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OS (Text) -- 10

It is good that the inexperienced also know this, that enemies bodiless and invisible and evil-intentioned and prudent in doing evil and untiring and light and experienced in war the years from Adam up to now, we who are gross and weighed down towards the earth both in body and mindedness have in no other way at all the possibility of conquering than by means of everlasting sobriety of mind (nous) and invocation of Jesus Christ our God and Maker. And for the inexperienced, on the one hand, let the prayer (euche) of Jesus Christ and the exhortation to assay and know the good be enough. In the experienced, on the other hand, the practice and the assaying and the repose of the good are an excellent way and teacher.

43 Just as a small child, that is also to say, innocent, seeing a certain conjuror takes delight and follows the conjuror out of guilelessness, thus also our soul, being a simple thing and good—for thus it was created by its good Master—, takes delight in the imaginative assaults of the Devil and, being deceived, runs towards the worse as towards the better, as the dove towards him who is plotting against its own children. And thus the soul mixes its own thoughts (logismoi) with the imagination of the demonic assault. If should chance the face of a comely woman or some other thing entirely forbidden by the commandments of Christ, it deliberates with them, as it were, what cunning devices it must employ to lead into action (ergon) the beautiful thing which appeared to it; and the soul, at that time having come to consent, further leads the iniquity which appeared to it in the intellect (dianoia) into action (ergon) through the body, to its own condemnation.

44 This is the art of the evil one and with these arrows it poisons every soul. And on account of this, it is not safe before much experience of the mind (nous) in war to allow the thoughts (logismoi) to enter into our heart, and certainly in the beginning since our soul still enjoys itself in the demonic assaults and takes delight and follows them. But it is necessary only to perceive them and directly to cut [them off] from spreading and assault. When, however, the mind (nous), having persisted in this wonderful work (ergon), should be thoroughly trained and should have discernment and should come to be in uninterrupted habit of the war, of perceiving these truly, and, as the Prophet says, of being itself able easily to seize the little foxes [cf. S. of S. 2, 15], then at that time it ought with science to allow them to come within, and to war against them with the help of Christ, and to cross-examine them, and to lead them down.

45 As it is impossible for fire and water to pass through one pipe at the same time, thus it is impossible for sin to enter into the heart if it does not first knock at the door of the heart through the imagination of a wicked assault.

46 First is the assault. Second, intercourse, that is to say, our thoughts (logismoi) and the thoughts (logismoi) of the wicked demons becoming mixed promiscuously. Third, consent, that is to say, the thoughts (logismoi) of both evilly taking counsel together how it is necessary that the thing happen. Fourth is the sensible act, that is to say, the sin. If, then, the mind (nous) attends, being sober, and through rebuttal and invocation of the Lord Jesus puts to flight the assault from spreading, the rest of these things remain idle. For being a bodiless mind (nous), the wicked one cannot otherwise deceive souls if not by imagination and thoughts (logismoi). And concerning the assault, David says: ‘In the mornings, I killed…’ [Ps. 100, 8] and so on. And the great Moses concerning consent: ‘And you will not consent to these things.’ [Exod. 23, 32.]

47 Mind (nous) is invisibly engaged with mind (nous) for battle: the demonic mind (nous) with our own. And, on account of this, there is a need at each moment to cry out of the depths [cf. Ps. 129, 1] to Christ to drive away, on the one hand, the demonic mind (nous), and to give to us, on the other hand, the prizes of victory as Lover of Mankind.

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