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Gnostic -- 2

26 The time of explanation is not the same as the time of discussion. It is also necessary to reprimand those who prematurely make objections. That, indeed, is the habit of heretics and disputers. [French]

27 Do not speak of God [i.e. theologize] incautiously, and never define the Divine. For definitions are <of things which have come to be and> of things which are composite. [Greek]

28 Remember the five causes of abandonment, so that you can raise up the weak in spirit who are battered by affliction. Indeed, the virtue that is hidden is revealed by abandonment. When virtue has been neglected, abandonment restores it by chastisement. And it [i.e. abandonment] becomes a cause of salvation for others. And when virtue has become pre-eminent, it [i.e. abandonment] teaches humility to those who share in it. In fact, he who has had experience of it [i.e. abandonment] hates evil; for experience is an offspring of abandonment, and this abandonment is the daughter of dispassion. [French]

29 Let those who are being taught ever say to you ‘Friend, go up higher.’ [Luke 14, 10.] For it is shameful for you, having gone up, to be brought down again by those who hear. [Greek]

30 The avaricious man is not he who has money but he who desires it. For they say that the steward is a purse endowed with reason. [Greek]

31 Exhort the elders, on the one hand, to control the temper; the young men, on the other hand, to control the belly. For the demons which pertain to [the passions of] the soul battle the former more; the demons, however, which pertain to [the passions of] the body, more the latter. [Greek]

32 Stop the mouths of those who give an evil report [of others] in your hearing. And do not wonder if you are condemned by most men, for this is the temptation which comes from demons. It is necessary that the gnostic be free of hatred and remembrance of wrongs, even of those who do not wish. [Greek]

33 He who heals men for the sake of the Lord ministers equally to himself unawares. For the drug that the gnostic brings forward perhaps heals the neighbour but <necessarily> heals himself. [Greek]

34 You will not interpret spiritually everything which is amenable to allegory, but only that which is appropriate to the subject; for if you do not proceed thus, you will spend much time on the boat of Jonah [cf. Jonah 1, 5] in explicating each piece of its rigging. And you will make your hearers laugh instead of being useful to them, all those who will be seated around you recalling to you this or that piece of rigging and producing with laughter that piece of rigging which you will have forgotten. [French]

35 Invite the monks who come to your house to speak concerning ethics, but not concerning dogmas, at least if there not be found one who might be able to give himself over to such matters. [French]

36 Let the more elevated reason (logos) concerning judgement be hidden from the seculars and the young, since it easily gives birth to contempt. For they do not know the suffering of a reasonable soul condemned to ignorance. [Greek]

37 St Paul subjugated his body in mortifying it [cf. 1 Cor. 9, 27]. Therefore do not be negligent of your diet in your life and do not greatly outrage dispassion, <humbling> it with a gross body. [Greek]

38 Do not take anxious care concerning foods and clothes [cf. Matt. 6, 25], but remember Abner the Levite who, having received the ark of the Lord [into his house], has become rich from among the poor and glorious from among those without honour [cf. 2 Kgs. 6, 10–11]. [Greek]

39 The conscience of the gnostic is for him a bitter accuser, and he cannot hide anything from it for it knows [everything] up to the secrets of his heart. [French]

40 Take care to the fact that, for each created thing, there is not just one reason, but a great number, and according to the measure of each person. The holy powers alone attain to the true reasons of objects, but not the first, that which is known only by the Christ. [French]

41 Every proposition has as predicate, either genus or difference or species or property or accident or that which is composed of these. None of the things that have been said, however, can be taken with regard to the Holy Trinity. Let the unspeakable be worshipped in silence. [Greek]

42 The temptation of the gnostic is the false conception standing about the mind (nous) of that which exists <as not existing; of that, then, which does not exist as existing; and of that, then, which does in fact exist> as not, however, existing in the same manner just as it has come to be. [Greek]

43 The sin of the gnostic is the false gnosis of objects themselves, or of their contemplation, which is engendered by any passion whatsoever or because it is not in view of the good that he has made the investigation. [French]

44 We have learned from the just Gregory that there are also four virtues of contemplation itself: prudence, manliness, chastity and justice. And, on the one hand, he used to say that the work (ergon) of prudence is to contemplate the spiritual (noeras) and holy powers without reasons (logoi), for he has transmitted that these reasons (logoi) are declared by wisdom alone. Of manliness, on the other hand, to persevere in the truths even when we are warred against and not to enter into those things which do not exist. He replied, then, that the property of chastity is to accept the seeds from the first Gardener and to repel him who sows afterwards. Of justice, then, again, to render the reasons (logoi) to each man according to his worth, announcing some things obscurely, indicating other things by enigmas and making some things clear for the benefit of the more simple. [Greek]

45 The pillar of the truth, Basil the Cappadocian: Careful study and exercise, on the one hand, master the gnosis that comes from men; justice and freedom from anger, and mercy, on the other hand, that which comes from the grace of God. And it is possible for the passionate to take upon himself the first; the dispassionate alone, however, are receptive of the second, those who also during the time of prayer see shining on them the native light of the mind (nous). [Greek]

46 The holy illuminator of the Egyptians, Athanasios, says: Moses is ordered to set the table on the Northern side [cf. Exod. 26, 35]. Let the gnostics know who it is who is blowing against them, and let them patiently endure every temptation with nobility, and let them nourish with zeal those who approach. [Greek]

47 The angel of the Church of Thmuis, Serapion, used to say that the mind (nous) which has drunk [of] spiritual gnosis is completely purified, that charity (agape) cures the inflamed parts of the temper, and that continence stops the fresh-flowing evil desires. [Greek]

48 The great and gnostic teacher Didymus said: Ever exercise the reasons (logoi) concerning providence and the judgement when you are by yourself and try to carry about the materials of these by means of the memory, for almost all stumble on these things. And you will find the reasons (logoi) concerning judgement in the difference of bodies and worlds, the reasons (logoi) concerning providence, however, in the ways which lead us from vice and ignorance back to virtue and gnosis. [Greek]

49 The goal of the practical life is to purify the intellect and to render it dispassionate; that of the natural [contemplation] is to reveal the truth hidden in all the beings; but to remove the intellect from materials and to turn it towards the First Cause is a gift of Theology. [French]

50 Looking towards the Archetype, ever attempt to draw the images, overlooking nothing of those things that contribute towards the gaining of it [i.e. the image] which has fallen. [Greek]

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