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The Deception of Satan

It is fitting for us to be vigilant and observe on every side the machinations, deceits, and tricks of the enemy. For, as the Holy Spirit became in Paul ‘all things to all men, that he might gain all,’ so likewise the devil strives ‘to become all things,’ that he may nail everyone to their destruction. For he prays with those who pray, that he may seduce them into conceit by the opportunity of prayer. He fasts with those who fast in order to deceive them into a good opinion of themselves. In the same manner, he beguiles those who possess a knowledge of the Scriptures, wishing to ensnare them by the form of knowledge. And so, also, those who have been gifted with any light of revelation. For Satan ‘transforms himself into an angel of light,’ that, by the appearance of a false light, he may draw them to himself. And in a word, he transforms himself into everything, and to everyone, that he may subdue them by the deceptiveness of appearance, and so receive them to destruction. 

An extraordinary observation from the Egyptian church father. Macarius is sometimes referred to as ‘the Elder’ or ‘the Great’. Macarius was extremely ascetic and lived for sixty years with a colony of monks in the Egyptian desert. I think we can sum up what he says here in one sentence: underestimate the evil one at your peril. 


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