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Philokalia-Nikitas Stithatos Nikitas Stithatos 19/12/2016 12:00 πμ
Introductory Note

Nikitas Stithatos, the disciple and biographer of St Symeon the New Theologian, is far less well known to us  than St Symeon himself.^ Bom around the beginning of the eleventh century, at an early age (c. 1020) Nikitas  entered the monastery of Studios at Constantinople, and here he remained as a monk for the rest of his life, being  ordained in due course to the priesthood. His personal contact with the New Theologian cannot have lasted very  long, for the latter died in 1022.








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(llth century)

(I'olume 4, pp. 76-174)

Before his death St Symeon commissioned Nikitas to make copies of his writings;  and some years later, as a result of a vision in which the saint appeared to him, Nikitas prepared an edition of  Symeon's works which was widely circulated. He acquired the sobriquet 'Stithatos', meaning 'the Courageous',  because of his outspoken opposition during the early 1040's to the illicit relations of the Emperor Constantine IX  Monomachos with his mistress Skliraina. At the time of the confrontation between Cardinal Humbert and Patriarch  Michael Kiroularios of Constantinople in 1054, Nikitas wrote in defence of the Orthodox Church against the Latins.  It is possible that he became abbot of the Studios monastery in his extreme old age, at some point in the period  1076-92. The date of his death is unknown.  

In addition to his polemical works against the Latins and his biography of St Symeon, Nikitas wrote theological  treatises on the soul, on paradise, and on the correlation between the angelic and the ecclesiastical hierarchies."  The three Centuries of texts included in The Philokalia deal respectively, so the titles indicate, with the three main  stages on the spiritual way: the practice of the commandments (praktiki), the contemplation of the inner essences  of created things (physiki), and 'theology' or the knowledge of God (gnosis). Here Nikitas

' On the life and writings of Nikitas, see A. Solignac in Dictionnaire de Spiiitualite, xi (1981), cols 224-30.

^ Edited by J. Darrouzes in Sources chretiennes 81 (Paris, 1961).

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is following the classic triadic pattern devised by Evagrios of Pontos^ and used by, among many others, St  Maximos the Confessor." But in fact the contents of the Centuries do not correspond at all exactly to these titles,  and Nikitas includes in each Century material relating to all three stages on the spiritual journey. While employing  most frequently the Evagrian-Maximian scheme, Nikitas occasionally combines this with the somewhat different  sequence proposed by St Dionysios the Areopagite, in which the three stages are described as the purgative, the  illuminative and the mystical (III, 41-4). Elsewhere he adopts the threefold classification found in St Isaac the  Syrian: carnal, psychic and spiritual (II, 3-7).

Although his style is more complex and his approach more abstract than are those of St Symeon the New  Theologian, Nikitas shares in common with his master many dominant themes. There are frequent references to  the divine light (II, 2, 5, 43, 45, etc.), but at the same time Nikitas places more emphasis than does his master upon  St Dionysios the Areopagite's symbolism of divine darkness (I, 1, 42; II, 50-1; III, 39, 53). Like St Symeon,  Nikitas underlines the role of the spiritual father (I, 35; II, 10, 53-4) and maintains that a life of holiness is always  possible, whatever a person's outward situation; it is not necessary to withdraw physically into the desert (I, 72),  for the true 'flight from the world' is the inner renunciation of our self-will (I, 2, 75-6). Faithful to the example set  by the New Theologian, Nikitas insists that those initiated into the divine mysteries must then act as 'missionaries',  telling others about the gifts of grace which they have received (II, 96; III, 13, 27-8, etc.); and he agrees with St  Symeon the Studite that love for others is higher than prayer (II, 76).

One theme in particular that Nikitas derives from St Symeon the New Theologian is the vital significance of  tears and compunction (katanyxis) within the spiritual life. The two are commonly mentioned together, although a  distinction is also drawn between them (I, 71). A modem reader might easily assume that both of these things are  primarily negative and penitential in character, but this is to misunderstand Nikitas' viewpoint. Following St John  Klimakos, ^ he



' See The Philokalia, vol. i (London and Boston, 1979), p. 57; and compare the Glossary, 'Contemplation'.  

^ See The Philokalia, vol. ii (London and Boston, 1981), pp. 64, 90.  

' See The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 1 passim, and also the Introduction to the E.T., pp. 23-7.  

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is careful to distinguish two types of tears: those that produce 'an acrid and painful feeling', and the 'joyous tears' that are full  of 'delight and a sense of jubilation'. The first are caused by repentance and inner grief, the second by compunction (I, 69-70).  By the same token compunction has also a bitter-sweet character: it is linked with repentance and contrition (II, 92; III, 81), but  at the same time it brings sweetness, joy and light, so that Nikitas speaks of the 'intoxication' and the healing 'oil' of  compunction (II, 39, 68), and describes it as a spring from Eden, a shower of rain from the Holy Spirit (II, 44; III, 84.). Tears  and compunction, then, are caused not just by a realization of our own sinfulness, but also and much more fundamentally by a  grateful and tender recognition of God's forgiving love.

In his basic approach, Nikitas Stithatos remains always positive, although never blandly optimistic. Our human nature is  essentially good, and sanctity is nothing else than a return through grace to our natural state (I, 15; II, 12, 66). The material  world is likewise intrinsically good and beautiful, and forms a sacrament of God's presence, a means of ascent to the divine  realm: 'Recognize the delightfulness of the Lord from the beauty of creation ... in purity ascending to the Creator through the  beauty of His creatures' (I, 74, 90).



Contents  

On the Practice of the Virtues:  

One Hundred Texts Volume 4, Page 79  

On the Inner Nature of Things and on the Purification of the Intellect: One Hundred Texts  

107  

On Spiritual Knowledge, Love and the Perfection of Living:  

One Hundred Texts 139  

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One Hundred Texts  

1 . Those who have passed the mid-point of the first stage of the spiritual path, and who have attained the triad of  mystical theology, are prompted to write in a profitable manner by, it seems to me, four factors inherent in the faith,  hope and love that constitute the perfect triad of the virtues. The first is the freedom - that is to say, the dispassion -  of soul, which as a result of ascetic practice raises the aspirant to the contemplation of the spiritual essences of the  created world and then inducts him into the divine darkness of theology. The second is the purity of intellect that  arises from prayer and tears, a purity that gives birth to the consciousness of grace and from which streams of  intellection flow. The third is the indwelling of the Holy Trinity within us, which produces in each of those  undergoing purification the bountiful illumination of the Spirit, revealing to them the mysteries of the kingdom of  heaven and disclosing the treasures of God hidden in the soul. The fourth is the constraint which as a result of God's  threatening words is imposed upon all who have received the talent of the consciousness of spiritual knowledge; for  God says, 'You wicked, slothful servant, you should have deposited My money with the bankers, and then when 1  came 1 would have received My capital with interest' (Matt. 25:26-27). It was certainly because of this that David in  great fear wrote, 'Behold, 1 will not seal my lips, as Thou, Lord, knowest. 1 have not hidden Thy righteousness  within my heart; 1 have declared Thy truth and Thy salvation; 1 have not concealed Thy mercy and Thy truth from  the great congregation' (Ps. 40:9-10).

2. A life in harmony with God begins with complete flight from the world. 'Flight from the world' means the  denial of the soul's desires and the transformation of the mundane will. Reverting in this way to



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On the Practice of the Virtues:

One Hundred Texts  the will of God, from being worldlings we become spiritual: dead to the fallen self and to the world, we are  quickened in soul and spirit in Christ.

3. When a soul has true esteem for God, deeply -rooted faith combined with detachment from visible things, and  an ascetic practice free from all self-love, it possesses, to use Solomon's phrase, a 'threefold cord' (Eccles. 4:12), not  easily broken by the spirits of wickedness.  

4. In faith we hope to receive reward for our labors, and on this account we readily endure the hardship of  practicing the virtues. But when we experience the pledge of the Holy Spirit, we are winged with love towards God.  

5. To be troubled by unclean thoughts does not mean that we are already of the devil's party. But when the soul  becomes slack, when the intellect, because of our dissolute and unnily life, is filled with turbid and obscure images,  and when our practice of the virtues lapses because of our laxity in meditation and prayer, then, even if not actively  engaged in evil, we are ranked among those who deliberately crawl in sensual pleasures.  

6. As soon as the bridle of the higher senses is removed, our passions at once revolt and the baser, more slavish  senses are stirred into action; for when these latter in their mindlessness are loosed from the bonds of self-control,  their habit is to light upon the sources of the passions and to feed on them as upon poisonous weeds. And the longer  the laxity continues, the more they do this. For such being their natural appetite they cannot refrain from indulging it  once they are free to do so.  

7. Among the senses, sight and hearing possess a certain noetic quality and are more intelligent and masterful than  the other three senses, taste, smell and touch, which are mindless and gross, and wait on the higher senses. For we  first see and hear, and then, through the agency of the mind, we lay hold of what is before us and, smelling it, finally  taste it. Thus taste, smell and touch are more animal-like or, quite simply, baser and more slavish than sight and  hearing. The more gluttonous and rattish animals, both tame and wild, are especially afflicted by them, and day and  night either fill themselves with food or indulge in copulation.  

8. If you refer the activities of the outer senses back to their inner counterparts - exposing your sight to the  intellect, the beholder of the  

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On the Practice of the Virtues:  

One Hundred Texts  light of life, your hearing to the judgment of the soul, your taste to the discrimination of the intelligence, your  sense of smell to the understanding of the intellect, and relating your sense of touch to the watchfulness of the heart -  you will lead an angelic life on earth; while being and appearing as a man among men, you will also be an angel  coexisting with angels and spiritually conscious in the same way as they are.  

9. Through the intellect, beholder of the light of divine life, we receive knowledge of God's hidden mysteries.  Through the soul's faculty of judgment we winnow in the light of this knowledge the thoughts that arise within the  heart, distinguishing the good from the bad. Through the discrimination of the intelligence we savor our conceptual  images. Those that spring from a bitter rout we transform into sweet nourishment for the soul, or else we reject them  entirely; those that spring from a virtuous and vigorous stock we accept. In this way we take every thought captive  and make it obey Christ (cf 2 Cor. 10:5). Through the understanding of the intellect we smell the spiritual unguent  of the grace of the Holy Spirit, our hearts filled with joy and gladness. Through the watchfulness of the' heart we  consciously perceive the Spirit, who refreshes the flame of our desire for supernal blessings and warms our spiritual  powers, numbed as they have been by the frost of the passions.  

10. Just as in the body there are five senses - sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch - so in the soul there are five  senses: mtellect, reason, noetic perception, intuitive knowledge, and cognitive insight. These are united in three  psychic activities: intellection, ratiocination, and noetic perception. By means of intellection we apprehend spiritual  intentions, by means of ratiocination we interpret them, and through noetic perception we grasp the images of divine  insight and spiritual knowledge.  

11. If your intellect clearly distinguishes the intentions of its thoughts and in its purity gives its assent only to  those that are divine; if your reason can interpret the physical movements of the whole of visible creation - that is to  say, can clearly elucidate the inner essences of things; if noetically you can perceive heavenly wisdom and spiritual  knowledge: then through the light of the Sun of righteousness you have transcended all sense -perception and have  attained what lies beyond it, and you savor the delight of things unseen.  

12. The intellect comprises four principal facilities: judgment,

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One Hundred Texts  sagacity, noetic apprehension, perspicacity. If you conjoin these with the four principal virtues of the soul, linking  restraint of soul to the judgment of the intellect, sound understanding to sagacity, righteousness to noetic  apprehension, and courage to perspicacity, you build for yourself a two-fold fiery heaven-coursing chariot that will  protect you against the three major principalities and powers of the mustered passions: avarice, self-indulgence and  love of praise.



13. To master the mundane will of the fallen self you have to fulfill three conditions. First, you have to overcome  avarice by embracing the law of righteousness, which consists in merciful compassion for one's fellow beings;  

second, you have to conquer self-indulgence through prudent self-restraint, that is to say, through all-inclusive self-  control; and, third, you have to prevail over your love of praise through sagacity and sound understanding, in other  words through exact discrimination in things human and divine, trampling such love underfoot as something  cloddish and worthless. All this you have to do until the mundane will is converted into the law of the spirit of life  and liberated from domination by the law of the outer fallen self. Then you can say, 'I thank God that the law of the  spirit of life has freed me from the law and dominion of death' (cf. Rom. 8:2).  

14. If you aspire to the spuriousness of human praise as though it were something authentic, wallow in self-  indulgence because of your soul's insatiability, and through your greed entwine yourself with avarice, you will either  make yourself demonic through self-conceit and arrogance, or degenerate into bestiality through the gratification of  belly and genitals, or become savage to others because of your gross inhuman avarice. In this way your faith in God  will lapse, as Christ said it would when you accept human praise (cf. John 5:44.); you will abandon self-restraint and  purity because your lower organs are unsatedly kindled and succumb to unbridled appetence; and you will be shut  out from love because you minister solely to yourself and do not succor your fellow beings when they are in need.  Like some polymorphic monster compounded thus out of multifarious self-antagonistic parts, you will be the  implacable enemy of God, man and the animals.  

15. If when aroused and active a man's mcensive, appetitive and intelligent powers spontaneously operate in  accordance with nature, they make him wholly godlike and divine, sound in his actions and never in any way  dislodged from nature's bedrock. But if, betraying his  

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One Hundred Texts  own nature, he follows a course that is contrary to nature, these same powers will turn him, as we have said, into  a polymorphic monster, compounded of many self-antagonistic parts.  

16. Our mcensive power lies between the appetitive' and intelligent aspects of our soul; for both of them it serves  as a weapon, whether it is acting in a way that accords with or is contrary to nature. When our desire and  intelligence, in a way that accords with nature, aspire to what is divine, then our mcensiveness is for both of them a  weapon of righteousness wielded solely against the hissing serpent that would persuade them to indulge in fleshly  pleasures and to relish men's praise. But when we fail to act according to nature and direct our desire and  intelligence to what is contrary to nature, transferring attention from what is divine to purely human matters, then  our incensive power becomes a weapon of iniquity in the service of sin, and we use it to attack and fight against  those who would restrain the passions and appetites of the other powers of our soul. Thus, whether we are engaged  in ascetic practice or are contemplatives and theologians, when we act according to nature we prove; ourselves to be  among the faithful members of the Church, and when we act contrary to nature we become bestial, savage and  demonic.  

17. Unless through the labor of repentance and assiduous ascetic practice we first restore the soul's powers to the  state in which they were when God originally formed Adam and breathed into him the breath of life (cf Gen. 2:7),  we will never be able to know ourselves; nor will we be able to acquire a disposition that is master of the passions.  free from arrogance, not over-curious, guileless, simple, humble, without jealousy or malice, and that takes every  thought captive and makes it obey Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 10:5). Nor will our soul be enkindled with God's love, never  transgressing the bounds of self-control, but content with what is given to it and longing for the serenity of the  saints. And if we do not achieve such a state we can never acquire a heart that is gentle, peaceful, free from anger,  kind, uncontentious and filled with mercy and joy; for our soul will be divided against itself and because of the  turbulence of its powers will remain impervious to the rays of the Spirit.  

18. If we do not regain the beauty of our original high estate, continually renewing the impress of the image of  Him who created us in His likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26-27), but instead distance ourselves from Him through the  disparity of our qualities, how can we ever enter  

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One Hundred Texts  into union with Him? How can we enter into union with Him who is light when we have blotted out the light and  have embraced its opposite? And if we are not united to Him from whom we have received the source of our being,  and through whom we have come into existence from things that are not and have been made preeminent over things  that are; and if, because of our unlikeness to our Creator we are severed from Him, where will we be cast? This will  be clear to those who can see, even if I am silent.  

19. So long as we have the raw material of the passions within ourselves and, instead of repudiating it,  deliberately nurture it, the passions will prevail over us, deriving their strength from us. But when we cast this raw  material out, cleansing our hearts with the tears of repentance and abhorring the deceitfulness of visible things, then  we share in the presence of the Paraclete: we see God in eternal light and are seen by Him.  

20. Those who have broken the bonds of worldly sense -perception are free from all servitude to the senses: they  live solely in the Spirit, communing with Him, impelled by Him, and brought through Him in some measure into  union with the Father and the Logos who are one in essence with Him; and so they become a single spirit with God,  as St Paul says (cf 1 Cor. 6:17). Not only are they exempt from the dominion of the demons but they actually fill  them with terror, since they share in the divine fire and are in fact called fire.  

21 . Our sense of touch is not partial in the sense that its activity is restricted to one part of the body, as is that of  the other senses; it is a general, all-over sense belonging to the whole body. Thus if while still addicted to the  lubricity of things we touch some object unnecessarily, passion-charged thoughts perturb the intellect; but if, after  renouncing such addiction and rising above the realm of sense, we touch something in accordance with a need  inherent in our nature, then our sense of touch has no tendency to seduce the soul's organs of perception.  

22. When the intellect is established in the realm of what is beyond nature, the senses, assuming their natural role,  commune dispassionately with the springs of the passions; they seek out only their underlying essences and natures,  unerringly distinguishing their activities and qualities while not being addicted to them or adventitiously attracted by  them in a manner that is contrary to nature.  

23. Spiritual struggles and labors generate gladness in the soul.  

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One Hundred Texts  so long, that is, as the passions have been stilled; for what is difficult for those who are still dominated by the  senses is easy and even delightful for an aspiring soul that through its holly exertions has acquired a longing for God  and is smitten with desire for divine knowledge. For the sense-dominated, the labors and struggles for virtue,  opposed as they are to bodily ease and indulgence in sensual pleasure, are difficult and seem very harsh, for in such  people the brackish taste of pleasure has not yet been washed away by the flow of tears. But the soul that abominates  pain-inducing pleasure and has rejected comfort along with the self-love of the body, feels the need for and  embraces such labor and struggles. One thing alone distresses it: slackness in its labors and indolence in its  struggles. Thus what for those still dominated by the senses is the source of bodily content is for the soul that aspires  to what is divine a cause of distress. And what for the aspiring soul is a cause of spiritual gladness is for the sense-  dominated the cause of pain and anguish.  

24. Ascetic toil is initially painful for all those newly engaged in spiritual warfare; but for those exercised in the  growth of virtue and who have reached the mid-point of their path, such toil is pleasurable and produces a strange  sense of relief. When the mortal will of the flesh is swallowed up by the immortal life (cf 2 Cor. 5:4) conferred  through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in those truly striving towards the perfection of virtue, they are filled with  unspeakable joy and gladness, for a pure spring of tears has opened within them, and streams of sweet compunction  flow down on them from above.  

25. If you wish to advance to the frontiers of virtue and to find unerringly the path that leads to God, do not allow  your eyes to sleep or let your eyelids droop or give rest to your brow (cf. Ps. 132:4) until, with your soul riven by  toil and tears, you have attained the land of dispassion and have entered into the sanctuary of the knowledge of God.  For then, aloof from all that is below, in your great thirst you will have climbed like a stag to the high mountains of  contemplation and through God's personalized Wisdom you will have descried the ultimate reaches of human life.

26. For those newly engaged in spiritual warfare the swift path to the recovery of virtue consists in the silencing of  the lips, the closure of the eyes and the stopping of the ears; for once the intellect has achieved this kind of  intermission and has sealed off the external entrances to itself, it begins to understand itself and its own activities.  

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It immediately sets about interrogating the ideas swimming in the noetic sea of its thought, trying to discern  whether the concepts that irrupt into the mind's crucible are pure, alloyed with no bitter seed, and conferred by an  angel of light, or whether they are tares, hybridized, trashy, emanating from the devil. Standing thus like a masterful  sovereign in the midst of its thoughts, judging them and separating the better from the worse, the intellect accepts  those that are well-tested in the fire of the Spirit and saturated with divine water, absorbing them into its actions and  practice and storing them up in its spiritual treasure-house; for by these thoughts it is nourished, strengthened and  filled with light. The other thoughts it casts into the depths of oblivion, eradicating their bitterness. This is the work  only of someone who has spiritually embarked upon the path that leads unerringly to the heavens and to God, and  who has stripped off the lugubrious cloak of the dark passions.  

27. Once the soul has divested itself of malice and of its futile propensity to cheap arrogance, and through the  indwelling of the Paraclete has adorned the heart with simplicity and innocence, it will immediately be restored to  God and to itself And since it has now passed beyond the hellish pits of incredulity and malevolence, it will  unhesitatingly accept what it hears and sees as trustworthy and true.  

28. Deep-rooted faith is pre-eminent among the virtues, since such faith strips the soul of doubt and rids it  completely of self-love. For nothing so prevents someone newly engaged in spiritual warfare from practicing the  commandments as this pernicious vice of self-love. It even prevents the progress of those well advanced on the  spiritual path, for it suggests illnesses to them and malignant bodily ailments, so that their ardor wanes and they are  persuaded to give up ascetic toil on the grounds that in their susceptible state it is dangerous. Self-love is inane amity  for the body, which ends by making the monk a lover of himself - of his own soul and body - and so estranges him  from God and from God's kingdom, in accordance with the gospel phrase, 'He who loves his life will destroy it'

(John 12:25).



29. He who diligently begins to practice God's commandments, and with ardent longing shoulders the light yoke  of asceticism (cf Matt. 1 1:30), does not spare his body's health, or flinch at virtue's harsh demands, or shrink from  exertion, or heed the laziness and negligence of others. Rather, whatever the hardship, he fervently ploughs the  furrow of the virtues, attending only to himself and to the  

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One Hundred Texts  commandments of God. Each day with tears he tills and sows the land of the living (cf. Ps. 126:5) until the first  shoots of dispassion germinate within him, wax into divine knowledge, bear the grain of the Logos and fructify in  His righteousness.  

30. Nothing, I think, so promotes the soul's swift progress as faith - not just faith in God and in His only -begotten  Son, but faith that is deeply rooted. With this faith we believe in the truth of Christ's promises, made and kept in  readiness for those who love Him (cf. 1 Cor. 2:19), just as we also believe in the truth of the threats and the infernal  punishments prepared for the devil and his accomplices (cf. Matt. 25:41). This faith inspires the striving soul with  the hope that it will attain the state of the saints, their blessed dispassion, climbing the heights of their holiness and  becoming a coheir with them of God's kingdom. With such assurance the soul assiduously and unwaveringly  augments its practice of the commandments, imitating the labors of the saints and pursuing their perfection by  means of similar struggles.  

31. The external appearance of the face changes in accordance with the inner state of the soul: whatever the soul's  noetic activity, it will be reflected in the face. Disposed and changed according to the thoughts within the soul, the  face brightens when the heart rejoices in the upsurge of good thoughts and in its meditation on God, but is downcast  and glum when the heart is embittered by unnatural thoughts. In both cases, what is happening is quite evident to  those in whom the soul's organs of perception are well trained. Either it is a change brought about by 'the right hand  of the Most High' (Ps. 77:10. LXX), and this is obvious to them because it is something familiar and dear to them  whereby they are reborn in the Spirit and become light and salt to others near them (cf. Matt. 5:13-14); or else is a  change brought about by the discord of evil powers and the tumult of our thoughts, and this too is evident to them,  since they resist such change, the impress of the image of the Son of God within them having been burnished to the  highest degree by the rays of divine grace.  

32. A soul receives either blessings or penalties and punishment according to its inner activities. If it concerns  itself with things divine and tills the ground of humility, tears fall on it like rain from heaven, and it cultivates love  for God, faith and compassion for others. And when in this way the soul is renewed in the beauty of Christ's image,  it becomes a light to others; attracting their attention with the rays of its virtue, it inspires them to glorify God. But if  the soul devotes itself to  

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One Hundred Texts  mundane and merely human matters, stirring and agitating the fetid waters of sin, it nourishes hatred and repels  what is good and beautiful. Deformed in this way according to the mundane, ugly image of fallen man, it becomes a  thing of darkness to others; and through its evil talk and depravity it corrupts immature and fickle souls, inducing  them to blaspheme God. Thus the soul receives its reward according to the state it is in when death overtakes it.  

33. If you husband evil thoughts your face will be morose and sullen; your tongue will be incapable of praising  God and you will be surly towards others. But if you husband in your heart what is deathless and holy, your face  will radiate joy and gladness, you will lift up your voice in prayer and be most gentle in speech. Thus it will be quite  clear to all whether you are still subject to unclean passions and to the law of the mundane will, or whether you are  free from such servitude and live according to the law of the Spirit. In the words of Solomon, 'A glad heart makes  the face radiant; but a doleful heart makes it sullen' (cf. Prov. 15:13).  

34. Passions acted out can be cured by action. Dissipation, sensuality, gluttony and a dissolute, profligate life  produce a passion-charged state of soul and impel it to unnatural actions. On the other hand, restraint and self-  control, ascetic labor and spiritual struggle translate the soul from its passion-charged state to a state of dispassion.  

35. If after strenuous ascetic labor you receive great gifts from God on account of your humility, but are then  dragged down and handed over to the passions and to the chastisement of the demons, you must know that you have  exalted yourself, have thought much of yourself, and have disparaged others. And you will find no cure for or  release from the passions and demons that afflict you unless you make use of a good mediator and through humility  and awareness of your limitations you repent and return to your original state. Such humility and self-knowledge  lead all who are firmly rooted in virtue to look upon themselves as the lowest of created things.  

36. In the eyes of God and of those who hve a Christ-hke hfe, to act with passion because of one's dissolute  character and to take pride in one's virtues through a spirit of self-conceit are each as evil as the other. In the first  case it is shameful even to speak of the things that those enslaved to the passions do in secret (cf Eph. 5:12); in the  second case the self -vaunting of the heart is an abomination to God. The dissolute person alienates himself from  God, for he is 'flesh' (cf Gen. 6:3),  

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37. A passion is not the same thing as a sinful act: they are quite distinct. A passion operates in the soul, a sinful  act involves the body. For example, love of pleasure, avarice and love of praise are three particularly noxious  passions of the soul; but unchastity, greed and wrong-doing are sinful acts of the flesh. Lust anger and arrogance are  passions of the soul produced when the soul's powers operate in a way that is contrary to nature. Adultery, murder,  theft, drunkenness and whatever else is done through the body, are smful and noxious actions of the flesh.  

38. The three most general passions are self-indulgence, avarice and love of praise; and three are the ranks of men  that fight against them and overcome them: those newly embarked on the spiritual path, those in mid-course, and  those who have attamed its goal.  

39. The battle waged by those in the three stages of the spiritual path against these three principles and powers of  the prince of this world is not one and the same, but at each stage the battle is different. At each stage there is a  different way of fighting against these passions, and each way makes lawful and natural use of the power of  righteous indignation.  

40. If it is but recently that you have embarked on the struggle for holiness and ranked yourself against the  passions, you must battle unremittingly and through every kind of ascetic hardship against the spirit of self-  indulgence. You must waste your flesh through fasting, sleeping on the ground, vigils and night-long prayer; you  must bring your soul into a state of contrition through thinking on the torments of hell and through meditation on  death; and you must through tears of repentance purge your heart of all the defilement that comes from coupling  with impure thoughts and giving your assent to them.  

41 . When you approach the mid-point of the initial stage of the spiritual path you will experience the first form of  dispassion, and through it the strain of your exertions against the spirit of self-indulgence will be eased. Your eyes  opened, you will begin to perceive the inner nature of things, and will now take up the weapons of faith against the  spirit of perfidious avarice. You will exalt your intellect through meditation on things divine and quicken your  thought with the inner essences of the created world, elucidating their true nature.  

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In faith you will lead your soul from what is visible to the heights of the invisible, assured that God, who brings  all things from non-existence into existence, provides for all that He has created. In this way your whole aspiration  will be directed towards life in God.  

42. When through contemplation and dispassion you have passed the half-way mark of the spiritual journey and  have transcended the deceitfulness of worldly sense-perception, you will now enter the divine darkness of theology,  guided by the consciousness of spiritual knowledge and by God's personalized Wisdom. It is at this point that with  the strength of humility you raise your weapons against the spirit of self-glory and the love of praise. Your soul will  be spurred by holy revelations and painlessly you will pour forth tears; you will be humbled in your will through the  recognition of human weakness, and exalted by intimations of divine knowledge.  

43. By means of fasting, vigils, prayer, sleeping on the ground, bodily labors and the amputation of our desires  through humility of soul, we inactivate the spirit of self-indulgence. We overcome it through tears of repentance  and, shackling it with self-control, render it immobile and ineffective; for we are now among those proficient in  spiritual warfare.  

44. Repulsing and finally slaying the spirit of avarice with the weapons of faith and 'the sword of the Spirit, which  is the word of God' (Eph. 6 : 1 7), we now approach, thanks to the consciousness of Wisdom, the contemplation of the  inner essences of created beings. Illumined with the consciousness of spiritual knowledge, we pass beyond the lowly  region of visible things and attain the realms of love, rich in God-inspired hope.  

45. Winged by dispassion and humility, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we enter the sphere of mystical theology  and the abyss of the knowledge of God's mysteries. The spirit of self-gloiy is now consumed in the lightning of  divine thought and doctrine. Weeping and filled with compunction we perceive the consummation of things human,  and scatter that spirit's minions, who attack us through presumption, self-esteem and arrogance.  

46. He who wholeheartedly hates and renounces 'the desire of the fallen self, the desire of the eyes, and the false  pretentions of this life' (1 John 2:16) - that whole 'world of iniquity' (Jas. 3:6) through the love of which we become  the enemies of God (cf Jas. 4:4) - has crucified the world to himself and himself to the world: he has  

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One Hundred Texts  destroyed in his flesh the enmity between God and his soul, and has made peace between the two (cf Eph. 2: 15).  For he who has died to these things through effacing the will of the flesh has reconciled himself to God. He has  eradicated the enmity of this world by obliterating sensual pleasure through a life crucified to the world, and has  embraced friendship with Jesus. He is no longer God's enemy because of his love for the world, but is a friend of  God, crucified to the world and able to say, 'The world is crucified to me, and I to the world' (Gal. 6:14).  

47. God deserts those engaged in spiritual warfare for three reasons: because of their arrogance, because they  censure others, and because they are so cock-a-hoop about their own virtue. The presence of any of these vices in  the soul prompts God to withdraw; and until they are expelled and replaced by radical humility, the soul will not  escape just punishment.  

48. It is not only passion-charged thoughts that sully the heart and defile the soul. To be elated about one's many  achievements, to be puffed up about one's virtue, to have a high idea of one's wisdom and spiritual knowledge, and  to criticize those who are lazy and negligent - all this has the same effect, as is clear from the parable of the publican  and the Pharisee (cf Luke 18:10-14).  

49. Do not imagine that you will be delivered from your passions, or escape the defilement of the passion-charged  thoughts which these generate, while your mind is still swollen with pride because of your virtues. You will not see  the courts of peace, your thoughts full of loving-kindness, nor, generous and calm in heart, will you joyfully enter  the temple of love, so long as you presume on yourself and on your own works.  

50. If your soul is allured by comeliness of body and usurped by the passion-imbued thoughts that it seems to  evoke, do not assume that such comeliness is the cause of your agitated and impassioned state. The cause lies hidden  in your soul, and it is your soul's passionate disposition and evil habits that, as a magnet attracts iron, attracts to itself  such impurity from the beauty it perceives. For all things are created by God and all, as He Himself says, are 'wholly  good and beautiful' (Gen. 1:31), providing no ground at all for impugning His creation.  

51. Just as seasickness is due, not to the sea's nature, but to the already existing disorder of the body's humors, so  the soul's  

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52. The soul's apprehension of the nature of things changes in accordance with its own inner state. Thus when its  spiritual organs of perception operate in a way that accords with nature and the intellect unerringly penetrates to the  inner essences of things, clearly and cogently elucidating their nature and function, then it perceives things and  persons and every material body as they are according to nature, and is aware that no seed of impurity or vitiation  lies hidden within them. But when its powers operate in a way that is contrary to nature, and are in a state of self-  antagonism, it perceives things likewise in a way that is not in accord with nature; their natural beauty does not exalt  it to an understanding of their Maker, but because of its own impassioned proclivities engulfs it in self-destruction.  

53. If while you are engaged in ascetic labor and hardship God withdraws from you because of some bodily lapse,  or lapse of tongue or thought, do not take this to be strange or untoward. The lapse is yours and due to yourself. Had  you not yourself first indulged in some new-fangled, overweening and obnoxious thought about yourself, or had you  not in arrogance treated someone disdainfully or criticized him for his human weakness, you would have recognized  your own fallibility and God in His righteous judgment would not have withdrawn from you. Learn from this not to  judge (cf Matt. 7:1), not to think too highly of yourself (cf Rom. 12:3), and not to look down on others (cf. 1 Cor.  4:6).  

54. When you have faUen into the depths of wickedness, do not despair of your recaU, even if you have been  brought down to the nethermost reaches of hell. For if through the practice of the virtues you have already  established your ascetic life on a firm basis, God will not forget your former labors and hardships even if the stones  of virtue you have set in place should be shaken to the ground by the most impassioned of vices. Only you must  bring to Him a heart full of contrition for your lapse, and you must 'remember the days of old' (cf. Ps. 143:5),  recalling your fall with deep sorrow before Him. He will then swiftly visit you as you tremble at His words (cf. Isa.  66:2), and invisibly will touch the eyes of your grieving heart, recognizing the basis of virtue you have already  established through your labors; and together with fervor of spirit He will give you strength that is greater and more  perfect than your former strength. In this way the house of  

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One Hundred Texts  virtue, patiently built up but then destroyed through the devil's malice, will in a spirit of humility be restored more  splendidly than before as His eternal dwelling-place.  

55. Everything that brings disgrace upon us, whether prompted by man or demons, occurs through God's just  judgment in order to humble the overweening vanity of our soul. For God, the helmsman of our lives, wishes that we  should always be humble and have not an exaggerated but a modest view of ourselves (cf. Rom. 12:3); that we  should not have great ideas about ourselves, but should look to Christ and imitate, so far as we can. His blessed  humility; for He was 'gentle and humble in heart' (Matt. 1 1:29). He who for our sake endured a disgraceful, unjust  death desires us to be like this, for there is nothing so dear to Him or that in its true virtue so fully accords with Him  - nothing so apt to raise us from the dunghill of the passions - as gentleness and humility and love for our fellow  beings. If these are not present with us as we cultivate the virtues, all our labor is in vain and all our ascetic  endeavors are useless and unacceptable.  

56. Those newly embarked on the ascetic life are assisted in the practice of the commandments and in their escape  from evil by fear of punishment. But in those who through virtue have advanced to the contemplation of God's glory  this fear is followed by another fear - a pure fear (cf Ps. 19:9) - which, because it is caused by love, fills them with  great dread. This helps them to stand unshaken in their love for God, instilling in them terror at falling away from  such love. If beginners in spiritual warfare lapse, but then repent and recover, they are filled once more with the first  fear, accompanied now by auspicious hope. But when those who have attained the heights of contemplation fall  from them as a result of the devil's malice, they do not at once recover the second kind of fear. A grey mist and a  palpable darkness (cf Exod. 10:21) envelop them, and they are filled with despondency, pain and bitterness,  together with their earlier fear of punishment. And if the Lord of hosts did not curtail those days of unbearable pain,  none who fall from the heights of contemplation would be rescued (cf. Matt. 24:22).  

57. When our soul is freed from the persistent importunities of impassioned thoughts, and the flame that torments  the flesh dies away, we should recognize that the Holy Spirit is actively present within us, disclosing that our past  sins are forgiven and bestowing dispassion on us. But so long as we are still aware of the constant


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58. 'I have seen under the sun', remarked the sage (cf. Eccles. 1:3; 9:11), 'a man who thought he was intelligent,  who though mortal presumed on his own works and had a high opinion of his own human, worldly and psychic  wisdom. Because of this not only did he look down on simple men, but he ridiculed the divinely-appointed Christian  teachers and mocked them on account of their peculiar form of speech, their deliberate eschewing of the polished  diction of academics, and the lack of rhythmical dexterity in their writings. To such a man, ignorant that God prefers  clarity of thought to well-turned phrases or sonorous words, I would commend the maxims: "Better a living dog than  a dead lion" (Eccles. 9:4), and "Better a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who no longer knows how  to pay attention" ' (Eccles. 4:13. LXX).  

59. Blasphemy is a frightful passion, difficult to combat, for its origin lies in the arrogant mind of Satan. It  troubles all who live in virtue and in accord with God, but especially those advancing in prayer and in the  contemplation of things divine. Hence we must guard the senses with great diligence, and reverence all the awe-  inspiring mysteries of God, the holy images and holy words, and watch out for the attacks of this spirit. For it lies in  wait for us while we pray and chant, and when we are inattentive it discharges through our lips curses against  ourselves and strange blasphemies against God the Most High, introducing them into the verses of the psalms and  into the words of our prayers. When it brings some such thing to our lips or sows it in our minds, we should turn  against it the words of Christ and say, 'Get behind me, Satan, full of every foul odor and condemned to eternal fire;  may your blasphemy fall upon your own head' (cf. Luke 4:8; Matt. 25:41). Then, concentrating our thoughts, we  should at once occupy our intellect with some other matter, either divine or human, and with tears raise it towards  God; and so with God's assistance we will be relieved of the burden of blasphemy.  

60. Dejection is a passion that corrupts soul and body, affecting even the marrow of one's bones - I mean that  cosmic dejection induced by the transitoriness of things and often resulting in death. The sorrow prompted by God,  however, is extremely salutary.  

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One Hundred Texts  enabling one patiently to endure hardships and trials. It is a source of compunction for those struggling and  thirsting for God's righteousness (cf. Matt. 5:6), and nourishes their heart with tears. In such people is the saying of  David fulfilled, 'Thou shalt feed us with the bread of tears and give us tears to drink in great measure' (Ps. 80:5) - the  wine of compunction.



6 1 . Sorrow prompted by God is an excellent tonic for those parts of the soul corrupted by evil actions, and it  restores them to their natural state. It dissolves through tears the storm-clouds of passion and sin and dispels them  from the soul's spiritual firmament, so that at once a clear sky appears in the thoughts of our intellect, the sea of the  mind grows calm, gladness rises in the heart and a change comes over our face. When this is now seen by those  skilled in discerning our inner state from our outward appearance, they will exclaim, as did David, 'This change is  from the right hand of the Most High' (Ps. 77: 10. LXX).  

62. Do not keep company with those who enkindle in you suspicions about your fellow beings, for such  suspicions are false, destructive and utterly deceitful. They are ploys through which the demons try to engulf the  souls of those progressing in virtue. For there is only one way in which the demons can thrust them into the pit of  perdition and active sin, and that is by persuading them to harbor evil suspicions about the outward behavior and  inner state of their neighbor. By this means the demons contrive to have them condemned along with the world, in  the manner indicated by St Paul's phrase, 'If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged; but when we are  judged, we are chastened by the Lord, so that we should not be condemned with the world' (1 Cor. 1 1 :31-32).  

63. When because of our laxity we allow the demons to beguile us with suspicious thoughts about other people -  that is to say, when we fail to control the abduction of our eyes - then they incite us to pronounce judgment on  others, sometimes even those who are perfect in virtue. If someone is affable, with a cheerful, smiling face, we think  him prone to pleasure and the passions; and we assume that anyone who looks downcast and sullen is filled with  arrogance and anger. But we ought not to concern ourselves with people's appearance. Everyone is likely to judge  wrongly in this respect; for men have various characters, temperaments and bodily features, the true assessment and  study of which pertain only to those in whom the spiritual eye of the  

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64. When we act basely in obedience to our fallen self, we serve the soul's appetitive and mcensive powers in a  way that is contrary to nature. We defile the flesh with the noxious flux of sin, darken the soul with embittered anger  and estrange ourselves from the Son of God. We should therefore cleanse the stain deriving from the body's intrinsic  serosity with floods of heartfelt tears. In this way the body soiled by sensual indulgence on account of its natural  serosity will, because of our remorse, in its turn be purified through the natural flow of tears; and we will dispel with  the luminosity of compunction and the sweetness of a godlike love the cloud that darkens our soul because of our  embittered anger. Thus we shall once again be united with Him from whom we had been estranged.  

65. Just as the stain produced by sensual indulgence presupposes a satanic desire to fulfill the shabby act it  involves, so the purification that comes from our remorse presupposes heartfelt longing for the grief and tears which  purification demands. In accordance with God's supernal goodness and providence, we expel and purge sensual  indulgence through grief, and the flesh's baneful serosity through the flow of tears. In this way we expunge the  imprint of vilifying actions from the intellect and squalid images from the soul, disclosing ever more fully the  splendor of its natural beauty.  

66. Prompted by the devil, the libertine reaps fleshly pleasure, and his ugly actions induce self-pollution.  Prompted by the Holy Spirit, the man of God reaps joy of soul, and his acts of beauty induce purification through  tears, rebirth and union with God.  

67. There are in us two natural fluids which come from the same source in our being: semen and our tears.  Through the first we may sully our soul's garment, through the second we may cleanse it again. The stain that comes  from our being has to be washed away with the tears that come from the same source. Otherwise it is impossible for  us to cleanse this self-generated defilement.  

68. The discordant soul, prompted by what is base, always acts in a manner that ends up in some fleeting pleasure;  but the soul purged of vicious habits labors to attain enduring bliss. It is marvelous how the second form of pleasure  restrains the first, mollifying the pain engendered by self-indulgence.  

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69. Sometimes the How of tears produces an acrid and painful feeling in the heart's organ of spiritual perception,  sometimes it induces delight and a sense of jubilation. Thus when through repentance we are in the process of  cleansing ourselves from the poison and stain of sin and, enkindled by divine (ire, hot tears of repentance flow from  us, and when our conscience is as it were smitten by the heart's anguish, then we experience this acrid feeling and  painfulness both spiritually and perceptibly. But when we have been largely cleansed by such tears and have  attained freedom from the passions, then - refreshed by the divine Spirit, our heart pure and tranquil - we are filled  with inexpressible tenderness and delight by the joyous tears provoked by compunction.  

70. Tears of repentance are one thing, tears that flow because of divine compunction another. The first are like a  river in spate that sweeps away all the bastions of sin; the second are to the soul like rain or snow to a field, making  it yield a bountiful crop of spiritual knowledge.  

7 1 . Tears are not the same thing as compunction, and there is a great difference between them. Tears come from  the transformation of our manner of life and the remembrance of our past lapses, as if fire and boiling water were  purifying the heart. Compunction descends from above as the divine dew of the Spirit, comforting and refreshing the  soul that has but recently entered with fervor into the depths of humility and attained the contemplation of the  unapproachable light, crying out with joy as David cried, 'We went through fire and water; and Thou hast brought us  out into a place where the soul is refreshed' (Ps. 66: 12. LXX).  

72. I have heard people say that one cannot achieve a persistent state of virtue without retreating far into the  desert, and I was amazed that they should think that the unconfmable could be confined to a particular locality. For  the state of virtue is the restitution of the soul's powers to their former nobility and the convergence of the principal  virtues in an activity that accords with nature. Such a state is not achieved adventitiously, by external influences; it is  implanted within us at our creation by virtue of our endemic divine and spiritual consciousness; and when we are  impelled by this inner consciousness in accordance with our true nature we are led into the kingdom of heaven  which, in our Lord's words, is 'within us' (cf. Luke 17:21). Thus the desert is in fact superfluous, since we can enter  the kingdom  



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73. If you are in the ranks of the imperial army, fighting together with others under the command of generals and  captains, and yet you fail to do anything noble or bold in battle against the enemy or even put a single one of them to  flight, how will you be able to fight alone among so many enemies or perform any feat of brilliant strategy,  inexperienced as you are in warfare? And if this is impossible in human affairs, it is all the more so where things  divine are concerned. If you flee into the desert, how will you recognize the attacks of the demons, the open and  covert assaults of the passions? How will you be able to attack them yourself, unless you have first been well trained  in thwarting your own will by dwelling with a group of brethren under a leader experienced in such invisible and  spiritual warfare? And if you are incapable of fighting even on your own behalf, then it is clearly inconceivable that  you should do so on behalf of others and teach them how to defeat their invisible enemies.  

74. Expunge from yourself the disgrace of negligence and the ignominy of disdaining God's commandments.  Dispel self-love and battle with your fallen self unsparingly. Seek out the judgments of the Lord and His  testimonies. Scorn glory and dishonor. Hate the titillating appetites of the body. Avoid overeating, because this  enkindles your lower organs. Embrace poverty and hardship. Resist the passions. Introvert your senses towards your  soul. Inwardly assent to the doing of what is more noble. Be deaf to human affairs. Expend all your strength in  practicing the commandments. Mourn, sleep on the ground, fast, endure hardship, be still and, last of all, know, not  the things around you, but yourself. Transcend the lowly state of visible things. Open your spiritual eye to the  contemplation of God and recognize the dehghtfulness of the Lord from the beauty of creation. And when you  descend from these heights of contemplation, speak to your brethren about eternal life and the mysteries of God's  kingdom. This is the purpose of flight from men through the strictest asceticism, and the ultimate goal of the life of  solitude.  

75. If you wish to see the blessings 'that God has prepared for those who love Him' ( 1 Cor. 2:9), then take up your  abode in the desert of the renunciation of your own will and flee the world. What world?  

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The world of the lust of the eyes, of your fallen self (cf. 1 John 2:16), the presumptuousness of your own thoughts,  the deceit of things visible. If you flee from this world, then light will dawn for you, you will see the life that is in  God, and the medicine of your soul - that is, tears - will swiftly well up in you. You will experience the change  brought about by the right hand of the Most High'(Ps. 77: 10), and from that time the 'plague' of the passions will not  'come near your dwelling' (Ps. 91:10). In this way, living in the world and among people, you will be like a man  living in the desert and seeing no one. If you do not flee the world in such a manner, you will gain nothing as  regards the perfecting of virtue and union with God simply by flight from the visible world.  

76. To become a monk does not mean to abandon men and the world, but to renounce the will of the flesh, to be  destitute of the passions. If it was once said to a great spiritual master, 'Flee men and you will be saved', it was said  in precisely this spirit: for even after he fled, he dwelt among men and lived in inhabited regions along with his  disciples. But because he so assiduously fled in a spiritual sense at the same time as he fled visibly, he suffered no  harm from being with other men. And another great monk cried as he came out of a meeting, 'Flee, my brethren!'  And when asked what he meant by this, he pointed to his mouth.  

77. Living together in one place is safer than living alone. The sacred words of Jesus our God bear witness to the  necessity of living together; for He says, 'Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am in the midst of  them' (Matt. 18:20). Likewise Solomon speaks about the danger of living alone when he says, 'Alas for him who is  alone when he falls; for he has no one to help him up' (Eccles. 4:10). And David calls those who praise God in love  and concord blessed when he says, 'Blessed is the people that sing aloud together' (Ps. 89: 15); and he commends life  in community, saying: 'Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together' (Ps. 133:1). And among  the disciples of our Lord there was but a single soul and a single heart (cf Acts 4:32); and even God's incarnation  did not take place in the wilderness, but in inhabited areas and among  

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78. 'Offensive provocations have to come.' said the Lord, 'but alas for him through whom such provocation  comes!' (Matt. 18:7). The monk who loses his sense of reverence and behaves insolently, without awe for God, in  the company of his brethren scandalizes many of the more simple among them. He does this by his acts, bearing and  bad habits, and by his words and vicious talk. He corrupts their souls and undermines their probity.  

79. If you keep God's commandments you will not become a stumbling-block to others, for there will be nothing  offensive or provocative in you. 'Great peace have they who love Thy law, and for them there is no stumbling-block'  (Ps. 1 19:165. LXX). Rather they are light, salt and life, in conformity with the Lord's words, 'You are the light of the  world, and the salt of the earth' (cf Matt. 5:13-14). Light, because they are virtuous in life, lucid in speech, and wise  in thought; salt, because they are rich in divine knowledge and strong in the wisdom of God; life, because through  their words they bring to life those slain by the passions, raising them up from the pit of despair. Through the light  of their righteous works they shine before men and illumine them; with the sweet astrmgency of their words they  brace those softened by sluggishness and free them from the putrescence of the passions; and by the life present in  

what they say they give hfe to souls deadened by sin.  

80. The passion of self-esteem is a three -pronged barb heated and forged by the demons out of vanity,  presumption and arrogance. Yet those who dwell under the protection of the God of heaven (cf. Ps. 91:1) detect it  easily and shatter its prongs; for through their humility they rise above such vices and find repose in the tree of life.  v81. While you are progressing in virtue this unclean and wily demon of self-esteem may attack you and predict  that you will have a throne in heaven, reminding you of all your labor, extolling it above that of others, and even  suggesting that you are capable of guiding souls. If this happens, and you have been given power from on high to  enable you to do so, seize hold of him spiritually and do not let him escape. Once you have caught him, consider  what unworthy act of yours has provoked his attack; and confronting him with this act, say to him: 'Are those who  behave in this way worthy of ascending to such privileged heights, and do you regard them as qualified to guide  souls  

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One Hundred Texts  and lead them to salvation in Christ? Tell me, for I shall be silent.' Since he will have nothing to say to you in reply,  out of shame he will disappear like smoke and will no longer greatly trouble you. And even if you have not done or  said anything unworthy of the transcendent life you have embraced, yet compare yourself with the commandments  and the sufferings of the Lord, and you will find that you fall as short of perfection as a basinful of water falls short  of the sea. For man's righteousness is as far from the righteousness of God as the earth is in size from the heavens or  a flea from a lion.  

82. He who has been deeply smitten by the love of God will find that his bodily strength is not equal to his desire,  for there are no limits to the ascetic labor in which he yearns to engage. He is like someone consumed by thirst, and  the fire of his desire is insatiable. He longs to labor night and day, but is thwarted by his body's lack of strength. I  think that Christ's martyrs were not aware of the pain they suffered precisely because they were overpowered by  such an enormous passion. Mastering themselves through their burning love for God, they could not have their fill  of the torments inflicted on them, and felt that their desire to suffer was never assuaged.  

83. He who in any way compares himself with his fellow ascetics or with the brethren who live with him is  unaware that he deceives himself and treads a path alien to God. Either he does not know himself or he has deviated  from the path that leads heavenwards. But by following this path in modesty of mind, those more spiritually  advanced surmount the devil's ploys and, winged by dispassion and adorned with humility, they attain the heights of  spiritual illumination.  

84. If you are puffed up and full of presumption you will never be illumined by compunction or attain the grace of  humility. It is through this that the light of God's wisdom is bestowed on those with contrite hearts, in accordance  with the words, 'In Thy light shall we see light' (Ps. 36:9). On the contrary, you will be swaddled in the night of the  passions, in which all the beasts in the forest of man's nature prowl around, and in which the clamorous whelps of  presumption - by which I mean the demons of self-esteem and unchastity - seek whom they may devour and  dispatch into the maw of despair (cf Ps. 104:20-21; 1 Pet. 5:8).  

85. For the man who lives as most men, prompted by the spirit of presumption, this present hfe becomes a sea  embroiled by the powers of evil; the noetic aspect of his soul is flooded with the brine of sensual  

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One Hundred Texts  pleasure, its triple powers assailed by the fierce waves of the passions. The ship of his soul, and its rudder, are  shattered by carnal self-indulgence; the intellect, his pilot, sinks into the depths of sin and spiritual death; and he is  engulfed in a slough of despondency. Only the deep calm of humility can quell those malignant waves, and only  under the gentle flow of tears can the brine of sensual pleasures be changed into the luminosity of compunction.  

86. If you have enslaved yourself to bodily pleasure and indulgence to the point of repletion, you will need a  corresponding measure of ascetic labor and hardship. Thus one form of repletion will counter another, pain will  counter pleasure, bodily labor will counter bodily ease, and you will enjoy unmeasured felicity and repose,  delighting in the fragrance of purity and chastity, and relishing the indescribable savor of the deathless fruits of the  Spirit. In a similar way we apply cleansing unguents to the stains on our clothing when they have penetrated so  deeply that we cannot wear it any longer.  v87. To those newly engaged in spiritual warfare illness is salutary, for it contributes to reducing and subduing the  ebullience of the flesh. It greatly debilitates the flesh and attenuates the soul's materialistic propensities, while at the  same time it invigorates and braces the soul, in accordance with St Paul's words, 'When I am weak, then I am strong'  (2 Cor. 12:10). Yet the benefits that it brings to beginners are equaled by the harm that it does to those who have  progressed in the labors of virtue and have now transcended the world of the senses and entered into the realm of  spiritual contemplation. It hinders their devotion to things divine and coarsens their soul's consciousness with  distress and affliction, darkening it with despondency and drying up its compunction in the drought of its suffering.  Paul knew this well when, attentive to himself in conformity with the law of discrimination, he said, 'I discipline my  body through hardship and bring it into subjection through healing remedies, lest after preaching to others I myself  should be cast away' (cf 1 Cor. 9:27).  

88. It often happens that illness occurs as a result of an irregular and unbalanced regimen, as when those proficient  in spiritual warfare fast Or extend their ascetic labors excessively and indiscreetly, or when they become prone to  gluttony and repletion, the enemies of nature. Thus self-control is necessary both for those who are newly embarked  on the spiritual path and for those who, now beyond mid-course, aspire to the higher reaches of contemplation; for  self-control  

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89. Dispassion is of two kinds and takes two main forms in those weU advanced on the spiritual path. They attain  the first kind of dispassion when they have become adept in the practice of the virtues. This dispassion, arising in  various ways as a result of their toil in practicing the commandments, at once mortifies the passions and cuts off the  impulses of the fallen self; at the same time it induces the powers of the soul to act in a way that accords with nature,  and restores the intellect to conscious meditation on things divine. Subsequently, when they embark on the  contemplation of the inner essences of created things, they attain in their wisdom the second and more perfect kind  of dispassion. Bringing inner stillness to their thoughts, this dispassion raises them to a state of intellectual peace,  making their intellect visionary and prophetic to the highest degree: visionary in matters divine, in insight into  supernal realities, and in the disclosure of God's mysteries; prophetic in matters human, destined to happen in the  distant future. In both these forms of dispassion one and the same Spirit is at work (cf 1 Cor. 12:11): through the  first He controls and sustains, through the second He dispenses the freedom of eternal life.  

90. When you approach the frontiers of dispassion - attaining a right view of God and the nature of things, and  according to your growth in purity ascending to the Creator through the beauty of His creatures - you will be  illumined by the Holy Spirit. Entertaining kindly feelings about all men and always thinking good of all, you will  look on all as pure and holy and will rightly esteem things both human and divine. You will desire none of the  material things that men seek but, divesting yourself of worldly sense -perception by means of the intellect, you will  ascend towards heaven and towards God, free from all impurity and from every form of servitude, aware in spirit  only of God's blessings and His beauty. Thus, full of reverence and joy, and in indescribable silence, you will dwell  in the divine realm of God's blessed glory, all your senses transformed, and at the same time you will live spiritually  among men like an angel in a material body.  

91. Five senses characterize the ascetic life: vigilance, meditation, prayer, self-control and stillness. Once you  have linked your five outward senses to them, joining sight to vigilance, hearing to meditation, smell to prayer, taste  to self-control and touch to stillness.  

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One Hundred Texts  you will swiftly purify your soul's intellect: refining it by means of them, you will make it dispassionate and  visionary.  

92. A dispassionate intellect is one that has gained control over its own passions and risen above both dejection  and joy. It is neither subject to bouts of depression nor ebullient with high spirits, but is joyful in affliction,  restrained when cheerful, and temperate in all things.  

93. The demons rage violently against those who are progressing in contemplation, lying in wait for them night  and day. Through fellow-ascetics they provoke formidable trials, while through their own direct action they terrify  them with noises. Even when they are asleep they attack them, grudging them any rest. They harass them in various  ways, even though they cannot injure those who have surrendered themselves to God. If an angel of the Lord God  did not protect them, they could not escape the demons' attack and the snares of death.  

94. If you are energetically struggling to practice the virtues, watch out for the ploys of the pernicious demons.  The more you advance towards the heights of virtue and the more divine light increases in your prayers, and the  closer you come to revelations and ineffable visions through the Spirit, the more they will gnash their teeth as they  see you mounting towards heaven, and craftily spread their many nets of iniquity through the intellectual firmament.  For not only will the demons of lust and anger, flesh-avid and bestial, breathe on you, but with acrid malice the  demons of blasphemy will also rise up against you. In addition, the visible and invisible powers and principalities  that wing through the air, in naked fancy changing themselves into strange and frightening forms, will batten on you  and do you as much harm as they can. But if, with the eye of your intellect vigilant, you devote yourself to the  spiritual work of prayer and to contemplation of the inner essences of God's creation, you will not be frightened by  their 'arrow that flies by day' (Ps. 91:5), nor will they be able to invade your inner sanctuary; for like darkness they  will be repulsed by the light that is in you and consumed in divine fire.  v95. The spirits of evil are extremely frightened of the grace of the divine Spirit, especially when it is abundantly  present in us or when we have been cleansed through meditation and pure prayer. Not daring to invade our inner  sanctuary when we are illumined from that source, they try to alarm and trouble us by means of fantasies, fearful  noises and meaningless screams, so as to divert us from vigil and prayer. They  

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96. As we can learn from experience, the spirits of darkness seem to take on a subtle bodily form. This may be an  illusion that they produce by deceiving our senses, or it may be that they are condemned to take such a form as the  result of their age-old fall. In any case, they impetuously intertwine themselves with the struggling soul as our  servile body draws it towards sleep. This seems to me to be a kind of testing for a soul that has but recently  transcended the body's low estate: it provides an opportunity for the incensive and virile aspect of the soul to prove  its mettle by reacting with wrath and violence against the demons that threaten it so formidably. The soul smitten  with intense love for God and braced by .the principal virtues will not only oppose the demons with righteous  indignation, but will actually strike back at them - if, that is, having become so entirely earth-bound as a result of  their fall from the primal divine light, they do have a perceptible appearance.  

97. Before mtenneshmg with the soul and defeating it, the demons often disturb the soul's organs of perception  and snatch sleep from our eyes. Yet the soul filled with manly courage by the Holy Spirit will pay no heed to the  bitter fury of their attack, but will dispel their fantasies and put them to flight solely by means of the life-giving sign  of the cross and the invocation of Jesus our God.  

98. If you have embarked on the task of despoiling the hostile spirits through the practice of the virtues, see that  you are thoroughly armed with the weapons of the Spirit. Are you aware of who it is you want to despoil? They are  enemies, to be sure, but noetic and fleshless, while you are still doing battle with the body under the King of the  spirits and our God. You must realize that they will fight against you more bitterly than before and that there will be  many who will deploy their tricks against you. If, then, you fail to notice them and to strip them of their spoils they  will take you prisoner, filling your soul with great bitterness; or else they will subject you to evil and distressing  temptations, acting as a grievous thorn in your flesh (cf 2 Cor. 12:7).  

99. A good spring does not produce turbid, foul-smelling water, redolent of worldly matter; nor can a heart that is  outside the kingdom  

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100. Just as it is impossible without oil and flame for a lamp to bum and thus to give light to those in the house,  so it is impossible without the divine fire and Spirit for a soul to speak clearly about divine matters and to illumine  others. For every perfect gift bestowed on the devout soul 'is from above . . . from the Father of lights, in whom  there is no variableness or shadow due to change' (Jas. 1:17).  

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1. Love for God begins with detachment from things human and visible. Purification of heart and intellect marks  the intermediate stage, for through such purification the eye of the intellect is spiritually unveiled and we attain  knowledge of the kingdom of heaven hidden within us (cf. Luke 17:21). The final stage is consummated in an  irrepressible longing for the supernatural gifts of God and in a natural desire for union with God and for finding  one's abode in Him.  

2. Where there is intense longing for God, noetic labor, and participation in the unapproachable light, there too the  soul's powers will be at peace, the intellect will be purified, and the Holy Trinity will dwell within us; for it is  written, 'He who loves Me will fulfill My teaching, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and take  up Our abode in him' (John 14:23).



3. Our teaching recognizes three modes of living: the carnal, the psychic and the spiritual. Each of these is  characterized by its own particular attitude to life, distinctive to itself and dissimilar to that of the others.  

4. The carnal mode of life is one wholly devoted to the pleasures and enjoyments of this present life, and has  nothing to do with the psychic and spiritual modes of life, and does not even have any wish to acquire them. The  psychic mode, which is situated on the borderline between evil and virtue, is preoccupied with the care and  strengthening of the body and with men's praise; it not only repudiates the labors required for virtue, but also rejects  carnal indulgence. It avoids both virtue and vice but for opposite reasons: virtue because this requires toil and  discipline; vice because that would entail forfeiting  

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One Hundred Texts  men's praise. The spiritual mode of life, on the other hand, has nothing in common with these two other modes, and  on this account is not implicated in the evil that pertains to either: it is entirely free in every way from both the one  and the other. Invested with the wings of love and dispassion, it soars above them both, doing nothing that is  forbidden and not being hamstrung by evil.  

5. Those who pursue the carnal mode of life and in whom the will of the flesh is imperious - who are, quite  simply, carnal - are not able to conform to God's will (cf Rom. 8:8). Their judgment is eclipsed and they are totally  impervious to the rays of divine light: the engulfing clouds of the passions are like high walls that shut out the  resplendence of the Spirit and leave them without illumination. Their soul's senses maimed, they cannot aspire to  God's spiritual beauty and see the light of the true life and so transcend the lowliness of visible things. It is as if they  had become beasts conscious only of this world, with the dignity of their intelligence fettered to things sensory and  human. They strive only for what is visible and corruptible, on this account fighting among themselves and even  sacrificing their lives for such things, avid for wealth, glory and the pleasures of the flesh, and regarding the lack of  any of these things as a disaster. To such people applies the prophetic statement that comes from God's own mouth:  'My Spirit shall not remain in these men, for they are flesh' (Gen. 6:3. LXX).  

6. Those who pursue the psychic mode of life and are therefore called 'psychic' are like the mentally defective  whose limbs do not function properly. They never exert themselves on behalf of virtue or in the practice of God's  commandments, and they refrain from acting reprehensibly simply in order to gain the esteem of other people. They  are completely under the sway of self-love, nurse of the destructive passions, and they seek out whatever fosters  physical health and pleasure. They repudiate all tribulation, effort and hardship embraced for the sake of virtue, and  they cosset our enemy the body more than they should. Through such life and behavior their passion-imbued  intellect grows cloddish and becomes impervious to the divine and spiritual realities whereby the soul is plucked  from the world of matter and soars into the noetic heaven. This happens to them because they are still possessed by  the spirit of matter, love themselves, and choose to do what they themselves want. Void of the Holy Spirit, they have  no share in His gifts. As a result they exhibit no godly fruit - love for God and for their fellow men - no joy in the  midst of poverty and  

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One Hundred Texts  tribulation, no peace of soul, no deeply-rooted faith, no all-embracing self-control. Neither do they experience  compunction, tears, humility or compassion, but they are altogether filled with conceit and arrogance. Hence they  are totally incapable of plumbing the depths of the Spirit, for there is no guiding light in diem to open their intellect  to the understanding of the Scriptures (cf Luke 24:45); indeed, they cannot endure even to hear other people talking  about such things. St Paul was quite right when he said that 'the psychic man cannot grasp spiritual things: they are  folly to him; he is unaware that the law is spiritual and must be discerned spiritually' (cf. 1 Cor. 2: 14).  

7. Those who 'cleave to the Spirit' (Gal. 5:25) and are totally committed to the spiritual life live in accordance with  God's will, dedicated to Him as were the Nazirites (cf. Num. 6:2-8; Judg. 13:5). At all times they labor to purify  their soul and to keep the Lord's commandments, expending their blood in their love for Him. They purify the flesh  through fasts and vigils; they refine the heart's dross with tears; they mortify their materialistic tendencies through  ascetic hardship; they fill the intellect with light through prayer and meditation, making it translucid; and by  renouncing their own wills they sunder themselves from passionate attachment to the body and adhere solely to the  Spirit. As a result everyone recognizes them as spiritual, and rightly refers to them as such. As they approach the  state of dispassion and love, they ascend to the contemplation of the inner essences of created things; and from this  they acquire the knowledge of created being that is bestowed by the hidden wisdom of God (cf. 1 Cor. 2:7) and  given only to those who have risen above the body's low estate. Thus it is that when they have passed beyond all  sensory experience of this world and have entered with an illumined mind into the realms that are above sense-  perception, their intelligence is enlightened and they utter righteous words from a pure heart in the midst of the  Church of God and the great congregation of the faithful (cf. Ps. 40 : 9-10). For other people they are salt and light,  as the Lord says of them: 'You are the light of the world and the salt of (he earth' (cf. Matt. 5: 13-14).  

8. 'Devote yourselves to stillness and know that 1 am God' (Ps. 46:10). This is the voice of the divine Logos and is  experienced as such by those who put the words into practice. Thus once you have renounced the turmoil and  frightening vanity of life you should in stillness scnitinize yourself and the inner reality of things with the  

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One Hundred Texts  utmost attentiveness and should seek to blow more fully the God within yourself, for His kingdom is within us (cf.  Luke 17 : 21). Yet even if you do this over a long period of time it will be difficult for you to erase the imprint of  evil from your soul and to restore it wholly to its Creator in all its primal beauty.

9. Since we are so greatly imbued with the poison of evil we are in a correspondingly great need of the cleansing  fire of repentant tears and voluntary ascetic labor. For we are purged of the stains of sin either through embracing  such labor willingly or through afflictions that come unsought. If we first engage in voluntary ascetic labor, we will  be spared the unsought afflictions; but if we fail to cleanse 'the inside of the cup and the dish' (cf. Matt. 23:26)  through ascetic labor, the afflictions will restore us to our original state with a greater harshness. So the Creator has  ordained.  

10. If you do not enter the way of renunciation in the right spirit -if, that is to say, from the start you refuse to  accept a teacher and guide but, regarding yourself as an adept, rely on your own judgment - you will make a  mockery of the religious life and in turn will be mocked by what happens to you.  

1 1 . Just as you cannot know exactly the causes and cures of bodily afflictions without great medical experience  and skill, so you cannot know those of psychic afflictions without great spiritual training and practice. The diagnosis  of bodily illnesses is a tricky business and only a few are truly versed in it; but the diagnosis of psychic illnesses is  far more tricky. The soul is superior to the body, and correspondingly its afflictions are greater and harder to  understand than those of the body, which is visible to all.  

12. The principal and primary virtues were co-created with man as part of his nature. From them the rivers of all  the other virtues are filled as from four well-heads, and they water the city of God, which is the heart cleansed and  refreshed by tears. If you keep these four principal virtues impregnable to the spirits of malice, or if they fall but you  raise them up again through the travails of repentance, you will build yourself a royal palace in which the King of  All may make His abode (cf. John 14:2]), lavishly bestowing His lofty gifts on those who have thus prepared the  ground.  

13. Life is short, the age to come is long, and little the length of our present existence. Man, this great but petty  being, to whom the scant present has been allotted, is weak. Time is scant, man weak, but the  

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One Hundred Texts  contest set before him, with its prize, is great, even if it is full of thorns and puts our trivial life at risk.  

14. God does not wish the labors of those well advanced on the spiritual path to go untested, but wants them to be  well tried. Consequently He casts upon them the fire of temptation and withdraws for a short time the grace given  them, allowing the tranquility of their thoughts to be perturbed for a while by the spirits of malice. In this manner He  sees which way the soul will turn, and whether it will favor its own Creator and Benefactor or the senses of this  world and the lure of pleasure. Depending on their proclivity He will either augment His grace in them as they  advance in love of Him, or lash them with temptation and tribulation if they indulge in worldly thoughts and actions,  continuing this until they come to hate the unstable whirl of visible things and with tears wash away the bitterness of  its pleasures.


15. When the peace of your thoughts is disturbed by the spirits of malice, then those huntsmen - the flesh-loving  demons - will at once assault your swiftly -mounting intellect with the fiery arrows of desire (cf Eph. 6:16). As a  result its upward motion is thwarted and it succumbs to unseemly, corrupt impulses; the flesh licentiously begins to  revolt against the spirit, through titivation and incitement seeking to drag the intellect down into the pit of pleasure.  And if the Lord of hosts did not curtail those days and grant His servants the strength to endure, 'no flesh would be  saved' (cf Matt. 24:22).  

16. The highly experienced and wily demon of unchastity is for some a pitfall, for others a well-merited scourge,  for others a test or trial of soul. He is a pitfall for those newly engaged in spiritual warfare, who still bear the ascetic  yoke slackly and negligently; a scourge for those who have advanced midway along the path of virtue but then relax  in their efforts; a test or trial for those who on the wings of the intellect have already entered the sphere of  contemplation and who now aspire to the more perfect form of dispassion. Each category is thus divinely guided in  the way that suits it best.  

17. The demon of unchastity is a pitfall for those who live the ascetic life perfunctorily. It kindles their limbs with  sensual desire and suggests ways of carrying out the will of me flesh even without intercourse with other flesh,  something of which it is shameful even to speak or think (cf. Eph. 5:12). Such people defile the flesh (cf. Jude 8)  and devour the fruits of bitter pleasure, blinding themselves and  

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One Hundred Texts  deservedly slipping from the higher realms. If they wish for healing, they will find it in the fervor of repentance and  the tearful compunction' that flows from it. This will make them flee from evil and will cleanse their soul from its  impurity, making it an heir of God's mercy. In his wisdom Solomon referred to this cryptically when he said,  'Healing puts an end to great offences' (cf. Eccles. 10:4. LXX).  

18. This demon is a well-merited scourge for those who through the practice of the virtues have attained the first  degree of dispassion and are now progressing to what lies beyond this and is more perfect. For when out of  sluggishness they slacken the tension of their ascetic practice and deviate, albeit slightly, towards unguarded  preoccupation with the sensible world, longing to involve themselves in human affairs, then, as a result of God's  great goodness towards them, this demon acts as scourge: it begins to assail those who deviate in this way with  thoughts tainted by carnal desire. Unable to bear this, they swiftly revert to their stronghold of intense ascetic  practice and attentiveness, performing with ever greater eagerness and even more strenuously the tasks that will save  them. In His bounteousness, God does not wish the soul that has reached this stage to turn completely to the world  of the senses; on the contrary. He wants it to progress continuously and to embrace zealously ever more perfect  works, so that no plague will come near its dwelling (cf. Ps. 91:10. LXX).  

1 9. Through God's economy, this same demon is a test, a thorn and a trial for those who, having attained the first,  aspire to the second degree of dispassion. So long as the demon troubles them, they recall the weakness of their  nature and do not become conceited because of the 'abundance of the revelations' (2 Cor. 12:7) that they have  received through contemplation. Rather, keenly aware, of the law that wars against the law of the intellect (cf . Rom.  7:23), they repudiate even the passion-free recollection of sin, lest by recalling it they re -experience the defilement it  engenders and thereby let the eye of the intellect lapse from the heights of contemplation.  

20. Only those who through the Spirit have been privileged to receive the life-quickening deadness of the Lord  (cf. 2 Cor. 4:10) in their limbs and thoughts can keep their intellect untroubled even by the passion-free memory of  sin. Their flesh is dead to sin, while through the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus they have enriched their spirit  with life (cf. Rom. 8:10). Those who through their consciousness of wisdom have received the intellect of Christ  will also  

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21. The spirit of desire and anger is liable to invade souls but recently purified. To do what? To shake down the  fruits of the Holy Spirit burgeoning within them. For the joy of freedom produces a certain confusion in such souls;  they tend to exalt themselves over others because of their great freedom and the richness of their gifts, and also to  think that they have attained this great palace of peace through their own strength and understanding. Hence the  Wisdom that orders all things for good, and seeks always to attract these souls to itself by means of its gifts and to  keep them unshaken in their humility, withdraws from them slightly and so permits this spirit of desire and anger to  attack them. Plunged as a result into the fear of falling, they once more keep guard over blessed humility; and,  recognizing that they are bound to flesh and blood, they search in accordance with their true nature for the inner  stronghold where by the power of the Holy Spirit they can sustain themselves unharmed.  

22. The vehemence of our trials and temptations depends upon the degree to which we are debilitated by the  passions and infected by sin; and the bitter cup of God's judgment varies accordingly. If the nature of the sin within  us is such that it is easily treated and cured - if, that is to say, it consists of thoughts that are self-indulgent or worldly  - then the Healer of our souls in His compassion adds but a mild dose of wormwood to the cup of trial and  temptation He administers, since these are merely human ailments by which we are afflicted. But if the sin is deep-  seated and hard to cure - a lethal infection of pretentious arrogant thoughts - then in the keenness of His wrath He  gives us the cup undiluted, so that, dissolved and refined in the fire of successive trials and the humility they induce,  the sickness may be removed from our soul and we may wash away our brackish thoughts with tears, thus  presenting ourselves pure in the light of humility to our Healer.  

23. Those engaged in spiritual warfare can escape from the cycle of trial and temptation only by recognizing their  weakness, and regarding themselves as strangers to righteousness and unworthy of any solace, honor, or repose.  God, the doctor of our souls, wishes us to be always humble and modest, detached from our fellow-men and  imitators of His sufferings. For He was 'gentle and humble in heart' (Matt. 1 1 :29), and wants us to pursue the path of  His commandments with a similar gentleness and humility of heart.  

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24. Humility is not achieved by means of a scraggy neck, squalid hair, or filthy, ragged and unkempt clothing, to  which the generality of men ascribe the sum total of this virtue. It comes from a contrite heart and a spirit of self-  abasement. As David said, 'God will not scorn a contrite spirit, and a contrite and humble heart' (cf. Ps. 51:19.  LXX).  

25. To speak humbly is one thing, to act humbly is another, and to be inwardly humble is something else again.  Through all manner of hardship and through the outward labors of virtue those engaged in spiritual warfare can  attain the qualities of speaking and acting humbly, for these qualities require-no more than bodily effort and  discipline. But because the soul of such people often lacks inner stability, when temptation confronts them they are  easily shaken. Inward humility, on the other hand, is something exalted and divine, bestowed through the indwelling  of the Paraclete only on those who have passed the midpoint of the spiritual way - who have, that is to say, through  acting in all humility traversed the rigorous path of virtue.  

26. The soul is so distressed and oppressed when inner humility like a weighty stone has penetrated its depths,  that it loses all its strength because of the tears which it uncontrollably sheds; while the intellect, cleansed of every  defiling thought, attains like Isaiah to the vision of God. Under that divine mfluence it too confesses, 'How abject 1  am - 1 am pierced to the heart; because 1 am a man of unclean lips, and 1 dwell among a people of unclean lips; and  my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts' (Isa. 6:5).  

27. When the ability to speak humbly is firmly established within you, then you will no longer indulge in boastful  talk; when you act spontaneously in humbleness of heart, then you will cease from humble speech, whether  superficial or profound; and when you are enriched by God with inner humility then both humility of outward action  and humility of the tongue will no longer have any place in you. It is as St Paul said: 'But when that which is perfect  comes, that which is partial is done away with' (1 Cor. 13:10).  

28. Genuine humility of speech is as remote from genuine humility of action as East is from West. And as heaven  surpasses earth, or the soul the body, so the inner humility given to the saints through the Holy Spirit excels genuine  humility of action.  

29. Do not readily assume that someone who in outward appearance and dress, and in manner of speech, seems to  be humble is  

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30. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, goodness, long-suffering, kindness, faith, gentleness, self-  control (cf. Gal. 5:22-23). The fruits of the spirit of evil are hatred, worldly despondency, restlessness of soul, a  troubled heart, guile, inquisitive -ness, negligence, anger, lack of faith, envy, gluttony, drunkenness, abusiveness,  censoriousness, the lust of the eyes (cf. 1 John 2:16), vanity and pretentiousness of soul. By these fruits you may  know the tree (cf. Matt. 12:33), and in this way you will certainly recognize what kind of spirit you have to deal  with. An even clearer indication of these things is given by the Lord Himself when He says, 'A good man out of the  good treasury of his heart brings forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasury of his heart brings forth  evil things' (Matt. 12:35). For as the tree, so is the fruit.  

3 1 . God dwells in those in whom the fruits of the Holy Spirit are evident and, whether they speak of lowly or  exalted things, from them flows, full of wisdom and knowledge, the unsullied spring of the Logos. Those who  display the fruits and gifts not of the Holy Spirit but of the spirit of evil are on the other hand benighted with  ignorance of God and swarm with the passions and hostile spirits; and this is so whether they speak and dress  humbly, or whether they speak exaltedly, wear fine clothes, and bear themselves with an outward show of pomp.  

32. Truth is not evinced by looks, gestures or words, and God reposes not in these things but in a contrite heart, a  humble spirit and a soul illumined by the knowledge of God. Sometimes we see someone speaking to all comers in  an outwardly obsequious and humble manner, while inwardly he pursues the praise of men and is filled with self-  conceit, guile, malice and rancor. And there are times when we see someone fighting for righteousness outwardly  with lofty words of wisdom, taking a stand against falsehood or the transgression of God's laws, and looking only to  the truth, while within he is all modesty, humility, and love for his fellow-men. Sometimes also we see such a  person glorying in the Lord after the manner of St Paul, who when he gloried in the Lord said, 'I will glory in my  infirmities' (2 Cor. 12:9).  

33. God looks not at the outward form of what we say or do, but at

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34. God has judged it right that from generation to generation His prophets and friends should be equipped by the  Spirit for the building up of His Church (cf. Eph. 4:11-13). For since the old serpent still devastates men's souls by  spewing the poison of sin into their ears, how could He who fashioned our hearts one by one (cf. Ps. 33: 15) not raise  the needy from the earth of humility and lift them from the dunghill of the passions (cf. Ps. 113:7), assisting His  inheritance with 'the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God' (Eph. 6:17)? Rightly, then, do those who begin  with humility, and deny themselves, rise to the heights of spiritual knowledge, receiving from on high the teachings  of wisdom through the power of God, so that they may proclaim the Gospel of salvation to His Church.  

35. 'Know thyself: this is true humility, the humility that teaches us to be inwardly humble and makes our heart  contrite. Such humility you must cultivate and guard. For if you do not yet know yourself you cannot know what  humility is, and have not yet embarked truly on the task of cultivating and guarding. To know oneself is the goal of  the practice of the virtues.  

36. If having achieved a state of purity you advance to the knowledge of the essences of created beings, you will  have fulfilled the injunction, 'Know thyself If on the other hand you have not yet attained a knowledge of the inner  essences of creation and of things both divine and human, you may know what is outside and around you, but you  will still be totally ignorant of your own self.  

37. What 1 am is not at all the same as that which characterizes me; nor is what characterizes me the same as that  which relates to my situation; nor is what relates to my situation the same as that which is external to me. In each  case the one is distinct from the other. What 1 am is an image of God manifest in a spiritual, immortal and intelligent  soul, having an intellect that is the father of my consciousness and that is consubstantial with the soul and  inseparable from it That which characterizes me, and is regal and sovereign, is the power of intelligence and free  will. That which relates to my situation is what I  

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38. When you know yourself you cease from all outward tasks undertaken with a view to serving God and enter  into the very sanctuary of God, into the noetic liturgy of the Spirit, the divine haven of dispassion and humility. But  until you come to know yourself through humility and spiritual knowledge your life is one of toil and sweat. It was  of this that David cryptically spoke when he said, 'Toil lies before me until 1 enter the sanctuary of God' (Ps. 73:16-  17. LXX).  

39. To know yourself means that you must guard yourself diligently from everything external to you; it means  respite from worldly concerns and cross-examination of the conscience. Once you come to know yourself a kind of  super rational divine humility suddenly descends upon the soul, bringing contrition and tears of fervent compunction  to the heart. Acted upon in this way you regard yourself as earth and ashes (cf Gen. 18:27), and as a worm and no  man (cf. Ps. 22:6). Indeed, because of this overwhelming gift of God, you think you are unworthy of even this  wormlike form of life. If you are privileged to remain in this state for some time you will be filled with a strange.  unspeakable intoxication - the intoxication of compunction - and will enter into the depths of humility. Rapt out of  yourself, you take no account of food, drink or clothing beyond the minimum needed; for you are as one who has  experienced the blessed change that comes from 'the right hand of the Most High' (Ps. 77: 10. LXX).  

40. Humility is the greatest of the virtues. If as a result of sincere repentance it is implanted in you, you will also  be given the gift of prayer and self-control, and will be freed from servitude to the passions. Peace will suffuse your  powers, tears will cleanse your heart, and through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit you will be filled with  tranquility. When you have attained this state, your consciousness of me knowledge of God will grow lucid and you  will begin to contemplate the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and the inner essences of created things. The more  you descend into the depths of the Spirit, the more you plumb the abyss of humility. Correspondingly  

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41. Nothing so inspires the soul with longing for God and love for one's fellow beings as humility, compunction  and pure prayer. Humility shatters the spirit and engenders tears, while by making us aware of the shortness of  human life it teaches us to know the frailty of our limitations. Compunction purifies the intellect of materiality,  illumines the eye of the heart, and makes the soul completely radiant. Pure prayer binds the whole person to God,  making us share the life of the angels, allowing us to taste the sweetness of the immortal blessings of God, and  bestowing on us the treasures of the great mysteries. Enkindling us with love, it gives us the courage to lay down our  life for our friends (cf John 15:13), for we have transcended the body's low estate.  

42. Protect the pledge of enriching humility that has been entrusted to you, for in it are stored the hidden treasures  of love and the pearls of compunction. In it, too, the King, Christ our God, reposes as on a golden throne, bestowing  the gifts of the Holy Spirit on those it nourishes and giving them His great glories: consciousness of His divine  knowledge. His ineffable wisdom, the vision of supernal realities, the prevision of human realities, the life-  quickening deadness induced by dispassion, and union with Himself, so that we co-reign with Him in the kingdom  of God the Father. For this accords with the petition He made to the Father, when He said on our behalf, 'Father, I  desire that those whom Thou hast given Me should be with Me wherever I am' (John 17:24).  

43. If while striving to practice the commandments you suddenly feel an inexpressible secret joy that strangely  and unaccountably transforms you, alleviates the body's weight and puts from your mind all thought of food, sleep  and the other necessities of nature, then you must know that all this is because God has come to dwell within you,  inducing in you a life -quickening deadness and here and now raising you to the angelic state. The operative power  behind this blessed life is humility; its mother and nurse, holy compunction; its friend and sister, the contemplation  of the divine light; its throne, dispassion; its consummation. God the Holy Trinity.  

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44. Once you have achieved this lofty state you cannot be constrained by sensory attachment to things. You are  not distracted by any of the delectations of this life, nor do you regard some people as holy and others as unholy; but  just as God makes the rain fall and the sun shine equally on the just and on the unjust, on the evil and on the good  (cf. Matt 5:45), so you irradiate love and diffuse its rays to all men. Pregnant though you are with love for  everything, yet your heart feels no distress or, rather, you are distressed and straitened because you cannot help  others as much as you would wish. As from Eden, from you flows another spring of compunction, divided into the  four streams of humility, chastity, dispassion and undistracted prayer; and it waters the face of God's entire spiritual  creation (cf Gen. 2:10).  

45. Those who have not tasted the sweetness of the tears of compunction and are ignorant of its grace and of how  it operates, think that such tears differ in no way from those shed for the dead; and they invent all manner of  specious reasons and pretexts for thinking this, such as might naturally occur to us. But when what was haughty in  our intellect inclines towards humility, and when me soul has closed its eyes to the deceitfulness of visible things  and aspires solely to the contemplation of the immaterial, primal light, repudiating all that derives from sense  perception and receiving the grace bestowed by the Spirit, then as water from a spring tears at once gush from it and  sweeten its senses, filling the mind with all manner of joy and divine light. More than this, they shatter the heart and  make the intellect humble in its contemplation of the higher world. These things cannot happen to those who lament  and mourn in another way.  

46. Without the deepest humility you cannot release the spring of tears within you, nor can you be humble  without the compunction that is quickened through the abiding presence of the Spirit. For humility engenders  compunction and compunction engenders humility through the Holy Spirit. It is as if these were strung together by a  single grace, linked by the unbreakable bond of the Spirit.  

47. The light that enters the soul through the agency of the divine Spirit is liable to withdraw as a result of our  laxity, negligence or perfunctormess in matters of food or speech. Carelessness over what we eat and an unstable  diet, as well as an uncontrolled tongue and unguarded eyes, will naturally drive the light from the soul and plunge us  info darkness. And once we are filled with darkness all the beasts in the wild places of our heart and our whelp-like  passion-imbued  

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48. There is nothing so kindred to the divine Logos as the soul's purity and chasteness. Their mother is a devout  all-embracing self-control; and the father of this is fear. For once fear has changed to longing and is imbued with  desire for things divine, it makes the soul not only fearless and full of love for God, but also the very mother of the  divine Logos.



49. Once impregnated by fear, the soul becomes through repentance pregnant with the Logos of divine judgment;  the birth-pangs of hell encompass it, heartfelt anguish and travail afflict it as it reflects on the retribution due for the  evil it has done. Then, having through copious tears and labors gestated in the mind's womb the Spirit of salvation it  has conceived, it brings it forth into the world of the heart. Thus liberated from the pangs of hell and the anguish of  judgment, the soul is joyously filled with longing for the blessings in store for it; purity and chasteness attend on it  and, spurred by intense desire, unite it with God. Through this union it experiences an ineffable delight and sheds  the sweet pleasureful tears of compunction. Exempt from the ordinary forms of perception and as though in ecstasy  following the Bridegroom, it cries voicelessly, 'I pursue Thee in the fragrance of Thy myrrh; tell me, Thou whom  my soul loves, where Thou feedest Thy flock, where Thou givest it rest. In the noon-day of pure contemplation? Let  me not be rejected from the flock of the righteous. With Thee are the illuminations of the great mysteries' (cf. Song  of Songs 1:4-7). Once the Bridegroom has led the soul into the sanctuary of His hidden mysteries. He will initiate it  with wisdom into the contemplation of the inner essences of created things.

50. Do not say in your heart, it is now impossible for me to acquire a virginal purity, for I have succumbed in so  many ways to the seduction and delirium of the body. For once the soul engages fervently and strenuously in the  labors of repentance and we shed tears of compunction, then the prison-house is razed to the ground,

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the fire of the passions is extinguished, we are spiritually reborn through the abiding presence of the Paraclete, and  once again the soul becomes a palace of purity and virginity. God, who is above nature, descends with light and  ineffable joy into the soul and sits on the heights of its intellect as upon a throne of glory, bestowing peace on all its  inner powers and saying: 'Peace be with you, peace from hostile passions. I give you My peace, so that you may act  according to your true nature. I leave My peace with you, so that you may be perfected into what is beyond nature'  (cf. John 14:27). Through His threefold gift of peace He heals the soul's three powers, brings it into triadic  perfection and unites it with Himself. Thus He refashions it and makes it at one stroke wholly virginal, good and  beautiful through the fragrance of the myrrh of purity. Then he says to it, 'Arise. Come near to me, dove of  loveliness, through the practice of the virtues; for behold, the storm of the passions has passed. The downpour of  sensual pleasure-laden droughts is over, it has gone its way. The flowers of the virtues, redolent with intellections,  have appeared in the soil of your heart (of Song of Songs, 2:10-12). Arise, come near to Me in the knowledge  gleaned from the contemplation of the essences of created beings. Come, my dove, on your own wing into the over-  canopying darkness of mystical theology, to the faith rooted rock-like in Me, your God.'

5 1 . Blessed in my eyes is the man who, changed through the practice of the virtues, transcends the encompassing  walls of the passion-embroiled state and rises on the wings of dispassion - wings silver-toned with divine knowledge  (cf. Ps. 68:13) - to the spiritual sphere in which he contemplates the essences of created things, and who from there  enters the divine darkness of theology where in the life of blessedness he ceases from all outward labors and reposes  in God. For he has become a terrestrial angel and a celestial man; he has glorified God in himself, and God will  glorify him (cf. John 13:31-32).

52. 'Great peace have they who love God's law, and for them there is no stumbling-block' (cf Ps. 119:165). For  not all things congenial to men accord with God; and some things that do not appear good are seen, by those who  know the inner essences of things and events, to be by nature most excellent.

53. It behooves us to die to the world and live in Christ. Otherwise we cannot be spiritually bom anew - and, as  the Lord says, 'Unless you

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are bom anew, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven' (cf John 3:3). Such a rebirth comes through obedience to a  spiritual father, for if we do not first become pregnant with the seed of the Logos through the teaching of such a  father and through him become children of God, we cannot be spiritually reborn. For in this way the twelve were  bom of one, that is, of Christ; and the seventy were bom of the twelve and were made children of God the Father,  according to our Lord's words, 'You are the children of My heavenly Father' (cf. Matt. 5:45). Thus St Paul, too, says  to us, 'For though you have ten thousand instructors, you have not many fathers; I have begotten you; be imitators of  me'(cf ICor. 4:15-16).

54. If you are not obedient to a spiritual father in imitation of the Son who was obedient to the Father even unto  death and the cross (cf. Phil. 2:8), you cannot be spiritually bom anew. If you do not become the beloved son of a  holy father, and if you have not been bom anew in the Logos and the Spirit, how will you yourself become a holy  father and give birth to holy children who conform to the holiness of their father? And if this does not happen - well,  'the tree is known by its fruit' (cf. Matt. 12:33).

55. Lack of faith is evil, the most diabolic issue of diabolic avarice and envy. And if it is evil, how much the more  so is the avarice that gives birth to it. For avarice impels men to love money more than they love Christ, to esteem  what is material more highly than God, to worship creation rather than the Creator, and to pervert God's truth into a  lie (cf. Rom. 1:25). If this disease is so evil that it can be called a second idolatry (cf. Col. 3:5). what exorbitance of  evil will the soul willingly sick with such a disease not surpass?  

56. If you aspire to friendship with Christ, you wiU hate money and the gluttonous love of money; for money  lures towards itself the mind of whoever loves it and diverts it from love for Jesus, a love which, I think, is  expressed not in words but in action, in the carrying out of His commandments (cf. John 14:15). If, alas, what you  want is money, you will hoard away as much of it as you can, setting this desire for money above love for Christ,  and regarding wealth as a gain and not as the greatest disaster that can befall you. You should realize, however, that  money is in fact disastrous to you, and the disaster will be all the greater because you will also lose your true wealth,  God, without whom the life of salvation is impossible.

57. If you love money you do not love Christ; if you do not love

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Christ, but love money, think to whose likeness that tyrant will reduce you: it will make you like the disciple who  was unfaithful, who appeared to be a friend but was a traitor, who acted viciously towards the Master of All, and  who fell miserably from both faith and love, plunging into the depths of despair. Fear his example and listen to my  counsel: spurn money and love for money, so that you may gain the love of Christ. If not, well, you know the place  prepared for those who have fallen.

58. If you are not called by God to a high status, never try to attain it through money or human support or by  demanding it, even if you know you can help others. For if you do, three things lie in wait for you, and of them one  will surely happen: either God's anger and wrath will fall upon you in the form of diverse assaults and misfortunes -  for not only men but virtually the whole of creation will turn on you, and your life will be full of anguish; or your  enemies will gain the upper hand and expel you from your position in deep disgrace; or you will die before your  time, cut off from this present life.

59. You cannot be indifferent to both fame and disgrace, or rise above pleasure and pain, unless you are enabled  by grace to perceive the upshot of all worldly preoccupations. For when you realize that the resultant of fame,  pleasure, indulgence, wealth and prosperity is naught, since death and decay await them, then you will recognize the  blatant vanity of all things worldly and will turn your eyes to the consummation of things divine. You will cleave to  the realities that truly exist and cannot perish; and, making these things your own, you will rise above pain and  pleasure: above pain in that you have defeated that which in your soul loves pleasure, fame and money; above  pleasure, in that you have become impervious to worldly sensations. Thus you are the same whether you are  honored or scorned, attacked by bodily pain or endued with bodily ease. In all things you will give thanks to God  and you will not be cast down.

60. Those who have attained spiritual maturity can also analyze, the impulsions and proclivities of the soul, and  can guide and guard their inner state, on the basis of dreams. For bodily impulsions and the images in our intellect  depend upon our inner disposition and preoccupations. If your soul hankers after pleasure and material things, you  will dream about acquiring possessions and having money, about the female figure and sexual intercourse - all of  which leads to the soiling and defilement of soul and body. If you are haunted by images

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of greed and avarice, you will see money everywhere, will get hold of it, and will make more money by lending it  out at interest and storing the proceeds in the bank, and you will be condemned for your callousness. If you are hot-  tempered and vicious, images of poisonous snakes and wild beasts will plague you and overwhelm you with terror.  If you are fall of self-esteem, you will dream of popular acclaim and mass-meetings, government posts and high  office; and even when awake you will imagine that these things, which as yet you lack, are already yours, or soon  will be. If you are proud and pretentious, you will see yourself being carried along in a splendid coach and even  sometimes airborne, while everyone trembles at your great power. Similarly, if you are devoted to God, diligent in  the practice of the virtues, scrupulous in the struggle for holiness and with a soul purged of material preoccupations,  you will see in sleep the outcome of events and awe-inspiring visions will be disclosed to you. When you wake from  sleep you will always find yourself praying with compunction and in a peaceful state of soul and body, and there  will be tears on your cheeks, and on your lips words addressed to God.

6 1 . The images that visit us during sleep are either dreams, or visions, or revelations. To the category of dreams  belongs everything in the image -forming faculty of the intellect that is mutable - all that makes it confused and  subject to constantly altering states. We have nothing to gain from such images and if we are sensible we should  ignore them - indeed, they disappear of their own accord as soon as we awake. Visions on the other hand are  constant; the one does not change into another, but they remain imprinted upon the intellect unforgettably for many  years. Those that disclose the upshot of things to come, and assist the soul by inspiring it with compunction and the  sight of fearful wonders, make the beholder reflective and strike him with awe on account of their constancy and  their fearsome nature. Hence they are treated with great seriousness by those skilled in spiritual matters. Revelations  occur when the purified and illumined soul is able to contemplate in a way that transcends normal sense-perception.  They have the force of things and thoughts miraculous and divine, initiating us into the hidden mysteries of God,  showing us the outcome of our most important problems and the universal transformation of things worldly and  human.

62. The first category - that of dreams - pertains to materialistic sensually -minded people who worship their belly  (cf Phil. 3:19) and

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are brash in their over-indulgence. Their dissolute, passion-polluted mode of life darkens their intellect, and they are  mocked and spellbound by the demons. The second category - that of visions -pertains to those well advanced on the  spiritual path, who have cleansed the soul's organs of perception. Beneficially assisted by things visible they ascend  to the ever-increasing apprehension of things divine. The third category - that of revelations - pertains to those who  are perfect, who are energized by the Holy Spirit, and whose soul through mystical prayer is united to God.

63. Things seen in sleep are true and imprinted on the spiritual intellect in the case, not of everyone, but only of  those whose intellect is purified, who have cleansed the soul's organs of perception and who are advancing toward  the contemplation of the inner essences of created things. Such people do not worry about day-to-day matters, nor  are they troubled about this present life. Through long fasts they have acquired an all-embracing self-control and  through exertion and hardship they' have attained the sanctuary of God, the spiritual knowledge of created being and  the wisdom of the higher world. Their life is the life of angels and is hidden in God (cf Col. 5:3), their progress is  based upon holy stillness and on the prophets of God's Church. It is of them that God has spoken through Moses,  when He said, 'If there be a prophet among you, I will appear to him in his sleep and will speak to him in a vision'  (cf. Num. 12:6); and through Joel, when He said, 'And it will come to pass after these things that I will pour out My  spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams and your  young men shall see visions' (Joel 2:28).

64. Stillness is an undisturbed state of the intellect, the calm of a free and joyful soul, the tranquil unwavering  stability of the heart in God, the contemplation of light, the knowledge of the mysteries of God, consciousness of  wisdom by virtue of a pure mind, the abyss of divine intellections, the rapture of the intellect, intercourse with God,  an unsleeping watchfulness, spiritual prayer, untroubled repose in the midst of great hardship and, finally, solidarity  and union with God.

65. If the soul, its powers disordered, is still at war with itself and has not yet become receptive to the divine rays,  if it is still enslaved to the will of the flesh and without peace; and if its battle with the rebellious passions has but  recently come to an end, it needs to

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preserve strict silence, so that with David it too can say: 'But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man  who does not open his mouth' (Ps. 38: 13). It should always be full of grief and should walk son'owfully along the  road of Christ's commandments; for it is still afflicted by the enemy and awaits the coming of the Paraclete, through  whom it will receive the prize of true freedom for its compunction and cleansing tears.

66. If you generate the honey of the virtues in stillness, you will through struggle and self -discipline transcend the  lowly estate of man's fallen condition and by overcoming your presumption you will restore the soul's powers to  their natural state. Your heart purified by tears, you will now become receptive to the rays of the Spirit, will clothe  yourself in the incomiption of the life-quickenmg deadness of Christ (cf 1 Cor. 15:53; 1 Cor. 4:10), and will receive  the Paraclete in tongues of fire in the upper room of your stillness (cf. Acts 2:3). You will then be under an  obligation to speak unreservedly of the wonderful works of God (cf. Acts 2:11) and to 'declare His righteousness in  the great congregation' (cf. Ps. 40:10), for you will have received inwardly the law of the Spirit (cf. John 7:38; Rom.  8:2); otherwise, like the wicked servant who hid the talent of his own master, you will be cast into eternal fire (cf.  Matt. 25:30). Thus it was with David, when he washed away his sin through repentance and received once more the  gift of prophecy; unable to conceal the blessings that he had received, he said to God, 'Behold, I will not seal my  lips, as Thou, Lord, knowest. 1 have not hidden Thy righteousness within my heart; 1 have declared Thy truth and  Thy salvation; 1 have not concealed Thy mercy and Thy truth from the great congregation' (Ps. 40:9-10).

67. An intellect totally purged of impurities is like a star-filled sky that illumines the soul with lucid intellections;  and the Sun of righteousness (cf. MaL 4:2) shines within it, enlightening the world with divine knowledge. Cleansed  in this way, the consciousness brings forth from the depths of wisdom the creative principles of things and the  transparent revelations of what is hidden, and in their pure and unalloyed state it sets them before the intellect, so  that it knows the depth, height and breadth of the knowledge of God (cf. Eph. 3:18). When the intellect has  interiorized these principles and revelations and made them part of its own nature, then it will elucidate the  profundities of the Spirit to all who possess God's Spirit within

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themselves, exposing the guile of the demons and expounding the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

68. Bodily desires and the impulses of the flesh are checked by self-control, fasting and spiritual struggle. Psychic  ferments and the overweeningness of the heart are allayed by the reading of the Divine Scriptures and humbled by  constant prayer, while compunction like oil assuages them altogether.

69. Nothing so puts you in communion with God and unites you with the divine Logos as pure noetic prayer,  when you pray undistractedly in the Spirit, your soul cleansed by tears, mellowed by compunction and illumined by  the light of the Spirit.

70. Quantity is very important in the prayerful recitation of psalms, provided that it is accompanied by  perseverance and attentiveness; but the quality of our recitation is what gives life to the soul and makes it fruitful.  Quality in psalmody and prayer consists in praying with the Spirit and with the intellect (cf 1 Cor. 14:15). We pray  with the intellect when, as we say prayers and recite psalms, we perceive the meaning hidden in the Holy Scriptures  and thence gamer in the heart a harvest of ever more exalted divine thoughts. Rapt spiritually by these thoughts into  the regions of light, the soul shines with a clear radiance, is further purified, rises wholly to the heavens, and beholds  the beauty of the blessings held in store for the saints. Out of ardent longing for these blessings, tears - the fruit of  prayer - at once flow from our eyes, induced by the light-creating energy of the Spirit, their taste so sweet that in  experiencing them one may even forget to eat. This is the fruit of prayer, begotten through the quality of their  psalmody in the soul of those who pray.

71. Where the fruit of the Spirit is present in a person, prayer is of a like quality; and where there is such quality,  quantity in the recitation of psalms is excellent. Where there is no spiritual fruit, the quality is sapless. If the quality  is arid, quantity is useless: even if it disciplines the body, for most people there is no gain to be got from it.

72. As you pray and sing psalms to the Lord, watch out for the guile of the demons. Either they deceive us into  saying one thing instead of another, snatching the soul's attention and turning the verses of the psalms into  blasphemies, so that we say things that we should not say; or, when we have started with a psalm, they cause us to  skip to the end of it, distracting the intellect from what lies between; or else they make us return time and again to  the same verse, through absent-

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mindedness preventing us from going on to what comes next; or, when we are in the middle of a psalm, they  suddenly blank out the intellect's memory of the sequence of the verses, so that we cannot even remember what  verse of the psalm it was that we were saying, and thus we repeat it once more. This they do to make us neglectful  and listless, and to deprive us of the fruits of our prayer by persuading us that we cannot go on because of the  lateness of the hour. We should persevere strongly, however, and continue the psalm more slowly, so that through  contemplation we may reap the profit of prayer from the verses and become rich with the light of the Holy Spirit that  fills the souls of those who pray.

73. If something like this happens to you when you are 'singing with understanding' (cf Ps. 47:7), do not become  cursory or listless. Do not opt for bodily rest rather than the soul's profit, justifying this on the grounds that the hour  is late. But when you realize that your intellect has become distracted, stop the recitation; and although you may be  near the end of the psalm, bravely go back to the beginning, diligently resume it, and recite it over again, even if,  because of distraction, you have to repeat this process several times in a single hour. If you do this the demons,  unable to bear your patient perseverance and your ardor, will be put to shame and will leave you.

74. Unceasing prayer is prayer that does not leave the soul day or night. It consists not in what is outwardly  perceived - outstretched hands, bodily stance, or verbal utterance - but in our inner concentration on the intellect's  activity and on mindfulness of God bom of unwavering compunction; and it can be perceived noetically by those  capable of such perception.

75. You can devote yourself constantly to prayer only when your thoughts are mustered under the command of  the intellect, delving in profound peace and reverence into the depths of God and seeking therein to taste the sweet  waters of contemplation. When this peace is not present, such prayer is impossible. Only when your soul's powers  are pacified through spiritual knowledge can you attain constant prayer.

76. If while you are singing a song of prayer to God, one of your brethren knocks at the door of your cell, do not  opt for the work of prayer rather than that of love and ignore your brother, for so to act would be alien to God. God  desires love's mercy, not the sacrifice of prayer (cf. Hos. 6:6). Rather, put aside the gift of prayer and speak  

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with healing love to your brother. Then with tears and a contrite heart once more offer your gift of prayer to the  father of the spiritual powers, and a righteous spirit will be renewed within you (cf. Matt. 5:23-24: Ps. 51:10, 17).

77. The mystery of prayer is not consummated at a certain specific time or place. For if you restrict prayer to  particular times or places, you will waste the rest of the time in vain pursuits. Prayer may be defined as the intellect's  unceasing intercourse with God. Its task is to engage the soul totally in things divine, its fulfillment - to adapt the  words of St Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 6:17) - lies in so wedding the mind to God that it becomes one spirit with Him.

78. Even though you have died to your worldly self, and even though life has been generated in your soul by the  Holy Spirit and God has granted you supernal gifts, you should still not leave your mind unoccupied. Accustom it to  think continually on your past sins and the torments of hell, and regard yourself as one condemned. If you concern  yourself with these things and look on yourself in this way, you will preserve a contrite spirit and within you a  spring of compunction will flow with divine grace. God will have regard for your heart and will support it with His  Spirit.

79. Controlled fasting, accompanied by vigils, meditation and prayer, quickly brings you to the frontiers of  dispassion. At this point your great humility releases the spring of tears within you and you bum with love for God.  When you have reached this state, you enter the peace of the Spirit that transcends every dauntless intellect (cf . Phil.  4:7) and through love you are united to God.

80. No king so rejoices over his glory and kingdom, or so exults in his power, as does a monk over the dispassion  of his soul and over his tears of compunction. For the king's jubilation will wither with his kingdom, while the monk  will be accompanied for limitless ages by the blessed dispassion and the joy he has attained. He moves like a wheel  among men during this present life, touching only lightly the earth and the things upon it - and then simply because  his bodily needs demand it; his intellect ascending through this circling movement entirely into the celestial sphere,  in his beginning is his end: and, crowned with humility, he bears in himself the fruits of grace. His table is replete  with the contemplation of the essences of created things, his drink is from the cup of Wisdom and his repose is in  God.

81. If you willingly engage in the labors of virtue and zealously

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pursue the ascetic path, you will be granted great gifts by God. As you approach the halfway mark, you will receive  divine revelations and visions, and the greater your struggles the more full of tight and wisdom you will become. At  the same time, the greater the heights of contemplation you reach, the more you will provoke the destructive envy of  the demons, for they cannot bear to see a human being attain an angelic nature. Hence they will deceitfully attack  you with thoughts of presumption. But if you perceive their wiliness and, admonishing yourself, take refuge in the  stronghold of humility, you will escape the havoc of pride and enter the haven of salvation. Failing this, and  abandoned by God, you will be given over to punitive spirits; and because you did not willingly put yourself to the  test, they will chastise you against your will. Carnal and pleasure-loving, full of guile and rage, these spirits will  cruelly humiliate you with their attacks until you recognize your own weakness and, stricken with grief, free  yourself from the rack, saying with David: 'It is good for me that Thou hast humiliated me, so that I may learn Thy  commandments' (Ps. 119:71. LXX).

82. God does not want us always to be humiliated by the passions and to be hunted down by them like hares,  making Him alone our rock and refuge (cf Ps. 104: 18); otherwise He would not have affirmed, 'I have said, you are  gods; and all of you are children of the Most High' (Ps. 82:6). But He wants us to run as deer on the high mountains  of His commandments (cf. Ps. 104:18. LXX), thirsting for the life-creating waters of the Spirit (cf. Ps. 42:1). For,  they say, it is the deer's nature to eat snakes; but by virtue of the heat they generate through being always on the  move, they strangely transform the snakes' poison into musk and it does them no harm. In a similar manner, when  passion-imbued thoughts invade our mind we should bring them into subjection through our ardent pursuit of God's  commandments and the power of the Spirit, and so transform them into the fragrant and salutary practice of virtue.  In this way we can take every thought captive and make it obey Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 10:5). For the celestial world must  be filled, not with people who are materialistic and imperfect, but with those who are spiritual and perfect - those  who have advanced to the stature of perfect manhood in the fullness of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:13).

83. A person who keeps turning round and round on the same spot and does not want to make any spiritual  progress is like a mule that
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walks round and round a well-head operating a water-wheel. Always to be battling with your carnal proclivities and  to be concerned only with disciplining the body through various forms of ascetic labor is to mistake God's purpose  and unwittingly to inflict great damage on yourself. 'The gain to be derived from bodily discipline is but limited',  says St Paul (1 Tim. 4:8) - at any rate as long as the earth-bound will of the flesh has not been swallowed up in tears  of repentance, as long as the life-quickening deadness of the Spirit has not supervened in our body, and the law of  the Spirit does not reign in our mortal flesh. But trae devotion of soul attained through the spiritual knowledge of  created things and of their immortal essences is as a tree of life within the spiritual activity of the intellect: it is  'profitable in all things' (cf. 1 Tim. 4:8) and everywhere, bestowing purity of heart, pacifying the soul's powers,  giving light to the intellect and chastity to the body, and conferring restraint, all-embracing self-control, humility,  compunction, love, holiness, heavenly knowledge, divine wisdom, and the contemplation of God. If, then, as a result  of great spiritual discipline you have attained such perfection of true devotion you will have crossed the Red Sea of  the passions and will have entered the promised land, from which flow the milk and the honey of divine knowledge  (cf. Exod. 3:8), the inexhaustible delight of the saints.

84. If you persist in acting in a manner that is one-sided and of but limited profit and do not choose to do what is  beneficial in every way, you still - in conformity to God's high decree - eat coarse bread in the sweat of your brow  (cf. Gen. 3:19). Your soul feels no appetite for the spiritual manna and the honey that flows for Israel from the  cloven rock (cf. Deut. 32:13; Ps. 81:16). If, however, you have heard the words, 'Arise, let us go hence' (John  14:31); if, in answer to the Master's call, you lay aside assiduous labor and stop eating the bread of pain, repudiating  merely material perception and tasting the bowl of God's wisdom, then you will know that Christ is the Lord; for,  having fulfilled the law of the commandments through ministering to the divine Logos, you will have ascended into  the upper chamber and will be awaiting the coming of the Paraclete (cf. Acts 2:1-4).

85. We must ever progress according to the ranks and nmgs of a life dedicated to wisdom and rise assiduously  towards the higher world, always advancing towards God and never static in our aspiration towards supernal beauty.  We must advance from ascetic practice to the contemplation of the essences of created beings, and

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thence to the mystical knowledge of the divine Logos. There we may relinquish all external forms of bodily  discipline, since we will have risen above the body's lowly state and will have been granted the lucidity of true  discrimination. If we have not yet been granted that lucidity we will not know how to take the next step and pursue  what is more perfect. We will be in an even worse condition than those 'in the world'; for many of them do not set  any limit to their ambitions, and do not halt in their ascent, until they have reached the highest rank of all; and only  then do they rest satisfied.

86. Cleansed through fervent ascetic labor, the soul is illumined by divine light and begins little by little to  perceive the natural beauty which God originally bestowed on it and to expand in love for its Creator. And as  through its purification the rays of the Sun of righteousness grow more lucid in it, and as its natural beauty is  increasingly revealed to it and recognized, so in order to become yet more pure it extends its ascetic practice. In this  way it acquires a clear vision of the glory of the gift it has received, regains its former nobility and restores to its  Creator His own image pure and unalloyed. And it continues to add to its labors until it has cleansed itself of every  stain and impurity and is privileged to contemplate and commune with God.

87. 'Open my eyes and I will perceive the wonders of Thy law' (Ps. 119:18). So he who is still bedarkened by his  earth-bound will cries out to God. For the ignorance of the worldly mind, all murk and obscurity, blots out the soul's  vision, so that it cannot grasp things either divine or human; it cannot perceive the rays of divine light or enjoy the  blessings that 'the eye has not seen, and the ear has not heard, and man's heart has not grasped' (1 Cor. 2:9). But  when through repentance its vision has been restored, it sees these things clearly, hears them with understanding and  intuits them intellectually. Not only this, but it also assimilates more exalted things which, prompted by these  intellections, arise in its heart; and, having tasted their sweetness, its knowledge grows more lurid. It can then, in the  light of God's wisdom, explain to all the nature of the divine blessings 'that God has prepared for those who love  Him' (1 Cor. 2:9); and it exhorts all to follow the path of struggle and tears in order to share in them.

88. Scripture enumerates seven gifts of the Spirit, beginning with wisdom and ending with the divine fear of the  Spirit; for it speaks of

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'the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of counseling, the spirit of strength, the spirit of divine  knowledge, the spirit of reverence, the spirit of the fear of God' (cf. Isa. 1 1 :2). But we for our part should begin with  the fear that purifies - that is to say, with the fear of punishment; in this way, first repudiating evil and through  repentance expunging the squalor of sin, we may attain the pure fear of the Spirit. Having once attained it, we may  lay aside all our struggles for virtue.

89. If you begin with fear of judgment and through tears of repentance advance towards purity of heart, you will  first be filled with wisdom, since, as it is written, fear is 'the beginning of wisdom' (Prov. 1:7). You will then be filled  simultaneously with the spirit of understanding and of counseling, and this will enable you to resolve matters in the  way that is best for yourself. Having reached this stage through the practice of the commandments, you then  advance to the spiritual apperception of created being and receive the most exact comprehension of things divine  and human. Thereafter, entirely transformed into a tabernacle of holiness, you ascend to the citadel of love and are  made perfect. At once the pure fear of the Spirit lays hold of you, so that you may guard the treasure of the kingdom  of heaven of which you have become the repository. Such tear possesses great saving power; for when you have  been exalted to the pinnacle of God's love it makes you fearful and full of disquiet lest you lapse from this love and  are cast once more into the terrible fear of punishment.

90. The reading of the Scriptures means one thing for those who have but recently embraced the life of holiness,  another for those who have attained the middle state, and another for those who are moving rapidly towards  perfection. For the first, the Scriptures are bread from God's table, strengthening their hearts (cf. Ps. 104:15) in the  holy struggle for virtue and filling them with forcefulness, power and courage in their battle against the spirits that  activate the passions, so that they can say, 'For me Thou hast prepared a table with food against my enemies' (Ps.  23:5). For the second, the Scriptures are wine from God's chalice, gladdening their hearts (cf. Ps. 104:15) and  transforming them through the power of the inner meaning, so that their intellect is raised above the letter that kills  and led searchmgly into the depths of the Spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 3:6; 1 Cor. 2:10), In this way they are enabled to discover  and give birth to the inner meaning, so that fittingly they can exclaim, 'Thy chalice makes me drunk as with

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the strongest wine' (Ps. 23:5. LXX). Finally, for those approaching perfection the Scriptures are the oil of the Holy  Spirit (cf. Ps. 104: 15), anointing the soul, making it gentle and humble through the excess of the divine illumination  they bestow, and raising it wholly above the lowliness of the body, so that in its glory it may cry, 'Thou hast  anointed my head with oil' (Ps. 23:5) and 'Thy mercy shall follow me all the days of my life' (Ps. 23:6).

9 1 . So long as we dedicate ourselves to God through keeping the commandments in the sweat of our brow, and in  this way diminish the passions of the flesh, the Lord sups with us at the table of His gifts on the heart-strengthening  daily bread that is cultivated through the practice of the virtues. But when by attaining dispassion we hallow His  name (cf. Matt. 6:9), and He Himself reigns in all the faculties of our soul, having brought under control and  pacified what was in a state of schism - having, that is to say, subjected our lower consciousness to our higher  consciousness - and when in this way His will is done in us as it is in heaven (cf. Matt. 6: 10), then He drinks with us  in His kingdom - which is now actively present within us - an inconceivable new drink (cf Mark 14:25), the drink of  the wisdom of the Logos mingled with compunction and the knowledge of the great mysteries. And once we have  become partakers of the Holy Spirit, transformed through the renewing of our intellect (cf. Rom. 12:2), then as God  He will dine with us as gods: for He renders immortal what He has made His own.

92. When the unbridled water of the intellect's passion-charged thoughts has been bridled through the abiding  presence of the Holy Spirit, and the brine-bitter abyss of indecent images and desires has been brought into  subjection through self-control and meditation on death, then the divine spirit of repentance begins to blow and the  waters of compunction pour forth; and our God and Master, channeling them into the basin of repentance, washes  our spiritual feet, making them worthy to walk in the courts of His kingdom.

93. The Logos of God, having taken flesh and given our nature subsistence in Himself, becoming perfect man,  entirely free from sin, has as perfect God refashioned our nature and made it divine. As Logos of the primal Intellect  and God, He has united Himself to our intelligence, giving it wings so that it may conceive divine, exalted thoughts.  Because He is fire. He has with true divine fire steeled the incensive power of the soul against hostile passions and  demons.

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Aspiration of all intelligent being and slaker of all desire. He has in His deep-seated love dilated the appetitive  aspect of the soul so that it can partake of the blessings of eternal life. Having thus renewed the whole man in  Himself, He restores it in an act of re-creation that leaves no grounds for any reproach against the Creator-Logos.

94. Performing in Himself the sacred mystery of our re-creation, the Logos offered Himself up on our behalf  through His death on the cross, and He continually offers Himself up, giving His immaculate body to us daily as a  soul-nourishing banquet, so that by eating it and by drinking His precious blood we may through this participation  consciously grow in spiritual stature. Communicating in His body and blood and refashioned in a purer form, we are  united to the twofold divine -human Logos in two ways, in our body and in our deiform soul; for He is God incarnate  whose flesh is the same in essence as our own. Thus we do not belong to ourselves, but to Him who has united us to  Himself through this immortal meal and has made us by adoption what He Himself is by nature.

95. If, then, tested in the labors of virtue and purified by tears, we come forward and eat of this bread and drink of  this cup, the divine-human Logos in His gentleness is commixed with our two natural faculties, with our soul and  body; and as God incarnate, one with us in essence as regards our human nature. He totally refashions us in Himself,  wholly deifying us through divine knowledge and uniting us with Himself as His brothers, conformed to Him who is  God coessential with the Father. If, however, we are denied with the materiality of the passions and soiled with sin.  He visits us with His natural sin-devouring fire, igniting and consuming us entirely, and cutting us off from life, not  because in His goodness He wishes to do this, but because He is constrained to do it by our indifference and lack of  spiritual perception.

96. Invisibly the Lord draws near to all who by practicing the virtues have begun to travel the path of His  commandments, and He keeps them company even though they are as yet imperfect in understanding and still  unsure as to the true nature of virtue. Rightly are the eyes of their soul impeded, so that they do not recognize their  own progress even though the Lord accompanies them, co-operates with them in their efforts to be liberated from  the passions, and assists them in the attainment of every form of virtue. For although they advance in the struggle for  holiness, and through humility approach

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the state of dispassion, the Logos does not want them to come to a hah, exhausted by their labors; rather He wishes  them to advance still further and to rise to the state of contemplation. Thus, having nourished them in moderation on  the bread of tears. He blesses them with the light of compunction and opens their intellect so that they can  understand the profundities of Holy Scripture and thus perceive the nature and inner essence of everything that  exists. At this point He abruptly withdraws from them so that they will be put on their mettle and will seek more  zealously to learn what is meant by the spiritual knowledge of things and what is the exaltation that it brings.  Prompted thus to pursue this knowledge more diligently, they become ministers of the Logos in a yet higher way  and proclaim to all the resurrection consummated through the practice of the virtues and the contemplation of the  Logos (cf Luke 24: 13-35).

97. The Logos justifiably rebukes the tardiness of those who drag out their time in the practice of the virtues and  do not wish to advance beyond this and rise to the higher state of contemplation. 'Fools and slow of heart,' He calls  them (Luke 24:25) - slow to place their trust in Him who can reveal the meaning of the contemplation of the inner  principles of the created world to all who spiritually explore the depths of the Spirit. For not to wish to progress  from the initial struggles to those that are more advanced, and to pass from the 'exterior' or literal meaning of Holy  Scripture to its inner or spiritual meaning, is a sign of the sluggish soul, one with no taste for spiritual profit and  extremely resentful about its own advancement. Such a soul, since its lamp has gone out, will not only be told to go  and buy oil from those that sell it; but, finding the bridal chamber closed to it, it will also hear the words, 'Go away, I  do not know you or whence you come' (cf. Matt. 25: 9,12).

98. When the Logos of God enters a fallen soul - as He entered the city of Bethany (cf. John 1 1 : 17) - in order to  resurrect its intellect, sin-slain and buried under the corruption of the passions, then sound understanding and justice,  plunged into grief by the intellect's death, come as mourners to meet Him, and they say, 'Hadst Thou been here with  us, guarding and keeping watch, our brother intellect would not have died because of sin' (cf. John 11:32). Then  justice will anxiously tend the Logos through the practice of the virtues and will want to prepare a menu of various  kinds of hardship; but sound understanding, laying aside all other concerns and ascetic endeavors,

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will devote itself solely to spiritual labor, cleaving to the spiritual discourse of the Logos and attentive to the  intellections arising from its contemplation of Him. Thus although the Logos acknowledges justice and its efforts to  nourish Him generously through various forms of practical activity. He still rebukes it for always being anxious  about so many outward labors and for engaging in what is of but limited profit (cf 1 Tim. 4:8). One thing only is  needed in order to serve the Logos, and that is the subjection, through the labors of virtue, of the lower  consciousness to the higher consciousness, and the transformation of the soul's earth-bound propensity into spiritual  aspiration. Sound understanding, however, the Logos praises, and unites with Himself in a manner that accords with  His nature, for it has chosen 'the better portion' - the knowledge of the Spirit whereby, transcending things human, it  penetrates into the depths of the Divine. Here to its great profit it procures the pearl of the Logos (cf. Matt. 13:45-  46), beholds the hidden treasures of the Spirit (cf. Matt. 13:44), and is filled with an inexpressible joy that will not  be taken away from it (cf. Luke 10:38-42).

99. The intellect that has been slain by the passions and again brought to life by the indwelling presence of the  divine Logos has thrown off the grave-stone of torpid insensibility and has been freed from the shroud of sin and  from corrupting thoughts by the servants of the Logos, fear of punishment and ascetic labor. Having tasted the light  of eternal life, it is released into dispassion (cf. John 1 1 :38-43). Henceforward it enthrones itself over the senses and,  having in purity celebrated the mystery of initiation, consorts with Christ the Logos, rising with Him from the earth  to heaven, and reigning with Him in the kingdom of God the Father, all its desires quenched.

100. The restitution that will be consummated in the age to come after the dissolution of the body becomes clearly  evident even now, through the inspiration and inner activity of the Spirit, in those who have truly striven, have  traversed the midpoint of the spiritual path, and been made perfect according to 'the measure of the stature of the  fullness of Christ' (Eph. 4:13). Their joy is eternal, in eternal light and their blessedness is of that final state. For  ceaseless joy possesses the hearts of those who in this present life are rightly fighting the spiritual fight, and the  gladness of the Holy Spirit embraces them - a gladness which, according to our Lord's words, will not be taken away  from them (cf. Luke 10:42). Thus he who in this present life is  

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privileged to experience the abiding presence of the Paraclete, and through the cultivation of the virtues delights in  His fruits and is enriched by His divine gilts, is filled with joy and with all love, for fear has entirely left him.  Joyously is he released from the bonds of the body and joyously he transcends the world of visible things, being  already freed from his sensory attachment to them. He reposes in the inexpressible joy of the light m which dwell all  who rejoice (cf. Ps. 87:7. LXX), even if his body often experiences pain at its dissolution and at the severing of its  union with the soul, and suffers in various ways, as a woman does during a difficult childbirth.  

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1 . God is dispassionate Intellect, beyond every intellect and beyond every form of dispassion: He is Light and the  source of blessed light. He is Wisdom, Intelligence and spiritual Knowledge, and the giver of wisdom, intelligence  and spiritual knowledge. If on account of your purity these qualities have been, bestowed on you and are richly  present in you, then that Within you which accords with the image of God has been safely preserved and you are  now a son of God guided by the Holy Spirit; for 'all who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God' (Rom.  8:14).

2. Those who through ascetic practice cleanse themselves 'from all pollution of the flesh and spirit' (2 Cor. 7:1)  receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and so become vessels of immortal reality. Having attained this level they are  filled with the light of glory. Their hearts now serene and at peace, they utter blessed words, and God's wisdom -  knowledge of things divine and human - flows from their tips, while their intelligence undisturbed interprets the  profundities of the Holy Spirits Once they have been united with God and have experienced a blessed  transformation, the law is no longer binding on such people (cf Gal. 5:23).

3. He who wholeheartedly and assiduously directs himself towards God attains such virtue of soul and body that  he becomes a mirror of the divine image. He is so commixed with God, and God with him, that each reposes in the  other. Because of the richness of the gifts of the Spirit that he has received, henceforth he is and appears to be an  image of divine blessedness and god by adoption, God being the perfector of his perfection.

4. Only in ignorance would one claim that man is created in the image of God with respect to the organic  



structure of his body. He is in

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the image by virtue of the spiritual nature of his intellect, which is not circumscribed by the dead weight of the body.  Since the divine nature is outside every created being and all material grossness, it is not circumscribed, but is  unlimited and incorporeal, beyond substance and all condition, without qualities, impalpable, unquantifiable,  invisible, immortal, incomprehensible and totally beyond our grasp. Similarly, the spiritual nature given to us by  God is uncircumscnbed and outside the material grossness of this world, and so is incorporeal, invisible, impalpable,  incomprehensible, and an image of His immortal and eternal glory.

5. Since God, as sovereign King of all, is primordial Intellect, He possesses within Himself His Logos and His  Spirit, coessential and coetemal with Him. He is never without the Logos and the Spirit because the divine nature is  one and indivisible; nor is He to be confused with Them, for the three hypostases in God are distinct and  unconfusable. Hence in naturally begetting the Logos from His essence, the Father is not Severed from Him, since  He is Himself indivisible. The coetemal Logos, not severed from His Begetter, possesses the Spirit, who proceeds  eternally from the Father (cf. John 15:26) and shares with the Logos the same unoriginate nature. For the nature of  both Logos and Spirit is one and undivided, even though by virtue of the distinction of hypostases the one God is  divided into persons and is glorified as die Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet the persons, since They  constitute one nature and one God, are never separated from the co-eternal essence and nature. Observe, then, an  image of this trihypostatic and single divine nature in man, who is created by this nature and is the image of it, not  according to his visible self but according to his spiritual self, not according to what is mortal and perishable in him  but according to what is immortal and ever the same.

6. God is Intellect and transcends the creatures that in His Wisdom He has created; yet He also changelessly  begets the Logos as their dwelling-place, and, as Scripture says (cf. John 14:26), sends the Holy Spirit to endow  them with power. He is thus both outside everything and within everything. Similarly, man participates in the divine  nature, and according to his spiritual self-that is to say, as a spiritual, incorporeal and immortal soul - is an image of  God, and possesses an intellect which naturally begets consciousness from its essence; and by virtue of all this he  maintains the power of the body.

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He is thus both outside matter and visible things and within them. And just as the Father who created man is  inseparable from the other two hypostases - that is, from the Logos and the Spirit - so man's soul is indivisible from  his intellect and his consciousness, for they are of one nature and essence - an essence uncircumscnbed by the body.

7. Since the Deity is worshipped in the three hypostases of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the image fonned by Him  - man, that is - also subsists in a tripartite division, worshipping God, the Creator of all things out of things that are  not, with soul, intellect and consciousness. Thus, things by nature coetemal and coessential within God are also  intrinsic to and coessential with His image. They constitute the divine image in us and through them I am an image  of God, even though I am a composite of clay and divine image.

8. The image of God is one thing, and that which is contemplated in the miage is another. For the image of God is  the noetic soul, the intellect and the consciousness, which form one indivisible nature. What is contemplated in the  image is that which is sovereign, royal and self-determinative. Thus the glory of the intellect is one thing, its dignity  is another, its being in the image of God is another, and its being in His likeness is another (cf. Gen. 1 :26). The glory  of the intellect is its power of ascent, its constant movement upwards, its acuity, purity, understanding, wisdom and  immortality. The dignity of the intellect lies in its intelligence, its royal and sovereign nature, and its power of self-  determination. Its being in the image of God resides in the self-subsistence of soul, intellect and consciousness and  in their coessentiality, indivisibility and inseparability. For intellect and consciousness belong to the incorporeal,  immortal, divine and noetic soul; these three are coessential and coetemal, and can never be divided or separated  from each other. The intellect's being in the likeness of God resides in its justice, truthfulness, love, sympathy and  compassion. When these qualities are energized and guarded in a person, that which is in the image and likeness of  God is clearly manifest in him; he acts, that is to say, in accordance with nature and enjoys a higher dignity than  others.

9. The tripartite deiform soul possesses two aspects, the one noetic and the' other passible. The noetic aspect,  being in the image of the soul's Creator, is not conditioned by the senses, is invisible to them and is not limited by  them, since it is both outside them and within them. It is by virtue of this aspect that the soul communicates with  spiritual and

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divine powers and, through the sacred knowledge of created beings, ascends naturally to God as to its archetype,  thus entering into the enjoyment of His divine nature. The passible aspect is split up among the senses and is subject  to passions and prone to self-indulgence. It is by virtue of this aspect that the soul communicates with the world that  is perceptible to the senses and that fosters nutrition and growth; and in this way it breathes the air, experiences cold  and heat, and receives sustenance for self-preservation, life, growth and health. Since the passible aspect is modified  by what it comes into contact with, it is sometimes incited by impulses contrary to nature and develops disordered  desires; at other times it is provoked and carried away by mindless anger, or is subject to hunger and thirst, to sorrow  and pain, and finally to physical dissolution; it luxuriates in self-indulgence, but shrinks back from affliction. Thus it  is rightly called the passible aspect of the soul, since it is to be found in the company of the passions. When the  noetic aspect of the soul holds sway and this mortal aspect is swallowed up by the Logos of life (cf 2 Cor. 5:4), then  the life of Jesus is also manifested in our mortal flesh (cf. 2 Cor. 4:11), producing in us the life-quickening deadness  of dispassion, and conferring the mcormption of immortality in response to our spiritual aspiration.

10. Prior to His creation of all things out of nothing, the Creator possessed in Himself the knowledge and the  intrinsic principles and essences of all that He brought into existence, for He is sovereign over the ages and has  foreknowledge of them all. Correspondingly, when in His own image He fashioned man as the sovereign of  creation. He endowed him with the knowledge and the intrinsic principles and essences of all created things. Thus  through his creation man possesses the dry and cold qualities of the body's gastric fluid from the earth, the warm and  moist qualities of blood from air and fire, the moist and cold qualities of phlegm from water, the power of growth  from plants, the power of nutrition from zoophytes, his passible aspect from the animals, his spiritual and noetic  aspect from the angels, and finally, in order to exist and live, his immaterial breath - his incorporeal and immortal  soul, understood as intellect, consciousness and the power of the Holy Spirit - from God.

11. God created us in His image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26). We are in His likeness if we possess virtue and  understanding; for 'His virtue covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His  

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understanding' (cf. Hab. 3:3). The virtue of God is His justice, holiness and truth: as David says, 'Thou an just,  Lord, and Thy truth is round about Thee' (cf. Ps. 89:8. LXX); and again. The Lord is just and holy' (cf. Ps. 145:17).  We are also in the likeness of God if we possess uprightness and goodness, for 'good and upright is the Lord' (Ps.  25:8); or if we are conscious of wisdom and spiritual knowledge, for these are within Hun and He is called Wisdom  and Logos; or if we possess holiness and perfection, since He Himself said, 'You must be perfect, as your heavenly  Father is perfect' (Matt. 5:48), and, 'You must be holy, for I am holy' (Lev. 1 1 :44; 1 Pet. 1:16); or if we are humble  and gentle, for it is written, 'Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your  souls' (Matt. 11:29).

12. Since our intellect is an image of God, it is true to itself when it remains among- the things that are properly  its own and does not divagate from its own dignity and nature. Hence it loves to dwell among things proximate to  God, and seeks to unite itself with Him, from whom it had its origin, by whom it is activated, and towards whom it  ascends by means of its natural capabilities; and it desires to imitate Him in His compassion and simplicity. Such an  intellect even begets the Logos, and it recreates like new heavens the souls akin to it, strengthening them in the  patient practice of the virtues; and it bestows life on them through the spiritual power of its counsel, providing them  with the strength to resist destructive passions. If, then, it truly imitates God, it becomes itself also a creator both of  the noetic world and of the macrocosm, and clearly hears God's words, 'He who extracts what is precious from what  is vile will be as My mouth' (cf. Jer. 15:19).

13. He who staunchly adheres to those activities of the intellect which accord with its nature and affirms the  dignity of the intelligence, is kept unsullied by material preoccupations, is invested with gentleness, humility, love  and compassion, and is illumined by the Holy Spirit. His attention focused on the higher spheres of contemplative  activity, he is initiated into the hidden mysteries of God, and through his words of wisdom he lovingly ministers to  those who are capable of learning about these things. In this way he does not use his talent solely for his own  benefit, but also shares its benediction with his fellow-men.



14. Exalt the One over the dyad - the single over the dual - and

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free its nobility from all commerce with dualism, and you will consort immaterially with immaterial spirits; for you  will yourself have become a noetic spirit, even though you appear to dwell bodily among other men.  

15. Once you have brought bondage to the dyad into subjection to the dignity and nature of the One, you will  have subjected the whole of creation to God; for you will have brought into unity what was divided and will have  reconciled all things.

16. So long as the nature of the powers within us is in a state of inner discord and is dispersed among many  contrary things, we do not participate in God's supernatural gifts. And if we do not participate in these gifts, we are  also far from the mystical euchanst of the heavenly sanctuary, celebrated by the intellect through its spiritual  activity. When through assiduous ascetic labor we have purged ourselves of the crudity of evil and have reconciled  our inner discord through the power of the Spirit, we then participate in the ineffable blessings of God, and worthily  concelebrate the divine mysteries of the intellect's mystical eucharist with God the Logos in His supracelestial and  spiritual sanctuary; for we have become initiates and priests of His immortal mysteries.

17. Our fallen self desires in a way that opposes our spiritual self, our spiritual self in a way that opposes our  fallenself(cf Gal. 5:17);  and in this relentless warfare between the two each strives for victory and control over the other. This contrariety  within us is also called 'discord', 'turning point', 'balance' and 'twofold struggle'; and if the intellect tips the balance  towards an act of human passion the soul is split asunder.

18. So long as we are reft by the turmoil of our thoughts, and so long as we are ruled and constrained by our fallen  self, we are self -fragmented and cut off from the divine Monad, since we have not made our own the riches of its  unity. But when our mortality is swallowed up by the unifying power of the Monad and acquires a supernatural  detachment, when the intellect becomes master of itself, illumined by its wisdom-engendering intellections, then the  soul, in sacred embrace with the One, is freed from discord and becomes a unity: enfolded into the divine Monad, it  is unified in a godlike simplicity. Such is the nature of the soul's restoration to its original state and such our renewal  in a state yet more exalted.

19. Ignorance is terrible and more than terrible, a truly palpable  

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darkness (cf. Exod. 10:21). Souls suckled on ignorance are tenebrous, their thought is fragmented, and they are cut  off from union with God. Its upshot is inanity, since it makes the whole person mindless and insensate. Waxing  gross, it plunges the soul into the depths of hell, where there is every kind of punishment and pain, distress and  anguish. Conversely, divine knowledge is luminous and endlessly illuminating: souls in which it has been  engendered because of their purity possess a godlike radiance, for it fills them with peace, serenity, joy, ineffable  wisdom and perfect love.



20. Simple and unified, the presence of divine light gathers within itself the souls that participate in it and  converts them to itself, uniting them with its own unity, and perfecting them with its own perfection. It leads them to  descry the depths of God, so that they contemplate the great mysteries and become initiates and mystagogues.  Aspire, then, to be punned utterly through ascetic labor, and you will see these mysteries dear to God - of which 1  have spoken - actually at work within you.



21. The rays of primordial Light that illumine purified souls with spiritual knowledge not only fill them with  benediction and luminosity; they also, by means of the contemplation of the inner essences of created things, lead  them up to the noetic heavens. The effects of the divine energy, however, do not stop here; they continue until  through wisdom and through knowledge of indescribable things they unite purified souls with the One, bringing  them out of a state of multiplicity into a state of oneness in Him.

22. We must first purge ourselves of the vicious materiality prompted in us by the demons - this is the stage of  purification; then, through the stage of illumination, we must make our spiritual eyes lucid and ever light-filled, and  this is accomplished by means of the mystical wisdom hidden in God. In this way we ascend to the cognition of  sacred knowledge, which through the intelligence imparts things new and old to those who have ears to hear. Then  we in our turn must pass on to others images and intimations of this knowledge, conveying its hidden meaning to the  purified while withholding it from the profane, lest holy things be given to dogs, or the pearl of the Logos be cast  before swine-like souls that would defile it (cf. Matt. 7:6).

23. When you become aware of increasing ardency in your inner faith and love for God, then you should know  that you are bringing Christ to birth within yourself, and that it is He who exalts your soul
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above terrestrial and visible things and prepares a dwelling-place for it in heaven. When you perceive that your heart  is replete with joy, and poignantly longs for God's unutterable blessings, then you should realize that you are  activated by the divine Spirit. And when you sense that your intellect is full of ineffable light and the intellections of  supernal Wisdom, then you should recognize that the Paraclete is present in your soul, disclosing the treasures of the  kingdom of heaven hidden within you; and you should guard yourself strictly as a palace of God and as a dwelling-  place of the Spirit.

24. Guardianship of the hidden treasure of the Spirit consists in that state of detachment from human affairs  which is properly termed stillness. When through purity of heart and Joyful compunction this stillness kindles a yet  fiercer longing for God's love, it releases the soul from the bonds of the senses and impels it to embrace the life of  freedom. Recalled to its natural state, the soul reorientates its powers, restoring them to their original condition.  Thus it is evident that none of the evil that afflicts us as a result of our deviation and lapse from the divine image  may be imputed to God. who creates only what is good.

25. It is stillness, full of wisdom and benediction, that leads us to this holy and godlike state of perfection - when,  that is, it is practiced and pursued genuinely. If an apparent hesychast has not attained this eminence and perfection,  his stillness is not yet this noetic and perfect stillness. Indeed, until he has attained this eminence, he will not even  have stilled the inner turbulence of the anarchic passions. All he will have is a body consisting of teguments, vents  and cavities, and wasted by a disordered and deluded mind.

26. Souls that have attained total purity, and have reached the heights of wisdom and spiritual knowledge,  resemble the Cherabim. By virtue of their unmediated cognition they draw close to the source of all beauty and  goodness, and in this way they are directly and folly initiated into the vision of secret things. Among the spiritual  powers it is said that only the Cherubim are illuminated in this direct manner by the source of divinity itself and thus  possess this vision in the highest degree.

27. Among the highest angelic powers, some are more ardent and clear-sighted in their devotion to the divine  realities around which they

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unceasingly circle; others are more contemplative, gnostic and imbued with wisdom, this being the divine state that  impels them unceasingly to circle around these realities. Similarly, angel-like souls are ardent and clear-sighted in  their devotion to the divine realities, as well as wise, gnostic and exalted in mystical contemplation. Potentially and  actually they too unceasingly circle around things divine, firmly rooted in them alone. Immutably receptive of divine  illuminations, and thus participating in Him who truly is. they also unstmtmgly communicate His irradiance and  grace to others through their teaching.



28. God is Intellect and the activating agent of everything. All intellects have both their permanent abode and  their eternal mobility in this primary Intellect. Such is the experience of all whose activity is not adulterated by

materiality but is pure and unsullied as a result of sacred ascetic labor. They experience this when, ardent with  divine love, they communicate to each other and to themselves the illumination bestowed on them by the Divinity,  generously transmitting to others the wisdom of God's mysteries concealed within it; and in this way they  unceasingly extol the divine love that inspires them.

29. Souls whose intelligence has been freed from material preoccupation, and in whom the self -warring appetitive  and incensive aspects have been restored to harmony and harnessed to their heaven-bound well-reined chariot, both  revolve around God and yet stand fixedly. They revolve incessantly around God as the centre and cause of their  circular movement. They stand steadfast and unwavering as fixed points on the circumference of the circle, and  cannot be diverted from this fixed position by the sense-world and the distraction of human affairs. This is therefore  the perfect consummation of stillness, and it is to this; that stillness leads those who truly achieve it, so that while  moving they are stationary, and while steadfast and immobile they move around the divine realities. So long as we  do not experience this we can only be said to practice an apparent stillness, and our intellect is not free from  materiality and distraction.

30. When through great diligence and effort we recover the original beauty of the intelligence, and through the  abiding presence of the Holy Spirit participate in supernal wisdom and knowledge, we can then perceive things as  they are by nature and hence can recognize that the source and cause of all things is itself wise and beautiful We see  that we cannot hold it in any way responsible for the evil that destroys created things when they deviate towards  what is base. When we are  



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so deflected and dragged downwards, we are sundered from the pristine beauty of the Logos and forfeit our  deification, while the evil that has invaded us disfigures us mto its own obtuse and witless form.

3 1 . When through the practice of the virtues we attain a spiritual knowledge of created things we have achieved  the first stage on the path of deification. We achieve the second stage when - initiated through the contemplation of  the spiritual essences of created things -we perceive the hidden mysteries of God. We achieve the third stage when  we are united and interfused with the primordial light. It is then that we reach the goal of all ascetic and  contemplative activity.

32. By means of these three stages all intellects are brought, in a way that accords with their own nature, into  unity with themselves and with Him who truly is. They can then illumine their fellow-intellects, initiating them into  divine realities, through celestial wisdom perfecting them as spirits already purified, and uniting them with  themselves and with the One.

33. Deification in this present life is the spiritual and truly sacred rite in which the Logos of unutterable wisdom  makes Himself a sacred offering and gives Himself, so far as is possible, to those who have prepared themselves.  God, as befits His goodness, has bestowed this deification on beings endowed with intelligence so that they may  achieve the union of faith. Those who as a resuh of their purity and their knowledge of things divine participate in  this dignity are assimilated to God, 'conformed to the image of His Son' (Rom. 8:29) through their exalted and  spiritual concentration upon the divine. Thus they become as gods to other men on earth. These others in their turn,  perfected in virtue by purification through their divine intelligence and through sacred intercourse with God,  participate according to their proficiency and the degree of their purification in the same deification as their brethren  and they commune with them in the God of unity. In this way all of them, joined together in the union of love, are  unceasingly united with the one God; and God, the source of all holy works and totally free from any indictment  because of His work of creation, abides in the midst of gods (cf. Ps. 82:1. LXX), God by nature among gods by  adoption.

34. You cannot be assimilated to God and participate in His ineffable blessings - in so far as this is possible -  unless you first through fervent tears and through the practice of Christ's sacred commandments strip away the  interposing foulness and disfigurement

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of sin. If you want spiritually to taste the sweetness and delight of things spiritual you must renounce all mundane  sense-experience, and in your aspiration for the blessings held in store for the saints you must devote yourself to the  contemplation of the inner reality of created beings.

35. Assimilation to God, conferred upon us through intense purification and deep love for God, can be maintained  only through an unceasing aspiration towards Him on the part of the contemplative intellect. Such aspiration is bom  within the soul through the persistent stillness produced by the acquisition of the virtues, by ceaseless and  undistracted spiritual prayer, by total self-control, and by intensive reading of the Scriptures.

36. We must strive not only to bring the soul's powers into a state of peace, but also to acquire a longing for  spiritual serenity. For through the pacifying of our thoughts every aspiration for what is good is strengthened, while  divine heaven-sent dew heals and revives the heart wounded by Spirit-enkindled celestial fire.

37. Once a soul deeply wounded by divine longing has experienced the balm of God's noetic gifts, it cannot  remain static or fixed in itself, but will aspire to rise ever further towards heaven. The higher it rises through the  Spirit and the farther it penetrates into the depths of God, the more it is consumed by the fire of desire; and it  explores in all their immensity the yet deeper mysteries of God, anxious to attain the blessed light where every  intellect is rapt out of itself and where - its goal achieved - it reposes in heartfelt joy.

38. When you come to participate in the Holy Spirit and recognize His presence through a certain ineffable  energy and fragrance withm yourself - this fragrance even spreading over the surface of your body - you can no  longer be content to remain within the bounds of the created world. On the contrary, having experienced the noble  conversion wrought by the 'right hand of the Most High' (Ps. 77:10. LXX), you forget food and sleep, transcend  bodily needs, ignore physical repose and, after spending the whole day to ascetic toil, are yet unaware of stress or  duress, of hunger, thirst, sleep, or of any other physical need. For with unutterable joy God's love is poured out  invisibly into your heart (cf. Rom. 5:5). Wrapped the whole night in an illumination of fire, you accomplish spiritual  work through the body and feast on the immortal fruits of the noetic paradise. It was into this paradise that St Paul,  too, was caught up when he heard the

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inexpressible words which no one is permitted to hear (cf. 2 Cor. 12:4) if still attached to the sense -world of visible  things.

39. Once the body has been fired in the furnace of ascetic practice and tempered by the water of tears, it is no  longer dulled by hardship, for it is now exempt from outward labors and ceases from the great toil they demand.  Immersed in the silence and serenity of inward peace, it becomes full of a new power, a new vigor, a new spiritual  strength. When the soul works hand in hand with such a body - one, that is to say, whose state transcends the need  for bodily discipline - it changes its physical labors into spiritual warfare. It promptly begins to perform spiritual  work, and guards in itself the immortal fruits of the noetic paradise, where the rivers of godlike intellection have  their source, and where stands the tree of divine knowledge (cf. Gen. 2:9-10), bearing the fruits of wisdom, joy,  peace, kindness, goodness, long-suffering and ineffable love (cf. Gal. : : 22). Working assiduously in this manner  and guarding what it harvests, the soul goes out of the body and enters into the darkness of mystical theology. It  leaves everything behind, not held back by anything belonging to the visible world; and, united with God, it ceases  from toil and grief.

40. Those engaged in spiritual warfare confront the question of which in us is the more noble: the visible or the  intelligible? If it is the visible, there is nothmg in us more to be preferred or desired than what is corruptible, nor is  the soul more noble than the body. If it is the intelligible then we must recognize that 'God is spirit, and those who  worship Him must worship in spirit and in tnith' (John 4:24). Thus once the soul is firmly established in spiritual  work, freed from the downward pull of the body and rendered entirely spiritual through union with what is superior  to it, then bodily discipline is superfluous.

41. There are three stages on the spiritual path: the purgative, the illuminative and finally the mystical, through  which we are perfected. The first pertains to beginners, the second to those in the intermediate stage, and the third to  the perfect. It is through these three consecutive stages that we ascend, growing in stature according to Christ and  attaining 'mature manhood, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ'(Eph. 4:13).

42. The purgative stage pertains to those newly engaged in spiritual warfare. It is characterized by the rejection of  the materialistic self, liberation from material evil, and investiture with the regenerate self, renewed by the Holy  Spirit (cf. Col. 3:10). It involves hatred of

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materiality, the attenuation of the flesh, the avoidance of whatever incites the mind to passion, repentance for sins  committed, the dissolving with tears of the bitter sediment left by sin, the regulation of our life according to the  generosity of the Spirit, and the cleansing through compunction of the inside of the cup (cf Matt. 23:26) - the  intellect - from every defilement of flesh and spirit (cf. 2 Cor. 7:1), so that it can then be filled with the wine of the  Logos that gladdens the heart of the purified (cf. Ps. 104:15), and can be brought to the King of the celestial powers  for Him to taste. Its final goal is that we should be forged in the fire of ascetic struggle, scouring off the rust of sin,  and steeled and tempered in the water of compunction, so that sword-like we may effectively cut off the passions  and the demons. Reaching this point through long ascetic struggle, we quench the fire within us, muzzle the brute-  like passions, become strong in the Spirit instead of weak (cf. Heb. 11:33-34), and like another Job conquer the  tempter through our patient endurance.

43. The illuminative stage pertains to those who as a result of their struggles have attained the first level of  dispassion. It is characterized by the spiritual knowledge of created beings, the contemplation of their inner essences  and communion in the Holy Spirit. It involves the intellect's purification by divine fire, the noetic opening of the  eyes of the heart, and the birth of the Logos accompanied by sublime intellections of spiritual knowledge. Its final  goal is the elucidation of the nature of created things by the Logos of Wisdom, insight into divine and human affairs,  and the revelation of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Luke 8 : 10). He who has reached this point  through the inner activity of the intellect rides, like another Elijah (cf. 2 Kgs. 2:1 1), in a chariot of fire drawn by the  quatemity of the virtues; and while still living he is raised to the noetic realm and traverses the heavens, since he has  risen above the lowliness of the body.

44. The mystical and perfective stage pertains to those who have already passed through all things and have come  to 'the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Eph. 4:13). It is characterized by the transcending of the  sphere of demonic powers and of all sublunar things, by our attaining to the higher celestial ranks, approaching the  primordial light and plumbing the depths of God through the Spirit. It involves immersing our contemplative  intellect in the inner principles of providence, justice and truth, and also the interpretation of the

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arcane symbolism, parables and obscure passages in Holy Scripture. Its final goal is our initiation into the hidden  mysteries of God and our being filled with ineffable wisdom through union with the Holy Spirit, so that each  

becomes a wise theologian in the great Church of God, illuminating others with the inner meaning of theology. He  who has reached this point through the deepest humility and compunction has, like another Paul, been caught up into  the third heaven of theology, and has heard indescribable things which he who is still dominated by the sense-world  is not permitted to hear (cf. 2 Cor. 12:4); and he experiences unutterable blessings, such as no eye has seen or ear  heard (cf 1 Cor. 2:9). He becomes a steward of God's mysteries (cf 1 Cor. 4:1), for he is God's mouthpiece, and  through words he communicates these mysteries to other people; and in this he finds blessed repose. For he is now  perfected in the perfect God, united in the company of other theologians with the supreme angelic powers of the  Cherubim and Seraphim, in whom dwells the principle of wisdom and spiritual knowledge.

45. Human life is divided into two forms, while its goals are subsumed under three categories. One form is social  and within the world, the other is solitary and transcends the world. Social life is characterized either by self-  restraint or by insatiability; the solitary life is subdivided into three modes: the practice of the virtues, the spiritual  cognition of created beings, and the indwelling of supernatural energy. Social life may be characterized by justice, in  which case it accords with nature, or by injustice, in which case it is contrary to nature. The solitary life either  aspires towards its goal in accordance with monastic precept and rule, and - perfected in a manner that transcends  nature - attains the Infinite; or else it is prompted by presumption and so is balked of its purpose, debases the mind,  and fails to attain perfection.

46. The Spirit is light, life and peace. If consequently you are illumined by the Spirit your own life is imbued with  peace and serenity. Because of this you are filled with the spiritual knowledge of created beings and the wisdom of  the Logos; you are granted the intellect of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 2:16); and you come to know the mysteries of God's  kingdom (cf. Luke 8:10). Thus you penetrate into the depths of the Divine and daily from an untroubled and  illumined heart you utter words of life for the benefit of others; for you yourself are full of benediction, since you  have within you Goodness itself that utters things new and old (cf. Matt. 13:52).

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47. God is Wisdom, and by deifying through the spiritual knowledge of created beings those who live in the  Logos and in Wisdom He unites them with Himself through light and makes them gods by adoption. Since God has  created all things out of nothing through Wisdom, He directs and administers all that is in the world through  Wisdom, and likewise in Wisdom brings about the salvation of all who turn towards Him and draw near to Him.  Similarly, whoever as a result of his purity has been enabled to participate in the highest Wisdom always as an  image of God acts in Wisdom, and in Wisdom carries out the divine will. Withdrawing himself from what is  external and multiple, each day he raises his intelligence anagogically through the knowledge of unutterable things  to a life that is truly angelic. Having unified his own life as far as possible, he unites himself with the angelic powers  that move in a unified way around God, and under their good guidance is elevated to the first Principle and Cause.

48. Once you have united yourself through the higher Wisdom with the angelic powers and have thereby been  united with God, through love of Wisdom you enter into communion with all men, since you have achieved God's  likeness. Through divine power you sever those so disposed from their attachment to what is external and multiple,  and as an imitator of God you concentrate them in spirit, elevating them as you are elevated to a unified life through  wisdom, spiritual knowledge and the illumination of divine mysteries, until they come to contemplate the glory of  the unique primordial light. When you have united them with the essences and orders that surround God, you induct  them - wholly irradiated by the Spirit - to the unity of God Himself

49. Linked to the four cardinal virtues there is a group of eight natural and general virtues. Each cardinal virtue is  accompanied by two virtues from the second category, thus composing a triad. Sound understanding is accompanied  by spiritual knowledge and wise contemplation; justice by discrimination and sympathetic understanding; courage  by patience and firm resolution; self-restraint by purity and virginity. From the throne of the intellect, in His wisdom  God presides like an architect and mystagogue over these twelve virtues divided into triads, and sends out the Logos  to create them within us. From their underlying principles the Logos takes the substance of each of the virtues and  creates in the soul a numinous noetic world. He places sound understanding in the soul like a star-filled sky from  which

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two great luminaries - divine knowledge and contemplation of spiritual essences - irradiate it with their light. He  makes justice its firm foundation, rich like the earth with every kind of sustenance. He puts self-restraint within it as  the air, cooling and refreshing it with a life free from all impurity. He sets courage like a sea around the weakness of  our nature, enabling us to undermine the strongholds and citadels of the enemy. In thus establishing this world the  Logos fills the soul with the power of the Holy Spirit, so as to maintain it in unceasing noetic activity and in  indissoluble and enduring unity. As the Psalmist expresses it, 'By the Logos of the Lord are the heavens established,  and all their power lies in the Spirit that comes from Him' (Ps. 33:6. LXX).

50. Our spiritual growth corresponds to the different stages in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. While we are  infants in need of milk (cf. Heb. 5:12) we are suckled on the milk of the introductory virtues acquired through bodily  discipline; yet this is of but limited profit (cf. 1 Tim. 4:8) to us once we begin to grow in virtue and gradually leave  our infancy behind. When we attain adolescence and are nourished by the solid food of the contemplation of the  spiritual essences of things - for our soul's organs of perception are now well attuned (cf. Heb. 5:14) - it may be said  that we increase in stature and in grace (cf. Luke 2:52), and sit among the elders (cf. Luke 2:46), disclosing to them  things hidden in the depths of darkness (cf. Job 12:22). When we have reached 'mature manhood, the measure of the  stature of the fullness of Christ' (Eph. 4:13), we proclaim to all the meaning of repentance, teach others about the  kingdom of heaven (cf Matt. 4:17) and press on towards the Passion (cf. Luke 12:50). For this is the ultimate goal  of everyone who has reached perfection in the practice of the virtues: after passing through all the different ages of  Christ he finally undergoes the trials that Christ suffered on the cross.

51. So long as we are learning the basic principles of bodily discipline, watching ourselves carefully when we  taste food, or touch things, or gaze at beautiful objects, or listen to music, or smell fragrances, we are under  guardians and trustees; for we are still infants, even though we are also heirs and lords of all that belongs to the  Father. But when the time of such training is over and we have attained dispassion, the Logos is bom within us as a  result of our purity of mind, and He submits to the law of the Spirit, so that He may redeem us who are under the  law of the will of the flesh and may grant us the status of sonship. When this has taken place, the Spirit cries in our  hearts.

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'Abba! Father!', making this status known to us and revealing to us our intimate communion with the Father. And He  abides in us and converses with us as sons and heirs of God through Christ, free from servitude to the senses (cf.  Gal. 4:1-6).

52. For those who like Peter have advanced in faith, and like James have been restored in hope, and like John  have achieved perfection in love, the Lord ascends the high mountain of theology and is transfigured (cf. Matt.  17:1). Through the disclosure and expression of His pure teaching He shines upon them as the sun, and with the  intellections of His unutterable wisdom He becomes radiant with light. They see the Logos standing between Moses  and Elijah - between law and prophecy - promulgating the law and teaching it to them, and at the same time  revealing to them through vision and prophecy the depths and the hidden treasures of wisdom. The Holy Spirit  overshadows them like a luminous cloud, and from the cloud they hear the voice of mystical theology, initiating  them into the mystery of the tri-hypostatic Divinity and saying, 'This is My beloved, the Logos of perfection made  manifest, in whom I take delight. Become for Me perfect sons in the perfect Spirit' (cf . Matt. 17:1-5).

53. A soul that disdains everything unspiritual and that is wholly wounded by love for God undergoes a strange  divine ecstasy. Having clearly grasped the inner nature and essence of created beings, as well as the upshot of  matters human, it cannot bear to be imprisoned or circumscribed by anything. On the contrary, surpassing its own  limitations, rebelling against the fetters of the senses and transcending all creatureliness, it penetrates the divine  darkness of theology in unutterable silence and - to the degree that grace permits - it perceives in the intellective  light of inexpressible wisdom the beauty of Him who truly is. Reverentially entering ever more deeply into  intellective contemplation of that beauty, it savors, in loving awe, the fruits of immortality - the visionary  intellections of the Divine. Never withdrawing from these back into itself, it is able to express perfectly their  magnificence and glory. Activated, as it were, in a strange way by the Spirit, it experiences this admirable passion in  unspeakable joy and silence; yet how it is activated, or what it is that impels it, and is seen by it, and secretly  communicates to it unutterable mysteries, it cannot explain.

54. If you sow tears of compunction in yourself for the sake of righteousness you will gather a harvest of life -  inexpressible joy (cf. Ps.  

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126:5) If you search out the Lord and patiently wait for Him until the firstlings of His righteousness grow in you,  you will reap a rich crop of divine knowledge. The light of wisdom will illuminate you and you will become a lamp  of eternal light illuminating all men. You will not be grudging towards yourself or your fellow beings, hiding under  the cloak of envy the light of wisdom given to you (cf Matt. 5:15): but in the assembly of the faithful you will utter  good words for the edification of many, explaining things hidden since the beginning of the world - all that you have  heard from above, prompted by the divine Spirit, all that you have come to understand through the contemplation of  the inner nature of created beings, and all that your fathers have told you (cf. Ps. 78:2-3. LXX).

55. The practice of God's commandments will lead the spiritual contestant to such heights that on the day when  he becomes perfect in virtue he will be filled with quiet delight and will reign with a pure mind in Zion. The  mountains - the spiritual principles of the virtues - will flow with milk, nourishing him as he reposes in the sanctuary  of dispassion, and all the stream-beds of Judah - his faith and spiritual knowledge - will flow with water, with  doctrines, parables and the arcane symbols of things divine. As from the house of God a fountain of ineffable  wisdom will flow from his heart and will water the valley of dry reeds - all those, that is to say, who have been  withered by the aridity and heat of the passions (cf. Joel 3:18. LXX). Then he will experience in himself the true  fulfillment of the Lord's words, 'Rivers of living water will flow from the heart of him who believes in Me' (John  7:38).

56. For those who fear Me, says God, the Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. They will go  forth from the prison-house of the passions and, loosed from the bonds of sin, they will leap like calves. On the day  when God restores them they will tread the wicked and the demons under their feet like ashes; for they will be  exalted by all the virtues and because of their wisdom and spiritual knowledge they will be made perfect through  communion in the Spirit (cf Mai. 4:2-3).

57. If on the mountain above the plain of this world and within the Church of Christ you raise the standard of new  spiritual knowledge and cry aloud, as the prophet says (cf. Isa. 13:2), with the wisdom given to you by God,  exhorting and teaching your brethren - opening their mind to the divine Scriptures so that they understand the

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wonderful gifts of God, and encouraging them to practice His commandments - do not fear those who envy you the  power of your words and distort every text of divine Scripture; for they are people swept empty and ready to be  occupied by the demons (cf Matt. 12:44). God will write what you say in the book of the living (cf. Rev. 3:5) and  no harm will befall you from such men, just as no harm befell Peter from Simon Magus (cf. Acts 8:9-24). On the  contrary, when you see such people trying to put obstacles in your way, you should say with the prophet: 'Behold,  my God is my salvation and 1 will trust in Him; 1 will be saved by Him and will not be afraid; for the Lord is my  glory and my praise, and He has become my salvation; and I shall not cease proclaiming His glorious deeds  throughout the world' (cf Isa. 12:2,4. LXX).

58. When you perceive that the passions are no longer active within you, and when because of your humility tears  of compunction flow from your eyes, then you must know that the kingdom of God has come upon you and that you  have become pregnant with the Holy Spirit. And when you perceive the Spirit moving and speaking in your heart,  inciting you to proclaim in the great congregation the saving power and truth of God (cf. Ps. 40:10), do not keep  your lips sealed for fear of provoking the envy of bigoted men; but as Isaiah counsels (cf. Isa. 30:8), sit and write on  a tablet, what the Spirit says to you, so that it may endure in times to come and for ever. For the envious are a  rebellious people, lying sons who cannot be trusted (cf. Isa. 30:9). They do not want to be told that the Gospel is still  effective and makes us friends of God and prophets. On the contrary, they say to the prophets and teachers of the  Church: 'Do not proclaim God's wisdom to us'; and to the visionaries who perceive the spiritual essences of things,  they say, 'Do not tell us about that, but speak and proclaim to us another deceit such as the world loves, and free us  from the prophecy of Israel' (cf. Isa. 30: 10). Pay no attention to their malice and their words; for even the deaf will  eventually hear your message, divinely inspired as it is for the profit of many, and those blinded by life's opacity and  the fog of sin will see the light of your words. The poor in spirit will exult in them, and those in despair will be filled  with gladness; through your words those spiritually astray will attain understanding, those who revile you will learn  obedience to the utterances of the Spirit, and inarticulate tongues will be taught to speak of peace (cf. Isa. 29:18-19,  24. LXX).

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59. Blessed is he, says Isaiah, who sows the seeds of his teaching in Zion - that is, in the Church of God - and  who begets spiritual children in the heavenly Jerusalem of the firstborn (cf Isa. 31:9. LXX). For according to  Scripture such a man may conceal his words for a while, and may himself be hidden as if by flowing water; but in  the end he will be revealed in Zion - in the Church of the faithful - as a glorious river flowing in a land thirsty for the  waters of his wisdom. Then those beguiled by the envious will listen to his words, the heart of those spiritually weak  will give heed, and no longer will the servants of envy enjoin silence when in his devotion he gives good counsel,  instead of declaiming the inanities of the wise fools of this world. For his heart has not been occupied with empty  thoughts, with ways of doing evil and telling lies in God's sight, thus misleading hungry souls and leaving the souls  of the thirsty unsatisfied (cf. Isa. 32:2-6. LXX). For this reason his words will endure and many will profit from  them, even though the spiteful and malicious do not believe this to be so.

60. He who dwells in a cave high up on a great rock will be sated with the bread of spiritual knowledge and made  drunk with the cup of wisdom, and hence his counsel wiU be trustworthy. He wiU see a king arrayed in glory and he  will gaze on a distant land. His soul will meditate on wisdom and he will proclaim to all men the eternal abode that  embraces all and everything.

6 1 . The Lord's teaching is heard by all who fear Him; He gives them an ear with which to hear, and an instructed  tongue so that they know when they too must speak (cf. Isa. 50:4-5. LXX). Who but He sets at naught the prudent  and the wise of this world and shows their wisdom to be folly, yet confirms the words of His servants (cf Isa. 44:25-  26. LXX)? He it is that in His glory does new and astonishing things: He makes a highway of humility and  gentleness in the barren and arid heart, and opens rivers of ineffable wisdom in the parched and desiccated mind,  giving water to the chosen people that He made His own, so that they may declare His virtues (cf. Isa. 43: 20-21.  LXX). He marches at the head of those who love and fear Him, razes the mountains of the passions, shatters the  brazen gates of ignorance, and opens the doors of the knowledge of God, revealing to them its obscure, secret and  invisible treasures, so that they may know that He is the Lord their God, who calls them by their name, 'Israel' (cf.  Isa. 45:1-3. LXX).

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quells its waves? It is the Lord of hosts, who delivers those that love Him from the danger of sin and pacifies the  turbulence of their thoughts, who puts His words into their mouth (cf. Jer. 1:9) and protects them under the shadow  of His hands - the shadow within which He established the heaven and made firm the earth. He it is who gives to  those who fear Him an instructed tongue (cf. Isa. 50:4) and an understanding ear, so that they may hear His voice  and proclaim His commandments to the house of Jacob, to the Church of the faithful. Those who lack eyes to see the  rays of the Sun of righteousness, and ears to hear of God's glory, are sunk in the darkness of total ignorance, of  empty hope and vain words. Not one of them speaks justly or judges truly; for they have put their trust in vanities  and their words are vacuous. They conceive envy and beget spite and malice (cf. Isa. 59:4. LXX), for their ears are  obdurate and deaf. On account of this they revile the word of God's knowledge and refuse to listen to it.

63. What wisdom is there in those filled with pangs of envy against their fellow beings? By what right do the  malicious claim, in the words of Jeremiah, that 'we are wise and the law of the Lord is with us' (Jer. 8:8), when they  are consumed with jealousy against those who have received the grace of the Spirit in the form of wisdom and  divine knowledge? But the false knowledge of the scribes and the wise men of this world - of those who have lost  the path of trae knowledge - is altogether valueless. For this reason the worldly-wise, void of the wisdom of the  Paraclete, founder in confusion: they see the sons of fishermen rich in the wisdom of God and they quail at the  power of their words; but at the same time they are entangled in the nets of their own concepts and reasoning, for  they have rejected true wisdom and truly divine knowledge.

64. Why are these creatures of malice consumed with jealousy against those rich in the grace of the Spirit, against  those blessed with a tongue of fire hke the pen of a ready scribe (of. Ps. 45: 1)? Have they not spumed the source of  divine wisdom? Had they walked in the way of God, they would have dwelt in the peace of dispassion for ever.  They would have learnt where they could find sound understanding, strength, clear judgment, spiritual knowledge of  created beings, length of days, life, light for the eyes and wisdom yoked with peace. They would have learnt who  finds the dwelling-place of Wisdom and who enters into her storehouses (cf Bar. 3:13-15), and how God issues a  command through the prophet to those initiated into His  v[V4] 160

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teaching, and says, 'Let the prophet to whom things have been revealed in sleep declare his vision, and having heard  My teaching let him proclaim it faithfully' (cf. Jer. 23:28); as He also says, 'Write in a book all the words I have  spoken to you' (Jer. 37:2. LXX). Had they themselves chosen this path, they would not be consumed with jealousy  against those who do choose it.

65. Yet if the Ethiopian can change his skin or the leopard his spots (cf. Jer. 13:23), these same bantlings of  malice can also speak and devise what seems good, well versed as they are in evil. With the heel they trip up their  fellow men, their ways being ways of treachery and deception, even with regard to their friends. They lie because  lying and quackery are what they are trained in (cf. Jer. 9:4-5. LXX). So if on account of your intelligence and  spiritual knowledge you become a butt for their jealousy and deceit, you must be wary: appeal to God in the words  of Jeremiah, saying, '0 Lord, remember me and visit me and free me from those who persecute me with their malice.  Although it is Thy will to test me for a long time, in Thy forbearance do not reject me. See how those who repudiate  Thy sacred knowledge have derided me. Consume them in their jealousy, and Thy teaching will be a joy to me and  the delight of my heart. I have not sat in the company of those who spurn Thy knowledge, but have feared the  presence of Thy hand, and sat alone because I was filled with bitterness by their envy.' When you say this you will  hear the response:' "This I know well. But if you set him who has gone astray on his right path, 1 will re-establish  you among My friends; you will stand before Me; and if you extract what is precious from what is vile, you will be  as My mouth. I will deliver you from these malicious people who plague you", says the Lord God of Israel' (cf. Jer.  15:15-21. LXX).

66. Let these malicious sages hear the conclusion of the whole matter (cf. Eccles. 12:13). By their labors were  God's Nazintes cleansed cleaner than snow; their lives were whiter than milk, their wisdom was more lambent than  the sapphire (cf. Lam. 4:7. LXX), their words purer than a pearl. Those who delight in worldly knowledge have been  utterly destroyed by the departure of the Spirit. Those nourished on profane wisdom are swathed in the dung of  ignorance (cf. Lam. 4:5. LXX): they are shackled in fetters, their tongue is pinioned to their larynx and they are  mute. For they have rejected the true wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit, not wanting to attain it through  ascetic labor.  

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67. God who fells the lofty tree and raises the lowly tree, who desiccates green wood and make dry wood burgeon  (cf. Ezek. 17:24), is also the God who opens the mouth of His servants in the midst of a great assembly (cf. Ezek.  29:21. LXX), and enables them to proclaim the Gospel with full power (cf. Ps. 68:12. LXX). For wisdom,  understanding and strength are His; and just as He changes times and seasons, so He gives to souls that seek Him  and desire Him sovereignty over the passions; He converts them from one life to another, bestowing wisdom on the  wise in spirit and sound understanding on those endowed with intelligence. He reveals deep hidden things to those  who explore His depths and initiates them into the meaning concealed in obscure symbolism. For the light of  wisdom and spiritual knowledge dwells in Him and He gives it to whom He wishes (cf. Dan. 2:21-22).

68. If you patiently cany out the commandments in accordance with your outer and your inner self, and look only  to the glory of God, you will be given the honor of heavenly knowledge, peace of soul and incorruptibility; for you  carry out, and do not simply hear, the law of grace (cf. Jas. 1 :25). God will not condemn your knowledge, since your  actions will bear witness to it. On the contrary. He will glorify it through the words of knowledge spoken by those  who by virtue of His wisdom shine as beacons in the Church of the faithful; for God is 'impartial' (Rom. 2:11). If on  the other hand your endeavors are prompted by selfish ambition and you reject the teachings of those inspired by the  Holy Spirit, trusting in your own understanding and in the deceptive words of those clad merely in the outward  forms of piety and incited by a vainglorious and hedonistic spirit, then you will be filled with affliction and anguish,  with envy, anger and animosity (cf. Rom. 2:8-9). Such will be the immediate reward for your delusion, and such at  your death - when God judges the secrets of men and renders to each according to his actions (cf Rom. 2:6) - will be  the sentence for your mutually self-accusing, self-defending thoughts.

69. 'He is not a real Jew who is one outwardly,' says St Paul, 'nor is true circumcision something external and  physical; he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal'  (Rom. 2:28-29). Similarly, you are not perfect in wisdom and spiritual knowledge because you give an outward and  voluble appearance of being so; and you are proficient in virtue, not

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because you adopt extreme forms of bodily and outward ascetic practice, but because you dedicate yourself to  hidden spiritual work. You are wise and perfect in knowledge when you speak from a pure unsullied heart through  the Spirit of God, not when you repeat things according to the letter. Then 'you will receive praise not from men but  from God' (Rom. 2:29), since you will be unknown to men or else envied by them, and beloved and known only by  God and those inspired by God's Spirit.

70. If carrying out the law does not make you pure in the sight of God (cf. Gal. 2:16), then neither will ascetic  struggle and labor alone perfect you in God's sight. We do indeed receive our grounding in virtue and check the  activity of the passions through ascetic practice; but we are not initiated into the fullness of Christ through that  alone. What, then, brings us to perfection? An ingrained faith in God, the 'faith that makes real the things for which  we hope' (Heb. 11:1), the faith whereby Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain and was commended as  righteous (cf. Heb. 1 1 :4), and whereby Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out and sojourn in the promised  land (cf. Heb. 1 1:8). It is such faith that fills those assiduous in the search for truth with great aspiration for the  exalted gifts of God, and leads them to the spiritual knowledge of created beings; and it pours into their hearts the  inexhaustible treasures of the Spirit, enabling them to bring thence new and old mysteries of God (cf. Matt. 13:52)  and to reveal them to the needy. He who is blessed with such faith is initiated by love into the knowledge of God,  and has entered into God's rest, having ceased from all his labors as God did from His (cf. Heb. 4:10).

71. If God once swore to non-believers that they would never enter into His rest - and it was on account of their  lack of faith that they could not do so (cf. Heb. 3:18-19) - how can mere bodily discipline, in the absence of faith,  enable us to enter the rest of dispassion and the perfection of spiritual knowledge? We do in fact see many who  because of this are unable to enter and to rest from their labors. We must therefore be wary lest we possess an evil,  unbelieving heart (cf. Heb. 3:12), and because of this are thwarted of rest and perfection, in spite of our great: labors.  Otherwise we will be ceaselessly involved in the toils of the ascetic life and will always eat the bread of sorrow (cf .  Ps. 127 : 2). If a sabbath rest awaits us - the rest of dispassion and of perfect gnosis - let us through faith strive to  enter into it, and not fall

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short of it because of our unbelief in the same way as those mentioned in the Bible (cf Heb. 4:9-1 1).

72. Since we are endowed with senses, intelligence and intellection, we too ought to offer a tithe from ourselves  to God (cf. Heb. 7:2). As beings endowed with senses we ought to perceive sensory things in the right way, through  their beauty elevating ourselves to the Creator and referring back to Him our true knowledge of them. As intelligent  beings we ought to speak correctly about divine and human matters. As noetic beings we ought unerringly to  apprehend what pertains to God and eternal life, to the kingdom of heaven and the mysteries of the Spirit hidden  within it. In this way how we perceive, speak and apprehend will conform to God, and will be genuinely trae and  divine, constituting a sacred offering to God.

75. The tithe that we offer to God is in the tme sense the soul's Passover - its passing beyond, that is to say, every  passion-embroiled state and all mindless sense-perception. In this Passover the Logos is offered up in the  contemplation of the spiritual essences of created beings; He is eaten in the bread of spiritual knowledge; and His  precious blood is drunk in the chalice of ineffable wisdom. Thus he who has fed upon and celebrated this Passover  makes a sacred offering within himself of the Lamb who effaces the world's sin (cf John 1:29); and he will no  longer die but, in the Lord's words, 'will live eternally' (John 6:58).

74. If you have been raised above dead actions you are resurrected with Christ. And if you are resurrected with  Christ through spiritual knowledge, and Christ no longer dies, then you will not be overcome by the death of  ignorance. For the death which you have now died to sin, prompted by an impulse in accordance with nature, you  have died once for all; but the life you now live you live in God through the freedom of the Holy Spirit, who has  raised you above the dead actions of sin (cf Rom. 6:9-11). Thus you will no longer live according to the flesh, in a  fallen worldly state, for you will have died to the mortal members of your body and to worldly matters. On the  contrary, Christ will live in you (cf. Gal. 2:20), for you will be guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, not enslaved  to the law of your outer unregenerate self; and your members will be weapons of righteousness consecrated to God  theFather(cf Rom. 6:13).

75. He who has freed his members from servitude to the passions, and has consecrated them to the service of  righteousness

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(cf. Rom. 6:19), has risen above the law of his fallen self and has begun to share in the sanctification of the Holy  Spirit. Sin will no longer dominate him, since he is free in the freedom and the law of the Spirit. Serving  righteousness has an effect altogether different from that of servitude to sin. The latter inevitably leads to the  destruction of the soul's noetic power, while the former leads to the eternal life hidden in Christ Jesus our Lord (cf.  Col. 3:3).

76. So long as you live according to your fallen impulses you are dominated by your fallen mortal self. But once  you die to the world, you are set free from this domination (cf. Rom. 7:2). We cannot die to the world unless we die  to the mortal aspects of ourselves. We die to these when we become participants in the Holy Spirit. We know  ourselves to be participants in the Holy Spirit when we offer to God fruits worthy of the Spirit: love for God with all  our soul and genuine love for our fellow beings; joy of heart issuing from a clear conscience; peace of soul as a  result of dispassion and humility; generosity in our thoughts, long-suffering in affliction and times of trial, kindness  and restraint in our behavior, deep-rooted unwavering faith in God, gentleness springing from humble-mmdedness  and compunction, and complete control of the senses. When we bear such truits for God, we escape from the  domination of our mortal self; and there is no law condemning and punishing us for the death-purveying fruits we  produced while still living in an unregenerate state. Once we have risen with Christ above dead actions the freedom  of the Spirit releases us from the law of our fallen self (cf. Rom. 7:4-6).

77. Those who, having passed through the 'washing of regeneration' (Tit. 3:4), possess the firstfruits of the Spirit,  and who preserve them unimpaired, are deeply afflicted by the burden of their fallen self; and they long for their  adoption as sons through the full gift of the Paraclete, so that their body may be freed from servitude to corruption  (cf. Rom. 8:23). Indeed, the Spirit helps them in their natural weaknesses and intercedes for them 'with sighs too  deep for words' (Rom. 8:26); for they have conformed their will to God and are filled with the hope of experiencing  in their mortal flesh the 'revelation of the sons of God' (Rom. 8:19), the life-quickening death of Jesus (cf. 2 Cor.  4:10). In this way they too will be called sons of God, for they will be guided by the Holy Spirit, will be freed from  servitude to the fallen self, and will attain 'the glorious liberty of the children of God' (Rom. 8:21), for

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whom, since they love God, 'all things work together for their good' (Rom. 8:28).

78. Divine Scripture is to be interpreted spiritually and the treasures it contains are revealed only through the  Holy Spirit to the spiritual. Hence the unspiritual man cannot receive the revelation of these treasures (cf 1 Cor.  2:14). The ceaseless flow of his own thoughts makes it impossible for him to understand or listen to anything said by  someone else. For he lacks the Spirit of God, that searches the depths of God (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10) and knows the things  of God. He possesses only the material spirit of the world, full of jealousy and envy, of strife and discord; and for  this reason he thinks it foolish to enquire into the sense and meaning of the written word. Unable to understand that  everything in divine Scripture concerning things divine and human is to be interpreted spiritually, he mocks those  who do interpret it in this way. Calling such people not 'spiritual', or 'guided by the Spirit', but 'anagogical', he twists  and distorts their words and their divine intellections as much as he can, like the notorious Demas (cf. 2 Tim. 4:10).  The spiritual man does not behave in this manner; on the contrary, inspired by the Holy Spirit, he discerns all things,  but he himself cannot be called to account by anyone. For he has the intellect of Christ, and that no one can teach  (cf 1 Cor. 2:15-16).

79. Since the day of judgment will be one of fire, what each of us has done, as St Paul says, will be tested by fire  (cf . 1 Cor. 3:13). Thus, if what we have built up is of an incorruptible nature, it will not be destroyed by fire; and not  only will it not be consumed, but it will be made radiant, totally purified of whatever small amount of filth may  adhere to it. But if the work with which we have burdened ourselves consists of corruptible matter, it will be  consumed and burnt up and we will be left destitute in the midst of the fire (cf 1 Cor. 3:13-15). Incorruptible and  imperishable actions are the following: tears of repentance, acts of charity, compassion, prayer, humility, faith, hope,  love and whatever else is done in a spirit of devotion. Even while we are still alive such actions help to build us up  into a holy temple of God (cf. Eph. 2:21-22), while when we die they accompany us and remain incorruptibly with  us for ever. The actions which are consumed by the fire are well known to all: self-indulgence, vainglory, avarice,  hatred, envy, theft, drunkenness, abusiveness, censoriousness, and anything else of a base nature to which our  appetites or mcensive  

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power prompts us to give bodily expression. Such actions pollute us even while we are still living and consumed by  the fire of desire; and when we are wrenched away from the body, they accompany us but do not survive. On the  contrary, they are destroyed and leave their perpetrator in the midst of the fire, to be punished immortally for all  eternity.

80. If through humility and prayer you have been initiated into the spiritual knowledge of God, this means that  you are known by God and enriched by Him with an authentic knowledge of His supernatural mysteries. If you are  tainted with conceit, you have not been so initiated, but are governed by the spirit of this material world. Thus, even  if you imagine that you know something, in fact you know nothing about things divine in the way you ought to (cf 1  Cor. 8:2). If, however, you love God and regard nothing as more precious than love for God and for your fellow  being, you will also know the depths of God and the mysteries of His kingdom in the way that someone inspired by  the Holy Spirit must know them. And you are known by God (cf. 1 Cor. 8:3), for you are a true worker in the  paradise of His Church, out of love doing God's will - that is to say, converting others, making the unworthy worthy  through the understanding given you by the Holy Spirit, and keeping your actions inviolate through humility and  compunction.

81. All of us were baptized into Christ through water and the Holy Spirit, and we all eat the same spiritual food  and drink the same spiritual drink; yet, though this food and drink are Christ Himself, God finds no delight in most  of us (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4-5). For many of those faithful and diligent in ascetic practice and bodily discipline have  mortified and emaciated their bodies; but because they lacked the compunction that comes from a contrite and  virtuous state of mind, and the compassion that springs from love for their fellow beings as well as for themselves,  they have remained bereft of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, remote from the spiritual knowledge of God. Their  mind's womb is sterile and their intelligence without salt or illumination.

82. What the Logos seeks from the Nazintes is not simply to ascend Mount Sinai through ascetic practice or to be  purified before ascending and to wash their clothes and to abstain from intercourse with a woman (cf. Exod. 19:14-  1 5). It is also to see, not the rearward parts of God (cf. Exod. 33 :23), but God Himself in His glory rejoicing in them,  bestowing on them the tables of spiritual

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knowledge, and sending them out to instiTict His people (cf. Exod. 32:1 5).  

83. The Logos does not take all His servants and disciples with Him when He reveals His hidden and greater  mysteries; He takes only those to whom an ear has been given and whose eye has been opened and in whom a new  tongue has been trained to speak clearly. Taking such people with Him and separating them from the others - even  though the latter are likewise His disciples - He ascends Mount Tabor, the mountain of contemplation, and is  transfigured before them (cf. Matt. 17:2). He does not yet initiate them into the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,  but shows them the glory and resplendence of the Divinity. And through the light that He gives He makes their life  and intelligence shine like the sun in the midst of the Church of the faithful. He transforms their intellections into the  whiteness and purity of the brightest light, and puts in them His own intellect, and sends them out to proclaim things  new and old (cf. Matt. 13:52) for the edification of His Church.

84. Many have cultivated their own fields with great diligence and have sown pure seed in them, cutting away the  thorn-bushes and burning the thistles on the fire of repentance; but because God did not water these fields with the  compunction-bom rain of the Holy Spirit, they did not yield anything. Parched as they were they did not bring forth  the rich grain of the knowledge of God. Thus even if they did not perish through a total dearth of the divine Logos,  they certainly died poor in the knowledge of God and with hands empty, having provided themselves with but scant  nourishment for the divine banquet.

85. When someone says something that edifies his fellow beings, he speaks out of the goodness stored up in his  heart, since he himself is good, as the Lord confirms (cf. Luke 6:45). No one can devote himself to theology and  speak about what pertains to God unless so empowered by the Holy Spirit; and no one when inspired by the Spirit of  God says anything contrary to faith in Christ (cf. ICor. 12:3). But he says only what is edifying, only what leads  others to God and His kingdom and restores them to their original nobility, bringing them to salvation and uniting  them to God. And if 'the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each to the degree that is profitable' (1 Cor. 12:7), this  means that anyone enriched with the wisdom of God and blessed with spiritual knowledge is inspired by the divine  Spirit and is a storehouse of the inexhaustible treasures of God.

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86. No one baptized into Christ and believing in Him is left without a share in the grace of the Spirit, so long as  he has not succumbed to any diabolic influence and defiled his faith with evil actions, or does not live slothfuUy and  dissolutely. Provided he has preserved unextmguished the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit, which he received from holy  baptism, or, if he has extinguished them, has rekindled them through acts of righteousness, he cannot but receive  from God the fullness of this grace. He may after worthily engaging in spiritual combat be blessed through the  plenitude of the Spirit with the consciousness of God's wisdom and so become a teacher in the Church; or he may  through the same Spirit be given knowledge of God's mysteries and so come to understand the mysteries of the  kingdom of heaven; or from the same Spirit he may acquire deep-rooted faith in God's promises, as Abraham did  (cf Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3). He may receive the gift of healing, so that he can cure diseases; or of spiritual power, so  that he can expel demons and perform miracles; or of prophecy, so that he can foresee and predict things of the  future; or of the ability to distinguish between spirits, so that he can discern who is speaking in the Spirit of God and  who is not; or of the interpretation of various tongues, or of helping the weary, or of governing God's flocks and His  people, or of love for all men and the gifts of grace that go with it, long-suffering, kindness and the rest (cf. 1 Cor.  12:8-10, 28). If you are bereft of all these qualities, there is no way in which I can call you a believer or number you  among those who have 'clothed themselves in Christ' through divine baptism (cf. Gal. 3:27).

87. If you possess love, you feel no jealousy or envy. You are not boastful, carried away by reckless pride. Nor do  you put on airs with anyone. Nor do you act shamefully towards your fellow beings. You seek, not simply what is to  your own advantage, but what also benefits your fellow beings. You are not quickly provoked by those who are  angry with you. You are not resentful if wrong is done to you, nor do you rejoice if your friends act unjustly, though  you do rejoice with them over the truth of their righteousness. You put up with disagreeable eventualities. You  believe all things in simplicity and innocence, and hope to receive everything promised to us by God. You patiently  endure all trials, never rendering evil for evil. And, laborer of love that you are, you never waver in your love for  your fellow beings (cf. 1 Cor. 13:4-8).

88. Of those granted the grace of the Holy Spirit in the form of various gifts, some are still immature and  imperfect with regard to

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these gifts, while others are mature and perfect, enjoying them in their fullness. The first, by increasing their efforts  to practice the divine commandments, augment the spiritual gifts they have received so that they are filled with yet  greater gifts, leaving those of immaturity behind. The mature and the perfect, having attained the summit of God's  love and knowledge, cease from exercising partial gifts, whether of prophecy, or of distinguishing between spirits,  or of helping, or of governing, and so on (cf 1 Cor. 12:28). Once you have entered the palace of love you no longer  know in part the God who is love (cf. 1 Cor. 13:9) but, conversing with Him face to face, you understand Him fully  even as you yourself are fully understood by Him (cf . 1 Cor. 13:12).

89. If in your aspiration for spiritual gifts you have pursued and laid hold of love, you cannot content yourself  with praying and reading solely for your own edification. If when you pray and psalmodize you speak to God in  private you edify yourself, as St Paul says. But once you have laid hold of love you feel impelled to prophesy for the  edification of God's Church (cf. 1 Cor. 14:2-4), that is, to teach your fellow men how to practice the commandments  of God and how they must endeavor to conform to God's will. For of what benefit can it be to others if, while  charged with their guidance, you always converse with yourself and God alone through prayer and psalmody, and do  not also speak to those in your charge, whether through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, or out of knowledge of the  mysteries of God, or by exercising the prophetic gift of foresight, or by teaching the wisdom of God (cf 1 Cor.  14:6)? For which of your disciples will prepare for battle against the passions and the demons (cf. 1 Cor. 14:8) if he  does not receive clear instructions from you either in writing or by word of mouth? Truly, if it is not in order to edify  his flock that the shepherd seeks to be richly endowed with the grace of teaching and the knowledge of the Spirit, he  lacks fervor in his quest for God's gifts. By merely praying and psalmodizing inwardly with your tongue - that is, by  praying in the soul - you edify yourself, but your intellect is unproductive (cf. 1 Cor. 14:14), for you do not prophesy  with the language of sacred teaching or edify God's Church. If Paul, who of all men was the most closely united  with God through prayer, would have rather spoken from his fertile intellect five words in church for the instruction  of others than ten thousand words of psalmody in private (cf . 1 Cor. 14:19), surely those who have responsibility for  others  

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have strayed from the path of love if they limit the shepherd's ministry solely to psalmody and reading.

90. He who has given us being by miraculously uniting and sustaining the two contrary aspects of our nature,  material substratum and spiritual essence, has also given us the capacity for well-being, which we can realize by  means of His wisdom and spiritual knowledge. Thus through spiritual knowledge we may perceive the hidden  treasures of the kingdom of heaven that He discloses to us, and through wisdom we may make known to our fellow-  men the riches of His supernal goodness and the blessings of eternal life which He has prepared for the joy of those  who love Him (cf. 1 Cor. 2:9).

91. He who has risen above the threats and promises of the three laws and has entered into the life which is not  subject to law has himself become the law of the Church and is not ruled by law. The life that is free is not subject to  law, and therefore transcends all physical necessity and change. He who has attained such a life is as if liberated  from his fallen unregenerate self, and through his participation in the Spirit he becomes incandescent. Purged of all  within him that is imperfect (cf. 1 Cor. 13:9-10), he is united wholly with Christ, who transcends all nature.

92. If you embrace the knowledge of the primordial Intellect, who is the origin and consummation of all things,  infinite in Himself, and existing both within all things and outside them, then you will know how to live as a solitary  either by yourself or with other solitaries. For you will suffer no loss of perfection through being on your own, and  no loss of solitude through being with others. On the contrary, you will be the same everywhere and alone among  all. You will initiate in others their movement towards a life of solitude and will embody the highest perfection of  virtue that they set before themselves.

93. The unconfused union and conjunction of soul and body constitutes, when maintained in harmony, a single  reality, whether on the visible level or in their inner being. When not harmonious, there is civil war in which each  side desires victory. But when the intelligence takes control, it at once puts an end to the jealousy and establishes  concord, conforming the entire soul-body reality to its inner being and the Spirit.

94. Of the three main aspects of our being, the first rules the others and is not ruled by them, the second both rules  and is ruled, the third does not rule but is ruled. Thus when the ruling aspect falls under the  

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domination of either of those aspects which are ruled, that which is by nature free becomes the servant of what are  by nature servants; it loses its rightful pre-eminence and nature, and this provokes great discord among the three  leading powers of the soul. So long as there is this discord among them, all things are not yet made subject to the  divine Logos (cf. Heb. 2:8). But when the ruling aspect governs the others and brings them under its own direction  and control, then the discordant elements, united into one and becoming concordant, are led peacefully to God. And  when all is subjected to the Logos, He delivers the kingdom to God the Father (cf 1 Cor. 15: 24).

95. When the five senses are subject to the four principal virtues and maintain their obedience, they enable the  body, composed of the four elements, tranquilly to fulfill the round of life. When the body is thus disposed, the  soul's powers are not in a state of discord; the passible aspect of the appetitive and mcensive powers is united with  the power of the intelligence, and the intellect assumes its natural sovereignty. It makes the four principal virtues its  chariot and the five subservient senses its seat. And once it has subdued the imperious and unregenerate self, the  intellect is seized and borne heavenward in its four-horsed chariot and, led before the King of the ages, is crowned  with the crow n of victory and rests from its long endeavor.

96. For those who with the support of the Spirit have entered the fullness of contemplation, a chalice of wine is  made ready, and bread from a royal banquet is set before them. A throne is prepared for their repose and silver for  their wealth. Close at hand is a treasure-house of pearls and precious stones, and untold riches are bestowed upon  them. Because of the promptness with which they act, their ascetic life renders them visionary and prepares them to  be brought into the presence, not of sluggards, but of the King.

97. Is the kingdom of heaven already given in this life to all those advanced on the spiritual way, or is it given to  them after the dissolution of the body? If in this life, our victory is unassailable, our joy inexpressible, and our path  to paradise unimpeded: we are directly present in the divine East (cf. Gen. 2:8). But if it is given only after death and  dissolution, we should ask that our departure from this life may take place without fear; we should learn what the  kingdom of heaven is, what the kingdom of God is, and what paradise is, and how the one differs from the other;  also what the nature of time is in each of them, and whether we enter all three, and how and when and after

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how much time. If you enter the first while you are still alive and in the flesh you will not fail to enter the other two.  

98. The world above is as yet incomplete, and awaits its fulfillment from the first-bom of Israel - from those who  see God; for it receives its completion from those who attain the knowledge of God. Once it is complete, and has  brought to an end the lower world of believers and unbelievers, it constitutes a single congregation, allocating to  each member his appointed place, and separating out what cannot be reconciled. It draws to itself the origins and  ends of all other worlds and, itself unlimited, it sets bounds to them. It is not affected or limited by any other  principle, as something that is under constraint. For it is ever-active, in such a way that it is never self -confined or  extended beyond its own limits. It is the sabbath rest of other worlds and of every other principle and activity.

99. The nine heavenly powers sing hymns of praise that have a threefold structure, as they stand in threefold rank  before the Trinity, in awe celebrating their liturgy and glorifying God. Those who come first - immediately below  Him who is the Source and Cause of all things and from whom they take their origin - are the initiators of the hymns  and are named thrones. Cherubim and Seraphim. They are characterized by a fiery wisdom and a knowledge of  heavenly things, and their supreme accomplishment is the godly hymn of El, as the Divinity is called in Hebrew.

Those in the middle rank, encircling God between the first triad and the last, are the authorities, dominions and  powers. They are characterized by their ordering of great events, their performance of wondrous deeds and working  of miracles, and their supreme accomplishment is the Trisagion: Holy, Holy, Holy (cf Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). Those  nearest to us, superior to us but below the more exalted ranks, are the principalities, archangels and angels.

They are  characterized by their ministrative function, and their supreme accomplishment is the sacred hymn Alleluia (cf. Rev.  19:1). When our intelligence is perfected through the practice of the virtues and is elevated through the knowledge  and wisdom of the Spirit and by the divine fire, it is assimilated to these heavenly powers through the gifts of God,  as by virtue of its purity it draws towards itself the particular characteristic of each of them. We are assimilated to  the third rank through the ministration and performance of God's commandments.






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We are assimilated to the second rank through our compassion and solidarity with our fellow-men, as well as
through our ordering of matters great and divine, and through the activities of the Spirit. We are assimilated to the
first rank through the fiery wisdom of the Logos and through knowledge of divine and human affairs. Perfected in
this way, and rewarded with the gifts that belong by nature to the heavenly powers, our intelligence is united
through them with the God of the Decad, for it offers to Him from its own being the finest of all the offerings that
can be made by the tenth rank.


100. God is both Monad and Triad; He begins with the Monad and, as Decad, He completes Himself through a
cyclic movement. Thus




[V4] 174


Nikitas Stithatos


On Spiritual Knowledge,

Love and the Perfection of Living:


One Hundred Texts


He contains within Himself the origins and ends of all things. He is outside everything, since He transcends all
things. To be within Him you must embrace the inner essences and possess a spiritual knowledge of created beings.
Then while standing outside all things you will dwell within all things and know their origins and ends; for you will
have attained a spiritual union with the Father through the Logos and will have been perfected in the Spirit. May the
sovereignty of this all-perfect, indivisible and coessential Trinity, worshipped in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and
glorified in one nature, kingdom and power of Divinity, prevail throughout the ages. Amen.



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Ποιοι Απαιτούν την Ψυχή του Άφρονα Πλούσιου?
Ένας πλούσιος άνθρωπος σκέφτηκε: «Θα επενδύσω για να να μην μου λείψει τίποτα και θα απολαύσω τα πάντα.» Αλλά άκουσε μια φωνή: «Άμυαλε! τη νύχτα αυτή, απαιτούν να σου πάρουν την ψυχή.". Ποιοι? Λουκ. Luke 12:20. Σίγουρα όχι άγγελοι, αλλά δαίμονες. Οι άγγελοι δεν απαιτούν αλλά συνοδεύουν/μεταφέρουν. Λουκ. Luke 16:22.
Ποιοι Απαιτούν την Ψυχή του Άφρονα Πλούσιου?
Ησυχαστική ζωή - Μέθοδος και κανόνας ακριβής
A άγιος Νείλος λέει: «Αν έχεις πόθο να προσευχηθείς, απαρνήσου τα πάντα, για να κληρονομήσεις το παν. Προσευχή είναι η ανύψωση του νου προς το Θεό. Η προσευχή είναι συναναστροφή του νου με το Θεό. Όπως το ψωμί είναι τροφή του σώματος και η αρετή της ψυχής, έτσι και του νου τροφή είναι η πνευματική προσευχή».
Ησυχαστική ζωή - Μέθοδος και κανόνας ακριβής
Ο Άγιος Σιλουανός ο Αγιορείτης
Στη Ρωσία έκανε το επάγγελμα του ξυλουργού. Στο Άγιο Όρος ήλθε το 1892 μ.Χ. και αφιερώθηκε ολοκληρωτικά στην άσκηση και την προσευχή.
Ο Άγιος Σιλουανός ο Αγιορείτης
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