The Ladder of Divine Ascent – Step 21, The First Four Paragraphs

Step 21 On unmanly and puerile cowardice.

1. If you pursue virtue in a monastery or community, you are not likely to be attacked much by fear. But the man who spends his time in more solitary places should make every effort to avoid being overcome by that offspring of vainglory, that daughter of unbelief, cowardice.

2. Cowardice is a childish disposition in an old, vainglorious soul. Cowardice is a falling away from faith that comes of expecting the unexpected.

3. Fear is a rehearsing of danger beforehand; or again, fear is a trembling sensation of the heart, alarmed and troubled by unknown misfortunes. Fear is a loss of conviction.

4. A proud soul is a slave of cowardice; it vainly trusts in itself, and is afraid of any sound or shadow of creatures.