§ 36-44

Based on: Cassian, Institutes, frontispiece Corvina, Paris, 1498 (image modif.)

Translation by Luke Dysinger, O.S.B
This English translation is partly based on those of Palmer, Kadloubovsky, the Greek text below is based on Migne, the Philokalia, and Muyldermans: it has been superceded by the critical edition of Guillaumont; and its revision in accordance with the critical edition is ongoing.

 37. (LD). THE demons do not know our hearts, as some people suppose. Only the Lord is ”knower of  the heart:” (cf Acts 1:24 & 15:8) namely, He who also understands “‘the nous  of men” (Job 7: 20); and ”who fashioned their hearts by himself” (Ps. 32:15). But either from words that are produced, or from some movements of the body, [the demons] come to know many of the heart’s movements.

 [79.1232β]  27. [π.280]  Οὐκ ἐπίστανταιι τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν οἱ δαίμονες, ὥς τινες τῶν ἀθρώπων νομίζουσι· καὶ γὰρ μόνος ἐστὶ καρδιογνώστης, ὁ ἐπιστάμενος τὸν νοῦν τῶν ἀνθρώπν, καὶ πλάσας κατὰ μόνας τὰς καρδίας αὐτῶν· ἐκ δὲ τοῦ προφορικοῦ λόγου, καὶ τῶν τοιῶνδε κινημάτων τοῦ σώματος, τὰ πολλὰ τῶν ἐν τῇ καρδιᾳ κινημάτων γινώσκουσιν.

Suppose that in conversation we have denounced those who have spoken evil of us; from these words, the demons conclude that we have a hostile attitude towards those people, and they use it as a chance to introduce into us evil thoughts against them; having accepted these, we fall under the yoke of the demon of resentment, who thereupon constantly incites us to vengeful thoughts against them.

. Ἅπερ ἐγὼ νῦν ἐβουλόμην δηλῶσαι σαφῶς, ἐπέσχε δέ με ὁ ἅγοις ἱερεὺς, ἀνάξιον [79.1232ξ] τὰ τοιαῦτα δημοσιεύεσθαι, καὶ ὁ τῷ ἐφέδρῳ συγγινόμενος, κατὰ τὸν νόμον, ὑπεύθυνος γίνεται.  Πλὴν ὅτι ἐκ τῶν τοιούτων συμβόλων ἐπιγινώσκουσι τὰ ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ κρυπτόμενα, καὶ τὰςἀφορμὰς ἐκ τούτων λαμβάνουσι καθ' ἡμῶν, πολλάκις γοῦν τινας κακολογήσαντας ἠλέγξαμεν, οὐκ ἀγαπητικῷς ἔχοντες πρὸς αὐτοὺς, διὸ καὶ τῷ τῆς μνησικακίας περιπεπτώκαμεν δαίμονι, καὶ λογισμοὺς πονηροὺς εὐθὺς εἰλήφαμεν κατ' αὐτῶν, οὕς τε πρότερον ἔγνωμεν ἡμῖν ἐπισυμβάντας. 

Therefore the Holy Spirit rightly denounces us, saying: ‘Thou didst sit and speak against thy brother, and didst scandalise thy mother’s son’ (Ps. 49, 20), that is, you opened the door to thoughts of resentment, and confused your mind during prayer, constantly imagining the face of your enemy, and thus having him as a god; for what the mind constantly looks upon during prayer should rightly be acknowledged as its god

Διόπερ καλῶς ἡμῖν ἐγκαλεῖ καὶ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἄγιον· ̧ Καθήμενος κατὰ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου κατελάλεις, καὶ κατὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς μητρός σου ἐτίθεις σκάνδαλον, καὶ τῶν τῆς [79.1232δ] μνησικακίας λογισμῶν ἤνοιγες θύραν, καὶ τὸν νοῦν κατὰ καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς ἐξετάρασσες, τοῦ ἐχθροῦ σου τὸ πρόσωπον ἀεὶ φανταζόμενος, καὶ τοῦτον εοποιῶν· ὃ γὰρ βλέπει πάντως ὁ νοῦς προσευχόμενος, τοῦτο καὶ Θεὸν ἄξιον ὁμολογεῖν.  

. So let us avoid this disease of malicious talk, let us have no evil memory against anyone, nor make faces at the memory of a brother. For evil demons eagerly watch our every movement and leave nothing unexplored that could be used against us, whether our sitting, or our getting up, our standing, our walk, our words or our look. They are always curious, devising ‘deceits all the day’ (Ps. 27. 12) in order, during prayer, to put to shame the humble mind and to extinguish its blessed light.

̓Αλλὰ φύγωμεν, ἀγαπητοὶ, τῆς κακηγορίας τὴν νόσον, μηδενός ποτε κακῶς μνημονεύσωμεν, μηδὲ τὰς ὄψεις διαστρέφωμεν ἐπὶ μνήμῃ τοῦ πησίον.  Πάντα γὰρ τὰ σχήματα οἱ πονηροὶ περιεργσάζονται δαίμονες, καὶ οὐδὲν τῶν καθ' ἡμω̈ν καταλιμπάνουσιν ἀνεξέταστον, οὐκ ανάκλισιν, οὐ καθέδραν οὐ στάσιν, οὐ λόγον, οὐ πάροδον, ου βλέμμα, πάντα περιεργάζονται, πάντα κινοῦσιν, ὅλιν τὴν ἡμέραν καθ' ἡμῶν δολιότητα [79.1233α]  μελετῶσιν, ἵνα τὸν ταπεινὸν κατα τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς συκοφαντήσωσι νοῦν, καὶ τὸ μακάριον οὐτοῦ κατασβέσωσι φῶς.

Observe what Saint Paul says to Titus: “and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.” (Titus 2:7-8). While the blessed David also prayed, saying: “deliver me from falsely-accusing men” (Ps 119:34). “Men” is a name that can also apply to the demons on account of reasoning nature.  For the Savior also says in the Gospels that an evil “man” has sown in us the weeds of vices. (cf Mt 13:25)

 Ὁρᾷς καὶ ὁ ἄγιος Παῦλος τί φησι τῷ Τίτῳ; ̧ν τῇ διασκαλίᾳ , ἄφθορον λόγον ὑγιῆ, ἀκατάγνωστον, ἵνα ὁ ἐξ ἐναντίας ἐντραπῇ, μηδὲν ἔχων λέγειν περὶ ἡμῶν φαῦλον· ς ὁ δὲ μακάριος Δαβὶδ καὶ προσεύχεται λέγων·  ̧ῦσαί με ἀπὸ συκοφαντίας ἀνθρώπων, ς ἀνθρώπουσ καὶ τοὺς δαίμονας ὀνομάζων διὰ τὸ τῆς φύσεως λογικόν· ἀλλὰ καὶ ὁ Σωτὴρ ἐν τοῖς Εὐαγγελιοις, ἐχθρὸν ἅνθρωπον εἶπε τὸν σπείραντα ἡμῖν τὰ τῆς κακίας ζιζάνια.῾ξφ Μτ 13·25̓

(Two Kinds of Death and Resurrection)


38. (Phk.17.) OUR reasoning nature, having been put to death by vice, is raised by Christ through the contemplation of all the ages. And his Father raises the soul which has died the death of Christ by means of the knowledge He gives of Himself.  And this is what was meant by Paul: If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. (Rom 6:8 ?2 Tim. 1: 11?).

 ͅ 38. [π.284] Φύσιν μὲν λογικὴν ὑπὸ κακίας θανατωθεῖσαν ἐγείρει Χριστὸς διὰ τῆς θεωρίας πάντων τῶν αἰώνων· ὁ δὲ τούτου πατὴρ την ἀποθανοῦσαν ψυχὴν τὸν θάνατον τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐγείρει διὰ τῆς γνώσεως τῆς ἑαυτοῦ· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ [π.286] ὑπὸ τοῦ [79.1221β] ἀποστόλου λεγόμενον, τὸ, ̧ εἰ συνάπεθανομεν τῷ Χριστῷ, πιστεύομεν, ὅτι καὶ συζήσομεν αὐτῷ.ς

(The Vision of  the Place of God)


 39. (Phk.18.) WHEN the nous  has stripped off the old man and put on [that which comes] from grace, (cf Col 3:9-10)  then it will see its own state at the time of prayer, like a sapphire or the color of heaven, which Scripture calls the place of God that was seen by the elders under Mount Sinai (cf. Exod. 24:20). [On the light of the nous and its possible origins: cf. KG 1.35, 1.74; 1.81, 2.29; 3.44, 3.52, 5.15; Sch.258 on Prov. 23.22 ; Prak. 64; Gnost. 45Prayer 75; Thoughts/Peri.Log. 17, 40, 42; Skem. 2, 42325, 27; Letter 39.5; Antiret. 6.16.]

 ͅ 39.  Ὅταν ὁ νοῦς τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον  ἀποδυσάμενος τὸν ἐκ χάριτος ἐνδύσηται, τότε καὶ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ κατάστασιν ὄψεται κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς, σαπφείρῳ ἢ οὐρανίῳ χρώματι παρεμφερῆ, ἥτινα καὶ τόπον Θεοῦ ἡ γραφὴ ὀνομάζει ὑπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ὀφθέντα ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄρους Σινᾶ.

(successive sheddings)


 40. THE nous cannot see the place of God within itself unless it is lifted up above all the concepts [noemata] of [external] objects.  But it will not be lifted up unless it strips off the passions enchaining it through concepts [noemata] of sensory objects.  And while it puts away passions through the virtues, the [more] subtle [tempting-]thoughts [are laid aside] through spiritual contemplations; and these, in turn [are laid aside] when there appears to it that light which at the time of prayer shapes [within it] a model of the place of God. [On the light of the nous and its possible origins: cf. KG 1.35, 1.74; 1.81, 2.29; 3.44, 3.52, 5.15; Sch.258 on Prov. 23.22 ; Prak. 64; Gnost. 45Prayer 75; Thoughts/Peri.Log. 17, 39, 42; Skem. 2, 42325, 27; Letter 39.5; Antiret. 6.16.]

 40. [π.288] Οὐκ ἂν ἴδοι ὁ νοῦς τὸν τοῦ τόπον ἐν ἑαυτῷ, μὴ πάντων τῶν ἐν τοῖς πράγμασιν ̧νοημάτωνς ὑψηλότερος, μὴ τὰ πάθη ἀπεκδυσάμενος τὰ συνδεσμοῦντα αὐτὸν διὰ τῶν νοημάτων τοῖς πράγμασι τοῖς αἰσθητοῖς.  Καὶ τὰ μὲν πάθη ἀποθήσεται [π.290] διὰ τῶν ἀρετῶν, τοὺς δὲ ψιλοὺς λογισμοὺς διὰ τῆς πνευματικῆς θεωρίας, καὶ ταύτην πάλιν ἐπιφανέτος αὐτῷ τοῦ φωτὸς ἐκείνου τοῦ κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς ἐκτυποῦντος τὸν τόπον τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ.

(Representions which Leave an Imprint, and those which do not)


 41. THOUGHTS are of [two] kinds: one sort stamp their imprint on our mind [hegemonikon], [thus] shaping it; while the other provide only knowledge , neither stamping an imprint on the nous, nor shaping it. Thus the verse, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God (Jn 10:1)  deposits [with]in the heart a concept [noema] but without shaping it.  On the other hand,  the phrase took bread shapes the nous ; and [the phrase] broke it  (Mt. 26 :26) also shapes the nous. The text, I saw the Lord seated upon a throne, elevated and sublime  (Is 60:1) stamp an imprint on the nous ; with the exception of , I saw the Lord.  For while the phrase seems to stamp an imprint on the nous, the meaning of it does not. For through his prophetic eye [Isaiah] saw reasoning nature raised up by ascetic[al practice], receiving into itself the knowledge of God. For [scripture] says, God is seated where He is known  (Pr 110:16) ; and thus the pure nous is said to be a throne of God. And [similarly] a woman is a throne of dishonor (); which is to say the soul that hates justice (), the soul’s dishonor being vice and ignorance. For this reason the concept [noema] of God is not one that stamps an imprint on the nous; but is, instead, one of the concepts [nomata] that do not stamp an imprint on the nous. And thus it is necessary that one who prays cuts himself off from all [concepts] that stamp an imprint on the nous.

 41. [π.290]Τῶν νοημάτων τὰ μὲν τυποῖ τ̀ ἡγεμονικὸν ἡμῶν, καὶ σχηματίζει, τὰ δὲ γνῶσιν μόνον παρέχει μὴ τυποῦντα τὸν νοῦν, μηδὲ σχηματίζοντα.  Τὸ γὰρ, ̧ν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν, ς ἐναποτίθεται μέν τι νόημα τῇ καρδίᾳ, οὐ μὴν σχηματίζει αὐτὴν, οὐδὲ τυποῖ.  Τὸ μὲν ̧ Λαβὼν ἄρτον, ς σχηματίζει τὸν νοῦν, τὸ δὲ ̧ κλάσαι, ς πάλιν τυποῖ τὸν νοῦν.  Τὸ δὲ ̧ Εἶδον τὸν Κύριον καθήμενον ἐπὶ θρόνου ὑψηλοῦ, καὶ ἐπηρμένου, ς τυποῖ τὸν νοῦν χωρὶς τοῦ, ̧ Εἷδον τὸν Κύριον, ς καὶ τὸ μὲν ῥητὸν δοκεῖ τυποῦν τὸν νοῦν, τὸ δὲ σημαῖνον, οὐ τυποῖ. Ἑώρακε γὰρ προφητικῷ [79.1228δ] ὀφθαλμῷ τὴν φύσιν τὴν λογικὴν ὑψωθεῖσαν διὰ πρακτικῆς δεξαμένην ἐν ἑαυτῇ τὴν γνῶσιν τὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ, Ἐκεῖ γὰρ λέγεται καθέζεσθαι Θεὸς, ἔνθα γινώσκεται, διότι καὶ θρόνος λέγεται Θεοῦ νοῦς καθαρός.  Λέγεται δὲ καὶ θρόνος ἀτιμίας γυνὴ, ἀντὶ τοῦ, ψυχὴ μισοῦσα δίκαια, ἀτιμία δὲ ψυχῆς κακία, καὶ ἀγνωσία.  τὸ τοίνυν νόημα τοῦ Θεου, οὐκ ἐν τοῖς τυποῦσι τὸν νοῦν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς νοήμασι τοῖς νοήμασι τοῖς μὴ τυποῦσι τὸν νοῦν.  Διότι τὸν προσευχόμενον δεῖ παντάπασι [79.1229α] χωρίζεσθαι τῶν τυπούντων τὸν νοῦν.

And so investigate whether what pertains to corporeal [beings] and their [tempting-]thoughts (logismoi) also applies in the case of incorporeal [beings] and their logoi ;  for the nous is stamped with an imprint in one way when it beholds a nous, and it manages differently when it behold its logos. From this we know how spiritual knowledge puts aside the nous whose concepts stamp an imprint upon it, placing before it [instead] the non-imprinting concept of God. For the concept of God does not belong to those that stamp an imprint - for God has no body -  [it belongs,] rather to those that do not stamp an imprint. Again, in regard to contemplations that do not stamp an imprint on the nous, one sort signifies the essence and the other the logoi  of incorporeal [beings].  But the case is different for corporeal than for incorporeal [beings]: for  among corporeal [beings] one kind stamp an imprint, while the other does not.  But [in regard to God] neither concept  noema [i.e., of essence or logoi] stamp an imprint on the nous.

Καὶ ζητ́σεις, εἴπερ, ὡς ἔχει ἐπὶ τῶν σωμάτων, καὶ τῶν λογισμῶν αὐτῶν, οὕτως ἔχει, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀσωμάτων καὶ τῶν λόγων αὐτῶν, καὶ ἄλλως μὲν ὁ νοῦς τυπωθήσεται ὁρῶν νοῦν, καὶ ἄλλως διατεθήσεται ὁρῶν τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ; Ἐντεῦθεν δὲ γινώσκομεν, πῶς ἡ γνῶσις ἡ πνευματικὴ ἀφιστησι τὸν νοῦν τῶν νοημάτων τῶν τυπούντων αὐτὸν, ἀτύπωτον δὲ αὐτὸν παρίστησι τῷ Θεῷ, διότι τὸ του Θεοῦ νόημα οὐκ ἐν τοῖς τποῦσίν ἐστιν· οὐ γάρ ἐστι σῶμα ὁ Θεὸς ἀλλ' ἐν τοῖς μὴ τυποῦσι μᾶλλον.  Πάλιν τῶν θεωρημάτων τῶν μὴ τυπούντων τὸν νοῦν, τὰ μὲν οὐσίαν σημαίνει ἀσωμάτων τὰ δὲ τοὺς λόγους αὐτῶν· καὶ ὀυχ ὡς ἐπὶ τῶν σωμάτων συμβαίνει, οὕτω καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀσωμάτων· ἐπὶ μὲν γὰρ τῶν σωμάτων τὰ μὲν ἐτύπου τὸν νοῦν, τὰ δὲ οὐκ ἐτύπου· ἐντᾶθα δὲ οὐδέτερον [79.1229β] νόημα τὸν νοῦν τυποῖ.

(The Eyes of the Soul)


 42.  DIABOLICAL thoughts blind the left eye of the soul,  that which is given over to the contemplation of created beings. Concepts that stamp our chief intellective faculty and clothe it [in a form] disturb the right eye which, at the time of the prayer, contemplates the blessed light of the Holy Trinity:  it is with this eye also that the betrothed has ravished the heart of the Betrothed in the Song of Songs (Cant 4:3).

On the light of the nous and its possible sources: cf. KG 1.35, 1.74; 1.81, 2.29; 3.44, 3.52, 5.15; Sch.258 on Prov 23.22 ; On Prayer 74 & 75.; Thoughts/Peri.Log. 17, 39, 40; Skem 2, 42325, 27; Letter 39.6.

 42. [π.55] [π.296] Οἱ μὲν δαιμονιώδεις λογισμοὶ τὸν εὐώνυμον ὀφθαλμὸν τῆς ψυχῆς ἐκτυφλοῦσι, τὸν ἐπιβάλλοντα τῇ θεωρίᾳ τῶν γεγνονοτων· τὰ δὲ νοήματα τὰ τυποῦντα τὸ ἡγεμονικὸν ἡμῶν καὶ σχηματίζοντα, τὸν δεξιὸν ὀφθαλμὸν ἐκθολοῖ τὸν θεωροῦντα κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τῆς προσευχῆς τὸ μακάριον φῶς τῆς ἁγίας Τριάδος, δι' οὗ ὀφθαλμοῦ καὶ τὸν νυμφίον αὐτον ἐκαρδίωσεν ο168] ἡ νύμφη ἐν τοῖς ᾀσμασι τῶν ᾀσμάτων[ξφ. Ξαντ 4·9]:-

(Final Exhortation)


 43.  IF you long for pure prayer, keep guard over your incensive power; and if you desire self-restraint, control your belly, and do not take your fill even of bread and water. Be vigilant in prayer and avoid all rancor. Let the teachings of the Holy Spirit be always with you; and use the virtues as your hands to knock at the doors of Scripture. Then dispassion of heart will arise within you, and during prayer you will see your intellect shine like a star.

 43. [π.298]. ΠΓ 79. 1228Β λ. 13-21. [π.55]  Ἐπιθυμῶν οὖν καθαρᾶς προσευχῆς, διατήρησον θυμὸν, καὶ ἀγαπῶν σωφροσύνην, κράτει γαστρὸς, μὴ δῷς ἄρτον σῇ κοιλίᾳ εἰς κόρον καὶ ἐν ὕδατι ἐκθλιβε αὐτὴν· ἀγρύπνει ἐν προσευχῇ, καὶ μνησικακίαν μακρὰν ποίησον ἀπὸ σοῦ, λόγοι Πνεύματος ἁγίου μὴ ἐκλειπέτωσάν [79.1128ξ] σε, καὶ θύρας κροῦε χερσὶν ἀρετῶν.  Τότε ἀνατελεῖ σοι καρδίας ἀπάθεια, καὶ νοῦν ἀστεροειδῇ ὄψει ἐν προσευχῇ.



 24. [Ph 23] AS we stated at the beginning, there are three chief groups of demons opposing us in the practice of the ascetic life, and after them follows the whole army of the enemy. These three groups fight in the front line, and with impure thoughts seduce our souls into wrongdoing. They are the demons set over the appetites of gluttony, those who suggest to us avaricious thoughts, and those who incite us to seek esteem in the eyes of men.

 [79.1228β]  ΚΕΦΑΛ. ΚΔ 'Τῶν ἀντικειμένων δαιμόνων τῇ πρακτικῇ, τρεῖς εἰσιν ἄρχοντες πρωτοστάται, οἷς ἕπεται πᾶσα ἡ παρεμβολὴ τῶν ἄλλοφύλων, οἵτινες πρῶτοι κατὰ τὸν πόλεμον ἵστανται, καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς διὰ τῶν ἀκαθάρτων λογισμῶν ἐκκαλοῦνται πρὸς τὴν κακίαν· οἱ τὰς τῆς γαστριμαργίας ὀρέξεις πεπιστευμένοι, οἱ τὴν φιλαργυρίαν ἡμῖν ὑποβάλλοντες, καὶ οἱ πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἀνθρώπων δόξαν ἡμᾶς ἐκκαλούμενοι. 



[1] ENGLISH EDITIONS USED:  “Texts on Discrimination in respect of Passions and Thoughts”, The Philokalia, the Complete Text, v.1   tr& ed. Palmer et. al. ( Faber & Faber, 1979), pp. 38-52 and ‘Abba Evagrius the Monk:  7. On Various Evil Thoughts’ in Early Fathers from the Philokalia , tr. by Kadloubovsky and Palmer (Faber & Faber, 1954) pp. 117-124.

GREEK TEXT: Critical Edition in Évagre le Pontique Sur Les Pensées, ed. P. Géhin, Claire Guillaumont and A. Guillaumont, SC 438, (Paris: Cerf, 1998) pp. 148-301.  Versions used in this edition include: PG 79, 1200-1233 (=Suarès (1673);  PG 40 1240-1244; Filokali/a I, Athens 1957 pp. 44-57; Chapters from Longer Recension (ch. 23-44) according to reconstruction of Muyldermans, “À Travers la Tradition Manuscrite d’ Èvagre le Pontique,” Bibliothèque du Muséon 3 (Louvain, 1933) 39-60.  Note ch. 44 = Macarius Hom 25 in 50 Spir Hom.s.




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