"The content of one of the steps of "The Ladder" (the 22nd) discusses the ascetic deed of the destruction of vainglory. The monk John writes: "Vanity springs out in front of each virtue. When, for example, I keep a fast – I am given over to vanity, and when I in concealing the fasting from others permit myself food, I am again given over to vanity – by my prudence. Dressing up in bright clothing, I am vanquished by love of honour and, having changed over into drab clothing – I am overcome by vanity. If I stand up to speak – I fall under the power of vanity. If I wish to keep silence, I am again given over to it. Wherever this thorn comes up, it everywhere stands with its points upwards. It is vainglorious..., on the surface to honour God, and in deed to strive to please people rather than God... People of lofty spirit bear insult placidly and willingly, but to hear praise and feel nothing of pleasure is possible only for the saints and for the unblameworthy... When thou hearest, that thy neighbour or friend either afront the eyes or behind the eyes slandereth thee, praise and love him... Does this not shew humility, and who can reproach himself, and be intolerant with himself? But who, having been discredited by another, would not diminish in his love for him... Whoever is exalted by natural gifts – a felicitous mind, a fine education, reading, pleasant elocution and other similar qualities, which are readily enough acquired, that person might yet never obtain to supernatural gifts. Wherefore whoever is not faithful in the small things, that one also is not faithful in the large, and is vainglorous. It often happens, that God Himself humbles the vainglorious, sending a sudden misfortune... If prayer does not destroy a proud thought, we bring to mind the leaving of the soul from this life. And if this does not help, we threaten it with the shame of the Last Judgement. "Rising up to humble oneself" even here, before the future age. When praisers, or better – flatterers, start to praise us, immediately we betake ourselves to recollection of all our iniquities and we find, that we are not at all worth that which they impute to us"."