For so is the will of God, that with well-doing, ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men (I Peter 2:15).
Brethren, it is difficult to argue with an atheist; it is difficult to talk with a madman; it is difficult to persuade an embittered man. It is difficult to convince an atheist, a madman or an embittered man with words. You will convince them more easily by deeds. They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation (I Peter 2:12). Do good to those who wish to argue with you, and you will win the argument. One deed of compassion will bring the madman to his senses and will pacify the embittered man more quickly than many hours of conversation. If atheism, madness and bitterness stem from ignorance, that ignorance is like a rage which can quickly be restrained by good works. If you argue with an atheist in his own rabid manner, you strengthen the rage of atheism. If you converse with a madman by derision, the darkness of his madness is increased. If you think you will overcome an embittered man with anger, you will stir up a greater fire of bitterness. A meek and good deed is like water on a fire.
Always remember the holy apostles and their successful methods of behavior toward men. If an atheist provokes you, it is not the man that provokes you but the devil; for man is by nature religious. If a madman swears at you, it is not the man that swears at you but the devil; for man is by nature reasonable. If an embittered man persecutes you, it is not the man that persecutes you but the devil; for man is by nature good. The devil provokes you to lengthy arguments and unfruitful conversations, but he flees from good deeds. Do good in the name of Christ, and the devil will flee. Only then will you have dealings with men, with true men; pious, reasonable and good. Therefore, whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord.
O All-good Lord, help us to do good and by good to conquer in Thy name. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Prologue of Ohrid, June 30 entry: On the power and the efficacy of good works