Part 4
Chapter 5—Of Perseverance

Section 14—Macarius Aegyptus. A.D. 350.

Macarius gives plain intimations, that such who are truly born again shall never perish, but have everlasting Fife. “The true death,” he says,[1] is inbred in the heart, and is hidden, and the inward man is become dead; if therefore any one passes from this death unto the life which is hidden, verily he shall live for ever, kai ouk apothneskei, and not die.” Again:[2] “The soul shall be kept by the power of the Lord, which, as much as it is able, restrains itself, and turns from every worldly lust; and so it is helped by the Lord, that it may be truly kept from the aforesaid evils; for whenever the Lord sees any one bravely declining the pleasures of life, distractions, gross cares, earthly bonds, and the wanderings of vain reasonings, he grants the peculiar assistance of grace, aptoton diateron ten psuchen ekeinen, preserving that soul from falling.” Once more:[3] “The humble man never falls, for from whence should he fall who is under all?” And in another place, speaking of Mary, he observes, that a divine power filled her heart; and adds,[4] “That power, wherever it is necessary, becomes permanent, os ktema anaphairdon, as a possession that cannot be taken away.” Once more he says,[5] that a soul “calling upon the Lord is able to continue en pistei adisakto, in faith, without doubting.” Vossius[6] refers to several Homilies of this writer, as containing in them passages which militate against the saints' perseverance. Out of the fourth homily referred to, I have produced an instance in favor of it: in it, he does indeed make mention or the foolish virgins, but then he supposes them to be such who were in a state of nature, were never regenerated by the Spirit of God, and were destitute of the oil of grace; and in it also he represents God as not ashamed to receive such that fall, provided they repent, turn to him, and desire help of him. In the fifteenth, these questions are put: Whether a man having grace can fall? whether grace remains after man is fallen? To which he replies, that he may fall if he is negligent, which may prove a loss to him, but he does not say that grace itself may be lost. And out of the same homily I have cited a passage in proof of the doctrine contended for. In the twenty-fourth homily referred to, I do not meet with any thing that looks like the doctrine of the saints' final and total apostasy. In the twenty-sixth he says, that many who think they have attained to perfection wander from the grace they have, by which he means gifts; for he supposes treat a man may have this grace, and yet his heart not purified, or be a Christian; for as for Christians, he says, though Satan wars against them without, they are inwardly safe by the power of God, and care not for Satan. In the twenty-seventh homily he indeed cites Hebrews 6:4-6, and makes this remark upon it: “Behold, they that are enlightened, and have tasted, fall;” which nobody denies. And in the same page he has these words, “He that has these things,” meaning gifts, “falls; but he that has charity, or love, aptotos estin, cannot fall.”


[1] Homil. 15, p. 96.

[2] Ibid. 4, p. 18.

[3] Ibid. 19, p. 126.

[4] Ibid. 12, p. 72.

[5] Ibid. 21, p. 131.

[6] Hist. Pelag. 1. 6, thes. 12, p. 566.