THE

CONFERENCES

OF

JOHN CASSIAN

TRANSLATION AND NOTES BY

EDGAR C. S. GIBSON


CONTENTS.

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THE FIRST PART OF THE CONFERENCES OF JOHN CASSIAN, CONTAINING CONFERENCES I-X.

PREFACE.

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I.--FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT MOSES; ON THE GOAL OR AIM OF THE MONK.

CHAPTER I.--Of our stay in Scete, and that which we proposed to Abbot Moses.
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 heavenly 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 the works will come to an end.
CHAPTER XI.--Of the abiding character of love.
CHAPTER XII.--A question on perseverance in spiritual contemplation.
CHAPTER XIII.--The answer concerning the direction of the heart.
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 mill-stone.
CHAPTER XIX.--Of the threefold origin 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.

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II.--THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF ABBOT MOSES; ON DISCRETION.

CHAPTER I.--Abbot Moses' introduction on the grace of discretion.
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 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 case 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 umorem genitalium castigetur.
CHAPTER XXIV.--Of the difficulty of uniformity in eating, and of the gluttony of Brother Benjamin.
CHAPTER XXV.--A question how it is possible always to observe one and the same measure.
CHAPTER XXVI.--The answer how we should not exceed the proper measure of food.

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III.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT PAPHNUTIUS; ON THE THREE SORTS OF RENUNCIATIONS.

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 no 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 no one 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 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 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 come 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.

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IV.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT DANIEL; ON THE LUST OF THE FLESH AND OF THE SPIRIT.

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 conflicts which the Apostle makes to consist in the struggle 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 the flesh and the spirit.
CHAPTER XIV.--Of the incurable depravity of spiritual wickedness.
CHAPTER XV.--Of the value of the lust of the flesh against the spirit in our case.
CHAPTER XVI.--Of the excitement 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.--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.

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V.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT SERAPION; ON THE EIGHT PRINCIPAL FAULTS.

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 the eight principal faults.
CHAPTER III.--Of the two classes of faults, and their fourfold manner of acting upon 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 vain-glory 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 vain-glory 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.--The answer how the number of eight nations is made up in accordance with the eight faults.
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 upheld against 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.

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VI.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEODORE; ON THE DEATH OF THE SAINTS.

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 that 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 threefold 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 man can constantly continue in the one and same condition.
CHAPTER XIV.--The answer to the points 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.

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VII.--FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT SERENUS; ON INCONSTANCY OF MIND AND SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS.

CHAPTER I.--Of 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.--Of 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 the possessed.
CHAPTER XIII.--How spirits cannot be penetrated by spirits, 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.--Of 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 own control.
CHAPTER XXI.--Of the fact that devils struggle with men not without effort on their part.
CHAPTER XXII.--Of 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.--Of 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.--Of 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.--Of 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.

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VIII.--THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF ABBOT SERENUS; ON PRINCIPALITIES.

CHAPTER I.--Of the hospitality of Abbot Serenus.
CHAPTER II.--A question propounded on the different kinds of spiritual wickedness.
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 Eve.
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 wickedness 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 vision.
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.--How this that is said of the devil in the Gospel is to be understood, viz., that "he is a liar and his father".

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IX.--THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT ISAAC; ON PRAYER.

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 may 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.--The answer on the different characters of prayer.
CHAPTER IX.--Of the four kinds of prayer.
CHAPTER X.--Of the order of the different kinds laid down with regard to the character of prayer.
CHAPTER XI.--Of supplication.
CHAPTER XII.--Of prayer.
CHAPTER XIII.--Of intercession.
CHAPTER XIV.--Of thanksgiving.
CHAPTER XV.--Whether these four kinds of prayers are necessary for every one 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 heard as described belongs only to saints.
CHAPTER XXXIV.--The 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.

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X.--THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF ABBOT ISAAC; ON PRAYER.

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 origin of 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.--Of the lightness of thoughts.
CHAPTER XIV.--The answer how we can gain stability of hearts or of thoughts.

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THE SECOND PART OF THE CONFERENCES OF JOHN CASSIAN, CONTAINING XI.-XVII.

PREFACE.

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XI.--THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT CHÆREMON; ON PERFECTION.

CHAPTER I.--Description of the town of Thennesus.
CHAPTER II.--Of Bishop Archebius.
CHAPTER III.--Description of the desert where Chæremon, Nesteros, and Joseph lived.
CHAPTER IV.--Of Abbot Chæremon and his excuse about the teaching which we asked for.
CHAPTER V.--Of our answer to his excuse.
CHAPTER VI.--Abbot Chæremon's statements that faults can be overcome in three ways.
CHAPTER VII.--By what steps we can ascend to the heights of love, and what permanence there is in it.
CHAPTER VIII.--How greatly those excel who depart from sin through the feeling of love.
CHAPTER IX.--That love not only makes sons out of servants, but also bestows the image and likeness of God.
CHAPTER X.--How it is the perfection of love to pray for one's enemies, and by what signs we may recognize a mind that is not yet purified.
CHAPTER XI.--A question why he has called the feeling of fear and hope imperfect.
CHAPTER XII.--The answer on the different kinds of perfection.
CHAPTER XIII.--Of the fear which is the outcome of the greatest love.
CHAPTER XIV.--A question about complete chastity.
CHAPTER XV.--The postponement of the explanation which is asked for.

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XII.--THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF ABBOT CHÆREMON; ON CHASTITY.

Omitted in this translation.

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XIII.--THE THIRD CONFERENCE OF ABBOT CHÆREMON; ON THE PROTECTION OF GOD.

CHAPTER I.--Introduction.
CHAPTER II.--A question why the merit of good deeds may not be ascribed to the exertions of the man who does them.
CHAPTER III.--The answer that without God's help, not only perfect chastity, but good of every kind, cannot be performed.
CHAPTER IV.--An objection, asking how the Gentiles can be said to have chastity without the grace of God.
CHAPTER V.--The answer on the imaginary chastity of the philosophers.
CHAPTER VI.--That without the grace of God we cannot make any diligent efforts.
CHAPTER VII.--Of the main purpose of God, and His daily providence.
CHAPTER VIII.--Of the grace of God and the freedom of the will.
CHAPTER IX.--Of the power of our good will, and the grace of God.
CHAPTER X.--On the weakness of free-will.
CHAPTER XI.--Whether the grace of God precedes or follows our good will.
CHAPTER XII.--That a good will should not always be attributed to grace, nor always to man himself.
CHAPTER XIII.--How human efforts cannot be set against the grace of God.
CHAPTER XIV.--How God makes trial of the strength of man's will by means of his temptations.
CHAPTER XV.--Of the manifold grace of men's calls.
CHAPTER XVI.--Of the grace of God, to the effect that it transcends the narrow limits of human faith.
CHAPTER XVII.--Of the inscrutable providence of God.
CHAPTER XVIII.--The decision of the Fathers that free-will is not equal to save a man.

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XIV.--THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT NESTEROS; ON SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE.

CHAPTER I.--The words of Abbot Nesteros on the knowledge of the religious.
CHAPTER II.--Of grasping the knowledge of spiritual things.
CHAPTER III.--How practical perfection depends on a double system.
CHAPTER IV.--How practical life is distributed among many different professions and interests.
CHAPTER V.--Of perseverance in the line that has been chosen.
CHAPTER VI.--How the weak are easily moved.
CHAPTER VII.--An instance of chastity which teaches us that all men should not be emulous of all things.
CHAPTER VIII.--Of spiritual knowledge.
CHAPTER IX.--How from practical knowledge we must proceed to spiritual.
CHAPTER X.--How to embrace the system of true knowledge.
CHAPTER XI.--Of the manifold meaning of Holy Scripture.
CHAPTER XII.--A question how we can attain to forgetfulness of the cares of this world.
CHAPTER XIII.--Of the method by which we can remove the dross from our memory.
CHAPTER XIV.--How an unclean soul can neither give nor receive spiritual knowledge.
CHAPTER XV.--An objection owing to the fact that many impure persons have knowledge while saints have not.
CHAPTER XVI.--The answer to the effect that bad men cannot possess true knowledge.
CHAPTER XVII.--To whom the method of perfection shall be laid open.
CHAPTER XVIII.--Of the reasons for which spiritual learning is unfruitful.
CHAPTER XIX.--How often even those who are not worthy can receive the grace of the saving word.

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XV.--THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF ABBOT NESTEROS; ON DIVINE GIFTS.

CHAPTER I.--Discourse of Abbot Nesteros on the threefold system of gifts.
CHAPTER II.--Wherein one ought to admire the saints.
CHAPTER III.--Of a dead man raised to life by Abbot Macarius.
CHAPTER IV.--Of the miracle which Abbot Abraham wrought on the breasts of a woman.
CHAPTER V.--Of the cure of a lame man which the same saint wrought.
CHAPTER VI.--How the merits of each man should not be judged by his miracles.
CHAPTER VII.--How the excellence of gifts consists, not in miracles, but in humility.
CHAPTER VIII.--How it is more wonderful to have cast out one's faults from one's self than devils from another.
CHAPTER IX.--How uprightness of life is of more importance than the working of miracles.
CHAPTER X.--A revelation on the trial of perfect chastity.

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XVI.--THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT JOSEPH; ON FRIENDSHIP.

CHAPTER I.--What Abbot Joseph asked us in the first instance.
CHAPTER II.--Discourse of the same elder on the untrustworthy sort of friendship.
CHAPTER III.--How friendship is indissoluble.
CHAPTER IV.--A question whether anything that is really useful should be performed even against a brother's wish.
CHAPTER V.--The answer, how a lasting friendship can only exist among those who are perfect.
CHAPTER VI.--By what means union can be preserved unbroken.
CHAPTER VII.--How nothing should be put before love or after anger.
CHAPTER VIII.--On what grounds a dispute can arise among spiritual persons.
CHAPTER IX.--How to get rid even of spiritual grounds of discord.
CHAPTER X.--Of the best test of truth.
CHAPTER XI.--How it is impossible for one who trusts in his own judgment to escape being deceived by the devil's illusion.
CHAPTER XII.--Why inferiors should not be despised in conference.
CHAPTER XIII.--How love does not only belong to God, but is God.
CHAPTER XIV.--Of the different grades of love.
CHAPTER XV.--Of those who only increase their own or their brother's grievances by hiding them.
CHAPTER XVI.--How it is that if our brother has any grudge against us, the gifts of our prayers are rejected by the Lord.
CHAPTER XVII.--Of those who hold that patience should be shown to worldly people rather than to the brethren.
CHAPTER XVIII.--Of those who pretend to patience, but excite their brethren to anger by their silence.
CHAPTER XIX.--Of those who fast out of rage.
CHAPTER XX.--Of the feigned patience of some who offer the other cheek to be smitten.
CHAPTER XXI.--A question how if we obey the commands of Christ we can fail of evangelical perfection.
CHAPTER XXII.--The answer that Christ looks not only at the action, but also at the will.
CHAPTER XXIII.--How he is the strong and vigorous man, who yields to the will of another.
CHAPTER XXIV.--How the weak are harmful and cannot bear wrongs.
CHAPTER XXV.--A question how he can be strong who does not always support the weak.
CHAPTER XXVI.--The answer that the weak does not always allow himself to be borne.
CHAPTER XXVII.--How anger should be repressed.
CHAPTER XXVIII.--How friendships entered upon by conspiracy cannot be lasting ones.

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XVII.--THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF ABBOT JOSEPH; ON MAKING PROMISES.

CHAPTER I.--Of the vigils which we endured.
CHAPTER II.--Of the anxiety of Abbot Germanus at the recollection of our promise.
CHAPTER III.--My ideas on this subject.
CHAPTER IV.--Abbot Joseph's question, and our answer on the origin of our anxiety.
CHAPTER V.--The explanation of Abbot Germanus why we wanted to stay in Egypt, and were drawn back to Syria.
CHAPTER VI.--Abbot Joseph's question whether we got more good in Egypt than in Syria.
CHAPTER VII.--The answer on the difference of customs in the two countries.
CHAPTER VIII.--How those who are perfect ought not to make any promises absolutely, and whether decisions can be reversed without sin.
CHAPTER IX.--How it is often better to break one's engagements than to fulfil them.
CHAPTER X.--Our question about our fear of the oath which we gave in the monastery in Syria.
CHAPTER XI.--The answer that we must take into account the purpose of the doer rather than the execution of the business.
CHAPTER XII.--How a fortunate issue will be of no avail to evil-doers, while bad deeds will not injure good men.
CHAPTER XIII.--Our answer as to the reason which demanded an oath from us.
CHAPTER XIV.--The discourse of the elder, showing how the plan of action may be changed without fault provided that one keeps to the carrying-out of a good intention.
CHAPTER XV.--A question whether it can be without sin that our knowledge affords to weak brethren an opportunity for lying.
CHAPTER XVI.--The answer that Scripture truth is not to be altered on account of an offence given to the weak.
CHAPTER XVII.--How the saints have profitably employed a lie like hellebore.
CHAPTER XVIII.--An objection that only those men employed lies with impunity who lived under the law.
CHAPTER XIX.--The answer that leave to lie, which was not even granted under the old Covenant, has rightly been taken by many.
CHAPTER XX.--How even Apostles thought that a lie was often useful, and the truth injurious.
CHAPTER XXI.--Whether secret abstinence ought to be made known, without telling a lie about it, to those who ask, and whether what has once been declined may be taken in hand.
CHAPTER XXII.--An objection that abstinence ought to be concealed, but that things that have been declined should not be received.
CHAPTER XXIII.--The answer that obstinacy in this decision is unreasonable.
CHAPTER XXIV.--How Abbot Piamun chose to hide his abstinence.
CHAPTER XXV.--The evidence of Scripture on changes of determination.
CHAPTER XXVI.--How saintly men cannot be hard and obstinate.
CHAPTER XXVII.--A question whether the saying, "I have sworn and am purposed," is opposed to the view given above.
CHAPTER XXVIII.--The answer telling in what cases the determination is to be kept fixedly, and in what cases it may be broken if need be.
CHAPTER XXIX.--How we ought to do those things which are to be kept secret.
CHAPTER XXX.--That no determination should be made on those things which concern the needs of the common life.

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THE THIRD PART OF THE CONFERENCES OF JOHN CASSIAN, CONTAINING XVIII.-XXIV.

PREFACE.

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XVIII.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT PIAMUN; ON THE THREE SORTS OF MONKS.

CHAPTER I.--How we came to Diolcos and were received by Abbot Piamun.
CHAPTER II.--The words of Abbot Piamun, how monks who were novices ought to be taught by the example of their elders.
CHAPTER III.--How the juniors ought not to discuss the orders of the seniors.
CHAPTER IV.--Of the three sorts of monks which there are in Egypt.
CHAPTER V.--Of the founders who originated the order of Coenobites.
CHAPTER VI.--Of the system of the Anchorites and its beginning.
CHAPTER VII.--Of the origin of the Sarabaites, and their mode of life.
CHAPTER VIII.--Of a fourth sort of monks.
CHAPTER IX.--A question as to what is the difference between a Coenobium and a monastery.
CHAPTER X.--The answer.
CHAPTER XI.--Of true humility; and how Abbot Serapion exposed the mock humility of a certain man.
CHAPTER XII.--A question how true patience can be gained.
CHAPTER XIII.--The answer.
CHAPTER XIV.--Of the example of patience given by a certain religious woman.
CHAPTER XV.--Of the example of patience given by Abbot Paphnutius.
CHAPTER XVI.--Of the perfection of patience.

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XIX.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT JOHN; ON THE AIM OF THE COENOBITE AND HERMIT.

CHAPTER I.--Of the Coenobium of Abbot Paul, and the patience of a certain brother.
CHAPTER II.--Of Abbot John's humility, and our question.
CHAPTER III.--Abbot John's answer why he had left the desert.
CHAPTER IV.--Of the excellence which the aforesaid old man showed in the system of the Anchorites.
CHAPTER V.--Of the advantages of the desert.
CHAPTER VI.--Of the conveniences of the Coenobium.
CHAPTER VII.--A question on the fruits of the Coenobium and the desert.
CHAPTER VIII.--The answer to the question proposed.
CHAPTER IX.--Of true and complete perfection.
CHAPTER X.--Of those who while still imperfect retire into the desert.
CHAPTER XI.--A question how to cure those who have hastily left the congregation of the Coenobium.
CHAPTER XII.--The answer telling how a solitary can discover his faults.
CHAPTER XIII.--A question how a man can be cured who has entered on solitude without having his faults eradicated.
CHAPTER XIV.--The answer on their remedies.
CHAPTER XV.--A question whether chastity ought to be ascertained just as the other feelings.
CHAPTER XVI.--The answer, giving the proofs by which it can be recognized.

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XX.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT PINUFIUS; ON THE END OF PENITENCE AND THE MARKS OF SATISFACTION.

CHAPTER I.--Of the humility of Abbot Pinufius, and of his hiding-place.
CHAPTER II.--Of our coming to him.
CHAPTER III.--A question on the end of penitence and the marks of satisfaction.
CHAPTER IV.--The answer on the humility shown by our request.
CHAPTER V.--Of the method of penitence and the proof of pardon.
CHAPTER VI.--A question whether our sins ought to be remembered out of contrition of heart.
CHAPTER VII.--The answer showing how far we ought to preserve the recollection of previous actions.
CHAPTER VIII.--Of the various fruits of penitence.
CHAPTER IX.--How valuable to the perfect is the forgetfulness of sin.
CHAPTER X.--How the recollection of our sin should be avoided.
CHAPTER XI.--Of the marks of satisfaction, and the removal of past sins.
CHAPTER XII.--Wherein we must do penance for a time only, and wherein it can have no end.

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XXI.--THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS; ON THE RELAXATION DURING THE FIFTY DAYS.

CHAPTER I.--How Theonas came to Abbot John.
CHAPTER II.--The exhortation of Abbot John to Theonas, and the others who had come together with him.
CHAPTER III.--Of the offering of tithes and first-fruits.
CHAPTER IV.--How Abraham, David, and other saints went beyond the requirements of the law.
CHAPTER V.--How those who live under the grace of the Gospel ought to go beyond the requirements of the law.
CHAPTER VI.--How the grace of the Gospel supports the weak so that they can obtain pardon, as it secures to the perfect the kingdom of God.
CHAPTER VII.--How it lies in our own power to choose whether to remain under the grace of the Gospel, or under the terror of the law.
CHAPTER VIII.--How Theonas exhorted his wife that she too should make her renunciation.
CHAPTER IX.--How he fled to a monastery when his wife would not consent.
CHAPTER X.--An explanation that we may not appear to recommend separation from wives.
CHAPTER XI.--An inquiry why in Egypt they do not fast during all the fifty days (of Easter), nor bend their knees in prayer.
CHAPTER XII.--The answer on the nature of things good, bad, and indifferent.
CHAPTER XIII.--What kind of good fasting is.
CHAPTER XIV.--How fasting is not good in its own nature.
CHAPTER XV.--How a thing that is good in its own nature ought not to be done for the sake of some lesser good.
CHAPTER XVI.--How what is good in its own nature can be distinguished from other things that are good.
CHAPTER XVII.--Of the reason for fasting and its value.
CHAPTER XVIII.--How fasting is not always suitable.
CHAPTER XIX.--A question why we break the fast all through Eastertide.
CHAPTER XX.--The answer.
CHAPTER XXI.--A question whether the relaxation of the fast is not prejudicial to the chastity of the body.
CHAPTER XXII.--The answer on the way to keep control over abstinence.
CHAPTER XXIII.--Of the time and measure of refreshment.
CHAPTER XXIV.--A question on the different ways of keeping Lent.
CHAPTER XXV.--The answer to the effect that the fast of Lent has reference to the tithe of the year.
CHAPTER XXVI.--How we ought also to offer our firstfruits to the Lord.
CHAPTER XXVII.--Why Lent is kept by many with a different number of days.
CHAPTER XXVIII.--Why it is called Quadragesima, when the fast is only kept for thirty-six days.
CHAPTER XXIX.--How those who are perfect go beyond the fixed rule of Lent.
CHAPTER XXX.--Of the origin and beginning of Lent.
CHAPTER XXXI.--A question how we ought to understand the Apostle's words: "Sin shall not have dominion over you".
CHAPTER XXXII.--The answer on the difference between grace and the commands of the law.
CHAPTER XXXIII.--Of the fact that the precepts of the Gospel are milder than those of the law.
CHAPTER XXXIV.--How a man can be shown to be under grace.
CHAPTER XXXV.--A question why some times, when we are fasting more strictly than usual, we are troubled by carnal desires more keenly than usual.
CHAPTER XXXVI.--The answer telling that this question should be reserved for a future conference.

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XXII.--THE SECOND CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS; ON NOCTURNAL ILLUSIONS.

Omitted in this translation.

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XXIII.--THE THIRD CONFERENCE OF ABBOT THEONAS; ON SINLESSNESS.

CHAPTER I.--Discourse of Abbot Theonas on the Apostle's words: "For I do not the good that I would".
CHAPTER II.--How the Apostle completed many good actions.
CHAPTER III.--What is the really good which the Apostle testifies that he could not perform.
CHAPTER IV.--How man's goodness and righteousness are not good if compared with the goodness and righteousness of God.
CHAPTER V.--How no one can be continually intent upon that highest good.
CHAPTER VI.--How those who think that they are without sin are like purblind people.
CHAPTER VII.--How those who maintain that a man can be without sin are charged with a twofold error.
CHAPTER VIII.--How it is given to but few to understand what sin is.
CHAPTER IX.--Of the care with which a monk should preserve the recollection of God.
CHAPTER X.--How those who are on the way to perfection are truly humble, and feel that they always stand in need of God's grace.
CHAPTER XI.--Explanation of the phrase: "For I delight in the law of God after the inner man, etc."
CHAPTER XII.--Of this also: "But we know that the law is spiritual, etc."
CHAPTER XIII.--Of this also: "But I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing".
CHAPTER XIV.--An objection that the saying, "For I do not the good that I would, etc.," applies to the persons neither of unbelievers nor of saints.
CHAPTER XV.--The answer to the objection raised.
CHAPTER XVI.--What is the body of sin.
CHAPTER XVII.--How all the saints have confessed with truth that they were unclean and sinful.
CHAPTER XVIII.--That even good and holy men are not without sin.
CHAPTER XIX.--How even in the hour of prayer it is almost impossible to avoid sin.
CHAPTER XX.--From whom we can learn the destruction of sin, and perfection of goodness.
CHAPTER XXI.--That, although we acknowledge that we cannot be without sin, yet still we ought not to suspend ourselves from the Lord's Communion.

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XXIV.--CONFERENCE OF ABBOT ABRAHAM; ON MORTIFICATION.

CHAPTER I.--How we laid bare the secrets of our thoughts to Abbot Abraham.
CHAPTER II.--How the old man exposed our errors.
CHAPTER III.--Of the character of the districts which Anchorites ought to seek.
CHAPTER IV.--What sorts of work should be chosen by Solitaries.
CHAPTER V.--That anxiety of heart is made worse rather than better by restlessness of body.
CHAPTER VI.--A comparison showing how a monk ought to keep guard over his thoughts.
CHAPTER VII.--A question why the neighbourhood of our kinsfolk is considered to interfere with us, whereas it does not interfere in the case of those living in Egypt.
CHAPTER VIII.--The answer that all things are not suitable for all men.
CHAPTER IX.--That those need not fear the neighbourhood of their kinsfolk, who can emulate the mortification of Abbot Apollos.
CHAPTER X.--A question whether it is bad for a monk to have his wants supplied by his kinsfolk.
CHAPTER XI.--The answer stating what Saint Antony laid down on this matter.
CHAPTER XII.--Of the value of work, and the harm of idleness.
CHAPTER XIII.--A story of a barber's payments, introduced for the sake of recognizing the devil's illusions.
CHAPTER XIV.--A question how such wrong notions can creep into us.
CHAPTER XV.--The answer on the threefold movement of the soul.
CHAPTER XVI.--That the rational part of our soul is corrupt.
CHAPTER XVII.--How the weaker part of the soul is the first to yield to the devil's temptations.
CHAPTER XVIII.--A question whether we should be drawn back to our country by a proper desire for greater silence.
CHAPTER XIX.--The answer on the devil's illusion, because he promises us the peace of a vaster solitude.
CHAPTER XX.--How useful is relaxation on the arrival of brethren.
CHAPTER XXI.--How the Evangelist John is said to have shown the value of relaxation.
CHAPTER XXII.--A question how we ought to understand what the Gospel says: "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light".
CHAPTER XXIII.--The answer, with the explanation of the saying.
CHAPTER XXIV.--Why the Lord's yoke is felt grievous and His burden heavy.
CHAPTER XXV.--Of the good which an attack of temptations brings about.
CHAPTER XXVI.--How the promise of an hundredfold in this life is made to those whose renunciation is perfect.

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NOTES

Notes for Book 1.
Notes for Book 2.
Notes for Book 3.

 


Text version:

Contents. [42K].

Book 1.

Preface. [6K].
Conference 1. [64K].
Conference 2. [56K].
Conference 3. [57K].
Conference 4. [44K].
Conference 5. [61K].
Conference 6. [49K].
Conference 7. [67K].
Conference 8. [59K].
Conference 9. [67K].
Conference 10. [45K].
 

Book 2.

Preface. [3K].
Conference 11. [37K].
Conference 12. [1K].
Conference 13. [64K].
Conference 14. [52K].
Conference 15. [22K].
Conference 16. [49K].
Conference 17. [68K].
 

Book 3.

Preface. [3K].
Conference 18. [53K].
Conference 19. [36K].
Conference 20. [30K].
Conference 21. [82K].
Conference 22. [1K].
Conference 23. [62K].
Conference 24. [72K].
 


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