A brother came to see Abba Macarius the Egyptian and said to him, “Abba, give me a word, that I might be saved.” So the old man said to him, “Go to the cemetery and abuse the dead.”
The brother went there, abused them and threw stones at them; then he returned and told the old man about it.
Abba Macarius said to him, “Didn’t they say anything to you?”
The brother replied, “No.”
The old man said, “Go back tomorrow and praise them.” So the brother went away and praised them, calling them apostles, saints, and righteous men. He returned to the old man and said to him, “I have complimented them, as you had instructed.”
And the old man asked, “Did they not answer you?” The brother shook his head.
Then Abba Macarius said to him, “You know how you insulted them and they did not reply, and how you praised them and they did not speak. So you too if you wish to be saved must do the same and become like them. Like the dead, take no account of either the scorn of men or their praises, and you can be saved.”