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In many of the writings of the Holy Fathers, they speak of the external works that are elementary…the man that wore chains that the Pilgrim met, was all about external podvig ... in The Way of a Pilgrim…the Pilgrim tells the man:

“The soul cannot free itself from sins of thought other than by guarding the mind (intellect) and the purity of the heart (nous); all of which is achieved by noetic prayer. The holy Fathers say that the efforts of those who strive for salvation only from a fear of gehenna’s (“hell’s”) torments, or even solely from a desire to enter the Kingdom of God, are mercenary. They say that to fear suffering is the way of the servant, while to desire a reward of the Kingdom is the way of the mercenary. Yet God desires that we come to Him as sons, that we be honest and delight in the redemptive union with Him in our hearts and souls—but only out of love and devotion to Him. No matter how you wear yourself out with physical labors and struggles, if you do not keep the remembrance of God in your mind and the Jesus prayer in your heart, you will never find peace from these thoughts and you will always easily be swayed by sin, even by the smallest temptations.”

The Way of a Pilgrim