A Christian receives divine wisdom in three ways: by the commandments, teachings, and faith. The commandments free the mind from passions. Teachings lead it to true knowledge of nature. Faith leads to the contemplation of the Holy Trinity.
Do not say that faith in Christ alone can save you, for this is not possible if you do not attain love for Him, which is demonstrated by deeds. As for mere faith: "The demons also believe and tremble" (James, 2:19). The action of love consists in heartfelt good deeds toward one's neighbor, magnanimity, patience, and sober use of things.
Those who, animal-like, live solely according to the senses... misuse God's creation in order to indulge the passions. They do not understand the principle of that wisdom which is revealed to all: that we should know and praise God through His creation and that by means of the visible world we should understand whence we came, what we are, for what purpose we were made and where we are going. On the contrary, they travel through this present age in darkness... with... ignorance of God.
A man who has been assiduous in acquiring the fruits of love will not cease loving even if he suffers a thousand calamities. Let Stephen, the disciple of Christ, and others like him persuade you of the truth of this (cf. Acts 7:60). Our Lord Himself prayed for His murderers and asked the Father to forgive them because they did not know what they were doing (cf. Luke 23:34).
He who through virtue and spiritual knowledge has brought his body into harmony with his soul has become a harp, a flute and a temple of God. He has become a harp by preserving the harmony of the virtues; a flute by receiving the inspiration of the Spirit through divine contemplation; and a temple by becoming a dwelling place of the Logos through the purity of his intellect.
The mind of a man that loves God does not fight against things or thoughts about them, but against the passions that are connected with these thoughts. That is, he does not struggle against a woman, or against one who has insulted him, and not against the images of them, but against the passions that are aroused by these images.
He who has not yet attained divine knowledge energized by love is proud of his spiritual progress. But he who has been granted such knowledge repeats with deep conviction the words uttered by the patriarch Abraham when he was granted the manifestation of God: 'I am dust and ashes' (Gen. 18:27).
The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds.
As long as I remain imperfect and refractory, neither obeying God by practising the commandments nor becoming perfect in spiritual knowledge, Christ from my point of view also appears imperfect and refractory because of me. For I diminish and cripple Him by not growing in spirit with Him, since I am 'the body of Christ and one of its members' (I Cor. 12:27).