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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] CRONIUS the priest of Nitria told me this: When I was young and because of accidie fled from the monastery of my archimandrite, I came in my wanderings to the mountain of the holy Antony. It lay between Babylon and Heracles in the great desert that leads to the Red Sea, about thirty miles from the River. So having come to Antony’s monastery by the River where his two disciples dwelt at the place called Pispir—I mean Macarius and Amatas, who also buried him when he died—I waited five days for an interview with the holy Antony. [2] For he was said to visit this monastery at intervals now of ten days, now of twenty, now of five, as God led him, to do good to those who happened to visit the monastery. So a number of brethren were assembled, one with this need, another with that. Among them was a certain Eulogius, a monk of Alexandria, and another man, a cripple, who had come for the following reason.

[3] This Eulogius was a learned man, having had a good all-round education, who smitten with a love of immortality renounced the clamours (of the world), and disposing of all his goods left himself a little money, since he was unable to work. Well, suffering from accidie and wishing neither to enter a convent nor to reach perfection alone, he found a man lying in the market-place, a cripple, with neither hands nor feet. His tongue was the only part of his body that was undamaged, and was used to appeal to the passer-by. [4] So Eulogius stood and gazed at him and prayed to God and made a covenant with God (saying): “Lord, in Thy name I take this cripple and comfort him until death, that I also may be saved through him. Grant me patience to serve him!” And approaching the crippled man he said to him: “Would you like me, great one, to take you to my house and comfort you?” He said to him: “Yes, indeed.” “Then shall I get an ass and take you?” He agreed. So he fetched an ass and carried him and brought him to his own guest-chamber and took care of him. [5] Well, the cripple lasted on for fifteen years and was nursed by him, being washed and tended by the hands of Eulogius, and fed in a way suitable to his malady. But after the fifteen years a demon attacked him, and he rebelled against Eulogius. And he began to dress the man down with great abuse and reviling, adding: “Assassin, deserter, you stole other folk’s property, and you want to be saved through me. Throw me into the market-place. I want meat.” He brought him meat. [6] Again he cried out: “I am not satisfied. I want crowds. I want to be in the market-place. Oh the violence! Put me where you found me.” If he had had hands he would have quickly strangled him, to such an extent had the demon infuriated him. So Eulogius went off to the neighbouring ascetics and said to them: “What shall I do, because this cripple has brought me to despair? Am I to cast him out? I pledged myself to God and I am afraid. But am I not to cast him out? He gives me bad days and nights, so that I do not know what to do to him.” [7] But they said to him: “While the great one is still alive”—for so they called Antony—“put the cripple in a boat and go to him, and take him to the monastery and wait till Antony comes out from the cave and refer the case to him. And whatever he says to you, go by his decision, for God speaks to you by him.” And he heard them patiently, and putting the cripple into a rustic boat went out by night from the city and took him to the monastery of the disciples of the holy Antony. [8] Now it happened that the great man came the next day in the late evening, as Cronius had said, wrapped in a cloak of skin. When he reached the monastery, this was his custom, to summon Macarius and ask him: “Brother Macarius, have any brethren come here?” He answered “Yes.” “Egyptians or from Jerusalem?” And he had given him a sign: “If you see them inclined to be careless, say Egyptians; but when they are more serious and studious, say from Jerusalem.” [9] So he asked him as usual: “Are the brethren Egyptians or from Jerusalem?” Macarius answered and said to him: “A mixture.” Now when he said to him “They are Egyptians,” the holy Antony would say to him: “Prepare some lentils and give them a meal,” and he would utter a prayer for them and say good-bye. But when he said “from Jerusalem,” he would sit up all night, talking to them about salvation. [10] So that night he sat down, (Cronius) says, and called them all to him and, though none had told him what name he bore, called out in the dark and said “Eulogius, Eulogius, Eulogius”—three times. He, the learned man I mean, did not answer, thinking that another Eulogius was being called. He said to him again: “I am speaking to you, Eulogius, the man who came from Alexandria.” Eulogius said to him: “What are your commands, I pray?” “Why have you come?” Eulogius answered and said to him: “He that revealed to you my name, hath also revealed to you my business.” [11] Antony said to him: “I know why you came. But speak before all the brethren, that they also may hear.” Eulogius said to him: “I found this cripple in the market-place and I pledged myself to God that I would nurse him and so be saved through him and he through me. So since after all these years he torments me to distraction, and I contemplated casting him out; on this account I came to your holiness, in order that you might counsel me what I ought to do and pray for me, for I am terribly distressed. [12] Antony said to him with angry and stern voice: “Cast him out? But He Who made him does not cast him out. Will you cast him out? God will raise up a man better than you, and he will succour him.” Eulogius, who had been calm up till now, trembled. And Antony leaving Eulogius began to castigate the cripple with his tongue and cry: “You crippled and maimed man, deserving neither earth nor heaven, will you not cease fighting against God? Do you not know that it is Christ Who is serving you? How dare you utter such words against Christ? Was it not for Christ’s sake that he made himself a slave to minister to you?” So having reprimanded him, he left him alone too. And having conversed with all the rest about their needs he returned to Eulogius and the cripple and said to them: “Do not wander about any more, go away. Do not be separated from one another, except in your cell in which you have dwelt so long. For already God is sending for you. For this temptation has come upon you because you are both near your end and are about to be counted worthy of crowns. Do nothing else therefore, and may the angel when he comes not find you here.” So they journeyed in haste and came to their cell, and within forty days Eulogius died, and in three days more the cripple died too.

[15] But Cronius, after staying in the regions round the Thebaid, came down to the monasteries of Alexandria. And it happened that the services for the fortieth day of the one and the third day of the other were being celebrated by the brethren. Cronius learned this and was amazed, and having taken a gospel and put it before the brethren took an oath, after telling what had happened, and said: “I was blessed Antony’s interpreter in these conversations, since he does not know Greek; for I know both tongues and interpreted to them, speaking to these two in Greek, to Antony in Egyptian.

[16] And Cronius told this story also: “In that night blessed Antony told me this: ‘For a whole year I prayed that the place of the just and of sinners might be revealed to me. And I saw a tall giant reaching to the clouds, black, with his hands stretched up to heaven, and under him a lake as vast as the sea, and I saw souls flying like birds. [17] And as many as flew over his hands and head were saved. But as many as were struck by his hands fell into the lake. Then came a voice to me saying, These souls of the righteous which thou seest flying are the souls which are saved for Paradise. But the others are those which are drawn down to hell, having followed the desires of the flesh and revenge.’ ”








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