75. ABOUT LIFE IN A MONASTERY AND HERMITS.
THE PURPOSE OF TEMPTATIONS.
 THE Pharisees: “Lord and Master. We have heard now from Your divine mouth of the difficulties in obtaining the inner life perfection, but also of the endless advantages of it. The difficulties did not discourage us to do whatever You may prescribe us to do. Even if we physically have to mutilate ourselves under the greatest pain, then in full earnest we are prepared for it.”
 I said: “Oh that would be the greatest foolishness, because whoever wants truly to conquer an enemy must line up himself in the open field in front of him, and should not hide behind all
kinds of defensive works. Because when the enemy will see the entrenchment, he will indeed desist for a certain time from an open attack because he realizes that with his power he is not a match for the well-defended opponent. But he surrounds the well-defended opponent, and then he will call for fortifications from all sides. After that, when the enemy feels strong enough, he attacks the still well-defended opponent and overpowers him without difficulty.
 I consider the case when the enemy was not able to do anything against the well-defended opponent as long as he stayed behind his entrenchment. But the opponent can out of fear for the stronger enemy not stay forever behind his strong entrenchment. He will have to leave it once and will have to come in the open field. How will he then fare when the enemy, who secretly is lying in wait somewhere, will attack him? I tell you: this second open battle will then be much more difficult for him than if he had attacked the enemy immediately in the open the first time.
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