In temptation

Peace to you in Christ, brother! Force your heart to believe that you definitely gave yourself a cause for temptation, although now, under the present circumstances, you cannot find it. Despise yourself, endure, pray--and I hope in the mercy of the good Master Christ, that He will remove the temptation. The Apostle said, The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7).
Do not be amazed, my son, if while along the path that leads to the heights, you fall into thorns and mire; smooth places will again appear--for those who find themselves in struggles sometimes fall, and sometimes they themselves throw down their opponents. The great Job said, is not the life of man upon earth a state of trial? (Job 7:1). And another of the saints said, "A man who has not undergone temptations is not tested (experienced)." For we are tempted for instruction in faith, so that we would be become experienced and learn to battle. The Lord said, In patience possess ye your soul (Lk. 21:19). Thus, may hope in a good end help us in everything that happens to us. And the holy Apostle, teaching us patience, says, God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able (I Cor. 10:13). And our Lord--Truth Itself--consoles you, saying, In the world ye shall have tribulations, but fear not, for I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33). Learn this, abide in this and remember the Lord and His goodness, my son! He will help you in everything, for He is merciful and knows our infirmities. He will again forbid the waves and bring a calm to your soul, by the prayers of His Saints. Amen.

Just as shadows follow a body, so do temptations follow the fulfillment of the commandments; for no one, as the Anthony the Great has said, will enter the Kingdom of heaven without temptations. Thus, do not be amazed, my son, that in caring for your salvation, you meet with temptations and sorrows. But endure them without disturbance and pray, thankful that for keeping the commandments you are vouchsafed to be in temptations for the instruction and testing of your soul. May the good God grant you attentiveness and patience during temptations.

We are the creation and work of the good and man-loving God, Who said, As I live, I desire not the death of the ungodly, as that the ungodly should turn from his way and live (Ezek. 33:11). Likewise, I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance (Mt. 9:13). And thus, if this is true, and if we so believe, then Cast thy care upon the Lord and He will nourish thee (Ps. 54:25), that is, He will save you, for He cares for you. May He console your heart, my son, through the prayers of His saints. Amen.

Well did Abba Poemen reason that the instruction not to take care for the morrow (Mt. 6:34) is given to a man who finds himself in temptations. And the saying, Cast thy care upon the Lord (Ps. 54:25) relates to the same thing. Thus, forsake, my son, human reasoning and have hope in God, which will accomplish much more than we suppose, and hope in God will comfort you. May the Lord help you, my son, through the prayers of the Saints. We should oppose such thoughts, for we dare not say that will shall live until tomorrow.


To a brother, undergoing temptations.

Abba Dorotheos

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