Teach From Experience
“If a man clothed in beggarly garments should see himself in a vision rich, and on waking from sleep should see himself again poor and naked, so those who utter a spiritual discourse seem to speak suitable enough, but if they have not the thing they discourse about verified in their mind by tasting and power and personal experience, they stand in a vain show. Or like a woman decked out in silks and arrayed in pearls, who offers herself in a place of ill fame, the heart of these men is a resort of unclean spirits, while they set themselves up to discourse of righteousness, when they have never had a glimpse of the realities.
“A fish cannot live out of the water; no one can walk without feet, or see light without eyes, or speak without a tongue, or hear without ears. So without the Lord Jesus, and the working of divine power, no one can know the mysteries and wisdom of God, or be rich and a Christian. The wise, the warriors, the brave men, the philosophers of God, are those who are led and shepherded in the inner man by the divine power.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian
Beggar Dressed as a Rich Man
What St. Macarius is saying in the first sentence is that if a poor man who has always been dressed as such, is suddenly dressed as a wealthy man, it doesn’t mean he becomes a wealthy man. While it is nice to say “clothes make the man,” the limited truth behind that old saying will not literally make it true. By the same token, if I find a stethoscope and carry it around with me, it does not make me a medical doctor.
Plato tells a story about Socrates in which a young student is bragging that he had sat with and talked to some of the great philosophers of Greece, therefore, he must now be a great philosopher as well. Socrates replied that he had sat with a group of wealthy men, but it didn’t make him wealthy. Continue reading “Teach From Experience, Not Beliefs”