, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


6. THERE are eight principal kinds of [tempting-] thoughts (logismoi), that contain within themselves every [tempting-] thought:

first, that of gluttony;

and with it, that of sexual immorality;

third, that of love of money;

fourth, that of sadness;

fifth, that of anger;

sixth that of acedia;

seventh, that of vainglory;

eighth, that of pride.

We cannot [control] whether these [tempting-thoughts] can agitate the soul or not; but whether they remain [in us] or not, and whether they arouse the passions or not – that we can [control].

7. THE [tempting]-thought of gluttony suggests to the monk the sudden rejection of his asceticism.  The stomach, liver, spleen, and [resultant] congestive heart failure are depicted, along with long sickness, lack of necessities, and unavailability of physicians.  It often leads him to recall those of the brethren who have suffered these things. Sometimes it even deceives those who have suffered from this kind of thing to go and visit [others] who are practicing self-control, to tell them all about their misfortunes and how this resulted from their asceticism.

8. THE demon of sexual immorality (porneia) compels desiring for different bodies. Especially violently does it attack those who practice self-control, so that they will cease, as if achieving nothing. 

Contaminating the soul, it bends it down towards these sorts of deeds: it makes it speak certain words and then hear them, as if the thing were actually there to be seen.

9. LOVE of money (avarice) suggests: a long old age; hands powerless to work; hunger and disease yet to come; the bitterness of poverty; and the disgrace of receiving the necessities [of life] from others.

10. GLOOMINESS sometimes arises from frustrated desires; but sometimes it is the result of anger. When desires are frustrated it arises thus: certain [tempting-]thoughts first seize the soul and remind it of home and parents and its former course of life.

When they see the soul following them without resistance,  and dissipating itself in mental pleasures, they take and dunk [lit baptize] it in gloom, since it is the case that these earlier things are gone and cannot be recovered due to the [monk’s] present way of life Then the miserable soul, having been dissipated by the first [tempting-]thought, is humiliated all the more by the second.

11. ANGER (orgē) is the sharpest passion. It is said to be a boiling and movement of indignation (thumos) against a wrongdoer or a presumed wrongdoer:

it causes the soul to be savage all day long, but especially in prayers it seizes the nous, reflecting back the face of the distressing person.

Then sometimes it is lingering and is changed into rancor (mēnis). and [thus] it causes disturbances at night: bodily weakness and pallor; and attacks from poisonous beasts. These four things associated with rancor may be found to have been summoned up by many other [tempting-] thoughts.

12. THE demon of acedia, which is also called the noonday demon (Ps 90.6), is the most burdensome of all the demons. It besets the monk at about the fourth hour (10 am) of the morning, encircling his soul until about the eighth hour (2 pm).

 [1] First it makes the sun appear to slow down or stop , so the day seems to be fifty hours long.

 [2] Then it forces the monk to keep looking out the window and rush from his cell to observe the sun in order to see how much longer it is to  the ninth [hour, i.e. 3 pm], and to look about in every directions in case any of the brothers are there.  

 [3] Then it assails him with hatred of his place, his way of life and the work of his hands; that love has departed from the brethren and there is no one to console him (cf. Lam 1.17, 21). 

 [4] If anyone has recently caused the monk grief the demon adds this as well to amplify his hatred [of these things]

 [5] It makes him desire other places where he can easily find all that he needs and practice an easier, more convenient craft  After all, pleasing the Lord is not dependent on geography, the demon adds; God is to be worshipped everywhere. 

 [6] It joins to this the remembrance of the monk’s family and his previous way of life, and suggests to him that he still has a long time to live, raising up before his eyes a vision of how burdensome the ascetic life is. 

So, it employs, as they say, every [possible] means to move the monk to abandon his cell and give up the race. 

No other demon follows on immediately after this one but after its struggle the soul receives in turn a peaceful condition and unspeakable joy.

13. THE thought of vainglory is especially subtle and it easily infiltrates those whose lives are going well,

[A] wanting to publish their efforts

[B] and go hunting for glory among men;

[1] it raises up a fantasy of demons shouting,

[2] and women being healed,

[3] and a crowd of people wanting to touch the monk’s clothes.

[4] It prophesies priesthood for him, and sets the stage with people thronging at his door, calling for him, and even though he resists he will be carried off under constraint.

Then, having raised him up with empty hopes like this, it suddenly leaps away and leaves him, abandoning him to be tempted either by the demon of pride or by the demon of gloominess, which brings on thoughts contrary to the previous hopes

Sometimes it also hands over to the demon of sexual immorality the man who, a moment before, was being carried off forcibly to be made a holy priest.

14. THE demon of pride conducts the soul to its worst fall. It urges it:

[1] not to admit God’s help

[2] and to believe that the soul is responsible for its own achievements,

[3] and to disdain the brethren as fools because they do not all see this about it.

This demon is followed by:

[1] anger and

[2] sadness and the final evil,

[3] utter insanity and madness, and visions of mobs of demons in the air.

Evagrios Pontikos. Praktikos. 6-14