Guide to Evagrius Ponticus

edited by Joel Kalvesmaki


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CPG2430 eng Dysinger.TAN TEI.xml
Work
WORK
eng
Evagrius Ponticus, Praktikos
IRIs
tag:evagriusponticus.net,2015:cpg2430
tag:kalvesmaki.com,2014:cpg2430
Source
Dysinger's online translation
tag:kalvesmaki.com,2014:external_Evagrius_Praktikos_eng_Dysinger
tag:evagriusponticus.net,2012:scriptum:dysinger-1990
eng
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preface
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1
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Since you recently wrote to me in Scetis from the Holy Mountain, dear brother Anatolius, demanding that I explain to you the symbolic habit of the Egyptian monks - for you believe it to be neither accidental nor superfluous that [the habit] is so different from what other people wear - I will therefore tell you what we have learned concerning this from the holy fathers. 
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The hood (koukoullion) is a symbol of the grace of our Saviour [and] God: it shelters their mind (hegemonikon) and nurses their childlike [relationship] with Christ in the face of those who are always attempting to beat and wound it. Anyone who bears this hood on his head is truly chanting [the inner meaning of the psalm], 
Unless the Lord builds the house and guards the city, in vain do the builder and watchman labor
Ps 126.1.2-5
. Words like these produce humility and uproot the primordial vice of pride that cast Lucifer 
the Day-Star down to the earth
Is 14.12
section
3
pr 3
The nakedness of their hands manifests the absence of hypocrisy in their way of life. Vainglory is [terribly] clever at covering and darkening virtues, always hunting for the esteem [glory] that comes from men and chasing faith away. 
For how it is possible for you to believe, it says, when you receive glory from one another; and the glory that comes only from God you do not seek?
Jn 5.44
 For the good ought to be chosen for no other [reason] than itself. Apart from this, anything that moves us to do good will appear far more precious than the good itself: and nothing could be more absurd than to consider and assert that something is better than God! 
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pr 4
And again, the scapular that wraps a round the shoulders in the form of a cross is a symbol of the faith in Christ that sustains th[ose who are] gentle, and always, despite obstacles, permits them to work unimpeded.
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pr 5
The belt tied around their loins repels all impurity and declares, 
It is good for a man not to touch a woman'
1Co 7.1
.
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pr 6
They wear the sheepskin - 
those always carrying around in their bodies the death of Jesus
2Co 4.10
 and muzzling all the irrational passions of the body, cutting back the wickedness of the soul by their communion in good;
and loving poverty but fleeing from avarice as the mother of idolatry
section
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pr 7
The staff is 
a tree of life to all who hold it, reliable for those who lean on it as on the Lord
Pro 3.18
.
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pr 8
The habit, then is like a symbol which summarizes [these] things. And these are the words the fathers always say to them: [when conferring it] : 
"Faith, o [my] child is steadied by the fear of God And [this fear] in turn [is strengthened] by continence. This latter [virtue] is made unshakable by patient endurance and hope: 
from these is born apatheia [dispassion], which brings into being love. Love is the door to knowledge of nature which leads to theology and the supreme blessedness."
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pr 9
And so concerning the holy habit and the teaching of the elders, let these things we have said [suffice]. 
But concerning the life of the ascetic and the knower I now propose to describe in detail not [merely] what I have heard or seen, but what I have also been taught by [the elders] to say to others. I have compactly divided ascetical matters into a hundred chapters, and mattters of knowledge into fifty, plus six hundred.
And some things I have concealed and shadowed over, 
so that we do not throw holy things to dogs nor cast pearls before swine
Mt 7.6
. But this will be clear to those who have embarked on the same quest [ichnos =searching for traces].
title
ti
ti
by the same [Evagrius] Treatise on the Praktiké: 100 Chapters
chapter
1
1
Christianity is the teaching of our Savior Christ consisting of asctical practice, the [contemplation of] nature, and theology.
chapter
2
2
The Kingdom of Heaven is apatheia (dispassion) of the soul together with true knowledge of beings
chapter
3
3
The Kingdom of God is knowledge of the Holy Trinity exercised according to the capacity of the nous (mind/intellect) and bestowing incorruptibility upon it
chapter
4
4
Whatever a person ardently loves (eros) he will want completely. And what he wants he will struggle to acquire. Now every pleasure is preceded by desire (epithumia) and desire is born of sensation: thus that which is not subject to sensation is also free from passion.
chapter
5
5
Against the hermits the demons engage in naked combat. Against those laboring at virtue in monasteries or communities they arm the more careless of the brethren.
 For the second battle is much lighter than the first, since there cannot be found on earth men more bitter than the demons, or [able] to undertake all their evil doings together.
title
head 1
head 1
[Concerning the Eight [Tempting-] Thoughts]
chapter
6
6
There are eight generic [tempting-] thoughts (logismoi), that contain within themselves every [tempting-]thought: 
first is that of gluttony; 
and with it, sexual immorality; 
third, love of money; 
fourth, sadness; 
fifth, anger; 
sixth acedia; 
seventh, vainglory; 
eighth, pride. 
Whether these thoughts are able to disturb the soul or not is not up to us; but whether they linger or not, and whether they arouse passions or not; that is up to us.
chapter
7
7
The [tempting]-thought of gluttony suggests to the monk the quick abandonment of his asceticism. The stomach, liver, spleen, and [resultant] congestive heart failure are depicted, along with long sickness, lack of necessities, and unavailability of physicians. It often leads him to recall those of the brethren who have suffered these things. Sometimes it even deceives those who have suffered from this kind of thing to go and visit [others] who are practicing self-control, to tell them all about their misfortunes and how this resulted from their asceticism.
chapter
8
8
The demon of sexual immorality compels desiring for different bodies. Especially violently does it attack those who practice self-control, so that they will cease, as if achieving nothing. Contaminating the soul, it bends it down towards these sorts of deeds: it makes it speak certain words and then hear them, as if the thing were actually there to be seen.
chapter
9
9
Love of money suggests: a long old age; hands powerless to work; hunger and disease yet to come; the bitterness of poverty; and the disgrace of receiving the necessities [of life] from others.
chapter
10
10
Sadness sometimes arises from frustrated desires; but sometimes it is the result of anger. When desires are frustrated it arises thus: certain [tempting-]thoughts first sieze the soul and remind it of home and parents and its former course of life. When they see the soul following them without resistance, and dissipating itself in mental pleasures, they take and dunk [lit baptize] it in sadness, since it is the case that these earlier things are gone and cannot be recovered due to the [monk's] present way of life Then the miserable soul, having been dissipated by the first [tempting-]thought, is humiliated all the more by the second.
chapter
11
11
Anger is the sharpest passion. It is said to be a boiling up and movement of indignation (thumos) against a wrongdoer or a presumed wrongdoer: it causes the soul to be savage all day long, but especially in prayers it siezes the nous, reflecting back the face of the distressing person. 
Then sometimes it is lingering and is changed into rancor: [thus] it causes disturbances at night; bodily weakness and pallor; and attacks from poisonous beasts. These four things associated with rancor may be found to have been summoned up by many other tempting- thoughts.
chapter
12
12
The demon of acedia, which is also called the noonday demon, is the most burdensome of all the demons. It besets the monk at about the fourth hour (10 am) of the morning, encircling his soul until about the eighth hour (2 pm). 
[1] First it makes the sun seem to slow down or stop moving, so that the day appears to be fifty hours long. 
[2] Then it makes the monk keep looking out of his window and forces him to go bounding out of his cell to examine the sun to see how much longer it is to 3 o’clock, and to look round in all directions in case any of the brethren is there. 
[3] Then it makes him hate the place and his way of life and his manual work It makes him think that there is no charity left among the brethren; no one is going to come and visit him. 
[4] If anyone has upset the monk recently, the demon throws this in too to increase his hatred 
[5] It makes him desire other places where he can easily find all that he needs and practice an easier, more convenient craft After all, pleasing the Lord is not dependent on geography, the demon adds; God is to be worshipped everywhere. 
[6] It joins to this the remembrance of the monk’s family and his previous way of life, and suggests to him that he still has a long time to live, raising up before his eyes a vision of how burdensome the ascetic life is. 
So, it employs, as they say, every [possible] means to move the monk to abandon his cell and give up the race. 
No other demon follows on immediately after this one but after its struggle the soul bs taken over by a peaceful condition and by unspeakable joy
chapter
13
13
The thought of vainglory is especially subtle and it easily infiltrates those whose lives are going well, 
[A] wanting to publish their efforts 
[B] and go hunting for glory among men; 
[1] it raises up a fantasy of demons shouting, 
[2] and women being healed, 
[3] and a crowd of people wanting to touch the monk’s clothes. 
[4] It prophesies priesthood for him, and sets the stage with people thronging at his door, calling for him, and even though he resists he will be carried off under constraint. 
Then, having raised him up with empty hopes like this, it suddenly leaps away and leaves him, abandoning him to be tempted either by the demon of pride or by the demon of gloominess, which brings on thoughts contrary to the previous hopes Sometimes it also hands over to the demon of sexual immorality the man who, a moment before, was being carried off forcibly to be made a holy priest.
chapter
14
14
The demon of pride conducts the soul to its worst fall. It urges it: 
[1] not to admit God’s help 
[2] and to believe that the soul is responsible for its own achievements, 
[3] and to disdain the brethren as fools because they do not all see this about it. 
This demon is followed by: 
[1] anger and 
[2] sadness and the final evil, 
[3] utter insanity and madness, and visions of mobs of demons in the air. 
This demon is followed by anger and sadness and the final evil, utter insanity and madness, and visions of mobs of demons in the air.
title
head 2
head 2
[Tactics] for the Eight [Tempting-] Thoughts 
chapter
15
15
The wandering nous is stabilized by
[1] reading,
[2] vigils and
[3] prayer. 
Burning epithumia (desire) is quenched by
[1] hunger,
[2] toil, and
[3] solitude. 
Churning thumos (indignation) is calmed by
[1] the singing of Psalms, by
[2] patient endurance and
[3] mercy. 
But all these practices are to be engaged in at proper times and in proper measure. What is done untimely or without measure is temporary. And what is temporary is more harmful and not beneficial. 
chapter
16
16
When our soul desires a variety of foods, then It should be confined to bread and water to make it thankful for a mere mouthful. It is satiety which yearns for varied foodstuffs; hunger considers it sheer bliss just to have enough bread. 
chapter
17
17
To deprive oneself of water helps a great deal towards continence; let 
Jg 7.5-7
the three hundred Israelites who defeated Midian with Gideon
 persuade you of this. 
chapter
18
18
It is impossible for life and death to be in the same subject at the same time; in the same way it is impossible for love to coexist with wealth. Love is not only destructive of wealth, it is destructive even of this temporal life of ours. 
chapter
19
19
Anyone who flees from all worldly pleasures is a tower which cannot be breached by the demon of gloominess. Gloominess is the deprivation of pleasure, either an actual or an expected pleasure. So long as we have any attachment to anything on earth, it is impossible for us to drive away this enemy. He sets his trap and produces gloominess just where he sees that our inclinations lead us. 
chapter
20
20
Anger and hatred increase indignation: merciful compassion and gentleness diminish it when it is present. 
chapter
21
21
Eph 4.26
The sun should not set on our anger
 : so that the demons do not, rising up by night, terrify the soul and make the nous more cowardly the day after for the fight. For terrifying phantasms are produced by the disturbance of indignation. And nothing makes a deserter out of the nous as much as disturbed indignation. 
chapter
22
22
When the irascible part of our soul (thumikon) seizes on some excuse and gets disturbed, then the demons suggest to us what a good thing it is to withdraw; this is to prevent us from resolving the cause of the sorrow and freeing ourselves from the disturbance. 
But when our desiring part is enflamed, then they make us sociable and call us grim and uncivilized, to make us desire bodies and encounter bodies. We should not obey them in either case, but rather do the opposite. 
chapter
23
23
Do not give yourself to the [tempting-] thought of anger by fighting in your mind the distressing person; nor to that of fornication by spending most of the time in fantasies of pleasures. For the one darkens the soul, the other summons it to burn with passion. Both of these pollute your nous . 
And [thus] at the time of prayer [you will] fantasize images: and not [being able] to offer pure prayer to God, you will immediately fall victim to the demon of acedia. This demon readily leaps upon such states and, like a dog with a young deer, tears the soul to pieces . 
chapter
24
24
The nature of indignation is to fight the demons and to struggle for any sort of pleasure. For this reason the angels suggest to us spiritual pleasures and the blessedness [coming] from them; they encourage us to direct our anger towards the demons. The latter, however, draging us towards worldly desires, violently force our indignation against nature to fight human beings, so as to darken the nous, separating it from Knowledge, and [thus] making it a traitor to the virtues. 
chapter
25
25
Guard yourself, that you never so provoke any of the brethren that he runs away, or you will never escape during your lifetime from the demon of despondency, which will always become an obstacle for you at the time of prayer 
chapter
26
26
Gifts quench resentment. 
Gn 32
Let Jacob persuade you of this. He got round Esau with gifts, when he vas coning against him with four hundred men
. We who are poor should make up for our lack of other things by being hospitable at table. 
chapter
27
27
When we are oppressed by the demon of listlessness, we should tearfully divide our soul in two, making one part encourage the other, sowing good hopes in ourselves and singing David’s words, 
‘Why are you depressed, my soul, why do you disturb me? Hope in God, because I will praise him, the Savior of my person, my God’
Ps 41.6
chapter
28
28
At the time of temptation we should not abandon our cell, whatever plausible pretext we nay invent; we should stay in it and persevere and valiantly tackle all comers, particularly the demon of listlessness, which is the most oppressive of them all, and so particularly brings out the quality of the soul. Running away from such conflicts and trying to evade this teaches the mind to be helpless, cowardly and fugitive. 
chapter
29
29
Our holy teacher, who was very experienced in the ascetical life (praktikotatos), said, ‘The monk ought always to be ready as if he were to die tomorrow, but at the same time he should use his body as if he were going to live with it for many years to come. The first [approach] cuts back the thoughts of acedia and makes the monk more zealous, while the second preserves the body and keeps its self-control balanced.’ 
chapter
30
30
It is difficult to escape from the [tempting-] thought (logismos) of vainglory, because whatever you do to eliminate it becomes the occasion for a new vainglory. Not all our right thoughts (logismoi) are opposed by the demons; some of them are opposed by our own characteristic vices. 
chapter
31
31
I have known the demon of vainglory being chased away by almost all the demons, and then, when its pursuers fail, it approaches shamelessly and shows the monk how great his virtues are. 
chapter
32
32
One who has reached knowledge and culled the pleasure it brings will no longer be persuaded by the demon of vainglory offering him all the pleasures of the world. What could it promise him that would be better than spiritual contemplation? But to the extent that we lack the taste of knowledge, we should eagerly engage in the ascetical life [praktike], showing our aim to God, namely that we are doing everything for the sake of knowledge of him. 
chapter
33
33
Recall your former way of life and your old faults, and how, when you were subject to passions, you crossed over to apatheia by the mercy of Christ, and then how you left the world which laid you low so often and in so many ways. Reflect also on this: who is it who guards you in the desert and drives away the demons which gnash their teeth against you? Thoughts [logismoi] like this will instill humility and leave no room for the demon of pride. 
title
head 3
head 3
On Passions 
chapter
34
34
If our memories of anything are full of passion, it. is because we once welcomed the things themselves with passion. Whatever things we welcome with passion, we shall later remember with passion. So anyone who has defeated the demons which activate such things makes light of the things they activate The immaterial battle is harder than the material battle. 
chapter
35
35
The The passions of the soul derive from men; the passions of the body derive from the body. The passions of the body are cut back by self-control; those of the soul are cut back by spiritual love. 
chapter
36
36
The demons that preside over the passions of the soul go on until we die; those which preside over the passions of the body leave sooner. Other demons are like the rising or setting sun and affect only one part of the soul; but the noonday demon generally enfolds the whole soul and suffocates the mind. This is why the withdrawn life is pleasant after we have cleared out the passions; then our memories are merely memories, and the point of the monk’s struggle then is not to make him ready to do battle, but to enable him to contemplate the struggle itself. 
chapter
37
37
Whether it is ideas (ennoia) which incite passions or passions which incite ideas is a matter which needs attention. Some have held the first view, others the second. 
chapter
38
38
By means of sensations passions are naturally aroused: if both charity and self-control are present they will not be aroused; [but] if absent, they will be aroused. Indignation requires more remedies than desire, and because of this charity is called 
“great”
1Co 13.13
, because it bridles indignation; and therefore Holy Moses in his natural science symbolically names it 
“snake-fighter”
Lv 11.22
.
chapter
39
39
Because of the prevailing stench in demons, the soul is ordinarily enflamed against thoughts (logismoi) when it perceives them drawing near because of the influence of the passion associated with the demon in question. 
title
head 4
head 4
Instructions 
chapter
40
40
It is not possible at all times to carry out the customary rule, but it is necessary to be watchful of the opportune time and [thus] to perform whatever commandments we can, as best we are able. Regarding these opportune times and what concerns them the demons themselves are not ignorant. Thus in their movements against us they prevent our accomplishing what is possible and force us to undertake what is not possible: they prevent the sick from giving thanks in their pain and from being patient in receiving their minstrations; again they exhort the weak to fast and those who are weighed down to sing psalms while standing. 
chapter
41
41
When we are obliged to spend time in towns or villages, we should particularly hold to our self-control at such times in consorting with worldly people, in case our mind coarsens and loses its habitual vigilance because of its actual situation and so becomes a fugitive, tossed around by the demons. 
chapter
42
42
Do not immediately pray when you are tempted; first speak some words with anger to the one pressuring you: for when your soul is acted upon by tempting-thoughts prayer cannot be pure. But if you speak with anger to them, you will confuse and banish the ideas that come from your enemies. This is the natural result of anger in the case of good notions too 
chapter
43
43
It is necessary to be aware of the differences between demons and to interpret their different occasions: 
this we shall know from the [tempting-] thoughts, and the [tempting-] thoughts from the objects [they depict; thus knowing] which demons are less frequent and heavier, which are more frequent and lighter, and which leap suddenly and snatch the nous off to blasphemy. 
These things it is necessary to know, so that when [tempting-] thoughts begin to move their own particular matter, and before we are driven too far from our proper state, we may speak out to them and indicate which one is present. For thus we shall with God’s help readily make progress, amazing them and forcing them to flee from us. 
chapter
44
44
When the demons are helpless in their conflict with monks, they retire for a while and watch to see which area of virtue they are neglecting in the mean time, and then suddenly rush in and devastate the poor soul 
chapter
45
45
Malicious demons bring along even more malicious demons to help them. In their dispositions they are opposed to one another, but they all agree in seeking only the destruction of the soul. 
chapter
46
46
We should not let ourselves be disturbed by the demon which drags the mind towards blasphemy against God and towards forbidden fantasies which I have not ventured even to put down in writing, nor should such things interrupt our zeal. The Lord knows en’s hearts and he knows that we were not guilty of such madness even when we were in the world. This demon’s aim is to sake us abandon prayer, so that we shall not stand before the Lord our God or dare to lift up our hands to his, because of having had such ideas as these. 
chapter
47
47
The sign of the passions that are affecting the soul is some word which we utter or some movement of the body; by means of these the enemies of the soul perceive whether we have their thoughts (logismoi) within us and are ready to bring them to birth, or whether we have discarded them and are concerned with our salvation. It is only God who made us who knows our mind directly and does not need symptoms to know what is hidden in our heart. 
chapter
48
48
The demons prefer to fight worldly people by means of things, but monks for the most part they attack by means of thoughts (logismoi), because in the desert they are deprived of things. And in as much as it is easier to sin in intent than in deed, the inner war is proportionately harder than that which arises because of things. The mind is something which is easily moved, and hard to hold when it is faced with unlawful imaginings. 
chapter
49
49
We are not commanded to work the whole time or to keep vigil the whole time or to fast the whole time, but there is a law that we should 
1Th 5.17
pray ceaselessly
. The first three, which heal the part of the soul in which the passions are, need the body for their practice, and it is congenitally too weak for such labours; but prayer makes the mind strong and pure for the struggle, since the mind is naturally made for prayer and it is natural to it to fight demons even without the body, on behalf of all the powers of the soul. 
chapter
50
50
If any monk wishes to experience of the savage demons and to become acquainted with their art, he should observe his [tempting-]thoughts and note [down] their intensification and diminution, and their interconnectedness, and their timing, and which demons produce what, and which demon comes after another, and which does not follow after which; 
and he should seek from Christ the inner meanings [logoi] of these things They dislike those who approach the ascetic life with greater knowledge, for they wish 
Ps 10.2
to shoot in darkness at the upright of heart
chapter
51
51
Through observation you will discover that two of the demons are the sharpest, so quick that they almost overtake the movement of your mind the demon of fornication and the one which drags us off to blaspheme God But the second does not last for long, while the first, provided it does not stir our thoughts (logismoi) with passion, will not impede our knowledge of God 
chapter
52
52
To separate the body from the soul belongs exclusively to him who united them; but to separate the soul from the body belongs to anyone who desires virtue The life of withdrawal has been called by the fathers a rehearsal for death and flight from the body. 
chapter
53
53
Those who improperly 
Rom 13.14
cherish the flesh and take thought for it to satisfy its desires
 should blame the selves, not it Those who have obtained passionlessness of the soul by means of the body and who, to some extent, attain the contemplation of beings, recognize the grace of the Creator. 
title
head 5
head 5
Concerning Things That Happen during Sleep 
chapter
54
54
When the demons, attacking the desiring part of the soul (epithumetikon) through dreams, show us things like meetings with friends, family feasts, women dancing and other such things which produce pleasure, and we run to meet them, then we are sick in the [desiring] part of [our soul] and passion prevails. 
And when they disturb our irascible part (thumikon), forcing us to walk along precipices and bringing armed men against us and poisonous or carnivorous animals, and we are nervous of the way they lead us and run defeated from the beasts and from the men, then we should take [particular] care of our irascible part and call upon Christ in our vigils and make use of the remedies mentioned above 
chapter
55
55
If during sleep the natural movements of the body occur without [any mental] images, they show that the soul is to some extent healthy: [however,] the formation of images is a symptom of illness. [You should] thus regard vague images as signifying an old passion, while defined images [indicate] a fresh wound. 
chapter
56
56
We shall recognise the signs of passionlessness through our [tempting-] thoughts (logismoi) during the day and through our dreams at night And passionlessness is what we shall call the soul’s health, and the soul’s food is knowledge, which is the only means by which we shall ordinarily be united with the holy powers, seeing that the natural basis for our union with incorporeal beings is the similarity of our disposition to theirs 
title
head 6
head 6
The State Approaching Apatheia 
chapter
57
57
Two in number are the soul's peaceful states: 
[A] the first grows from natural seeds; 
[B] while the other is engendered by the withdrawal of the demons 
[A] From the first there follow: 
[1] humility, with 
[2] compunction, and 
[3] tears, and 
[4] limitless longing (pothos) for God, and 
[5] immeasurable eagerness for [our assigned] task. 
[B] From the second [arise] 
[1] vainglory with 
[2] pride, 
which capture the monk when the other demons go away. 
One who perceives the beginnings of the first [peaceful] state will be even more sharply aware of the attacks of the demons 
chapter
58
58
The demon of vainglory is opposed to the demon of sexual impurity and it is inconceivable that they should both attack the soul at the same tine, since one promises honour and the other heralds disgrace So whichever of them comes and presses upon you, form in your mind the [tempting-] thoughts of the opposing demon. If you are able, as they say, to use a nail to drive out a nail, you can know that you are near to the borders of passionlessness, because your mind is strong enough to drive away demonic thoughts with human thoughts 
To drive away the [tempting-]thought of vainglory with humility, or the thought of sexual immorality with chastity would be a sign of the most profound apatheia. 
Attempt to practice this with all the demons that are opposed to each other, and you will, at the same time, come to know which passion affects you the most. 
But with all your power beseech God for the ability to fight off your enemies in this second way. 
chapter
59
59
The more the soul progresses, the greater the opponents which take over In the battle against it I do not believe it is always the same derons waiting on it The people who know this best are the ones who attend most acutely to their temptations and who see the passionlessness which they possess being battered by one demon after another 
chapter
60
60
Perfect apatheia comes into being in the soul after it has defeated all the demons that oppose the praktikē perfect apatheia is relative to the force of the particular demon which is attacking at any given time 
chapter
61
61
Unless it sets straight what we have inside us, the mind will not make progress or achieve the good exodus and enter the place of the incorporeals. Its own domestic troubles habitually make it turn back to the place from which it had set out. 
chapter
62
62
The nous is blinded by both virtues and vices: the former keep it from seeing the vices; the latter keep it from glimpsing the virtues. 
title
head 7
head 7
Concerning the Signs of Apatheia 
chapter
63
63
When the nous begins perform its prayers without distractions, then there commences an all-out battle day and night against the irascible part. 
chapter
64
64
The proof of apatheia is that the nous begins to behold its [own] proper gentle radiance; that it remains tranquil in the presence of visions during sleep; and that it looks at matters calmly. 
chapter
65
65
The nous is strong when it does not imagine any worldly thing at all during the time of its prayer. 
chapter
66
66
A nous that has, with God’s help, accomplished the ascetical life (praktike) successfully and drawn near to knowledge, hardly if at all perceives the irrational part of the soul, because knowledge catches it up on high and separates it from perfectible things 
chapter
67
67
The soul possesses apatheia not when it is unmoved by matters, but when it remains undisturbed by the memory of them. 
chapter
68
68
The perfect [person] does not practise self-control, and one [who has attained] apatheia does not practise patient endurance, since endurance pertains to the vulnerable [person] and self-control to the troubled. 
chapter
69
69
A great thing - to pray without distraction; a greater thing still - to sing psalms without distraction. 
chapter
70
70
A man who has established the virtues in himself and is entirely permeated with them no longer remembers the law or the commandments or punishment. Rather, he says and does what [this] excellent condition suggests. 
chapter
71
71
The demonic songs move our desire and throw the soul into shameful fantasies. But 
“psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”
Eph 5.19
 summon the nous to continuous memory of virtue by cooling our boiling indignation and by quenching our desires. 
chapter
72
72
Wrestlers are in the position of crushing and being crushed; the demons wrestle with us and as they crush us, they are crushed by us in return As it says, 
‘I will crush them and they will not be able to rise’
Ps 17.39
 and 
‘My enemies and those who were crushing me wearied and fell.’
Ps 26.2
chapter
73
73
Repose is connected with wisdom, toil with prudence It is impossible to win wisdom without fighting, and it is impossible to conduct the war well without prudence It is to prudence that the responsibility is given for withstanding the fury (thumos) of the demons, obliging the powers of the soul to work in accordance with their nature and preparing the way for wisdom. 
chapter
74
74
The monk’s temptation is in the form of a thought (logismos) which rises up through the passionate part of the soul and darkens the mind. 
chapter
75
75
The monk’s sin is his consenting to the forbidden pleasure of a thought (logismos). 
chapter
76
76
The angels are glad when vice decreases the demons are glad when virtue decreases; the one are servants of mercy and charity, the others are attendants of anger and hatred. The former approach to fill us with spiritual contemplation, the latter to cast the soul into lewd fantasies. 
chapter
77
77
The virtues de not prevent the assault of demons, but they preserve us from being harmed. 
chapter
78
78
Ascetical practice is a spiritual method purifying the passionate part of the soul. 
chapter
79
79
The effects of [keeping] the commandments are not sufficient to perfectly heal the powers of the soul, unless their [corresponding] contemplations succeed one other in the nous. 
chapter
80
80
It is not possible to resist all the thoughts (logismoi) suggested to us by the angels, but it is possible to reject all those suggested by demons. The former are followed by a state of peace, the latter by a state of turmoil. 
chapter
81
81
Charity is the offspring of apatheia; apatheia is the flower of the ascetical life (praktike). The ascetical life is constituted by keeping the commandments, and these are watched over by the fear of God, which is begotten by right belief. Belief is an indwelling good which exists naturally even in those who have not yet believed in God. 
chapter
82
82
The soul becomes aware of our sick members as it tries to operate by means of the body; in the same way, the mind, exercising its own proper activity, perceives its own powers and discovers the commandment which can heal its [activity] by means of the [activity] which is interfering with it. 
chapter
83
83
The impassioned nous waging war will not be able to contemplate the logoi [purposes] of the war; it is like one fighting at night. But when it has obtained apatheia, it will easily recognise the wiles of the enemies. 
chapter
84
84
The end of the ascetical life (praktike) is charity; that of knowledge is theology. The beginning in each case is faith and natural contemplation. The demons which fasten on to the passionate part Of the soul are said to oppose the ascetical life, those which disturb the reason are called enemies of all truth and opponents of contemplation. 
chapter
85
85
The things which purify bodies never remain with them once they are clean; but the virtues both purify the soul and remain with it when it is clean. 
chapter
86
86
The rational soul operates naturally when its desiring part desires virtue, and its spirited part (thumikon) fights for virtue, and its reasoning part applies itself to the contemplation of creatures. 
chapter
87
87
Anyone who is making progress in the ascetical life (praktike) is reducing the passions, and anyone who is making progress in contemplation is reducing ignorance. There will one day be a complete destruction of the passions, but of ignorance there is in one sense an end, but in another sense there is no end, they say. 
chapter
88
88
Things which are good or bad depending on their use produce both virtues and vices; it is the task of prudence to use them one way or the other. 
chapter
89
89
Of three parts does the rational soul consist, according to our wise teacher: 
[1] When it in the Rational part that virtue comes into being it is called[1a] prudence and[1b] understanding and[1c] wisdom; 
[2] in the Concupiscible part,[2a] temperance and[2b] charity and[2c] self-control; 
[3] in the Irascible part,[3a] courage and [3b] patience. 
[4] But in the Whole of the Soul [it] is justice. 
[1A] Now the task of Prudence is 
[1A.1] to plan the attack against the opposing powers and 
[1A.2] to defend the virtues, 
[1A.3] to stand prepared against the vices, 
[1A.4] and to administer neutral matters according to the [requirements of the] times. 
[1B] [The task] of Understanding: to direct harmoniously all things which help us toward our goal. 
[1C] [The task] of Wisdom: contemplation of the logoi of corporeal and incorporeal beings. 
[2A] The work of Temperance: to look serenely upon those affairs which provoke within us irrational phantasies. 
[2B] of Charity: all the images of God, showing one another to be as nearly like the prototype as possible no matter how the demons ply their arts to defile them. 
[2c] Of Continence: every pleasure of the palate with joy to decline. 
[3A] Not to fear the enemies and 
[3B] eagerly to endure afflictions belongs to Courage and Patience. 
[4] Justice effects a certain symphony and harmony among the [different] parts of the soul. 
chapter
90
90
The fruit of sowing is sheaves, and the fruit of the virtues is knowledge And as tears accompany sowing, so joy accompanies reaping 
Ps 125.6
title
head 8
head 8
Sayings of Holy Monks 
chapter
91
91
IT is necessary also to interrogate the paths of the monks who have travelled rightly before us and set ourselves right by reference to them There is much for us to discover that they spoke and did well For instance, one of them says that a monk is brought more quickly into the haven of passionlessness by a relatively dry and regular diet, joined to love. 
The same man freed one of the brethren who was being troubled by fantasies at night by bidding him serve the sick while fasting When asked, he said that such passions are extinguished by nothing so well as by mercy. 
chapter
92
92
Unto the just Anthony came one of the wise men of that time, saying, ‘How do you manage to survive, O father, without the comfort of books?’ He replied, ‘My book, philosopher, is the nature of beings, and it is there whenever I want to read the words (logoi) of God’. 
chapter
93
93
That vessel of election, Macarius, the Egyptian old man, asked me, ‘Why is it that we ruin the soul’s power of memory by brooding resentfully on men, but remain unharmed if we resent demons?’ I was at a loss for an answer, and asked him to explain it to me. He said, ‘It is because the first is contrary to nature (para phusin), while the second is in accordance with the nature (kata phusin) of anger (thumos)’. 
chapter
94
94
I once visited the holy father Macarius right in the full heat of the day, and I was burning with thirst and asked for some water to drink He said, ‘Make do with the shade; there are many people traveling or sailing at this very moment, and they lack even shade' Then, when I rehearsed some remarks to him about self-control, he said, ‘Courage, child; for twenty years I have never taken all I wanted of bread or water or sleep I ate my bread by weight, drank my water by measure, and snatched a little sleep leaning against a wall’. 
chapter
95
95
One of the monks was told of the death of his father He said to the an who brought the news, ‘Stop blaspheming my father is immortal’. 
chapter
96
96
One of the brethren asked one of the old men if he would bid him eat with his mother and sisters when he visited them at home He said, ‘Do not eat with a woman’. 
chapter
97
97
One of the brethren possessed just a copy of the gospels, and he sold it and gave the money to feed the hungry, saying something worth remembering ‘I have sold the book which told me, 
“Sell what you have and give to the poor “
Mt 19.21
chapter
98
98
There is an island near Alexandria, in the northern part of the lake called Maria, and a monk lives there, one of the most distinguished of the camp of the knowers (gnostikoi). He taught that all that is done by the monks is done for one of five reasons God, nature, habit, constraint or manual work. He also said that virtue is single by nature, but takes different forms in the powers of the soul. It is like sunlight which Is shapeless, but is naturally given shape by the windows it passes through 
chapter
99
99
Another monk said, ‘I cut down pleasure in order to cut out excuses for anger (thumos) I know that anger always fights on behalf of pleasures and disturbs my mind and chases away knowledge’ One of the old men said that charity does not know how to store up food or money And the same monk said, ‘I am not aware of ever having been taken in by the demons twice on the same point’ 
chapter
100
100
To love all the brothers equally is not possible, but it is possible to meet them all dispassionately [by] being free from memory of evil and [from] hatred: priests are next after the Lord, because by means of the sacred mysteris they purify and pray for us; we are to revere the elders as the angels, for it is they who anoint us for our struggle and heal us when we are bitten by wild beasts. 
title
head 9
head 9
Epilogue 
epilogue
ep
ep
Let that suffice now, my dear Anatolius, about practical science (praktike); this is what I have found, by the grace of the holy Spirit, gleaning ripening grapes from my crop but if the sun of righteousness
Mal 3.20
 shines on us in his zenith and the grape becomes fully ripe, then we shall drink his wine, which makes glad the heart of man 
Ps 103.13
, at the prayers and intercession of the righteous Gregory who planted me, and at those of the holy fathers who now water me, and by the power of Jesus Christ our Lord who makes me grow
1Co 3.6-7
, to whom be glory and might for ever and ever.