For verily every time that a man beholdeth a thing and forgetteth God who hath made it for man, he hath sinned. For if a friend of thine should give thee somewhat to keep in memory of him, and thou shouldest sell it and forget thy friend, thou hast offended against thy friend. Even so doth man; for when he beholdeth the creature and hath not in memory the creator, who for love of man hath created it, he sinneth against God his creator by ingratitude.
`He therefore who shall behold women and shall forget God who for the good of man created woman, he will love her and desire her. And to such degree will this lust of his break forth, that he will love everything like unto the thing loved: so that hence cometh that sin of which it is a shame to have memory. If, then, man shall put a bridle upon his eyes, he shall be lord of the sense, which cannot desire that which is not presented to it. For so shall the flesh be subject to the spirit. Because as the ship cannot move without wind, so the flesh without the sense cannot sin.
`That thereafter it would be necessary for the penitent to turn story-telling into prayer, reason itself showeth, even if it were not also a precept of God. For in every idle word man sinneth, and our God blotteth out sin by reason of prayer. For that prayer is the advocate of the soul; prayer is the medicine of the soul; prayer is the defence of the heart; prayer is the weapon of faith, prayer is the bridle of sense; prayer is the salt of the flesh that suffereth it not to be corrupted by sin. I tell you that prayer is the hands of our life, whereby the man that prayeth shall defend himself in the day of judgement: for he shall keep his soul from sin here on earth, and shall preserve his heart that it be not touched by evil desires; offending Satan because he shall keep his sense within the law of God, and his flesh shall walk in righteousness, receiving from God all that he shall ask.
`As God liveth in whose presence we are, a man without prayer can no more be a man of good works than a dumb man can plead his cause to a blind one; than fistula can be healed without unguent; a man defend himself without movement; or attack another without weapons, sail without rudder, or preserve dead flesh without salt. For verily he who hath no hand cannot receive. If man could change dung into gold and clay into sugar, what would he do?’
Then Jesus being silent, the disciples answered: `No one would exercise himself in any way other than in making gold and sugar.’
Then said Jesus: `Now why doth not man change foolish story-telling into prayer? Is time, perchance, given him by God that he may offend God? For what prince would give a city to his subject in order that the latter might make war upon him? As God liveth, if man knew after what manner the soul is transformed by vain talking he would sooner bite off his tongue with his teeth than talk. O wretched world! For today men do not assemble together for prayer, but in the porches of the temple and in the very temple itself Satan hath there the sacrifice of vain talk, and that which is worse – of things which I cannot talk of without shame.
Sir Godfrey Gregg OHPM, ROMC