But let not this seem superfluous or objectionable to any one. For unless the different kinds of sins are first explained, and the origin and causes of diseases traced out, the proper healing remedies cannot be applied to the sick, nor can the preservation of perfect health be secured by the strong. For both these matters and many others besides these are generally put forward for the instruction of the younger brethren by the elders in their conferences, as they have had experience of numberless falls and the ruin of all sorts of people. And often recognizing in ourselves many of these things, when the elders explained and showed them, as men who were themselves disquieted 884 by the same passions, we were cured without any shame or confusion on our part, since without saying anything we learnt both the remedies and the causes of the sins which beset us, which we have passed over and said nothing about, not from fear of the brethren, but lest our book should chance to fall into the hands of some who have had no instruction in this way of life, and might disclose to inexperienced persons what ought to be known only to those who are toiling and striving to reach the heights of perfection.
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