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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter VI. Of perseverance as regards care of the thoughts.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

p. 365

Chapter VI.

Of perseverance as regards care of the thoughts.

But we shall find out by our own experience that we can and ought to cling to the Lord if we have our wills mortified and the desires of this world cut off, and we shall be taught by the authority of those who in converse with the Lord say in all confidence: “My soul hath stuck close to Thee;” and: “I have stuck unto Thy testimonies, O Lord;” and: “It is good for me to stick fast to God;” and: “He who cleaveth to the Lord, is one spirit.” 1459 We ought not then to be wearied out by these wanderings of mind and relax from our fervour: for “he that tilleth his ground shall be filled with bread: but he that followeth idleness shall be filled with poverty.” 1460 Nor should we be drawn away from being intent on this watchfulness through a dangerous despair, for “in every one who is anxious there is abundance, for he who is pleasant and free from grief will be in want;” and again: “a man in grief labours for himself, and forcibly brings about his own destruction.” 1461 Moreover also: “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force,” 1462 for no virtue is acquired without effort, nor can anyone attain to that mental stability which he desires without great sorrow of heart, for “man is born to trouble,” 1463 and in order that he may be able to attain to “the perfect man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” 1464 he must ever be on the watch with still greater intentness, and toil with ceaseless carefulness. But to the fulness of this measure no one will ever attain, but one who has considered it beforehand and been trained to it now and has had some foretaste of it while still in this world, and being marked a most precious member of Christ, has possessed in the flesh an earnest of that “joint” 1465 by which he can be united to His body: desiring one thing alone, thirsting for but one thing, ever bringing not only his acts but even his thoughts to bear on one thing alone; viz., that he may even now keep as an earnest that which is said of the blessed life of the saints hereafter; viz., that “God may be” to him “all in all.” 1466



Ps. 63:9, Ps. 119:31, Ps. 73:28, 1 Cor. 6:17.


Prov. xxviii. 19.


Prov. 14:23, Prov. 16:26 (LXX.).


S. Matt. xi. 12.


Job v. 7.


Eph. iv. 13.


Eph. 4.13.


1 Cor. xv. 28.

Next: Chapter VII. A question on the roving tendency of the mind and the attacks of spiritual wickedness.

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