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You Can Fulfill God's Perfect Plan by Zac Poonen
“I do not consecrate myself to be a missionary or a preacher. I consecrate myself to God to do His will where I am, be it in school, office, or kitchen, or wherever He may, in His wisdom, send me.” -
: The Works Of John Cassian
The Works Of John Cassian
The Works of John Cassian.
Chapter I. The Life of Cassian.
Chapter II. The History of Cassian's Writings, MSS., and Editions.
The Twelve Books of John Cassian
Book I. Of the Dress of the Monks.
Chapter I. Of the Monk's Girdle.
Chapter II. Of the Monk's Robe.
Chapter III. Of the Hoods of the Egyptians.
Chapter IV. Of the Tunics of the Egyptians.
Chapter V. Of their Cords.
Chapter VI. Of their Capes.
Chapter VII. Of the Sheepskin and the Goatskin.
Chapter VIII. Of the Staff of the Egyptians.
Chapter IX. Of their Shoes.
Chapter X. Of the modification in the observances which may be permitted in accordance with the character of the climate or the custom of the district.
Chapter XI. Of the Spiritual Girdle and its Mystical Meaning.
Book II. Of the Canonical System of the Nocturnal Prayers and Psalms.
Chapter I. Of the Canonical System of the Nocturnal Prayers and Psalms.
Chapter II. Of the difference of the number of Psalms appointed to be sung in all the provinces.
Chapter III. Of the observance of one uniform rule throughout the whole of Egypt, and of the election of those who are set over the brethren.
Chapter IV. How throughout the whole of Egypt and the Thebaid the number of Psalms is fixed at twelve.
Chapter V. How the fact that the number of the Psalms was to be twelve was received from the teaching of an angel.
Chapter VI. Of the Custom of having Twelve Prayers.
Chapter VII. Of their Method of Praying.
Chapter VIII. Of the Prayer which follows the Psalm.
Chapter IX. Of the characteristics of the prayer, the fuller treatment of which is reserved for the Conferences of the Elders.
Chapter X. Of the silence and conciseness with which the Collects are offered up by the Egyptians.
Chapter XI. Of the system according to which the Psalms are said among the Egyptians.
Chapter XII. Of the reason why while one sings the Psalms the rest sit down during the service; and of the zeal with which they afterwards prolong their vigils in their cells till daybreak.
Chapter XIII. The reason why they are not allowed to go to sleep after the night service.
Chapter XIV. Of the way in which they devote themselves in their cells equally to manual labour and to prayer.
Chapter XV. Of the discreet rule by which every one must retire to his cell after the close of the prayers; and of the rebuke to which any one who does otherwise is subject.
Chapter XVI. How no one is allowed to pray with one who has been suspended from prayer.
Chapter XVII. How he who rouses them for prayer ought to call them at the usual time.
Chapter XVIII. How they do not kneel from the evening of Saturday till the evening of Sunday.
Book III. Of the Canonical System of the Daily Prayers and Psalms.
Chapter I. Of the services of the third, sixth, and ninth hours, which are observed in the regions of Syria.
Chapter II. How among the Egyptians they apply themselves all day long to prayer and Psalm continually, with the addition of work, without distinction of hours.
Chapter III. How throughout all the East the services of Tierce, Sext, and None are ended with only three Psalms and prayers each; and the reason why these spiritual offices are assigned more particularly to those hours.
Chapter IV. How the Mattin office was not appointed by an ancient tradition but was started in our own day for a definite reason.
Chapter V. How they ought not to go back to bed again after the Mattin prayers.
Chapter VI. How no change was made by the Elders in the ancient system of Psalms when the Mattin office was instituted.
Chapter VII. How one who does not come to the daily prayer before the end of the first Psalm is not allowed to enter the Oratory; but at Nocturnes a late arrival up to the end of the second Psalm can be overlooked.
Chapter VIII. Of the Vigil service which is celebrated on the evening preceding the Sabbath; of its length, and the manner in which it is observed.
Chapter IX. The reason why a Vigil is appointed as the Sabbath day dawns, and why a dispensation from fasting is enjoyed on the Sabbath all through the East.
Chapter X. How it was brought about that they fast on the Sabbath in the city.
Chapter XI. Of the points in which the service held on Sunday differs from what is customary on other days.
Chapter XII. Of the days on which, when supper is provided for the brethren, a Psalm is not said as they assemble for the meals as is usual at dinner.
Book IV. Of the Institutes of the Renunciants.
Chapter I. Of the training of those who renounce this world, and of the way in which those are taught among the monks of Tabenna and the Egyptians who are received into the monasteries.
Chapter II. Of the way in which among them men remain in the monasteries even to extreme old age.
Chapter III. Of the ordeal by which one who is to be received in the monastery is tested.
Chapter IV. The reason why those who are received in the monastery are not allowed to bring anything in with them.
Chapter V. The reason why those who give up the world, when they are received in the monasteries, must lay aside their own clothes and be clothed in others by the Abbot.
Chapter VI. The reason why the clothes of the renunciants with which they joined the monastery are preserved by the steward.
Chapter VII. The reason why those who are admitted to a monastery are not permitted to mix at once with the congregation of the brethren, but are first committed to the guest house.
Chapter VIII. Of the practices in which the juniors are first exercised that they may become proficient in overcoming all their desires.
Chapter IX. The reason why the juniors are enjoined not to keep back any of their thoughts from the senior.
Chapter X. How thorough is the obedience of the juniors even in those things which are matters of common necessity.
Chapter XI. The kind of food which is considered the greater delicacy by them.
Chapter XII. How they leave off every kind of work at the sound of some one knocking at the door, in their eagerness to answer at once.
Chapter XIII. How wrong it is considered for any one to say that anything, however trifling, is his own.
Chapter XIV. How, even if a large sum of money is amassed by the labour of each, still no one may venture to exceed the moderate limit of what is appointed as adequate.
Chapter XV. Of the excessive desire of possession among us.
Chapter XVI. On the rules for various rebukes.
Chapter XVII. Of those who introduced the plan that the holy Lessons should be read in the Coenobia while the brethren are eating, and of the strict silence which is kept among the Egyptians.
Chapter XVIII. How it is against the rule for any one to take anything to eat or drink except at the common table.
Chapter XIX. How throughout Palestine and Mesopotamia a daily service is undertaken by the brethren.
Chapter XX. Of the three lentil beans which the Steward found.
Chapter XXI. Of the spontaneous service of some of the brethren.
Chapter XXII. The system of the Egyptians, which is appointed for the daily service of the brethren.
Chapter XXIII. The obedience of Abbot John by which he was exalted even to the grace of prophecy.
Chapter XXIV. Of the dry stick which, at the bidding of his senior, Abbot John kept on watering as if it would grow.
Chapter XXV. Of the unique vase of oil thrown away by Abbot John at his senior's command.
Chapter XXVI. How Abbot John obeyed his senior by trying to roll a huge stone, which a large number of men were unable to move.
Chapter XXVII. Of the humility and obedience of Abbot Patermucius, which he did not hesitate to make perfect by throwing his little boy into the river at the command of his senior.
Chapter XXVIII. How it was revealed to the Abbot concerning Patermucius that he had done the deed of Abraham; and how when the same Abbot died, Patermucius succeeded to the charge of the monastery.
Chapter XXIX. Of the obedience of a brother who at the Abbot's bidding carried about in public ten baskets and sold them by retail.
Chapter XXX. Of the humility of Abbot Pinufius, who left a very famous Coenobium over which he presided as Presbyter, and out of the love of subjection sought a distant monastery where he could be received as a novice.
Chapter XXXI. How when Abbot Pinufius was brought back to his monastery he stayed there for a little while and then fled again into the regions of Syrian Palestine.
Chapter XXXII. The charge which the same Abbot Pinufius gave to a brother whom he admitted into his monastery in our presence.
Chapter XXXIII. How it is that, just as a great reward is due to the monk who labours according to the regulations of the fathers, so likewise punishment must he inflicted on an idle one; and therefore no one should be admitted into a monastery too easily
Chapter XXXIV. Of the way in which our renunciation is nothing but mortification and the image of the Crucified.
Chapter XXXV. How the fear of the Lord is our cross.
Chapter XXXVI. How our renunciation of the world is of no use if we are again entangled in those things which we have renounced.
Chapter XXXVII. How the devil always lies in wait for our end, and how we ought continually to watch his head.
Chapter XXXVIII. Of the renunciant's preparation against temptation, and of the few who are worthy of imitation.
Chapter XXXIX. Of the way in which we shall mount towards perfection, whereby we may afterwards ascend from the fear of God up to love.
Chapter XL. That the monk should seek for examples of perfection not from many instances but from one or a very few.
Chapter XLI. The appearance of what infirmities one who lives in a Coenobium ought to exhibit.
Chapter XLII. How a monk should not look for the blessing of patience in his own case as a result of the virtue of others, but rather as a consequence of his own longsuffering.
Chapter XLIII. Recapitulation of the explanation how a monk can mount up towards perfection.
Book V. Of the Spirit of Gluttony.
Chapter I. The transition from the Institutes of the monks to the struggle against the eight principal faults.
Chapter II. How the occasions of these faults, being found in everybody, are ignored by everybody; and how we need the Lord's help to make them plain.
Chapter III. How our first struggle must be against the spirit of gluttony, i.e. the pleasures of the palate.
Chapter IV. The testimony of Abbot Antony in which he teaches that each virtue ought to be sought for from him who professes it in a special degree.
Chapter V. That one and the same rule of fasting cannot be observed by everybody.
Chapter VI. That the mind is not intoxicated by wine alone.
Chapter VII. How bodily weakness need not interfere with purity of heart.
Chapter VIII. How food should be taken with regard to the aim at perfect continence.
Chapter IX. Of the measure of the chastisement to be undertaken, and the remedy of fasting.
Chapter X. That abstinence from food is not of itself sufficient for preservation of bodily and mental purity.
Chapter XI. That bodily lusts are not extinguished except by the entire rooting out of vice.
Chapter XII. That in our spiritual contest we ought to draw an example from the carnal contests.
Chapter XIII. That we cannot enter the battle of the inner man unless we have been set free from the vice of gluttony.
Chapter XIV. How gluttonous desires can be overcome.
Chapter XV. How a monk must always be eager to preserve his purity of heart.
Chapter XVI. How, after the fashion of the Olympic games, a monk should not attempt spiritual conflicts unless he has won battles over the flesh.
Chapter XVII. That the foundation and basis of the spiritual combat must be laid in the struggle against gluttony.
Chapter XVIII. Of the number of different conflicts and victories through which the blessed Apostle ascended to the crown of the highest combat.
Chapter XIX. That the athlete of Christ, so long as he is in the body, is never without a battle.
Chapter XX. How a monk should not overstep the proper hours for taking food, if he wants to proceed to the struggle of interior conflicts.
Chapter XXI. Of the inward peace of a monk, and of spiritual abstinence.
Chapter XXII. That we should for this reason practise bodily abstinence that we may by it attain to a spiritual fast.
Chapter XXIII. What should be the character of the monk's food.
Chapter XXIV. How in Egypt we saw that the daily fast was broken without scruple on our arrival.
Chapter XXV. Of the abstinence of one old man who took food six times so sparingly that he was still hungry.
Chapter XXVI. Of another old man, who never partook of food alone in his cell.
Chapter XXVII. What the two Abbots Pæsius and John said of the fruits of their zeal.
Chapter XXVIII. The lesson and example which Abbot John when dying left to his disciples.
Chapter XXIX. Of Abbot Machetes, who never slept during the spiritual conferences, but always went to sleep during earthly tales.
Chapter XXX. A saying of the same old man about not judging any one.
Chapter XXXI. The same old man's rebuke when he saw how the brethren went to sleep during the spiritual conferences, and woke up when some idle story was told.
Chapter XXXII. Of the letters which were burnt without being read.
Chapter XXXIII. Of the solution of a question which Abbot Theodore obtained by prayer.
Chapter XXXIV. Of the saying of the same old man, through which he taught by what efforts a monk can acquire a knowledge of the Scriptures.
Chapter XXXV. A rebuke of the same old man, when he had come to my cell in the middle of the night.
Chapter XXXVI. A description of the desert in Diolcos, where the anchorites live.
Chapter XXXVII. Of the cells which Abbot Archebius gave up to us with their furniture.
Chapter XXXVIII. The same Archebius paid a debt of his mother's by the labour of his own hands.
Chapter XXXIX. Of the device of a certain old man by which some work was found for Abbot Simeon when he had nothing to do.
Chapter XL. Of the boys who when bringing to a sick man some figs, died in the desert from hunger, without having tasted them.
Chapter XLI. The saying of Abbot Macarius of the behaviour of a monk as one who was to live for a long while, and as one who was daily at the point of death.
Book VI. On the Spirit of Fornication.
Book VII. Of the Spirit of Covetousness.
Chapter I. How our warfare with covetousness is a foreign one, and how this fault is not a natural one in man, as the other faults are.
Chapter II. How dangerous is the disease of covetousness.
Chapter III. What is the usefulness of those vices which are natural to us.
Chapter IV. That we can say that there exist in us some natural faults, without wronging the Creator.
Chapter V. Of the faults which are contracted through our own fault, without natural impulses.
Chapter VI. How difficult the evil of covetousness is to drive away when once it has been admitted.
Chapter VII. Of the source from which covetousness springs, and of the evils of which it is itself the mother.
Chapter VIII. How covetousness is a hindrance to all virtues.
Chapter IX. How a monk who has money cannot stay in the monastery.
Chapter X. Of the toils which a deserter from a monastery must undergo through covetousness, though he used formerly to murmur at the very slightest tasks.
Chapter XI. That under pretence of keeping the purse women have to besought to dwell with them.
Chapter XII. An instance of a lukewarm monk caught in the snares of covetousness.
Chapter XIII. What the elders relate to the juniors in the matter of stripping off sins.
Chapter XIV. Instances to show that the disease of covetousness is threefold.
Chapter XV. Of the difference between one who renounces the world badly and one who does not renounce it at all.
Chapter XVI. Of the authority under which those shelter themselves who object to stripping themselves of their goods.
Chapter XVII. Of the renunciation of the apostles and the primitive church.
Chapter XVIII. That if we want to imitate the apostles we ought not to live according to our own prescriptions, but to follow their example.
Chapter XIX. A saying of S. Basil, the Bishop, directed against Syncletius.
Chapter XX. How contemptible it is to be overcome by covetousness.
Chapter XXI. How covetousness can be conquered.
Chapter XXII. That one who actually has no money may still be deemed covetous.
Chapter XXIII. An example drawn from the case of Judas.
Chapter XXIV. That covetousness cannot be overcome except by stripping one's self of everything.
Chapter XXV. Of the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, and Judas, which they underwent through the impulse of covetousness.
Chapter XXVI. That covetousness brings upon the soul a spiritual leprosy.
Chapter XXVII. Scripture proofs by which one who is aiming at perfection is taught not to take back again what he has given up and renounced.
Chapter XXVIII. That the victory over covetousness can only be gained by stripping one's self bare of everything.
Chapter XXIX. How a monk can retain his poverty.
Chapter XXX. The remedies against the disease of covetousness.
Chapter XXXI. That no one can get the better of covetousness unless he stays in the Coenobium: and how one can remain there.
Book VIII. Of the Spirit of Anger.
Chapter I. How our fourth conflict is against the sin of anger, and how many evils this passion produces.
Chapter II. Of those who say that anger is not injurious, if we are angry with those who do wrong, since God Himself is said to be angry.
Chapter III. Of those things which are spoken of God anthropomorphically.
Chapter IV. In what sense we should understand the passions and human arts which are ascribed to the unchanging and incorporeal God.
Chapter V. How calm a monk ought to be.
Chapter VI. Of the righteous and unrighteous passion of wrath.
Chapter VII. Of the only case in which anger is useful to us.
Chapter VIII. Instances from the life of the blessed David in which anger was rightly felt.
Chapter IX. Of the anger which should be directed against ourselves.
Chapter X. Of the sun, of which it is said that it should not go down upon your wrath.
Chapter XI. Of those to whose wrath even the going down of the sun sets no limit.
Chapter XII. How this is the end of temper and anger when a man carries it into act as far as he can.
Chapter XIII. That we should not retain our anger even for an instant.
Chapter XIV. Of reconciliation with our brother.
Chapter XV. How the Old Law would root out anger not only from the actions but from the thoughts.
Chapter XVI. How useless is the retirement of those who do not give up their bad manners.
Chapter XVII. That the peace of our heart does not depend on another's will, but lies in our own control.
Chapter XVIII. Of the zeal with which we should seek the desert, and of the things in which we make progress there.
Chapter XIX. An illustration to help in forming an opinion on those who are only patient when they are not tried by any one.
Chapter XX. Of the way in which auger should be banished according to the gospel.
Chapter XXI. Whether we ought to admit the addition of |without a cause,| in that which is written in the Gospel, |whosoever is angry with his brother,| etc.
Chapter XXII. The remedies by which we can root out anger from our hearts.
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.
Chapter II. Of the care with which the malady of dejection must be healed.
Chapter III. To what the soul may be compared which is a prey to the attacks of dejection.
Chapter IV. Whence and in what way dejection arises.
Chapter V. That disturbances are caused in us not by the faults of other people, but by our own.
Chapter VI. That no one comes to grief by a sudden fall, but is destroyed by falling through a long course of carelessness.
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.
Chapter VIII. That if we have improved our character it is possible for us to get on with everybody.
Chapter IX. Of another sort of dejection which produces despair of salvation.
Chapter X. Of the only thing in which dejection is useful to us.
Chapter XI. How we can decide what is useful and the sorrow according to God, and what is devilish and deadly.
Chapter XII. That except that wholesome sorrow, which springs up in three ways, all sorrow and dejection should be resisted as hurtful.
Chapter XIII. The means by which we can root out dejection from our hearts.
Book X. Of the Spirit of Accidie.
Chapter I. How our sixth combat is against the spirit of accidie, and what its character is.
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.
Chapter III. Of the different ways in which accidie overcomes a monk.
Chapter IV. How accidie hinders the mind from all contemplation of the virtues.
Chapter V. How the attack of accidie is twofold.
Chapter VI. How injurious are the effects of accidie.
Chapter VII. Testimonies from the Apostle concerning the spirit of accidie.
Chapter VIII. That he is sure to be restless who will not be content with the work of his own hands.
Chapter IX. That not the Apostle only, but those two who were with him laboured with their own hands.
Chapter X. That for this reason the Apostle laboured with his own hands, that he might set us an example of work.
Chapter XI. That he preached and taught men to work not only by his example, but also by his words.
Chapter XII. Of his saying: |If any will not work, neither shall he eat.|
Chapter XIII. Of his saying: |We have heard that some among you walk disorderly.|
Chapter XIV. How manual labour prevents many faults.
Chapter XV. How kindness should be shown even to the idle and careless.
Chapter XVI. How we ought to admonish those who go wrong, not out of hatred, but out of love.
Chapter XVII. Different passages in which the Apostle declares that we ought to work, or in which it is shown that he himself worked.
Chapter XVIII. That the Apostle wrought what he thought would be sufficient for him and for others who were with him.
Chapter XIX. How we should understand these words: |It is more blessed to give than to receive.|
Chapter XX. Of a lazy brother who tried to persuade others to leave the monastery.
Chapter XXI. Different passages from the writings of Solomon against accidie.
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.
Chapter XXIII. That idleness is the reason why there are not monasteries for monks in the West.
Chapter XXIV. Abbot Paul who every year burnt with fire all the works of his hands.
Chapter XXV. The words of Abbot Moses which he said to me about the cure of accidie.
Book XI. Of the Spirit of Vainglory.
Chapter I. How our seventh combat is against the spirit of vainglory, and what its nature.
Chapter II. How vainglory attacks a monk not only on his carnal, but also on his spiritual side.
Chapter III. How many forms and shapes vainglory takes.
Chapter IV. How vainglory attacks a monk on the right had and on the left.
Chapter V. A comparison which shows the nature of vainglory.
Chapter VI. That vainglory is not altogether got rid of by the advantages of solitude.
Chapter VII. How vainglory, when it has been overcome, rises again keener than ever for the fight.
Chapter VIII. How vainglory is not allayed either in the desert or through advancing years.
Chapter IX. That vainglory is the more dangerous through being mixed up with virtues.
Chapter X. An instance showing how King Hezekiah was overthrown by the dart of vainglory.
Chapter XI. The instance of King Uzziah who was overcome by the taint of the same malady.
Chapter XII. Several testimonies against vainglory.
Chapter XIII. Of the ways in which vainglory attacks a monk.
Chapter XIV. How it suggests that a man may seek to take holy orders.
Chapter XV. How vainglory intoxicates the mind.
Chapter XVI. Of him whom the superior came upon and found in his cell, deluded by idle vainglory.
Chapter XVII. How faults cannot be cured unless their roots and causes have been discovered.
Chapter XVIII. How a monk ought to avoid women and bishops.
Chapter XIX. Remedies by which we can overcome vainglory.
Book XII. Of the Spirit of Pride.
Chapter I. How our eighth combat is against the spirit of pride, and of its character.
Chapter II. How there are two kinds of pride.
Chapter III. How pride is equally destructive of all virtues.
Chapter IV. How by reason of pride Lucifer was turned from an archangel into a devil.
Chapter V. That incentives to all sins spring from pride.
Chapter VI. That the sin of pride is last in the actual order of the combat, but first in time and origin.
Chapter VII. That the evil of pride is so great that it rightly has even God Himself as its adversary.
Chapter VIII. How God has destroyed the pride of the devil by the virtue of humility, and various passages in proof of this.
Chapter IX. How we too may overcome pride.
Chapter X. How no one can obtain perfect virtue and the promised bliss by his own strength alone.
Chapter XI. The case of the thief and of David, and of our call in order to illustrate the grace of God.
Chapter XII. That no toil is worthy to be compared with the promised bliss.
Chapter XIII. The teaching of the elders on the method of acquiring purity.
Chapter XIV. That the help of God is given to those who labour.
Chapter XV. From whom we can learn the way of perfection.
Chapter XVI. That we cannot even make the effort to obtain perfection without the mercy and inspiration of God.
Chapter XVII. Various passages which clearly show that we cannot do anything which belongs to our salvation without the aid of God.
Chapter XVIII. How we are protected by the grace of God not only in our natural condition, but also by His daily Providence.
Chapter XIX. How this faith concerning the grace of God was delivered to us by the ancient Fathers.
Chapter XX. Of one who for his blasphemy was given over to a most unclean spirit.
Chapter XXI. The instance of Joash, King of Judah, showing what was the consequence of his pride.
Chapter XXII. That every proud soul is subject to spiritual wickedness to be deceived by it.
Chapter XXIII. How perfection can only be attained through the virtue of humility.
Chapter XXIV. Who are attacked by spiritual and who by carnal pride.
Chapter XXV. A description of carnal pride, and of the evils which it produces in the soul of a monk.
Chapter XXVI. That a man whose foundation is bad, sinks daily from bad to worse.
Chapter XXVII. A description of the faults which spring from the evil of pride.
Chapter XXVIII. On the pride of a certain brother.
Chapter XXIX. The signs by which you can recognize the presence of carnal pride in a soul.
Chapter XXX. How when a man has grown cold through pride he wants to be put to rule other people.
Chapter XXXI. How we can overcome pride and attain perfection.
Chapter XXXII. How pride which is so destructive of all virtues can itself be destroyed by true humility.
Chapter XXXIII. Remedies against the evil of pride.
The Conferences of John Cassian.
Chapter I. Of our stay in Scete
Chapter II. Of the question of Abbot Moses, who asked what was the goal and what the end of the monk.
Chapter III. Of our reply.
Chapter IV. Of Abbot Moses' question on the aforesaid statement.
Chapter V. A comparison with a man who is trying to hit a mark.
Chapter VI. Of those who in renouncing the world, aim at perfection without love.
Chapter VII. How peace of mind should be sought.
Chapter VIII. Of the main effort towards the contemplation of things and an illustration from the case of Martha and Mary.
Chapter IX. A question how it is that the practice of virtue cannot remain with a man.
Chapter X. The answer that not the reward, but the doing of them will come to an end.
Chapter XI. On the abiding character of love.
Chapter XII. A question on perseverance in spiritual contemplation.
Chapter XIII. The answer concerning the direction of the heart towards and concerning the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil.
Chapter XIV. Of the continuance of the soul.
Chapter XV. How we must meditate on God.
Chapter XVI. A question on the changing character of the thoughts.
Chapter XVII. The answer what the mind can and what it cannot do with regard to the state of its thoughts.
Chapter XVIII. Comparison of a soul and a millstone.
Chapter XIX. Of the three origins of our thoughts.
Chapter XX. About discerning the thoughts, with an illustration from a good money-changer.
Chapter XXI. Of the illusion of Abbot John.
Chapter XXII. Of the fourfold method of discrimination.
Chapter XXIII. Of the discourse of the teacher in regard to the merits of his hearers.
Chapter I. Abbot Moses' introduction on the grace of discretion. And so when we had enjoyed our morning sleep
Chapter II. What discretion alone can give a monk; and a discourse of the blessed Antony on this subject.
Chapter III. Of the error of Saul and of Ahab, by which they were deceived through lack of discretion.
Chapter IV. What is said of the value of discretion in Holy Scripture.
Chapter V. Of the death of the old man Heron.
Chapter VI. Of the destruction of two brethren for lack of discretion.
Chapter VII. Of an illusion into which another fell for lack of discretion.
Chapter VIII. Of the fall and deception of a monk of Mesopotamia.
Chapter IX. A question about the acquirement of true discretion.
Chapter X. The answer how true discretion may be gained.
Chapter XI. The words of Abbot Serapion on the decline of thoughts that are exposed to others, and also on the danger of self-confidence.
Chapter XII. A confession of the modesty which made us ashamed to reveal our thoughts to the elders.
Chapter XIII. The answer concerning the trampling down of shame, and the danger of one without contrition.
Chapter XIV. Of the call of Samuel.
Chapter XV. Of the call of the Apostle Paul.
Chapter XVI. How to seek for discretion.
Chapter XVII. On excessive fasts and vigils.
Chapter XVIII. A question on the right measure of abstinence and refreshment.
Chapter XIX. Of the best plan for our daily food.
Chapter XX. An objection on the ease of that abstinence in which a man is sustained by two biscuits.
Chapter XXI. The answer concerning the value and measure of well-proved abstinence.
Chapter XXII. What is the usual limit both of abstinence and of partaking food.
Chapter XXIII. Quemadmodum abundantia umorum genitalium castigetur.
Chapter XXIV. Of the difficulty of uniformity in eating; and of the gluttony of brother Benjamin.
Chapter XXV. A question how is it possible always to observe one and the same measure.
Chapter XXVI. The answer how we should not exceed the proper measure of food.
III. Conference of Abbot Paphnutius.
Chapter I. Of the life and conduct of Abbot Paphnutius.
Chapter II. Of the discourse of the same old man, and our reply to it.
Chapter III. The statement of Abbot Paphnutius on the three kinds of vocations, and the three sorts of renunciations.
Chapter IV. An explanation of the three callings.
Chapter V. How the first of these calls is of no use to a sluggard, and the last is no hindrance to one who is in earnest.
Chapter VI. An account of the three sorts of renunciations.
Chapter VII. How we can attain perfection in each of these sorts of renunciations.
Chapter VIII. Of our very own possessions in which the beauty of the soul is seen or its foulness.
Chapter IX. Of three sorts of possessions.
Chapter X. That none can become perfect merely through the first grade of renunciation.
Chapter XI. A question on the free will of man and the grace of God.
Chapter XII. The answer on the economy of Divine Grace, with free will still remaining in us.
Chapter XIII. That the ordering of our way comes from God.
Chapter XIV. That knowledge of the law is given by the guidance and illumination of the Lord.
Chapter XV. That the understanding, by means of which we can recognize God's commands, and the performance of a good will are both gifts from the Lord.
Chapter XVI. That faith itself must be given us by the Lord.
Chapter XVII. That temperateness and the endurance of temptations must be given to us by the Lord.
Chapter XVIII. That the continual fear of God must be bestowed on us by the Lord.
Chapter XIX. That the beginning of our good will and its completion comes from God.
Chapter XX. That nothing can be done in this world without God.
Chapter XXI. An objection on the power of free will.
Chapter XXII. The answer; viz., that our free will always has need of the help of the Lord.
IV. Conference of Abbot Daniel.
Chapter I. Of the life of Abbot Daniel.
Chapter II. An investigation of the origin of a sudden change of feeling from inexpressible joy to extreme dejection of mind.
Chapter III. His answer to the question raised.
Chapter IV. How there is a twofold reason for the permission and allowance of God.
Chapter V. How our efforts and exertions are of no use without God's help.
Chapter VI. How it is sometimes to our advantage to be left by God.
Chapter VII. Of the value of the conflict which the Apostle makes to consist in the strife between the flesh and the spirit.
Chapter VIII. A question, how it is that in the Apostle's chapter, after he has spoken of the lusts of the flesh and spirit opposing one another, he adds a third thing; viz., man's will.
Chapter IX. The answer on the understanding of one who asks rightly.
Chapter X. That the word flesh is not used with one single meaning only.
Chapter XI. What the Apostle means by flesh in this passage, and what the lust of the flesh is.
Chapter XII. What is our free will, which stands in between the lust of the flesh and the spirit.
Chapter XIII. Of the advantage of the delay which results from the struggle between flesh and spirit.
Chapter XIV. Of the incurable depravity of spiritual wickednesses.
Chapter XV. Of the value of the lust of the flesh against the spirit in our case.
Chapter XVI. Of the excitements of the flesh, without the humiliation of which we should fall more grievously.
Chapter XVII. Of the lukewarmness of eunuchs.
Chapter XVIII. The question what is the difference between the carnal and natural man.
Chapter XIX. The answer concerning the threefold condition of souls.
Chapter XX. Of those who renounce the world but ill.
Chapter XXI. Of those who having made light of great things busy themselves about trifles.
V. Conference of Abbot Serapion.
Chapter I. Our arrival at Abbot Serapion's cell, and inquiry on the different kinds of faults and the way to overcome them.
Chapter II. Abbot Serapion's enumeration of eight principal faults.
Chapter III. Of the two classes of faults and their fourfold manner of acting on us.
Chapter IV. A review of the passions of gluttony and fornication and their remedies.
Chapter V. How our Lord alone was tempted without sin.
Chapter VI. Of the manner of the temptation in which our Lord was attacked by the devil.
Chapter VII. How vainglory and pride can be consummated without any assistance from the body.
Chapter VIII. Of covetousness, which is something outside our nature, and of the difference between it and those faults which are natural to us.
Chapter IX. How dejection and accidie generally arise without any external provocation, as in the case of other faults.
Chapter X. How six of these faults are related, and the two which differ from them are akin to one another.
Chapter XI. Of the origin and character of each of these faults.
Chapter XII. How vainglory may be useful to us.
Chapter XIII. Of the different ways in which all these faults assault us.
Chapter XIV. Of the struggle into which we must enter against our faults, when they attack us.
Chapter XV. How we can do nothing against our faults without the help of God, and how we should not be puffed up by victories over them.
Chapter XVI. Of the meaning of the seven nations of whose lands Israel took possession, and the reason why they are sometimes spoken of as |seven,| and sometimes as |many.|
Chapter XVII. A question with regard to the comparison of seven nations with eight faults.
Chapter XVIII. Serapion: Everybody is perfectly agreed that there are eight principal faults which affect a monk. And all of them are not included in the figure of the nations for this reason...
Chapter XIX. The reason why one nation is to be forsaken, while seven are commanded to be destroyed.
Chapter XX. Of the nature of gluttony, which may be illustrated by the simile of the eagle.
Chapter XXI. Of the lasting character of gluttony as described to some philosophers.
Chapter XXII. How it was that God foretold to Abraham that Israel would have to drive out ten nations.
Chapter XXIII. How it is useful for us to take possession of their lands.
Chapter XXIV. How the lands from which the Canaanites were expelled, had been assigned to the seed of Shem.
Chapter XXV. Different passages of Scripture on the meaning of the eight faults.
Chapter XXVI. How when we have got the better of the passion of gluttony we must take pains to gain all the other virtues.
Chapter XXVII. That our battles are not fought with our faults in the same order as that in which they stand in the list.
VI. Conference of Abbot Theodore.
Chapter I. Description of the wilderness, and the question about the death of the saints.
Chapter II. Abbot Theodore's answer to the question proposed to him.
Chapter III. Of the three kinds of things there are in the world; viz., good, bad, and indifferent.
Chapter IV. How evil cannot be forced on any one by another against his will.
Chapter V. An objection, how God Himself can be said to create evil.
Chapter VI. The answer to the question proposed.
Chapter VII. A question whether the man who causes the death of a good man is guilty, if the good man is the gainer by his death.
Chapter VIII. The answer to the foregoing question.
Chapter IX. The case of Job who was tempted by the devil and of the Lord who was betrayed by Judas: and how prosperity as well as adversity is advantageous to a good man.
Chapter X. Of the excellence of the perfect man who is figuratively spoken of as ambidextrous.
Chapter XI. Of the two kinds of trials, which come upon us in a three-fold way.
Chapter XII. How the upright man ought to be like a stamp not of wax but of hard steel.
Chapter XIII. A question whether the mind can constantly continue in one and the same condition.
Chapter XIV. The answer to the point raised by the questioner.
Chapter XV. How one loses by going away from one's cell.
Chapter XVI. How even celestial powers above are capable of change.
Chapter XVII. That no one is dashed to the ground by a sudden fall.
VII. First Conference of Abbot Serenus.
Chapter I. On the chastity of Abbot Serenus.
Chapter II. The question of the aforesaid old man on the state of our thoughts.
Chapter III. Our answer on the fickle character of our thoughts.
Chapter IV. The discourse of the old man on the state of the soul and its excellence.
Chapter V. On the perfection of the soul, as drawn from the comparison of the Centurion in the gospel.
Chapter VI. Of perseverance as regards care of the thoughts.
Chapter VII. A question on the roving tendency of the mind and the attacks of spiritual wickedness.
Chapter VIII. The answer on the help of God and the power of free will.
Chapter IX. A question on the union of the soul with devils.
Chapter X. The answer how unclean spirits are united with human souls.
Chapter XI. An objection whether unclean spirits can be present in or united with the souls of those whom they have filled.
Chapter XII. The answer how it is that unclean spirits can lord it over those possessed.
Chapter XIII. How spirit cannot be penetrated by spirit, and how God alone is incorporeal.
Chapter XIV. An objection, as to how we ought to believe that devils see into the thoughts of men.
Chapter XV. The answer what devils can and what they cannot do in regard to the thoughts of men.
Chapter XVI. An illustration showing how we are taught that unclean spirits know the thoughts of men.
Chapter XVII. On the fact that not every devil has the power of suggesting every passion to men.
Chapter XVIII. A question whether among the devils there is any order observed in the attack, or system in its changes.
Chapter XIX. The answer how far an agreement exists among devils about the attack and its changes.
Chapter XX. Of the fact that opposite powers are not of the same boldness, and that the occasions of temptation are not under their control.
Chapter XXI. Of the fact that devils struggle with men not without effort on their part.
Chapter XXII. On the fact that the power to hurt does not depend upon the will of the devils.
Chapter XXIII. Of the diminished power of the devils.
Chapter XXIV. Of the way in which the devils prepare for themselves an entrance into the bodies of those whom they are going to possess.
Chapter XXV. On the fact that those men are more wretched who are possessed by sins than those who are possessed by devils.
Chapter XXVI. Of the death of the prophet who was led astray, and of the infirmity of the Abbot Paul, with which he was visited for the sake of his cleansing.
Chapter XXVII. On the temptation of Abbot Moses.
Chapter XXVIII. How we ought not to despise those who are delivered up to unclean spirits.
Chapter XXIX. An objection, asking why those who are tormented by unclean spirits are separated from the Lord's communion.
Chapter XXX. The answer to the question raised.
Chapter XXXI. On the fact that those men are more to be pitied to whom it is not given to be subjected to those temporal temptations.
Chapter XXXII. Of the different desires and wishes which exist in the powers of the air.
Chapter XXXIII. A question as to the origin of such differences in powers of evil in the sky.
Chapter XXXIV. The postponement of the answer to the question raised.
VIII. The Second Conference of Abbot Serenus.
Chapter I. Of the hospitality of Abbot Serenus.
Chapter II. Statements on the different kinds of spiritual wickednesses.
Chapter III. The answer on the many kinds of food provided in holy Scripture.
Chapter IV. Of the double sense in which Holy Scripture may be taken.
Chapter V. Of the fact that the question suggested ought to be included among those things to be held in a neutral or doubtful way.
Chapter VI. Of the fact that nothing is created evil by God.
Chapter VII. Of the origin of principalities or powers.
Chapter VIII. Of the fall of the devil and the angels.
Chapter IX. An objection stating that the fall of the devil took its origin from the deception of God.
Chapter X. The answer about the beginning of the devil's fall.
Chapter XI. The punishment of the deceiver and the deceived.
Chapter XII. Of the crowd of the devils, and the disturbance which they always raise in our atmosphere.
Chapter XIII. Of the fact that opposing powers turn the attack, which they aim at men, even against each other.
Chapter XIV. How it is that spiritual wickednesses obtained the names of powers or principalities.
Chapter XV. Of the fact that it is not without reason that the names of angels and archangels are given to holy and heavenly powers.
Chapter XVI. Of the subjection of the devils, which they show to their own princes, as seen in a brother's victim.
Chapter XVII. Of the fact that two angels always cling to every man.
Chapter XVIII. Of the degrees of wickedness which exist in hostile spirits, as shown in the case of two philosophers.
Chapter XIX. Of the fact that devils cannot prevail at all against men unless they have first secured possession of their minds.
Chapter XX. A question about the fallen angels who are said in Genesis to have had intercourse with the daughters of men.
Chapter XXI. The answer to the question raised.
Chapter XXII. An objection, as to how an unlawful intermingling with the daughters of Cain could be charged against the line of Seth before the prohibition of the law.
Chapter XXIII. The answer, that by the law of nature men were from the beginning liable to judgment and punishment.
Chapter XXIV. Of the fact that they were justly punished, who sinned before the flood.
Chapter XXV. How this that is said of the devil in the gospel is to be understood; viz., that |he is a liar, and his father.|
IX. The First Conference of Abbot Isaac.
Chapter I. Introduction to the Conference.
Chapter II. The words of Abbot Isaac on the nature of prayer.
Chapter III. How pure and sincere prayer can be gained.
Chapter IV. Of the lightness of the soul which may be compared to a wing or feather.
Chapter V. Of the ways in which our soul is weighed down.
Chapter VI. Of the vision which a certain Elder saw concerning the restless work of a brother.
Chapter VII. A question how it is that it is harder work to preserve than to originate good thoughts.
Chapter VIII. Of the different characters of prayer.
Chapter IX. Of the fourfold nature of prayer.
Chapter X. Of the order of the different kinds laid down with regard to the character of prayer.
Chapter XI. Of Supplications.
Chapter XII. Of Prayer.
Chapter XIII. Of Intercession.
Chapter XIV. Of Thanksgiving.
Chapter XV. Whether these four kinds of prayers are necessary for everyone to offer all at once or separately and in turns.
Chapter XVI. Of the kinds of prayer to which we ought to direct ourselves.
Chapter XVII. How the four kinds of supplication were originated by the Lord.
Chapter XVIII. Of the Lord's Prayer.
Chapter XIX. Of the clause |Thy kingdom come.|
Chapter XX. Of the clause |Thy will be done.|
Chapter XXI. Of our supersubstantial or daily bread.
Chapter XXII. Of the clause: |Forgive us our debts, etc.|
Chapter XXIII. Of the clause: |Lead us not into temptation.|
Chapter XXIV. How we ought not to ask for other things, except only those which are contained in the limits of the Lord's Prayer.
Chapter XXV. Of the character of the sublimer prayer.
Chapter XXVI. Of the different causes of conviction.
Chapter XXVII. Of the different sorts of conviction.
Chapter XXVIII. A question about the fact that a plentiful supply of tears is not in our own power.
Chapter XXIX. The answer on the varieties of conviction which spring from tears.
Chapter XXX. How tears ought not to be squeezed out, when they do not flow spontaneously.
Chapter XXXI. The opinion of Abbot Antony on the condition of prayer.
Chapter XXXII. Of the proof of prayer being heard.
Chapter XXXIII. An objection that the confidence of being thus heard as described belongs only to saints.
Chapter XXXIV. Answer on the different reasons for prayer being heard.
Chapter XXXV. Of prayer to be offered within the chamber and with the door shut.
Chapter XXXVI. Of the value of short and silent prayer.
X. The Second Conference of Abbot Isaac.
Chapter I. Introduction.
Chapter II. Of the custom which is kept up in the Province of Egypt for signifying the time of Easter.
Chapter III. Of Abbot Sarapion and the heresy of the Anthropomorphites into which he fell in the error of simplicity.
Chapter IV. Of our return to Abbot Isaac and question concerning the error into which the aforesaid old man had fallen.
Chapter V. The answer on the heresy described above.
Chapter VI. Of the reasons why Jesus Christ appears to each one of us either in His humility or in His glorified condition.
Chapter VII. What constitutes our end and perfect bliss.
Chapter VIII. A question on the training in perfection by which we can arrive at perpetual recollection of God.
Chapter IX. The answer on the efficacy of understanding, which is gained by experience.
Chapter X. Of the method of continual prayer.
Chapter XI. Of the perfection of prayer to which we can rise by the system described.
Chapter XII. A question as to how spiritual thoughts can be retained without losing them.
Chapter XIII. On the lightness of thoughts.
Chapter XIV. The answer how we can gain stability of heart or of thoughts.
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Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.