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The Heart

Every sin gushes from a complex soul. The Pseudo-Macarius, a master of intimate theology, described the heart (a term nearly synonymous with soul) as follows:

"The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are also lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. There also are rough and uneven roads; there are precipices. But there too is God, the angels, the life and the Kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasures of grace–all things are there."

Across the Levant, 1,400 years later, the secularist Victor Hugo pondered the soul in similar terms. “[T]here is one spectacle greater than the sky: That is the interior of the soul. There, beneath the external silence, giants are doing battle as in Homer, melees of dragons and hydras, and clouds of phantoms as in Milton, ghostly spirals as in Dante. Such gloom enfolds that infinity which each man bears within himself and by which he measures in despair the desires of his will and the actions of his life!”

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