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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : Life of Antony. Section 35. When, therefore, they come by night to you and wish to tell the futureà

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Life of Antony. Section 35. When, therefore, they come by night to you and wish to tell the futureà

35. When, therefore, they come by night to you and wish to tell the future, or say, |we are the angels,| give no heed, for they lie. Yea even if they praise your discipline and call you blessed, hear them not, and have no dealings with them; but rather sign yourselves and your houses, and pray, and you shall see them vanish. For they are cowards, and greatly fear the sign of the Lord's Cross, since of a truth in it the Saviour stripped them, and made an example of them . But if they shamelessly stand their ground, capering and changing their forms of appearance, fear them not, nor shrink, nor heed them as though they were good spirits. For the presence either of the good or evil by the help of God can easily be distinguished. The vision of the holy ones is not fraught with distraction: |For they will not strive, nor cry, nor shall any one hear their voice .| But it comes so quietly and gently that immediately joy, gladness and courage arise in the soul. For the Lord who is our joy is with them, and the power of God the Father. And the thoughts of the soul remain unruffled and undisturbed, so that it, enlightened as it were with rays, beholds by itself those who appear. For the love of what is divine and of the things to come possesses it, and willingly it would be wholly joined with them if it could depart along with them. But if, being men, some fear the vision of the good, those who appear immediately take fear away; as Gabriel did in the case of Zacharias, and as the angel did who appeared to the women at the holy sepulchre, and as He did who said to the shepherds in the Gospel, |Fear not.| For their fear arose not from timidity, but from the recognition of the presence of superior beings. Such then is the nature of the visions of the holy ones.'

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