Abba Antonios said: "The time is coming when people will be seized by manias and will behave like madmen. And if they see anyone acting reasonably, they will rise up against him saying: 'You are insane.' And they will have accurately said this to him, for he will not be like them."
* * *
Several brothers went to Abba Antonios to relate to him certain visions which they beheld and to ascertain from him whether the visions were true or of demonic origin. They had along with them a small donkey which died on the way. Just as they reached Abba Antonios, he, expecting them, said: "How did the little donkey die on the road?"
"How did you know this, Abba?" they said to him.
"The demons revealed it to me."
And they answered him: "It is for this reason that we came to see you, for fear of being deceived, since we see visions and many times they come true."
Thus, with the foregoing example of the donkey, the elder made it known to them that their visions came forth from the demons.
* * *
The same Abba Antonios, pondering the ways of God, once asked: "Lord, how does it happen that many live very few years and yet others reach a ripe old age? And how is it that some live in poverty while others are rich? And how is it that the unjust continue to grow richer and the just are poor?" Then he heard a voice say to him: "Antonios, watch yourself, for those things which you ask about belong to the inscrutable ways of God's wisdom and it is not to your benefit to learn of them."
* * *
Once Abba Antonios received a letter from Emperor Constantine the Great which requested him to go to Constantinople. He wondered about what to do. So he said to his disciple, Abba Paul: "What do you say? Should I go?" And the Abba answered him: "If you go, you will be called 'Antonios'; however, if you do not go, 'Abba Antonios.'"
* * *
Once Abba Arsenios revealed his thoughts to an Egyptian elder and asked him about them. But a certain other Abba saw him and said to him: "Abba Arsenios, you have had so much education in Greek and Latin, yet you ask this man, so unlettered in worldly knowledge, about your thoughts?"
Abba Arsenios said to him: "Indeed, I know Roman and Greek letters well; but I have not yet learned even the alphabet of this simple man."
* * *
A young monk sadly said the following to the holy Poimen: "My body, Abba, has been weakened by ascetic practices, but my passions do not yield."
"The passions, my child," answered the wise Father, "are similar to tough thorns; in uprooting them, your hands of necessity bleed."
* * *
"What am I to do, Abba, since passions and demons beset me?" a young monk asked the holy Sisoes.
"Do not say that you are bothered by demons, child," answered the elder, "because the greater part of us are beset by our own evil desires."
* * *
While still a neophyte in monastic life, Moses the Black (the Ethiopian) was warring against carnal desire. So he went, in a state of turbulence, to confess to Abba Isidoros.
The elder listened to him sympathetically and, when he had given him words of appropriate counsel, told him to return to his cell. However, inasmuch as Abba Moses was still hesitant, for fear of the flame of evil desires rekindling during his return, Abba Isidoros took him by the hand and led him to a small roof atop his cell.
"Look here," he told him, directing him towards the West. Thereupon Moses saw an entire army of wicked spirits with drawn bows, ready for warfare, and was terrified.
"Look towards the East now," the elder told him once more. Myriads of angels in military formation were standing ready to confront the enemy.
"All of these," Abba Isidoros told him, "are assigned by God to help the struggler. Do you see how our defenders are many more and incomparably stronger than our enemies?"
Moses thanked God with his heart for this revelation and, taking courage, returned to his cell to continue his struggle.