Life of St. Anthony by St. Athanasius :
1. “And as we have received the soul as a deposit, let us preserve it for the Lord, that He may recognise His work as being the same as He made it.”
2. Wherefore let us not despond after this fashion, nor let us have a thought of cowardice in our heart, nor frame fears for ourselves, saying, I am afraid lest a demon should come and overthrow me; lest he should lift me up and cast me down; or lest rising against me on a sudden he confound me. Such thoughts let us not have in mind at all, nor let us be sorrowful as though we were perishing; but rather let us be courageous and rejoice always, believing that we are safe. Let us consider in our soul that the Lord is with us, who put the evil spirits to flight and broke their power. Let us consider and lay to heart that while the Lord is with us, our foes can do us no hurt. For when they come they approach us in a form corresponding to the state in which they discover us , and adapt their delusions to the condition of mind in which they find us. If, therefore, they find us timid and confused, they immediately beset the place, like robbers, having found it unguarded; and what we of ourselves are thinking, they do, and more also. For if they find us faint-hearted and cowardly, they mightily increase our terror, by their delusions and threats; and with these the unhappy soul is thenceforth tormented. But if they see us rejoicing in the Lord, contemplating the bliss of the future, mindful of the Lord, deeming all things in His hand, and that no evil spirit has any strength against the Christian, nor any power at all over any one— when they behold the soul fortified with these thoughts— they are discomfited and turned backwards. Thus the enemy, seeing Job fenced round with them, withdrew from him; but finding Judas unguarded, him he took captive. Thus if we are wishful to despise the enemy, let us ever ponder over the things of the Lord, and let the soul ever rejoice in hope. And we shall see the snares of the demon are like smoke, and the evil ones themselves flee rather than pursue. For they are, as I said before, exceeding fearful, ever looking forward to the fire prepared for them.’
3. ‘Believe in the Lord and love Him; keep yourselves from filthy thoughts and fleshly pleasures, and as it is written in the Proverbs, be not deceived
by the fullness of the belly. Pray continually; avoid vainglory; sing psalms before sleep and on awaking; hold in your heart the commandments of Scripture; be mindful of the works of the saints that your souls being put in remembrance of the commandments may be brought into harmony with the zeal of the saints.’ And especially he counselled them to meditate continually on the apostle’s word, ‘Let not the sun go down upon your wrath Ephesians 4:26.
4. “We ought not to fear the demons or even Satan himself, for he is a liar and speaks not a word of truth…and with him are placed the demons his fellows, like serpents and scorpions to be trodden underfoot by us Christians…and let us not fear his visions seeing that they themselves are deceptive….Doubtless they appear; but in a moment disappear again, hurting none of the faithful ….Wherefore it is unfitting that we should fear them on account of these things; for through the Grace of Christ all their practices are in vain.
“`From the beginning the devil is a murderer and a father of vice‘ (Jn.8:44); while we, though this is so, are alive, and spend our lives all the more opposing him; it is plain that they [the demons] are powerless. For place is no hindrance to their plots, nor do they look on us as friends that they should spare us; nor are they lovers of good that they should amend. But on the contrary they are evil, and nothing is so much sought after by them as wounding them that love virtue and fear God. But since they have no power to affect anything, they do nought but threaten….If they had power, they would permit none of us Christians to live….But since they can do nothing, they inflict the greater wounds on themselves; for they can fulfil none of their threats. Next this ought to be considered that we may be in no fear of them….But the demons as they have no power are like actors on the stage…from which they ought rather to be despised as showing their weakness.”
“But if the demons had power not even against the swine, much less have they any over men formed in the image of God. So then we ought to fear God only, and despise the demons, and be in no fear of them.”
5. The beginning of the conquest of vainglory is the custody of the mouth and love of being dishonoured; the middle stage is a beating back of all known acts of vainglory; and the end (if there is an end to an abyss) consists in trying to behave in the presence of others so that we are humbled without feeling it.