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Various Texts on Theology, the Divine Economy,
and Virtue and Vice

by Maximos the Confessor
(Philokalia, Volume 2 pp.283-4)
Fifth Century

52.  When a materialistic understanding of Scriptue dominates the soul, it leads the soul to reject natural principles by misusing its natural powers; and so long as this understanding retains its hold it expels, pursues and destroys all such principles and thoughts. For it limits the Law to the flesh alone, and honours the shameful passions as divine.  But natural thoughts, made fearless through the law of the Spirit, kill the passions at a stroke. 

53. As soon as anyone practices the virtues with true intelligence, he acquires a spiritual understanding of Scripture.  He worships God actively in the new way of the Spirit through the higher forms of contemplation, and not in the old way of the written, code (cf. Rom. 7:6), which makes man interpret the Law in an outward and sensual manner and Judaic-like, fosters the passions and encourages sin.

 54.  As soon as a person stops interpreting Scripture in an outward and sensual manner, his intellect reverts to its natural spiritual state: he accomplishes spiritually what the Jews performed in a purely external and physical manner, therby provoking God's anger.