We cannot achieve true humility unless we have a strong love (eros is the Greek word) for the divine things and contempt for the present ones.


Let us then acquire that height which comes by humility. Let us look into the nature of human things, that we may kindle with the longing desire of the things to come; for in no other way is it possible to become humble, except by the love of what is divine and the contempt of what is present. For just as a man on the point of obtaining a kingdom, if instead of that purple robe one offer him some trivial compliment, will count it to be nothing; so shall we also laugh to scorn all things present, if we desire that other sort of honor. Do ye not see the children, when in their play they make a band of soldiers, and heralds precede them and lictors, and a boy marches in the midst in the general’s place, how childish it all is? Just such are all human affairs; yea and more worthless than these: to-day they are, and to-morrow they are not. Let us therefore be above these things; and let us not only not desire them, but even be ashamed if any one hold them forth to us. For thus, casting out the love of these things, we shall possess that other love which is divine, and shall enjoy immortal glory.

Κτησώμεθα τοίνυν τὸ διὰ ταπεινοφροσύνης ὕψος· ἐπισκεψώμεθα τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων τὴν φύσιν, ἵνα ἐκκαῶμεν τῷ πόθῳ τῶν μελλόντων. ῾Ετέρως γὰρ οὐκ ἔστι γενέσθαι ταπεινὸν, ἀλλ’ ἢ διὰ τοῦ τῶν θείων ἔρωτος καὶ τῆς τῶν παρόντων ὑπεροψίας. ῞Ωσπερ γὰρ εἴ τις βασιλείας ἐπιτυγχάνειν μέλλοι, εἶτα ἀντὶ τῆς ἁλουργίδος ἐκείνης ἰδιωτικήν τινά τις αὐτῷ παράσχοι τιμὴν, οὐδὲν αὐτὴν εἶναι ἡγήσεται· οὕτω καὶ ἡμεῖς πάντων καταγελασόμεθα τῶν παρόντων, εἰ τῆς τιμῆς ἐπιθυμήσαιμεν ἐκείνης. Οὐχ ὁρᾶτε τοὺς παῖδας, ὅταν παίζοντες τάξιν ποιῶσι, καὶ στρατιώτας, καὶ προηγῶνται αὐτῶν κήρυκες καὶ ῥαβδοῦχοι, καὶ μέσος ὁ παῖς ἐν χώρᾳ ἄρχοντος βαδίζῃ, ὡς παιδικὰ τὰ γινόμενα; Τοιαῦτά ἐστι τὰ ἀνθρώπινα, καὶ τούτων εὐτελέστερα, σήμερον ὄντα καὶ αὔριον οὐκ ὄντα. ῾Υψηλότεροι τοίνυν γενώμεθα τούτων, καὶ μὴ μόνον αὐτῶν μὴ ἐπιθυμῶμεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ αἰσχυνώμεθα εἴ τις ἡμῖν ταῦτα προτείνοι. Οὕτω γὰρ τὸν τούτων ἐκβαλόντες ἔρωτα, τὸν θεῖον ἐκεῖνον ἕξομεν, καὶ τῆς ἀθανάτου δόξης ἀπολαύσομεν·