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OS (Text) -- 28

‘Giving birth to light’ and ‘giving birth to lightning’ and ‘radiating light’ and ‘fire-bearing’ let the guard of the mind (nous) be called, suitably and in a manner which manifests its nature. For it surpasses, to speak the truth, limitless bodily <ascetical practices> and many virtues. On account of this, it is therefore necessary to call this very virtue with honourable names—for the sake of the beautifully shining lights which are given birth from it—the suitors of which [virtue] from sinners and useless and profane and without gnosis, without understanding and unjust, are able through Jesus Christ to become just, useful, pure, holy and understanding—and not only, but also to contemplate secret things and to theologize. And having become contemplatives they swim in this most pure and limitless Light and they touch him with unspeakable touches and they dwell and live their lives with him—seeing that they have tasted, for the Lord is good [cf. Ps. 33, 9]—so as clearly to be fulfilled in the archangels of this sort the word of the divine David: ‘But the just will confess in your name and the upright will inhabit with your face.’ [Ps. 139, 14.] For really, in truth, really, only these truly invoke and confess to God, to whom they also love to speak, forever loving him.

172 Woe to the [man] within from the things that are without. For the man within will be greatly sorrowed by the senses without, and he, sorrowed, will make use of the lash against the senses without. He who has done those things that are in the letter has already known those things that are in the contemplation.

173 According to the Fathers, if our man within keep sober, he will also be able to guard the man without. However, both we and the evil-working demons commit the sins together; and the latter in thoughts (logismoi) only—that is, as they wish, they form the sin completely in imaginative paintings in the mind (nous)—; we, then, both by means of thoughts (logismoi) within and by means of works (erga) without. For, lacking the grossness of bodies, the demons by means of thoughts (logismoi) only, and by means of treachery and fraud, purvey hell to themselves and to us. For if the guilty things were not deprived of the grossness of the body, they would neither cease to sin also through works (erga), ever preserving the will ready to act impiously.

174 The one-worded prayer (euche) kills and reduces their frauds to ashes. For, called upon by us continually and untiringly, Jesus, God and the Son of God, in no way concedes to them to show secretly to the mind (nous) in the mirror of the intellect (dianoia) either the beginning of the attack, which, truly, they also call ‘assault’, or a form, or even to speak certain words in the heart. If the demonic form does not enter into the heart, then, as we have said, the heart is empty also of thoughts (logismoi), for it is the custom of the demons by means of thoughts (logismoi) imperceptibly to speak and to teach evil to the soul.

175 From continual prayer (euche), therefore, the air of the intellect (dianoia) is pure of dark clouds, of winds of spirits of wickedness. The air of the heart being pure, it is impossible for the divine light of Jesus not to shine in it—if we are not, that is truly to say, puffed up by vainglory, conceit and ostentation, and raised up towards that which is unattainable; and we find ourselves without help from Jesus on account of the fact that Jesus hates such things, being Pattern and Exemplar of humility.

176 Let us therefore have prayer (euche) and humility, these two things, which things are armed against the demons with sobriety as [with] a flaming sword. For it is lawful for us—living in this way at any rate—every day and every hour to hold festival with secret rejoicing in the heart.

177 The eight most general thoughts (logismoi) of evil, in which is contained every thought (logismoi) and from which all [thoughts (logismoi)] have their origin—as every demon (accurst god) of the Danaäns according to their myths is from Hera and Zeus—, all come up to the gate of the heart and, finding the mind (nous) unguarded, one by one enter in, in their own season [cf. Ps. 126, 5]. Whichever of the eight thoughts (dialogismoi) having ascended should enter the heart, it introduces a swarm of shameful thoughts (logismoi) and, thus darkening the mind (nous), it calls the body out, rousing it to the labour of shameful practices.

178 He, therefore, who keeps close watch for the head of the snake and who through courageous rebuttal makes use of angry words as if he were throwing a punch, has beaten off the war. For, crushing the head [cf. Gen. 3, 15], he has avoided many wicked thoughts (logismoi) and the most wicked works. And at that time the intellect (dianoia) perseveres unwashed by waves, God having accepted its watchfulness in the thoughts (logismoi) and having given it in exchange the gift of knowing how it must prevail over the opponents, and how it is necessary little by little to purify the heart from thoughts that defile the man within. As the Lord Jesus Christ says: ‘Out of the heart come wicked thoughts (dialogismoi), fornications, adulteries; and these things are what defile the man.’ [Cf. Matt. 15, 19.]

179 Thus, therefore, the soul is able in the Lord to stand in its own symmetry and beauty and uprightness, as it was created by God from the beginning, very good and upright, as says the great servant of God, Anthony: ‘The soul having the mental part (to noeron) according to nature, virtue is constituted.’ And again he said: ‘For the soul to be upright—this is the mental part (to noeron) in it according to nature as it was created.’ And after a little he again says: ‘Let us purify the intellect (dianoia); for I believe that <a soul (psuche)> purified in every way and standing according to nature is able, becoming clairvoyant, to see more and further than the demons, having with it the Lord who reveals.’ Thus says the renowned Anthony, as Athanasios the Great says in his Life of Anthony.

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