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OTT (Text) -- 5

14 Alone of the thoughts, the thought of vainglory has much material and encompasses almost the whole inhabited world and it secretly opens the door to all the demons, just as someone who has become the wicked betrayer of a city. For that reason, it greatly abases the mind of him who is living the life of solitude, filling him with many words and objects and causing the ruin of his prayers, through which he is zealous to heal all the wounds of his soul. All the demons, when they are defeated, join in increasing this thought; and, again, by means of it, all the demons receive entrance into the souls, making, really, ‘the last worse than the first’ [Matt. 12, 45]. From this very thought is engendered the thought of pride, the thought which threw down from the Heavens to the earth the seal of similarity and the crown of beauty. ‘But leap away from this place and do not persist,’ [Prov. 9, 18a] so that we do not betray our life to others and our way of life to the merciless. These things banish this demon: intense prayer and to say or do nothing voluntarily of those things which contribute to accursed glory.

15 When the mind of those who are living the life of solitude gets hold of a little dispassion, then, having acquired the horse of vainglory, it rides through the cities taking its fill of the unmixed praise from the glory [of men]. This mind, the spirit of fornication meets providentially, and, closing it up in a pigsty, teaches it no longer to abandon its bed before complete health nor to imitate the unruly of those who are sick, those who while they still bear in themselves the relics of the illness, give themselves over to journeys and untimely baths and fall into the illnesses which come from relapse. For that reason, remaining [in our hermitage], let us rather pay attention to ourselves, so that, advancing in virtue, we become difficult to move towards vice; so that being renewed, then, in gnosis, we receive in addition a multitude of various contemplations; and so that being raised up again during prayer, we see more clearly the light of our Saviour.

16 I am not able to write all the villainies of the demons and I am ashamed to recount at length their evil arts, having feared for the simpler of those who will meet with this writing. However, hear the villainy of the spirit of fornication. When one acquires dispassion of the desiring part, and the shameful thoughts, therefore, grow somewhat cold, then this thought introduces men and women playing with each other and makes the anchorite the spectator of shameful deeds and gestures. But this temptation is not one of those that persist for a long time. For intense prayer and a very scanty diet with vigils and the exercise of spiritual contemplations expel this demon like a waterless cloud [cf. Jude 12]. There is also the case where this demon lays hold on the flesh, prising it out towards irrational excitement. And this rogue contrives countless other things for his purposes, which very things it is not necessary to publish and to commit to writing. The seething of the temper set in motion against this demon is very useful against such thoughts, which very temper the demon has certainly feared when it [the temper] is agitated on account of these thoughts and is destroying utterly its [the demon’s] mental representations. And this is the ‘Be angry and do not sin,’ [Ps. 4, 5] useful medicine brought forth to the soul in temptations.

The demon of anger also imitates this demon and himself invents certain close relatives or friends or kinsmen outraged by unworthy persons, and sets the temper of him who is living the life of solitude in motion to say or to do something wicked towards those who have appeared in the intellect, which images it is necessary to take a care for, and quickly to snatch the mind away from such images, so that the mind not, by persisting in these images, become, a smoking firebrand [cf. Isa. 7, 4] during the time of prayer. Those who are irascible fall into such temptations, especially since they are easily incited to violent movements. These very persons are far from pure prayer and the gnosis of our Saviour Christ.

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