Those who, because of the rigor of their own ascetic practice, despise the less zealous, think that they are made righteous by physical works.

But we are even more foolish if we rely on theoretical knowledge and disparage the ignorant. Even though knowledge is true, it is still not firmly established if unaccompanied by works. For everything is established by being put into practice.

Often our knowledge becomes darkened because we fail to put things into practice. For when we have totally neglected to practice something, our memory of it will gradually disappear.

For this reason Scripture urges us to acquire the knowledge of God, so that through our works we may serve Him rightly.

When we fulfil the commandments in our outward actions, we receive from the Lord what is appropriate; but any real benefit we gain depends on our inward intention.

If we want to do something but cannot, then before God, who knows our hearts, it

is as if we have done it. This is true whether the intended action is good or bad.

The intellect does many good and bad things without the body, whereas the body

can do neither good nor evil without the intellect. This is because the law of freedom applies to what happens before we act.

Some without fulfilling the commandments think that they possess true faith.

Others fulfil the commandments and then expect the kingdom as a reward due to them. Both are mistaken.

[…] When Scripture says ‘He will reward every man according to his works’ (Matt 16:27), do not imagine that works in themselves merit either hell or the kingdom.

On the contrary, Christ rewards each man according to whether his works are done with faith or without faith in Himself….

We who have received baptism offer good works, not by way of repayment, but to preserve the purity given to us.

Mark the Hermit (5th-6th c.): On Those who Think They Are Made Righteous by Works, 11-18; 22-23, Text from G.E.H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, and Kallistos Ware (trans. and eds.) The Philokalia: The Complete Text, vol. I (Faber & Faber, London & Boston: 1979), online version here.

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