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OS (Text) -- 13

We received a great good, really, from experience, that he who wishes to purify his own heart should continually invoke the Lord Jesus against the intelligible enemies. And see how the word spoken by me from experience is in agreement with the scriptural witnesses. He says: Prepare, Israel, to invoke the name of the Lord your God.’ [Cf. Amos 4, 12.] And the Apostle: ‘Pray unceasingly.’ [1 Thess. 5, 17.] And our Lord says: ‘Without me, you can do nothing. He who remains in me and I in him, he it is who bears much fruit.’ [John 15, 5.] And, again: ‘If one should not remain in me, he was cast out as the vine-branch.’ [John 15, 6.] Prayer (euche) is a great good and embraces all goods as purifying the heart, in which God is seen by the faithful.

63 This thing called humility, because by nature it is exalting and beloved by God and destructive of almost all those things in us which are evil and hated by God—on account of these things by nature it is got with much labour. And you could easily find in one man some partial labours of many virtues; having sought in him the odour of humility, however, you will barely find it. On account of this, there is a need of much <cleansing> so that this possession might be acquired. For Scripture also calls even the Devil ‘unclean’ because from the beginning he put away from himself the good thing called humility and loved pride. Therefore he is called ‘unclean spirit’ in all the Scriptures [cf. Matt. 10, 1; 12, 43; etc.]. For what bodily uncleanness can he work—the completely bodiless and fleshless and unstable—so that from this he might be called ‘unclean’? It is quite clear that on account of pride he was called ‘unclean’, and out of clean and bright angel, he showed himself to be unhallowed. And: ‘Unclean before the Lord is every man whose heart is raised up.’ [Prov. 16, 5.] For he says: ‘The first sin is pride.’ [Cf. Sir. 10, 13.] For thus the proud Pharaoh was wont to say: ‘I do not know,’ he says, ‘your God and I will not send Israel out.’ [Exod. 5, 2.]

64 There are many actions done by the mind (nous) which are able to acquire for us the good gift of humility—if indeed we are not negligent of our salvation—namely, the memory of sins in words and in works (erga) and in the intellect (dianoia), and many other things which contribute to humility when recalled in contemplation. This also produces genuine humility: that one should every day turn round in his mind (nous) the accomplishments of his neighbours and magnify in himself the other natural advantages [that they have] and search out and examine their [works] together with his own [works]; and, thus, the mind (nous) seeing its own paltriness and how much it falls short of the perfection of the brothers, the man considers himself earth and ash [cf. Gen. 18, 27] and not a man, but some dog, as in all things being inferior to and falling short of all rational men upon the earth.

65 The mouth of Christ, the pillar of the Church, our great father, Basil, says:

A great good towards not sinning and not falling the next day into the same sins is, after the completion of the day, to examine closely in our conscience our very selves, what we have done. In what, on the one hand, have we erred? In what, on the other hand, have we acted justly?

And Job also used to do this concerning both himself and his children [cf. Job 1, 5]. For the daily examinations of accounts illumine the hourly [business transaction].

66 And another of those, again, who are wise in things divine said: ‘The beginning of fruit-bearing, the flower; and the beginning of the practical life, continence.’ Accordingly, let us be continent, and this with the measure and the balance as the Fathers teach. And let us pass the whole day of twelve hours in keeping of the mind (nous). For, doing this, with God we will be able with a certain violence to extinguish and reduce the vice. For the virtuous way of life, by means of which is given the Kingdom of the Heavens, is attained by violence [cf. Matt. 11, 12].

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