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St. Tikhon of Zadonsk - Journey to Heaven. Counsels on the Particular Duties of Every Christian (E-book)

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk - Journey to Heaven. Counsels on the Particular Duties of Every Christian (E-book)

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Published by phenomenologia

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Published by: phenomenologia on Oct 09, 2012
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12/25/2013

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St. Tikhon of Zadonsk:
 Journey to Heaven: Counsels on the Particular Duties of Every Christian 
Part I
On Loving God
Beloved Christians, all Christians say, "How can we not loveGod?" Or, "Whom shall we love, if not God?" This is a truesaying, "How can we not love God?" And likewise, "Whomshall we love, if not God?" God is the supreme good, uncreated,without beginning, without end, existent, and without change.As the sun always shines, as fire always warms, so God is bynature good; He is and always does good, since
"there is none  good, but One, that is God" 
(Mt. 19:17). God even does goodwhen He chastises us, for He chastises us so that He maycorrect us. He strikes us so that He may have mercy on us, Hegives us sorrows so that He may truly console us.
"For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth; and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" 
(Heb.12:6). How then can one not love so great agood as God? God is our Creator. He created us out of nothing.
 
We were not, and behold, we live, move, and have being. Hisalmighty hands formed and created us. He created us, O men,not like other creatures, senseless and irrational. He created usby His own special divine counsel,
"Let Us make man" 
(Gen.1:26). Of other creatures it is said,
"He spake, and they came to be, He commanded, and they were created" 
(Ps. 148:5), but notso with man. What then? Let Us, it says, create man.O most holy, O most beloved counsel! The Tri-hypostatic God,Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, said of man,
"Let Us create man." 
What sort of man?
"In Our image," 
it says,
"and likeness." 
O the marvelous goodness of God toward man! O themost exalted honor of man! Man was created by God in theimage and likeness of God. On what creature has God bestowedsuch honor? We know none like it. It was bestowed on man andhe was honored with the image of God. O the most beloved andbeautiful of God's creation, man, the image of God! He bears itin himself as a royal seal. As the king is honored, so is hisportrait. As to God the Heavenly King is due all honor, so toHis image, man. God poured forth this goodness on us in ourcreation, O Christian. How then can we not love God?We fell and we perished. We cannot mourn sufficiently overthis:
"And man being in honour did not understand, he is compared to the mindless cattle, and is become like unto them" 
(LXX-Ps. 48:13 [KJV-Ps. 49:12]). But even so, God
 
Who loves mankind did not forsake us, but He found awonderful means for our salvation. He sent us His only-begotten Son to save us and to gather us to Himself. "
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might bsaved" 
(Jn. 3:16-17). How then shall we not love God, Wholoves us so? As we all call Him, God is the Lover of Mankind;then man must be a lover of God. For nothing can be given inreturn for love but love and gratitude.God is our provider. He takes thought for us and cares for us.He gives us our food, clothing, and home. His sun, moon, andstars give us light. His fire warms us and we cook our food withit. His water washes us and refreshes us. His beasts serve us. Hisair enlivens us and keeps us alive. In a word, we are surroundedwith His blessings and love, and without them we are not able tolive for a moment. Then how can we not love God Who loves usso? We love a man who does good; all the more should we loveGod Who does good, Whose we are and everything we maypossess. All creation, and man himself is God's possession."
The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof" 
(LXX-Ps.23:1 [KJV-Ps. 24:1]).

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