Four Hundred Texts on Theology (Third Century) 15

39.  The spirit of the fear of God is abstention from evil deeds. The spirit of strength is an impulse and disposition prompt to fulfill the commandments. The spirit of counsel is the habit of discrimination according to which we fulfill the divine commandments intelligently and distinguish what is good from what is bad. The spirit of cognitive insight is an unerring perception of the ways in which virtue is to be practiced; if we act in accordance with this perception we will not deviate at all from the true judgment of our intelligence. The spirit of spiritual knowledge is a grasping of the commandments and the principles inherent in them, according to which the qualities of the virtues are constituted. The spirit of understanding is acceptance of the qualities and principles of the virtues or, to put it more aptly, it is a transmutation by which one’s natural powers commingle with the qualities and principles of the commandments. The spirit of wisdom is ascension towards the Cause of the higher spiritual principles inherent in the commandments, and union with it. Through this ascension and union we are initiated, in so far as this is possible for human beings, simply and through unknowing into those inner divine principles of created beings, and in different ways we present to men, as if from a spring welling up in our heart, the truth which resides in all things.

I wanted to share this text since it expands on the text I posted last Thursday and I find the progression it describes compelling. Of course, we don’t move smoothly from one spirit to another. Rather, we move forward only to fall back. We get “stuck” for long periods of time. Sometimes, through the grace of God, we leap forward for brief periods only to return to our former position. But always we seek to become so one with God that a life abiding in him truly becomes a spring welling up in our heart.

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