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OS (Text) -- 7

Let the type and order of stillness (hesychia) of the heart, O monk, be for you—ever the pattern if you wish to contend in battle—the small little animal, the spider. If not, then you have not yet kept stillness (hesychia) in the mind (nous) as you ought. And that little animal hunts little flies: you, then, if thus you keep stillness (hesychia), and as one taking pains in the very soul itself, will not cease ever killing Babylonian infants, on account of which murder you are blessed by the Holy Spirit through David [cf. Ps. 136, 8–9].

28 Just as it is not possible for the Red Sea to be seen in the firmament in the midst of the stars and just as it is not possible for a man walking upon the earth not to breathe this air—in the same way it is impossible to purify our heart from impassioned thoughts (logismoi) and to cast intelligible enemies out from it without the frequent invocation of Jesus Christ.

29 If with a humble attitude and the memory of death and self-condemnation and rebuttal and invocation of Jesus Christ you always make your employment in your heart and you travel with these weapons every day the strait but also gladdening and delightful road of the intellect (dianoia), keeping sobriety, you will come into holy contemplations and you will be enlightened with deep mysteries issuing forth from Christ with whom are ‘the hidden treasures of wisdom and gnosis’ [Col. 2, 3], ‘in whom dwells the whole fullness of the Godhead bodily’ [Col. 2, 9]. For you will perceive in Christ that the Holy Spirit has come upon your soul, by whom the mind (nous) of man is handed the torch, seeing ‘with unveiled face’ [2 Cor. 3, 18]. He says: ‘No one says “Lord Jesus” if not in the Holy Spirit,’ [1 Cor. 12, 3] that is, confirming secretly what is sought.

30 However, this at any rate must also be known by those who love learning—that, indeed, sometimes the envious demons often both hide themselves and draw the intelligible war back from us, the terrible things envying us the benefit and also the gnosis that are derived from the war, and the ascent towards God; and so that, we being unconcerned, they suddenly seize our mind (nous) and again work certain careless conceptions (ennoies) in the intellect (dianoia). For the unending purpose of the demons is—and the struggle is devised—by no means whatsoever to allow us to lead our heart in attention: they know the wealth that is gathered into the soul. But, at that time at least, let us with the memory of our Lord Jesus Christ extend ourselves in spiritual contemplations; and the war again comes back to the mind (nous). But only let us do all things with the counsel, if I may put it that way, of the Lord himself and with much humility.

31 For we who live in cœnobia ought to cut off our every will to the Superior with a voluntary deliberate choice and with a willing heart. And, God holding converse, we ourselves become somewhat tractable and without a will. It is seemly, however, that this have art so that we are not agitated in the gall and so that we do not set our temper in motion irrationally and contrary to nature, and after that we find ourselves without bold familiarity in the invisible war. For it is the custom, our will not being cut off by us voluntarily, [for us] to grow angry with those who are endeavouring to cut it off involuntarily; and from this, then, the temper, set in motion evilly and barking, destroys the gnosis of the battle which barely with much toil [the monk] was able to acquire. For the temper is by nature destructive. If it is set in motion against the demonic thoughts (logismoi), it ruins and destroys them; if once more again, then, it should become stirred up against man, it also ruins in us in the same way the good thoughts (logismoi). I see, however, that the temper happens to be destructive of all thoughts (logismoi) whatever, either wicked or, should it chance, even good. For it is a weapon and a bow provided to us by God if it is not deployed on both sides. If, then, it also operates differently, it is destructive. For I also know a dog, spirited to the same degree as the wolves, which destroys the sheep.

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