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The Lausiac History Of Palladius by Palladius Of Galatia

[1] THERE was a man named Valens, a Palestinian by race, but Corinthian in his character—for St. Paul attributed the vice of presumption to the Corinthians. Having taken to the desert he dwelt with us for a number of years. He reached such a pitch of arrogance that he was deceived by demons. For by deceiving him little by little they induced him to be very proud, supposing that angels met him. [2] One day at least, so they told the tale, as he was working in the dark he let drop the needle with which he was stitching the basket. And when he did not find it, the demon made a lamp, and he found the needle. Again, puffed up at this, he waxed proud and in fact was so greatly puffed up that he despised the communion of the mysteries. Now it happened that certain strangers came and brought sweetmeats to the Church for the brethren. [3] So the holy Macarius our priest received them and sent a handful or so to each of us in his cell, among the rest also to Valens. When Valens received the bearer he insulted him and struck him and said to him: “Go and tell Macarius, ‘I am not worse than you, that you should send me a blessing.’ ” So Macarius, knowing that he was the victim of illusion, went the next day to exhort him and said to him: “Valens, you are the victim of illusions. Stop it.” And when he would not listen to his exhortations, he retired. [4] So the demon, convinced that he was completely persuaded by his deception, went away and disguised himself as the Saviour, and came by night in a vision of a thousand angels bearing lamps and a fiery wheel, in which it seemed that the Saviour appeared, and one came in front of the others and said: “Christ has loved you because of your conduct and the freedom of your life, and He has come to see you. So go out of the cell, do nothing else but look at his face from afar, stoop down and worship, and then go to your cell.” [5] So he went out and saw them in ranks carrying lamps, and antichrist about a stade away, and he fell down and worshipped. Then the next day again he became so mad that he entered into the church and before the assembled brotherhood said: “I have no need of Communion, for I have seen Christ to-day.” Then the fathers bound him and put him in irons for a year and so cured him, destroying his pride by their prayers and indifference and calmer mode of life. As it is said, “Diseases are cured by their opposites.”

[6] But it is necessary to insert in this little book the lives of men like this, for the safety of the readers, in the same way as there was the tree of knowledge of good and evil among the holy trees of paradise; in order that, if ever a righteous act should be achieved by them, they may not be proud of their virtue. For often even virtue becomes the cause of a fall, whenever it is not accomplished with upright intention. For it is written: “I saw a just man destroyed in his just act; and this thing is indeed vanity.”








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