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Fifty Spiritual Homilies Of Saint Macarius The Egyptian

Concerning the old Sabbath and the new.

1. IN the shadow of the law given by Moses God commanded that every man should rest on the sabbath and do nothing. This was a type and shadow of the true sabbath given to the soul from the Lord. For the soul to which it has been granted to be set free from base and foul thoughts both keeps true sabbath and enjoys true rest, being idle and at leisure so far as the works of darkness are concerned. There, in the typical sabbath, although they rested in bodily fashion, their souls were in bondage to wickednesses and sins. This, the true sabbath, is true rest, the soul being idle and cleansed from the suggestions of Satan, and resting in the eternal rest and joy of the Lord.

2. As then He enjoined that even the unreasoning animals should rest on the sabbath day, that the ox should not be forced under the yoke of necessity, and that they should not lade the ass—for the animals also were to rest from their heavy works—so when the Lord came and gave the true eternal sabbath, He gave rest to the soul which was burdened and heavy laden with the burdens of the iniquity of unclean imaginations, and labouring perforce at the works of unrighteousness, as being in bondage to bitter masters; and He lightened it of the burdens, hard to be borne, of vain and impure imaginations; and He took away the yoke, the bitter yoke, of the works of unrighteousness, and refreshed the soul when it was wearied with the imaginations of uncleanness.

3. The Lord calls man to rest, saying, Come, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; and as many souls as are obedient and draw near, He makes them rest from all these heavy, burdensome, unclean thoughts, and they are idle from all iniquity, keeping a true, delicious, holy sabbath, and celebrate a festival of the Spirit, a festival of joy and gladness unspeakable; and they perform a pure service, well pleasing to God, out of a pure heart. This is the true and the holy sabbath. Let us therefore beseech God that we also may enter into this rest, that we may be idle from base and evil and vain imaginations, that thus we may be able to serve God out of a pure heart, and celebrate the feast of the Holy Ghost. Blessed is he who enters into that rest. Glory to Him whose good pleasure it is, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen.

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