What must be done from the start: Choosing a spiritual father and submitting one's self and one's thoughts to him completely. Climacus gives an example of how the wisdom and sternness of a spiritual father brought true humility to a monk through the public confession of his sins. Although himself shocked by the severity of the test and the humiliation experienced, Climacus recognizes the spiritual healing it brought to the young monk and the power of his example for the rest of the community.
Climacus describes the obedience of the monks at a monastery in Alexandria and the wisdom of their holy superior. The obedience of the monks was constant, even in the absence of their superior. They supported each other in the practice and did penance for each other's indiscretions. The superior was strict in his application of remedies, applying them quickly and expecting them to be used without question. The value of this, Climacus states, was in the fruits it produced.
Multiple examples of obedience are given as well as the responsibility of a director of souls of testing the virtue of his monks.