JOHN CASSIAN
THE TWELVE BOOKS
ON THE INSTITUTES OF THE COENOBIA
AND THE REMEDIES
FOR THE EIGHT PRINCIPAL FAULTS
BOOKS IX TO XI

BOOK IX.

OF THE SPIRIT OF DEJECTION.

CHAPTER I.

How our fifth combat is against the spirit of dejection, and of the harm which it inflicts upon the soul.

IN our fifth combat we have to resist the pangs of gnawing dejection: for if this, through separate attacks made at random, and by haphazard and casual changes, has secured an opportunity of gaining possession of our mind it keeps us back at all times from all insight in divine contemplation, and utterly ruins and depresses the mind that has fallen away from its complete state of purity. It does not allow it to say its prayers with its usual gladness of heart, nor permit it to rely on the comfort of reading the sacred writings, nor suffer it to be quiet and gentle with the brethren; it makes it impatient and rough in all the duties of work and devotion: and, as all wholesome counsel is lost, and steadfastness of heart destroyed, it makes the feelings almost mad and drunk, and crushes and overwhelms them with penal despair.

CHAPTER II.

Of the care with which the malady of dejection must be healed.

WHEREFORE if we are anxious to exert ourselves lawfully in the struggle of our spiritual combat we ought with no less care to set about healing this malady also. For "as the moth injures the garment, and the worm the wood, so dejection the heart of man."(1) With sufficient clearness and appropriateness has the Divine Spirit expressed the force of this dangerous and most injurious fault.

CHAPTER III.

To what the soul may be compared which is a prey to the attacks of dejection.

FOR the garment that is moth-eaten has no longer any commercial value or good use to which it can be put; and in the same way(2) the wood that is worm-eaten is no longer worth anything for ornamenting even an ordinary building, but is destined to be burnt in the fire. So therefore the soul also which is a prey to the attacks of gnawing dejection will be useless for that priestly garment which, according to the prophecy of the holy David, the ointment of the Holy Spirit coming down from heaven, first on Aaron's beard, then on his skirts, is wont to assume: as it is said, "It is like the ointment upon the head which ran down upon Aaron's beard, which ran down to the skirts of his clothing.(3) Nor can it have anything to do with the building or ornamentation of that spiritual temple of which Paul as a wise master builder laid the foundations, saying, "Ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you:"(4) and what the beams of this are like the bride tells us in the Song of Songs: "Our rafters are of cypress: the beams of our houses are of cedar."(5) And therefore those sorts of wood are chosen for the temple of God which are fragrant and not liable to rot, and which are not subject to decay from age nor to be worm-eaten.

CHAPTER IV.

Whence and in what way dejection arises.

BUT Sometimes it is found to result from the fault of previous anger, or to spring from the desire of some gain which has not been realized, when a man has found that he has failed in his hope of securing those things which he had planned. But sometimes without any apparent reason for our being driven to fall into this misfortune, we are by the instigation of our crafty enemy suddenly depressed with so great a gloom that we cannot receive with ordinary civility the visits of those who are near and dear to us; and whatever subject of conversation is started by them, we regard it as ill-timed and out of place; and we can give them no civil answer, as the gall of bitterness is in possession of every corner of our heart.

CHAPTER V.

That disturbances are caused in us not by the faults of other people, but by our own.

WHENCE it is clearly proved that the pains of disturbances are not always caused in us by other people's faults, but rather by our own, as we have stored up in ourselves the causes of offence, and the seeds of faults, which, as soon as a shower of temptation waters our soul, at once burst forth into shoots and fruits.

CHAPTER VI.

Thatno one comes to grief by a sudden fall, but is destroyed by falling through a long course of carelessness.(1)

FOR no one is ever driven to sin by being provoked through another's fault, unless he has the fuel of evil stored up in his own heart. Nor should we imagine that a man has been deceived suddenly when he has looked on a woman and fallen into the abyss of shameful lust: but rather that, owing to the opportunity of looking on her, the symptoms of disease which were hidden and concealed in his inmost soul have been brought to the surface.

CHAPTER VII.

That we ought not to give up intercourse with our brethren in order to seek after perfection, but should rather constantly cultivate the virtue of patience.

AND so God, the creator of all things, having regard above everything to the amendment of His own work, and because the roots and causes of our falls are found not in others, but in ourselves, commands that we should not give up intercourse with our brethren, nor avoid those who we think have been hurt by us, or by whom we have been offended, but bids us pacify them, knowing that perfection of heart is not secured by separating from men so much as by the virtue of patience. Which when it is securely held, as it can keep us at peace even with those who hate peace, so, if it has not been acquired, it makes us perpetually differ from those who are perfect and better than we are: for opportunities for disturbance, on account of which we are eager to get away from those with whom we are connected, will not be wanting so long as we are living among men; and therefore we shall not escape altogether, but only change the causes of dejection on account of which we separated from our former friends.

CHAPTER VIII.

That if we have improved our character it is possible for us to get on with everybody.

WE must then do our best to endeavour to amend our faults and correct our manners. And if we succeed in correcting them we shall certainly be at peace, I will not say with men, but even with beasts and the brute creation, according to what is said in the book of the blessed Job: "For the beasts of the field will be at peace with thee;"(2) for we shall not fear offences coming from without, nor will any occasion of falling trouble us from outside, if the roots of such are not admitted and implanted within in our own selves: for "they have great peace who love thy law, O God; and they have no occasion of falling."(3)

CHAPTER IX.

Of another sort of dejection which prouces despair of salvation.

THERE is, too, another still more objectionable sort of dejection, which produces in the guilty soul no amendment of life or correction of faults, but the most destructive despair: which did not make Cain repent after the murder of his brother, or Judas, after the betrayal, hasten to relieve himself by making amends, but drove him to hang himself in despair.

CHAPTER X.

Of the only thing in which dejection is useful to us.

AND so we must see that dejection is only useful to us in one case, when we yield to it either in penitence for sin, or through being inflamed with the desire of perfection, or the contemplation of future blessedness. And of this the blessed Apostle says: "The sorrow which is according to God worketh repentance steadfast unto salvation: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."(1)

CHAPTER XI.

How we can decide what is useful and the sorrow according to God, and what is devilish and deadly.

BUT that dejection and sorrow which "worketh repentance steadfast unto salvation" is obedient, civil, humble, kindly, gentle, and patient, as it springs from the love of God, and unweariedly extends itself from desire of perfection to every bodily grief and sorrow of spirit; and somehow or other rejoicing and feeding on hope of its own profit preserves all the gentleness of courtesy and forbearance, as it has in itself all the fruits of the Holy Spirit of which the same Apostle gives the list: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, benignity, faith, mildness, modesty."(2) But the other kind is rough, impatient, hard, full of rancour and useless grief and penal despair, and breaks down the man on whom it has fastened, and hinders him from energy and wholesome sorrow, as it is unreasonable, and not only hampers the efficacy of his prayers, but actually destroys all those fruits of the Spirit of which we spoke, which that other sorrow knows how to produce.

CHAPTER XII.

That except that wholesome sorrow, which springs up in three ways, all sorrow and dejection should be resisted as hurtful.

WHEREFORE except that sorrow which is endured either for the sake of saving penitence, or for the sake of aiming at perfection, or for the desire of the future, all sorrow and dejection must equally be resisted, as belonging to this world, and being that which "worketh death," and must be entirely expelled from our hearts like the spirit of fornication and covetousness and anger.

CHAPTER XIII.

The means by which we can root out dejection from our hearts.

WE should then be able to expel this most injurious passion from our hearts, so that by spiritual meditation we may keep our mind constantly occupied with hope of the future and contemplation of the promised blessedness. For in this way we shall be able to get the better of all those sorts of dejection, whether those which flow from previous anger or those which come to us from disappointment of gain, or from some loss, or those which spring from a wrong done to us, or those which arise from an unreasonable disturbance of mind, or those which bring on us a deadly despair, if, ever joyful with an insight into things eternal and future, and continuing immovable, we are not depressed by present accidents, or over-elated by prosperity, but look on each condition as uncertain and likely soon to pass away.

BOOK X.

OF THE SPIRIT OF ACCIDIE.(3)

CHAPTER I.

How our sixth combat is against the spirit of accidie, and what its character is.

OUR sixth combat is with what the Greeks call <greek>akhdia</greek>, which we may term weariness or distress of heart. This is akin to dejection, and is especially trying to solitaires, and a dangerous and frequent foe to dwellers in the desert; and especially disturbing to a monk about the sixth hour, like some fever which seizes him at stated times, bringing the burning heat of its attacks on the sick man at usual and regular hours. Lastly, there are some of the elders who declare that this is the "midday demon" spoken of in the ninetieth Psalm.(4)

CHAPTER II.

A description of accidie, and the way in which it creeps over the heart of a monk, and the injury it inflicts on the soul.

AND when this has taken possession of some unhappy soul, it produces dislike of the place, disgust with the cell, and disdain and contempt of the brethren who dwell with him or at a little distance, as if they were careless or unspiritual. It also makes the man lazy and sluggish about all manner of work which has to be done within the enclosure of his dormitory. It does not suffer him to stay in his cell, or to take any pains about reading, and he often groans because he can do no good while he stays there, and complains and sighs because he can bear no spiritual fruit so long as he is joined to that society; and he complains that he is cut off from spiritual gain, and is of no use in the place, as if he were one who, though he could govern others and be useful to a great number of people, yet was edifying none, nor profiling any one by his teaching and doctrine. He cries up l distant monasteries and those which are a long way off, and describes such places as more profitable and better suited for salvation; and besides this he paints the intercourse with the brethren there as sweet and full of spiritual life. On the other hand, he says that everything about him is rough, and not only that there is nothing edifying among the brethren who are stopping there, but also that even food for the body cannot be procured without great difficulty. Lastly he fancies that he will never be well while he stays in that place, unless he leaves his cell (in which he is lure to die if he stops in it any longer) and takes himself off from thence as quickly as possible. Then the fifth or sixth hour brings him such bodily weariness and longing for food that he seems to himself worn out and wearied as if with a long journey, or some very heavy work, or as if he had put off taking food during a fast of two or three days. Then besides this he looks about anxiously this way and that, and sighs that none of the brethren come to see him, and often goes in and out of his cell, and frequently gazes up at the sun, as if it was too slow in setting, and so a kind of unreasonable confusion of mind takes possession of him like some foul darkness,(1) and makes him idle and useless for every spiritual work, so that he imagines that no cure for so terrible an attack can be found in anything except visiting some one of the brethren, or in the solace of sleep alone. Then the disease suggests that he ought to show courteous and friendly hospitalities to the brethren, and pay visits to the sick, whether near at hand or far off. He talks too about some dutiful and religious offices; that those kinsfolk ought to be inquired after, and that he ought to go and see them oftener; that it would be a real work of piety to go more frequently to visit that religious woman, devoted to the service of God, who is deprived of all support of kindred; and that it would be a most excellent thing to get what is needful for her who is neglected and despised by her own kinsfolk; and that he ought piously to devote his time to these things instead of staying uselessly and with no profit in his cell.

CHAPTER III.

Of the different ways in which accidie overcomes a monk.

AND so the wretched soul, embarrassed by such contrivances of the enemy, is disturbed, until, worn out by the spirit of accidie, as by some strong battering ram, it either learns to sink into slumber, or, driven out from the confinement of its cell, accustoms itself to seek for consolation under these attacks in visiting some brother, only to be afterwards weakened the more by this remedy which it seeks for the present. For more frequently and more severely will the enemy attack one who, when the battle is joined, will as he well knows immediately turn his back, and whom he sees to look for safety neither in victory nor in fighting but in flight: until little by little he is drawn away from his cell, and begins to forget the object of his profession, which is nothing but meditation and contemplation of that divine purity which excels all things, and which can only be gained by silence and continually remaining in the cell, and by meditation, and so the soldier of Christ becomes a runaway from His service, and a deserter, and "entangles himself in secular business," without at all pleasing Him to whom he engaged himself.(2)

CHAPTER IV.

How accidie hinders the mind from all contemplation of the virtues.

ALL the inconveniences of this disease are admirably expressed by David in a single verse, where he says, "My soul slept from weariness,"(8) that is, from accidie. Quite rightly does he say, not that his body, but that his soul slept. For in truth the soul which is wounded by the shaft of this passion does sleep, as regards all contemplation of the virtues and insight of the spiritual senses.

CHAPTER V.

How the attack of accldie is twofold.

AND so the true Christian athlete who desires to strive lawfully in the lists of perfection, should hasten to expel this disease also from the recesses of his soul; and should strive against this most evil spirit of accidie in both directions, so that he may neither fall stricken through by the shaft of slumber, nor be driven out from the monastic cloister, even though under some pious excuse or pretext, and depart as a runaway.

CHAPTER VI.

How injurious are the effects of accidie.

AND whenever it begins in any degree to overcome any one, it either makes him stay in his cell idle and lazy, without making any spiritual progress, or it drives him out from thence and makes him restless and a wanderer, and indolent in the matter of all kinds of work, and it makes him continually go round, the cells of the brethren and the monasteries, with an eye to nothing but this; viz., where or with what excuse he can presently procure some refreshment. For the mind of an idler cannot think of anything but food and the belly, until the society of some man or woman, equally cold and indifferent, is secured, and it loses itself in their affairs and business, and is thus little by little ensnared by dangerous occupations, so that, just as if it were bound up in the coils of a serpent, it can never disentangle itself again and return to the perfection of its former profession.

CHAPTER VII.

Testimonies from the Apostle concerning the spirit of accidie.

THE blessed Apostle, like a true and spiritual physician, either seeing this disease, which springs from the spirit of accidie, already creeping in, or foreseeing, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, that it would arise among monks, is quick to anticipate it by the healing medicines of his directions. For in writing to the Thessalonians, and at first, like a skilful and excellent physician, applying to the infirmity of his patients the soothing and gentle remedy of his words, and beginning with charity, and praising them in that point, that(1) this deadly wound, having been treated with a milder remedy, might lose its angry fostering and more easily bear severer treatment, he says: "But concerning brotherly charity ye have no need that I write to you: for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another. For this ye do toward all the brethren in the whole of Macedonia."(2) He first began with the soothing application of praise, and made their ears submissive and ready for the remedy of the healing words. Then he proceeds: "But we ask you, brethren, to abound more." Thus far he soothes them with kind and gentle words; for fear lest he should find them not yet prepared to receive their perfect cure. Why is it that you ask, O Apostle, that they may abound more in charity, of which you had said above, "But concerning brotherly charity we have no need to write to you"? And why is it necessary that you should say to them: "But we ask you to abound more," when they did not need o be written to at all on this matter? especially as you add the reason why they do not need it, saying, "For you yourselves have been aught of God to love one another." And you add a third thing still more important: hat not only have they been taught of God, but also that they fulfil in deed that which they are taught. "For ye do this," he says, not to one or two, but "to all the brethren;" and not to your own citizens and friends only, but "in the whole of Macedonia." Tell us then, I pray, why it is that you so particularly begin with this. Again he proceeds, "But we ask you, brethren, to abound the more." And with difficulty at last he breaks out into that at which he was driving before: "and that ye take pains to be quiet." He gave the first aim. Then he adds a second, "and to do your own business;" and a third as well: "and work with your own hands, as we commanded you;" a fourth: "and to walk honestly towards those that are without;"a fifth: "and to covet no man's goods." Lo, we can see through that hesitation, which made him with these preludes put off uttering what his mind was full of: "And that ye take pains to be quiet;" i.e., that you stop in your cells, and be not disturbed by rumours, which generally spring from the wishes and gossip of idle persons, and so yourselves disturb others. And, "to do your own business," you should not want to require curiously of the world's actions, or, examining the lives of others, want to spend your strength, not on bettering yourselves and aiming at virtue, but on depreciating your brethren. "And work with your own hands, as we charged you;" to secure that which he had warned them above not to do; i.e., that they should not be restless and anxious about other people's affairs, nor walk dishonestly towards those without, nor covet another man's goods, he now adds and says, "and work with your own hands, as we charged you." For he has clearly shown that leisure the reason why those things were done which he blamed above. For no one can be restless or anxious about other people's affairs, but one who is not satisfied to apply himself to the work of his own hands. He adds also a fourth evil, which springs also from this leisure, i.e., that they should not walk dishonestly: when he says: "And that ye walk honestly towards those without." He cannot possibly walk honestly, even among those who are men of this world, who is not content to cling to the seclusion of his cell and the work of his own hands; but he is sure to be dishonest, while he seeks his needful food; and to take pains to flatter, to follow up news and gossip, to seek for opportunities for chattering and stories by means of which he may gain a footing and obtain an entrance into the houses of others. "And that you should not covet another man's goods." He is sure to look with envious eyes on another's gifts and boons, who does not care to secure sufficient for his daily food by the dutiful and peaceful labour of his hands. You see what conditions, and how serious and shameful ones, spring solely from the malady of leisure. Lastly, those very people, whom in his first Epistle he had treated with the gentle application of his words, in his second Epistle he en-deavours to heal with severer and sterner remedies, as those who had not profited by more gentle treatment; and he no longer applies the treatment of gentle words, no mild and kindly expressions, as these, "But we ask you, brethren," but "We adjure you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw from every brother that walketh disorderly."(1) There he asks; here he adjures. There is the kindness of one who is persuading; here the sternness of one protesting and threatening. "We adjure you, brethren:" because, when we first asked you, you scorned to listen; now at least obey our threats. And this adjuration he renders terrible, not by his bare word, but by the imprecation of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: for fear lest they might again scorn it, as merely man's word, and think that it was not of much importance. And forthwith, like a well-skilled physician with festering limbs, to which he could not apply the remedy of a mild treatment, he tries to cure by an incision with a spiritual knife, saying, "that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not according to the tradition which ye received of us." And so he bids them withdraw from those who will not make time for work, and to cut them off like limbs tainted with the festering sores of leisure: test the the malady of idleness, like some deadly con tagion, might infect even the healthy portion of their limbs, by the gradual advance of infection. And when he is going to speak of those who will not work with their own hands and eat their bread in quietness, from whom he urges them to withdraw, hear with what reproaches he brands them at starting. First he calls them "disorderly," and "not walking according to the tradition." In other words, he stigmatizes them as obstinate, since they will not walk according to his appointment; and "dishonest," i.e., not keeping to the right and proper times for going out, and visiting, and talking. For a disorderly person is sure to be subject to all those faults. "And not according to the tradition which they received from us." And in this he stamps them as in some sort rebellious, and despisers, who scorned to keep the tradition which they had received from him, and would not follow that which they not only remembered that the master had taught in word, but which they knew that he had performed in deed. "For you yourselves know how ye ought to be folowers of us." He heaps up an immense pile of censure when he asserts that they did not observe that which was still in their memory, and which not only had they learned by verbal instruction, but also had received by the incitement of his example in working.

CHAPTER VIII.

That he is sure to be restless who will not be content with the work of his own hands.

"BECAUSE we were not restless among you." When he wants to prove by the practice of work that he was not restless among them, he fully shows that those who will not work are always restless, owing to the fault of idleness. "Nor did we eat any man's bread for nought." By each expression the teacher of the Gentiles advances a step in the rebuke.(1) The preacher of the gospel says that he has not eaten any man's bread for nought, as he knows that the Lord commanded that "they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel:"(2) again, "The labourer is worthy of his meat."(3) And so if he who preached the gospel, performing a work so lofty and spiritual, did not venture in reliance on the Lord's command to eat his bread for nought, what shall we do to whom not merely is there no preaching of the word intrusted, but no cure of souls except our own committed? with what confidence shall we dare with idle hands to eat our bread for nought, when the "chosen vessel," constrained by his anxiety for the gospel and his work of preaching, did not venture to eat without labouring with his own hands? "But in labour," he says "and weariness, working night and day lest we should be burdensome to any of you."(4) Up to this point he amplifies and adds to his rebuke. For he did not simply say, "We did not eat bread for nought from any of and then stop short. For it might have been thought that he was supported by his own private means, and by money which he had saved, or by other people's, though not by their collections and gifts. "But in labour," he says, "and weariness, working night and day is, being specially supported by our own labour. And this, he says, we did not of our own wish, and for our own pleasure, as rest and bodily exercise suggested, but as our necessities and the want of food compelled us to do, and that not without great bodily weariness. For not only throughout the whole day, but also by night, which seems to be granted for bodily rest, I was continually plying the work of my hands, through anxiety for food.

CHAPTER IX.

That not the Apostle only, but those two who were with him laboured with their own hands.

AND he testifies that it was not he alone who so lived among them, lest haply this method might not seem important or general if he depended only on his example. But he declares that all those who were appointed with him for the ministry of the gospel, i.e., Silvanus and Timothy, who wrote this with him, worked in the same fashion. For by saying, "lest we should be burdensome to any of you, he covers them with great shame. For if he who preached the gospel and commended it by signs and mighty works, did not dare to eat bread for nought, lest he should be burdensome to any, how can those men help thinking that they are burdensome who take it every day in idleness and at their leisure?

CHAPTER X.

That for this reason the Apostle laboured with his own hands, that he might set us an example of work.

"NOT as if we had not power; but that we might give ourselves a pattern to you to imitate us." He lays bare the reason why he imposed such labour on himself: "that we might," says he, "give a pattern to you to imitate us, that if by chance you become forgetful of the teaching of our words which so often passes through your ears, you may at least keep in your recollection the example of my manner of life given to you by ocular demonstration. There is here too no slight reproof of them, where he says that he has gone through this labour and weariness by night and day, for no other reason but to set an example, and that nevertheless they would not be instructed, for whose sakes he, although not obliged to do it, yet imposed on himself such toil. "And indeed," he says "though we had the power, and opportunities were open to us of using all your goods and substance, and I knew that I had the permission s of our Lord to use them: yet I did not use this power, lest what was rightly and lawfully done on my part might set an example of dangerous idleness to others. And therefore when preaching the gospel, I preferred to be supported by my own hands and work, that I might open up the way of perfection to you who wish to walk in the path of virtue, and might set an example of good life by my work."

CHAPTER XI.

That he preached and taught men to work not only by his example, but also by his words.

BUT lest haply it might be thought that, while he worked in silence and tried to teach them by example, he had not instructed them by precepts and warnings, he proceeds to say: "For when we were with you, this we declared to you, that if a man will not work neither should he eat." Still greater does he make their idleness appear, for, though they knew that he, like a good master, worked with his hands for the sake of his teaching and in order to instruct them, yet they were ashamed to imitate him; and he emphasizes our diligence and care by saying that he did not only give them this for an example when present, but that he also proclaimed it continually in words; saying that if any one would not work, neither should he eat.

CHAPTER XII.

Of his saying: "If any will not work, neither shall he eat."

AND now he no longer addresses to them the advice of a teacher or physician, but proceeds with the severity of a judicial sentence, and, resuming his apostolic authority, pronounces sentence on his despisers as if from the judgment seat: with that power, I mean, which, when writing with threats to the Corinthians, he declared was given him of the Lord, when he charged those taken in sin, that they should make haste and amend their lives before his coming: thus charging them, "I beseech you that I may not be bold when I am present, against some, with that power which is given to me over you." And again: "For if I also should boast somewhat of the power which the Lord has given me unto edification, and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed."(1) With that power, I say, he declares, "If a man will not work, neither let him eat." Not punishing them with a carnal sword, but with the power of the Holy Ghost forbidding them the goods of this life, that if by chance, thinking but little of the punishment of future death, they still should remain obstinate through love of ease, they may at last, forced by the requirements of nature and the fear of immediate death, be compelled to obey his salutary charge.

CHAPTER XIII.

Of his saying: "We have heard that some among you walk disorderly."

Then after all this rigour of gospel severity, he now lays bare the reason why he put forward all these matters. "For we have heard that some among you walk disorderly, working not at all, but curiously meddling." He is nowhere satisfied to speak of those who will not give themselves up to work, as if they were victims of but a single malady. For in his first Epistle(2) he speaks of them as "disorderly," and not walking according to the traditions which they had received from him: and he also asserts that they were restless, and ate their bread for nought. Again he says here, "We have heard that there are some among you who walk disorderly." And at once he subjoins a second weakness, which is the root of this restlessness, and says, "working not at all;" a third malady as well he adds, which springs from this last like some shoot: "but curiously meddling."

CHAPTER XIV.

How manual labour(3) prevents many faults.

And so he loses no time in at once applying a suitable remedy to the incentive to so many faults, and laying aside that apostolic power of his which he had made use of a little before, he adopts once more the tender character of a good father, or of a kind physician, and, as if they were his children or his patients, applies by his healing counsel remedies to cure them, saying: "Now we charge them that are such, and beseech them by the Lord Jesus, that working with silence they would eat their own bread." The cause of all these ulcers, which spring from the root of idleness, he heals like some well-skilled physician by a single salutary charge to work; as he knows that all the other bad symptoms, which spring as it were from the same clump, will at once diappear when the cause of the chief malady has been removed.

CHAPTER XV.

How kindness should be shown even to the idle and careless.

NEVERTHELESS, like a far-sighted and careful physician, he is not only anxious to heal the wounds of the sick, but gives suitable directions as well to the whole, that their health may be preserved continually, and says: "But be not ye weary in well doing:" ye who following us, i.e., our ways, copy the example given to you by imitating us m work, and do not follow their sloth and laziness: "Do not be weary in well doing;" i.e., do you likewise show kindness towards them if by chance they have failed to observe what we said. As then he was severe with those who were weak, for fear lest being enervated by laziness they might yield to restlessness and inquisitiveness, so he admonishes those who are in good health neither to restrain that kindness which the Lord's command bids us show to the good and evil,(1) even if some bad men will not turn to sound doctrine; nor to desist from doing good and encouraging them both by words of consolation and by rebuke as well as by ordinary kindness and civility.

CHAPTER XVI.

How we ought to admonish those who go wrong, not out of hatred, but out of love.

BUT again in case some might be encouraged by this gentleness, and scorn to obey his commands, he proceeds with the severity of an apostle: "But if any man obey not our word by this Epistle, note that man and do not keep company with him that he may be ashamed." And in warning them of what they ought to observe out of regard for him and for the good of all, and of the care with which they should keep the apostolic commands, at once he joins to the warning the kindness of a most indulgent father; and teaches them as well, as if they were his children, what a brotherly disposition they should cultivate towards those mentioned above, out of love. "Yet do not esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." With the severity of a judge he combines the affection of a father, and tempers with kindness and gentleness the sentence delivered with apostolic sternness. For he commands them to note that man who scorns to obey his commands, and not to keep company with him; and yet he does not bid them do this from a wrong feeling of dislike, but from brotherly affection and out of consideration for their amendment. "Do not keep company," he says, "with him that he may be ashamed;" so that, even if he is not made better by my mild charges, he may at last be brought to shame by being publicly separated from all of you, and so may some day begin to be restored to the way of salvation.

CHAPTER XVII.

Different passages in which the Apostle declares that we ought to work, or in which it is shown that he himself worked.

IN the Epistle to the Ephesians also he thus gives a charge on this subject of work, saying: "He that stole, let him now steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need."(3) And in the Acts of the Apostles too we find that he not only taught this, but actually practised it himself. For when he had come to Corinth, he did not permit himself to lodge anywhere except with Aquila and Priscilla, because they were of the same trade which he himself was accustomed to practise. For we thus read: "After this, Paul departing from Athens came to Corinth; and finding a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, and Priscilla his wife, he came to them because they were of the same trade; and abode with them, and worked: for they were tent-makers by trade."(8)

CHAPTER XVIII.

That the Apostle wrought what he thought would be sufficient for him and for others who were with him.

Then going to Miletus, and from thence sending to Ephesus, and summoning to him the elders of the church of Ephesus, he charged them how they ought to rule the church of God in his absence, and said: "I have not coveted any man's silver and gold; you yourselves know how for such things as were needful for me and them that are with me these hands have ministered. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said: It is more blessed to give than to receive."(4) He left us a weighty example in his manner of life, as he testifies that he not only wrought what would supply his own bodily wants alone, but also what would be sufficient for the needs of those who were with him: those, I mean, who, being taken up with necessary duties, had no chance of procuring food for themselves with their own hands. And as he tells the Thessalonians that he had worked to give them an example that they might imitate him, so here too he implies something of the same sort when he says: "I have showed you all things, how that so labouring you ought to support the weak," viz., whether in mind or body; i.e., that we should be diligent in supplying their needs, not from the store of our abundance, or money laid by, or from another's generosity and substance, but rather by securing the necessary sum by our own labour and toil.

CHAPTER XIX.

How we should understand these words: "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

AND he says that this is a command of the Lord: "For He Himself," namely the Lord Jesus, said he, "said it is more blessed to give than to receive." That is, the bounty of the giver is more blessed than the need of the receiver, where the gift is not supplied from money that has been kept back through unbelief or faithlessness, nor from the stored-up treasures of avarice, but is produced from the fruits of our own labour and honest toil. And so "it is more blessed to give than to receive," because while the giver shares the poverty of the receiver, yet still he is diligent in providing with pious care by his own toil, not merely enough for his own needs, but also what he can give to one in want; and so he is adorned with a double grace, since by giving away all his goods he secures the perfect abnegation of Christ, and yet by his labour and thought displays the generosity of the rich; thus honouring God by his honest labours, and plucking for him the fruits of his righteousness, while another, enervated by sloth and indolent laziness, proves himself by the saying of the Apostle unworthy of food, as in defiance of his command he takes it in idleness, not without the guilt of sin and of obstinacy.

CHAPTER XX.

Of a lazy brother who tried to persuade others to leave the monastery.

WE know a brother, whose name we would give if it would do any good, who, although he was remaining in the monastery and compelled to deliver to the steward his fixed task daily, yet for fear lest he might be led on to some larger portion of work, or put to shame by the example of one labouring more zealously, when he had seen some brother admitted into the monastery, who in the ardour of his faith wanted to make up the sale of a larger piece of work, if he found that he could not by secret persuasion check him from carrying out his purpose, he would by bad advice and whisperings persuade him to depart thence. And in order to get rid of him more easily he would pretend that he also had already been for many reasons offended, and wanted to leave, if only he could find a companion and support for the journey. And when by secretly running down the monastery he had wheedled him into consenting, and arranged with him the time at which to leave the monastery, and the place to which he should go before, and where he should wait for him, he himself, pretending that he would follow, stopped where he was. And when the other out of shame for his flight did not dare to return again to the monastery from which he had run away, the miserable author of his flight stopped behind in the monastery. It will be enough to have given this single instance of this sort of men in order to put beginners on their guard, and to show clearly what evils idleness, as Scripture says,(1) can produce in the mind of a monk, and how "evil communications corrupt good manners."(2)

CHAPTER XXI.

Different passages from the writings of Solomon against accidie.

AND Solomon, the wisest of men, clearly points to this fault of idleness in many passages, as he says: "He that followeth idleness shall be filled with poverty,"(3) either visible or invisible, in which an idle person and one entangled with different faults is sure to be involved, and he will always be a stranger to the contemplation of God, and to spiritual riches, of which the blessed Apostle says: "For in all things ye were enriched in him, in all utterance and in all knowledge."(4) But concerning this poverty of the idler elsewhere he also writes thus: "Every sluggard shall be clothed in torn garments and rags."(5) For certainly he will not merit to be adorned with that garment of incorruption (of which the Apostle says, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,"(6) and again: "Being clothed in the breastplate of righteousness and charity,"(7) concerning which the Lord Himself also speaks to Jerusalem by the prophet: "Arise, arise, O Jerusalem, put on the garments of thy glorY),"(8) whoever, overpowered by lazy slumber or by accidie, prefers to be clothed, not by his labour and industry, but in the rags of idleness, which he tears off from the solid piece and body of the Scriptures, and fits on to his sloth no garment of glory and honour, but an ignominious cloak and excuse. For those, who are affected by this laziness, and do not like to support themselves by the labour of their own hands, as the Apostle continually did and charged us to do, are wont to make use of certain Scripture proofs by which they try to cloak their idleness, saying that it is written, "Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which remains to life eternal;"(9) and "My meat is to do the will of my Father."(10) But these proofs are (as it were) rags, from the solid piece of the gospel, which are adopted for this purpose, viz., to cover the disgrace of our idleness and shame rather than to keep us warm, and adorn us with that costly and splendid garment of virtue which that wise woman in the Proverbs, who was clothed with strength and beauty, is said to have made either for herself or for her husband; of which presently it is said: "Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she rejoices in the latter days."(1) Of this evil of idleness Solomon thus makes mention again: "The ways of the idlers are strown with thorns;"(2) i.e., with these and similar faults, which the Apostle above declared to spring from idleness. And again: "Every sluggard is always in want."(3) And of these the Apostle makes mention when he says, "And that you want nothing of any man's."(4) And finally: "For idleness has been the teacher of many evils:"(5) which the Apostle has clearly enumerated in the passage which he expounded above: "Working not at all, but curiously meddling." To this fault also he joins another: "And that ye study to be quiet;" and then, "that ye should do your own business and walk honestly towards them that are without, and that you want nothing of any man's." Those also whom he notes as disorderly and rebellious, from these he charges those who are earnest to separate themselves: "That ye withdraw yourselves," says he, "from every brother that walketh disorderly and not according to the tradition which they received from us."(6)

CHAPTER XXII.

How the brethren in Egypt work with their hands, not only to supply their own needs, but also to minister to those who are in prison.

AND so taught by these examples the Fathers in Egypt never allow monks, and especially the younger ones, to be idle,(7) estimating the purpose of their hearts and their growth in patience and humility by their diligence in work; and they not only do not allow them to receive anything from another to supply their own wants, but further, they not merely refresh pilgrims and brethren who come to visit them by means of their labours, but actually collect an enormous store of provisions and food, and distribute it in the parts of Libya which suffer from famine and barrenness, and also in the cities, to those who are pining away in the squalor of prison; as they believe that by such an offering of the fruit of their hands they offer a reasonable and true sacrifice to the Lord.

CHAPTER XXIII.

That idleness is the reason why there are not monasteries for monks in the West.

HENCE it is that in these countries we see no monasteries found with such numbers of brethren: for they are not supported by the resources of their own labour in such a way that they can remain in them continually; and if in some way or other, through the liberality of another, there should be a sufficient provision to supply them, yet love of ease and restlessness of heart does not suffer them to continue long in the place. Whence this saying has been handed down from the old fathers in Egypt: that a monk who works is attacked by but one devil; but an idler is tormented by countless spirits.

CHAPTER XXIV.

Abbot Paul s who every year burnt with fire all the works of his hands.

LASTLY, Abbot Paul, one of the greatest of the Fathers, while he was living in a vast desert which is called the Porphyrian desert,(9) and being relieved from anxiety by the date palms and a small garden, had plenty to support himself, and an ample supply of food, and could not find any other work to do, which would support him, because his dwelling was separated from towns and inhabited districts by seven days' journey, (10) or even more, through the desert, and more would be asked for the carriage of the goods than the price of the work would be worth; he collected the leaves of the palms, and regularly exacted of himself his daily task, as if he was to be supported by it. And when his cave had been filled with a whole year's work, each year he would burn with fire that at which he had so diligently laboured: thus proving that without manual labour a monk cannot stop in a place nor rise to the heights of perfection: so that, though the need for food did not require this to be done, yet he performed it simply for the sake of purifying his heart, and strengthening his thoughts, and persisting in his cell, and gaining a victory over accidie and driving it away..

CHAPTER XXV.

The words of Abbot Moses which he said to me about the cure of accidie.

WHEN I was beginning my stay in the desert, and had said to Abbot Moses, the chief of all the saints, that I had been terribly troubled yesterday by an attack of accidie, and that I could only be freed from it by running at once to Abbot Paul, he said, "You have not freed yourself from it, but rather have given yourself up to it as its slave and subject. For the enemy will henceforth attack you more strongly as a deserter and runaway, since it has seen that you fled at once when overcome in the conflict: unless on a second occasion when you join battle with it you make up your mind not to dispel its attacks and heats for the moment by deserting your cell, or by the inactivity of sleep, but rather learn to triumph over it by endurance and conflict." Whence it is proved by experience that a fit of aceidie should not be evaded by running away from it, but overcome by resisting it.(1)

BOOK XI.

OF THE SPIRIT OF VAINGLORY.

CHAPTER I.

How our seventh combat is against the spirit of vainglory, and what its nature

OUR seventh combat is against the spirit of <greek>kenodox</greek><ss217><greek>a</greek>, which we may term vain or idle glory: a spirit that takes many shapes, and is changeable and subtle, so that it can with difficulty, I will not say be guarded against, but be seen through and discovered even by the keenest eyes.

CHAPTER II.

How vainglory attacks a monk not only on his carnal, but also on his spiritual side.

FOR not only does this, like the rest of his faults, attack a monk on his carnal side, but on his spiritual side as well, insinuating itself by craft and guile into his mind: so that those who cannot be deceived by carnal vices are more grievously wounded through their spiritual proficiency; and it is so much the worse to fight against, as it is harder to guard against. For the attack of all other vices is more open and straightforward, and in the case of each of them, when he who stirs them up is met by a determined refusal, he will go away the weaker for it, and the adversary who has been beaten will on the next occasion attack his victim with less vigour. But this malady when it has attacked the mind by means of carnal pride, and has been repulsed by the shield of reply, again, like some wickedness that takes many shapes, changes its former guise and character, and under the appearance of the virtues tries to strike down and destroy its conqueror.

CHAPTER III.

How many forms and shapes vainglory takes.

FOR our other faults and passions may be said to be simpler and of but one form: but this takes many forms and shapes, and changes about and assails the man who stands up against it from every quarter, and assaults its conqueror on all sides. For it tries to injure the soldier of Christ in his dress, in his manner, his walk, his voice, his work, his vigils, his fasts, his prayers, when he withdraws, when he reads, in his knowledge, his silence, his obedience, his humility, his patience; and like some most dangerous rock hidden by surging waves, it causes an unforeseen and miserable shipwreck to those who are sailing with a fair breeze, while they are not on the lookout for it or guarding against it.

CHAPTER IV.

How vainglory attacks a monk on the right had and on the left.

AND so one who wishes to go along the King's highway by means of the "arms of righteousness which are on the right hand and on the left," ought by the teaching of the Apostle to pass through "honour and dishonour, evil report and good report,"(1) and with such care to direct his virtuous course amid the swelling waves of temptation, with discretion at the helm, and the Spirit of the Lord breathing on us, since we know that if we deviate ever so little to the right hand or to the left, we shall presently be dashed against most dangerous crags. And so we are warned by Solomon, the wisest of men: "Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left;"(2) i.e., do not flatter yourself on your virtues and be puffed up by your spiritual achievements on the right hand; nor, swerving to the path of vices on the left hand, seek from them for yourself (to use the words of the Apostle) "glory in your shame."(3) For where the devil cannot create vainglory in a man by means of his well-fitting and neat dress, he tries to introduce it by means of a dirty, cheap, and uncared-for style. If he cannot drag a man down by honour, he overthrows him by humility. If he cannot make him puffed up by the grace of knowledge and eloquence, he pulls him down by the weight of silence. If a man fasts openly, he is attacked by the pride of vanity. If he conceals it for the sake of despising the glory of it, he is assailed by the same sin of pride. In order that he may not be defiled by the stains of vainglory he avoids making long prayers in the sight of the brethren; and yet because he offers them secretly and has no one who is conscious of it, he does not escape the pride of vanity.

CHAPTER V.

A comparison which shows the nature of vainglory.

OUR elders admirably describe the nature of this malady as like that of an onion, and of those bulbs which When stripped of one covering you find to be sheathed m another; and as often as you strip them, you find them still protected.

CHAPTER VI.

That vainglory is not altogther got rid of by the advantages of solitude.

IN solitude also it does not cease from pursuing him who has for the sake of glory fled from intercourse with all men. And the more thoroughly a man has shunned the whole world, so much the more keenly does it pursue him. It tries to lift up with pride one man because of his great endurance of work and labour, another because of his extreme readiness to obey, another because he outstrips other men in humility. One man is tempted through the extent of his knowledge, another through the extent of his reading, another through the length of his vigils. Nor does this malady endeavour to wound a man except through his virtues; introducing hindrances which lead to death by means of those very things through which the supplies of life are sought. For when men are anxious to walk in the path of holiness and perfection, the enemies do not lay their snares to deceive them anywhere except in the way along which they walk, in accordance with that saying of the blessed David: "In the way wherein I walked have they laid a snare for me;"(4) that in this very way of virtue along which we are walking, when pressing on to "the prize of our high calling,"(5) we may be elated by our successes, and so sink down, and fall with the feet of our soul entangled and caught in the snares of vainglory. And so it results that those of us who could not be vanquished in the conflict with the foe are overcome by the very greatness of our triumph, or else (which is another kind of deception) that, overstraining the limits of that self-restraint which is possible to us, we fail of perseverance in our course on account of bodily weakness.

CHAPTER VII.

How vainglory, when it has been overcome, rises again keener than ever for the fight.

ALL, vices when overcome grow feeble, and when beaten are day by day rendered weaker, and both in regard to place and time grow less and subside, or at any rate, as they are unlike the opposite virtues, are more easily shunned and avoided: but this one when it is beaten rises again keener than ever for the struggle; and when we think that it is destroyed, it revives again, the stronger for its death. The other kinds of vices usually only attack those whom they have overcome in the conflict; but this one pursues its victors only the more keenly; and the more thoroughly it has been resisted, so much the more vigorously does it attack the man who is elated by his victory over it. And heroin lies the crafty cunning of our adversary, namely, in the fact that, where he cannot overcome the soldier of Christ by the weapons of the foe, he lays him low by his own spear.

CHAPTER VIII.

How vainglory is not allayed either in the desert or through advancing years.

OTHER vices, as we said, are sometimes allayed by the advantages of position, and when the matter of the sin and the occasion and opportunity for it are removed, grow slack, and are diminished: but this one penetrates the deserts with the man who is flying from it, nor can it be shut out from any place, nor When outward material for it is removed does it fail. For it is simply encouraged by the achievements of the virtues of the man whom it attacks. For all other vices, as we said above, are sometimes diminished by the lapse of time, and disappear: to this one length of life, unless it is supported by skilful diligence and prudent discretion, is no hindrance, but actually supplies it with new fuel for vanity.

CHAPTER IX.

That vainglory is the more dangerous through being mixed up with virtues.

LASTLY, other passions which are entirely different from the virtues which are their opposites, and which attack us openly and as it were in broad daylight, are more easily overcome and guarded against: but this being interwoven with our virtues and entangled in the battle, fighting as it were under cover of the darkness of night, deceives the more dangerously those who are off their guard and not on the lookout.

CHAPTER X.

An instance showing how Kin Hezekiah was overthrown by the dart of vainglory.

FOR so we read that Hezekiah, King of Judah, a man of most perfect righteousness in all things, and one approved by the witness of Holy Scripture, after unnumbered commendations for his virtues, was overthrown by a single dart of vainglory. And he who by a single prayer of his was able to procure the death of a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the army of the Assyrians, whom the angel destroyed m one night, is overcome by boasting and vanity. Of whom--to pass over the long list of his virtues, which it would take a long time to unfold--I will say but this one thing. He was a man who, after the close of his life had been decreed and the day of his death determined by the Lord's sentence, prevailed by a single prayer to extend the limits set to his life by fifteen years, the sun returning by ten steps, on which it had already shone in its course towards its setting, and by its return dispersing those lines which the shadow that followed its course had already marked, and by this giving two days in one to the whole world, by a stupendous miracle contrary to the fixed laws of nature.(1) Yet after signs so great and so incredible, after such immense proofs of his goodness, hear the Scripture tell how he was destroyed by his very successes. "In those days," we are told, "Hezekiah was sick unto death: and he prayed to the Lord, and He heard him and gave him a sign," that, namely of which we read in the fourth book of the kingdoms, which was given by Isaiah the prophet through the going back of the sun. "But," it says, "he did not render again according to the benefits which he had received, for his heart was lifted up; and wrath was kindled against him and against Judah and Jerusalem: and he humbled himself afterwards because his heart had been lifted up, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and therefore the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah."(2) How dangerous, how terrible is the malady of vanity! So much goodness, so many virtues, faith and devotion, great enough to prevail to change nature itself and the laws of the whole world, perish by a single act of pride! So that all his good deeds would have been forgotten as if they had never been, and he would at once have been subject to the wrath of the Lord unless he had appeased Him by recovering his humility: so that he who, at the suggestion of pride, had fallen from so great a height of excellence, could only mount again to the height he had lost by the same steps of humility. Do you want to see another instance of a similar downfall?

CHAPTER XI.

The instance of King Uzziah who was overcome by the taint of the same malady.

OF Uzziah, the ancestor of this king of whom we have been speaking, himself also praised in all things by the witness of the Scripture, after great commendation for his virtue, after countless triumphs which he achieved by the merit of his devotion and faith, learn how he was cast down by the pride of vainglory. "And," we are told, "the name of Uzziah went forth, for the Lord helped him and had strengthened him. But when he was made strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction, and he neglected the Lord his God."(1) You behold another instance of a most terrible downfall, and see how two men so upright and excellent were undone by their very triumphs and victories. Whence you see how dangerous the successes of prosperity generally are, so that those who could not be injured by adversity are ruined, unless they are careful, by prosperity; and those who in the conflict of battle have escaped the danger of death fall before their own trophies and triumphs.

CHAPTER XII.

Several testimonies against vainglory.

AND so the Apostle warns us: "Be not desirous of vainglory."(2) And the Lord, rebuking the Pharisees, says, "How can ye believe, who receive glory from one another, and seek not the glory which comes from God alone?"(8) Of these too the blessed David speaks with a threat: "For God hath scattered the bones of them that please men."(4)

CHAPTER XIII.

Of the ways in which vainglory attacks a monk.

IS the case also of beginners and of those who have as yet made but little progress either in powers of mind or in knowledge it usually puffs up their minds, either because of the quality of their voice because they can sing well, or because their bodies are emaciated,(5) or because they are of a good figure, or because they have rich and noble kinsfolk, or because they have despised a military life and honours. Sometimes too it persuades a man that if he had remained in the world he would easily have obtained honours and riches, which perhaps could not possibly have been secured, and inflates him with a vain hope of uncertain things; and in the case of those things which he never possessed, puffs him up with pride and vanity, as if he were one who had despised them.

CHAPTER XIV.

How it suggests that a man may seek to take holy orders.

BUT sometimes it creates a wish to take holy orders, and a desire for the priesthood or diaconate. And it represents that if a man has even against his will received this office, he will fulfil it with such sanctity and strictness that he will be able to set an example of saintliness even to other priests; and that he will win over many people, not only by his manner of life, but also by his teaching and preaching. It makes a man, even when alone and sitting in his cell, to go round in mind and imagination to the dwellings and monasteries of others, and to make many conversions under the inducements of imaginary exultatio.

CHAPTER XV.

How vainglory intoxicates the mind.

AND so the miserable soul is affected by such vanity--as if it were deluded by a profound slumber--that it is often led away by the pleasure of such thoughts, and filled with such imaginations, so that it cannot even look at things present, or the brethren, while it enjoys dwelling upon these things, of which with its wandering thoughts it has waking dreams, as if they were true.

CHAPTER XVI.

Of him whom the superior came upon and found in his cell, deluded by idle vainglory.

I REMEMBER an elder, when I was staying in the desert of Scete, who went to the cell of a certain brother to pay him a visit, and when he had reached the door heard him muttering inside, and stood still for a little while, wanting to know what it was that he was reading from the Bible or repeating by heart (as is customary) while he was at work. And when this most excellent eavesdropper diligently applied his ear and listened with some curiosity, he found that the man was induced by an attack of this spirit to fancy that he was delivering a stirring sermon to the people. And when the elder, as he stood still, heard him finish his discourse and return again to his office, and give out the dismissal of the catechumens, as the deacon does,(6) then at last he knocked at the door, and the man came out, and met the elder with the customary reverence, and brought him in and (for his knowledge of what had been his thoughts made him uneasy) asked him when he had arrived, for fear lest he might have taken some harm from standing too long at the door: and the old man joking pleasantly replied, "I only got here while you were giving out the dismissal of the catechumens."

CHAPTER XVII.

How faults cannot be cured unless their roots and causes have been discovered.

I THOUGHT it well to insert these things in this little work of mine, that we might learn, not only by reason, but also by examples, about the force of temptations and the order of the sins which hurt an unfortunate soul, and so might be more careful in avoiding the snares and manifold deceits of the enemy. For these things are indiscriminately brought forward by the Egyptian fathers, that by telling them, as those who are still enduring them, they may disclose and lay bare the combats with all the vices, which they actually do suffer, and those which the younger ones are sure to suffer; so that, when they explain the illusions arising from all the passions, those who are but beginners and fervent in spirit may know the secret of their struggles, and seeing them as in a glass, may learn both the causes of the sins by which they are troubled, and the remedies for them, and instructed beforehand concerning the approach of future struggles, may be taught how they ought to guard against them, or to meet them and to fight with them. As clever physicians are accustomed not only to heal already existing diseases, but also by a wise skill to seek to obviate future ones, and to prevent them by their prescriptions and healing draughts, so these true physicians of the soul, by means of spiritual conferences, like some celestial antidote, destroy beforehand those maladies of the soul which would arise, and do not allow them to gain a footing in the minds of the juniors, as they unfold to them the causes of the passions which threaten them, and the remedies which will heal them.

CHAPTER XVIII.

How a monk ought to avoid women and bishops.

WHEREFORE this is an old maxim of the Fathers that is still current,--though I cannot produce it without shame on my own part, since I could not avoid my own sister, nor escape the hands of the bishop,--viz., that a monk ought by all means to fly from women and bishops. For neither of them will allow him who has once been joined in close intercourse any longer to care for the quiet of his cell, or to continue with pure eyes in divine contemplation through his insight into holy things.

CHAPTER XIX.

Remedies by which we can overcome vainglory.

AND SO the athlete of Christ who desires to strive lawfully in this true and spiritual combat, should strive by all means to overcome this changeable monster of many shapes, which, as it attacks us on every side like some manifold wickedness, we can escape by such a remedy as this; viz., thinking on that saying of David: "The Lord hath scattered the bones of those who please men.(1) To begin with we should not allow ourselves to do anything at the suggestion of vanity, and for the sake of obtaining vainglory. Next, when we have begun a thing well, we should endeavour to maintain it with just the same care, for fear lest afterwards the malady of vainglory should creep in and make void all the fruits of our labours. And anything which is of very little use or value in the common life of the brethren, we should avoid as leading to boasting; and whatever would render us remarkable amongst the others, and for which credit would be gained among men, as if we were the only people who could do it, this should be shunned by us. For by these signs the deadly taint of vainglory will be shown to cling to us: which we shall most easily escape if we consider that we shall not merely lose the fruits of those labours of ours which we have performed at the suggestion of vainglory, but that we shall also be guilty of a great sin, and as impious persons undergo eternal punishments, inasmuch as we have wronged God by doing for the favour of men what we ought to have done for His sake, and are convicted by Him who knows all secrets of having preferred men to God, and the praise of the world to the praise of the Lord.

Return to Volume 34 Index