Of the advantages of the desert.
SO long then as owing to the fewness of those who were then living in the desert, a greater freedom was afforded to us in
a wider expanse of the wilderness, so long as in the seclusion of larger retreats we were caught up to those celestial ecstasies,
and were not overwhelmed by a great quantity of brethren to visit us, and thus owing to the necessity of showing hospitality
overburdened in our thoughts by the distractions of great cares, I frequented with insatiable
desire and all my heart the peaceful retreats of the desert and that life which can only be compared to the bliss of the
angels. But when, as I said, a larger number of the brethren began to seek a dwelling in that desert, and by cramping the
freedom of the vast wilderness, not only caused that fire of divine contemplation to grow cold, but also entangled the mind
in many ways in the chains of carnal matters, I determined to carry out my purpose in this system rather than to grow cold
sublime mode of life, by providing for carnal wants; so that, if that liberty and those spiritual ecstasies are denied
me, yet as all care for the morrow is avoided, I may console myself by fulfilling the precept of the gospel, and what I lose
in sublimity of contemplation, may be made up to me by submission and obedience. For it is a wretched thing for a man to profess
to learn any art or pursuit, and never to arrive at perfection in it.