THE UNSEEN WARFARE -
THREE STAGES OF TEMPTATION
the things of the world-- this is the manner in which the devil tempts
mankind, as he had done with Adam and, later on, Christ.
Firstly, the devil, Abbot Serapion says, tempts us to be a slave of
our belly (i.e. gluttony). The devil tempted Adam and Eve to
prefer to eat the fruit than obey God's command. Later on, he also
tempted Christ to change stone into bread. Using food, the devil
makes man ignorant, negligent and heretical.
the devil tempts us using vainglory, i.e. to boast about
nothing. To Adam, he says, "Your eyes shall be
opened," and to Christ, "Cast thyself down. . ."
Adam was tempted with boastful knowledge and Christ, the spectacle of
flying. . .both are temptations to choose the glory that comes from
men rather than from God. To choose the former will condemn one
to be ignorant of the latter.
the devil tempts us through pride. Thus, he tempted Adam,
"You shall be as gods," and Christ, "I will give
you all the kingdoms of the world." Because Adam and Eve
succumbed to the temptations, they and their descendants were
subsequently attacked by other countless temptations. Because
Christ triumphed over the temptations, the devil fled.
DEGREES OF POSSESSION
a man succumbs to the three above temptations, the devil takes
possession of his mind; this is the first degree of possession.
The second degree, Abbot Severus says, is when the devil robs man of
the fear of God and the spirit of recollection. The third degree
is when the devil binds man's soul and takes up his abode in