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OS (Text) -- 21

As it is impossible to live the present life without eating and drinking, thus it is impossible without guard of the mind (nous) and purity of the heart, which is and is called sobriety, for the soul to arrive at something spiritual and pleasing to God, or to be set free from sin in the intellect (dianoia), even if one forces oneself on account of the fear of hell not to sin.

110 However, those also who with a certain violence abstain from sin in act are blessed in the sight of God and angels and men, for they are found to be men who take the Kingdom of the Heavens by violence [cf. Matt. 11, 12].

111 This is the wonderful thing about the benefit to the mind (nous) from stillness (hesychia): all the sins which first knock on the door of the mind (nous) in thoughts (logismoi) only, so that they become sensible and gross acts of sin if they be accepted by the intellect (dianoia), are all of them cut off by the intellectual (dianoetike) and sober (neptike) virtue, which does not allow them to enter into our inner man and to be led into wicked works, by the influence and protection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

112 The image of the outer and sensible bodily asceticism is the Old Testament. The Holy Gospel, which is the New, is the image of attention, that is to say, of purity of heart. And just as the Old Testament did not perfect [anything], neither did it give the inner man spiritual assurance in the service of God. For the Apostle says: ‘The Law made nothing perfect.’ [Heb. 7, 19.] It only forbade the gross acts of sin. For to cut off thoughts (logismoi) from the heart, which is the command of the Gospel, and wicked remembrances, is greater as regards purity of soul than to prevent one from putting out the eye and tooth of his neighbour [cf. Lev. 24, 17–22; etc.]. Thus also concerning bodily justice and asceticism—fasting, I say, and continence, sleeping on the ground, standing, keeping vigil and the rest, which by nature concern the body and make the part of the body which is subject to feeling to be still from sin in act—these things also being good, as I said regarding the Old Testament. They are a training of our outer man and a sentinel over the passions in act—but not sentinels over acts of sin in the intellect (dianoia), that is to say, they do not prevent them so as to be able to free us, with the help of God, of envy, wrath and the rest.

113 Purity of heart, however, that is to say, the keeping and the guard of the mind (nous), of which the model is the New Testament, if, indeed, the mind (nous) is guarded by us as it should be, uproots and cuts out of the heart all the passions and all the evils, and introduces instead joy, good hopes, contrition, mourning, tears, deep knowledge of ourselves and of our acts of sin, the memory of death, true humility, limitless charity towards God and men, and divine Eros (eros) in the heart.

114 As it is not possible for him who walks on the earth not to cut this air, thus it is impossible for the heart of man not to be warred against everlastingly by demons or even to be set into action by them secretly, even if the man should have much bodily ascesis.

115 If indeed you want in the Lord not only to appear to be a monk and good and kind and always united to God, but you wish also in truth to be such a monk, pursue with all your power uninclining attentive virtue, which is the guard of the mind (nous) and the keeping and sweet perfection in the heart of the mind (nous), stillness (hesychia) without images, a blessed condition of soul, a thing not found in many.

116 For this is also called intelligible philosophy, and travel this in much sobriety and warm willingness together with the prayer (euche) of Jesus, together with humility and density and silence of the sensible and intelligible lips, together with continence in food and drink and every object tending to sin; travel this in the road of the intellect (dianoia) scientifically in prudence; and it will teach you, with the help of God, those things which you did not understand, and acquaint you and illumine you and make you prudent, and teach you things which you were unable to receive into [your] mind (nous), walking in the darkness of the passions and of dark works (erga) and covered over by insensibility (lethe) and by an abyss of confusion.

117 Just as the deep valleys multiply grain [Ps. 64, 4], in the same way this multiplies in your heart every good—rather, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, without whom we are not able to do anything [cf. John 15, 5], will provide these things to you. And first you will find this to be a ladder, afterwards a book which is read. Afterwards, progressing, you will find this the City of the Heavenly Jerusalem and Christ the King of the Hosts of Israel manifestly, intelligibly in view together with his Consubstantial Father and the Holy Spirit worthy of worship.

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