OS (Text) -- 1
Treatise On Sobriety and Virtue
Useful to the Soul and Which Saves
1 Sobriety is a spiritual method or way that entirely frees the man, with the help of God, from impassioned mental representations and impassioned words and wicked works (erga) when it persists and is willingly travelled upon. Travelled upon, it bestows, to the extent that this is attainable, secure gnosis of the God who is inapprehensible and the solution of divine and hidden mysteries. It is productive of every commandment of God, of the Old as well as of the New, Testament, and causative of every good of the Age to come. In its proper sense, it is purity of heart, which very thing because of its grandeur and beauty, or, to speak more precisely, because of our negligence, is extremely rare today among monks. Christ blesses it when he says ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ [Matt. 5, 8.] Being a thing of this sort, it is bought for much. Sobriety persisting in a man becomes the guide of a righteous life pleasing to God. It is also the stepping-stone to contemplation; and it thoroughly teaches us to set the three parts of the soul in motion justly and to guard the senses securely; and daily it increases the four cardinal virtues in him who shares in it.
2 The great legislator, Moses, or, rather, the Holy Spirit, showing the blameless and pure and encompassing and uplifting nature of such a virtue as this, and teaching us how we must begin and accomplish this, says: ‘Attend to yourself lest there occur a secret word in your heart, an iniquity,’ [Deut. 15, 9] naming ‘secret word’ the one-worded appearance in the heart of some wicked object hated by God. This very thing the Fathers also call ‘assault’, brought to the heart by the Devil. Our thoughts (logismoi) follow after this thing, directly it discloses itself to the mind (nous), and answer it in an impassioned way in conversation.
3 Sobriety is the road of every virtue and commandment of God. It is also called stillness (hesychia) of the heart and, accomplished without images, the very guard of the mind (nous).