saints_101_anthonyThese things I have said to you, beloved, that you may know how it is required of a man to repent in body and soul, and to purify them both.

And if the mind conquers in this contest, then it prays in the Spirit, and begins to expel from the body the passions of the soul which come to it from its own will.

Then the Spirit has a loving partnership with the mind, because the mind keeps the commandments which the Spirit has delivered to it.

And the Spirit teaches the mind how to heal all the wounds of the soul, and to rid itself of every one, those which are mingled in the members of the body, and other passions which are altogether outside the body, being mingled in the will.

And for the eyes it sets a rule, that they may see rightly and purely, and that in them there may be no guile.

After that is sets a rule also for the ears, how they may hear in peace, and no more thirst or desire to hear ill speaking, nor about the falls and humiliations of men;

but how they may rejoice to hear about good things, and about the way every man stands firm and about the mercy shown to the whole creation, which in these members once was sick.

Then again the Spirit teaches the tongue its own purity, since the tongue was sick with a great sickness.

For the sickness which afflicted the soul was expressed in speech through the tongue, which the soul used as its organ, and in this way a great sickness and wound was inflicted upon it, and especially through this member – the tongue – was the soul stricken.

The Apostle James testifies to us and says, “If any man thinketh himself to be religious and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain” (Jas. 1:26), And in another place he says, “The tongue is a little member, and defileth the whole body” (Jas. 3:5) – and much besides, which I cannot all quote now.

But if the mind is strengthened with the strength that it receives from the Spirit, first it is purified and sanctified, and learns discrimination in the words that it delivers to the tongue, that they may be without partiality and without self-will.

And so the saying of Solomon is fulfilled, “My words are spoken from God, there is nothing froward nor perverse in them” (Prov. 8:8). And in another place he says, “The tongue of the wise is healing” (Prov. 12:18); and much besides.

Antony the Great (c.251-356): Letter 1.

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