Know two thoughts and fear them. One says: you are a saint; the other: you will not be saved. Both these thoughts are from the enemy, and there is no truth in them. You must think: I am a great sinner, but the Lord is merciful, He loves His children greatly, and will forgive my sins. But don’t depend on your deeds, though you may have worked much. One ascetic said to me, "I must surely be forgiven, for I bow so many times per day," but when death came, he tore at his shirt. So, not for our labors, but in His grace the Lord dispenses mercy. The Lord wishes our souls to be humble, absent of hate and willing to forgive all, then the Lord shall forgive us with joy.
Know that if your thought leads you to look at how others live, this is a sign of pride. Watch after yourself and you will see that as soon as your soul rises above your brother, this is followed by evil thoughts.
Our enemies (demons) fell because of their pride, and call us to follow them, and bring us feelings of praise. And if your soul accepts that praise, then grace will depart, until the soul becomes humble again. And so all your life you must learn the humility of Christ.
A person can fall into vainglory either through inexperience or pride. If it is inexperience, the Lord will quickly heal him, but if it is pride, the soul will suffer long before it learns to be humble.
We fall into vainglory when we think we are smarter and more experienced than others, even our confessor.
If you see a light within you, or about you, do not believe it, if together with the light you do not feel tender emotion to God and love for your neighbor. But do not be afraid, and be humble, and the light will disappear.
If you see a vision, or an image, or a dream, do not believe it, for if it is from the Lord, the Lord will teach you. The soul that has not experienced the Holy Spirit cannot comprehend visions nor where they are from. The enemy gives the soul a sweetness mixed with vanity, and this is how to recognize vainglory. If a vision is from the enemy the soul will feel confusion and fear; but this is only a humble soul that feels itself unworthy of a vision; a vain person may not feel fear or even confusion, because he seeks visions and feels himself worthy, and as a result the enemy easily fools him.
The heavenly is experienced through the Holy Spirit, and the earthly through the mind: whoever wants to experience God with his mind through learning is in vainglory, for God can only be experienced through the Holy Spirit.