Part 4
Chapter 4—Of Efficacious  Grace

Section 11—Macarius Egyptius. A.D. 350.

Macarius, the Egyptian, ascribes regeneration and sanctification to the Spirit and grace of God; he says,[1] it is “through the participation of the Holy Spirit that men are born again of God, and counted worthy to be the children of God in truth and power.” And again:[2] “As God is love, joy, peace, kindness, and goodness, so the new man is made kata charin, by grace.” And in another place he says,[3] “The five rational senses of the soul, if they receive the grace from above, and the sanctification of the Spirit, are truly virgins.” And elsewhere he observes,[4] that “as many as are the children of the light, and of the ministry of the New Testament by the Holy Spirit, learn nothing of men; for they are taught of God, for aute e charis, ‘grace itself' writes the laws of the Spirit in their hearts.” Again: “Never think,” says he,[5] “that thou preventest the Lord by virtue, according to Philippians 2:13:' it is certain he both owns the preparing, preventing, and subsequent grace of God; for he speaks[6] of the Holy Spirit, etoimasanti, ‘as preparing the soul' to be a seat and habitation for himself; and of some[7] whom the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit proapantosi, ‘prevent.' “God,” he says,[8] “requires of men labor, fatigue, and working; but unless there appear the heavenly cloud, kai uetoi charitos, ‘and the rains of grace,' the laboring husbandman will profit nothing.” In short, he ascribes all that the saints enjoy now, or shall hereafter, to divine grace. “The glory and beauty of Christians,” says he,[9] “and the heavenly riches, are unspeakable, and are obtained with labor, and sweat, and trials, and agonies; to de olon chariti Theou, but the whole is owing to the grace of God.” Particularly he observes,[10] that “the knowledge of God in truth is through the power of God, and energy of grace.” He represents the work of grace and conversion as a new creation, and the effect of divine power, and which cannot be done without it. “Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he says,[11] “came to change and transform nature, and to renew kai anaktisai, ‘and create again the same soul,' which was subverted by the affections, through the transgression, mixing it with his own Spirit.” And a little after,[12] “Seeing the soul that truly believes in Christ must be translated and changed from this present evil state into another good state, and from this present mean nature into another divine nature; also it must be made new, dia tes dunameos tou Agiou Pneumatos, ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit,' that so it may be fit for the heavenly kingdom.” And whereas it may be thought difficult, if not impossible, that men should be converted, or turned from their sins, he advises[13] to remember what Christ did when he was here on earth; how he cured the blind, and raised the dead, and the like; intimating, that that power which wrought in the one was able to effect the other. He speaks[14] of the fire of the Spirit which rekindles hearts, enlightens souls, makes devils to flee, takes away sin, and gives immortality.


[1] Homil. 5, p. 33.

[2] Ibid. 2, p. 12.

[3] Homil. 4, p. 19.

[4] Ibid. 15, p. 87.

[5] Ibid. 37, p. 199.

[6] Ibid. 1. p. 2.

[7] Ibid. 29, p. 171.

[8] Ibid. 26, p. 148.

[9] Ibid. 5, p. 33, 34.

[10] Ibid. 24, p. 138.

[11] Ibid. 44, p. 215.

[12] Ibid. p. 217.

[13] Ibid. 4, p. 28, 29.

[14] Ibid. 25, p.  143, 144.