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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter XXXI. The same old man's rebuke when he saw how the brethren went to sleep during the spiritual conferences, and woke up when some idle story was told.

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Chapter XXXI.

The same old man’s rebuke when he saw how the brethren went to sleep during the spiritual conferences, and woke up when some idle story was told.

The same old man made clear by this proof that it was the devil who encouraged idle tales, and showed himself always as the enemy of spiritual conferences. For when he was discoursing to some of the brethren on necessary matters and spiritual things, and saw that they were weighed down with a sound slumber, and could not drive away the weight of sleep from their eyes, he suddenly introduced an idle tale. And when he saw that at once they woke up, delighted with it, and pricked up their ears, he groaned and said, “Up till now we were speaking of celestial things and all your eyes were overpowered with a sound slumber; but as soon as an idle tale was introduced, we all woke up and shook off the drowsiness of sleep which had overcome us. And from this therefore consider who is the enemy of that spiritual conference, and who has shown himself the suggester of that useless and carnal talk. For it is most evidently shown that it is he who, rejoicing in evil, never ceases to encourage the latter and to oppose the former.”

Next: Chapter XXXII. Of the letters which were burnt without being read.

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