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The Paradise Of The Holy Fathers Volumes 1 and 2 by Saint Athanasius Of Alexandria

RABBÂ was on one occasion asked by a certain brother, who said, “Why is it that, before the coming of that devil who vexeth us, we possess the understanding of the mind in a healthy state, and are able to make use of philosophy for the sake of self-denial, and humility, and the other virtues, but that when it cometh to us to make manifest in very deed the virtues of philosophy, that is to say, longsuffering in the hour of wrath, and the keeping of the temper in the season of anger, and a frame of mind from which vainglory is absent, and when there are praises [ascribed to us], and many other things which are akin thereto, the mind (or understanding) languisheth and becometh destroyed?”

And Rabbâ answered and said unto him, “It is because we are not perfectly skilled in the performance [of these things], and because we are not so thoroughly acquainted with all the mind and vague thoughts of the devils that we are able, through the power of the sight of the soul, to recognize in quiet contemplation the advent of him who causeth us vexation, and who watcheth that he may be able to gather together the outpouring of suchlike thoughts. Therefore, every day and every hour it is the portion of the soul to watch, and we must pour out upon it, like oil, the fear of God, that is to say, the efficacious performance of work, and the lamp which will enable us to see the things which are falling upon us in the healing of the mind. Whosoever then will not be strenuous [will come] to anger, and wrath, and ill-temper, and to each of the passions which lead us on to wickedness. And the soul will see, and will depart to that incorporeal country, and it will make the mind to hold in contempt the things which are wrought by the devils, and will compel it to trample under foot serpents and scorpions, and all the power of the Enemy.”








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