Friday, 8 May 2009

Ancient wisdom

Amongst my current reading material – I have several books on the boil – is a little book called “The Wisdom of Saint Isaac the Syrian” translated by Sebastian Brock. Its a distillation of the wise sayings of a seventh century hermit of the Assyrian Church (he is also known as St.Isaac of Ninevah) who is undergoing something of a renaissance at the moment. This book is just a kind of taster for those wanting to dip their toes in the clear water of his teachings (excuse the mixed metaphors) and a recommended read. Here are a few of his sayings to whet your appetite:

“If God is slow in answering your request, or if you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God.”

“The ladder to the Kingdom is hidden within you, and within your soul. Dive down into your self, away from sin, and there you will find the steps by which you can ascend.”

“Make sure you see to small things, lest otherwise you may push aside important ones.”

And one of my favourites – because it challenges me:

“The knowledge of God does not reside in a body that loves comfort.”


The book is a mere 20 pages long but it is subject indexed and if you go through Amazon you can get it second hand next to nothing.

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