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OS (Text) -- 29

Every thought (logismos) makes an imagination of a sensible object in the mind (nous). For the Assyrian, being a mind (nous), cannot otherwise have strength enough to deceive unless he should make use of sensible objects and habits that pertain to us.

181 Just as it is not possible, therefore, for us to pursue winged birds in the air, we being men, or to fly up just as they do, our nature not having this, thus it is not possible to prevail over bodiless demonic thoughts (logismoi) or to have the eye of the mind (nous) very intently towards God without sober and frequent prayer (euche). If not, then, you are beholding earth.

182 In very truth, therefore, if you wish to clothe the thoughts (logismoi) in shame and to keep stillness (hesychia) favourably and to be sober in heart with facility, let the prayer (euche) of Jesus stick to your breath, and you will see this to occur in a few days.

183 As it is not possible for letters to be written in the air—for it is necessary that they be engraved on some body so that they might lastingly be saved—, in the very same way, let us stick the prayer (euche) of Jesus to our toilsome sobriety so that the all-good virtue of soberness remain lasting together with Jesus, and, through him, it be preserved inseparable from us unto eternity.

184 Roll your works (erga) upon the Lord ‘and you will find grace,’ [cf. Prov. 3, 3] he says—so that what is said by the Prophet not be applied also to us: ‘You are near, Lord, to their mouth, but far from their reins.’ [Jer. 12, 2.] No one else except Jesus will make your heart steadfastly peaceful from the passions—if not Jesus Christ himself, he who ‘has joined those things that were far separated’ [cf. Eph. 2, 14].

185 Both things darken the soul in a similar fashion: both the conversations of the thoughts (logismoi) in the intellect (dianoia) and the encounters and idle talk outside. It is necessary, then, avoiding the damage to the mind (nous), for us to sorrow both thoughts (logismoi) and men—since both love to talk idly—on account of a cause most blessed according to God: so that the mind (nous) not, being darkened, slacken the sobriety. For being darkened by insensibility (lethe), we destroy the mind (nous).

186 For he who with every earnestness keeps watch over the purity of heart will have as Teacher, the Legislator of this very thing, Christ, secretly speaking his will to him. ‘I will hear what the Lord God will speak in me,’ [Ps. 84, 9] says David, exhibiting this very thing. Signifying, then, the visitation of the mind (nous) towards itself—as concerning the intelligible war—and the defending protection of God, he was saying: ‘And man will say, is there therefore fruit for the just?’ [Ps. 57, 12.] Afterwards, declaring the subject for debate accepted by both from the discussion, he says: ‘Therefore God is judging them, the wicked demons in the land of our heart.’ [Cf. Ps. 57, 12.] And elsewhere he says: ‘A man will approach, and a deep heart, and God will be exalted.’ [Ps. 63, 7.] And then their wounds will be reckoned by us as the arrows of infants [cf. Ps. 63, 7].

187 Having been instructed in wisdom in the heart, [cf. Ps. 89, 12] according to the sacred Psalmist, let us ever live continuously breathing this very Power of God the Father and Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ [cf. 1 Cor. 1, 24]. If, then, growing slack out of some state of affairs, we should take very little care for the intelligible practice, the next morning let us again gird well the loin of our mind (nous) and let us again mightily engage in the work (ergon), knowing that there is no apology for us, having known the good, if we do not practise it [cf. Jas. 4, 17].

188 Just as the foods which cause illness, having recently been put into the body, disturb [the body], and he who eats, directly sensing the damage and more quickly vomiting these things out by means of some medicine, has remained unharmed, thus when the mind (nous) also accepts and swallows wicked thoughts (logismoi) and senses their bitterness, then by means of the prayer (euche) of Jesus uttered in a loud voice out of the depths of the heart it easily vomits out these [thoughts (logismoi)] and completely casts them off, as, with the help of God, the misfortune and the experience have given by instruction to those who practise sobriety to have understood concerning the matter at hand.

189 To your breath and nostrils unite sobriety and the name of Jesus—or the incessant meditation on death and humility. For both know to benefit greatly.

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