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Chapter I.

Introduction to the Conference.

What was promised in the second book of the Institutes15821582    See the Institutes Book II. c. ix. on continual and unceasing perseverance in prayer, shall be by the Lord’s help fulfilled by the Conferences of this Elder, whom we will now bring forward; viz., Abbot Isaac:15831583    Isaac was, as we gathered from c. xxxi., a disciple of St. Antony, and is mentioned by Palladius Dial. de vita Chrysost. There are also a few stories of him in the Apophegmata Patrum (Migne, Vol. lxv. p. 223); and see the Dictionary of Christian Biography, Vol. iii. p. 294. and when these have been propounded I think that I shall have satisfied the commands of Pope Castor of blessed memory, and your wishes, O blessed Pope Leontius and holy brother Helladius, and the length of the book in its earlier part may be excused, though, in spite of our endeavour not only to compress what had to be told into a brief discourse, but also to pass over very many points in silence, it has been extended to a greater length than we intended. For having commenced with a full discourse on various regulations which we have thought it well to curtail for the sake of brevity, at the close the blessed Isaac spoke these words.

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