Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

Philoxenus, Ascetic Discourse (1894) pp.115-152. Discourse 5 -- The second discourse on simplicity


At all times it is meet for us to direct our discourse to spiritual excellencies in this place----which is the market-place of virtues----for I see that ye yourselves desire to hear a profitable discourse, and not one which is to give pleasure only and to be the cause of cries of approbation. For the words which are composed to give pleasure to the sense of hearing or to stir up cries of the applause of those who listen to them, are absolutely unnecessary in this chaste land, and it is meet that as is the place, so also should be that which is spoken therein. For the country wherein we are gathered together is one of spiritual excellences and help: in it then we will speak with simple words, which bear profit alike to him that speaketh and to them that listen, for it is written, "Let him that heareth the word communicate it to him that listeneth to him in all good things." 1

The discourse which cometh before this was upon simplicity and innocency, and in this also I desire to speak again concerning this excellent matter----for it is a thing which befitteth us, and simplicity belongeth to us----and that we could live without it in the service of the virtues [p. 121] is by no means possible. For as the members cannot see without the eye, so neither can virtues be cultivated without simplicity; and as when |116 the eye is blind all the members are in darkness, so also when simplicity is done away with all good qualities are impeded. Now simplicity especially befitteth the life of the solitary and ascetic, and innocence of mind greatly befitteth those who have forsaken the world, and who have become strangers thereto; for where there are none of the forms of the world, the craftiness of the world is unnecessary. For here with us we have no buying or selling, and we have not with us vain talk concerning good things which pass away. Here there is none who would be greater than his brethren, or who would wish to appear in greater power than his neighbour. Here there is none who oppresseth or is oppressed, for we have not with us the causes for oppression. Here there are no fields and vineyards to be divided, nor estates which have to be separated by boundary marks. Here there is no one who wisheth to be richer than his brother, nor any one who wisheth his worldly wealth to be more abundant than that of his companion. Here there is no one who wisheth to appear in rich garments, for we all have one kind of apparel, that of weeping and humility. Here there is no one who doeth work for his belly, and who wisheth to find preparations of rich foods, for we are all fed from one common table. Here there is no one who wisheth to pluck honour from his brother, for we are all commanded to honour each the other. Here there is no one who speaketh judgment with his [p. 122] fellow, for we all speak judgment each for the other. Here no one wisheth to build [a house], nor doth another lust to found castles, for to us all there is the one narrow dwelling of the ascetic life. Here there is no one who wisheth to enlarge his dwelling and to construct |117 gilded couches for himself, for we all with narrow measure limit our place of sleeping upon the ground with humility. Where these things are wholly made strange things, it is not meet that the craftiness of the world should be found; for where the worldly rule and conduct of life is expelled and cast out, there also it is right that the craftiness thereof should be rejected. For where the corporeal things of the body are esteemed lightly, there also should be despised the cunning which doeth battle on their behalf. Where the old man is crucified together with his affections, there is it meet that the guile which is the advocate of the old man should also be crucified. Where falsehood is rejected, there is it right that craftiness, the mother of falsehood, should also be rejected. From the place where deceit hath been expelled and cast forth, thence is it meet that its parents and begetters should also go forth. For in the assembly of deceit there is nothing, and falsehood cannot be made of use in it; and it is right that cunning and craftiness, the parents of these things, should be despised. Wherever the humble garb of hair existeth, there is it meet that the simplicity which befitteth it should be honoured; for garments made of linen befit not our rank, and ornamented and embroidered apparel is not good for our order. Similarly, but even much less than these, cunning befitteth not our discipleship, nor doth craftiness [p. 123] become our garb. The ornamentation of the head, which belongeth to the wanton and dissolute, befitteth us not, neither doth deceit, which is the first invention of the Enemy. For craftiness is the possession of the Calumniator and of all his ministers, and simplicity is the riches of Christ and of all His disciples. Craftiness is alone useful in the conversation |118 of the world, and to those who have set themselves to spoil and plunder others, and for the oppression and defrauding of those akin to them; to them [alone] is apostasy necessary. "Wisdom dwelleth not in the soul which worketh deceitfully in wickedness", saith Solomon the wise man 2, and knowledge of the Spirit sojourneth not in the body which is conquered of sin; for the soul which worketh deceitfully in wickedness is full of cunning, because cunning itself is the inventor of wickedness. Whosoever desireth to serve [his] lusts runneth to become a disciple of cunning, so that with the learning which ariseth therefrom, and with the deceits of iniquity which it sheweth to him he may find means whereby to cover his wickedness, and to make an excuse for the hateful things which are wrought by him. For from where lusts are rejected and human passions cast out, from thence it is meet that the root thereof should be torn out, and cut off, and cast away, even that which increaseth them. In Gabriel and in Michael there is no cunning in name, and there is no craftiness of wickedness. There is neither apostasy nor the deceit of abominable things in the countries of the Spirit. There is no darkness of deceit [p. 124] in that Jerusalem of light, the city of life. There there is no one who schemeth to overcome by falsehood, for in that country falsehood cannot be made of use. There there is no one who hath learned to hide his abominable practices, and none who by cunning is able to hide his wickednesses. And as these things exist not in that land of spiritual beings, so also in our land which is the type of that country it is meet that they should not be found. The |119 rule and conduct of the life here is the similitude of that of spiritual beings, and the dwelling here is a type of that of heavenly beings. The conversation of you who are clothed with the body is a copy of that of those celestial and incorporeal beings. It is seemly for you to say that which Paul proclaimed, "Although we live in the flesh, we do not war according to that which is in the flesh".3 Being corporeal beings ye may be seen with the eyes, but your warfare is wholly spiritual; O corporeal beings, ye are angels, and spiritual beings clothed with flesh. Pure, undenled, innocent, and holy is your dwelling, and the likeness of the celestial habitation of spiritual beings is stamped thereupon. The whole rule and conduct of life of the disciples of Jesus standeth in simplicity, and if thou didst take simplicity therefrom thou wouldst destroy that life. Simplicity is our boast, and whosoever acquireth it is a wise man. And as in [this] world whosoever is simple is called a fool by fools, so also in this spiritual country is it meet that the cunning man should be called fool by the wise and understanding, for he possesseth in [that] country a possession which is not suitable thereunto, and he findeth therein an invention which belongeth not thereto. No man seeketh to find trees, and seeds, and plants among the waves [p. 125] of the sea, and again no man demandeth to see waves and billows on dry land; but each is to be sought for in its proper place, and there will it be found. And thus it is is not seemly that cunning should be found in the pure country of spiritual beings, because the land of cunning is a world which is full of wickedness. And |120 as songs are unseemly amid the noise of those that weep, and weeping is out of place at a feast, so also is it unseemly that the craftiness of wickedness should be found in the country of simplicity; for within the country of spiritual advantages the invention of cunning is a loss to spiritual beings. Thou wilt not speak with thy brother cunningly, how then can craftiness be necessary unto thee? Thou wilt not lie in ambush in the monastery to slay the righteous man in secret, of what use then will craftiness and deceit be to thee? Why then art thou proud, O fool, of that which will be thy condemnation? Why dost thou boast thyself in that which will put thee to shame? Why dost thou magnify thyself in that which is thy reproach? Why art thou proud of a possession which belongeth not to thee? Thou hast taken craftiness from the world, and through it thou wilt be condemned, in that all the wickednesses of the world are to be found with thee. The fruits of a tree cling closely thereto, and craftiness is a tree the roots of which are wickednesses; and wherever it is found with it also are found all evil things, and if they are not made manifest by outward deeds, they nevertheless exist in the innermost thoughts. For craftiness is a disease of the soul, just as simplicity is its certain cure. Where [p. 126] didst thou ever see a sick man boasting of his sickness, or a diseased man who boasted of his pains?

It is meet that the monk who is crafty should be ashamed, because he is found in that which is not seemly for him. For as converse with a harlot is a shame to him, even so it is right that he should be ashamed if craftiness, which is the similitude of a harlot, be found with him. Craftiness in the soul is like a harlot in the street; for as the harlot speaketh with all men and putteth |121 on all persons (or characters) so that she may appear to be like unto every man, even so doth craftiness appear in every variety of opinion, and it prepareth the [various kinds] of ornamented forms which are required [of it], that it may show itself to be like unto every man by them. And that which was written by the Apostle in integrity, "I have become all things "unto all men, that I might profit all men",4 is wrought in the opposite manner by craftiness, which becometh all things unto all men that it may destroy all men, and that it may mock and laugh at all men. And if these things are the works of craftiness how doth it itself befit the disciple of Christ? And how is it right that it should be found among simple solitaries? Look then with the eye of knowledge and understand that all wickednesses spring from craftiness. Deceit is in it, falsehood is found therein, calumny is akin thereto, the mocker is its friend, what is whispered it possesseth, the destruction of the Evil One is its mansion, error and prevarication [p. 127] are its doctrine, it is an associate of theft, it is an advocate of adultery, for fornication it maketh an excuse, hypocrisy is to it a garment of which to be proud, by it ambushes are fabricated, it is ready to bear false witness, and of the empty prating of lying it is the mother. And to speak finally, craftiness hath made itself an advocate of all wickednesses, that it may pronounce right that which concerns them: some of them it covereth up, for some of them it maketh excuse, of some of them it prateth that they exist not, and it multiplieth words intended to convince, and feigneth excuses, to some wickednesses it giveth other |122 aspects, and sayeth that they did not take place for this reason, and that they were not wrought with this design. Unto it is gathered together all lying speech, it cleaveth to judges when they wish to steal, of it governors make use when they wish to take bribes, and it cleaveth to those who work wickedness when they are judged. The woman who wisheth to trangress the path of law against her husband taketh it into her company, and then she goeth forth to the error of depravity; when it hath been learned by children they begin to lie to their masters. The advocates who plead before judges compose their speeches of its riches, and their perverse things are forged in its furnace. It spreadeth the nets of iniquity, and layeth out the toils upon the paths of the wayfarers, it hideth the snares of deceit, it diggeth the pits of destruction, it is a follower that hath been paid and that demandeth a second time. Until lying draweth nigh to it, [p. 128] it knoweth not how to make excuse for itself; lying is ready to utter falsehood, and how it is do so craftiness teacheth. Falsehood maketh ill will ready, but of how it is to be wrought in deed craftiness is the counsellor. [Falsehood] beginneth to walk in lying, in the path which is contrary to the truth, and it crieth to craftiness, "Come in my train", and then it goeth forth. Craftiness is the teacher of all wickednesses, and it is the ready advocate of all abominable things; it hath respect unto every person, and it speaketh right of every thing, and maketh excuse therefor. And it seemeth as if this had been said by craftiness to wickedness, "O thou wickedness, do evil as long as thou wishest, and let all thy members enjoy the pleasures of lust. Let the body of thy senses be delicately nurtured on the things which it loveth, |123 let all thy fruits collect in them their natural taste, and let them grow large and become ripe. So long as thou lustest enjoy thyself and spare not, live delicately and afflict not thine eye. Do evil so long as thou pleasest, and work wickedness, and fornicate as long as thou wishest. Take thy fill of iniquity and fear not; perfect thyself in all abominable things and be not moved thereat. Let not the fair fame of laws disturb thee, and let not the threatening of the judge move thee. Be not terrified at the voice of governors, and let not the cry of lords make thee afraid. Against all [these] I am armed on thy behalf, and I will make an excuse for thee to all who blame thee. It is easy for me to turn to thy glory the blame which is laid upon thee and those things which [p. 129] others imagine will condemn thee, and I will bind a crown of victory upon thy head. All my care is for thee, and in thoughts on thy behalf I am steeped by day and by night, so that whenever I am required to do so I can make an excuse for thee; at all times am I careful [for thee]. Do thou then, O wickedness, enjoy thyself in pleasures, and I will learn the instruction which will make thee innocent. Be not anxious how or what thou shalt speak before the judges, for I will make speech for thee. I will silence those who bring accusations against thee, and I will vanquish justice which shall declare against thee, and I will silence the equitable arguments of the judges [who condemn] thee of crime. I am thy tongue, O wickedness, and I have made myself ready to be for thee a mouth which speaketh; against every tongue which wisheth to pronounce judgment against thee I will stand up, and I will condemn it".

Now these encouragements are offered to wickedness |124 by craftiness, and with such speech as this it corrupteth it to stir it up to pass on to iniquity. Therefore cunning is the wicked principle of wickedness, it is the power of sin, and it is the life of the body of abominable things; and if craftiness existed not, in very surety wickedness would remain quiescent through fear of being found guilty and through terror of the judgment which is prepared for it by justice; so therefore, craftiness is the most evil of all wickednesses. Craftiness is the strong tower of sin, for when sin hath come down on the paths, and hath plundered every man, it fleeth to craftiness for refuge that it may make an excuse for it to those who bring accusations against it, and it hideth itself in it as in a strong tower from [p. 130] the leaders of justice, who have gone forth to track out its footsteps. Behold with what wickedness is thy boasting, O disciple of woe! and of what wilt thou be proud, O wolf who art clothed in a lamb's skin? If craftiness is in thee all iniquity is with thee, and if cunning is in thy soul all sin dwelleth in thee. If thy life consisted! of the guile of apostasy, all wickedness dwelleth in thee; and thy hateful things are not seen outwardly, for craftiness itself covereth them over, for thus is it promised by it to whomsoever will become its disciple, that it will be a veil for his sin. This thing which is the mother of all wickednesses is not seemly for thee, neither doth the wickedness which hath become a nest of all wickednesses befit thee. Do thou then, O upright disciple, rejoice in thy simplicity with which thou hast run the path of righteousness, and be not ashamed because thou art called "child", for this name befitteth thee, and this appellation is worthy of thee, for thereby thy freedom from iniquity is made known; for the name |125 "child" is one which indicateth his innocence, and it is the byname of the simple one, and it proclaimeth that there is no guile in him. For as every handicraftsman in [this] world (or him who serveth in the army of the sovereignty of man) hath a name whereby his position (or rank) is known, and whereby his handicraft is distinguished, so also is it with the disciple, and his name shall be called "simple". Would that thou wert called by the name by which God is called! for the word "simple" indicateth something which is single. For in the simple man there is no deceit, [p. 131] and snares are not devised in his presence, and falsehood prospereth not in him, and deceitfulness is not to be found in him, and in him calumny dwelleth not, and he smiteth not his companion in secret, and he seeketh not to do evil, and he schemeth not to do injury, and he hath no deceit towards his neighbour in him, and he meditateth not wickedness against his brother who dwelleth with him in peace; but he is a pure and clear vessel, and the neighbourhood of him is the neighbourhood of light. And as in the natural child none of these wickednesses ariseth, so also in him whose mind is simple not one of these things hath motion; for the child by reason of his childishness meditateth not wickednesses, nor doth the simple one by reason of his simplicity think upon abominable things. For in the word simplicity are gathered together all good things, just as in the name craftiness are borne all wickednesses. Simplicity is a cultivated field which receiveth the seed and plants of all excellent things, and craftiness is a piece of ground which is filled with brambles and briars, that is to say, with divided and empty thoughts. And as the growth of good seed is retarded in the field which is full of brambles and briars, |126 so also is the simple growth of faith retarded by the divided thoughts of craftiness. And as the growth of good seed in ground which is free from the sprouts of thorns is healthy, so also doth the growth of the word of truth spring up healthily within the simple understanding. For simplicity judgeth not the words of faith, and it seeketh not to find out for what reason [p. 132] God hath commanded in such a manner, and it [urgeth] no objection against what it hath been told to do; but it heareth uprightly, and it receiveth innocently, and it keepeth [the command] simply. For simplicity is without toil in all its actions, and it is not oppressed by the opinions which bind and loose others, for the service of righteousness is easy to simplicity, and it travelleth along the path of labours without delay. For this reason our Lord also taught His disciples the innocency of children, that He might make them to acquire simplicity; He rejected the cunning and chose the simple, He cast out the crafty men and the scribes, and He brought to Himself the ignorant and innocent. Annas 5 was a crafty man, Caiaphas 6 was a cunning man, the Pharisees were subtle, and the scribes were deceitful, but the choice of our Redeemer rejected all these; and instead of Caiaphas He chose Simon, and instead of Annas, John, and instead of the scribes, Andrew, and instead of the Pharisees, Matthew, and instead of the men of knowledge, Philip, and instead of the crafty, Bartholomew, and instead of the cunning, James----a band of simple men instead of a company of crafty men----and He chose those who knew nothing instead of those who thought that they knew themselves everything. |127 

At all times truth prevaileth by simplicity, and faith shineth forth in innocency. And moreover, after our Lord had rejected the companies of the wise, and the bands of cunning and crafty men, and had chosen those fishermen who were innocent and without instruction, He moreover taught them also to increase their simplicity, and not to abide in that first grade of their childlikeness only. [p. 133] And He took a child and set him in the midst of them, and looking at them all, He said, ''Except ye be converted, and become like this child, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven".7 And this our Lord did because He saw that they sought to depart from the mind of their simplicity through a question of position of honour and to receive one a grade above the other. A question such as this the simple never seek to enquire into, but this question was born of a mind which desired to examine into matters with craftiness. And our Lord rebuked this outcome of a troublesome question, and said to His disciples, chiding and reproving them, "If ye are Mine ye must be simple men, and if ye desire the kingdom of heaven, ye must be like unto this child; as ye desire to receive the life which is to come abide in sincerity. If ye wish to become wise in the word of life abide in your ignorance, for from being simple I do not desire that ye become cunning, but from being simple become ye wise. For he that runneth to become cunning from being simple goeth downwards, but he that runneth to become simple from being cunning goeth upwards. The cunning man receiveth not My doctrine, and for the reason that ye are simple |128 children I have chosen you. Ye have rejected cunning in others, beware lest it be in you and I reject you because of it. Let this child be a proof to you that as he desireth nothing of the world, and asketh for nothing of the children of men, neither [p. 134] rank nor honour, neither riches nor power, but only the mere food and clothing of which his childhood hath need, so also do ye become children like unto him, and upright and simple like unto him, that ye may be to Me chosen disciples, and that ye may be found by Me [to be] even as I have chosen you". Behold then, by this command also did Jesus our Lord incite us to simplicity, and He warned us to become innocent and upright. For it is not right that we should be ashamed of simplicity, and should seek to be excused therefrom as from a thing of [this] world which is useless to us, nor that the simple should be despised in our eyes, nor that we should consider them to be good for nothing; for [although] they are unnecessary for [this] world, they are useful and necessary to the kingdom of God. For that which is rejected by the children of men is a choice thing with God, even as also the Apostles were rejected by all the world, and our Redeemer Jesus also was hated and rejected by all the Jews. So then also whosoever rejecteth the simple, and despiseth and contemneth them because of their simplicity, the portion of this audacious man shall be placed with that of the Jews, and scribes, and Pharisees, who rejected Christ and His disciples. And observe what penalty the word of Christ hath decreed against that man who shall make one of them to stumble; beware then lest ye make them to stumble. Now although the saying, "Whoso shall cause one of these little ones to stumble, it were better for him that the millstone |129 [turned by] [p. 135] an ass should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea",8 admitteth of other significations, yet it is particularly applicable to the simple, that no man may dare to scoff at the simplicity of the upright. For when thou hast laughed at and hast mocked and made scorn of his simplicity, and hast blamed his pacific nature and hast despised his integrity, and he is accounted by thee fit for nothing and useless, the indignation of thy blasphemies against him will drive him to strip off and to cast away his innocency and to deny his simplicity, as if it were the cause why he should be mocked, and to flee from that childlikeness by reason of which he was deemed by the audacious to be a fool, and instead of what he was, to become what he was not, and through thy indignation and thy blasphemies against him thou wilt make him to stumble in his first rule and conduct, and to forsake it, and instead thereof to lay hold upon other things which are the opposite of his innocency. And although he be leading a life of silent meditation he will reject this, and will honour and choose speech rather than silent meditation, and craftiness rather than his early simplicity, and subtlety rather than his ignorance, and from being a sweet-tempered and peaceful man thou wilt make him a furious and wrathful man. Now therefore when thou thus hast caused him to stumble, and he hath been driven by thy indignation to change his good qualities into bad ones, it were better for thee that the millstone [turned by] an ass should be hanged about thy neck, and that thou shouldst be cast into the depths of the sea, rather than that thou |130 shouldst cause one of these little ones who believe on the Son to stumble.

Observe thou also that our Lord Himself called them "little ones", because they make themselves smaller than all men, and He did so to teach thee not to despise them because they followed after littleness, but rather that they might be magnified in thy sight, [p. 136] For the appearance of the simple is common, and their garb is rude and bad; and whosoever wisheth to despise them obtaineth a cause whereby he may mock at them from their appearance, because they have not the skill which knoweth how to arrange their outward appearance before the children of men, and to make them appear outwardly before the world as distinguished and famous men. Do thou, however, take a reason from this fact, and magnify them especially, and let their lowly condition be to thee the cause for honouring them, and let their despised state be the object of their being glorified. For where faith hath been preserved in its integrity, and hath not been corrupted with thoughts of craftiness, it honoureth and magnifieth simplicity, and it loveth and supporteth it, even though it happen that its appearance is contemptible. And from the experience of facts thou mayest understand how greatly simple men are loved by believers, and for Christ's sake how dear are the ignorant and simple to the whole body of Christ's disciples. And, moreover, thou mayest understand that the crafty men of [this] world run towards the ignorant men of faith, and that cunning men and rulers bow down before the simplicity of Christ. For look and observe the great ones of the world how lovingly they embrace simplicity and [how] they worship and love ignorance, and how in proportion as a man appeareth in |131 the excellent part of simplicity, the more especially is he great and honourable in their eyes. For the children of the world do not go forth to the spiritual folds which are outside the world to see crafty and cunning man.

Lift up thine eyes, O disciple, and look upon these who come to thee, and who run to thy door in love, for they run to see the children of the spirit, and not those who are trained and experienced [p. 137] in the deeds and affairs of the world. For when those who are exercised and skilled in the wisdom of the world wish to see crafty and cunning men they go into towns and cities; but when they go forth from the world they wish to see simple men and children of Christ. Let not Him come and find thee a serpent instead of a dove, and a hawk instead of a simple bird, and with thy discourse [directed] to evil thing's instead of being wise to good things. Let Him come, O disciple, and find thee as He wisheth to see thee, for He Himself hath cast off His craftiness, and hath put on humility, in which He hath drawn nigh to thee. And wouldst thou follow to put on that which He hath cast off, and wouldst thou desire to possess that which He hath rejected? He did not carry and bring with Him thoughts of cunning, but the simplicity of faith; when He cometh into thy dwelling, let Him not come and find that which He left in the world in the country of spiritual things.

And hearken unto the prophet who also proclaimed our Lord with his simple teaching, and who likened Him unto a lamb and a sheep, the most innocent of all animals: ---- "Like a lamb was He led to the slaughter, "and like a sheep before the shearer He was silent".9 |132 The lion and the wolf and bear are crafty, together with the other wild beasts, because craftiness was mingled with their evil nature when they were made; but sheep and lambs and ewes are simple and innocent in their ways and movements, and to them was our Lord likened, and by their name are believers called. Our Lord did not liken Himself unto a lion, which bringeth suffering and death, and He did not call His flocks by the names, of [wild] animals, which by the nature in which they were created are cunning in respect of evil things, [p. 138] but He was called "lamb" and "sheep", and being meek like unto them He was led to suffering and to death, for "like a sheep before his shearer He was silent", and thus He in His humility opened not His mouth. And we may be sure that the word of the prophecy is true in fact, for when they took Him, He was quiet; and when they judged Him, He was silent; and when they smote Him, He complained not; and when they condemned Him, He disputed not their judgment; and when they bound Him, He moved not; and when they smote Him on His cheeks, He murmured not; and when He was stripped of His garments as a sheep at its shearing, He cried not out; and when they gave Him gall and vinegar, He cursed them not; and when they fastened Him to the wood, He raged not at them; and when Simon wished to throw off the simpleness of the sheep, and took a sword to avenge the insult of his Master, He rebuked him, [and commanded him] to carry [it] in its sheath, saying, "Put back thy sword into its place",10 for I have no need of thy help. The doctor and teacher of all wisdom |133 stood before the judge, and He refrained and answered not a word. He kept the command of simplicity that He might confirm the prophecy, "He was led as a lamb "to the slaughter". They led Him as One who was speechless, and they took Him round about from one place to another, and they drove Him from place to place, and they dragged Him from one judge to another. He stood before Annas and was silent, and until he adjured Him He spake not; He was questioned by Pilate and was silent, and until He heard from him the words, "Art thou the king of the Jews?" which made known [to Him] that he suspected Him of being a rebel against [p. 139] Caesar, He answered them not a word. They carried Him to Herod, who [wishing] to see and hear from Him great things asked Him questions temptingly; and there also He stood silent and spake not, and He returned no answer to His questioner. He was esteemed a contemptible man who knew nothing, and a fool who had no answer [to give]. The Jews and priests thought [this] because they wished [it]; but He forsook not the simpleness of a lamb, and the law of simplicity He left not. The Apostle Paul considered Him as one "of no reputation",11 and the crucifiers considered Him to lack understanding, and [His] enemies accounted Him to be without knowledge and intelligence, and concerning Jesus Paul spake against them, "The foolishness of God is wiser than the "children of men".12

For in order that it may not weigh heavily upon thee to be thought contemptible in thy simplicity by the children men, God Himself hath shewn Himself to be of "no |134  reputation, "in that He stood before His questioners without answering a word; and He was thought by them to be an ignorant man because He returned them not an answer. Wherefore do thou also persist in the power of thy soul, and transgress not the law of simplicity, even though thou be considered to be a fool by every man, and art esteemed to be without knowledge and instruction. For whosoever is angry if he be considered by man to be simple and ignorant, his mind is fettered by the passion of the love of the vain knowledge of the world, and if he is thought to be the opposite, trouble and sorrow rule his life. For in order that thou mayest finish thy course it is meet that thou shouldst endure everything, and thou must fashion thy journey for the end of the path.

[p. 140]For behold David the prophet also in [his] scheme for delivering his life from death feigned himself to the Philistines to be a madman and without sense, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard after the manner of a man who lacked understanding, that he might save his life from death.13 And if David feigned himself to be mad, and to be without understanding and discretion that he might not destroy [his] life in this world, how much more is it meet for thee to abide in thy simplicity, and not to be overcome by the indignation of the scoffers, and not to depart from the goal which is laid down for thee, for the sake of life everlasting? And our Lord also called the faithful ones of His pastures by names in which simplicity is indicated: "If thou lovest Me", He said to Simon, the chief of His disciples, "feed My sheep, and My lambs, and My ewes".14 |135 And as He was called symbolically by the word of the prophecy, "lamb", and "sheep", and John also called Him, "The Lamb of God",15 even so did He call the disciples of His word by the names which indicate simpleness. And He did this that when all believers heard what names were given to them by the Shepherd they might, like sheep, and lambs, and ewes, be incited to abide in all simpleness, and might not go forth from the law of simplicity, and that like these innocent animals, which are led to death, and are brought to slaughter, and are bound for shearing, and are hunted by [wild] beasts, they might neither cry out nor complain, but [p. 141] remain in quietness and in the innocency of their nature. And thus also is it meet for the disciple of the Lord, that before all trials of words or deeds, of afflictions and evil speakings, of fetterings and violence, of oppression and prison, of indignation against calumnies, and of lying accusations, he should abide in the simpleness of his heart, and should not forsake the law of his contemplative life, and should not cast away his innocency, and should not forsake his simplicity and become crafty to do harm to his enemies; for the deceit of wickedness, and the crafty things of the iniquitous men are the work which belongeth to them, and their life is at all times at leisure to do their work. But to thee there belongeth the work which is hidden from their knowledge, and the sincerity of thy mind is able to perfect it; thou wilt delight thyself therein, but they are not able to feel this enjoyment, for they are not accounted worthy of the pleasures of thy own delights. For simplicity hath |136 no anxious care, and for this reason joy is at all seasons continually with it. For as the joy of children is continual, and laughter is abundant with them by reason of their simplicity, for the anxious cares of the world cannot smite the joy which moveth with simpleness in their minds----so also is joy continual at all seasons in the simple heart, because there are no means for trouble to fill it when it goeth not forth to labour. Whosoever wisheth to do evil to his enemy, and is not able to do it, or whosoever deviseth plans to become rich, and becometh not rich, or whosoever runneth [p. 142] to overtake, and overtaketh not, by reason of these things sorrow and grief rule his life, and all the joy which is born of simplicity is taken away from him. The simple man is, according to what is imagined, of no use to the world; and if thou, O disciple, art esteemed to be of no use to the world, let not this be grievous unto thee, for it is the glory of the Christian when he is not trained in the things of the world, and when he is worthless absolutely for the life and conduct of the body. For if a man were to say to thee, "Thou knowest not the carpenter's craft", or, "Thou knowest not how to labour in the tanner's craft", or, "Thou knowest not any of the contemptible trades of the world", this would not be a reason for laughing at thee, because not even a king would be disgraced for not knowing how to labour in any of the crafts of the world, but rather would this fact be to thy glory, for inasmuch as the king's rule is exalted above these things and he cannot condescend to know them, the ignorance of them will be found to be creditable to him, for the knowledge thereof would cause him to be blamed. And as we see also many men, who occupy some |137 position of worldly honour, and who have knowledge of certain crafts and trades, and are acquainted with affairs which are beneath their position, deny and say that they know them not----and this ignorance is held to be creditable to them, and as if it were an honour to them they run and take refuge therein and say that they do not understand crafts and trades----in like manner therefore to the disciple of Christ [p. 143] is the ignorance of the affairs of the world a cause of glorification. And that he knoweth not how to act craftily and cunningly redoundeth to his praise, and it is a fair reputation to him. that he is unacquainted with the deceits of wickedness; and the knowledge of these things is before him accounted to be a disgrace which is greater than that which would accrue to a king of this world if he knew the handicrafts and trades of the world. And that the. disciple who is written down for the celestial kingdom should know the things which are alien to his profession, and which are remote from the life and rule of his instruction, would be a matter for blame. For his life is not free from conversation with God to turn to the doctrine of these contemptible things; and to meditate upon the things which belong to the flesh; and to scheme how he may do harm unto, and injure his enemies, and how he may become rich and acquire possessions, and how he may speak, and hear things against those who oppress him, and how he may find profit, and with what reasons he may find it. For the conversation of the simple who are with God doth not allow the disciple to turn towards these things and to meditate in them, neither doth it make him to descend from die height of the knowledge of the kingdom of Christ to the schemes and plans and anxious cares |138 belonging to infirm passions, which are at all times sick, and which move to and fro in their minds.

Now it befitteth not the mind, in the simplicity of which the faith of Christ moveth, to turn and take anxious care concerning the deceits of the flesh, and concerning the craftinesses of destruction. Let it not then be accounted to thee a disgrace that thou art not acquainted with the craftinesses of the world, but let it be to thee an exceeding great honour, that thou, in the likeness of spiritual beings, art exalted and raised above the things which are of the flesh, for neither have the spiritual beings inventions and crafty schemes concerning the affairs of the world. For if their rule and conduct of life [p. 144] is superior to all carnalmindedness, it is evident that their mind also must be superior to passions; and all their conversation must be upon divine meditations alone, having been brought up in the knowledge of the spirit in the things which are above their knowledge. And they go not down to see what is beneath them, because they desire not to descend from their grades; but they earnestly desire to go up, and to become participators at all times with what is before them in the mysteries of the Self-existent One. Now therefore in the similitude of these powers are the minds which are not disturbed by material things, and they form a grade of spiritual beings who learn only the things which are above the world, and whose thoughts descend not to the quest and doctrine of the things which are alien to their kind. For as the learning of one handicraft is separate and distinct from another, and whosoever becometh an apprentice to one handicraft is strenuous to learn it and not another, in the place of instruction, in like manner let the whole |139 meditation and conversation of the disciple be upon the learning of his handicraft, and let him not destroy the anxious care of his thoughts by anything else. For our handicraft is the doctrine of spiritual things, and our trade is that our thoughts and our deeds should be above the world, and that we should participate at all times in what is before us in the things which are of the Spirit. The apprentice who maketh not progress in learning his handicraft in the workshop is blamed by his masters, and he is mocked at, and made a laughing-stock by his companions; and the disciple of this spiritual handicraft who is like unto him deserveth to be blamed more than he, [p. 145] for he should increase [in knowledge] day by day, and he should progress in the work of the body and in the thoughts of the spirit, for the loss which shall betide each of them is manifest and well known. For the man who receiveth not the instruction of a handicraft of the world loseth the benefits which are to be found in the handicraft; but whosoever receiveth not the teaching of Christ and groweth not in virtues, his loss is the kingdom of heaven, and the happiness and delight which are sealed and preserved for the chosen of God, and that which the eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, and which hath not gone up in the heart of man, and that intercourse which the perfect will have with Christ, and for the sake of which Christ Himself even came down from heaven to earth, and in the end this man's loss is his own person, together with the good things which are above nature.

For the mind which is able to receive these things is sincere and simple. And as the mind of the child is more sincere and receiveth instruction in everything more easily than the full-grown man, so also is |140 the mind of the simple man of better disposition in the learning of spiritual things than crafty and cunning thoughts. For simplicity is a piece of good ground which receiveth readily the seeds and plants of this doctrine. And as there are qualities which make certain pieces of ground in the natural world to receive trees and plants and which make them to bear fruit more quickly than those in other fields, so also is it in respect of the fields of the thoughts of the simple; for they receive the plants of this spiritual doctrine with simplicity, and [the ground] speedily layeth hold [p. 146] of them, and maketh [them] to bear fruit. On the other hand the ground of craftiness is oppressive to this doctrine, and it either receiveth it not at all, or if it layeth hold of the doctrine, and it is accepted by it, the growth which is therein is strangled by the brambles and thorns of doubts and thoughts which are always throwing down and building up those who are the adversaries of faith and of simplicity.

Rejoice then in simplicity, O disciple, for not only will it make thee beloved before God, but also will it make thee dear in the sight of men; and thou mayest observe and see, if thou wilt from the experience of facts, that the simple are more beloved in the sight of the children of men than the cunning and crafty. Every man loveth simplicity, even also as childlikeness is dear unto every man; for both the simple and the childlike are alike beloved. But cunning and wickedness are hated by every man, and every man is on his guard against them; for they are full of deceits and ambushes, and their habit is to overturn the integrity of everything. Simplicity, however, in addition to being beloved, is a place of confidence, and no man is on his guard against |141 the simple man in whatsoever he doeth, for he is acquainted with his sincerity, and he knoweth that he deviseth not wickedness. And as no man is on his guard against a child who wisheth to go secretly into a house, for his childhood hath not power to make him become a spectator of that which will cause him loss, so also no man is on his guard against the simple man in the things which he wisheth to do, for he beareth the similitude of a child in his thoughts.

Who then would not earnestly desire to be beloved by God, and to be accounted dear by man? [p. 147] and both these things are possible through simplicity. Why therefore, O disciple, shouldst thou flee from becoming beloved by God and dear unto man, seeing that thou canst obtain love from the Creator and from His creation for nothing? But perhaps thou sayest, "They mock at me, and consider me a fool and a simple man, and without understanding, and without discretion", but what good thing is there that hath not its drawback, O disciple? If thou art afraid of the things which are drawbacks to those that are good, no good thing can ever spring from thee, for to all things drawbacks are to be found, and in the working of them all toil is mingled, in addition to the envy and jealousy which are stirred up in the children of men against the other virtues. Now this virtue of simplicity is more free from evil consequences than all vices, because envy and jealousy are not continually opposed to it, nor do hatred and enmity contend with it. And if simplicity bringeth with it this slight contempt and scorn, love is nevertheless also found therewith. And the men who scorn the simple man love him, and he is not despised in their sight because of hatred, but either because of their [want of] |142 confidence [in him] or because he is not useful unto them for what they seek, they consider him a fool in respect of the things of the world, and a simple man as concerning the conversation of man, and without knowledge in respect of cunning and wickedness. Therefore in the things in which thou rejoicest it is meet that thou shouldst be considered that which thou art, and that thou shouldst be called that [p. 148] which it is right for thee to be. If a man now were to say unto thee, "Thou knowest not how to lie, or to commit adultery, or to steal", would it be a disgrace unto thee? Or [if he were to say], "Thou knowest not how to stand in a chariot, or to become a charioteer", or, "Thou art not acquainted with the craft of the athlete", or, "Thou knowest not how to sing nor the art of the dancers", or, "Thou art not able to jest and laugh, and thou canst not play the part and act like the actors"; would the ignorance, I say, of these things be considered a disgrace to thee? I trow not. And no man would blame thee because thou wast a stranger to the knowledge of these professions. And so also let it not be considered a disgrace by thee that thou art lacking the craft of wickedness and the deceit of abominable things, for also the blessed David said that the upright and men of integrity clave unto him,16 and it is well known that integrity is born of simplicity. Now my speech here referreth to the purity of spirit which ariseth in the soul after the flight of all wickedness; for the order of natural simplicity is one thing, and the order of purity of the spirit is another. The simplicity of nature is the beginning of the path of the doctrine of Christ, but purity of spirit is the end of |143 the path of righteousness. And whosoever beginneth in simplicity endeth in purity, even also as the blessed Apostles, when they were chosen, at the beginning were simple men; but at the end of the dispensation after they had received the Holy Ghost, they were shewn to be pure men. Now purity is this: a man should by toil, and weariness, and striving against all hateful motions separate [p. 149] from him the filth of wickedness, and cast it away from him, and the purity and undefiledness of pure thoughts and of the thoughts which are moved by the Spirit, and are above all doubt, should abide in him. And simplicity is that which is not stirred up naturally in these thoughts; and that which simplicity distinguisheth not when it entereth, it must overcome in contest, and in wisdom must reject, and expel, and cast forth from the place of its purity. These things purity doeth.

Now simplicity is the beginning of the path, and a field cleansed from thorns to receive good seed. That a man should root up thorns, and hoe up weeds, and clean the ground and make it ready and prepare it to receive good seed and beautiful plants is one thing, but the field which is sown, and planted, and beareth fruit, and which looketh for whomsoever will gather the crops, and how the produce which it beareth shall be carried and laid up in the barns, is another. Now the condition of purity is that of a field which is full of grain and plants, and which beareth fruit of the kinds which have grown to their fullest extent, and have become ripe; and simplicity is a tilled field from which the weeds have been hoed up, and which is ready and fit to receive whatsoever may be placed therein. Cunning and craftiness are a field which is full of weeds, |144 and thorny growths, and tares, into which even if good seed fell, it would choke its sprout, and smite its growth. O disciple, be thou a tilled and prepared field for Jesus, [p. 150] and let Him cast in thee the good seed of His word, and let Him plant in thee the new plant of His doctrine. And if thou hast simplicity in thy nature, rejoice therein, and be strenuous to add unto it; but if thou possessest it not as from a natural seed, follow diligently after it with eager desire and possess it. For it is an invention which will do benefit unto thy life which is in God, and it will enable thee to live thy life without fear and in confidence in the dwelling in which thou art. The simple man is not esteemed an evil by men, and he is not afraid of the wickedness of others; so long as he himself schemeth not to do evil, he thinketh that others will not do harm unto him. For simplicity imagineth that every man is like unto itself, and as a man is towards himself, and according to what he is towards himself he thinketh that he and every [other] are like unto it. Simplicity is its own mirror, and is the appearance of its own self, and as it looketh upon itself so it looketh upon every man; and as it itself is without guile, even so it thinketh concerning others; and although those who look upon themselves are doubtful about the distinctions of their wickedness in respect of themselves, yet to simplicity they are all one. And for this reason it abideth at all times without storms, and waves and breakers are not stirred up within it to disturb its simple state; because the wind of craftiness by which are stirred all the waves of expectation never bloweth thereupon, [p. 151] For as in the natural sea storms are stirred up through the agency of the wind which bloweth over its surface, so |145 also through the blowing of the wind of craftiness which bloweth through it are the confused thoughts of cunning produced, and the meditation of abominable things stirred up from within it. Now the mind of the simple man is a place of tranquillity in which there are no storms, and as the sea is smooth and without waves when there is no wind, so also is the simple mind at peace in [its] freedom from all the things which can terrify it, and which beat upon it like waves. For simplicity is a haven which hideth within it the ships which flee before the storms of craftiness, and everything which entereth therein it maketh to abide in peace, and it turneth all disturbance into the condition of peace.

Not only is the simple man himself simple, but that which cometh into him he turneth to his own condition. For to simplicity is also closely joined obedience, and besides that it judgeth not the things which are spoken into it, it doth not dispute against the things which [men] command it to do. The dwelling of the simple man is restful to those who are near thereto, and all those who know it rejoice therein. Round about it there is no contention, and in its neighbourhood there is no strife, and in its company there is no quarrelling, and in its obedience there is no compulsion, and it contradicteth not that which is said unto it. Every man seizeth it, yea by choice, and in the doubtfulness of affairs it is chosen by many, for it is considered the better part by whosoever cometh thereto, [p. 152] For he knoweth not that he will not be heard, and he knoweth not that he will dispute with any man; for all his knowledge [tendeth] towards good things, and not towards bad, and he deviseth means whereby he may please those who give him commands and not how he may |146 resist their will. Simplicity then befitteth the life and conduct of solitaries, and integrity is meet for the life of the anchorite, and sincerity becometh the monastic life, and gladness is meet for self-denial, and simpleness belongeth unto poverty.

The chief priests of the Jews marvelled at the Apostles, because being simple and unlettered men they were making answers like wise men to questions concerning the life which is to come, and they became advocates of Christ through their simplicity. For Christ took foolish advocates to speak for Him, that through them He might the more proclaim the triumph of His wisdom, and that it might be known unto all men that it was not they who were speaking but He Who spoke in them; "They perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men; and they remembered that they had gone hither and thither with Jesus",17 and they marvelled at them. So then that simplicity should keep the commandments was also a marvellous thing, and that ignorant men should do what wise man could not was a thing to be wondered at. For if the priests had been acquainted with the Apostles before the time when they became wise men, and they had not spoken wisely, they would not have been greatly astonished at them, for they would have heard from them that which befitted their instruction; but they marvelled especially at them because they heard from them what they expected not, [p. 153] and they answered them with speech which was above the measure of all wise men, and through their simplicity Jesus triumphed, and His wisdom was proclaimed before all men. And for |147 this reason also our Lord chose the simple, and rejected the wise and learned, that He might teach every one who should become His disciple to lay hold upon this beginning, and to walk therein unto Him, and that we should not follow after cunning because it is thought to be wisdom by the world, or seek to be excused from possessing simplicity because it is held in contempt among the children of men. For behold our Lord shewed unto us two things by His choice; He chose fishermen, and He chose tax-gatherers, that is to say, He chose the simple and the wicked, the fools and the knaves, the opposite of knowledge, and the opposite of righteousness----for such are fishermen and tax-gatherers, and the fisherman hath no knowledge, and the tax-gatherer hath no righteousness----that when these two classes of men had acquired the two things to which they were strangers, Jesus might be revealed to all men. as the One Who maketh wise and the One Who maketh just. Matthew and Zacchaeus, those who clave to Christ, had acquired the training of the world, but when they had been chosen they were found [to be] simple men, and their obedience testifieth to their simplicity; for until they had become above the training of the world, and had become strangers to the human craftiness which they had acquired, and until they stood in the measure of the simplicity of fishermen, Christ did not bring them near to become the receivers of His doctrine, and He did not give them power over the treasures of His knowledge, but forthwith, in addition to that which He in all places commanded concerning simplicity, [p. 154] He counselled them to become like simple children, and He spake for the sake of those disciples so that He might also restrain others from the doctrine |148 of craftiness. He taught the simple to abide in their simplicity, and He admonished those who had been reared in the doctrine of craftiness to cast away from them this denied garment, that both classes might come into uniformity, and might, as it were, begin to run the path of virtue upon each other's legs. Now there are some who, without training, become the children of simplicity, like Simon, and Andrew, and James, and John, and there are others who by being brought up in the world are held fast in the womb of cunning, like Matthew, and Zacchaeus, and Philip, and many others; and to those which were not brought forth He gave birth from craftiness to the state of simpleness. And He swathed them all in the swaddling band of simplicity, and then He began to rear them in the stature of His doctrine, and to bring them to the measure of the strength of the Spirit. And if in respect of the Apostles simplicity appeared to be far beyond everything here in value, how much more especially is it right that it should be found with us, and it should be beloved in the congregation of the solitaries where our service also demandeth this, and those who come to us expect that they may see us thus. The crafty disciple prospereth not, and he is envious of evil things for all his fellow disciples. He is a teacher of evil things and not of good, and an example of loss, and not of gain. He is a teacher of disobedience, and one who sheweth forth stubbornness; [p. 155] he wandereth among empty things and speaketh those which are useless, being shut up he would be a wanderer, he is bound by necessity, he is led by force to what he desireth not, he is a labourer full of grumbling, and a lazy hireling, for that which his mouth eateth he worketh not; he is a destroyer |149 of the field of the prosperous man, for he shutteth up his own farm, and it remaineth without tillage by him; he is a stone of stumbling to those who run, and a guide of strange paths; he bringeth forth deceit to those who travel uprightly, and he perverteth the path before those who run in integrity; he looketh gladly at that which is ruined; he eagerly desireth rulers, and is a lover of rich men; he is an associate of noble and famous men, and a companion of those who live delicately; he fasteth by necessity, and is [only] weaned from meats by the force of the law; he laboureth without advantage; he is a disciple in appearance and not in thought; he nourisheth deceit, and is a soul which desireth evil things; he is a scoffing tongue, and a proud and empty man; he is an abject in which there is nothing; he is a drawback to all right dealing; he is built up by various forms of stumblings; he is a body framed of limbs of falsehood; he throweth blame upon every thing, and he abuseth everything which is done; he taketh vengeance upon those who look not upon him: he is slow to good things, but runneth quickly after evil things; he is a child of slumber, a son of slothfulness, an enemy of watching and a hater of prayer; he is a companion of the table which is always laid, he awaitetli dainty foods, and looketh out for delicacies; he is the right hand of the Calumniator, and the secret arm of the Enemy. These and such-like things are found in the cunning disciple, but the things which we have spoken [above] are [only] the kernel of his deformities; and it is meet that whosoever is thus should be despised by all men, [p. 156] in order that his wickedness may be smitten through contempt of him.  

And the prophet of God abuseth those who are |150 foolish in respect of good things, and wise in respect of evil things. "Ephraim is like a silly dove, without understanding; he cometh to Egypt and he goeth to Assyria, and in the way of repentance towards Me he walketh not".18 Now the prophet maketh an accusation against such silliness, because it is not simplicity, but folly. And this also is the wickedness of those who are silly in respect of good things. Instead of one Redeemer, they have chosen unto themselves many helpers, and they have forsaken the path which leadeth to God, and have run after the Egyptians and Assyrians that they might come to their help. And although they have experienced many times that they were not able to redeem them from the evils in which they stood, they never became wise enough through the experience of facts to run to God's place of refuge. And the prophet likened them unto doves whose fruit others carried off, and the children of whose bowels were made servants unto others; and he considered them to be without understanding, because they possessed not the discretion through which they would have drawn nigh to God. And again in his speech Solomon also reprehendeth him that is led after his lust like a foolish person, and who lacketh the knowledge which should fight against his passions. "He goeth after her like a simple man, and as an ox that goeth to the slaughterer, and as a dog to the fetters, and as a stag into whose liver an arrow hath pierced".19 And this foolishness is worthy of blame, because it ministereth not unto good but unto evil things, and it is not right, properly speaking, that it should be called simpleness----although the Book calleth it |151 so because it is contrary [p. 157] to the mark which is laid down by it----but folly, and madness, and senselessness, and the destruction of what is seemly. And this our discourse doth not urge this kind of simplicity upon a man, nor that he should ignorantly submit to every voice, and be persuaded by the deceit of every doctrine, for the Apostle of God also biddeth us to beware of this, saying, "Be ye not children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of the deceitful doctrines of the children of men." 20 For behold the frame of mind which is led by every voice and doctrine, and which changeth its construction into abominable conduct, and deeds, and a hateful life, hath been called madness by the word of the Apostle, but the word of our discourse urgeth a man to that simplicity which meditateth at all times upon good things. Look then upon the simplicity of all the believing men, and see the innocence of mind of the disciples of Christ, who, although they were not acquainted with the guile of the crafts of heresies, and although they knew not the abomination of their evil doctrine, yet nevertheless took heed not to become associated therewith, but held the truth without change through their wise simplicity, and because the fear of God was closely united to their simplicity. And although they knew not the consciousness of [other] doctrines, yet were they acquainted with reasons of their own doctrine. And as a child who knoweth one master only, by the fear of whom he is ruled, and at whose command he trembleth, and of whose rod alone he is afraid, and who knoweth not even of the existence of other masters, so also [p. 158] with the child in faith |152 doth the fear of the mastership of Christ alone rule his life, and other teachers of doctrines are accounted nothing by him. And he is not persuaded to perceive another learned man, and he is not obedient save to one master, and he neither trembleth nor is terrified by fear, save of those of whose authority he is sensible, but like the natural child his fear taketh heed to one teacher and to one master only. And if any other teacher wisheth to give him another doctrine besides that which he holdeth he receiveth it not; for his simpleness is the sincerity of nature, and not the destructive error of [other] opinions.

Let us then, like disciples of Christ, run in the path which He hath shewn us, and let us walk in the way which He hath trodden for us, and let the invention of simplicity be precious in our sight, and let us be simple children to receive the doctrine which is good. And let us be wise as serpents against the Enemy who schemeth to do us harm, and let us remember at all times that which was spoken by Christ our Lord to all the disciples in His word, "Whosoever receiveth not the kingdom of God like a little child shall not enter therein";21 may we by His grace be held worthy of this kingdom, and may we inherit it together with all the saints, through the mercy of Christ God, to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Here endeth the Second Discourse on Simplicity.

[Footnotes renumbered and moved to the end.  Page numbers in brackets refer to the Syriac text in vol. 1 of the printed edition.]

1. 1 Galatians vi. 6.

2. 1 The Wisdom of Solomon i. 4.

3. 1 2 Corinthians x. 3.

4. 1 1 Corinthians ix. 22.

5. 1 St. Luke iii. 2; Acts iv. 6.

6. 2 2 St. Luke iii. 2.

7. 1 St. Matthew xviii. 2, 3.

8. 1 St. Matthew xviii. 6.

9. 1 Isaiah liii. 7; Jeremiah xi. 19.

10. 1 St. Matthew xxvi. 52.

11. 1 Philippians ii. 7.

12. 2 1 Corinthians i. 25.

13. 1 1 Samuel xxi. 13.

14. 2 St. John xxi. 15-17.

15. 1 St. John i. 29, 36.

16. 1 Psalm xxv. 21.

17. 1 Acts iv. 13.

18. 1 Hosea vii. 11.

19. 2 Proverbs vii. 22.

20. 1 Ephesians iv. 14; St. James i. 6.

21. 1 St. Mark x. 15; St. Matthew xviii. 3.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2003.  All material on this page is in the public domain - copy freely.
Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font, free from here.

Early Church Fathers - Additional Texts