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“A time is coming when men will go mad, and when
they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him,
saying, ‘You are mad; you are not like us.'”
~Saint Anthony the Great
- Saint Anthony the Abbot
- Saint Anthony the Hermit
- Saint Anthony of the Desert
- Saint Anthony of Egypt
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Here are some other samples of quotes from Saint Anthony the Great from the same work:
"God does not allow the same warfare and temptations to this generation as he did formerly, for men are weaker now and cannot bear so much." [My God, what would he say about our own age?]
"Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it, a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge or we labor in vain."
"I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, 'Humility.'"These quotes were picked up from a more extensive list here.
An ancient biography of Saint Anthony was written by his near-contemporary, Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, and is available online at newadvent.org. From this work may be found the explanation of the strange painting of Saint Anthony featured above (by Bernardino Parenzano, ca. AD 1494) as he is beset by all variety of demonic forces while he lived alone in the ruins of an abandoned fort:
"But those of his acquaintances who came, since he did not permit them to enter, often used to spend days and nights outside, and heard as it were crowds within clamoring, dinning, sending forth piteous voices and crying, '"Go from what is ours. What do you even in the desert? You can not abide our attack."
"So at first those outside thought there were some men fighting with him, and that they had entered by ladders, but when stooping down they saw through a hole there was nobody, they were afraid, accounting them to be demons, and they called on Antony. Them he quickly heard, though he had not given a thought to the demons, and coming to the door he besought them to depart and not to be afraid, "For thus," said he, "the demons make their seeming onslaughts against those who are cowardly. Sign yourselves therefore with the cross, and depart boldly, and let these make sport for themselves."
"So they departed fortified with the sign of the Cross. But he remained in no wise harmed by the evil spirits, nor was he wearied with the contest, for there came to his aid visions from above, and the weakness of the foe relieved him of much trouble and armed him with greater zeal. For his acquaintances used often to come expecting to find him dead, and would hear him singing, "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered, let them also that hate Him flee before His face. As smoke vanishes, let them vanish; as wax melts before the face of fire, so let the sinners perish from the face of God." And again, "All nations compassed me about, and in the name of the Lord I requited them."Saint Anthony the Great's vividly described torments and temptations have been the subject of numerous magnificent and disturbing works of art down through the centuries, by artists from Giotto and Michaelangelo to Bosch and Dali.