Titianus unto this day; and again as I found thee when thou wast the prefect and officer of the bed-chamber of the God fearing king. For the man who hath such power as this, and who is able to enjoy himself with wealth in abundance, must not forget the fear of God, and he must take the greatest care possible to emulate Christ, Who heard from the Calumniator [these words], “All these things will I give unto thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (St. Matthew 4:9). Therefore take good heed unto thyself, and be vigilant, so that thou mayest at all times be exalted over the neck[s] of thy secret and invisible enemies. Amen.








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