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The Fire That Appeared to Moses in the Bush

A beautiful passage from the Fifty Spiritual Homilies of Saint Macarius:

Imitate her then, my child; imitate her whose eyes were fixed upon nothing but Him only, who said, ‘I am come to send fire upon the earth, and I would that it were already kindled’. There is indeed a burning of the Spirit, which burns hearts into flame. The immaterial divine fire has the effect of enlightening souls and trying them, like unalloyed gold in the furnace, but of consuming iniquity, like thorns or stubble; ‘for our God is a consuming fire’, ‘taking vengeance on them that know Him not in flaming fire, and on them that obey not His gospel’. It was this fire that worked in the apostles, when they spoke with fiery tongues. It was this fire which shone by the voice round St. Paul, enlightening his mind, but blinding his sense of sight; for not without the flesh did he see the power of that light. It was this fire which appeared to Moses in the bush. This fire, in the shape of a chariot, caught up Elias from the earth. The blessed David was seeking the operation of this fire when he said, ‘Examine me, O Lord, and prove me: try out my reins and my heart’. It was this fire which warmed the heart of Cleopas and those with him while the Saviour talked after His resurrection. So the angels and ministering spirits partake of the shining of this fire, according to what is said, ‘Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flaming fire’. It is this fire which burns up the beam that is in the inward eye, making the mind clear, that, recovering its natural power of penetration, it may see without interruption the wonderful things of God, according as one says, ‘Open Thou mine eyes, that I may see the wondrous things of Thy law’. This fire drives away devils, and destroys sin; but it is the power of resurrection, and the effectual working of immortality, the illumination of holy souls, and the strengthening of rational powers. Let us pray that this fire may reach us also, that always walking in light, we may never for a moment ‘dash our feet against a stone’, ‘but shining as lights in the world, may hold forth the word of everlasting life’; that enjoying ourselves among the good things of God we may rest with the Lord in life, glorifying the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Saint Macarius, Fifty Spiritual Homilies, Homily XXV

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