Adam, when he transgressed the commandment, lost two things. First he lost the
pure possession of his nature, so lovely, created according to the image and
likeness of God. Second, he lost the very image itself in which was laid up for
him, according to God’s promise, the full heavenly inheritance.
the example of a coin bearing the image of the king. If it were mixed with a
false alloy and lost its gold content, the image also would lose its value.
Such, indeed, happened to Adam. A very great richness and inheritance was
prepared for him. It was as though there were a large estate and it possessed
many sources of income. It had a fruitful vineyard; there were fertile fields,
flocks, gold and silver. Such was the vessel of Adam before his disobedience
like a very valuable estate. When, however, he entertained evil intentions and
thoughts, he lost God.
We nevertheless do not say that he was totally lost and was blotted out of
existence and died. He died as far as his relationship with God was concerned,
but in his nature, however, he still lives. For look, the whole world still
walks on the earth and carries on its business. But God’s eyes see their very
minds and thoughts and, as it were, he disregards them and has no communion with
them, because nothing that they think is pleasing to God.
there exist houses of prostitution and ill-fame in which all sorts of immoral
debaucheries go on and religious people should pass by them, would they not
loathe such places? Seeing them, they would in a way refuse to see them (for
such places for them are dead). So also God looks upon those who have turned
away from his word and commandment, and yet he passes beyond them and has no
communication with them, nor does the Lord find peaceful pleasure in their
Question: How can anyone be poor in spirit, especially when he has a new
interior awareness that he has changed and made progress and has obtained a
knowledge and understanding that he did not possess before?
Until a person acquires such and makes progress in perfection, he is not poor in
spirit, but he will always entertain certain opinions about himself and his
worth. But when he arrives at such understanding and progress, grace itself
teaches him that he is really righteous and God’s elect, never thinking
himself to be anything, but holding himself in a lowly and humble attitude as
one knowing or having nothing, even though he does know and does have much.
is, as it were, natural and imprinted in the mind. Do you not see that Abraham,
our first father, when he was God’s chosen one, still called himself earth and
ashes (Genesis 18:27)? And David, anointed to be king, had God with him (1
Samuel 16:13), and yet what does he say? “I am a worm and no man, the very
scorn of men and the outcast of the people” (Psalm 22:6).
Those who wish to be co-heirs with such as these and fellow citizens of the
heavenly city and to be glorified with them ought to excel in the same humility
of spirit and not regard themselves as anything in themselves, but they ought to
have a contrite heart. For although grace works in individual Christians in
diverse ways and has different members, yet all are of the same city, of the
same mind, of one tongue, mutually recognizing one another.
as in the human body there are many members, even though there is one soul
animating all, so there is only one Spirit working in diverse ways, yet they are
all of the same city and of one way. For all the just have walked the straight
and narrow path, suffering persecution, affliction, and insults and “living in
goatskins, in dens and caves of the earth” (Hebrews 11:37). The Apostles too
right to this present moment say: “And we both hunger and thirst and are naked
and are reviled and live with no fixed abode” (1 Corinthians 4:11). Some of
them were beheaded while others were crucified and still others were afflicted
in various ways. Moreover, did not the Lord of the prophets and Apostles himself
live on this earth as though he had forgotten his divine glory? He was made an
example for us. In greatest mockery he wore a crown of thorns on his head. He
bore the spittings, the buffets, and the cross.
If God so lived on earth, then it will become you to imitate him. And if the
Apostles and prophets so lived, we also, if we only would wish to be built on
the foundation of the Lord and the Apostles, ought to imitate them. For the
Apostle says through the Holy Spirit: “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ”
(1 Corinthians 11:1). But if you seek the glory of men and wish to be bowed down
to, and you desire the pleasures of the flesh, you have swerved from the way.
You must be crucified with the Crucified (Romans 8:17), to suffer with him that
suffered, so that you may be glorified with him glorified. The bride must suffer
with the Bridegroom and so become partner and co-heir with Christ. It is in no
way possible except through afflictions, through the rough, narrow, and straight
way to pass into the city of the saints and there to rest and reign with the
King forever and ever.
Question: Since Adam lost his own image and also that heavenly image, therefore,
if he shared in the heavenly image, did he have the Holy Spirit?
As long as the Word of God was with him, he possessed everything. For the Word
himself was his inheritance, his covering, and a glory that was his defense
(Isaiah 4:5). He was his teaching. For he taught him how to give names to all
things: “Give this the name of heaven, that the sun; this the moon; that
earth; this a bird; that a beast; that a tree.” As he was instructed, so he
Question: Did he have an experience and fellowship of the Holy Spirit?
The Word himself was with him and was everything to him: both knowledge and
experience and inheritance and teaching. For what does John say of the Word?
“In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). You see that the Word was in all
things. If there were given to him exteriorly a certain glory, let us not take
offense because of this since it says: “They were naked” (Genesis 3:25) and
that they did not look at each other. But after they transgressed the command,
then they saw themselves as naked and they were covered with shame.
Question: Then, before this were they covered with God’s glory in place of
Just as in the case of the prophets the Spirit worked in them and instructed
them and dwelled within them and appeared outwardly to them, so also in the case
of Adam. The Spirit, when he wished, was with him and taught and guided him:
“Give such and such a name, call it such and such.” The Word was everything
to him and, as long as he obeyed his commands, he was pleasing to God. And yet
why should it be thought strange that, living in this state, he still
transgressed the command? Those who are filled with the Holy Spirit still
entertain natural thoughts and possess free will to give consent to such. So
also Adam, even when he was with God in Paradise, of his own free will
transgressed the command and obeyed his darker side. And yet, even after the
fall, he had knowledge.
Question: What kind of knowledge?
Take the example of a robber who is apprehended and brought to court. The
accusation begins with the judge saying to him: “When you committed those
crimes, did you not know that you could be caught and sentenced to capital
punishment?” That criminal does not dare to say: “I was ignorant.” For he
knew, and when he is given a sentence he recalls all and confesses his guilt.
the fornicator, does he not know that he is doing wrong? And the thief, does he
not know he is sinning? Thus even without Scripture, solely by their natural
reason, do not men know that God exists? They cannot, therefore, in that day of
judgment say: “We did not know there was a God.” For God speaks out to them
in the thunder of the sky and the lightning: “Do you not know that God exists
who rules all creatures?”
then, did the demons cry out: “You are the Son of God. Why have you come to
torment us before the time?” (Mark 3:11). Above all, in their agonizing
torments they even say: “You burn me! You burn me!” They did not, therefore,
know the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fall of Adam brought such
Everyone begins to ask: “In what state was Adam and what did he do?” Adam
himself received the knowledge of good and evil. For one thing we hear from
Scripture that he possessed honor and purity, but when he fell, he was cast out
of Paradise and God was angry with him. In this way he learns what is good and
wholesome for him. Having learned what was to his misfortune, he now is cautious
not to sin further and thus fall into death’s condemnation. We know,
therefore, that every creature of God is under his dominion. For he himself has
made heaven and earth, the animals, reptiles, the beasts that we see, but whose
number we cannot know. Who among men knows? Only God himself knows who is in all
things, even in the not yet perfectly formed embryos of animals. Does he himself
not know all things under the earth and above the heavens?
Let us, therefore, set aside such matters and seek rather, as skilled merchants,
to possess the heavenly inheritance and those things that are of profit to our
soul. Let us learn to lay hold of the good possessions that will remain always
with us. But if man were to begin to investigate the mind of God and say: “I
have discovered something and really understand it,” the human mind would be
found transcending the mind of God. Truly you wander far into error in such
thinking. For the more you wish through knowledge to search and penetrate God,
the more deeply you descend away from him and you comprehend nothing.
visits of God to you that happen each day, they are so mysterious and
incomprehensible. You can receive them only with gratitude and belief. Have you
been able to know your own soul from the moment of your birth until now? Tell
me, then, from morning to night what are the thoughts that spring up in you?
Tell me your thoughts over three consecutive days. If, then, you cannot
understand the thoughts of your own soul, how can you scrutinize the thoughts of
God and his very mind?
Truly, eat as much bread as you find and let go of the rest of the whole world.
Go to the shore of the river and drink as much as you need and continue on your
way, not worrying about the river’s source or how it flows. Take pains to have
your foot healed or the disease of your eye so that you may see the light of the
sun. But do not investigate curiously how much light the sun contains or how
high it ascends. Take whatever is given for your use. And why do you climb the
mountain to find out how many wild asses or other beasts pasture there? And the
baby, when it sucks the breasts of the mother, drinks of the milk and is
nourished. But it does not know how to investigate the source or the well-spring
from which the milk flows. For it sucks the milk and empties the whole breast.
And again in an hour the breast is full. How this is done escapes the knowledge
of the baby and also the mother, even though truly the milk comes from her whole
being. If, then, you seek the Lord in the depths, there you will find him,
“doing wonders” (Exodus 15:11). If you seek him in caves, there you will
find him in the midst of two lions, guarding the just Daniel. If you seek him in
fire, there you will find him, a source of help to his servants. If you seek him
in the mountain, there you will discover him with Elijah and Moses. He is,
therefore, everywhere, both under the earth and above the heavens and also
indwelling us. He is everywhere. So also your soul is near you, within you, and
outside of you. For wherever you wish to be, in remote countries, there your
mind can be also found, either eastward or westward or heavenly.
Let us, then, strive above all to have the brand and the seal of the Lord in us,
43 because in the day of judgment, when “the severity of God” (Romans 11:22)
is shown, and all the tribes of the earth, of the entire offspring of Adam, are
gathered together, when the Shepherd will summon his flock, then whoever will
possess the brand will recognize their own Shepherd. And the Shepherd recognizes
those who carry his own seal and he will gather them together from all the
hear his voice who belong to him, and they follow after him (John 10:3). For the
world is divided into two parts. One flock of sheep is darkness and this group
departs into inextinguishable and eternal fire. But the other flock is full of
light and this is led into the heavenly inheritance. That which we now possess
in our souls, that same then will shine in splendor and will be manifested and
will clothe our bodies with glory.
Just as in the month of Xanthicus [April] the roots that have been covered by
soil now put forth their own fruits, their flowers and beauties. The good roots
become manifest as well as those that have thorns. Likewise in that day of
judgment, everyone shows openly what he has done in the body. Both the evil and
the good deeds will be manifested. For there will indeed be a universal judgment
is another kind of food different from what is seen. For Moses, when he climbed
the mountain, fasted for forty days. He went up as a mere man; he descended,
carrying God with him. And look, we see this verified in us. After the space of
a very few days, unless our bodies are sustained by nourishment, they would die.
But Moses after fasting forty days descended even
Question: What is the meaning of the saying: “A woman praying with her head
Because in the times of the Apostles, women wore their hair loose for a
covering. For this reason the Lord and his Apostles came into the created world
to teach it modesty. Truly woman is a type standing for the Church. Just as in
that time in the visible world women wore their hair loosely as a covering, so
the Church clothes her children and wraps them in divine and glorious garments.
in the ancient times of the Church of Israel the congregation was one and it was
covered by the Spirit. And they were clothed with the Spirit as with a glory,
even though they did not correspond with the Spirit. Therefore, the word
“church” is said of many individuals as well as of one soul. For the soul
brings together all the thoughts and is thus a church to God. For the soul is by
nature suited for fellowship with the heavenly Spouse and mingles with the
heavenly One. This truly can be applied, not only to man, but also to the
individual. Concerning Jerusalem the Prophet says: “I found you, deserted and
stripped and I clothed you” (Ezekiel 16:6), and so forth, as if he were
speaking of a single person.
Question: What is the meaning of Martha saying to the Lord about Mary: “I am
busy about many things and here she sits at your feet” (Luke 10:41)?
What Mary ought to have said to Martha, the Lord, anticipating her remark, said
to her—that Mary had left everything to sit at the feet of the Lord and to
bless God throughout the whole day. You see, the value of her sitting came from
her love. To understand more clearly God’s Word, listen. If anyone loves Jesus
and really gives oneself attentively to him and not in a superficial way, but
also perseveres in love, God is already planning to reward that soul for that
love, even though the person does not know what he is about to receive or what
portion God is about to bestow on him.
when Mary loved Jesus and sat at his feet, Jesus did not merely place himself
alongside her, but he endowed her with a certain hidden power from his very own
being. For the words which God spoke to Mary in peace were in-breathing and of a
certain power. And these words penetrated her heart and brought his soul to her
soul, his Spirit to her spirit, and a divine power filled her heart. That power
necessarily, wherever it is released, remains there as a possession which cannot
be taken away. For this reason the Lord, who knew what he had given to Mary,
said: “Mary has chosen the good part” (Luke 10:42). But not long after, the
works of service, that Martha kindly performed, brought her also to that gift of
grace. She also received the divine power in her soul.
And what indeed can be so surprising if those who came to the Lord and were
intimately associated with him received his power as we see when the Apostles
preached the Word of God and the Spirit fell upon those believers? Cornelius
received power from the Word of God when he heard it. How much more in the case
of the Lord speaking with Mary or Zacchaeus or to the sinful woman who let her
hair down and wiped the feet of the Lord, or with the Samaritan woman or the
good thief--did not power go out and the Holy Spirit mingle with the souls?
those who pursue God in love, having abandoned everything else, and who
persevere in prayer, are taught secretly things they had not known before. For
truth itself comes to them according to their desire and it teaches them. “I
am the truth” (John 14:6). Even the Apostles themselves, before the
crucifixion, staying close to the Lord, saw great miracles, namely, how lepers
were cleansed and the dead raised to life. But they did not yet know how the
divine power operates or ministers in the heart. They did not yet know that they
had to be reborn spiritually and be joined with the heavenly soul and become a
new creature. Because of the signs that he performed, they loved the Lord. But
the Lord told them: “Why do you marvel at such signs? I give you a great
inheritance which the whole world does not possess.”
However, these words were strange to them until he arose from the dead and
ascended with his body into heaven for us. And then the Spirit, the Comforter,
entered and mingled with them. The Truth in person shows himself to the
faithful. And the heavenly Man walks with you and forms one fellowship. Whoever,
therefore, dedicate themselves to different forms of service and eagerly perform
all such activities, motivated by zeal, faith, and love of God, that very
service, after a while, leads them to a knowledge of truth itself. For the Lord
appears to their souls and teaches them how the Holy Spirit operates. Glory and
adoration to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.