Evagrios the Solitary, also known as Evagrius of Pontus
Lived 346 – 399CE (disputable) as an early ascetic pioneer
Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts
Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom. Then there will be a union between it [this freedom] and us, and thereafter it will be our guardian, showing us each thing that we must uproot. But if we do not obey our conscience, it will abandon us and we shall fall into the hands of our enemies, who will never let us go. This is what our Lord taught us when He said: ‘Come to an agreement with your adversary quickly while you are with him in the road, lest he hand you over to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer and you are cast into prison (Matt. 5:25). The conscience is called an ‘adversary’ because it opposes us when we wish to carry out the desires of our flesh; and if we do not listen to our conscience, it delivers us into the hands of our enemies.
Reflections: Many teachings within our Faith compare what is right and wrong in a way portraying a person as entirely good or entirely bad. I tend to evaluate a person somewhere between 100% good or 100% bad; and, giving the benefit of the doubt, mostly towards the good side of the scale.
My guess is “. . . rigorously practicing the virtues. . .” in the first line draws attention to a secluded life, where one has the time — like we do as we social distance because of Covid 19 — apart from: 1.) normal social interactions of daily, internal, close family relations; 2.) a life in the general community of a town’s or city’s hustle and bustle.
But for Evagrios, how closely was he associated to a monk-like community?
Did he teach solely by way of his writings?
If you learn something new: are you sharing it with someone?
Translation from the Philokalia
found at: Holybooks.com