And henceforth many resorted to him, and others who were suffering ventured to go in.
To all the monks therefore who came to him, he continually gave this precept: “Believe on the Lord and love Him; keep yourselves from filthy thoughts and fleshly pleasures….
“Pray continually; avoid vainglory; sing psalms before sleep and on awaking.
“Hold in your heart the commandments of Scripture; be mindful of the works of the saints that your souls being put in remembrance of the commandments may be brought into harmony with the zeal of the saints.”
And especially he counselled them to meditate continually on the apostle’s word, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Eph. 4:26).
And he considered this was spoken of all commandments in common, and that not on wrath alone, but not on any other sin of ours, ought the sun to go down.
[...] Daily, therefore, let each one take from himself the tale of his actions both by day and night; and if he have sinned, let him cease from it; while if he have not, let him not be boastful.
But let him abide in that which is good, without being negligent, nor condemning his neighbours, nor justifying himself….
For often unawares we do things that we know not of; but the Lord sees all things.
Wherefore committing the judgment to Him, let us have sympathy one with another.
Let us bear each other’s burdens (Gal 6:6), but let us examine our own selves and hasten to fill up that in which we are lacking.
And as a safeguard against sin let the following be observed.
Let us each one note and write down our actions and the impulses of our soul as though we were going to relate them to each other.
And be assured that if we should be utterly ashamed to have them known, we shall abstain from sin and harbour no base thoughts in our mind….
As then while we are looking at one another, we would not commit carnal sin, so if we record our thoughts as though about to tell them to one another, we shall the more easily keep ourselves free from vile thoughts through shame lest they should be known.
Wherefore let that which is written be to us in place of the eyes of our fellow hermits, that blushing as much to write as if we had been caught, we may never think of what is unseemly.
Thus fashioning ourselves we shall be able to keep the body in subjection, to please the Lord, and to trample on the devices of the enemy.
Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373): Life of St Antony, 55.