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KGN -- Vb

46 The high priest is he who addresses supplications to God for all the reasonable nature and separates the ones from vice and the others from ignorance.

47 We honour the angels not on account of their nature, but on account of their virtue, and we insult the demons on account of the vice which is in them.

48 Alone of all the bodies, Christ is adorable for us, because he alone has the Word of God in him.

49 The ‘new god’ [Ps. 80, 10] is he who can make nothing exist, or else he who is united to evil.

50 The Holy Trinity is alone adorable for itself, it by which, in the end, the incorporeal nature and the corporeal (nature)* from nothing have become in the beginning something.

51 It is not that which is his nature that he knows who sees the Creator after the harmony of beings, but he knows his wisdom, with which he has made everything; and I wish to say not the essential wisdom, but that which appears in the beings, that which those who are experts in these things are wont to call natural contemplation. And if that is so, what folly is it that those have who say that they know the nature of God!

52 The mental representations of bodies have need of a pure nous, the mental representations of incorporeals (have need)† of a (nous)* more pure, and the Holy Trinity (has need)† of a nous more pure than those.

53 The spiritual sacrifice is the pure conscience which places (itself)† on the state of the nous as on an altar.

54 Just as it is more difficult for us to see the mental representations of incorporeals than to draw near to objects by means of the senses, so it is more difficult for us to know the mental representations of bodies than to see the bodies themselves.

55 The Holy Trinity is not a thing which might be mixed with the contemplation; that, indeed, does not occur except with created beings. The former will also be named, in a holy way, essential gnosis.

56 It is not absolutely the case that he who has drawn away from the objects has also fallen from the contemplation which concerns them; and no more is he who has lost the contemplation outside the objects. But in this matter it is not thus in regard to the Holy Trinity; we have believed, indeed, that it is only essential gnosis.

57 Just as now, by the senses, we draw near to sensible objects, and just as, in the end, when we will have been purified, we also will know their mental representations, so at the beginning we see the objects,[1] and when we will be purified more, we will also know the contemplation which concerns them, after which it is possible thenceforth also to know the Holy Trinity.

58 The nous discerns the sense-perception not insofar as sensible, but insofar as sense-perception; and the sense-perception discerns the sensible things not insofar as objects but insofar as sensible objects.

59 Sense-perception does not discern sense-perception; but it only discerns the organs of sense, not insofar as organs of sense, but insofar as sensible. The nous discerns sense-perception insofar as sense-perception and the organs of sense insofar as organs of sense.

60 Other is the power of the nous which sees the spiritual natures and other is that which knows the contemplation which concerns them. But one is the power which sees and comprehends and Holy Trinity.

61 At all the times when we consider materials, we come to the remembrance of their contemplation, and, when we have received that contemplation, we remove ourselves anew from the materials. But that does not occur to us in relation to the Holy Trinity, for it is only essential contemplation.

62 The nature of the Trinity is not known with ascents and descents; there are not there, indeed, any underlying objects, and its nature does not admit of analysis, because he who resolves the nature of bodies makes it consist absolutely in matter and form; and if one resolves the incorporeal nature, one brings it to the common contemplation and to the substance susceptible of an opposition. But it is not thus that it is possible to know the nature of the Holy Trinity.

63 The analysis makes us reascend to the commencement of the objects, and the gnosis which is according to measure makes seen the wisdom of the Creator; but it is not according to these signs that we see the Holy Trinity. It has not, indeed, commencement, and we do not say to any further extent that the wisdom which is in these objects is God, if the commencements agree, in the theory of nature, with the things of which they are the commencements. Indeed, such a wisdom is a gnosis without substance, which appears only in the objects.

64 Just as a mirror remains unspotted by the images which are seen there, so the dispassionate soul (remains unspotted)* by the things which are on the earth.

65 The praktikos is the servant of the separation and the gnostic the helper of wisdom.

66 The nous does not unite itself to gnosis before it should have united the passionate part of its soul to its proper virtues.[2]

67 If the reasonable natures bear the sign of trees and if the latter grow in water, it is just that gnosis is called spiritual water which flows from ‘the source of life’ [Ps. 35, 10].

68 The intelligible ‘Philistine’ is he who is opposed to those who enter to inherit the Promised Land.

69 The Holy Trinity is the sign of the holy water and the ‘tree of life’ [Gen. 2, 9] is the Christ who is watered there.

70 Just as our body is said to be in a place, so also the nous (is said to be)* in some one gnosis; on account of that, gnosis is conventionally said (to be)† its (the nous’)† place.

71 The intelligible ‘hero’ [I Kgs. 17, 4 and 51] is he who strives to make those who have entered the Promised Land to go out of it.

72 If ‘the four arms’ [Gen. 2, 10] are divided from one sole ‘river’ [Gen. 2, 10], may one name the world in which there has been one sole river, so that the body might also comprehend the Paradise from which it will drink.

73 The nous is in wonder when it sees the objects and it is not disturbed in their contemplation; but it runs as towards its familiars and friends.

74 The intelligible ‘city’ [Matt. 5, 14] is the spiritual contemplation which contains the spiritual natures.

75 The more the nous divests itself of the passions, the more it approaches the objects and according to the degree of its order (it)† also receives the gnosis; and it knows the contemplation of each order in which it stands as its very own.

76 The knowing natures examine the objects and the gnosis of the objects purifies the knowers.

77 The intelligible doors are the virtues of the reasonable soul and praktike, which are constituted by the power of God.[3]

78 The bodies of demons do not increase or decrease; and a strong bad odour accompanies them, by which they also set in motion our passions, and they are easily known by those who have received from the Lord the power to perceive this odour.[4]

79 All that which falls under the power of the nous which sees the incorporeals is also absolutely of its nature; but that which is seen by the other (power)* cannot be connatural to it, if it is the same power which knows the mental representations of incorporeals and the Holy Trinity.

80 The intelligible ‘bolt’[5] is the liberty which is master of itself, and which does not flex on account of the good.

81 When the nous receives the essential gnosis, then it also will be called God, because it will also be able to found diverse worlds.

82 The intelligible wall is the dispassion of the soul, to which the demons do not draw near.

83 We have found that all the circumcisions are seven; four of them are of the sixth day, one of them of the seventh day, and the others of the eighth day.

84 The intelligible temple is the pure nous, which now has in it ‘the most varied wisdom of God’ [Eph. 3, 10]; the temple of God is he who is a seer of the Holy Unity, and the altar of God is the contemplation of the Holy Trinity.

85 The first nature is for the One, the second towards the One, and the same in the One.

86 The solitary who loves vainglory is he who, before dispassion, searches to be glorified by men in the things which do not happen for dispassion and for the gnosis of God.

87 The gnosis of the seconds is (contained)† in the first,[6] and that of the first in it;[7] but the second is not knowing.

88 Zion is the sign of the first gnosis,[8] and Egypt is the indication of all vice; but the symbol of the natural contemplation[9] is Jerusalem, where is the Mount of Zion, the summit of the city.

89 Just as the destruction of the last world will not be accompanied by a genesis, so the genesis of the first world is not preceded by a destruction.

90 The objects such as they are naturally, either the pure nous sees or the word of the sages makes known. But he who is deprived of the two comes in this to the inculpation of the Author.

The Fifth Century is finished.

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[1] Following S1, ‘bodiless powers’ seems to be meant. On this reading, Evagrius is describing the stages of second natural contemplation, first natural contemplation and Theology. Thus also Parmentier interprets the passage (cf. Melania E p. 23).

[2] That is, the virtues of the passionate part of the soul (cf. Treatise on the Practical Life, Chapter 89).

[3] Cf. Treatise on the Practical Life, Chapter 98, Didymus the Blind.

[4] Cf. Treatise on the Practical Life, Chapter 39.

[5] As in the bolt of a door.

[6] Evidently, ‘first’ means the first, incorporeal being, and ‘second’ means the corporeal being.

[7] Evidently, ‘in the first being’.

[8] That is, Theology.

[9] That is, first natural contemplation.


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