johnkarpathosMake every effort… never through your own negligence to be deprived of grace, even for a single moment.

If you manage to avoid falling, if you succeed in leaping over the barrier formed by impassioned thoughts, and if you overcome the unclean provocations that the enemy in his ingenuity continually suggests to you, do not ignore the gift conferred on you from above.

As the Apostle says, ‘It was not I but the grace of God which was with me’ (1Cor. 15:10) that won this victory, raising me above the impure thoughts that assailed me.

It was His grace that ‘delivered me from the wicked man’ (cf. Ps. 18:48 LXX), that is, from the devil and from the ‘old man’ within me (cf. Rom.6:6).

Lifted by the wings of the Spirit and freed from the weight of my body, I was able to soar above the predatory demons, who catch man’s intellect with the bird-lime of sensual indulgence, tempting it in a forcible and violent manner.

It was God who brought me out from the land of Egypt, that is, from the soul-destructiveness of the world.

It was God who fought on my behalf and with His unseen hand put Amalek to flight (cf. Exod. 17:816), thus giving me cause to hope that He will also drive out the other tribes of impure passions before me.

He is our God, and will give us both ‘wisdom and power’ (Dan. 2:23); for some have received wisdom but not the power of the Spirit to defeat their enemies.

He will ‘lift up your head above your enemies’ (cf. Ps. 27:6); He will give you ‘the wings of a dove’, so that you can ‘fly away and be at rest’ with God (Ps. 55:6).

The Lord will make your arms as a ‘bow of bronze’ (Ps. 18:34 LXX), giving you strength and endurance against the enemy, subduing under your feet all that rise against you (cf. Ps. 18:39).

It is to the Lord, then, that you should ascribe the grace of purity, for He did not surrender you to the desires of your flesh and your blood, and to the impure spirits that trouble and corrupt them; but He guarded you with His own right hand.

Build Him, then, an altar as Moses did after defeating Amalek (cf. Exod. 17:15). ‘Therefore will I give thanks to Thee, O Lord, and sing praises to Thy name’ (Ps. 18:49), glorifying Thy mighty acts;

for Thou hast ‘redeemed my life from destruction’ (Ps. 103:4).

John of Karpathos (7th century): For the Encouragement of the Monks in India, 5, trans. G.E.H. Palmer, P. Sherrard, and K. Ware, The Philokalia, vol. 1 (Faber and Faber, London & Boston: 1979) @ J B Burnett.

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